Home > Angry God (All Saints High #3)(5)

Angry God (All Saints High #3)(5)
Author: L.J. Shen

They tried. And they failed. If you want to look at your fiercest protector, at the one person you can always count on, take a good look in the mirror.

I was in the business of avenging my own pain, and there was a debt to collect.

I was going to get it. Soon.

As for my parents, they loved me, were concerned about me, would die for me, blah blah fucking blah. If my mother knew what went through my head, what had really happened that day at the Parisian gallery auction, she would commit coldhearted murder.

But that was my job.

And I was going to enjoy it.

“So you’re telling me you don’t think Lenora Astalis is hot?” Knight wiggled his brows, pushing off the lockers and matching my stride.

I eyeballed her again. She balanced her textbooks on her hip as she walked toward the lab, not hugging them to her chest like the rest of the preppy damsels of All Saints High. She wore a black denim mini skirt much shorter than my fuse, fishnet stockings ripped at the knees and ass, and army boots that looked more haggard than mine. Even septum and lip rings couldn’t taint her shy appearance. She popped her pink gum, staring ahead, either ignoring my existence or not noticing me as she brushed past.

Her beauty—if you could call it that—reminded me of a child’s. Small, button-like nose, big blue eyes dotted green and gold, and narrow pink lips. There was nothing wrong with her face, but nothing overtly attractive about her, either. In the sea of Californian, shiny-haired, tan-skinned girls, with bodies made of glitter, muscle, and curves, I knew she wouldn’t stand out—positively, anyway.

I arched an eyebrow, shouldering past him to class. Knight followed me.

“Are you asking if I’d let her suck my cock? Possibly, depending on my mood and level of intoxication.”

“How fucking charitable of you. Actually, I wasn’t asking that at all. I wanted to tell you Lenora, like her sister, is off-limits for you.”

“Oh, yeah?” I threw him a bone, keeping him humored. Hell would freeze over before I took an order from Knight Cole. Or anyone else, for that matter.

“You can’t break any of the Astalis girls’ hearts. Their mom died a few years ago. They’ve had it rough, and they don’t need your nasty-ass self shitting on their parade. Which happens to be your favorite pastime. So this is me telling you I’ll fuck you up if you touch them. Specifically, the morbid-looking one. You feeling me here?”

Lenora’s mother died?

How had I not heard about it when Poppy moved here?

Oh, that’s right. I cared about her existence a little less than I did about Arabella’s stupid parties.

I knew the mother never moved with Edgar and Poppy, but I’d guessed they either got divorced or she stayed with the talented kid in England.

Mothers were a touchy subject for Knight for more reasons than I could count. I knew he’d take it as a personal offense if I deliberately smashed Good Girl’s little heart. Lucky for him, I had very little interest in that organ, or the girl who carried it around in her chest.

“Don’t worry, Captain Save-a-Ho. I won’t fuck them.” I pushed the door to my class open and blazed inside without sparing Knight another look. Easiest promise I ever had to make.

When I plopped down and glanced toward the door, I saw him through the window, running his thumb across his throat, threatening to kill me if I broke my word.

My father was a lawyer, and semantics were his playground.

I said I wouldn’t fuck her.

I never said I wouldn’t fuck with her.

If Lenora deserved a public spanking to make sure she stayed in line, her ass was going to be red.

And most definitely mine.

 


The opportunity to corner Lenora Astalis presented itself three days later. I’d skipped Arabella’s party, and wasn’t surprised to hear Lenora hadn’t showed up, either. But her sister, Poppy, was there—dancing, drinking, mingling, even helping Arabella and Alice clean up puke and cum stains afterwards.

Lenora didn’t strike me as a party girl. She had the strange gene, the one that made her stick out like a sore thumb wherever she went, even without the Maleficent wardrobe. I could tell because I had it, too. We were weeds, rising from the concrete, ruining the generic landscape of this yacht club town.

The first day, I’d ditched my last class and tailed her car after school to see where she lived. She drove a black Lister Storm—a far cry from her sister’s Mini Cooper—and got honked at five different times for failing to take a right turn on a red light. Twice she flipped the other driver the bird. Once she actually double-parked to rummage through her bag and hand a homeless person some change.

By the end of the journey, I couldn’t help but smirk to myself. Edgar Astalis had put his girls in a castle by the ocean, with high, white-picket fences and drapes firmly shut.

Nice. Predictable. Safe.

Just like his useless little daughters.

I made a U-turn and drove back to school, where I found Poppy at a marching band rehearsal with her lame-ass accordion, her Prada bag hanging lazily on the back of her chair while her back was to me. I fished out her house key, went downtown, made a copy, and returned just in time to slip it back in before she scooped up her bag and went for milkshakes with the band.

The following day I shadowed Lenora, making a note to see if anyone else was there. Poppy took every extracurricular activity available, including band, peer tutoring, English club, and hiking. (She was exactly the kind of teenybopper to make a big fucking deal out of everything she did, including walking.) Edgar Astalis was busting his ass at that art institution he’d co-founded, sunrise till sundown, and was nowhere in sight.

The black sheep, the sweet lamb, was all alone in the afternoons, waiting to be eaten by the wolf.

On the third day—today—I went for the kill. I knew Lenora’s routine by now, and I allowed her forty minutes of basking in her own ignorance while I sat in my banged-up truck, my army boots crossed at the ankles on the dashboard, as she went about her afternoon. I sketched a sculpture on my sketchpad in long, round strokes, a half-smoked joint hanging from the side of my mouth.

When the clock hit four and my alarm buzzed, I got out of the truck and made my way onto the Astalis property, unlocking the door and waltzing in like I owned the place. I strolled through the entrance, past the living room with the marble-on-crème accents and antique furniture, and toward the double glass doors. Sliding them open, I glanced down at the kidney-shaped pool, spotting Good Girl.

She was doing laps underwater, moving in small, graceful strokes. I moved to the edge of the pool, lighting up the rest of my half-joint and squatting down in my torn, black skinny jeans and frayed, black-turned-gray shirt my mother hated so much. I loathed being rich by proxy, but that was another story Lenora was never going to hear, because today was where our communication would end.

Next time I had to make a point, it would be with actions, not words.

Sending a cloud of smoke upward, I watched as Lenora’s head popped out of the water, appearing in front of me for the first time since I walked in.

She hadn’t taken a breath the entire time, I realized.

She was no longer that kid in the South of France who didn’t know how to swim. She’d learned.

And she was completely naked.

Her lashes were curtained with fat water drops that cascaded down her cheeks. She parked her elbows on the edge of the pool, checking the time on her Polar watch. That’s when she noticed in her periphery that something—someone—was blocking the sun. She squinted up, using one hand as a visor.

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