Home > Angry God (All Saints High #3)(8)

Angry God (All Saints High #3)(8)
Author: L.J. Shen

“I’m not the one who’s going to be a prisoner if you come there,” she said softly. “Carlisle is my playground, remember?”

She threatened. Me.

I was about to burst out laughing when she continued.

“Oh, and it’s Lenny now,” she hissed. “Lenora is an old person’s name.”

It was the first crack in her façade, where signs of the flaming-golden-haired girl peeked from behind the Goth, pasty chick.

“Hate to break it to you, but Lenny is a Gremlin’s name.” I stepped back, throwing the towel into her hands, finally showing an ounce of mercy. “Here. Cover up. I’m planning to eat sometime tonight. May I have my appetite back now?”

She made no move to put the robe on, likely just to spite me. I shook my head, realizing I’d been here far longer than I’d anticipated. The Astalis girl wasn’t important enough to monopolize my time. I tucked my joint into the corner of my mouth and strolled toward the balcony doors, picking up her scattered clothes and throwing them over my shoulder, into the pool. She knew my secret. She had leverage on me, and we were competing for the same spot. Seemed like pissing all over my promise to Knight was in order.

Lenora’s mother died, and that was tragic.

But what happened to me was terrible, too.

Only difference was, my tragedy was silent and embarrassing, and hers—loud and publicly acknowledged.

I stopped at the glass doors, twisting my head around.

“This could get really ugly, Astalis.”

“Already is.” She flattened her lips, looking unnerved. “But if you look closely, you’ll find beauty in the ugliness, too.”

I left without a word.

Lenora was officially my business, and even though I wasn’t fond of complications, the thought of destroying her pierced me with euphoric desire.

She made ugly things beautiful.

I was going to show her my soul was marred beyond repair.



My sister and I were having very different American high school experiences, and that put an invisible barrier between us.

Poppy was head-over-heels in lust with her boyfriend, quarterback superstar Knight Cole. Knight was summer—golden, promising, and reckless, always burning on the edge of something. He led the pack, so she had a temporary seat on the throne next to the king.

Which, I guess, made me the jester. I had the right to spend the time in the cool-kid kingdom’s court, but only as a source of entertainment.

Poppy never did anything mean to me, but she was too obsessed with fitting in to stop, or even recognize, when I’d been taunted.

For the most part, it didn’t matter, anyway. A snarky comment here, a Drusilla remark there. I could take it. It toughened me up, and a part of me began to feel elated, like I was above all the teenage bullshit.

The main offenders were Arabella and Alice.

Alice had a platinum pixie haircut, hazel eyes, and huge implants Arabella liked to refer to as “so very nineties.” Arabella was tan, with cyan blue eyes and long, coal black hair that dangled by the edge of her bum.

They both hated me.

Come to think of it, everyone hated me.

My first semester as a senior at All Saints High proved to be the disaster I’d anticipated it to be. I’d spent most of my childhood and adolescence running with ghosts and chasing demons at Carlisle Prep. I had my best friend Rafferty Pope and other kids to play with.

In England, I’d always felt welcome and cherished.

Not so, here in California.

The black camouflage I’d adapted to shoo Vaughn away and show him I was not scared made people call me a freak and an outcast. No one but Poppy publicly acknowledged me, unless it was to take a dig. Girls detested me for the way I dressed, the fact that I was always cradling a thick book in my hand, and that I answered Vaughn, Hunter, and Knight when they taunted me. Knight and Hunter as banter, Vaughn more viciously.

They called me trash and weirdo for standing up for myself.

Even though the first few weeks had brought with them mildly interested guys of the alternative and Goth variety, their attention died down once they realized Vaughn Spencer found me repulsive.

Which was literally the word he’d used.


It had happened in the cafeteria some weeks into the clusterfuck of my American high school experience. Normally I picked a bench and ate by myself with a book, but this time, Poppy had insisted I hang out with her.

She did that sometimes—had a spurt of guilt and made me hang out with her mates. And I, driven by the same guilt as we grew apart, obliged.

I had been sitting with her and her friends Hunter, Arabella, and Stacee—who did their best to ignore me—when Vaughn strolled in and took a seat right between Poppy and Knight, directly in front of me.

Plastic utensils fell on trays with soft thuds and people whispered animatedly. Vaughn never came to the cafeteria. I’d heard all about his legendary antics. We mortals weren’t good enough to keep him company, if you didn’t count him letting a select cluster of girls suck his penis when he was feeling generous.

Pretending I hadn’t noticed him, I flipped through a copy of The Night Circus, taking a bite of my pizza. I was the only student in the entire cafeteria to buy a slice of greasy pizza. In Todos Santos, people treated carbs as though they were war criminals and sugar like it was poison. I was all harsh lines to begin with, with very few hints of curve, so I didn’t quite care about losing my figure. Fine-looking things required maintenance, and I lacked the desire to be another pretty face.

I didn’t understand the obsession with beauty. We all get old. We all get wrinkles. Life is short. Eat that pizza. Drink that wine. Shut down that bully eejit who tortures you.

Words of wisdom you need to tell yourself, Lenny.

“Vaughn! Why aren’t you eating?” my sister purred, fawning over Satan himself.

I hadn’t confided in her about his visit to our house the other day. She was the exact opposite of me. If Mum’s death made me an angry, unapologetic teen, Poppy made it a point to become the nicest, most agreeable Mary Sue alive—as if being perfect and sweet would prevent people from leaving. From dying.

Yeah, once upon a time I’d been a good girl. It had earned me an arch enemy. I should have bitten and kicked him when I had the chance, not let him set the tone of our dysfunctional relationship.

“Here, take my Caesar salad. I’m so full from that green shake I had this morning.” Poppy slid her tray toward him.

Even as I flipped a page and tried to concentrate on the book, I could tell he was looking at me. I didn’t get him. He’d come to my house—broke into it—and threatened me not to share his secret. I’d obliged without resistance. Even though I’d played it cool, I’d been mortified by him watching me stark naked. I hadn’t spoken to a soul at All Saints High. Not about his secret, not about our history, and not at all.

He’d challenged me to a war I didn’t want, but I wasn’t going to avoid it at any cost.

Vaughn didn’t answer Poppy. And Knight, who had the good sense not to bully me since he wanted to get into my sister’s knickers, elbowed his ribs with a frown.

“Say thank you, Lord McCuntson. Poppy was being nice.”

“I’m not hungry,” he said with his well-practiced icy boredom.

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