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   Chapter 10 Danced to Death

Stolen Souls (boy x boy) By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 12340

Updated: 2018-01-22 19:17

Kite had an objective when she forced me to come to this party. She wanted me to catch a glimpse of high society, a society we are and will never become a part of. A society, by the way, where people throw invite-only parties because they can and champagne is the booze of the day. A lousy society, if you ask me.

Though I want to know what's wrong with me, Jules and I don't talk about it in the car. Maybe because the driver's there. Maybe because it's too much information to dump on a guy before a party, since once you start talking about something like assassination attempts, well, you can't very well stop.

Instead, Jules pries. I don't like questions, not unless they're on tests, but the seats are soft and the caffeine has begun to wear off. I shut my eyes. My hands slip off the stitches in the seats and fall into a neat little stack on my lap. He questions, I talk.

What's up with my names? Well, my father is a rebel, I tell him. My grandfather immigrated to America back when the government thought it was okay to change someone's name to make it sound "more American." My grandfather didn't care, but my father was disgusted. He changed our name right back to the old one when he turned eighteen. Had to work his ass off to do it, the paperwork cost at least two grand. How do I feel about having such a strange last name? It makes me stand out, sure, but it's who I am. Like how Cervantes is who you are, Jules. But Star is a stupid name. 'Nuff said. Why do I draw? I draw to escape the demons. And yeah, that's vague. But that's how I feel, sue me. I like drawing. That's it. And no, I'm not afraid of the jerkwads who keep trying to kill me. They don't deserve my fear.

It's in interrogation at first, one that makes me squirm in my seat and crack my tired eyes open just to render him a dry, bored look. The ebb and flow of our conversation is odd, him drilling, me answering, but I'm so relaxed I'm almost asleep. I can't tell if it's from the seats, soft as pillows, or if it's because I'm safe for the first time I can remember. So I ask him questions, too.

These make Jules squirm at first, too. He's dressed in a black tux and black bow tie, curls slicked back on the nape of his neck. Brooding. If I hadn't been, say, threatened into the whole affair, maybe that would make me smile. I glance at his hands, and his nails are painted black. How surprising.

"There's not much to me, " he says, chipping at them. "My mom told me I had to, you know, uphold the legacy. Real pushy about it too. Says I should be doing more."

"More than debate and student council and hockey and kidnapping?"

He snaps his head to look at me, then scowls back down at his knees. "It's vampire slaying, not kidnapping. My guys saved your life."

"You tried to kill me."

"I thought you were a serial killer, Shiro." But he looks down at his hands, the guilt clear in his voice. I play with the rose, pushing it up so thorns don't prick my ear. The petals are silky and full to the touch and I feel a twinge of guilt for crushing the other one. Jules was the jerk, not the flower.

"Excuses, excuses." My fingers twitch again, the urge to draw something, anything like a cutting edge in my gut. I shake my head as I look out the window.

Darkness has swirled the sky purple and blue, clouds blotching gray a black canvas stitched with stars. Uptown Spiral twinkles in the muted light of the setting sun. Here, the bricks and concrete fade to towers of steel, but the feel is all the same. Despite windows that glitter and gleam like gems, despite smooth roads pulsing with luxury cars, silver and black, always silver and black, this is still Spiral city. You can feel

ul, I know asking him to dance was a bad idea. My sluggish leg, for one. I stumble as I follow his steps, and as if in frustration, Jules whirls me around the floor faster. Faster as I step on his toes, forget the simple steps, fall into him. I don't like this, this being lead. This responding instead of acting, this falling into step, into line. Not my style, even for a lousy dance. Jules smirks, awkwardly patting my back like you'd burp a baby. Makes me want to punch him, and I don't even believe in violence.

"Keep up, Shiro. You asked to dance."

"Yeah, well—" I jerk myself straight, body already folding into my usual slouch. The white of the room blurs as we spin. Heart, hammering. Lungs, gasping. "I expected you to stink at it!"

So we go, a terror on the dance floor, bumping into chattering groups, knocking servers out of our paths. My weak legs are shaking, heart is slamming, but his breathing is smooth if just a little elevated. He's smiling at me, smiling big and goofy. I can't help smiling back. Could he really like me? Jules? This dance is supposed to be an apology, I know, for what he's done to me. But I want it to be more. For him to have bought me flowers and asked me out not only to "protect" me, but because he likes me. Like like me, I mean.

I twist his jacket in my fingers, mouth parting to ask him, you know, the Are You Interested question. I'm just trying to figure out how. Do I play it snarky? Sincere? Charming? Charming, pfft. I'm as charming as an eel, a true Mr. Grinch.

Jules whirls me around and I slam into someone. Thick muscles. Hard fall.

I hit the ground, the breath torn out of me. "Hey!" The world is spinning, upside down and inside out at this angle, birdies twittering. Long, leather combat boots wink up at me, so shiny they glint in the light of hanging chandeliers. I blink, once, twice, for the double images to writhe back into one. Suited figures glare down at me, at Jules, who's gone so pale and doe-eyed he doesn't even look like the same kid anymore. They wear masks, thin, lacy black ones. Internal alarm bells ring. I know this isn't a costume party. Kite loves those things, if this was a costume party, she'd be Galaxy. Might be a little thing, but "little things" don't exist when people try to kill you on the daily.

I blink up, vision clearing. And then I catch sight of why Jules is so terrified.

In a cool, clear type, 'Syndicate' is tattooed on the men's throats.

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