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   Chapter 4 Four

Beauty and the Bad By Aubrey Wolfe Characters: 25697

Updated: 2019-04-10 23:21


It's Saturday already, and I'm admiring myself in the outfit Sissy gave me, just before I start doing my hair and make-up. I want to keep my make-up light, since we are going to be near the water, no point in putting on the pounds to have it smear everywhere in the water.

Sissy said she and Logan are going to meet me down the street, the same address I gave Ethan, surprising myself when I remembered it on the spot. Once my hair is set straight, flat against my head, no hair out of line, and my make-up nearly flawless, I give myself one more look-over, before grabbing my beach bag and running out the door.

I let out a small breath when I reach the random house before seeing them pull up around the corner, just barely missing me walking up. I dash in the car as soon as they pull up and we take off, laughing and giggling together like we just got away with a big heist; though we really didn't do anything.

My mother of course has no idea where I'm going to be tonight, but she's never going to have any idea. Sissy said she isn't drinking tonight so she can drive her and Logan back to herself, and offered to drop me off before my mother gets home at around 1:00 AM she said.

"So, you never told us why Ethan was looking for you the other day, " Logan says, craning his neck around to look at me in the back seat. I'm thankful for the dark car when I feel my cheeks heat up, remembering what he asked me.

"O-oh, he didn't want much, just bothering to know my name again."

Logan lets out a fake laugh. "That is so not true, he wanted something more than just your name, that isn't that hard to find out and not something he would hunt you down for, believe me."

Sissy looks at me in the rearview mirror and nods her head, agreeing with Logan. "That guy may be attractive, but unlike most attractive guys, he isn't a slut. If he chases you, it's for something."

"Alright, you got me, " I say and throw my hands up. "He was wondering if I knew about the party tonight, and if I did, if I could save a dance for him..."

Sissy and Logan instantly start freaking out, screaming that they can't believe I didn't tell them about this.

"I didn't think it was that big a deal, I figure he's probably going to forget about it anyway when he's bombarded by many other better-looking girls, " I say and try to shrug it off, but they refuse to downplay it.

"Ethan Sommers has been single since freshman year, and he is constantly bombarded by girls, everywhere he goes. Don't you think he would be interested in them, as well? Like we said, girl, Ethan doesn't chase after anyone, but he flat out admitted to looking for you, " Sissy says. "Anyway, only time will tell, because we're here."

She pulls into a packed parking lot, overlooking a large beach area. She manages to snag one of the last few spots near the end, with just enough room on either side for us to squeeze our way through the doors, dragging our bags out with us. Before I can get my feet on the ground, Sissy is pulling me and Logan towards the beach, joining the stream of teenagers rushing towards the large bon-fire set up in the middle of the sand.

"Alright, we have 4 hours to make this night the most unforgettable night ever for you, Haley, " Logan says, setting a timer for exactly midnight, already having made a Cinderella related comment on the way here. I asked him to set an alarm for exactly midnight, so I had a bit of time to get home before my mother pulled into the driveway.

I want to already be in the house when she gets there; not meeting her at the front door!

"So, that means we need to start drinking – now, " Sissy squeals and starts to drag us off again. There is a small, wooden table set up not far from the bon-fire, where there are sets of solo cups, different kinds of alcohol and kegs all over the place. Sissy walks over and grabs three red solo cups, filling them each up with a bottle of some kind of beer.

I sniff it lightly and almost reel back from the smell. I have never touched alcohol before, other than a bit of wine at my aunt's wedding a few years ago, but even that almost made me sick to my stomach.

I held my breath a little and took a quick swig, letting it wash down my throat instantly, not giving it much of a chance to touch my taste buds. Regardless, I have to shake off the taste a little, causing Sissy and Logan to laugh.

"Not much of a drinker, huh?" Logan asks, tipping his drink back and taking a huge swig without wincing.

I shake my head. "No, not really. I never really branched out before I moved here, " I say, not sure if it was the small amount of alcohol working its way through my system, or my need to trust someone, but I suddenly felt comfortable telling them part of the truth of who I used to be.

"Well, that's what we're here for, " Sissy cries and wraps her arm around my shoulders, pulling me in close. "We can help you finally branch out, and experience life for once. Follow us, and you'll do fine, " she winks, but quickly laughs, not able to keep a straight face.

"You're ridiculous, " Logan says, rolling his eyes, but laughing at the same time. I eventually join in, huddling together with them as we drink and talk about anything and everything. We stay there for what seems like forever, before I hear someone clear their throat behind me.

At this point, I'm about three drinks in, and for someone who has never drank in her life before, I am handling it pretty well.

Until I turn around, and see Ethan standing a few feet away from me, grinning at me like he usually does, waving slightly. My chees heat immediately and I quickly turn around, the rush of alcohol and adrenaline hitting me like a brick wall. I feel lightheaded, but my heart is pounding.

Sissy and Logan give me an odd look, before they too spot Ethan behind me, and their eyes widen like before. I hear him walk up behind me, his warmth radiating onto the exposed skin on my back.

"I'm glad you came, " he says, leaning down and whispering lightly in my ear. I turn and finally meet his eyes, taken back like every other time by their striking color. I find it hard to look him straight in the eye this time, though.

"You look beautiful, " he says, taking a step closer. I'm glued to my spot, unable to think of anything to say. "I did say to save me a dance. You remembered, right?" he asks, smiling teasingly at me.

"Y-yes, I remembered. I haven't really danced at all since I got here, " I say.

"Well, it would be an honor to be your first dance of the evening, " he says and holds a hand out to me. "May I?"

I let out a small giggle and place my drink down, flashing Sissy and Logan a look saying 'I'll be right back', before turning back to Ethan and placing my hand in his. He clasps our hands and leads me towards an area that has been turned into a dance floor, even though there is just sand beneath everyone's feet, they have chosen that spot to dance, I suppose.

Ethan leads me to a less crowded part of the group, and I'm thankful for the fast-paced song playing, but at the same time cursing myself for agreeing to this. I know I am more than a few drinks past my limit. One drink is my limit, for the amount I have actually drank in my life, and I made a bold decision in the heat of the moment.

But I have never danced before, not even on my own, or with friends, let alone with a really attractive guy, at my first high school party. I'm going to blow it, just for the fact that I'm already overthinking everything right now.

"Hey, " Ethan shouts in my ear, touching my arm lightly. "Just relax, follow my lead." His hand slides down my arm and grasps my hand again, walking away from me a bit. He grins at me, before he pulls me back towards him, and spins me around so my back is against his chest.

We start to sway to the music, not moving too fast but staying to the beat of the song. I can feel him start to rub against me a little from behind, and I start to feel a sinking feeling in my stomach, making me almost sick. I try and pull away a little, and he gets the hint, relaxing his grip on me and letting me move on my own, away from him.

He spins me around in his arms again so I'm facing him, tapping me between his chest. I barely notice that the beat of the song slows down, paying all my attention to the fact the Ethan is leaning down closer towards me, his lips pursed and ready to kiss me.

Butterflies erupt in my stomach, from both excitement and nerves. I lift myself a little in his arms to meet him half-way, our lips just barely touching. I can feel my heart beat in my ears.

But the sound is interrupted by distant shouting, loud enough to be heard over the music, however. The song is cut, and everyone's attention is drawn to further down the beach. Ethan and I reluctantly pull apart, and he looks in the same direction as everyone else, a deep frown on his face.

"I'll be right back, " he says, and takes off down the beach. I gape after him for a few moments, before deciding to follow him, instead of stand there like an idiot, even though I sure as hell felt like one.

I was just about to have my first kiss! That is a big deal in a teenaged girl's life, and it was ruined by – whatever the hell is going on down the beach. As I follow closer behind Ethan and others from the crowd, the arguing gets louder, and I'm surprised to recognize it as Athena's voice.

Come to think of it, I haven't seen her at all tonight, even though she threatened me to stay away from Ethan, I'm surprised she didn't see us get rather close on the make shift dance floor. I push my way through the crowd, and get close enough to see Athena and two other burly looking guys, standing and arguing with someone in front of them.

I debate staying back and seeing how it plays out, until I see Ethan storm through the crowd and march up to Athena. But instead of scolding her, it seems like he turns his narrowed gaze on the newcomers.

"What are you doing here? This is a closed party, invitation only, " he says, his voice low and threatening. I'm taken back at how harsh he sounds.

"Come on, Sommers, we're just here to just out the babes, " a man responds, his voice deep and mature enough to sound like a man, at least. But it's his accent that sticks out to me; it's not from here. He sounds a lot different than the local Aussie accent. In fact, he doesn't sound Australian at all.

"Beat it, Hawken, and take your trio with you. I've told you guys before, you aren't welcome here, this is our territory, " Ethan barks back, sizing himself up to the unknown man.

I push myself through the crowd more, until I'm at the front, and get a clear view of the newcomers. I almost do a double take at the three guys standing in front of Ethan and Athena. The man in front, who looks the oldest and I assume is the man who has been speaking, has dark, hooded grey eyes, and a slight scruffy brown beard.

There is another man, or boy I should say, standing behind him. I instantly recognize him as – Thomas?! The guy from the hallway, the one who helped fend Athena off. She seemed really scared of him then, but doesn't seem to be now. I wonder why?

What is Thomas doing here? And with these guys?

Who are these guys?

My eyes finally slide over, and connect with a pair of light brown, almost gold colored eyes. The instant my eyes connect with them, I'm lost in a sea of smoldering, golden honey, crashing over me like thick waves. My stomach turns and jumps, I'm not sure out of excitement or nerve, but I don't care.

I can't think, my mind is consumed by the stranger's eyes. I quickly realize I'm staring, and shake my head slightly. Before I cast my eyes downward, I catch the guy smirk, like he's teasing me. I curse myself as soon as my cheeks heat up, like they always do when I'm embarrassed, which is always.

"What's wrong, Athena? You seemed really happy to see me early, what happened to that?" I'm snapped out of my thoughts when Thomas suddenly speaks. Ethan quickly turns his glare on Athena, who glares right back at him.

"Don't look at me like that, he just showed up at school, and played the knight in shining armor, " she says and whips her sneer back on Thomas. "Which was probably just to mess with me."

"Oh, you bet, sweetheart, " he says and winks at her, blowing her a kiss as well. She just scoffs and rolls her eyes, but even I can see the pink glow on her cheeks. I also just notice, that Thomas has a slight accent when he speaks as well, but it isn't as strong as the other mans.

"Whatever, just leave us alone Nathan. You and your brothers have more than enough territory for you to destroy and party on. What do you want?" Ethan asks, his voice a bit calmer, but impatient now.

Nathan opens his mouth to say somethin

g, but his un-named brother cuts him off.

"Her, " he says simply. I lift my head, and my eyes once again connect with his. My heart starts beating rapidly in my chest, the blood in my veins freezing.

Ethan follows his line of vision, and looks directly at me as well. His face quickly turns into an angry frown, and he whips his head back. "Excuse me?" he says, almost growling.

He lifts his finger, and points at me.

"I want her, " he says, his voice deep and smooth, his accent just as thick as his older brother, except slightly more sensual.

Ethan takes a threatening step towards him, but the older brother Nathan puts a hand between them, his face serious now.

"Relax, Reece, this isn't what we came here for, " he says, looking over his shoulder at the man with golden eyes. The eyes that never leave mine, even when his brother is speaking to him.

Goosebumps form all over my body, and the butterflies in my stomach are now making me sick to my stomach, but I can't look away.

Ethan eventually stands in front of Reece, blocking both our view. I fight the urge to frown, a little disappointed.

What the hell is wrong with me? This guy screams bad news!

The small voice yelling at me in the back of my head isn't wrong. As gorgeous as this man is, with his smoldering golden eyes, tasseled dark brown hair and chiseled features, he oozes danger, even from where I stand.

"What did you come here for, Hawken?" Ethan asks, facing Nathan now, but still blocking my vision from Reece.

"These matters are better discussed in private, " Nathan says, gesturing to the large group of people who have now gathered around them on the beach. Athena huffs angrily from next to Ethan. I almost forgot about her.

He looks to her, as if to tell her it's alright, before she saunters off, along with everyone else.

Leaving me completely exposed.

Ethan turns and looks at me, finally moving away from the brother's and walking towards me, a somber look on his face.

"I think you should go back and find Sissy and Logan, they're probably worried about you, " he says and touches my arm, giving me a small push towards the rest of the group.

"Wait, what's going on? Who are those guys?" I ask, trying to sneak a peek around his shoulder, but he blocks me again.

"Don't worry about it, they're just some thugs from the area, they always try and cause trouble when we have parties like this. I'll deal with them, but it's best you join the others." He gives me one more smile, before he turns back towards the brothers.

As he turns, I get a clear view of Reece.

He is still staring at me with his breathtaking eyes, now a small smirk set on his gorgeous, smooth lips. I don't want to look away, but Ethan is walking up to them, and he grabs his attention, knowing exactly who he is looking at.

I finally turn away and start walking back up towards the beach. I find where Sissy, Logan and I had piled our stuff, and take out my phone. I'm relieved to see I still have at least an hour until I have to even leave for home.

"Haley, there you are!" I hear Sissy shout from behind, and turn to see her and Logan running down the beach. She comes up and throws her arms around me, letting out a big sigh of relief.

"We had no idea where you had gone, and when everything started get out of control, we went searching through the crowd looking for you, but we couldn't see you anywhere, " Logan says, bending over to catch his breath.

"Oh, curse you and your shortness!" Sissy cries and hugs me harder.

"Alright, okay, that's too much Sissy, " I say and tap her arm. She gasps and quickly let's go, smiling sheepishly at me.

"Where were you?" Logan asks.

I bite lip, debating on if I want to tell them everything.

Including what Reece said.

I want her.

I blink to try and wash the memory away, but my nerves are still buzzing.

"I was in the crowd, trying to see what was going on, but I'm too short so I didn't really see anything, " I say, deciding it's better to keep that little encounter between myself – and the handful of people who witnessed it.

Sissy and Logan frown at each other, but thankfully drop it.

"Well, the night isn't over yet, come on let's get dancing!" Sissy shouts and rushes over to the small group of people who have re-formed the dance floor, forgetting all about the commotion earlier.

Logan rolls his eyes, but follows after her. I simply shake my head at them, casting one more fleeting glance down the beach where Reece and Ethan disappeared. Before I can take a step forward, a hand wraps around my arm and spins me around.

I'm face-to-face with Athena, a scowl set on her pretty face.

"It was a bad idea coming here tonight, " she says, and I'm surprised to hear no threatening tone.

"Why do you say that?" I ask.

I see her eyes flicker down the beach, in the same direction I was looking moments ago. "Because, this isn't a place for someone like you, Sissy should have known better than to bring you here."

"Athena, I don't understand. Why don't you like me?" I finally ask, working the courage quickly, and using it just as quick before it disappears.

She hesitates a moment. "Look, it isn't that I don't like you, I don't even know you. I know where you're from, and the kind of person you are, which isn't the kind of person to get involved with Reece Hawken, or any of the Hawken brothers."

"Who says I'm going to get involved with them?"

Athena now has a concerned look on her face, scaring me a little.

"You heard what Reece said, he wants you, and when Reece wants something, he will do anything to get it."

With that, she releases my arm and turns to leave.

I think over what she said as I join Logan and Sissy, who are already lost within themselves on the make-shift dance floor. I try and hype myself up to join them, but I can't stop thinking about Reece, and what Athena said about him.

I want her.

He wants you, and when Reece wants something, he will do anything to get it.

Was that a warning? She said 'I'm not the kind of person to get involved with Reece'. But why? How dangerous could he really be, if he has the time to bother high school students, partying on the beach?

"Haley, you alright?" Logan asks, putting a comforting hand on my shoulder.

I nod and smile at him. "Yeah, just feeling a little lightheaded, " I say, and look out towards the ocean. "I think I'm just going to take a walk; I'll text you when my alarm goes off to leave." Before he can argue, I push my way through the crowd until I'm out into the open air.

I slowly walk towards the water, aware of the direction Reece went, though I can no longer see them. I follow along the water path, removing my sandals so I can walk in the water. I look for seashells and small things in the sand to bring back with me, to remember this day, and in case this all goes to hell, and I can never visit the beach or enjoy another party again.

"You didn't really strike me as a party-goer."

I nearly jump into the water when I hear a familiar, deep voice. I look behind me to see Reece, standing with his hands in his jean pockets, smirking at me. His smile could melt the iceberg that brought down the Titanic; faster than it messed up the Titanic.

"What are you doing here?" I ask without thinking, the alcohol still running through my veins, giving me a slight courage boost it seems.

"I could ask you the same thing, " he says, and takes a step closer. "Don't you have a party you should be enjoying?"

He takes another step closer.

"I just needed some air, " I say, my voice sounding small.

He smirks and looks around us, before settling his gold eyes on me.

"There is air all around us, sweetheart."

I almost fall to the ground in a puddle when he calls me 'sweetheart' with his to-die-for accent.

"Where are you from?" I ask, again, without thinking.

"Are we going to play a round of 20 questions, now?" he asks and chuckles a little. The small sound is like a melody to my ears.

Man, I am so inexperienced.

I sound like a teenaged sap; which technically, I am. But I'm 18, and here I am, practically fan-boying over this guy.

"I don't recognize your accent."

He smiles faintly. "Britain, " he says simply, his tone suggesting I don't ask any more questions.

But me and my big mouth...

"What are you doing all the way down here?"

Reece looks at me for a few seconds, as if he is studying me.

"Needed a change of pace, I suppose."

"I can relate to that." I mentally slap a hand over my mouth when the sentence slips out. Reece raises a brow, giving me a curious look.

"Oh? And how is that?" he asks, taking another step closer. Two more steps, and there won't be any room between us anymore. I can already feel the heat radiating off him.

"I thought we weren't playing 20 questions."

He takes another step closer, a smirk sliding across his lips.

Another step.

"Who are you?" he whispers, his face so close to mine.

"Just the girl next door."

Reece shakes his head. "You aren't the girl next door, " he says, grasping my chin lightly, running a finger over my bottom lip. Everything in me is telling me to run, that this guy is bad news, but my body in unwilling to listen. I want to stay in this moment, mesmerized by this mysterious man, forever.

"You're the firecracker across the street, " he says. Before I can answer, he dips his head down to meet my lips. It's a feeling I never thought I would experience, or ever knew to exist.

My body feels like it's on fire, my toes and fingers tingling, my head fuzzy and light. Everything that has been weighing on me for the past couple weeks, instantly disappears, and I feel lighter.

The moment is broken all too soon, by my blaring phone alarm.

Which means it's time to go.

Reece pulls away, looking confused as I take out my phone and turn it off.

"What is that for?" he asks, still not moving away.

"An alarm, telling me I need to go, " I mutter, wanting to throw my phone into the ocean, and forget everything.

But I can't. I already threw my life away, and that was because of my mother and her poor choices.

Though Reece looks a lot better than Jeremy did appearance wide – much better – that doesn't say anything for who he is inside. Jeremy seemed nice at first as well, then turned into a monster, really quick.

I couldn't risk making the same mistake as her. It's the alcohol thinking for me right now, and even bigger reason for me to get home before my mother does. If I need to puke at some point, I want to do it before she can hear me.

"The party just begun, " he says, giving me another heart stopping smirk.

"Maybe for you, but I have a curfew." I reluctantly pull away from him, pulling out my phone again to text Logan and Sissy that I'm on my way.

"Can I see you again?" Reece asks, reaching out towards me, as if I'm going to make a run for it.

I bite my lip, feeling the adrenaline of courage spike in me. "Maybe."

"Maybe?" he mocks.

"Yeah, if you really want too." I turn on my heel and rush back up the beach, not giving him a chance to say anything, or see my burning cheeks. I try and find Logan and Sissy in the crowd, the feeling of Reece's lips still lingering on mine, almost burning my skin.

I finally find them hanging around the edge of the group. We rush to Sissy's car, but I'm surprised to see Logan get in the driver's seat.

"Sissy ended up having a few more to drink, so I ended up being the designated driver, " he says with a frown. I give him a sympathetic smile and hop in the passenger seat, so Sissy has no chance to try and play drunk karaoke.

Logan drops me off with 10 minutes to spare, and I let out a breath I didn't realize I was holding, when I don't see my mother's car in the driveway, and no lights on in the house.

"Thanks again guys, " I say through the window. I get a half wave from Sissy in the back seat.

"Our pleasure, we're honored to be able to have brought you to your first high school party, and we hope we it was to your liking, " he says dramatically, giving me a wink.

"It was great, and Sissy, I'll give back your outfit on Monday."

She waves a hand at me. "Keep it, you look hot! Ethan was all over you tonight."

Oh, shit. I forgot about Ethan.

Though, he was the one who had just left me hanging. He never returned after her disappeared down the beach with Reece and his brother's

But Reece had returned.

And went to find you.

I shake my head as I walk up to the front door, my hands trembling while I unlock the door. I can see feel the adrenaline from the kiss with Reece coursing through me like wild fire.

I stop half-way up the stairs, when the fact eventually hits me.

I finally had my first kiss.

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