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   Chapter 10 Ten

Beauty and the Bad By Aubrey Wolfe Characters: 25413

Updated: 2019-04-22 20:44


I sit there, completely numb, my ears buzzing. Athena is trying to talk to me, but I only see her mouth move and her eyes frantically searching my face.

They know. They all know who I am. I've been killing myself inside, thinking I was betraying them, betraying him. But they all knew.

He knew.

Athena is right; I'm not able to handle this news. The only thing that snaps me out of it, is the screech of the metal door from the main shop room, as it bursts open and voices ring through the room.

I recognize Reece's voice instantly, growing closer with every creeping second. He walks into the room with a smile on his face, but it drops in a flash when his eyes land on me, dropping the bags in his hands as well.

"H-Haley, what are you doing here?" he asks, not bothering to hide the panic in his voice and eyes. Without thinking, I march up to him – and slap him hard across the face, my palm burning when I pull it back, but I don't care.

I can't say anything, just let the angry tears stream down my face. Reece keeps his head turned, his cheek already forming an almost perfect handprint.

Ethan is the first to speak, "Athena, what the fuck did you do?"

"I did what everyone else was too chicken shit to do, and I told her the truth!" she cries, standing up and glaring at Ethan, fury sparking from her blue eyes. "I was tired of seeing you all use her, like she's some god damn car part."

"Ethan, get her out of here. Now, " Reece finally mutters, pointing a shaking finger at Athena, his voice so low it's almost a growl.

Ethan grabs her arm and pulls her out of the room, continuing to give her shit under his breath and slams the door.

"How much do you know?" he asks, which isn't what I want to hear out of his mouth. I lift my hand without thinking again, but he expects it this time, catching my hand in the air and holding it there.

His eyes pierce into mine, wild and glazed.

"Enough to know you've been using me, but I don't know why, and you're going to tell me right now." I rip my arm out of his grasp and take a few staggering steps back, barely able to see through my tears.

"Do you really want to know that?" he whispers.

"Yes, " I say defiantly. "I think I deserve that much from you."

He lifts his eyes, so full of sadness and regret, I almost back down.

Almost.

"You deserve so much better than this, " he starts to say, but I shake my head furiously.

"Stop, you don't get to say those things to me anymore. I don't want to hear anymore lies and empty words, I won't be able to take it."

Reece takes a step towards me, but I take one back. He continues walking towards me until my legs hit the edge of the arm rest of the couch. Reece traps me before I have the chance to dive over the couch, pressing his legs against mine and grasping my arms.

"The only lie I told you, was that I wasn't searching for you that night on the beach. I was, and yes for specific intentions, but everything after that was real. Please, Haley, you have to believe me."

"Why do I have to believe you?" I cry out and push him away from me, rage building in me quickly. "You can't even use my real name to my face, even when you know I already know."

"Because to me it doesn't matter what your name is, that doesn't define who you are. Haley or Chloe, I love you for you." He says the words so naturally; I almost miss them due to my blind rage.

But I hear them, and my broken heart feels them.

The tears start pouring down my face. "No, don't say that. Don't you dare say that now, " I mumble, my entire body trembling.

Reece closes the distance between us again, cupping my cheek, trying to make me meet his gaze. But I can't, they hold too much emotion.

"I love you, Chloe."

I break away from his touch and run out the door. I don't know where I'm running, or who I end up stumbling into on my blind race out.

"Wha– Haley? Wait, Haley!" I hear Thomas yell behind me, his voice cutting off from the door. It bangs open seconds later, followed by his heavy footsteps. "Haley, where are you going?"

"Anywhere but here, so just please let me go!" I shout over my shoulder, my feet not stopping, even though at this point I have no idea which way my house is. I took the bus the majority of the way here, and used my phone GPS to walk the rest of the way.

Thomas catches up to me in my confusion, grabbing my arm and pulling me back. "Haley, what's going on?"

"Stop calling me that! I know, okay?" I scream at him, trying to rip my arm out, but his grip is a lot tighter than Reece's. "I know that you guys already figured out who I really am, that my name isn't really Haley Quinn."

Thomas finally drops my arm, taking a surprised step back, before guilt settles in his eyes, just making me angrier.

"I should have known none of you were ever interested in someone like me, especially someone like Reece, but I was too stupid, blind by your supposedly lavished life. But it's anything but that, isn't it?" I ask, narrowing me eyes.

He doesn't say anything, the look of guilt just growing behind his dark eyes.

"You're all a bunch of criminals, who steal the cars you say you're fixing, and the money you use to spend on clubs, parties, and the cars you illegally street race. Am I right? Of course, you know I am, because you probably know who my mother is, and who she is working for right now."

"How do you know all of this? Did Reece tell you?" he asks.

"No, but I saw your brother Nathan's criminal record in my mother's case files, along with Dustin's. I didn't want to think anything of it, I wanted to think you guys were good people, and that I was safe."

Thomas drops his eyes. "We tried warning you, Chloe." My name out of his mouth hurts, but not as much as when Reece finally said it.

"You could have just told me the truth."

"We wanted to avoid this! Reece, really wanted to avoid this. He knew if you found out, you would never want to see him again."

I roll my eyes. "Which he has every right to think, because that's exactly what is going to happen once you let me leave."

"Can you honestly walk away tonight, and say you feel nothing, or felt nothing towards Reece?" he asks.

I fall silent now, the rage dispersing from my veins. I just feel exhausted and broken. "I felt everything towards him, and that's why I can't ever see him again." I turn on my heel and start walking quickly away, heaving a heavy sigh when I don't hear Thomas's retreating footsteps.

I walk down the almost pitch-black road now, to the only place I think I can call home for the time being.

"Haley, what are you doing here?" Sissy asks when she opens the door, her eyes quickly widening when she probably sees my tear streaked face, the cool wind blowing them dry on my walk over.

"Honey, what happened?" She grabs my arm and leads me inside.

"Are your parent's home?" I ask and she shakes her head, giving me a comforting smile. She sits me on the couch and rushes off into the kitchen, coming back with two steaming cups of tea.

"Thank you, Sissy. I'm sorry to just show up here."

"Anytime, Haley. But, does you mom know you're here?"

I shake my head and bite my lip. "She's gone for the night and most of the morning tomorrow she said, and I just didn't want to be alone."

"Sure, tell me what's going on."

I look at her, every option running through my mind. But eventually, the weight becomes too much, and I give up.

Spilling everything to her.

She looks at me with wide eyes the entire time, not saying a thing, even after I'm done. I can see her process the

nd gun is, let alone how to hold and load one?

"Mom, what is going on?" I ask quietly.

She bites her lip and looks around the room, as if trying to pull an excuse from thin air. But she quickly realizes there is nothing she can do to get out of this.

"I'm sorry, honey. I didn't want you to find out like this, to be honest I didn't want you to find out at all."

"Find out what?" I can hear my nerves shaking out of control through my voice. My mother hears it too and comes running to my side, leaning down to look up at me.

"It's nothing bad, I just may have lied about what exactly it is I was hired to do, " she says, pulling back when I don't relax my tense posture.

"So, what exactly is it you were hired to do then? I don't remember ever seeing a lawyer carry a gun, in or out of court."

"Well, I'm not really a lawyer. I was hired by a team of investigators, to join them in trying to catch the man who is responsible for everything that has happened to us, " she says, looking more defiant and confident.

"The man who did all this to us is dead, and to be honest I'm kind of thankful for that fact."

My mother gasps, her face instantly going a light shade of red. "Don't you dare say that, Chloe."

"Why? He was a horrible person to us! All he ever did was drink, get high, and then harass us for every last drop that we earned, while he sat there and did nothing. Why are you trying so hard to avenge this scumbag's death?" I shout at her, causing her face to go a darker shade of red now.

"Because I want my old life back!" she cries out, shocking both me and the mystery man, who I now assume is her partner of some sort. "I want to stop living in fear, I want to be able to see our friends and family."

"So, you try and literally hunt down the man who threatened to kill us?"

My mother throws her hands up in frustration and looks towards her partner for help, but he is too busy squinting at something on his phone. She turns her steely eyes back on me, an almost mirror reflection of my dark green eyes.

Before she can continue yelling, her partner taps her on the shoulder again, showing her his phone without saying a word. I see the anger drain from her face, replaced with disbelief and...

Pain?

What is he showing her?

She looks back at me, the pain still evident in her eyes.

She grabs the phone and faces it towards me. "Want to explain this?"

I grab the phone and quickly scan it, my eyes growing wide in return. It's a dashcam photo, from what looks like a police cruiser. In front of the cruiser, is a black car, with two people sitting in the front.

Their faces clear as day.

My face.

It's a photo of the day Reece took me to an illegal street race, and tried to race Athena for a bet. Police had stopped us, flashing their headlights right at us as we had come around the corner.

I should have known they had technology like that in a police car. Even regular citizens had them in their cars now.

"Are you aware of who that man is, the one you're sitting next to?" she asks, the anger flaring back up in her eyes. "That is Reece Hawken, a well-known member of an illegal street racing crew, who is also known to dabble in other, bigger convictions. His brother has been on the wanted list for quite some time."

My heart starts racing. I know street racing is illegal, but I have questioned for weeks if Reece was also involved in whatever criminal activities his brother Nathan is involved in.

Now, I have my answer.

"When did this even happen? I haven't given you permission to leave the house except once, and this was taken before that, " she asks, grabbing the phone back.

"It happened when you were once again gone all hours of the night. What did you expect me to do, sit here and let my life blow past me? I'm 18, mom, and I have done nothing with my life. I want to go out and explore, go to a party, have a day at the beach, have my first kiss, which at my age, should have happened years before!"

She shoves the phone in my face again. "So, you think this is living your life? Running around with criminals?"

I feel the rage burning in me, and the words bubble in my throat before I have a chance to stop them. "Are you any better? You were in a public relationship with Jeremy for 2 years, and he was clearly a criminal. A criminal who was horrible to you, who never truly loved you like dad did–"

Her hand comes up and slaps me hard across the cheek. The stinging pain follows quickly after, and I can feel the mark already forming. I look at my mother with utter shock, and her face mirrors mine.

She crumples and reaches out to me, but I jump away, backing out of the kitchen. Without a second thought, I turn and race towards the door, grabbing the handle with one look back.

"While you were so busy trying to get our old life back, I found a new one." I twist the knob and crack open the door.

"And I want to keep it."

I leave without a single glance back, or a clue as to where I'm going.

I just walk, letting my heart guide me.

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