Angry God(10)

By: L.J. Shen

Really, Lenora wasn’t anywhere near the realms of gorgeous. Take Daria, my neighbor, for example. She was a classic, beauty-pageant hottie. Or Luna, my childhood friend, who was mouthwateringly stunning. Lenora was merely pleasant to the eye—and even that, only from certain angles. Right now her eyeliner ran down her cheeks, making her look like It the clown.

I smiled. “To catch up, silly billy. How art thou? Still collecting garbage?”

“Assemblage.” She braced the edge of the pool, her skin turning whiter around the edges. A gust of wind breezed through the backyard, and the blond hair on her arms prickled. She was uncomfortable.

So was fucking I.

“I’m making art out of old, unwanted things. The only difference between you and me is that you use exclusively stone and marble, the things your heart is made of.”

“And that I’m good.” I ran my tongue over my teeth, smacking my lips together.

“Excuse me?” Her cheeks pinked, matching her already-red ears.

It was the first time I’d seen Lenora Astalis blushing since she came to Todos Santos, and even this wasn’t from embarrassment, but anger. Maybe she had changed, but not enough to give me a decent fight.

“You using garbage is not the only thing different about us. I’m also talented, and you’re…” I gathered the ash from my joint and poured it onto her towel. “A prissy nepotist who looks like Bellatrix Lestrange.”

“Screw you,” she hissed.

“Hard pass. I like my lays pretty.”

“And airheads,” she snapped.

“Yes, you are.” I shook my head. “But you still don’t stand a fucking chance with me.”

It was a low blow, and I’d promised Knight I was going to keep it clean, but something about the situation made me want to go the extra mile. Her defiance, no doubt.

I walked over to one of their many knitted, turquoise loungers, lying down with my hands tucked under my head, staring back at the sun.

“Dayum. Getting windy out here, huh?”

She was stuck in this pool until I decided to leave, or else I’d see her naked, and I was fully planning to outstay my welcome. I thought I heard her teeth chattering, but she didn’t cower or complain.

“Get to the point, Spencer, before I call the police.” She swam to the other side of the pool so she could get a better angle of me. Splashes of water washed over the gray stone edges of the pool.

“Please do. My family owns this entire town, including the boys in blue. In fact, I’m pretty sure your father is going to have a heart attack if you drag him onto my father’s shit list. Your uncle, too. How is Harry Fairhurst doing, anyway? Still sucking up to my parents so they’ll buy his below-average paintings?”

I wasn’t exaggerating. My father, Baron “Vicious” Spencer, was the biggest asshole alive to anyone but my mother and me. He owned the mall in this town and ran an investments firm that turned a profit larger than the budget of an average-sized European country each quarter, so he was richer than God. He also employed a vast army of people from the neighboring towns, donated to local charities, and sent ludicrously generous gift cards to the law enforcers of our town each Christmas. There was no way the police were going to touch him or me.

Even Lenora’s father, Edgar, and her uncle, Harry, were under my father’s thumb. But unlike her, I had no plans to use my family’s connections to get what I wanted.

Of course, she didn’t know that about me.

She didn’t know much of anything about me—other than the one crucial thing I wished we could both fucking forget.

“I’m sorry to interrupt your little power trip, but could you spit out why you’re here and get it over with before I catch pneumonia?” she demanded in her posh, English accent, slamming her palm onto the patio.

I let out a dark chuckle, still staring at the sun and ignoring the burn. I wished that giant fireball were as good at burning memories as it was burning retinas.

“I thought the English prided themselves on having good manners.”

“I thought the Americans were straight shooters,” she quipped.

“We are.”

“If you want to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.”