Angry God(9)

By: L.J. Shen

When the clock hit four and my alarm buzzed, I got out of the truck and made my way onto the Astalis property, unlocking the door and waltzing in like I owned the place. I strolled through the entrance, past the living room with the marble-on-crème accents and antique furniture, and toward the double glass doors. Sliding them open, I glanced down at the kidney-shaped pool, spotting Good Girl.

She was doing laps underwater, moving in small, graceful strokes. I moved to the edge of the pool, lighting up the rest of my half-joint and squatting down in my torn, black skinny jeans and frayed, black-turned-gray shirt my mother hated so much. I loathed being rich by proxy, but that was another story Lenora was never going to hear, because today was where our communication would end.

Next time I had to make a point, it would be with actions, not words.

Sending a cloud of smoke upward, I watched as Lenora’s head popped out of the water, appearing in front of me for the first time since I walked in.

She hadn’t taken a breath the entire time, I realized.

She was no longer that kid in the South of France who didn’t know how to swim. She’d learned.

And she was completely naked.

Her lashes were curtained with fat water drops that cascaded down her cheeks. She parked her elbows on the edge of the pool, checking the time on her Polar watch. That’s when she noticed in her periphery that something—someone—was blocking the sun. She squinted up, using one hand as a visor.

“What in the bloody hell are you doing here, Spencer?” She pulled backward from the impact, like my existence had exploded in her face.

“I’ve been asking myself the very same question, Astalis, since I saw your Good Gone Bland ass in my domain and figured you lost your way to the nearest faerie world you’re engrossed with.”

It was peculiar how, although we hadn’t officially been reintroduced since she came here, we still remembered each other in all the ways that mattered. I knew she read fantasy books and listened to The Smiths and The Cure and thought Simon Pegg was a comic genius. She knew I was the type of asshole to break into her house and demand shit, and that I’d been watching her.

This confirmed my initial suspicion. She had noticed me at school, just as I’d noticed her. Neither of us found it wise to acknowledge the other. Not in public.

I puffed on my joint, taking a seat on the diving board and slowly lifting her towel robe with the tip of my finger, like it disgusted me.

“Tsk-tsk.” I shook my head, watching the reflection of my evil smirk through her shiny, blue-green-gold-whatever-the-fuck-they-were, hypnotizing, Drusilla eyes. “Swimming naked? Good girls don’t give a shit about tan lines. It’s not like you’re going to get dicked in this school. That’s something I’m afraid I won’t permit.”

“That’s something I won’t be asking your permission for,” she deadpanned, pretending to yawn.

“Doesn’t work that way, Good Girl. When I say jump, they ask how high. And come tomorrow, everybody’s gonna know you’re damaged goods, so stock up on those batteries, because real dick is not in the cards for you.”

“Fancy.” She slow-clapped, whistling sarcastically. “Top of the food chain now, right, Spence?”

She used the nickname I hated so much. She’d heard about me at school, knew about my legion of followers. Good.

I cocked my head. So what if she pretended not to give a shit about how popular I was? “Careful. You’re not even on the vegan menu, Lenora.”

“Bite me anyway.”

“Only to draw blood, baby.”

“Dying in your hands would still beat talking to you, Spencer.”

Lenora leaned forward, trying to snatch the robe from my finger, but I was too fast. I threw it behind my back and stood up, finishing my blunt and throwing it into her pool. She smelled of chlorine and cotton. Virginal, pure, and not loaded with teenage hormones and expensive perfume. I was sure Edgar Astalis, who owned half the galleries in London, Milan, and Paris, had a pool boy coming at least twice a week. Maybe the pool boy could give Good Girl the Vitamin D she wasn’t going to get at school.

“What do you want?” she snarled, her lips thinning even more than their usual lackluster shape.