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The foundation series bo.., p.20
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       The Foundation Series Box Set, p.20

           Kira Adams
 

  Finally, after what felt like an eternity of a struggle, I threw his heavy frame off of me and managed to jump to my feet.

  “I have to go to school,” I muttered under my breath and then grabbed my backpack off the table and booked it out of there.

  I ran as fast as I could out the front door and didn’t stop until I was nearly a mile away. I stopped, gasping for air. Frank would have never made it this far—he was much too lazy for that, but it didn’t stop me from running like hell.

  I winced realizing just how sore I was from his tackle.

  I glanced at my watch. 7:05.

  Shit.

  I was supposed to have picked up Peyton at 6:45 a.m. It was our usual routine nowadays. She was probably already panicking on the inside, imagining all the reasons I was late and hadn’t called yet.

  We had been doing really well the past couple of months-definitely stuck in the honeymoon phase. Although her insecurities still reared their heads from time to time, it was becoming less often, so that was a plus.

  I pulled my phone from out of my back pocket and noticed two texts from my girlfriend.

  Hey, did you sleep through your alarm? Sent at 6:55 a.m.

  I quickly read the second one which had been sent less than a minute ago. Should I ask Jen for a ride to school?

  I dialed her number without any further hesitation. It was no surprise she picked up on the first ring.

  “Are you okay? Where are you?” She sounded worried.

  “I’m fine. I accidentally snoozed my alarm,” I lied.

  I could practically hear her exhaling loudly with relief.

  It’s not that I wanted to lie to her—or even that it was the right thing to do, but I cared about Peyton more than anyone in the world and I planned to protect her no matter what it took.

  “Are you going to be here soon?” Peyton asked, bringing me back to reality.

  I can’t believe I missed it.

  I was too busy running for my life, I hadn’t realized that I had left my car parked in the driveway. Peyton was going to be majorly suspicious if I showed up on foot without any excuse.

  “Babe, I need to tell you something…” I began.

  Suddenly, the silence was deafening, as if she was holding her breath.

  “My car didn’t start this morning.” Lie number two. “Do you think Jen could give us both a ride?”

  Again I heard a sigh of relief.

  I could have sworn I heard a chuckle too. “Of course. Let me call her right now. Head over.”

  “I’m already on my way, see you soon.” I hung up the phone and began walking in the direction of Peyton’s house. Because I had run so quick and aimlessly, I was off course, but I corrected quickly. It wouldn’t be more than ten minutes.

  When I first met her, she enchanted me, but Jax was right when he said she wasn’t my normal type. In a way, that deepened my feelings for her. I needed a change—a break from the mundane. She was that and more for me, but I stressed about what my peers would think, how they would treat her and it kept me from being honest with myself.

  Peyton changed everything for me. She was what kept me sane. She was my passion.

  I hated lying to her, but I loved her so much, it ached in my bones. She was fragile; I planned to handle her with the upmost care. She brought life back into me. Peyton was everything.

  * * *

  After the hiccup of forgetting my car the first time, I made sure to keep it parked on the street from there on out-easy to access if I ever needed to get out quick.

  I had picked up Peyton for school on time this morning and was in the process of attempting to convince her to accompany me to one of our school’s away football games when we finally pulled up to the familiar brick building and parked.

  “Are you trying to kill me?” Peyton whined obnoxiously.

  “No…it’s a compromise,” I replied, turning off the engine.

  I knew the extent to which Peyton disliked football, but I had been able to convince her to come out to a game once before…I was hoping the odds were in my favor again.

  “Football?” The disdain in her voice was more than apparent.

  “What’s your favorite thing to do?”

  “Definitely not watch football!” she exclaimed.

  “Just humor me.”

  “Spend time with you.” She wasted no time debating on an answer.

  “Now ask me the same question.”

  She giggled before complying. “What’s your favorite thing to do?”

  “Hang out with you. Ask me what my second favorite thing to do is,” I ordered.

  “What is it?” She gave in.

  “Watching football. So make me a deal, you will come with me to something you don’t necessarily enjoy and I will return the favor.”

  A smile spread across her lips like wildfire as she finally exited the car and I followed suit.

  “The ballet,” she said as she closed the distance between us.

  “What about it?”

  “That’s my compromise,” she replied, stone faced.

  She had to be kidding.

  She was kidding…right?

  Two: A Flow Like None Other

  You would think after the hundredth time I would have become an expert on sneaking into my house, but I had yet to perfect my routine.

  Call it clumsiness—call it carelessness—call it whatever you want; something always seemed to go wrong.

  Tonight I just so happened to scrape my backpack against the wall as I slinked up the stairs silently.

  From the corner of my eye I saw a flash coming from the living room, barreling towards me.

  I raced up the stairs, no longer worried about the noise I was making, when I felt him grab my backpack, hurling me backwards.

  Quickly, I removed my arms from the straps and dove into my bedroom, throwing myself against the door and locking the five deadbolts I had recently installed.

  He was already pounding on the door—screaming obscenities, demanding I come out. “You can’t hide in there forever!” he growled.

  I reached for my stereo and turned on the radio, spinning the dial so I could drown out his demands.

  Unfortunately, this had become my life. I could barely concentrate while at home, so I did most of my studying at Peyton’s. She never asked questions and I rather enjoyed the company.

  It’s strange to think that less than ten years ago I had the picture perfect family-happily married parents, two healthy kids, and our house pets, and our bunnies Raven and Scarlett.

  My father would have done anything for me back then. He never missed a little league game; always in the bleachers cheering me on.

  I think it all began to change with my parents’ separation. I felt disconnected from my father, and I knew he felt it too.

  The first big ripple was when they announced their plans to divorce and gave us a choice in whom to live with.

  I saw what a wreck my mother was. She appeared so fragile, I couldn’t imagine not being there for her through the rough time, so I made the decision that I felt was right at the time.

  Jax had always been a Daddy’s boy, from day one. He wanted to be just like him.

  They tried not to make it obvious throughout our childhood, but my parents definitely had favorites amongst the two of us.

  When I took my mother’s side by choosing to live with her after the divorce, it caused many ripples in the relationship I had with my father.

  His banging had calmed down a bit but was still audible even with my loud music.

  I took my phone out and texted Peyton. Hey, what are you up to?

  In the studio. Capiche came up with this sick track! You have to hear it, she replied.

  I can’t wait, I sent back.

  During the summer, Peyton had taken a college acting class and met a gentleman who went by the name Capiche. He was a rapper. After talking a bit, Capiche convinced Peyton to go back to his studio to check it out and the rest was history. They had
been writing and recording together ever since.

  In fact, Peyton spent more time with Capiche than anyone lately. I should have been jealous in some capacity, but I trusted Peyton…not that I trusted Capiche; I trusted him about as far as I could throw him.

  You should stop by, Peyton suggested.

  There was no way I would be able to sneak back out the front door. My only option was climbing out the window and jumping down to the terrace as quietly as possible. It wasn’t ideal, but I wanted to see Peyton; even if it meant sleeping in my car for the night.

  * * *

  I never thought this could happen

  I never imagined an ending like this

  I thought you were my forever

  I knew I lost you with the last kiss

  I never knew what was in store

  You left me wanting, wanting more

  I couldn’t get enough

  I had to be the one to call your bluff.

  You never knew me, you never knew, you never knew me

  I was wrong to think you would sire to me

  Blessed be, let me think, let me think

  About all the times you were so bleak

  Like a game, like a real-real game

  My poker face was lost in vain

  Because I never thought this could happen to me

  I never imagined an ending like this

  I never imagined an ending like this

  I never imagined an ending like this

  I never imagined an ending like this

  I had walked in as it appeared Peyton was in the middle of a run through. Capiche had clearly pre-recorded his rhymes and Peyton was singing the hook. I had never heard Peyton’s voice so full, so strong. It gave me goose bumps.

  Not to mention Capiche’s undeniable skills. He was as good as Eminem, if not better. His flow was insane. He was also white, Italian actually, born Chris Palazzi.

  “Hey man,” I exchanged pleasantries with Capiche as he was sitting at the control board.

  “How goes it Jace?” He glanced up at me.

  “Oh, you know, it’s going.” I ran my hand stiffly through my short hair. “Mind if I…?” I pointed towards the microphone button.

  He shook his head without a second glance. “Go for it.”

  I pressed the button for the microphone so I could communicate with Peyton inside the sound-proofed booth. “Hey babe.”

  “How did it sound?” she asked, removing her headphones.

  “You sounded amazing—what is the name of that one?”

  She exited the booth. “It’s called ‘I’.”

  “I could hear that on radio.” I kissed her cheek lightly.

  “Seriously?” Her hazel eyes lit up big and bright.

  “Seriously…you’re the next Rihanna.”

  “Except I’m not exotic whatsoever!” she cried.

  “You’re exotic to me.”

  “Oh, come on, get a room!” Capiche finally spoke up. Honestly, I had forgotten he was still in the room.

  “Same time tomorrow?” he addressed Peyton.

  “Sounds good to me, see you tomorrow Chris!” She hugged him briefly then swooped her arm inside mine guiding us out of the building.

  “Should I be jealous that you are spending so much time with him?” I asked, only halfway serious.

  “Get real,” she cracked a smile.

  “Good. Now come here,” I ordered as I pulled her into me and lowered my lips to hers.

  “What do you want to get into now?” I asked her, my eyebrows wiggling. “You hungry?”

  She looked back at me. “I’m starving!”

  “I was hoping you’d say that.” I put my arm around her, leading her out to my car.

  We ended up at one of our favorite authentic Mexican restaurants, Ole Ole and it was just our luck that our usual booth was vacant.

  After our server brought chips, salsa, and beans to our table, and we began chowing down on them, I threw my arm around Peyton and pulled her closer into me.

  Although we had the entire booth to ourselves and could sit across from one another, it had become routine for us to sit next to each other. We had been doing it since the first time we tried out the restaurant, and I liked the feeling of closeness.

  I kissed her head lightly, breathing her in.

  “You okay?” she asked.

  I sighed. “Yeah, it’s just been a long day.”

  “You want to talk about it?” She raised her chocolate eyes up to meet mine.

  “Not really.” I shrugged it off, hoping she would change the subject. It didn’t take her long to catch on.

  “So, I started writing a new song…”

  “Oh yeah?” I raised my eyebrows. “What is it about?”

  “About this guy I know.”

  “Really?” I bit into another chip. “Anyone I might know?”

  “Maybe…” She was being coy and mysterious and I liked it.

  “Tell me about this guy.”

  She dipped another chip into the beans and then shoveled it into her mouth before answering. “He’s funny and charismatic, handsome and charming.”

  “Go on,” I urged her to continue.

  “He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met before…one of a kind. Most of the time, I think I don’t deserve him.”

  I loved everything she was saying until the last line. I hated when she began to doubt herself. “Look at me.” I tipped her chin gently toward me. “You deserve everything you have and more, and don’t you forget it.”

  She smiled slightly blushing.

  “So, when do I get to hear this song?” I asked, watching our server make her way back to our table.

  “It’s not finished.”

  “I want you to promise me that I will be the first person to hear it.” I kissed her softly on the nose then.

  “Are you guys ready to order?” Our server appeared directly in front of us, politely smiling.

  I glanced at Peyton quickly. “The usual?”

  She nodded. “The usual.”

  Three: A Hero’s Tale

  “Jace.”

  “Jace Austin.”

  “Hello?”

  Snap. Snap.

  “So he finally graces us with his presence. Hello, did you hear a word I said?” Mrs. Montgomery was standing in front of my desk, and she wasn’t happy.

  If I told her the truth that I had perfected how to sleep with my eyes open, I wasn’t sure if she would be angry or impressed, so I played along. “You are pairing us up with partners for the assignment.” Total guess, but I had remembered her mumbling something about it a couple of days ago.

  “So you’re not a lost cause,” she said flashing me a smile. People let me slide on things all the time. I wasn’t sure if it was because they genuinely liked me or felt sorry for me.

  “Felix Porter,” Mrs. Montgomery called out, turning her back to me and scanning the room. A guy in the very back stood up very slowly. He was wearing all black along with a trench coat and combat boots. He was widely known as the school’s outcast. “Take a seat next to Mr. Austin here.”

  My eyes about bulged out of my head. There was nothing wrong with the guy, I’d just rather not bother with him.

  He sulked his way loudly over to my desk, plopping down in the adjacent chair.

  I nodded toward him, attempting to be civil, but he rolled his eyes and sank into his chair, looking away.

  Having to be stuck with him in any capacity was not thrilling in the least. He appeared to be a loose cannon.

  We were tasked with researching one major historical incident and doing a report on it. There would be poster boards, newspapers, magazines, and videos. The project was a pretty significant portion of our grade, unfortunately. Meaning, I couldn’t blow it.

  Even though I would rather grind my teeth with rocks, I asked Felix if he could meet after school to go over our project. He hesitantly agreed after I promised to buy us pizza.

  Because my house was off limits for a study sessi
on, Peyton allowed us to use hers. I was annoyed I had to study with he who shall not be named while Peyton was around. It was almost too distracting.

 
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