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Home > Breaking Him (Love is War #1)(6)

Breaking Him (Love is War #1)(6)
Author: R.K. Lilley

I really, really liked him when he talked to me like that.

I opened my mouth to tell him something, I don’t know what, but it would have been something good, something encouraging, to try to make him feel how he’d just made me feel.

That was when his mom showed up.

I instantly closed my mouth and looked away.  She intimidated me, and I didn’t want to call attention to myself.

I needn’t have worried.  She didn’t even see me, her disapproving glare was all for her troublemaking son.

“Don’t start with me; I don’t wanna hear it,” he muttered at her before she could even speak.

I gaped.  In my world, grownups were scary and you didn’t talk back unless you wanted to get slapped so hard your ears would ring.  Other kids were the only ones you could stand up to.

But she didn’t slap him.  She just kept staring at him for a few beats, then her lip started to tremble and she turned away.

I gaped harder.  I hadn’t thought I could like him anymore today, but he’d gone and done it.

He was a bona fide badass, and I loved it.

He shot me one quick glance as the vice principal ushered him and his mom into her office.

His mouth had shaped into a small, conspiratorial smile.

I was hooked.  I really couldn’t think of anyone that impressed me more in that moment.  I wanted to follow him around, learn his secrets.

How had he not gotten slapped for talking to his mom like that?  How had he instead made her cry?

Badass.

The vice principal, Ms. Colby, didn’t bother to shut the door, I guess because it was just unimportant me out there, but whatever the reason, I got to eavesdrop unabashedly as his mother and our mean as a snake vice principal attempted to reprimand him.

“Ms. Colby,” his mother began the conversation with a stern voice.  The tears were gone, in their place disdain.  “I’m not sure you want to do this.  Why is my child in this office for fighting?  He’s in trouble and this other boy, this miscreant suffers no consequences at all?  Do you have any inkling how much our family contributes to this school?”

“The other boy, Arnold, did not fight back.”  Mean Ms. Colby could barely choke out the words, she was so close to losing her temper.  I knew the tone well.  I caused her to use it often.  “Dante started it,” she continued, “he hurt Arnold badly, and did you know that your son refuses to apologize?  How am I supposed to work with that?  He was violent, and he won’t even promise not to do it again!”

Dante’s mom made a big show of reassuring Ms. Colby that no, of course it wouldn’t happen again, and yes, of course Dante was sorry.

She sounded very convincing right up until the part where she asked her son, “Right, Dante?  Promise Ms. Colby that this won’t happen again.  It’s simple.  Say you’re sorry and we can put this behind us.”

I was in a full-on bratty pout by then.  It sucked.  He’d apologize and get off scot-free, but not me.  My punishment would begin soon and end never.  Also, Dante was losing all of his badass cred in my eyes the more I listened to his overprotective mother.

“No!” Dante snarled back.  “That little shit deserved it, and I’d do it again!”

I grinned, ear to ear, all of my doubts in him put to rest.

“What did that boy do to you, son?” his mother asked, sounding riled.  She was grasping at any reason to put less blame on her child.

“It’s the way he talks.  It’s the way all of them talk.  The teachers hear and don’t care, and they get away with it, with being total shitbags, and I’m sick of it!  I’m not sorry, and I’ll do it again!”

“Darling, what did he say to you?” his mother asked him in a pathetic, baby talk voice.

That same voice turned hard as nails, and I knew she was addressing Ms. Colby.  “Words can be assault too, you know!  I won’t have my son bullied.  He has a right to stand up for himself!”

Ms. Colby’s voice was beyond disgusted when she asked, “What are you implying was said to you, Dante?”

“Not to me.  I just overheard.  And so did two teachers.  And instead of calling the little shits out, they laughed!  You all suck!  What kind of a school is this?  The teachers are as bad as the bullies!”

Ms. Colby’s sigh was loud enough to be heard two rooms away.  “And what did you overhear?”

“You know,” Dante shouted back at her.  “You’re as bad as them.  You know how the other kids treat her, and you look the other way.  Well, I don’t.  I’ll do it again.  You mark my words.”

Bad.  Ass.

But who was he talking about?  Who was her?

“What is he talking about, Ms. Colby?”

Another loud sigh.  I really hated her sighs.  I had to listen to them a lot.

“I can’t be sure,” Ms. Colby hedged, but even in another room I thought she sounded like a liar.

“Liar,” Dante said to her.  To a teacher.  The vice principal, no less.

Bad.  Ass.

“I need someone to explain this to me!” Dante’s mother exclaimed.

“They were picking on Scarlett again,” he said, voice pitched low now, so low I had to move closer to the room to hear him.  “They always do.  They call her trashcan girl.  It’s messed up.  And nobody does anything about it!  Not the teachers.  Not the vice principal.  You all suck!”

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