Hi all… just to let you know... I've tried to stay away from specifically naming the country where this story is set. Only because I'm from New Zealand and I didn't want to spend all my Author Note's explaining cultural differences, so I've just basically tried to generalize everything, to appeal to people from all over the world, as you might be able to tell. If the result comes off as too confusing and all-round complicated, then I'll start trying to be more specific… my god… I just realised what a wank I sound like. 'People from all over the world'… yeah, cause I'm, like, sooooo popular. Seriously… just ignore me!
Thanks for reading though… all you international fans, you…
The Mad and The Conqueror
Chapter One – Welcome To The Jungle
"Please come in, Miss McHale."
The seventeen-year old girl sighed loudly as she moved towards the ominous voice of Ashcroft High School's guidance counsellor. She dropped her bag to the floor with a heavy thud and sat in the interrogation seat.
"I haven't even done anything yet." She muttered as she crossed her legs and swung her foot in rhythm to an impatient, soundless beat.
Ms. Matthews looked up finally from the papers she was shuffling and gave an amused smile. "Well, that's good to hear, after all, the first day of school is yet to begin. At least not for another ten minutes or so. Did you have a good summer?"
Madison McHale scowled at the arbitrary question and wished the aging counsellor would just get to the point.
"It was fine."
"What did you do?"
The raven-haired girl rolled her eyes and answered with a bothered sigh.
"Worked. Played tennis. Read some books. Ate small children for breakfast. Worked on my genteel charm. Did my best to stay as far away from the Twidiots as possible. The usual."
Mrs Matthews frowned. "Are you still calling your sisters that?"
"Step-sisters! Actually, not even that. Our parents aren't married, which just makes them a family of squatters. And trust me, there are worse names I could think of calling them."
The counsellor shook her head. "You could just call them Amber and Ruby, you know, their names? There's a suggestion. Maybe even The Twins if absolutely necessary. That's shorter than The Twidiots."
"So is The Twits. What's your point?"
Mrs Matthews opened her mouth to respond but thought better of it and let it go with a sigh. She looked the young girl over and mentally groaned. She was afraid this girl was never going to change. She may be taller. Her black hair may be longer, but the depth of her anger and the shortness of her temper still ran strong.
Typical Type A personality: Aggressive. Impatient. Competitive. Easily irritated. Scarily so. The girl was the counsellor's greatest challenge and most entertaining. But since she was a professional, she wasn't to let on that sometimes, the situations this girl got herself into, were rather amusing indeed.
She pushed her glasses higher on her nose and leaned forward on her desk. "So there were no… unfortunate incidents during your break?"
Madison raised an eyebrow and tilted her head in question. "I'm afraid you'll have to be a little more specific."
"You know exactly what I mean, Miss McHale."
"No. I'm afraid I don't, Mrs Matthews. You'll have to specify exactly which unfortunate incidents you mean."
It was obvious there was no real love lost between the two. Madison had been first forced to endure these regular visits since she was fourteen and had thrown a chair at Samuel Anderson for slapping her on the ass. These 'visits' essentially became her anger management… her priceless therapy… a waste of time if you asked her.
Four years later and Mrs Matthews still insisted on wasting each other's time.
"Well, let's see. For starters Madison, did you make anybody cry? Did you hit anybody? Did you throw inanimate objects at anybody? Did you put anybody in hospital? Did you force anybody out of their current residence?"
Madison couldn't quite hide the proud smile that crept across her face before replacing it with a practiced expression of innocence. "Now why would I do anything like that?"
When Mrs Matthews so easily checked off the list of transgressions, it made Madison sound like some kind of deviant. She wasn't a criminal. Or a psychopath. She just had a small problem with controlling her temper. No big.
She also noticed the counsellor had missed one. "You forgot the time Gavin Reed hit my knee with his testicles."
Mrs Matthews glare turned up a notch. "Of course. How could I? He couldn't walk properly for a week. And the reason for that was… what exactly?"
Madison's eyes wandered up in thought. "You know, I can't quite remember now. But god, who wouldn't want to knee Gavin Reed in the testicles?" She stopped and quickly reverted her smug expression back to innocence. "Allegedly."
"Mm-hmm." The counsellor shook her head, failing to hide her amusement. "Well Madison, if you wouldn't mind, I'd very much like to start and end this year without somebody, be it student, teacher or parent running to me with tales of being terrorised by you."
Madison nodded. "As would I."
"Is that so? Then we can safely say that you're going to be on your very best behaviour this year?"
Madison smiled winningly. "Absolutely."
"Now why don't I believe you I wonder?"
Madison's smile dropped and she sighed. "Because your hope in mankind has been drained away by the morons at this school, perhaps? I mean," she scoffed, "you couldn't pay me enough to do your job. How desperate do you have to be?"
She paused and wondered if that was insulting. She had a pretty lousy gauge of a person's sensitivity levels and whether or not their feelings would be hurt by a harmless comment. So, to be on the safe side, she threw in a quick, "No offence" to soften the blow.
As her counsellor's eyebrows lowered back into its customary frown, she thought she must've hit a sore spot. Madison rolled her eyes and glanced away. God, it wasn't like she'd mentioned how horrid her hair looked. Which, if she did, she'd probably be doing the middle-aged, still single, cat-loving woman a favour. She had obviously given up all hope for happiness.
"Yes… well…" Mrs Matthews cleared her throat. "Getting back to the point."
"Yes, let's do that."
"How are you dealing with controlling your temper these days?"
Madison shrugged. "Mainly by avoiding all the morons that are sure to annoy me… basically circumventing most human interaction. The Twidiots had the decency to spend a few weeks with their father these holidays far, far away. It's been fine."
"Have you been putting all those exercises I taught you to use?"
Madison raised an eyebrow. "All those exercises? You told me to stop wearing a watch and to count silently in my head. And if I went along with your plan to shove lollipops in my mouth whenever I felt the need to yell at somebody, I'd be three hundred pounds with no teeth."
The counsellor heaved an exasperated sigh. "I asked you not to wear a watch so you wouldn't be so time-conscious and to get you to slow down and refrain from running people over in order to get where you want to be."
"Yes well, not knowing the time only ensures I'm late for everything. And if I'm late, I get in trouble. And if I get in trouble, I get mad. And if I get mad… I react accordingly."
"Which is when, before you react, you stop, count silently to ten… or twenty for you… and you calm down before doing something drastic." Mrs Matthews pointed out succinctly.
"I hate to break it to you, but deep breathing, silent counting and fake smiles when I'm done just doesn't do it for me. I'll save that for when I actually have sex." Madison shook her head, completely missing the bark of surprised laughter from across the desk. "Besides, turning the other cheek is not going to get the point across. If I don't tell a person when they're wrong, then they're never going to learn which way is right."
"And is your way always the right way Madison?"
The girl pursed her lips in thought and then nodded. "Most usually, yes."
Mrs Matthews made a sound of disappointment. Madison liked that sound. It usually meant the harried counsellor was almost done and she could escape. It was always the same old routine: Pointless questions, grunt of dismay, reason for discussion, fake agreement, issue ultimatum, conveniently forget, stir and repeat.
"What about people's feelings Madison? Don't you care that sometimes you're actually hurting people?"
The raven-haired girl sighed in exasperation. "It's not like I intentionally set out to hurt people. They're just too sensitive. And the one's that I am intentionally hurting… well, let's just say, David Haskell will think twice about spreading dirty rumours about me again." Her eyes wandered in thought. "Wherever he may be these days."
The counsellor sat up straight and turned on her business-time voice.
"Madison, you need to learn to control your outbursts. You could get yourself in serious trouble someday. Somebody might react badly and hurt you. Or worse, you could seriously injure someone and be sent to jail. Do you want that?"
She ignored the girl's grunt of dismissal and continued.
"You have so much potential. You're the top of all your classes and you're the school's top tennis player, both of which could get you a full scholarship to the college of your choice. You're ambitious, determined, competitive, you're destined for great things. I'd hate to see a sudden, volatile outburst destroy all that."
Madison's brow crinkled in disapproval. There were so many redundant sentences in that lecture she didn't know where to begin. How had this woman gained a license to preach? But, time was of the essence, she'd better keep her thoughts to herself otherwise she'd never get out of here.
Then she couldn't help but let out a chuckle. Volatile outbursts. Seriously. She made it sound like she was walking around shooting people. So some of her confrontations ended in a bruised testicle here and there, it wasn't like she planned these things. It wasn't her fault the male gender of the school were infantile buffoons who insisted on being so around her. It was her civic duty to point out the error of their ways.
She snuck a peek at the clock ticking on the wall to her right and realised class was about to start. She figured she'd better tune back into her counsellors menial rant before she earned her first tardy in the history of ever.
"This is your last year Madison. How about we try and make it as harmless and… event-free as possible, hmmm? No making people cry. No physical assaults. No object throwing. No property damage. Just easy, smooth sailing."
Madison snorted. "What's in it for me?"
The counsellor settled back in her chair. "Well, I really have nothing to offer you, to be honest. At least nothing you can't get yourself. So I'm afraid I'll have to issue this as a warning instead." She paused dramatically, reaching the moment she had been waiting for all morning. "If there is one legitimate complaint against you this year, you'll be banned from a tennis court for the rest of that month."
"WHAT?" Madison shrieked and jumped to her feet. "You just said tennis was my free ride to college. You're taking away my future? Great Guidance Guru you are!"
"I'm not taking away anything. It's all up to you, isn't it?"
Madison stared at the counsellor's pleased expression with one of disbelief. "This has to be illegal."
"I have Coach Hayden's full approval and co-operation on this."
That goddamn turncoat, Madison thought angrily. It would serve him right if she lost him the championship this year. She clenched her fists and kept herself from kicking the desk and glared at the self-satisfied counsellor.
"You're going to have to be more specific of what you will or won't allow. I mean there are students here that are prone to crying if I so much as look their way. They have to be excluded from this. And how can we distinguish between me yelling at someone and simply expressing my opinion? When I'm passionate about a subject, I can't help the register of my voice."
Doing just that as if to emphasize her point. "And If I have Mrs Witless for English again then you might as well suspend me now because she'll be bawling before I even walk through the door."
Her requirements were halted by the shrill tone of the warning bell. She glanced at the bemused counsellor with a raised brow. "Perhaps you better draw up a contract with listed terms and conditions before we come to an agreement. I'd hate to find a loophole in this exceptional idea." She finished sarcastically.
"Or," Mrs Matthews began calmly, stopping the girl from turning to leave. "You could just judge for yourself what I might deem inappropriate."
Madison released a sharp, incredulous bark of laughter. "How can I possibly presume any such thing? Your judgement is skewed, I mean, look at your outfit, it's an eyesore. You're intolerance for my… setbacks… seem to be increasing with your preference for velvet." She blinked and decided to add her trademark, "No offence."
She watched as Mrs Matthews' mouth tightened into a thin line while exhaling heavily through her nose. Then in a deadly, quiet voice she said, "How about we start with, whatever you feel the need to say 'no offence' to, you just don't say it at all."
"But that's impossible. I don't normally think about whether or not I've offended someone until I've actually… well, offended someone."
Mrs Matthews smiled thinly. "Well then, you have quite a challenge set for you today, don't you?"
Madison put the 'silently counting-to-ten method' to use before issuing a grimace of acceptance. "Fine. I'll try."
Mrs Matthews smirked at the black-haired girl whose golden eyes flared with fury and couldn't help but stoke the fire, if just a little bit. "Don't try Madison. Succeed."
And lest she lose the challenge before it even began, Madison McHale stormed out of the counsellor's office like a girl on a dire mission… Mission Impossible.
People had better not get in her way.
It wouldn't be the first time that Caine Jeffries walked into a new school. It wouldn't even be the second time. Or the third for that matter.
Ashcroft High was officially the fourth high school he had the displeasure of attending.
After being expelled three times in as many years, from two private schools and one public school, his parents mutually decided they couldn't 'handle' their only son and sent him out of country to live with an aunt, uncle and cousin he'd only ever seen at Christmases - if that.
Being sent to Podunk, Nowhere, with family he barely knew was deemed to be punishment for your average, over-sexed, rebellious, misfit of a teenager whose actions besmirched the proud, established Jeffries name, and yet… he had to admit, what he'd experienced in the week since he'd stepped off the plane, had been a kind of punishment he could happily endure.
His cousin, Nate "Never-Call-Me-Nathan" Walker, had been the one to pick him up from the airport and accompanying him had been the loveliest, most eager-to-please set of twins he'd ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Nate had grinned at him knowingly as he introduced the identical pair. "Caine Jeffries, meet Amber and Ruby Campbell."
One at a time, the blonde beauties had kissed him on the cheek and given him a hug, making sure he felt the full press of their breasts as they did so. They both adorned a tight sweater and short skirt, thankfully in different colours so he could tell them apart – or at least, he supposed that was the intention.
They each had identical hairstyles to match their identical faces and both spoke rapidly in an excited ramble as they told him all about his new home, the people he should get to know, the people he should stay away from, the parties to attend and who hooked up with who at the last bash… all a huge load of information that he couldn't give two fucks about.
Tuning them out easily, he wound down the window and lit a smoke, staring unseeingly at the landscape of his new hometown and idly wondering which of the twins he would fuck first.
He didn't mean to sound like an egotistical player, but he couldn't help what he was. These things just seemed inevitable for him. Girls… women… females had been attracted to him for as long as he could remember. When a sixteen-year-old cheerleader had introduced him to the world of sex on his thirteenth birthday, he began his long and pleasurable journey on the road of female conquests.
In the four-and-a-bit years he'd been sexually active, he'd racked up a notorious lot of notches on his bedposts. In fact, the last two schools he'd been expelled from were due to 'inappropriate behaviour on school grounds, during school hours' - fucking the Principal's hot twenty-year-old daughter in his office, on his desk had been an untimely miscalculation on his part. Who knew the old man's dentist appointment would finish that early?
So, he'd been expelled from the school and eventually exported from the country to give it one last shot in another. Little did his part-time parents know about the delights being offered in his current town of residence weren't entirely a punishment for him at all. Not if he chose to partake in the set being served.
It would have been decent of him to ignore the twins. He would have been the good boy his parents wanted, if he ignored the parties. And he might have impressed himself if he were to ignore his cousin's encouraging grin, but when Purple-Skirt slipped her hand up his thigh and hit the money-spot, all thoughts of decency and good deeds flew right out the window.
New town, same old shit.
It might've been nice if there had been something to challenge him. He kind of missed the thrill of the chase, the anticipation of the catch, the devouring of the meal.
Girls just weren't holding out anymore. They stopped looking for Mr Right and jumped on every Mr Right-Now they could find. They stopped looking for romance and entered themselves in the race, competing with men for sexual conquests. They stopped waiting for 'The One' - not that he believed in that shit, but at least those girls were more fun to play with. It was always satisfying to crack their virtuous intents - to watch as they protested indignant purity and love one second, only to shove him in a dark corner and unzip his jeans in the next.
The only girls who held any restraint whatsoever were the ones already in relationships… not for long, of course, but the challenge was there. Then again, though that so-called self-control was fun to tempt, he generally tried not to mess with another man's meat.
Not unless he could take him, at least.
Of course, even the girlfriend's soon lost their appeal when the tears of guilt began rolling. By then, it was thank you and goodbye. He wasn't the one to turn to for consolation.
He blamed it on his looks. He knew he was good-looking. He had 'bad-boy-good-time' written all over him. He was solid and well built, due to good genes and basic physical fitness and he had charisma and sex appeal that attracted people to him like bees to honey. Not to mention his family had enough money to float a small country.
But he didn't know what the point of it all was if those attributes couldn't get him what he wanted most: out from under his father's thumb and living life his own way, instead of a predestined course all set out and with no choice but to follow.
He had no need to plan the future. He had no need for ambition. His father had it all plotted for him. He was to work in the company, like his father did before him and like his father did before him, etc, etc. There was no escape.
And it didn't really matter what he did during his teenage years. So long as he stayed out of prison and didn't get anyone pregnant, the Jeffries name would stay relatively clean and prosperous and he could basically do whatever the fuck he wanted.
If he got wasted and crashed his car, his father would pay off the cops. If he had a threesome in an empty classroom during fourth period, then his father would buy the school a new building to use at their will. And if he accidentally stole a motorbike, drunkenly thinking it was his then there would be a newer, bigger motorbike waiting in the actual owner's driveway.
The bribes and payoffs were endless, thus leading him to his fourth school in five years. He wondered if he could make it to five in five.
Looking at the bevy of beautiful girls laid out before him on the school steps, in their short tartan skirts, white body-hugging shirts and blue and green striped ties, he thought perhaps he just might not have a choice. He'd always had a vast appreciation for girls in uniform… and out of uniform. And those knee-high socks just got him, every damn time.
It was as if they were asking for it.
Farewell good intentions. He chuckled at his own joke. Yeah right, like they ever stood a chance anyway.
So without further ado, he sent a smirk of greeting to the twins meeting him at the entryway as they each took one of his arms and led him through the large wooden doors of Ashcroft High School.
Blake Christopher Taylor, Ashcroft High School's number one golden boy, had it all.
He had the looks. He had the money. He had the beautiful girlfriend and the loyal followers. He was envied by guys and wanted by girls. His house was where the best parties were held, where scandals began and lives were either made or destroyed.
It was at his last party, the weekend before school started where he first met Caine Jeffries.
Quite frankly, the kid concerned him. He knew all about him, of course. Not only would Nate not shut the hell up about his cousin 'Caine-The-Conqueror', but he also had the good sense to check him out online, to see what the boy's story was.
It was amazing what the Internet and a little acknowledgment of the school's resident computer geek could gain.
Not only was Caine Jeffries a pain in the ass, he was also Terrance Caine Jeffries the Fourth, heir to Jeffries & Sons, Incorporated: the seventh largest investment and insurance company in the world.
Which made the new kid richer than himself. Hell, richer than the whole town put together and he had the power and pedigree to take Blake's school and world by storm.
Thus, Blake didn't like it. Not one bit.
He finally had his life running exactly the way he wanted it.
Ever since his parents had divorced and essentially shattered his own idealistic illusions of life when he was thirteen, he began building his reputation, his stature and standings in the world in a way that no one would ever dare destroy again.
He owned the school. Whatever he wanted, he got. Whatever grade he wanted, he got. Whatever girl he wanted, he got. And whatever he had trouble possessing, he manipulated, schemed and bribed until he won.
Which was why he and Ava Mitchell were the perfect couple.
They were both blonde, his hair darker than hers, though both perfectly styled. She had light blue eyes, while his were dark. And her perfect body, curved in all the right places, stopped at his broad shoulder. They looked like the small, plastic couple that sits on top of a wedding cake.
Their pedigrees matched too. Ava's family was the second richest in the county, second to his, which inevitably won her the title of his queen.
They'd been together for four years, though he said 'together' very loosely. There were no monogamous strings tying them to each other. They both knew what the other was about. Both out for number one. If he wanted someone else on the side, that was fine. It didn't mean they broke up. There were no tears of heartbreak. No accusations of betrayal. And it was fine with him if she wanted to sleep with someone else too. So long as she came back to him, clean and unfertilised when he clicked his fingers, it was all just dandy.
Their arrangement was a thing of beauty. Heck, he would probably marry the girl someday. She was just as devious and manipulative as he. She deserved to be on his arm. And she was always at his beck and call.
Which was one of the reasons the new boy worried him. No, maybe not worry. More so made him rather… wary.
He had watched the night of his party how Ava couldn't keep her eyes off of Caine Jeffries.
And the damn kid new it too.
Blake had watched astounded as his girlfriend danced around the newbie like a bitch in heat. Never mind that the twins were all over him too. Never mind that Caine didn't pay attention to any of them, even as Amber made feeble attempts at giving him a hand job under the table.
Ava knew that all she needed to do was say the word and the twins would flee, scampering off with scowls on their faces as they did their Queen's bidding.
The problem with that was, his girlfriend hadn't even asked for permission to go after the Jeffries kid. She didn't even glance in his direction, instead sending her 'fuck-me' gaze to the new boy and trying her best to keep it discreet.
Which wasn't their arrangement at all.
The fact that she hadn't even attempted to ask, as if she was being sneaky about it, like he wouldn't know, like he wouldn't find out, had him somewhat, perturbed.
That she was so willing to risk what they had to fuck a kid she knew nothing about, only that he looked good and easy, left Blake very perturbed indeed.
Yes, he was concerned about Caine The Conqueror and what he would do to destroy Blake's carefully crafted world. This was his last year and he didn't want some cocky, Daddy's boy to come here and fuck it all up for him.
So, he would have to keep an eye on him. Keep him close and make sure he was quick to learn his place in the school's hierarchy. Make sure that the new kid knew that the place at the top was taken and what the consequences were should he decide to overthrow the throne.
He would also have to have a quiet word to his eager girlfriend.
But then again, she might prove useful in his plans to keep Caine, The Cock, under wraps – no pun intended. His darling girlfriend just needed to be reminded of her place and what she stood to lose should she go against his wishes.
It would be a lot of work - So much to do, in so little time.
But with a smile of malicious intent, he settled into his chair and waited for the first class of the first day of his last year of school to begin.
One thing was for sure; this year was certainly going to be interesting.