The entire day was surprisingly dull. At least compared to the nonsense I had to endure here so far.
Drake made a habit of finding me after each class and tried to convince me that going out on a date with him would be the best thing to ever happen to me in my entire life.
I learned to ignore him and his antics after a while.
Still, I wasn't particularly please that the other boys have taken an interest in me as well.
Notes were passed, some more outrageous than others, I got quite a few winks and of course there was not one minute during classes when there would not be someone interrupting the lesson.
Milow just strolled over to my desk at some point and started chatting with me about the most trivial things while the teacher was up front, not looking like he actually believed that his students were listening.
If it weren't for the schedule I wouldn't even have known that this was a French class. Zane was sitting next to me during that one and he got up and left when Milow started talking about the wonderful garden that he had back at home.
After lunch, I headed back to my room to get rid of my bag and went out again.
I just didn't want to be in there in case the boys were planning to do something stupid again.
Instead I went to find my brothers.
Chazz was nowhere to be found, but Ace was outside, sitting lazily underneath a tree with his guitar in his lap.
"Why are you just sitting here and not playing?" I asked him as I sat down in the grass beside him.
He had been leaning his head back against the tree trunk with his eyes closed and opened one eye to look at me.
"Can't come up with anything," he muttered.
Rolling my eyes at my brother, I took the instrument from him and placed it on my legs instead.
I hadn't played in a while so I just played some simple tunes to get warmed up before I moved on to something more complicated.
Ace didn't say anything and appeared to be napping, but I knew for a fact that he was very much awake and was just listening to my music.
"Play that again," he eventually instructed, confirming my suspicion.
"Uhh...which part exactly?" I asked him. I hadn't actually payed attention to what I was playing.
I had just watch the beautiful green scenery surrounding us and the perfectly blue sky.
Every once in a while I saw someone pass by and some of them would look at me with curious expressions.
"All of it."
After a moment of thinking I played the song again.
Ace had moved and got a notepad out of the guitar bag. He watched my fingers very closely and started scribbling down the chords that I was playing.
"I suppose, I just inspired you," I joked when the song ended.
Ace made a serious face and looked down at what he had written.
"You always do, that's nothing new. I'm just a little surprised that this time it was actually something you played."
"I'm not that bad at playing the guitar," I complained.
Ace smiled a little and looked at me.
"But I am much better than you are."
I couldn't argue with that. While I was merely average when it came to playing guitar, Ace was something like a genius.
Not that I minded. All three of us had their own specialty.
"Hmm... this needs a few corrections here and there," Ace mumbled thoughtfully, staring back at the page.
I handed the guitar over to him and he immediately started shaping my rather simple song into something much more complex, although the basic line was still the same.
"Hey Jay," he said after a few moments in which I simply watched him. "Do you mind-"
"Writing lyrics for this one?" I ended his question.
It was no surprise really.
Ace and Chazz would always come up with something and then ask me to either write the lyrics, sing it or do both.
Dad was always ecstatic when we made music together, claiming that the three of us could be so successful in the music business.
Ace and I sat together for a long time, completing the song before it was time for us to have dinner.
Gabe was waving furiously when he caught sigh of us and immediately grabbed me to sit next to him.
"Where have you been the whole time?" he asked almost accusingly.
I only quirked an eyebrow at him. "I didn't know that I had to tell you everything that I do."
"Of course you have to. We're BFF's so you must tell me everything," he insisted.
I only shook my head at him and turned my attention to my food.
"Don't tell me that you went on a secret date with someone?" Gabe suddenly gasped.
Everyone at the table suddenly looked at us, waiting for me to answer.
Ace and I were both rolling our eyes and didn't bother to tell them anything.
That earned me a couple of curious and nervous look throughout dinner, which I couldn't make any sense of.
After dinner I decided that it would probably be safe to set foot into my room again and did exactly that.
Chazz, who had found out from Ace that we had spent the afternoon together, insisted that he'd get some 'quality sibling time' with me as well.
When I told him he could help me with my homework he rolled his eyes and swaggered off.
Apparently, he thought too highly of himself to be doing any homework so I had to sift through the seemingly endless list of equations by myself.
To my utter surprise, none of the boys came into the room and I was actually a bit frustrated by that.
I would welcome just about anything that took my mind of the math homework.
But nobody came to save me from my misery, so I had no other choice than being a good student.
Just when I had started with my French homework, the door opened and Gabe stepped in.
"Here you are!" he exclaimed happily. "I was already thinking that you sneaked off again."
I didn't answer him and just continued writing the essay, half-heartedly.
"What are you doing anyway?" Gabe asked me.
"Homework," I responded in a bored voice, scribbling at the same time.
After having to push my brain to it's limits with the math homework, it was almost ridiculous to be doing my French homework.
French had never been a subject in which I had to put any real kind of effort, but this was like a joke. It really showed that the teacher had long given up teaching his students anything at all.
I wondered how Winton had ever gotten such a great reputation if all it's students did was goofing off.
"Why in the world are you doing your homework? Or better yet, why do you even have homework?" Gabe asked, sounding almost appalled.
He sat down on my bed as well and pulled a grimace at my books.
"Maybe because this is a school and that is what students do?"
"Yeah but... nobody around here cares. I think that last time I actually did my homework was two years ago. Except for the occasional projects we had to do and sometimes I even study a bit for a test."
"And how do you pass your classes then?" I questioned.
With this kind of working attitude, he must be failing each subject.
"I don't know, but I always pass. Everyone does."
That was definitely not the response I was expecting. What was wrong with this school?
It was hard to imagine that most of the boys were supposed to be the future CEO's of big companies and the leader's of our countries.
I shook my head with a sigh.
"So basically, you are all a bunch of uneducated boys," I stated.
"I wouldn't say that. We all just got a little lazy over time. Don't even ask me why, I'm not sure myself."
I didn't even pretend to understand that and just continued scribbling words down.
"What? Didn't I just inspire you to stop doing your homework?" Gabe laughed when he saw me continuing.
"Not in the slightest. There is not even much to do around here, so I might as well do this."
Now it was Gabe's turn to sigh.
"I suppose that is somewhat true. We should have gone to town with Drake and Zane."
"I'm happy that we didn't. No way that I would be going anywhere with the three of you," I mumbled.
"What?" Gabe pouted. "But I though that you were going to spend Christmas with us."
I sat up abruptly.
"What made you think that?" I asked him. Not only that it was still early October, but also I found his thought quite ridiculous.
Now Gabe made a confused face. "But Chazz told me that you all are coming to Zane's house with the rest of us."
I rearranged my face to match my expression to Gabe's. I opened and closed my mouth a couple of times, thinking of a way to phrase my question- my mind came up empty though.
Without saying anything, I quickly jumped off my be and marched out of the room and straight over to my brother's.
Gabe followed me.
Without knocking, I stormed in, confident that every one would be dressed this time.
I found Chazz and Jaden sitting together, watching something on a laptop and laughing their heads off.
My abrupt entrance put an end to that though.
"Hey Mila, done with your homework?" Chazz asked me with a wide grin.
Jaden's eyes widened at that and he let out a snort.
"Why did you tell Gabe that we were going to spend Christmas with him and Zane?" I inquired straight away, not caring to make small talk before.
Chazz grin faded a little as he processed my words. Then understanding flashed across his face.
"Dad told us that you had to come with us this year. He said he already told-"
"He didn't tell me anything," I huffed and dropped myself on Ace's bed.
"Well, he told us that he informed you about it yesterday and that you were not listening," Chazz continued, grinning again.
"This is so not fair," I muttered and then started to rummage through Ace's bedside table.
I stopped short when I came across a small stack of porn magazines and pulled grimace.
"You know, as a girl you should never really go through the things of a guy. You might not like what you see," Gabe piped up, joining Jaden and Chazz on his bed.
I ignored the porn and tried not to connect it somehow with my brother and continued my search.
Eventually, I found his secret stash of lollypops. Ace and I shared that secret obsession, but Ace had to hide his over the years because it was 'not cool' to be addicted to sweets.
Ripping off the wrapper of the sticky goodness, I popped it into my mouth and looked back at the boys.
"It already sucked last year, when you and Ace left to party with Zane and the guys, but I don't want to have an even worse Christmas by coming along. I wanna celebrate with Mom and Dad," I started whining, despite the fact that the boys had turned their attention towards the screen.
"Stop crying like a girl," Chazz sighed.
I scowled at him. "Excuse me for being a girl and actually liking to spend time with my family," I snapped.
"Aw, don't be like that. Next year we will all go to France together, I promise."
The half grin on his face was kind of annoying.
"Besides, how often will you get to spend Christmas with Gabe, Drake and Zane?" he continued.
"I was actually hoping that it would never happen. It's already enough that I'm stuck here on Halloween."
"That's not nice at all, Mila," Gabe chastised. "We're all being nice to you- especially me."
I rolled my eyes at him.
"Since when is Halloween a big deal anyway?" Jaden asked.
Chazz let out a laugh.
"It is to Mila. She has a thing for costumes. I'm pretty sure she would walk around in a new costume everyday if she could."
"We can throw a Halloween party," Gabe proposed.
I found the idea intriguing, but dismissed the thought for a second because something else came to my attention.
"Why are Gabe and Drake at Zane's to Christmas?"
"The three of them live in the same town. And Drake is almost something like Zane's brother. They grew up together and since Drake's parents are rarely at home, he kind of always stays with Zane over the holidays. The two of them are something like a package deal," Chazz explained.
"And as for Gabe- he lives right next to Zane. I swear, Zane has been punished thoroughly with this guy," Jaden told me and pointed his thumb in Gabe's direction. "The Jordaines moved in there the summer before he went to school here. Ever since then, Zane had to put up with him."
Gabe gave Jaden a mean stare. "What do you mean with 'thoroughly punished'?"
The following banter did not capture my attention even in the slightest.
I tuned the boys out and leaned back on the bed.
Seeing how both Drake and Gabe were so attached to Zane and even my brothers seemed to enjoy his presence, there really must be a personality hidden underneath all tat nonchalance.
Maybe, I would get to see a bit of that when I had to spend Christmas with him.
So much for the skiing trip my parents had planned for all of us. They most likely had only planned it for themselves and fooled me into thinking that I would come along.
It definitely sounded like something my dad would do.
Instead on dwelling on the whole Christmas thing, I redirected my thoughts to come up with something that would enable me to dress up for Halloween without it being weird.
At some point, I gave up and decided that it was time for me to get ready for bed.
I left the boys, who had gone back to staring at the laptop screen and went to my own room.
Quickly gathering all the things needed, I headed into the bathroom and went for a shower.
When I came out, all squeaky-clean, I found Zane sitting on his bed with a book in his hand.
By now, this was a familiar sight.
He looked up briefly when I came into the room, but he didn't say anything.
"Hey," I greeted him lamely, as I put my things away before I got settled on my bed and combed out the knots in my hair.
"Hey," he responded without looking up.
Meanwhile, I was staring at him, trying to come up with something that we could talk about.
"So how was your day?"
I immediately wanted to kick myself. That sounded like something my mother would ask my dad.
So not cool.
But it did get Zane's attention. He lowered the book and stared back at me with a questioning look.
"Why are you asking?" he asked slowly, as if he was fearing some higher motive.
I shrugged. "Just trying to make conversation."
His eyebrows slightly rose at that.
"You sound like...my mother," he noted. I wondered why there was this brief hesitation and why saying 'my mother' sounded like he forced it out.
Sure, I could have asked him but chances were pretty good that he would not tell me.
Instead, I sighed.
"Sorry, it was the first thing that I could think of," I told him honestly.
"Why do you even attempt to make conversation?"
He was looking into his book again, although I wasn't too sure if he was actually reading or just looking at it.
"Why not? We're roommates and I'm also gonna have to spend Christmas and most likely also New Year's with you. Might as well try to communicate."
Again, he lowered his book.
"You're coming with us over the holidays?"
He did not sound impressed by it at all, not that I would hold that against him. That was the exact same way I felt about the whole thing.
"According to the males of my family, yes. I guess, I could talk to my mother, but I don't think it would change anything."
"And why am I only being informed and not asked? Who said that I was okay with that?"
He sounded a bit pissed off, which was at least something different from nonchalance.
"Nobody asked me either."
Zane narrowed his eyes at me.
"Why can't you spend Christmas at your own home?" he asked.
The way he stared and his voice made me think that he was trying to get something out of me. Like he was interrogating me or something.
"Well..." I started only to stop again. How to explain that to him? Not that Chazz told me any reasons, but I definitely knew why my father had made this decision.
"It's the same reason why you are here, isn't it?" Zane continued.
I let out my remaining breath. Damn him for not forgetting about that.
My mind raced to come up with something else, but instead I just nodded.
I should definitely never start a career as professional criminal- I crack too fast under pressure.
"So am I going to hear the story to that?"
He sounded almost curious when he asked that.
I shook my head.
Zane got off his bed and walked over to the bathroom.
"Then I don't see any reason to let you stay at my place over Christmas. You can ask Gabe, but I'm fairly certain that he wouldn't do anything that upsets me."
With these words he closed the door.
Great, just great.
I instantly went for my phone and called home.
"De la Vega residence, hello," the voice of our butler spoke.
"Hey Marco, it's Mila," I greeted him.
"Ah hello, young mistress. How may I help you?"
"Can I talk to my father, please?"
"I'm afraid that you're father is not here. He flew out yesterday. You should be able to reach him on his cellphone, though. He didn't leave the country."
"Alright, thanks Marco."
After ending the call, I dialed the next number.
After ringing for several moments my father finally picked up.
"Jamilah, don't tell me that it took you this long to find out about your holidays?" he said instead of greeting me.
"You've always had too much faith in my investigation skills," I replied dryly.
My father only laughed at that.
"Listen, Dad," I continued, not even wanting to start with any kind of small talk. "Isn't there another option?"
"Well, we can not take you with us. We did realize that staying with Mom and I is apparently not the safest option and I'd hate to take you away from your brothers too. Just suck it up and deal with it."
I bit my lip.
"It's not so much that I can't deal, although I have to say that I don't think it's necessarily a good idea to let me suffer with this lot. Isn't it already enough that I'm going to this school? Why do I also have to spend my holidays with a bunch of filthy boys. I almost feel like I am the one who's being punished even-"
"Jamilah," my father interrupted me sternly. He knew that I was getting off topic.
Taking a deep breath I got back to the actual manner.
"What if Zane refuses to take me in over Christmas because I won't tell him why?" I blurted out.
"He refuses to take you in?" he all but roared.
I had started pacing around the room, picking up things here and there.
"Isn't his friendship to the boys reason enough? I should call his father and-"
"Dad, no!" I cut him off. Whenever my father threatened to call other parents things did not turn out pretty.
He was just not capable of talking to other parents. At least not if he was upset.
Dad grunted and then continued speaking,"If you don't want me to call his father, I guess you will have to tell him. It's not a secret anyway."
"Yes, I know that you don't like telling your classmates and that you like to keep this private but I guess it's inevitable. You either do that or I'll have to come up with a new idea."
"Fine, I'll call yo tomorrow and tell you whether or not you'll have to do that," I said.
"Alright, darling. Please try to work this out, okay?"
"Good. I love you."
"Love you too."
It was almost as if Zane had been waiting for me to end the call, because in that exact moment her stepped back into the room.
Wearing nothing more than pajama pants.
He was drying his hair with a towel as he walked over to me.
Well not really me. I was just standing next to his bed.
He ignored my presence and threw the towel on his bed and went to search for a Shirt.
She he found one he quickly pulled it on before he turned to face me.
I tried not to let the disappointment show on my face.
He could have stayed half-naked for all I cared. He had a nice body. I had always been a sucker for muscular boys, although Zane was by far not bulky.
His muscles were not even all that prominent, but definitely noticeable- especially when he moved.
"You're always staring at me."
His voice pulled my thoughts away from six-packs and prettily shaped 'V's.
I trained my eyes on his face, rather than trying to burn a hole into his shirt.
Different then the first time when I actually took notice of his eyes, they didn't seem restless at all.
There was some kind of peacefulness in his gaze.
"Are you going to tell me now why you wish to infiltrate my house, or not?" he asked me and pulled out his desk chair.
He sat down and looked at me with a waiting expression on his face.
I was fairly certain at that moment, that he had some kind of hypnotizing powers.
I nodded without thinking about it and sat down on his bed, facing him.
His eyes followed my movements and he almost looked like he was focusing his entire attention on me.
It was strange because I still thought that Zane was not capable of emotions, but in that moment when he directly interacted me I felt like there was this kind of energy coming off of him.
You know, how some people instantly make you feel uncomfortable or other make you feel completely at ease? It was the same with him, but different.
He made me uncomfortable because of his usual blank expression, but at the same time his eyes gave of some kind of reassurance. And added to that came that his overall persona was oddly enticing and kind of pulled me in.
Shaking my head, I took a deep breath.
"To make the story short. I have my own personal stalker." I rushed the words and tried to put make it sound a little less serious then it was.
Thinking off it, this was the first time that I actually said that.
I wasn't too sure if I felt relieved now or alarmed, but Zane's change of expression caught my attention anyway.
There was no way to determine what he was thinking, his eyes went back to their usual distant look, he pursed his lips slightly and on his forehead appeared a few wrinkles.
"You are being stalked, so you had to change school and now you can't go home for Christmas?" he asked, although he merely stated it as facts.
"Why don't you parents send you somewhere abroad?"
I shook out my hair and let out a sigh. Ever since I got here it seemed like the only thing I ever did was sighing.
"They did, before I went to Sacred Rose. That was also the second time that I was being personally assaulted by him. So my parents decided that keeping me too far from themselves was not a good idea."
"Then they could just take you along on their travels or not?"
I shook my head. "That was the third and last time that I encountered him and my Dad is trying not to go for a fourth time, because I might not get away once more," I told him quietly.
I had really been ridiculously lucky so far. The first time, I had been rescued by Chazz. The second time, I relied on my self-defense classes and the third time was seriously just pure luck.
Zane leaned forward, resting his arms on his legs and staring at me again.
I had seriously, no idea why he did that but he didn't seem to be quite looking at me anyway.
More like he was focusing his eyes on whatever was in front of him, which was me.
Then he ran a hand through his damp hair.
"Fine, you can come for Christmas," he then said eventually.
I was a bit surprised that he didn't want to know more. Usually people always wanted to know all the details to a story. But then again, I wasn't really one of those people either- at least not always.
"Err... thanks," I managed to utter.
Zane only shrugged.
"Just don't get close to my brother, no matter what he says. I don't care if you do, but it would be in your best interest to ignore him for the most part."
I wasn't sure what I was supposed to respond to that, but I was already a little awed that I had just gotten to know Zane a little better.
Not much, but at least I knew that he had a brother.
"Darlings, I'm home," Gabe's voice called at the same time as he opened the door.
I turned around and saw him walk in with a wide grin on his face until his gaze fell on us.
His grin immediately melted into something much more mischievous.
"What are you two doing?" he asked, stretching that last word unnecessarily.
I got up and stretched my arms above my head, while I let out a yawn.
"Going to bed," I told him and let my arms sink again.
My top had ridden upwards, because of my movement and I quickly pulled it back down.
Not without noticing that Zane's eyes were trained on my mid riff.
I wanted to smirk in triumph, because I was apparently not the only one mesmerized by the other gender's body, but when I saw his confused and thoughtful expression I came to think that he might be thinking about something entirely different.
It would have been too weird if he had normal human instincts anyway.
"Oh, don't let me be the course of disturbing whatever it was that was going on between you," Gabe giggled and pushed me back.
The back of my knees hit the edge of the bed and before I knew it I was lying on it.
Zane let out a somewhat exasperated sound.
"You didn't disturb anything," he informed the hyper blonde and got up from his chair.
I sat up and found him holding out his hand to help me up.
He wasn't looking at me though.
"I don't believe you," Gabe sang.
"No one asked you to, but f you want to throw her on a bed then do it on hers or on your won," Zane grumbled as he pulled me up with a swift motion.
He let go of me instantly, which was really too bad. His hands were softer than any other guy's I had ever encountered.
Still a little rough, but softer nonetheless.
Without another word to me, Zane dropped himself on his bed and I made my way over to mine.
Meanwhile, Gabe was muttering something about 'not a single drop of romance'.
Really, I didn't want to know what was going on in that head of his.
Neither Zane nor I payed any attention to him, while he was walking around the room to get ready for bed himself.
I fell asleep quickly, having a very vivid dream. It had some nightmarish tendencies, but nothing that seriously disturbed my sleep and I could swear that I even dreamed of Zane smiling at me at some point.