Sixteen-year-old Vixen Tyler is infamous at Cheshire High. With rumors floating around about her short temper and impressive fighting skills, most people try to avoid her at all cost. And hanging out with well-known delinquents doesn't really help her case. What the rumors fail to mention, however, is just how much Vixen hates herself. Balancing a deadly habit with after school fights, Vixen finds herself in life threatening situations all of the time. None of that, though, could prepare her for the transfer of the new Psychology teacher, Chase Kingsley. With a rugged sexiness that just screams bad boy, Mr. Kingsley instantly earns the heart of every girl in his class. But something's off about this mysterious teacher, something that no one thought was possible, something that could change the way Vixen looks at the world.
"It's a cruel world, sir," I say nonchalantly, shrugging as if it doesn't matter. "Didn't you know?"
He smirks, like he knows I'm dodging but doesn't want to push. "Of course, Ms. Tyler."
It's a Cruel World, Sir
"Are you seriously not coming?" Nikki asks incredulously, looking at me with overdramatic shock. "This is going to be thee rave of the year."
"They're all "thee" rave of the year," I point out, ignoring her disbelief.
"Yeah, but this one's going to be at that old building on Broadway Avenue," she explains, "You know, that one with the Victorian meets English Old Woman design."
"I can't," I answer easily, snickering a little. "Not this time. I need to stay home and take of a few things."
"Fuck that," she snorts, leaning back in her chair and kicking her legs up on the desk top, "If my old man asked me to do something, I'd laugh in his face."
I smile, shaking my head.
Nicole, or 'Nikki' if you don't want the nearest object forced down your throat, is quite easily the prettiest girl at Cheshire High. She may not be the most ladylike, by any means, but acting prim and proper was overacted anyway. With long, thick hair and pretty teal eyes, she effortlessly beats everyone in the school, even with a bad habit of dying her hair unnatural colors every other week. Even now, with her feet raised on the desk as if it's a pedestal for her feet rather than a place for paper, examining the chipping, neon yellow on her nails, she still looks like she belongs in a magazine rather than a rundown classroom.
This week, her colors are baby blue and bright green. Thanks to that (and her mother's endless effort to pay off her daughter with money), the top layer of her hair is painted a light, pastel blue, while the bottom players nearly blind you with their neon green color. Her skinny jeans are duo-colored (one leg white, the other black) and her pink Monster shirt looks skin-tight, just the way she likes it.
"Do you really think he's as hot as they're saying?"
Nikki and I look up in time to see two junior girls walk in. They make eye-contact with us and stop for a second before heading quickly to their seats, dropping their voices.
"I mean, he does sound too good to be true," she continues.
"It's been so long since we've gotten new eye-candy, though."
I shake my head, zoning them out.
"Hey, you can't blame them," Nikki says, smirking. "All the teachers here make my skin crawl. It'll be nice to be able to stare at someone who looks like their part Sex God while I'm stuck here."
I roll my eyes. "Really, Nik?"
She shrugs her shoulders, unbothered.
"Hey, girls," TJ says, sliding into the seat in front of Nikki. "Excited for the rave tonight? I heard it was going to be bad ass."
"I am." Nikki looks at me with fake disappointment. "But Cupcake's not coming."
His head snaps to me, blue eyes wide. "Why not?"
"Because I have things to do today," I answer, resting my head on my hand. "Got to make sure my brothers and sister are being taken care of."
"So, she's back?" Nikki guesses, her voice flat.
I nod. "On their way. It's only for a couple days this time, though. I'd hope for their plane to crash into the ocean or their car to suddenly combust, but that would be killing off the kids as well, so I'm pretty torn."
She laughs. "I don't blame you. Personally, I'd nail their asses with neglect and ship them off to jail."
"Yeah, except child protection services always give a three day warning and by that time, she can play the perfect mommy act. Besides, if she found out, she'd start staying for weeks instead of day just to torture me. I'm suicidal after an hour; I don't think I'd be able to handle seven days."
"The sad thing is: I can totally see them doing that." She shakes her head.
"Wait, who are we talking about? Cupcake's mom?" TJ intercepts, looking over at me. "You have parents?"
Nikki rolls her eyes. "No, TJ. Didn't we tell you? She was grown in a lab as the prototype for the perfect human."
"What? Too cliché?"
"Definitely," he states. "Any who, how come we never hear about your parents? I'm sure the rest of the gang doesn't know."
"They aren't important." I shrug.
"Whose are?" he agrees, sighing. "Just wish mine would disappear for weeks on end."
"Speaking of disappearing, did you hear about that girl that disappeared the other day?" Nikki says, moving her hair out of her face. "They found her body just last night, completely drained of blood..."
I zone them out, uninterested in the stupid theories some delusional idiot came up with, and look out the window, watching as the rain pelts on the glass. I entertain myself with the drops of water, racing two of them at a time.
Suddenly, there's a click and someone steps into the classroom, their shoes tapping on the ruddy tiles.
Nikki and Tj both inhale sharply, almost in sync.
"Holy shit," Nikki breathes, the sound of her heels hitting the tiled floor flitting to my ears.
"More like Holy God." Tj corrects.
"Cupcake, you have got to see this." She nudges me.
I chuckle, shaking my head as my eyes trail to the front of the room, widening.
There, leaning against the front desk, is the most gorgeous guy I've ever seen. He's tall and nicely built, with large shoulders and a defined chest that can be seen even through the white, button-up long-sleeve. His hair is dark and tousled, the messy look giving him a certain edge as his mint eyes scan the room. With a playful smirk, he addresses the class. "My name is Chase Kingsley and starting today, I'll be teaching the Psychology classes."
He has the sliver of an accent, but I can't place it. English, possibly?
"Shame he's not teaching a sex education class," Nikki whispers. "I'd ask for hands-on practice, then."
TJ and I laugh and I can almost swear that Mr. Kingsley lips curl up just the tiniest bit more, as if he heard her.
"Since today is my first day and your first day having me, I figured we'd start out with something easy. Like introductions. Is there anything you all would like to know?"
Almost instantly, every girl in the room raises a hand. Even Nikki and Tj have their hands up and that never happens.
"How about you, in the second row. Yes, you, with red hair." He says, simpering at Erin.
Erin, a very confident girl, stands up, probably feeling cocky that he picked her first, "How old are you?"
"I'm twenty-eight." He answers easily, green eyes amused, "How old do I look?"
"Not a day over nineteen." She says, smiling.
He chuckles deeply as she sits down, "Okay. Next." His eyes scan the room and stop at Hayley, "You. With the half-shirt."
Prima Donna stands up, her shoulder-length curly hair bouncing as she shoves her hands in the pockets of her too-short-to-be-comfortable shorts, "Are you married?"
He raises an eyebrow, "Married? No."
"Taken?" She pushes.
"No," he answers again. "I am currently single."
"If you could choose," Nikki starts, stretching out her legs on the desk again, causing poor Tj to move to the seat in front of me instead, "between a girl with boring, natural hair color and a girl with colorful, fun hair color, which would you choose?"
Hayley glares at Nikki, knowing that Nikki purposely asked this question just to interrupt her.
He studies Nikki for a few minutes, thoroughly amused, "I'm guessing you're Miss Sutton."
She grins, "The one and only."
"So that means the person next to you would be Ms. Vixen Tyler, correct?"
I blink, surprised to hear him call my name, but quickly go blank, nodding. In all honesty, I should expect this teacher, new or not, to know who Nikki and I are. Our entire group is known all around campus. Hell, most of us are known around the freaking city.
"I'll tell you what, Ms. Sutton. If the two of you tell me about yourselves, I'd be glad to answer your question. Honestly."
She smirks, "Oh? So you're into making deals? Fine. What would you like to know?"
The entire class is staring at us and I start fidgeting uncomfortably in my seat.
"Let's start easy, shall we?" He walks towards us and leans against the desk Tj's sitting at, "What's your favorite subject?"
Nikki doesn't hesitate, "Art."
He looks thoughtful and nods, accepting this answer, before looking at me expectantly.
I clear my throat, thoroughly aware that everyone in the class is waiting on pins and needles for the answer, "Psychology."
Erin snorts and Tj sends her a threatening glare.
"Really?" Mr. Kingsley muses. Thankfully, he decides not to comment on it further, "Question two: why do you think everyone in class is so interested in what you two have to say?"
Nikki snorts, "That's easy," she says, "It's obviously because everyone is just a bunch of nosy SOBs that want something to use against us in the future."
"Interesting answer." He says, once again amused, "What about you, Ms. Tyler. Why do you think everyone in the class is so engrossed in our conversation?"
"Because they don't know how to take us," I answer, tense and on edge.
He smiles crookedly, one corner of his mouth curling up, "Very good," he says, standing up straight and heading back to the front of the class, "And that, class, is what we're going to be talking about. Within the next couple of days, we're going to learn about the different personalities and how some respond differently to certain situations and people."
"Um…" A quiet Asian girl mumbles, "What do you mean exactly?"
"For instance, when I first walked in, most of you looked at me like I was some God, correct?" When no denies it, he continues, "But, if, say, Ms. Sutton and Ms. Tyler were to walk in, most of you would avoid eye contact. I, on the other hand, would see it no differently if they walked in or if you walked in." He says, looking at the girl. "Understand now?"
"I think so." She says timidly.
"Good." His smile is breathtaking. "Now, despite what your old teacher said, I don't find a need for books. Simply because not everything you need to know can be found in a standardized text book, so next thing to do is pass them up."
"He never answered my question," Nikki whines, handing her book to the person a couple seats in front of her.
"What was the point in asking us those questions anyway?" I mutter, "He just wanted to use us to ease into teaching."
"Can't blame him, though," Tj says, "Nikki practically made it too easy."
"Oh shut up," Nikki grumbles.
After everyone's book is past up and stacked in a pile beside his desk, the bell chimes, signaling lunch. Everyone bustles to get up and get to lunch quickly, but the three of us simply take our time, not worried about our table being taken at all.
Just as we pass his desk, Mr. Kingsley says, "Oh, and by the way," Tj, Nikki, and I stop, looking back at him, "hair color isn't important to me."
"Then what is?" Nikki asks, surprised to actually be answered.
"The mind." He simpers, causing her to roll her eyes and Tj and I to snicker.