Accessory:The Scarab Beetle Series #4

By: C. L. Stone

The Academy

The Scarab Beetle Series

Accessory



“You, Kayli Winchester, are a smart girl. You keep your heart closed off a bit, but I think deep down, you want a relationship, with who, I don’t know. I’m going come out and say I just hope it’ll be with me in the end.”

I rolled my eyes, unable to hide the smirk from my face. I elbowed him in the arm. “After this, you might be the only one left.”

“Can’t say I don’t like the sound of that.” He put his arm around my shoulders and rolled me toward him, kissing my forehead. “That’s not what I want, though.”

“What do you want?”

“I don’t want to be your last resort,” he said. “You barely even know me. We always end up fighting or you call me in at the last minute to save your pretty self. Well, here I am, finally able to talk to you. The real you. The real Kayli I’ve been dying to get to know. Literally. Did you hear I was shot? In the leg? It was by this really hot girl. And then the boat exploded. I could have died.”

This caused an even bigger smile, and it almost hurt because I was trying so hard not to smile. “Don’t even start.”

“You’re the one who crashed my party, sugar. You started this whole thing, not me.” He pressed his lips to my forehead again, kissing it, and then he held on to me tight around the shoulders in a hug. “No, sweetie, I don’t want to be your last option. Eventually, I’m hoping you’ll want me because you actually like me. I want to be your first choice.”






HARD ROAD





“Kayli,” Raven said to me, his Russian accent thick after waking up on the couch. The tattoos on his bare arms and stomach shifted and danced on his skin as he stretched and sat up. “Don’t touch my box.”

I had been left with Raven for the evening. I told the other guys that I didn’t need a babysitter, but as usual, no one listened. So while Raven was passed out, I found my way to a McDonald’s. I may or may not have had permission to take Brandon’s car, and stole the keys from Raven while he slept.

I’d been restless. Sue me.

I dropped the bag of chicken nuggets on the table. “Sorry, babe,” I said, shirking out of the brown jacket I’d borrowed from Marc. I still had on Corey’s Zelda T-shirt and the boots belonged to...Brandon? I’d borrowed so many of their things, it was hard to keep track. Plus it was easier to borrow stuff from them than to ask to go to the store and buy actual girl clothes. “You snooze...you don’t get McNuggets. House rules, right?”

Raven sat up, snatched the bag from the table and brought it closer to him. His broad fingers fiddled with unrolling the top. “You’d never...”

I smirked. I did know better than to bring any food into the apartment and not bring extra. I wouldn’t give them any reason to do that to me. That would be going too far. “I’ll let you have one.”

“Two,” he said, and lifted two boxes of nuggets from the bag, leaving five more at the bottom. “You get the rest, until you get full and then I’ll take care of it.”

I split some fries with Raven, too. He turned on the television, and I insisted he change the channel to Sponge Bob: one of the few shows he could understand without asking me a jack ton of questions about what words meant.

I was working on my second box of nuggets when the front door opened quickly, slamming into the wall next to it. My head snapped around. Raven sat up straight, dropping the fry from his hand, clenching it into a fist.

Marc stepped in through the open door. He was breathless, as if he’d taken the stairs instead of the elevator. “I think I’ve got a lead on Wil,” he said.

Shocked, I froze and stared hard at him, a half-eaten nugget in my mouth. My brother. Marc had found him? I swallowed and tossed the other half of the nugget into the box and pushed it aside. “Where?”

“We’ve got to go,” Marc said. “Hurry.”

Raven wiped his hands on his jeans. “Let me grab a shirt,” he said. He rushed to his room, the tattooed bear on his back was wide-eyed and wild: exactly how I felt in that moment.

I’d abandoned the food and the television was already forgotten, but I couldn’t wrestle any other information out of Marc, no matter how much I begged or threatened.

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