Beast

By: A. Zavarelli

Once upon a time, I believed in fairytales.

But then he took me.

And he taught me that life isn’t a fairytale.

He is scarred. Broken.

A dark and wild thing.

His beauty is violent, and his words are cruel.

His heart is a shadowed landscape where nothing can grow.

He tells me he could never care for me, and he proves it every day.

He’s destroyed my life.

Tortured me.

And worse…

He’s trained me to beg for his affection.

This prison is a place where sunlight doesn’t reach.

He taught me that hate is born in darkness.

And then he taught me that sometimes love is too.





For a rose can wither in darkness, but burn in the light.





CHAPTER ONE





BLINDING CHAOS.

The car door opens, and a wall of paparazzi close in on us, fighting for a prime spot as they shove and shout out their questions.

The noise is jarring. The flashbulbs, even more so.

It never gets any easier.

I push my oversized sunglasses up the bridge of my nose, obscuring my eyes from the vultures. Luke takes my arm, dragging me through the crowd before I can mentally prepare myself.

We’re fenced by security. There’s nowhere to turn.

Everything is too loud and too fast, and I’m not certain when this became my life. It feels like it isn’t even my life. It feels like I’m trapped in a dream, watching from afar as I go through the motions.

Luke pauses when we reach the stairs of the hotel.

He always does this. He likes to feel important. Standing high above everyone else when he looks down on them and answers their questions.

His left hand is still wrapped around my arm, his fingers digging into the pale flesh.

He holds up his other palm to the crowd, silencing them. I glare at him through the dark screen of my sunglasses. My cheeks are hot, and my hands are locked into fists.

I specifically told him no questions. Not today.

Not ever.

I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to be here with their eyes on me. Cold, calculating. Tearing me apart.

Exhaustion settles into my bones, and any fight I may have had drowned under the weight of my heavy eyelids. I can’t remember the last time I had a full night’s sleep. I don’t even know what city we’re in right now.

They blur together.

I’m running on caffeine and avoidance. But I know it’s short lived. The press isn’t here for the tour. They won’t be asking about the show or my upcoming albums.

The masses are hungry for answers. And I’m the injured fish in the middle of a shark tank.

"We'll take a few brief questions," Luke announces.

His face is smug and proud in a way only he can pull off. He’s charming as ever, even while he capitalizes on my tragedy to squeeze out every last ounce of media attention he can garner from it.

Later tonight, when I bring it up again, he'll try to tell me this is what's best. That the media cares about me. That we’re bringing attention to my father’s case, which is the most important thing we can do.

He’s always been good at spinning things in his favor. The absolute best.

Any PR is good PR, he says. And for the last six months, my name has been splashed across national headlines more times than I can count.

American Star singer Isabella Rossi set for upcoming world tour. The question remains... beauty or talent?

I've read them all.

The articles proclaiming that I won the show based on my looks alone. The outraged fan interviews and rumors that I slept with one of the judges. Pregnancy claims and unflattering photos printed in ink for all the world to see. But now they have something else to lynch me with.

Something I can't stomach.

Luke picks out a reporter from the crowd, and she speaks into her microphone.

"Is it true that you are canceling your world tour in light of the tragic events with your father, Isabella?"

I don't have to answer because Luke speaks for me.

Always.

"That is completely false. The show will go on."

The show does go on when he wraps an arm around me in a display of support for the cameras.

"Isabella believes her father would want her to continue her life as normally as possible while the authorities handle the investigation."

Lies. Lies. Lies.

It's all that ever drips out of his mouth. He doesn't know what my father would want.

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