The Academy - Forgiveness and Permission (Year One, Book Four)

By: C. L. Stone

ONSLAUGHT


If you had asked me last week when my life changed, I might have said it did when I met Kota Lee and he dragged me into the world of the Academy with secret agendas and boys who were handsome, who knew how to infiltrate, spy and rescue and did so on a regular basis.

Today, if you asked me the same question, I would say it was when my mother told me she wasn’t my mother.

My name is Sang Sorenson. I was your untypical straight A student who was shy and never had a friend in my life until I met Kota. I had an abusive—I guess I should call her a stepmother—who didn’t want me and a father that was never there and didn’t want me either. The only thing my father asked me before he disappeared back into his double life was to keep my head down and keep an eye on my older half-sister until the end of the school year and to take care of my stepmother if she managed to make it out of the hospital. He left us money and the two story gray house on Sunnyvale Court. Outside of that, we were on our own.

And my sister, Marie, didn’t want me there, either. After I revealed to her what our father had said, she claimed she didn’t need a babysitter and she could handle things herself.

But I made a promise to my father, and from that to the dead mother whose name I didn’t even know. He had promised her that he would take care of me and I would allow it, for now. I wouldn’t abandon my sister like our parents had abandoned us.

But I also had Kota, Luke, Nathan, Silas, North, Gabriel, Victor, Mr. Blackbourne and Dr. Green. Nine friends. Nine members to my own secret family. They looked after me and promised to be there for me no matter what.

Except I had a sketchy idea of what family meant, and what they wanted with a girl with such a complicated situation.

I could only wish, with all my heart, that they would stay and not leave me alone.

They were all I had left to believe in.

♥♥♥

I heard the footsteps of a couple of boys in the hallway before they managed to open the door to my bedroom. I could sense it was another hot Saturday for late September through the glare of sunlight assaulting me from the window. For me, who had grown up in Illinois, I was unused to the warmth of southern summer so late in the year. The boys kept telling me I could expect summer days on through November. It seemed impossible but I’d believe it when I felt it.

The footsteps quieted by my door. The handle was twisted, the door had been unlocked. I was under the sheet and thin blanket on my bed, the one Victor bought for me. I could still smell him in the sheets since he’d spent the night with me. He didn’t need to, none of the boys did, but they did it anyway often enough. Marie and I were alone, but we were never really truly alone when the Academy was always watching.

I’d slept in. Seven a.m. was late to sleep in for boys who were usually up and working at dawn. However, Victor kept me up late watching a movie, and I was feeling lazy.

My skin electrified. The boys in my room were being sneaky. I had no clue what they were up to. My fingers clutched the blanket, ready to hold tight to it or push it back and jump up and catch them at whatever they were doing.

The edge of my blanket was collected at the foot of my bed in someone else’s grasp.

Silence. Either side was waiting for the other to strike first.

My blanket was yanked from my grasp. I raced to pop up and go after whoever it was.

A spray of ice water smacked me in the face. The edge of a shrill cry caught in my throat but I held it in. Screaming was pointless.

There was a rush for the door. I caught Nathan and Gabriel dashing out, large Super Soaker guns in their hands. Nathan was shirtless. His muscular, tanned body left me breathless. He wore red sport shorts, and was barefoot. His reddish brown hair was wet, sticking up.

Gabriel’s leaner frame was also shirtless. He wore camouflage shorts. Two locks of blond hair stuck wet to his cheeks and the rest of his russet brown hair was raked back, hanging behind his ears. White crystal studs hung from each lobe, and three black rings were pierced into his right ear toward the top crest.

Their running, like a roll of thunder, rumbled through the house as the they raced down the front stairs. They threw open the front door and ran outside.

My wakeup call had been delivered.

More footsteps rushed up the backstairs. I jumped up on the bed, moving to the wall next to my door, pressing my back to the frame. I’d gotten hit in the face once and I didn’t have a weapon. I was outmatched for speed and power by all of the guys so it didn’t matter who it was. I hoped I could garner sympathy from my new assailant.

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