Twisted Devil by Ivy Blake
“Oh my gosh, I didn’t know that you did yoga too! I love it and I just know your dad is more than happy about that!”
My eyes flitted open at the sound of that shrill voice. Not this bitch again. Did she not rest? Why did she always have to insist on getting all up in my grill? I’m pretty damn sure that I hadn’t invited her to my BBQ.
Aka, the bane of my life.
Aka, my dad’s girlfriend, who was desperate to become my stepmom.
Nevergonna happen. Unless I was six-feet under, but even then, I was pretty confident that I could carry a grudge well into the afterlife.
“I did not need to know that,” I said with a grimace on my face as I went from downward dog to a deep lunge.
Zoe always had a way of bringing up her sex life with me as if I’d ever asked or would ever want to know. She was sleeping with my dad, for fuck’s sake.
“C’mon, Ruby,” she said with that stupid wide grin on her face that, for some reason, made all the guys go after her. “We’re all adults here.” Zoe winked, and I could feel the bile rising in my throat.
“Well, I couldn’t care less about your sex life so, count me out,” I said with a sickly sweet voice. Especially since you’re only two fucking years older than me!
As I moved into triangle pose, I could see Zoe’s face turning pink and her mind whirring as she searched for something to reply with. I was annoyed to see her walking around my mat and looked up to see her standing in front of my face. I scowled and willed her to leave with my eyes. Someone clearly didn’t understand boundaries.
“I think we should do something, just the two of us,” said Zoe in an overly chipper voice. Her blue eyes were wide with anticipation, as if I hadn’t been laying down hints that I didn’t like her from the moment Dad had brought her home.
I sighed deeply and stood up straight. Yoga was meant to be my time, which is why the door was purposely closed, and yet here was my dad’s girlfriend, making me feel everything but calm and zen.
“I’m kind of busy right now,” I said pointedly, my eyes darting to the mat beneath me.
“I know, I just mean afterwards. You know, us girls should do something. Explore this town, right?”
Even though I knew she was trying really hard, I just couldn’t accept the dumb smile on Zoe’s face. The fact that she thought ‘us girls’ could ever be anything at all when she was literally dating my dad was beyond me.
“I’ll see. I’ve got shit to sort out for school anyway,” I said, forcing myself to adopt an apologetic tone even though I didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty.
“No worries, Ruby. Feel free to give me a shout anytime!” said Zoe cheerfully before she swept out of the room.
I let out a large sigh, lay down on my yoga mat, and shut my eyes. If only I could actually breathe all the stress out of my body.
Not only had I had to move out of the city with Dad just because he wanted a change of scenery, his stupid girlfriend had to come along with us. Now that I’d arrived in our new town, I didn’t mind the place itself. It was obviously a lot quieter than I’d been used to back home, where the city never slept and there was something going on at every corner. I’d had a few days to walk around and explore the parks and fields, but was not yet confident enough to go into the shops where there would be actual people. I’d feel better about meeting new people at school rather than on the street.
I also had a feeling that this was the type of town where people knew each other and talked. And I was not in the mood to be talked about. That was one thing I knew I’d always miss about city life, the near anonymity that small towns denied you of.
One thing I was also worried about was people seeing Dad and Zoe together and, even worse, thinking that she was his daughter rather than his girlfriend. And who could blame them? She fucking looked like she could be. It was embarrassing as fuck, not to mention absolutely gross that he was dating someone who was basically the same age as me and he didn’t seem to think anything of it. It’s like he didn’t care how I felt at all or what it would look like to the outside world.
Fuck, was I becoming that shallow? I’d never really been one to care for outside appearances or the opinions of others- at least I tried to convince myself of that. But this was different. I was already starting a new high school, where I’m sure everyone would know each other, and shit like this was the type of shit that could get you teased.
I stood upright and rolled up my mat. I needed to get out of this house. I went to my room and walked around the remaining boxes that I hadn’t finished unpacking and rooted around in my suitcase for some clothes to wear.
I threw on some comfy jeans and a cute jumper before heading downstairs to the door. I tiptoed past the living room, assuming that Zoe would be in there and that if she caught me she’d ask where I was going and if she could come.
I slipped on my Converse and unlatched the door slowly, feeling relieved when I didn’t hear Zoe’s high-pitched voice interrupting my peace. As I stepped outside, I felt the cool air hit my face. After locking the door, I turned to walk down the driveway and nearly bumped into Dad.
“Woah, where are you off to, bud?” he exclaimed with a chuckle.
“Just going for a walk,” I squeaked, eyeing the baseball cap on his head warily.
Recently, he seemed to be going for the ‘cool dad’ aesthetic. I was still unsure how I felt about it and hadn’t been able to come up with an adequate answer any time he’d asked me to comment on his attire.
“You seem to be in a rush,” said Dad, twirling his keys around his fingers. “You finished unpacking?”
“Not yet, I’ll do it later,” I said as I tried to sidestep him. Dad nodded to the house behind me.
“You and Zoe doing okay?” he asked.
I shrugged and looked at the floor. It seemed like the cobblestones had become a lot more interesting all of a sudden.
“Ruby?” Dad pushed.
My eyes drifted back up to his aging hazel ones, and I could see the anticipation waiting there. He seemed to have this fantasy in his head that I’d love Zoe just as much as he did- or at least as much as he claimed to. I couldn’t believe that he was actually in love with her. I mean, come on, what the hell could they have to talk about? He could barely hold a conversation with me, for fuck’s sake!
“We’re fine,” I said shortly. “I’ll see you later.”
My tone was a bit more clipped than I intended, but it was the best that I could do to not explode. I flashed Dad a wan smile, walked around him and down the road, trying to get as far away from the house as quickly as possible.
“Bye then!” I heard Dad’s voice behind me, but I didn’t turn to look back.
My feet were moving quickly beneath me as I paced my way around the block. A small part of me wanted to shake some sense into him, pour out my heart and tell him exactly how I felt about him and Zoe. But I knew there was no point and that the person who’d get hurt the most would probably be me.
I’d realised soon enough that adults loved to ask for your opinion on things, only to vehemently ignore it and continue doing things their own way. Even though I was well aware of this, it still got on my last nerve.
I knew that being at home with nothing much to distract me was probably making things worse, and I could only hope that starting school would make things more bearable.
I put my earphones in and played the new Lorde album on full blast, my feet hitting the pavement with more fervour, as if I was in a music video. I soon realised that I was walking in the direction of my new school, Valley High.
As soon as I caught sight of the tall iron gates, my heart caught in my chest. It was weirdly intimidating and felt like something out of a movie rather than a place that I’d actually be going to school. I stopped by the gates and looked at the side of campus that was visible to me, still in awe of the grand buildings and the acres of green land and sports pitches that I could see.
Going off of the virtual tour I’d had and the school’s website, I knew that I was going to have an interesting time working my way around this place. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard the sound of a school bell go off. My eyes were drawn to the swathes of students that started pouring out of the doors and into the courtyard, probably on their way to their next classes.
They looked so pristine in their fancy blazers and ties, the girls in pleated plaid skirts and knee-high socks that matched the ones that hung up in my otherwise empty closet back at the new house.
I felt like I was in a trance as I watched students chatting and laughing to each other, in awe at the way they carried themselves and how good looking and put together everyone seemed to be. It was, quite honestly, very intimidating. A very different vibe to my old high school, that was for sure.
“What the hell are you looking at, creep?”
My gaze darted to the left where a girl with bleach blonde hair was standing with her arms folded and a sneer on her face. I got major bitch vibes from her and quickly realised my faux pas as I took in the scene from her perspective. Even if I was about to be a student at Valley High, she didn’t know that and I was just standing at the gate in my normal clothes, people watching, probably with my mouth hanging wide open.
“I was just passing by,” I stammered, forcing myself to put a friendly smile on my face.
“I’ll just be on my way-”
“You want money or something?” The blonde girl spat at me, her perfectly manicured eyebrow quirked pointedly. An involuntary scowl took over my face, and I fought the urge to tell her where to go. For all I knew, we’d be in the same class tomorrow.
“No,” I scoffed and was about to come out with a comeback to show this girl that I wasn’t to be messed with when a tall figure appeared behind her.
“What’s going on here, Amber?”
I looked up to see a tall guy towering above the girl, his hands resting casually in his pockets. I swallowed hard as his cold, icy eyes met mine. I tried to look away but found my gaze trailing over his tanned skin, perfect lips and muscular body. He looked like he’d stepped right out of the pages of a Calvin Klein magazine. I shrank away from his hard stare, the same stare that kept me in place, my feet rooted to the ground as if I could only move under his command.
“I was just telling Salvation Army here to fuck off and find food somewhere else,” the blonde girl said cruelly, flashing the guy her perfectly straight, pearly white teeth.
“Salvation Army, how original,” I scoffed, even though I knew that my comment would only add smoke to the fire.
Fair enough, my clothes were from the charity shop, but it couldn’t have been that obvious. Was it a crime to wear an old pair of jeans and a sweater around here? Back where I’m from, no one gave a shit where you shopped, so the fact that these posh twats were so pressed by my clothing was new to me.
“You have something to say, Pauper?” The guy said, his eyes narrowing as he glanced down at my trainers before fixing his gaze on me again.
My eyes fell to my shoes because I wanted to see what had caught his attention and realised that there was a hole in the material above my left toe. My cheeks flushed with embarrassment at both the cruel names they’d called me and the fact that I was still here in the first place.
“Cat got your tongue?” he taunted, his teeth flashing dangerously like a hyena’s.
“Come on, Tyler, she’s not worth it. She’ll find the homeless shelter eventually,” said Amber.
She blew a kiss at me and turned on her heel, laughing wickedly as she made her way back to the school building. I burned with shame, my fists curled at my sides as I fought back the urge to lash out and make even more of a fool of myself. I held Tyler’s gaze, to show him that his words hadn’t gotten to me, even though I knew in the back of my head that I’d probably more cautious about what I would wear outside the house from now on.
Tyler backed away slowly, but continued to stare into my soul. There was something in those piercing blue eyes that made me feel like he’d marked me, and I also got the feeling that this wouldn’t be the last time we’d be seeing each other.
“Take a left when you get to town,” he purred, his eyes travelling up and down my body.
I felt exposed, yet oddly intrigued by the fact that his attention was still on me and that Tyler could send shivers through my body with just a look. Amber had left, and yet he was still here. What did he want? What was he thinking? Tyler’s voice snapped me out of my trance, and I was full of confusion.
“What?” I asked.
“The homeless centre,” he said with a smirk before turning around and leaving me dumbfounded and even more pissed off than I’d been when I left the house.
In a fit of rage and embarrassment, I finally pulled myself away from the school gates, fearful that more students would come and antagonise me, and headed in the direction of the park.
I’d never felt so small and intimidated before. I made a vow to myself that I’d make an extra effort to stand my ground when I started school. I wasn’t going to let people like Tyler or Amber ruin my day. I was going to do my absolute best to ignore them and stay out of their way. Especially Tyler, I thought to myself. A small part of me couldn’t help but admit that I felt drawn to Tyler and wanted to figure out what his deal was.
It’s just because he’s hot and you haven’t had sex in a couple months. Calm down,I told my nether regions.
I found a nice spot underneath a tree and sat with my earphones plugged in, using the music to push away the hurtful words and cruel looks that Tyler and Amber had thrown my way. If I was going to survive at Valley High, I needed a plan of action.