The Kingdom of Archer Book I: Bloom

By J.Rose All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Scifi

A Twisted Fate

(Lyric)
Soulmate. The word echoes sirens in my head. Warnings filled with fear and apprehension. How was that possible? How could Maxwell Cray be my soulmate? Looking at Parker with confusion I could see so many emotions flashing through his own eyes just as my eyes did the same.
I could feel myself shaking and somehow I found myself gripping onto Parker’s arm tightly. The fear of that other man’s bloodthirsty eyes embedded in my mind, furthering my fear while mind reeled.
“But then-”
“I’m also your soulmate,” Parker spoke, but it was no use.

I was so confused and afraid and I realized then and there that he was going to take me away. Parker was going to let him take me. Parker didn’t want me, he hated me and this was the golden opportunity to get rid of me that he’d been waiting for.
“Lyric,” Parker spoke, snapping me out of my thoughts to look at him. I couldn’t read the expression in his eyes, I’d never been able to do that but now I was far more afraid. The not knowing what he was thinking or what he was going to do adding to my fears. He was going to send me away to Maxwell Cray and I would be placed back five years ago. Only this time Parker wasn’t going to save me. No one would.
“Lyric,” Parker calls out again, grabbing on to my shoulders and shaking me. I can feel tears in my eyes and I’m so afraid of what he might say.
“Listen to me okay,” Parker says.
“I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve never heard of anything like this but the council’s intervened,” He says.

The council. What was going to happen to me? Would they want to kill me? How could I have two soulmates? That wasn’t normal. One didn’t want me and I’m sure the other would kill me.
“I’m defective,” I thought to myself.
“Nothing’s wrong with you,” Parker spoke.
“Listen to me okay,” Parker said.
“Tomorrow we’re going to travel to neutral ground and we’ll meet with the council and we’re going to know what to do,” Parker explained.
“For now. Try to get some sleep okay. I have to go talk to my father and handle some things. I’ve put someone to guard your door his name is Oliver he’ll take care of you if anything happens,” Parker said.

For a second there was silence the look in his eyes complicated to decipher. His gaze lingering on my own confused and fearful eyes. For a moment his grip on my shoulders tightens his gaze penetrating my own while my heart races in fear. Just like that, he lets go and moves away. Whatever it was he wanted to do or say he stops and instead begins to walk away. Though I was afraid I found myself reaching my hand out to his stopping myself only inches away from gripping on to his arm and asking him to stay. I wasn’t afraid of him not at this moment. I was afraid of the unknown much like I had always been. Only this time I knew Maxwell Cray was part of this unknown limbo and that scared me more than Parker Archer. I knew he never would stay with me in this moment or any other. Had I asked him, begged him to stay he wouldn’t have. I knew what he wanted more than anything was to get rid of me. Hearing the door of the room shut quietly I found myself alone once again.

There was no one there for me. Everyone had someone but not me. I was like a stray dog, left in the cold rain to suffer. Curling myself into a ball I tried to hide away the pain that seemed to increase the longer I found myself in this place. It was incredibly suffocating. The weight and pressure on my chest only increasing, before I knew it, I was crying. I felt so overwhelmed and so out of place, but more than that I felt alone. Parker didn’t want me and he would never love me that much I knew. I’d never considered loving someone like Parker either, but we were linked together, and that brought me pain. I didn’t love him. I felt it in my heart. That didn’t mean his rejection didn’t hurt. I didn’t think it would hurt this much to be rejected by him but it did. I wanted to rewrite destiny. I wanted to realign my fate and link myself to someone else, anyone else, maybe then I could be happy.

I’m in a forest running. The forest is dark with no absolute sound except for my panting. My breath emitting in soft smoke from the cold air. I can hear footsteps behind me. My mind begins yelling at me to run, but my feet remain as they are. I know he’s coming. I know he’s after me but I can’t go faster and then, I fall. Though I try to get up as fast as I can it’s too late. He’s already there and all I can do is crawl away from his blood red eyes gazing at me with hate while his mouth foams. I can feel my throat tighten and my mouth go dry as I try to scream.

No sound leaves my mouth and my heart pounds in fear. I can’t move and all I can feel is the rough grass against my hands that can only clutch the dirt in fear. Hearing a feral growl across the earth, the silence is cut. Someone stands in front of me protectively and in his Nova form, Parker. He’s growling his posture rigid as he looks back at the hyena ready to fight it when it gets closer to me.

“She’s not yours to have Archer!”
“Give her to me!” Maxwell says. His angry voice make me cringe, fear paralyzes me and I find myself covering my ears trying to protect myself from hearing him inside my head.
“Get out of my head!” I want to shout to him but then Parker turns to me and he is no longer in his Nova form but back to his human self.
“Take her,” He says calmly, his eyes void of any emotion as he looks down at me and my heart stops at his words.
“I don’t want her,” He says before Maxwell moves forward in his Nova form. Maxwell’s eyes look back at me then, increasing my fear. All I can do is turn to Parker and grab a hold of his arm to try to save myself.
“Please don’t! Don’t let him take me! Please!” I plead but he looks away from me, harshly shaking me off him and walking away without a second glance.
“You’re mine,” Maxwell says before he lets out another growl. But just like that there’s a pink glowing beam that then surrounds us and he’s gone leaving me alone in the forest.
“You need to stop being so afraid,” Someone says and I realize it’s the orb like thing that has spoken. Remembering the fire, I realized it was there.
“You were at the fire before Parker came to save me,” I spoke before the orbs glow intensified and almost in a blink of an eye it’s gone. Only this time a girl was standing in front of me. Her body bruised and beaten the words UNWORTHY written on her arm.

Her eyes are an olive green color, her hair a soft chestnut color that is the softest of browns. She wears a white dress as she gazes at me with a warm smile.
“Who are you?” I ask her and she simply offers a smile and walks toward me.
“Angel,” She says before sitting by the tree and pushing me down to sit next to her.
“You have to stop being so afraid of life, and the world. Especially of Parker,” She tells me.
“But I-”
“I know how you feel. You feel alone, hurt, and afraid he’ll reject you… That no one will ever want you,” she says.
“That’s what happened to me,” She whispered, her eyes filled with sadness.
“I was stupid. I couldn’t wait for him and now. I left him behind and caused him pain,” She whispered.
“Who?” I find myself asking before she looks at me and offers me a sad smile.
“My soulmate,” She whispers.
“It won’t be the same for you,” She continues.
“You have Parker.”
“He doesn’t want me,” I tell her feeling a weight on my heart that I can’t seem to push away.
“Are you sure about that?” She asks.

“I can’t say much, and I can’t tell you how to feel about him. He’s made bad decisions in the past, yes, but he’s not a bad person Lyric,” She tells me.
“You’re stuck in the past, thinking of the old him. But yet you don’t look at what’s in front of you. His actions now, even then. There’s so much of him that you’re not seeing and so much of you that you don’t let him see,” She says.
“But now you have a choice to make don’t you?”
“I don’t under-”
“You will. When the time comes,” She says offering me a smile once more, the sadness in her eyes leaving her. Her eyes now filled with wisdom.
“Just don’t make the wrong choice. Everything always has a ripple effect. No matter what you do or who you choose everyone will feel it. Still, there’s always the less dangerous from the more chaotic,” She says.
“What does that mean?” I asked her but she only smiles pulling her knees close to her chest and resting her head on her knees while she looks at me.
“It means be careful. And no matter what. Follow your heart,” She whispers.
“Even if it is confused at the moment. His heart will push yours in the right direction.”
***
The right direction? What could that be? At the moment my life seemed to be set to the opposite of whatever that was. There was so much chaos in my life right now I felt like I’d been put in a blender and someone had hit the purée button on high. It seemed like the more I thought about things the more afraid of the outcome I became. I couldn’t picture my life with either of my two “Soulmates.”

Parker had hurt me once before and knew of a past I wanted to forget. Then there was Maxwell Cray. Cray I did not know, but all I had to do was gaze into his eyes to know of the terrors that awaited me if I chose him. I only hoped the council could make a decision that would be okay with my terrified self. Whatever time I had the previous night to think things over had been spent in fear and without sleep.

“Lyric,” Startled from my thoughts I turned to see a familiar face. She was standing there looking at me with concern and for the first time since arriving in Archer, I felt relief.
“Jane,” I said to her relief clear in my tone. Sensing my distress Jane offered a sympathetic smile and came to sit beside me on the bed.
“We came as soon as we heard,” She said.
“We?” I questioned.
“Andrew’s here?” I asked thinking of my other friend. I realized that having Andrew here would only add pressure to my already complicated two soulmate mess. But I could not help but want to see my friend.
“My soulmate and I,” Jane clarified, her words soft and unlike her. Though I knew I shouldn’t pry I wanted to ask her, mostly to stray my mind from my own problems.

“Who is he?” I ask and for a second she’s silent and I can see her eyes drift away in pain. For a moment I wonder if this is how I myself look when I think about Parker.
“Brad. Brad Jacobs,” Jane says and my mind then drifts back to high school. I can remember seeing him. He was always a goofy guy. Physically he was like a brick wall and the captain of the football team. What I remembered most of Brad was his booming infectious laughter. The guy was much like Jane when it came to his attitude, cheerful. He had short blonde hair and his eyes a deep rich honey colored. I had seen him just a few days prior when I arrived. He and Parker had always been good friends in school.
“He and Parker are friends,” Jane said to me.
“I’m sorry you have him. And Maxwell. They were talking about it when Brad and I arrived,” Jane said tears in her eyes but I couldn’t understand her reaction. If anything I knew her just as much as I did Crystal and knew her tears were not for me. Whatever problems she had were overwhelming her.

“It’s not that bad. Parker’s not that bad,” I tell her gently, and she laughs or rather scoffs wiping a few stray tears from her face.
“This is so screwed up Lyric. You get stuck with a bastard like Parker Archer and now I’m stuck with a guy like Brad Jacobs,” She cries. And there it was. The root of her problems. Still, I knew she would not say much unless I continued to speak myself.
“Brad’s not a bad guy. He was a good guy in High School and as far as I know, he’s always been nice to everyone.”
“Including you?” Jane asked.
“I was irrelevant. He wasn’t nice or mean,” I say to her.
“I wish that had been the case for everyone,” She said, her eyes filled with unshed tears while she spoke.
“I don’t.”
“My twenty-first birthday was six months ago Lyric,” She began on the verge of tears.
“I received a letter a week after going to the Nova Labs. I’m not like you. I’ve always been excited to meet my soulmate, thinking that when I saw him and he saw me, it would be like some stupid fairytale.” She spoke quietly.
“I was wrong,” She said, her voice quivering at her words before more tears fell from her eyes
“What happened?” I asked her gently, trying to calm her only to have a sob escape her lips which she quickly tried to stop by putting a hand to her mouth.
“The letter explained I’d have to wait three months. He’d been fined three times by Nova law,” She said.
“Oh no,” I thought to myself, knowing exactly what happened.

In fact, I remembered clearly how many girls hung around Parker and Brad during school. I would hear about Devil’s Creek and the “Fun” unmated and hormonal teens had down there. Brad was a frequent visitor to that place and as far as I knew so was Parker. Knowing that made me feel uneasy thinking about it. The little respect Parker had for me then, how little he valued me now as well. I’d always been set up to be rejected by him. Regardless if he knew it was me back then or not.
“Three times Lyric!” Jane spoke snapping me out of my own thoughts.
“Three different women. Each time they find someone being intimate with someone that isn’t your mate you’re fined. You know what happens then don’t you? Your mating gets set back a month,” Jane explained, though I knew this, all I could do was remain silent having no idea how to comfort her.
“It was high school,” I try to say, but she scoffs again while more tears run down her eyes.

“I was hurt Lyric. But I understood that. They’re guys. I get that. But it was what he did after… I thought after three months that would be it. That I could finally see him and we could talk things through but three more fines appeared. He’s such an asshole Lyric! He doesn’t care about me,” She said to me before completely breaking down. Hugging her I tried to calm her but I couldn’t help feel pity for her. Parker had hurt me in the past but I realized he hadn’t done so since I arrived.
“It’ll be okay. I’m sure you can work something out,” I whispered.
“I wish I had two choices like you. Maybe the other one would be better,” she said.
“Or he could be worse,” I said to her, causing her to crack a smile.
“What are you going to do?” She asked sniffling.
“I don’t know.”
“What are you going to do?” I asked her.
“For now. I’m not really talking to him. But I know that I can’t let this get to me. So I’m going to do to him what he did to me,” Jane said.
“What is that?” I ask her. She doesn’t say anything nor does she get a chance to do so because the door opens and Parker is standing there. The look on his face is calm but his eyes show concern, maybe fear, as he speaks.
“It’s time to go to the council.”

(Parker)
I could see it in her face as soon as I’d told her Maxwell was also her soul mate. Confusion, Fear, Terror, for a moment I was again taken back to the moment of that fire. It had been a long time since then and I realized she no longer looked at me that way. Maybe there was fear of the unknown but the way she was looking at me now, thinking of him while she shook, I knew she was terrified of Cray. Everyone knew who he was, the tyrant he’d become and if she chose him I had no doubt in my mind he’d only bring her pain.
“But then-”
“I’m also your soulmate,” I said to her, knowing this what she wanted to be answered. There was only more confusion in her eyes and so many questions that seemed to cross her features. I knew simply because they were most likely the same questions that ran through my own head.
“Lyric,” I call out to her and though she meets my gaze, it is almost like she is in a trance of fear. Even if she’s aware of what’s going on it almost seems like she doesn’t believe it. I can see tears in her eyes from the fear and as much as I want to comfort her, I knew it would be out of the question. With me being who I am in her eyes it was impossible. I can see her begin to fade. That blank look from five years ago comes back and I’m afraid myself.

The last thing I ever wanted to see on her face is that look of being lost, fragile and beyond repair.
“Lyric,” I speak once more, grabbing her by the shoulders and shaking her lightly.
“I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve never heard of anything like this but the council’s intervened,” I explain to her. My words are meant to comfort her but, they have no effect on her as she does not relax.
“I’m defective,” She whispers softly, unaware that she’s spoken out loud or that her words are like a knife to my stomach.
“Nothing’s wrong with you,” I tell her, though I want to tell her so much more.

I want to tell her how perfect she is, how beautiful she’s always been. How sorry I am for everything I’ve done to her and if I could take it back I would. I knew this wasn’t her fault. Maybe this was a cruel way of fate and Karma mixed together telling me I didn’t deserve someone like her. But why him? Why Cray? Why someone that I knew would hurt her so much.
Thinking of her with him was something that made it difficult to breathe. If she chose him, however, I knew I would have no other choice but to back off. However, whatever the councils’ decision would be our fates, that much I was aware of.
“Listen to me okay,” I tell her gently.
“Tomorrow we’re going to travel to neutral ground and we’ll meet with the council and we’re going to know what to do. For now, try to get some sleep okay. I have to go talk to my father and handle some things. I’ve put someone to guard your door his name is Oliver. He’ll take care of you if anything happens,” I assure her.

She doesn’t say anything and though I tried to calm her with my words, I know they’ve done nothing for her. There is still that fear in her eyes as I look at her.
“There’s still me,” I want to tell her.
“I will also protect you. Give my life if I have to because I love you,” I want to say, but I know she’d think nothing of my words. How would she? If my previous actions hung over my head. Though I want to stay with her to comfort her, to try to ease some of her pain and share her worries I know it would be no use. She wants to be away from me. Had she asked me to stay I would have complied, but she doesn’t say a word to me. Instead, I leave the room closing the door behind me.
“Sire,” Oliver speaks as he stands outside Lyric’s door.
Oliver was the best ranked Nova officer in our forces and though I trusted him to keep Lyric safe. I wanted to stay and take care of Lyric myself but I was injured and there was not much I could do for her. I had been useless to her for such a long time really, what sort of safety could I ever offer her when she feared me?
“I shall guard her with my life,” Oliver says and though that should bring some ease to my own worries it doesn’t. I didn’t know how much time I had left with Lyric. Would she chose me in the end? How much more of this chaos could she possibly handle.
***
It’s dark here. I can hear voices outside. Laughter. Her laughter. There’s music coming from the other end, though I try to move the clinking of metal stops me and I realize my feet have been chained down. I struggle to break free and the room begins to flood at a quick pace. Faster and faster the water rises until I am deep under murky water and it is still pitch black. The lack of air makes it harder to breathe. My lungs begin to feel like they’re going to burst while my head pounds in sync with my heart. I can feel myself sinking, fading away with the lack of air.
“Not yet Parker you can’t give up just yet,” I hear someone say.
Just like that, there is light. A pink small orb is lighting up the room and I can see a floating key. Trying to stay awake and keep my focus I fight the darkness trying to pull me in and reach the key. I swim down and try to unlock the chain from my foot but it doesn’t seem to fit in the keyhole.
“The door,” Angel speaks before I swim toward it and place the key in the keyhole and turn the key. The door opens with a harsh push after that letting the water burst out like a flooded damn. The harsh current of the water only pushing me past the door and toward the other room as the water pours out until it drains away. Somehow, the chain around my feet is gone. My clothes are miraculously dry as am I. The room or rather the hall I am in I recognize from my own house. This hall leads to the ballroom I realize, distinctly I can hear a soft melody playing which whispers across the hall.
Making my way down the door to the ballroom I can hear the music getting louder as I approach. Opening the doors, I see Lyric standing there along with dozens of guest all in formal attire, that’s when I notice him with her. She’s smiling at him, at Maxwell. He smiles back. His eyes portray malice as he takes her hand in his and guides her toward the middle of the ballroom. They begin to dance and her eyes are shining with love and happiness that I have never once seen.
Our friends, the council, my own father, everyone is celebrating with her and I don’t register why they’re here until I look closely at her. Lyric is in an elegant white dress and there is a ring on her finger. My heart plummets when I realize what this is. Lyric has married him. She has chosen him as her soul mate. She has chosen to love him.
“Lyric!” I call out to her but my voice doesn’t seem to reach her ears and no one else seems to hear or notice that I’m standing there.
Water then begins to fill the ballroom suddenly, a large current seems to be coming and no one but me seems to notice. Just like that they are all carried away by the current and I find myself trying to swim against it looking for Lyric who is gone now. When the water is gone, I am standing in the forest once again like many of my dreams. Floating in the murky dark water Angel continues to do backstrokes.
“Why do you keep showing me all this?” I ask her in frustration.
“It’s not me,” She speaks.
“That’s just your imagination running wild. I just bring you here afterward,” She says.
“Why?” I ask her.
“So that you know those are your fears getting the best of you, not your reality,” She says, before coming out of the water. Somehow she’s completely dry and simply sits by the tree as always hugging her knees close to her.
“Aren’t you going to sit with me?” She asks offering me a smile. Sitting next to her, my back resting against the tree as well, Angel sighs. She closes her eyes and looks up at the sky before once again turning to look back at me.
“You know,” She begins, her voice soft.
“You and Lyric are much more alike than you two think,” She says, resting her head on her knees now, a peaceful smile on her face.

“You shouldn’t worry so much about an outcome you can’t control.”
“How can I not? I’m going to lose the person I love,” I tell her, causing her to smile lightly.
“Why are you so sure that’ll be the outcome of tomorrow? Don’t you trust the stars?” She asks.
“The stars gave her two soulmates,” I tell her.
“No. They gave her two mates. Two people to choose from. That doesn’t mean they’re both her soulmate,” She says.
“I don’t under-”
“Have you ever taken a really hard test?” She interrupts and I find myself nodding at her before she continues.

“When you have multiple choices, there’s always at least four answers. When the question is too hard, you do the process of elimination. You know. Deciding which are the most unlikely and you usually end up with two answers,” She says.
“The stars have eliminated all the unlikely stars, the ones that are completely wrong for her only leaving two of them. Like a really hard question in a test. The two answers that are left. One sounds like the real answer and the other one is the answer. The real question isn’t which one is the right one. But can I pick the correct answer,” Angel says.
“So what does that mean for her and I?” I ask.
“There’s two mates. One is right the other is wrong. One is her soulmate the other isn’t. You can’t know what she’s going to choose. And you can’t be sure you’re the right answer either,” she says.
“But I-”
“You can just hope you are and that she chooses you,” Angel says.
“That doesn’t make any sense,” I tell her.
“It doesn’t have to make sense it just is. That’s how love works,” She tells me.
“Then why don’t you just tell me who she’ll choose?” I ask and she laughs lightly.
“She asked the same thing,” She says to herself shaking her head before turning to me again.
“I can’t answer that for you Parker. I’m only here to make sure you are headed in the right direction,” she says.
“And when we do?” I ask her.
“Then can you go where everyone else does after they-”
“Not yet,” She speaks cutting me off.
“Not until that feeling is gone,” She says, her eyes sad and mixed with confusion.
“What feeling?” I ask her.
“Waiting…”
***
The next morning brought nerves for everyone. We were traveling to meet with the council to decide our fate. I could tell everyone was on edge that morning because of the tense atmosphere that felt suffocating. Whatever it was the council had decided would be our fate. It was clear to everyone that whatever the outcome was it would not only affect Lyric, Maxwell and I but both Kingdoms.
“This is driving me crazy. How is the council going to fix this?” Crystal spoke pacing in the living room.
Everyone had tried to have breakfast that morning, but it seemed not even the King could eat with the tension in the room.
“They are wise people and are unbiased to either kingdom,” My father spoke, though I could have sworn he muttered the words unfortunately under his breath.
“They’ll pick you right Parker?” Crystal asked her eyes filled with worry.
“They won’t let her go with that monster right?” She asked again. Though I wanted to confirm what she wanted and what I hoped, I knew I couldn’t. How could I if I myself did not know what the council would decide?
“I can’t live with this worry,” Crystal said before looking at me and blushing with embarrassment at what she had said.
“Sorry. I’m being insensitive. You must be feeling worse,” She says, but I simply offer her a forced smile as the doorbell rings.
“I’ll go get that,” Spencer says, walking off to the door.
“Is she still asleep?” Crystal asks, worry and stress completely showing on her face and I wonder if I am reflecting the same thing.
“I didn’t want to wake her up yet. She didn’t take the news that well,” I tell her.

“How is she?”
Turning I see Brad standing there an awkward look on his face. Next to him, there is a woman with short dark hair and green eyes staring back at everyone, a look of concern on her face.
“How is she?” She asks again.
“I’m sorry I-” Brad begins, but she cuts him off quickly and coldly.
“Is Lyric alright?” She asks.
“She knows Lyric from-”
“We’re friends. We have been for five years. My uncle is on the council. We traveled here together,” she says. As she speaks she seems to be glaring at everyone almost defensively as if no one would believe her words unless she emphasized everything she said.
“We heard what happened yesterday. How could the Cray’s make it past the guards of Nova?” She asked angrily.
“They had the council approve their entrance but Lyric. She’s okay for now,” Crystal speaks up and the girl visibly winces.
“Damn it” She mutters to herself.
“I’m Crystal by the way and this is my mate Spencer,” Crystal says, extending her hand out to the other girl
“Jane. Jane Black,” The other girl says, shaking Crystals’ hand before turning to me.

“I’m Parker, Lyrics’-”
I don’t have to finish to know that she knows who I am because her eyes grow angry for a second. Jane is looking at me in the same way Crystal once did. With hatred and anger.
“I know who you are,” She interrupts. Though she doesn’t elaborate I know Lyric’s told her everything about her past.
“Can I see her?” She asks me.
“Come on. I’ll take you to her and we can discuss some things, put you up to speed,” Crystal tells her, leaving with the girl and heading upstairs.
“Son,” My father speaks up after a few moments of silence.
“Spencer and I will go check on the guards. For now, just try to relax,” My father says, though he and I both know that’s impossible.
“Come on son,” My father tells Spencer, who offers a tight smile and leaves with my father, leaving Brad and me alone.
“Sorry about my mate. She’s pissed at me,” He says awkwardly.
“She’s intense,” I tell Brad who cringes at my words.
“I know,” Brad says.
“What’s up with her? She’s only been here a few days?”
“I didn’t want her here. I’m not ready to settle down yet,” he says.
“She was supposed to be here six months ago.”
At his words, I realize what this was. Brad and I were always the ones that cared less about soulmates. Being mated, it all seemed so suffocating back then. It had also been the cause of my stupidity with Lyric. Had I known the consequences all this wouldn’t be happening now.
“Six times? You were fined by nova law six times?” I questioned him.
“The first three were completely on accident. After that I just. Figured I could extend my single life just a bit more but I didn’t think she’d be this pissed at me,” Brad spoke.
“I don’t blame her,” I tell him.
“Then again. I’m not exactly the right person to judge.” “Isn’t Lyric pissed at you for this too?” Brad asked.
“No,” I tell him. With everything going on Lyric and I hadn’t really discussed anything that had not involved her safety. I hadn’t realized that she knew of all my… escapades. I had never been caught, and I had always been careful about what I did and with who. Back then I was different, but I was well aware Lyric had seen and probably heard rumors about me and various other girls at school. Now, however, things had definitely changed. Then again ... Would she even care at this point? Probably not. Things had turned out like this and I realized that this was simply another nail in my own coffin.

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