The Kingdom of Archer Book I: Bloom

By J.Rose All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Scifi

Memories

(Lyric)

“I Love You.”

Love?... There was that word again.

Shutting my eyes tightly I tried to shake those thoughts out of my head. It had been an entire week since then. Since those words had been said to me by the most unlikely person in the entire world. Parker.

“Ms. Lyric. Are you okay?”

Hearing a knock at my door again I tried not to jump the way I always did and tried to find my voice.

“Yes. Oliver. I’m alright,” I managed to say before the quiet ensued once more.

Since my decision. Since the council. King Thomas and Parker had increased the number of guards around the castle and around me. Oliver had been assigned as my personal bodyguard. According to Crystal, he was the best at what he did. Oliver was like us, young, his hair was black styled neatly and professionally and he had olive colored eyes. His face looked kind and gentle but there was also a serious demeanor that he carried himself with. His built was tall and lanky. Physically he didn’t look as strong as Parker or Spencer for that matter but he was the best Nova warrior the Kingdom had.

“Human form doesn’t matter. Nova form does,” Crystal had explained.

From my understanding, Oliver was a giant, majestic eagle. I’d never seen him shift, but I realized he must have been great if Parker and King Thomas trusted him so much. Remembering our first official meeting really made me curious as to what type of person Oliver was.

I’d pondered Parker’s words the entire night. Love? Did he love me? How was that possible? Had he not hated me since he set eyes on me five years ago? Had he not hated me being his mate? Where was the Parker that had said so many harsh things to me?

“I didn’t mean it.”

Those words more than anything confused me. Why? Why was he acting like this? Obligation? Guilt? What could drive Parker Archer to say those words of want to me? More than that; why was I feeling like this? A small part of me as much as I didn’t want to admit it, was happy.

“You can’t like him Lyric. Liking him would mean much more. And then. Then where would that leave you when he hurts you again.”

“Ms. Lyric,”Hearing a knock at the door before it opens. I see a man standing there. He’s wearing a dark suit and his face is tight, his olive green eyes are piercing and intimidating.

For a second I look away but when he bows, I look back at him in surprise.

“My name is Oliver Bennett. King Thomas and Prince Parker have assigned me to you. I will guard you with my life Princess.”“Princess?” I question to myself, the words feeling so foreign and unlike myself. There were other words to use but Princess? Why was he calling me Princess?

“Lyric. My name is Lyric,” I find myself saying. As he looks up at me something flickers in his eyes and a small smile is shown on his lips. Just as fast as it comes, the smile goes and his gaze turns cold and professional.

“Ms. Lyric,” He corrects himself.

“If there is anything you need of me, don’t hesitate to ask,” He tells me.

“Oh. Okay,” I find myself dumbly saying unsure of what to asnswer.

“If you don’t need anything I will retreat,” He says his voice so formal that for a second I almost forget how young he is.

“Why is he acting this way?” I think to myself.

Bowing once more he turns to leave the room again only to stop when his hand reaches the doorknob.

“Princess,” He says turning to look at me. The look in his eyes completely visible that it makes me blush at the change in his tone. Just a few seconds ago he seemed well beyond his years. Now. Now I feel like I’m talking to someone my age.

“Yes,” I say quietly.

“I don’t mean to overstep but. Prince Parker is a good man. He cares deeply about you. He stays every single night outside your door to guard you himself.” He says quietly. His words making my heart jump, Parker’s name making my heart do its usual pitter patter and I hate myself for it. Still, Oliver continues to speak.

“You should talk to him Princess. He will tire himself out if he keeps this up. And then he might not be ready when the time comes to protect you.”

“Protect me? From what?” I question myself

“She has no choice!”

“Right. Maxwell,” I think to myself.

“Princess,” Oliver speaks again.

“Why do you keep calling me Princess?” I question and his eyes look at me again, this time in surprise as he looks back down at the floor. Why is he acting like this? Why was he refusing to meet my eyes when he speaks to me?“You are Prince Parker’s mate. Therefore, by being so you are his Princess. And one day when he is King you will be his Queen,” Oliver speaks.

“I shall leave you to rest some more.” He adds quietly before bowing once more and leaving.

“Princess…”

“Queen…”

I had not wanted to think of that status again since that welcoming party. How could I be… a queen? How could that be? I couldn’t even control my own feelings much less help rule a kingdom. My life was a mess as it was. And then… there was Parker.

I’d known he was a Prince all along. But somehow I hadn’t really seen him as that. He was always just… Parker. Then again what was he really to me?

“I love you.”

“Love?” I thought, shutting my eyes tightly trying to stop those words from circling my head on and on, buzzing about like bees.
“Obligation more likely,” I convinced myself.

“You’re getting it all wrong again.”

Looking up I could see a distinct pink orb floating in my room and I sighed. Was she right? Was I really wrong? I did not get the chance to ask her this out loud because the moment I did she vanished in the blink of an eye and without a trace.

“I need to think,” I told myself before getting up from the bed and reaching for my journal. Passing through the dozens of poems I’d written I opened the journal to a blank page. Setting aside the letter from him. Whoever he was, and placing it carefully on my bed, the flower with it as well. Maybe it was odd to certain people but I found myself the most confident and even a little safer when I had this letter around me. Somehow it centered me and allowed me to think, and right now I needed to be centered more than ever. Using the pen I’d stuffed inside the spiral of the journal, I began to write, feeling a bit ridiculous but needing to sort out my jumbled thoughts and feelings.

While Parker made me feel safe from Maxwell, he also made me feel insecure. This had nothing to do with the way he treated me now. In fact, it was because of what happened in the past and what Parker knew of my past that made me feel this way. Then again, Parker had been the one to save me back then and now.

Even when Parker hadn’t known who I was or who I was supposed to be he was always there for me. While his constant bullying at school did cause me grief things felt different now. Could people change?

“I love you.”

“Love?”

Whether that was anything at all I didn’t know. How was he sure about that? How could I be sure that he had been serious about saying those words to me? I had so many questions on my mind but I wasn’t sure how I should ask them. I was a coward in front of him for so many reasons that I wasn’t sure I could say anything.

“Lyric.”
Hearing his voice from outside my door made me gasp, and I felt myself blushing once more. Looking at what I had in my hands I felt stupid, childish. Immediately, I closed my journal stuffing my letter and flower in it. Quickly I hid the journal under my pillow just before Parker opened the door.

“Good. You’re up,” He said. But I simply bit my lip and looked down trying to suppress my flustered look which I was sure he could see.

He hadn’t come to see me the past few days after his confession and I wondered if that was more for his sake than mine. Looking up at him, he simply chuckled rubbing the back of his neck his hazel eyes looking back at me.

“I. Morning,” He said before chuckling again nervously.

“Why are you so nervous?” I wanted to ask.

“I love you.”

Hearing his words in my head again I looked down, my blush once again heating my face up.

“Morning,” I whispered quietly unable to phrase any more words, feeling my throat dry and my stomach churn.

“I. My father wants us all to have breakfast downstairs.” He explains.

“Oh. Okay,” I say quietly, before getting up to gather my things in order to shower. I tried not to tense so much around him. So many things were running through my head that it was hard to keep my composure at all; much less keep my blush in check.

“Lyric,” He spoke before I could reach for the bathroom door.

“Yes?” I asked quietly turning to look at him.

“About what I said. About. What I asked?” He said, his words making me bite my lip nervously.

“I know it’s only been a few days but. Have you thought about it? Giving me a chance?” He asked. For a second, I felt myself blushing harder and simply turned away.

“He was serious about that?” I thought to myself feeling my heart rate increase. My flaming cheeks felt so hot that I felt like I was in a sauna.

“I-”

“Never mind,” He cuts me off.

“You don’t have to say anything. I. Forget I asked right now,” He says quickly. For a moment, I felt myself relax again but when I turned to look at him, there was something in his face that told me he wasn’t done yet.

“Just. Think about it. Please,” He spoke before leaving the room.

***

*Bump, Ba-Bump, Bump*

There it was again. My stupid heart. Why had this always been my reaction to anything Parker Archer said or did?

“It’s nothing,” I thought to myself after undressing and turning the bath on, simply wanted to relax. Instead, I found myself feeling too much of everything and not knowing what it was. Taking a deep breath, I submerged myself in the water thinking back so far that I hadn’t realized I still had that memory.

It was the first day of school. The halls were busy with people walking in and out of school. I tried to ignore the sting in my back from his belt and the hurt my legs felt at my own weight. The bag which I carried on my back only made the ache on my shoulders intensify. The added baggage that came with my life only made me feel miserable I’d been given a scholarship to attend this school for the rich. My mom felt so proud knowing that the royal Prince’s both attended this school. Not that anyone talked to me. At one glance everyone knew I had no money. My clothes, my shoes. The old backpack I had with me. I felt like a small mouse in a gigantic house. Everyone seemed older than me, taller than me. Mean. Condescending.

“It doesn’t matter I came for school not to make friends,” I comforted myself.

*Bam*

Colliding with someone I fell back only to be caught by the shoulders in order to steady me.

“Sorry.” He said. He didn’t really give me a chance to answer back to him much less give a second glance before he ran off. Looking up at him I only saw his back. Dark hair and black leather jacket. For a few moments, I stood still, trying to steady my heart that had somehow skipped a beat from fear. Shaking it off, I continued to my locker finding myself following after him reading off the numbers on each locker trying to find my own along the hallway. Finally, I found my own locker just as he himself stopped at his own.

*Bump, Ba-Bump, Bump*

His locker was next to mine, and I found myself unable to move. Studying his face, I could see him talking to his friends. His locker was open, and he was stuffing books in and taking others out. He was smiling, laughing along with the boys next to him. When he smiled. His hazel eyes sparkled and his eyes crinkled a little. His entire face relaxed and depicted every emotion on his face. His head turned to me and I immediately dropped my gaze avoiding his own by hiding my face in my hair, glad to have let it down.

*Bump, Ba-Bump, Bump*

With shaky nervous hands, I turned to my locker trying my best to get the combination right without messing up because I could feel his eyes on me.

“Don’t look at him.”

“Don’t look at him,” I chanted in my head.

“Are you new here?” He asked his voice low and soft. The soft click of the locker sounded, but I refused to speak to him. My chest and my throat both tightening at the same time. My heart was racing, and I didn’t like that. Why was I reacting this way?

“She’s the scholarship Parker.” Someone spoke.

Parker? Was that his name? Why did that name sound so familiar?

“Come on man. We’re going to be late for class.”

“Yeah. Sure” He said before the locker next to mine closed and then his voice along with his friends faded.

By the time I was done stuffing my books in my locker and calmed my nervous racing heart he was long gone and I was alone in the hallway. The first few classes were okay. Nothing I couldn’t handle or understand. The people, however... They weren’t so nice. A few girls glared, other laughed, boys teased. It was all so… expected. Right now, I didn’t care what they thought of me. I had a lot more serious things to care about than my social status at school. By lunchtime, I was sitting by myself, having a sandwich I’d packed, a small juice pouch and an apple.

“Hi. Can I sit here? I’m Crystal Mane. We have English Class together,” She spoke up.

Looking at her I was a bit star struck. I had seen her throughout my day. She’d been sitting with a group of girls like her. Blonde, Blue eyed. Pretty. Popular. Was this a trick? Why was this girl talking to me?

“So can I sit?” She asked again.

“Why?” I blurted out and when she laughed I could feel my face turn 50 Shades of Red.

“I want to be friends silly. You’re new here right?” She questioned, and I found myself nodding dumbly.

“So can we be friends?” She asked again a smile on her lips. I didn’t have much experience with friends or with people in general but somehow I felt she was being genuine. She had been the only girl in school who had not called me “The new girl” or “The scholarship kid”“Okay,” I answered softly before she smiled and extended her hand out for me to shake which I slowly shook.

“What’s your name?” She asked.

“Lyric. Lyric Mason,” I managed to say.

“Crystal! Come on why are you sitting over here. Come sit with us,” A tall lanky boy with wild curly hair spoke up waving to her with a bright smile on his face. “I’m sitting here today Spencer,” Crystal called out to him.

“You don’t have to sit with me if you don’t want to,” I wanted to say to her. Deep in my heart I’d known this was a bad idea and now I was feeling exposed.“Oh. Okay.” The boy said before making his way toward our table and sitting with us. He offered a smile to both Crystal and I before motioning with his hand to someone else that I couldn’t quite see.

“Spencer this is Lyric. She’s new here,” Crystal spoke up.

“Lyric. Like a song Lyric? That’s unique.”

*Bump, Ba-Bump. Bump*

I didn’t have to look up to see who it was. In fact, my heart reacted on its own and I found myself looking down again to avoid eye contact.

“What was this? Why was I behaving this way?”“Hi. I’m Parker Archer.” He spoke up again, his name making me realize who he was. I could see his hand out but I couldn’t seem to move and then he slowly dropped it when I did not respond.

“She’s just shy,” Crystal spoke up for me and I found myself biting my lip at the uncomfortable silence.

“Archer. Parker Archer as in the Prince,” I thought to myself, my cheeks reddening. Now more than ever I realized I could never actually talk to him. He was Prince Parker Archer the future king, and I was just… nothing.

“Anyways. See you later Spencer don’t forget to meet at-”“The parking lot I got it. Parker. You were the one that was late this morning not me,” Spencer spoke up.

“Whatever. I’m going,” Parker said before walking away.

I didn’t dare look up not until I knew he was gone and even then I still caught a glimpse of him. He was with one of the boys from before the one with a goofy smile. He was talking to his friend and then… His eyes drifted to me as if he’d known I was looking at him and I found myself looking down again. I didn’t like the way my heartfelt, the reaction I had when I was around him.

“No matter what. You can never talk to him.”

Emerging from the water gasping out for air I pushed my hair away from my face.

*Bump, Ba-Bump, Bump*

Why had I not remembered that? Why had I remembered this until now? There was a time way back before all the worse happened; before I felt so broken. Parker had been nice to me and I had been the rude one.

“Lyric. Like a song lyric? That’s unique.”

“He was nice to me,” I whispered to myself.

“I love you.”

And now where do we stand? Where does my own jumbled heart stand?

(Parker)

We’re standing here again. In front of the Nova council. The atmosphere thick with tension you’d need a knife to slice through it.

“Your choice Lyric. Prince Maxwell or Prince Parker?” Councilmen Green asks. I can feel that pressure building in the room again; that quiet before the storm. Lyric is quiet for such a long time, the minutes feel more like hours. It feels like days. “Lyric your-”
“Maxwell. I chose Prince Maxwell,” Lyric speaks up, her voice rising just a bit before she meets councilmen Green’s eyes.

“Maxwell? She’s chosen Maxwell.”

The feeling in the pit of my stomach makes me lose my balance and fall to my knees. There’s a sensation of being punched and I have to catch my breath. She’s not looking at me. Her eyes are on the floor and Maxwell is already rushing toward her. His eyes are filled with malice as he approaches her.

“You’ve made the right choice girl” King Charles speaks to Lyric, but her eyes are downcast, afraid to meet King Charles or Max’s eyes.

Looking at me Maxwell smirks in triumph letting me know silently that he had won.

“She’s slipping away! She’s going to leave you!” My mind screams out.

“Son.” My father calls out to me placing his hand on my shoulder.

His eyes show a tremendous amount of grief and I realize I’m really going to lose her.

“Lyric please,” I speak up, my voice desperate, but she doesn’t turn to look at me. She only stiffens the way she always does when I speak to her.

“You can’t choose him. He’s going to hurt you. He’s going to throw you away. You can’t-”

“She’s made her choice Archer. Live with it,” Maxwell snaps at me placing his hand on Lyric’s shoulder. Though she stiffens she doesn’t push him away.

“What did you think? What were you expecting? That she would willingly go with you after all the crap you did to her?” Maxwell snapped.

“Thank you really,” Maxwell says cockily.

“You’ve certainly made this easier for me. You practically dropped her on my lap,” Maxwell says smiling.

“Come Lyric we’re going home,” Maxwell says before dragging her along by the hand harshly.

“Lyric,” I call out but she doesn’t turn, she never turns when I call after her.

“Stop it!” Someone yells out.

There’s a beam that glows pink and overflows the room with its light and then... Darkness. For a while, I feel like I’m floating in nothing and then. I’m back at that river and Angel is sitting by that tree.

“You two really like letting your imaginations run wild don’t you?” Angel asks before I walk over to her, sitting on the grass.

“She’s with you Parker. She chose you,” Angel assures before settling her arms on top of her knees. She rests her cheek against her arms and turns to look at me with a smile.

“You’re on the right path. Both of you,” she says.

“Can I ask you something?” I tell her, and she only offers a smile and nods.

“Why are you still here? I mean… Are you still here? Or is this a figment of my imagination?” I question.

For a moment, she stills, and then she smiles and laughs lightly.

“I can be whatever you think I am. That’s not really important,” Angel tells me.

“You didn’t really answer my question,” I tell her, and for a moment she looks down unsure about what to answer.

“I. I’m waiting,” She whispers sadly.

“Waiting for what?” I question her.

She doesn’t answer at first and her eyes flicker with so much pain and sadness that I feel like I’m looking at a part of Lyric here. Then, she smiles brightly and turns to me.

“I have a job you know. You and Lyric are my job,” Angel says evading the question. Her eyes meet mine and she looks away.

“Don’t look at me like that,” She whispers, and I feel like she’s small, reminding me of a child.

“Like what?” I question.

“Pity,” Angel says quietly.

“I don’t want it,” She whispers.

Then for the longest of times, silence ensues between us.

“I wish you were my soulmate sometimes,” Angel says, at her words I stiffen, unsure of what to tell her. She looks at me studying my face and she laughs wholeheartedly throwing her head back.

“I know you love Lyric. But a girl can dream,” Angel says before looking down.

“You’ve always loved her and you’re connected. I can see so much. I’ve been through your entire story so far. Both of you are… something else,” Angel says a smile on her lips.

“You’re lucky to have each other. Sometimes I really wish I could have met him,” She says looking down.

“Can’t you see him?” I question, and she looks down, a sad smile to her lips.

“I’ve seen too much.” She says sadly.

“I regret this so much and-” Angel begins, but before she can finish she shuts her eyes tightly, fixing her composure and shaking her head.

“You’re on the right path.” She says nodding to herself.

“Protect her Parker. With all you have. People won’t make it easy for you to be together.” Angel whispers.

“For now. Don’t lose hope and just be patient…”

The sunlight hits my eyes and I feel a sting of bright light blind me. My neck feels stiff and I try to shake the soreness of my back from leaning against the door all night. I can feel someone kicking my boot and I look up to see Oliver shaking his head at me.

“You shouldn’t keep sleeping outside her bedroom,” He tells me.

“I should. She’s my mate,” I tell him, standing up from the floor and stretching. The soreness of my body making me groan from the stiffness.

“Your father won’t like this. You’re sleeping outside the room. Why aren’t you sleeping there with her? She is your mate,” Oliver states.

“I respect her,” I tell him and he laughs wholeheartedly and I scowl at him but he simply raises his hands up.

“We’ve known each other for how long Parker?” Oliver questions and I know I’m talking to my friend right now not my father’s warrior. Oliver was raised a few towns away from Archer Capital. But his father was the Main Nova officer of Archer when we were children. Oliver always had a goofy smile on his face. I remember spending time with both my brother Spencer and Oliver playing around the castle. Sneaking away from out studies or simply enjoying summers together without worries were always the best. War was always something we loved playing while shifting into our Nova forms. War came with death and though we played this game many times we didn’t realize how true and real it was. Not until Archer was attacked by King Charles. At the very top of the casualties our General and Oliver’s father. In one moment things changes with a snap of a finger. The goofy kid I’d known died along with his father. In turn Oliver became the serious man he was today. From then on there were rare ocassions which I could count single handedly where he smiled. This was one of those rare occassions.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I question, and he laughs again.

“I get it, she’s your mate, you want to protect her. But don’t you think you could protect her a lot better if you were inside the room with her?” Oliver questions.

“Yeah right? Even if I wanted to, which I do. Lyric would never in a million years want to share a bedroom with me.” I think to myself.

“Like I said. I respect her,” I tell him and Oliver laughs again throwing his head back.

“Bullshit,” He says before clearing his throat.

“Like I said. I know you Parker. How many ‘Friends’ have you had since you realized women existed?,” Oliver asked.

“Too many to count.” I think to myself, but that was beside the point. Not only had I not had “Friends” Since Lyric left. But I had not even looked at anyone else.

“I talked to her you know,” Oliver spoke.

“She seems nice,” He adds quietly.

“Why haven’t you contacted your mate?” I ask and for a second he stiffens and I feel like I’ve overstepped because he goes into professional mode again.

“I don’t have time for that. My life consists of giving it away to protect my King.” He says his tone calm and his eyes tight.

“Bullshit,” I want to say, calling out his bluff but I can’t, simply because I know the reason for him feeling that way.

Oliver was maybe five years old when King Charles started a war with my father. He’d used fire and attacked a boat that was exporting goods around Archer lands. He killed hundreds of Nova men and my father retaliated with anger ready for war and sending Oliver’s father to fight. The price for that was his life. Oliver’s mother practically went insane with grief and not even Oliver could keep her steady. Less than a year later she passed away and my father sent Oliver to live away in boarding school. He’d come back during summers but it was never the same. He no longer played, no longer smiled. For a really long time, he looked pitiful. I understood now too. When you love someone so much you don’t want them to hurt. Clearing my throat awkwardly I decide to change the subject realizing it had gotten all too heavy to discuss at this point. Then again… Lately, everything has been too heavy to discuss.

“The guards,” I speak up and Oliver once again shifts into work mode and nods.

“Yes Sire. I’ve taken care of it myself and have done full rounds around the castle.” He says before a glint in his eyes appears and he smirks.

“Though I think I’d be better protecting your beloved here don’t you think? At least I don’t fall asleep halfway,” He says. It wasn’t really true. I spent most of my night taking care of Lyric, making sure she was safe. But since she arrived, I’ve been staying out here feeling the need to protect her. Exhaustion is heavy on me and I haven’t had a good night sleep in a while. Still, I’d rather cut off an arm than let something happen to her.

“I’m going,” I tell him before heading into one of the guest bedrooms to get ready for my day.

***

My father has called me into his study again, and I wonder what he wants to discuss. He’s been so busy himself, trying to protect Lyric and I. I feel like a child again. He has that look in his eyes that I’ve only seen when mom left. Still, I say nothing when I enter his study. His back is to me while he sits in his large chair behind his desk.

“How are things son?” He asks turning his chair around to look at me.

“Okay,” I tell him and though he doesn’t say much, I know he’ll prod until he gets the answer he wants.

“Lyric. Have you talked to her?” He asks getting to the point this time.

“Not yet,” I tell him.

“We’re having breakfast in a few minutes. Call her downstairs,” He says and I simply nod. Thinking about talking to Lyric again after my confession of love, however, makes my palms sweat and the tips of my fingers tingle.

I’ve been avoiding her the past few days going out of my way to not see her. It’s a mixture of embarrassment and fear. I know she doesn’t love me, much less feel anything else toward me. Our conversation a few days prior gave me an insight to her that I had not expected. I realized even if by some miracle she did accept me, I was going to have to prove her wrong of everything she thinks she knows about me now.

“Have you talked?” He questions. By the glimmer in his eyes I know he’s teasing me, and I have to fight the urge to roll my eyes at the old man.

“Yes father,” I tell him, and he simply smiles.

“You have a lot of time on your hands right now Parker. We’ve secured things around the castle and if you want to take her out you can. Nova guards are going to escort you wherever you like. Just keep a close eye on her and take care of yourself,” He says his mood shifting quickly to anger and stress.

Cray’s not going to go away quietly. That threat a few days ago was clear to me. He wasn’t going to let Lyric have a choice. But I also knew one thing myself, I was going to fight with my life in order for her to keep her choice. Even if that choice was to walk away from me too.

“I know,” I tell my father before he nods, and I know the conversation is over. Standing up from my place, I simply walk back out.

Thinking back to everything that’s happened so far I can’t help but blame myself and her past. Had things been easier we would be like Spencer and Crystal. We’d have met at school and from there, things would have gone smoothly. But much like everything else in my life, it wasn’t perfect.

“Look at me. Please look at me,” I begged in my head. I could hear her approach her locker, much like she did every single day. Much like today and every other day she would stand beside me and ignore me.

“Hi Lyric,” I spoke to her when she stood next to me. Her eyes were always downcast and I could never see them. She never spoke when I was around nor did she look up. There was such a need inside me that told me I had to see her eyes. I wanted to see her smile so bad. I wanted her to look at me, acknowledge me, but she never once did so.

The clinking sound of her locker was soft and then she walked away, the back of her head in my direction. It was all I ever saw of her. Why was she ignoring me? Why would she always remain quiet when I was around?

“Is that girl still not talking to you?” Brad questioned smirking.

“How does that taste in your mouth Archer? Every girl here practically falls at your feet. Except her that is” Brad pointed out to me.

“Like I care,” I said to him, only to hear his booming laughter while his shoulders shook and he threw his head back. Patting me on the back he smirked shaking his head.

“Right? And I don’t really care that we have to claim celibacy until we get our soulmates” Brad said.

“Don’t sweat it man, she’s just a girl. A poor girl,” He stated. Somehow that statement of his bothered me and I had the urge to slam him against the lockers and demand he does not talk about her. Still, I played it off. Parker Archer does not over think things. Especially not girls. Especially not that… Little girl Lyric.

“What are you guys talking about? Who’s poor?” Spencer asked walking over to us.

“That girl Crystal talks to,” I speak up. In front of them, I don’t use her name. I try to pretend like I don’t see her and that the way she blows me off every single time I’m around doesn’t bother me.

“Lyric?” Spencer questions before frowning.

“Right. Her,” I say casually.

“Crystal better not hear you say things about her you know how overprotective she is,” Spencer says.

“Why?” Brad questioned.

“Everyone else is already antagonizing her she doesn’t need crap from you guys too,” Spencer snapped.

That was true. Everyone here thought they were too good. She was scholarship and the way she dressed only added to the teasing.

“Don’t look at me. Parker’s the one bothering her every morning,” Brad says smirking.

“Pick on someone? I’ve never done that before and I wasn’t picking on her.” I think to myself. All I wanted was to talk to her. There was just something about her… a pull that told me to do so.

“Leave her alone Parker she’s just shy,” Spencer says glaring before walking away. Laughing Brad simply pats me on the back again and shakes his head.

“Come on man let’s just got to class,” He says.

For a few more days it’s like that whether I’m in the halls walking behind her, next to her. Even if I’m right in front of her, she never looks at me.

*Bump, Ba-Bump, Bump*

My heart gives the signal and I know she’s walking toward me. Before long I can hear the soft clicking of the dial of her lock. She’s standing next to me again. I turn to look at her but I can’t see her face again. It’s hidden behind her hair.

“Talk to me. Look at me!” My mind screams out but she doesn’t even look up. Closing her locker, she steps away, her back facing me.

“She’s walking away! Stop her!” My mind screams.

“Well if it isn’t the schools’ charity case,” I speak and for a moment she pauses and my heart races. But just like that she walks away almost as if she’s heard nothing. If only for a second she reacted, and I felt something inside me pump the blood faster to my veins making adrenaline course through me like a drug.

Shaking my head at the memory I couldn’t help but want to slam my head against the wall. I am an idiot. Why the hell couldn’t I see what my heart was trying to tell me? Why the hell did I have to pick an easy way to get a reaction? I knew the answer all already because I was gutless. I didn’t have the courage come up to her and have a conversation. I did not have the courage to speak what I felt for her. Nor did I have the patience to make her want to talk to me. As soon as I started to insult her everything else went to shit. Now I had to work harder and not let my stupidity win over this time. No matter what I was going to have to work hard and make her open up to me.

Making my way to her room, Oliver simply smirked shaking his head and stepping away from the door. I felt my heart racing and my palms sweating feeling like a dumb teenager with a crush. I hadn’t talked to Lyric since my confession, mainly because I was nervous about rejection.

“What if she doesn’t want to see me yet?” I think to myself, hesitating to knock on her door.

Behind me, I could hear Oliver snicker and I realized I had no choice but to speak up and get it over with.

“Lyric,” I call out to her knocking on the door of her bedroom. For a moment there is silence and then I hear movement inside indicating she was awake.

“Good. You’re up,” I manage to say to her walking into her bedroom trying to maintain my composure. She’s sitting on the bed her eyes wide and somehow she looks a bit flustered. She doesn’t say anything and I can tell our silence is more awkward than ever.

“I. Morning,” I say dumbly trying to lighten the mood but Lyric simply looks down and I can see a blush on her cheeks. My heart tightens and slows down from the uncomfortable silence, so much so, that the slow thumping makes it hard to breathe.

“Morning,” She says, her voice soft before looking back up at me with her big brown innocent looking eyes and a tinted pink hue on her cheeks.

*Bump, Ba- Bump*

“Damn it.” I inwardly curse fighting my own blush and feeling like such a chick for it.

“I. My father wants us all to have breakfast downstairs.” I rambled out to her.

“Oh. Okay,” She says awkwardly before she gets out of bed. When she passes by me, I can smell the soft scent of strawberries and a soft scent that I can only describe as hers.

She moves around in the room gathering her things trying to ignore me, I assume. She stands by a drawer opening it and taking things out of it silently. Part of me knows it would be best to leave her alone for now but I also wanted to know if she’s decided to give me a chance.

“Lyric,” I call out and for a moment she stiffens her back going rigid while she straightens up. Silence ensues again before she turns to look at me.

“Yes?” She asks quietly her voice hesitant and shy.

“About what I said. About. What I asked? I know it’s only been a few days but. Have you thought about it? Giving me a chance?” I ask her and the moment I do Lyric’s face goes completely red while she looks away from me. Automatically my own face heats up, and I’m glad she’s not looking at me.

I feel like such an idiot knowing I’ve embarrassed both of us with my question.

“Never mind,” I tell her trying to ease both our embarrassment only to feel my own nerves intensify when our eyes meet.

“You don’t have to say anything. I. Forget I asked right now,” I stutter out quickly trying to bolt out of the room and trying not to die of embarrassment myself. Heading to the door I want to leave but my mind screams at me not to run.

“Don’t be a coward!” I tell myself before turning to look at her while she simply looks back, a mixture of curiosity and something else that I can’t read.

“Just. Think about it. Please,” I tell her before walking out, as I do, I almost bumped into Oliver who’s standing right in front of me. There is a smirk of mischievousness on his face and I have no doubt he heard my ramblings in there. Shaking his head Oliver pats me on the back chuckling.

“Real smooth Parker,” He says and all I can do is inwardly curse myself knowing his sarcastic remark is right. Wasn’t I always cool and collected when it came to women. Why was it that Lyric Mason completely disarmed me?

“Damn it.”

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