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Play With Me: A High School Bully Romance (Diamond In The Rough Book 1)

By:Rebel Hart



“No! Please! Somebody, help!”

The car skidded out of control and tires burned their rubbered tracks into the road. I gripped the ‘oh shit’ handle in the car, feeling us careening out of control. I screamed for help as I saw a car going over the edge. Sounds of metal crunching against metal sounded helplessly in my ears as I cried out a name I didn’t recognize. A name that sounded unfamiliar, even as it fell from my lips.

Then the world muted itself around me.

Our car came to a stop just beyond the impact point. The mangled guard rail in front of us ignited into flames as I pushed out of the car. I stumbled around, feeling my stomach upheaving its contents onto the road. I couldn't regain control. I couldn't see straight. Between motion sickness and worry bubbling in my gut, my dinner didn’t stand a chance of staying down.

“Help!” I roared.

I stumbled to the guard rail and peered over the edge. I gazed into the darkness below, watching it undulate, as if it were laughing at me. I looked around for the car I knew had plummeted over the edge. I tried to gaze beyond the darkness. Beyond the movement. Beyond the endless expanse of nothing that seemed to cloak the fall downward.

“Are you down there?” I exclaimed.

I heard someone calling my name. Someone off in the distance. I whipped my head up, surveying the world around me. All it did was fall into darkness. Slowly, the creeping nothingness swallowed up colors. Shapes. Sounds. My eyes widened as the road disappeared. I looked up, watching the stars get swallowed whole by the hellish expanse of Vantablack around me. I kept backing up until my legs touched the mangled guard rail. I felt the piercing, heated shards dig into my skin while the flames themselves were put out by the nothingness that surrounded me.

Then a piercing sound ricocheted through my ears.

I stumbled back, falling off the edge and into the darkness below. I reached up for the world above me, but it quickly fell away. Everything got swallowed up. I felt myself falling. Panicking. Breathing harder and harder. I flailed my arms, turning myself around until I was facing what I thought was the ground.

And it was then I saw it.

“No,” I gasped.

I bolted upright in my bed, feeling sweat trickling down the nape of my neck. I wiped at my brow, listening as my alarm for school went off. I licked my chapped lips, wincing at how dry they were as I tossed the covers off my bare legs. I closed my eyes as my feet touched down onto the dirty carpet of my floor, burying my face in my hands.

“Not again,” I murmured.

That damn dream never ceased to haunt me. For as long as I could remember, it started off every fucking school year. Without fail. The night before my first day of school, I’d have that dream. It didn’t matter what I did, what I ate before bed, whether or not I took something to help me sleep, or what I watched in order to fall asleep. For years, that same dream ushered in my years of school.

And it seemed as if my senior year of high school was no different.

“I need a shower,” I murmured.

The cold sweats always made me feel gross. Especially when they soaked through the T-shirts I wore at night. I pulled it all off, even my soaked panties, before tossing them into the hamper. Even from beyond my bedroom door, I heard the snores of a man. Some man my mother had probably dragged home from the bar last night. I rolled my eyes as I walked into my bathroom. I turned the water on and let it run for five minutes before I sighed.

Apparently, I’d have to take a cold shower this morning.

“Great,” I whispered.

It was the shortest shower of my life. But I did what I had to do. I washed my body, ran some shampoo through my hair, then decided to forgo conditioner so I could fucking get warm. I hopped out and reached for a towel, slipping and sliding everywhere in the process. I still didn’t have my legs underneath me. This summer had been enough of a hell-binding, torturous state. What with my terrible ongoing job at the grocery store and Mom sucking down half of whatever I made at the bar every night. I got the job my freshman year to start helping out. I got the damn job in the first place so we wouldn’t have to keep picking and choosing which bills to pay every month.

But when I went to turn on my bedroom light, I realized the only thing my money did was help my mother bring home more men.

Because our electricity had been shut off.

“Fucking great,” I sighed.

I focused on getting ready for school, because the sooner I got out of the house the sooner I could let this entire summer fall from my mind. I tied my hair back into a low ponytail, then brushed my teeth. I pulled on the first outfit my hands found, since I couldn't see what the hell I was doing. And after rummaging around in the change jar for lunch money, I grabbed my backpack and an apple to have for breakfast. I even grabbed a water from the pantry, just to splurge on myself a little bit.

The relief I felt as I stepped out onto the porch almost knocked me off my feet.

I saw the foreign car in the driveway and shook my head. It sure as hell wasn’t her boyfriend’s car. Nor was it hers. I snickered as I walked up the driveway, making my way to school. My mother was notorious for bringing home random one-night stands. Even if she did have a steady boyfriend who gave her whatever the hell she wanted.

You know, in exchange for knocking her around a little.

“And yet, we still can’t pay our bills,” I muttered.

I took a large bite of my apple before cracking open the bottled water. I knew I’d catch hell for it after school, since my mother practically had a counter on the food in our home. But I didn’t care. I was thirsty as hell after sweating through the night. After dealing with that stupid nightmare.

I shivered at the thought of it.

“There she is!” Michael exclaimed.

I smiled as I tossed my apple core down a drain pipe. Allison came barreling for me, her long blond hair billowing in the summer breeze behind her. I held my arms out, catching her as she ran into me, almost knocking me clear off my damn feet. I hugged her tightly as the collar of her Ralph Lauren shirt tickled my neck. And before I could even let go to take a look at her parents’ traditional ‘first day of school’ outfit for her, Michael had his arms around both of us.

Squeezing the ever blessed-fuck out of our bodies.

“Michael, I can’t breathe,” Allison choked out.

“Mike. Are you high?” I croaked.

“Oh, I missed the two of you. I didn’t see you guys at all this summer,” Michael said.

“Stop. Please. I beg of you,” Allison said breathlessly.

“I’ll kill you in your sleep,” I hissed.

Michael released us and we both dropped to our feet. Allison and I heaved for air, then I stood back and surveyed her outfit. Typical, for her parents. A bright pink collared shirt with a pale blue emblazoned Ralph Lauren logo against her chest. A khaki skirt with boat shoes that were, somehow, the same color as her khakis. I giggled at the laces matching the pink hue of her shirt and the pale blue earrings twinkling in her ears. I shook my head in fascination, never ceasing to be amazed at the outfits her parents could conjure.

I snickered. “Your parents single-handedly keep Ralph Lauren in business.”

Allison held out her arms. “What? They’re good clothes. You mean you don’t like this outfit? I wore the blue just for you.”

Michael grinned. “Well, by the looks of Rae, black and brown are in this year.”

I rolled my eyes. “Says the boy wearing eggshell-colored shorts that come two inches above his knees.”

Allison nodded. “I’m just impressed you know what shade ‘eggshell’ is.”

Michael faked a tear. “Mom would be so proud of you.”

I looked down at my outfit and shook my head. I looked like a maniac. My hair was frizzy from no conditioner. My black shirt had lint and dust all over it. And my brown pants were so baggy my inner thighs rubbed together when I walked. None of which took into account my bright green flip-flops Mom had purchased for me this summer on a whim to apologize for some fight she had with her boyfriend.

A fight that wound up destroying my hand-me-down iPod because it got thrown against the wall.

“You guys ready for school?” I asked.

But my two best friends in the entire world were giving me ‘the look.’

I sighed. “Guys, not now. Please.”

Allison quirked an eyebrow. “Did you have that nightmare again?”

Michael narrowed his eyes. “Or did your mother do something?”

I shrugged. “Why can’t it be both?”

Michael shook his head as Allison let out a string of curses under her breath.

I giggled. “Don’t let your mom hear you talk like that.”

Michael wrapped his arm around my shoulders. “Anything I can do?”

“Yeah. You can stop dwelling on it and help me get to school faster.”

The three of us fell in line, abandoning my rundown neighborhood in exchange for perfectly-manicured lawns and sprawling homes. That was the Riverbend High area I knew. Not the rundown shacks in the shadows of the town I lived in, but the massive homes Allison and Michael lived in. They lived perfect lives. They had perfect families. Michael with his adoptive parents that loved him as if he were their own. And Allison with her biological parents that were still very much in love. It seemed that with the nicer suburbs came nicer lives. Nicer parents. Nicer homes to be raised in and nicer food to eat. I envied them for the lives they had. I envied the relationships they had with their parents.