1 CHAPTER O1

Lara

My shoulder deflated as soon as I stepped out of my car. On the way to my locker are the queen bees of the school, who love to play pranks on me every day that I'm here at the school.

I wondered why they loved to bully me. I am not a nerd. I am friendly and try to fit in even though I feel uncomfortable surrounded by people. I dressed in regular clothes, and I did well in class. I am not at the top nor on the bottom, but I am just fine.

I sigh again and just try to ignore them. I lowered my head when I walked past them, but someone held my bag, stopping me from moving.

I looked up, and Scarlette's smiling face greeted me. Scarlette in my eyes. She's gorgeous. She is tall and has a good body figure with a beautiful look. She could be an actress if ever she tried to. The only bad thing is, she covered that beautiful face with thick makeup, and her body was covered by revealing clothes, without leaving any for imagination, and she had a nasty attitude.

"Yes?" I asked, my head hanging down. I'm not scared of her and her friends. I can endure the pain they inflicted on me. The reason why I endured all of it is that I don't want to be in trouble. This school is my safe haven, and I don't want to be kicked out of here.

The only person I'm scared of is the Mafia boss, Blade. I only know the reason and my best friends, Owen and Ashley. I don't want anyone to know about it other than them. It's my little secret.

"Stay away from Owen." I sighed. How many times did she warn me about it? I can't count anymore. Since our first year in high school, she has been interested in my best friend, but sadly, Owen doesn't like her because he already has a girlfriend, a scary Ashley. If ever Ashley found out about Scarlette, I'm sure she would make her like a mop on the floor. I chuckled inside just at the thought of it.

Ashley is a medical student. She's in her third year now. I know all of you wondered how Owen became her boyfriend. Owen is not a high school student. He already graduated as a surgeon last year, and the reason he was in high school is my other secret.

I wanted to roll my eyes at Scarlette's glaring face but hold myself, or it would earn a slap from her. Sigh, this girl is a bitch.

"Owen is my best friend. I couldn't stop him from coming near me. He's been my friend since my first year," I explained.

"Just stay away from him, or I'll make you,'' she warned. That warning again. I sigh. I moved away from them to go to my locker. She screamed, annoyed because she hated it when I turned my back on her while she was still talking, but stopped when she saw Owen approaching.

"Hi, Owen." She greeted him with a broad smile on her lips. Gone is the bitch Scarlette and was replaced by a sweet one.

"Hi." Owen shortly answered. "Lara, why are you still here? Your class will start in a few minutes." He scolded me. See, he's like a father to me.

"Good morning to you too." I sarcastically said, and I earned a deathly glare from Scarlette.

Owen chuckled at my remarks, then wrapped his arm around my shoulder and guided me to my room with Scarlette's blazing eyes following us.

"I can't accompany you home later because Ashley and I have a date later. Is it fine?"

I rolled my eyes. "Why ask if you two already planned it?" I scoffed.

He just chuckled and kissed my forehead. "Be careful on your way home, Princess," he whispered.

"I know. Now shoo. I'm sure you don't have a plan to attend class, as if you need it anyway. Say hi to Ashley, and enjoy yourself."

"Thanks, Princess, be careful. Call me if anything happens.

"Okay, dad. Bye." He chuckled and kissed my forehead again before he left. I sighed and went inside the classroom.

All my classes ended in a blur, and I am happy that I didn't encounter Scarlette on my way. I hurriedly went to the parking lot and got in my car. I fastened my seat belt, then slowly reversed my car out of the parking lot.

I stopped at the grocery store I passed by and bought some groceries for a week. It was already seven in the evening when I stepped out of the store. I put the groceries in the back seat before going to the driver's side. I turned on the ignition, but I screamed in fright when something or someone bumped into the driver's side window, and I saw blood on it.

I quickly unlocked my door. I know I'm not being careful, but what if someone needs my help? I stepped out of my car, and someone quickly covered my mouth. My eyes widened in fright.

"Help me." The man holding me whispered before he fell to the ground unconscious. I looked around, it was a bit dark where I parked my car, and I saw some movement a few meters away from where I was.

I could feel danger, but I couldn't force myself to leave this man. I opened the back seat, hurriedly moved the groceries into the trunk of my car, and helped the man in the back seat.

It took me five minutes before I finally laid him down on the seat. I rechecked my surroundings, and I saw three men checking every car in the parking lot, and they were seven or eight vehicles away from us. I hurriedly wiped the blood off the window and kicked some dirt to cover the blood on the ground before going inside the car.

I slowly reversed my car, thankful that the exits were not where they were. I rolled my window so that they could see me. I saw them looking at me, but I pretended not to notice them and continued to drive at an average speed, and I let out a sigh of relief when they resumed checking other cars.

I quickly sped to the place I know someone who can help him. I took out my phone from my bag and dialed Owen's number.

"Hey! He answered after two rings. "What's wrong? Something happened?"

"I need your help. I'm heading to your place now. Wait for me outside."

"But I'm not at home. I'm in Ashley's home."

"Then I will go there. Wait for me." I told him, then hung up. I glanced at the man behind me, and I saw that he was pale now. He has a wound on his chest, as well as on his side, and the blood continues to come out.

I stopped outside Ashley's two-story house, and I saw both she and Owen were already waiting outside.

Owen rushed to my car, faced full of worries as soon as I stopped.

"What happened?" He asked, opening my door.

"I'm fine. Someone needs your help, and not me."

"Who?"

I opened the back seat, and he gasped as well as Ashley when they saw the man in the back seat. They exchanged a knowing look, and then I saw the panic on Owen's face. He hurriedly carried the man and ran inside, followed by Ashley.

I locked my car and followed them inside. Owen laid the man in a guest room, and Ashley rushed to prepare the thing they needed. I just watched in the corner, didn't know what to do, seeing the panic in both Ashley and Owen's faces.

Owen cut the man's shirt, and I am right. He had a wound on his chest and side. This man has a lot of tattoos on his body, but not his face. He looked young and good-looking.

"We need blood," Owen said. Ashley quickly took her phone and made a call. After that, she returned to Owen's side and helped him. Owen's finger dipped into the wound, and he pulled something, a bullet, and Ashley quickly covered the wound to stop the blood.

Owen dips his finger again at the other wound and pulls another bullet. Two minutes later, the doorbell rang.

"Lara, can you get it? Its blood." Ashley said. I ran outside, and I saw a man standing there. He looked at me, and his eyes widened a little before he lowered his head and handed me a cooler.

"This is the blood Miss Adams's asked for," he said. I took the cooler from him, and he quickly left, but he glanced back at me when he was a few feet away before he finally got in his car. I shrugged it off and rushed back inside.

Ashley quickly took the cooler from me, took the blood bag, connected it to the IV, and connected it to the man's wrist.

I watched as Owen sewed the wound while Ashley was checking his vitals.

"He's safe now," Ashley said in relief.

"He almost did not make it," Owen muttered, throwing the gloves that he used in the bin.

"How did you find him," Owen asked and sat down on the couch in the corner. I moved toward him and settled on his right.

"I went to the grocery store, and when I was ready to leave, he just appeared outside my car. He bumped into the driver's side of my car, which startled me, then I saw blood on the window, so I checked it. I stepped out, but he quickly covered my mouth, and he asked for help. After that, he lost consciousness."

"You know that you are not careful?" He said with anger in his voice.

"I know, but I'm just curious, and I cannot just leave him behind to die," I explained. He sighed, leaning his back on the sofa. Ashley sat on the armrest beside him, holding his hand.

"He's lucky to run in your car. If not, he's already dead now," Ashley said.

"I'm going home now."

"No, you will sleep here tonight. It's dangerous for you," Owen quickly said.

"Okay." I agreed without arguing. "But I bought some meat."

"Don't worry. I'll put it in the fridge later. And I'll bring your groceries to your house tomorrow."

"Okay. I'm resting now."

"There's food in the dining area above the table if you're hungry," Ashley said.

"Thanks," I said and made my way to one of the spare rooms, where I always stay every time I am there.

I took out my pajamas and went into the bathroom, and washed up. After, I went to the dining area and ate.

I washed my plate and made my way to my room but stopped at the door where the man was, and I heard Ashley and Owen whispering something like a boss, and some I couldn't hear properly. I shrugged it off and went into my room to sleep. I'm tired, and tomorrow I need to wake up early because Ashley's place is an hour's drive away from school. I sighed and drifted off to sleep.

***

I groaned when my alarm sounded. I weakly sat up and picked up my phone, and turned off my alarm. I yawned and stretched my body. It's still five-thirty in the morning, but I need to leave earlier if I don't want to be late.

I went into the bathroom and took a bath. After that, I dressed up and fixed myself. I have spare clothes for both Owen and Ashley's house if I can't avoid a sleepover with them.

I stepped out of my room, and I made my way to the room where the man was staying. I slowly twisted the knob and pushed the door open, I stepped inside, and a brown orb greeted me, curtains with long curly lashes looking at me.

"You're awake. How are you?" I asked and went to the side of the bed.

"Where am I, and who are you?"

"You don't remember? You asked for my help last night. I'm the person inside the car, and I brought you here to my friend's house. She helps you. She's a medical student." He tried to sit, but I quickly held his shoulder.

"Just lay down. You are still weak, and your wound might bleed again. You want something?"

"Water." He weakly said.

"Wait. I'll get some water for you." I ran out of the room and went to the kitchen, where Ashley cooked something.

"Your patient is awake, and he asked for water," I told her, grabbed bottled water on top of the counter and a straw, and ran back to the room, with Ashley following me.

"Here." I help him drink, and after two sips, Ashley stops him.

"Enough." You cannot drink too much." Ashley said.

"This is Ashley, my friend that helped you, and I am Lara. What is your name, and why do you have a bullet wound?"

"I'm Scott, and someone robbed me." He shortly answered.

"Lara stopped asking him a question. He's still weak. He needs to rest." Ashley told me.

"Okay. I need to go to school anyway. I'll drop by later before I go home. Bye Scott. Get well soon. Bye, Ashley, tell Owen I left already."

"He's waiting for you outside."

"He's early," I gasped. Ashley just chuckled and told me to go.

" Bye, Scott," I said again before stepping out of the door. "Wow, he's handsome, but he looks a bit older than me. I smiled and stepped out of the front door and went to my car.

"Why are you smiling," Owen asked as soon as I sat in the passenger seat. I fastened my seat belt, and he quickly drove off.

"Our patient is so handsome, and he's awake now. And his name is Scott. He said someone robbed him."

"You have a crush on him now?" He teased me. I just rolled my eyes at him and looked outside the window. Owen just chuckled and ignored me.

We arrived at school, and I facepalm myself when I saw Scarlette and her cronies not far away from my car.

"What?" Owen asked when he saw my annoyed face.

"Your dear Scarlette will be furious to see you stepping out of my car. She warned me again yesterday to stay away from you, or she will make me."

"You're a big girl now. You can defend yourself from a bully like her." He teased me.

"You know I can't. What if I get kicked out?"

"Then we went home. That's simple."

I glared at him. "I don't want to go home. I'm fine here." I said, annoyed, and stepped out of my car. Owen just shook his head and followed behind me. Scarlette's eyes quickly turned into slits when she saw Owen get out of my car. I ignored her, went to my locker, took out the book I needed, and went inside my classroom.

"I hope nothing will happen to me after the end of my classes, but all my hope vanishes. During lunch, Scarlette purposely tripped on the table legs, and the hot soup she was carrying was thrown on my arm, resulting in my arm having a red burn on it. On my way to my car, one of the jocks accidentally threw a soccer ball at me, and I fell and got a bruise on my right face. They laughed at me, but I ignored them and went inside my car.

"You alright?" Owen asked worriedly. He had helped me many times before, but I got mad at him and told him to stop doing it. He was mad at me, but I was stubborn, and he finally gave in and always watched when someone bullied me.

"Your face. Ashley will get mad when she sees it."

"I just lied," I told him. He just shook his head and drove off to Ashley's place.

I quickly went to Scott's room as soon as we arrived, and he was already sitting leaning on the headboard, with Ashley checking his vitals.

"You're okay now?" I asked and placed my bag on the couch in the corner.

"Yes, thank you." He weakly said. I grinned and sat on the edge of the bed.

"Lara, what happened to your face," Ashley asked. I hung my head down, biting my lips. "I bumped into the door." I lied. I saw Scott looking at me, and I smiled at him, but he just looked at me. I pouted and looked at Ashley but quickly recoiled when I saw her deathly glare.

"Stop lying." She snarled. Owen stepped inside and mouthed, "I told you so."

"Some jocks were playing soccer, and a ball hit me on my face," I told her, twiddling my fingers. I looked up when I heard Scott chuckle while looking at me.

"Stop chuckling. It's not funny." I scoffed. " You haven't seen Ashley get mad. If you see her, I'm sure you'll get scared."

Ashley and Owen exchange that knowing look again while looking at Scott, who has a smile on his lips.

"I'm going home now. Ashley is mad." I said, standing up.

"I'm just mad because you let them bully you." She scolded me. "How many times have I told you to fight those bullies?"

"I'm fine. And it's not painful."

"You're not fine." She continues, but I quickly hug her, smiling.

"I'm fine. See, this is only a small bruise. I just put ice on it, and boom, it's gone." I grinned.

"Lara...

"I know, I know. You're just worried, but I assure you, I'm fine. And when it gets too much, I will do something about it." She sighed and patted my head.

I smile at Scott, whose eyes are not leaving me all this time. "Umm! Scott, you want us to call your relatives to tell them what happened to you?"

"Ashley already did, and a friend will come to get me later."

"Ah, okay. So this is a goodbye then."

"I'm sure we will see each other again. And thank you for saving my life. I owe my life to you."

"Forget about it. Anyone who sees you that night will do what I did."

"You're wrong. If I didn't run into you that night, I'm sure I'm dead now. Not many people are as kind as you."

"I'm flattered, thank you."

"Thank you." He said and offered his hand for a handshake. I accepted it, smiling. His hand is warm and hard against mine. He shook my hand longer than necessary, but I didn't mine, and he only let go when Owen cleared his throat.

"Lara, it's already late. Come on. I'll drive you home." He said and stepped out of the door.

"Bye, Ashley. Bye, Scott." I waved at them and followed Owen outside.

Next chapter