Home > Broken Trust A Dark High School Romance

Broken Trust A Dark High School Romance
Author: Tate James




I couldn’t stop shaking. My hands trembled to the point where my toothbrush clicked against my teeth as I tried to brush them.

It had been eight hours since I’d shot a man in the head.

Eight fucking hours since my entire life was ripped to shreds.


Losing my parents was still the worst moment of my existence, but the betrayal of Beck, Dylan, Evan, and Jasper ranked a close second.

“You okay?” Dante asked, perched in the bathroom doorway. He still looked rough, but I’d patched up most of his injuries, and in general, he was dealing much better than me. We were back in his Jersey apartment. I’d taken his car—which had been out in the woods, after he was lured there by Beck—and then driven at stupid speeds all the way back here.

Spitting out the paste, I rinsed my mouth. “No. Just … not fucking okay.”

He moved closer, and when his image joined mine in the mirror, it was clear how much paler than normal I was. Dante had bronzed, inked-all-over skin, and I looked like I’d never seen sun in my life.

“The first kill is always the hardest, Riles. Give yourself time.”

Bile rose in my throat, and I tried to swallow, but everything burned.

“I … I don’t even want to touch that statement,” I told him hoarsely. “But I have to ask … have you actually killed someone before? More than one someone?”

I turned my back on the mirror—it was revealing way too much of my pain and sadness, and I wanted to properly see Dante’s face when he answered.

He examined my features, like he was searching for something, before he nodded, expression serious. “Yes. I have.”

A huge gust of air burst from me, and I clenched my fists to stop them from shaking.

Dante continued. “I should have told you earlier—I’m a little more involved in the gang life than I’ve previously let on. I was trying to keep you out of danger. Funnily enough, the Grims were the least of my worries when it came to you.”

I wanted to laugh, because it was ironically funny, but I just didn’t have the heart for any emotion like that.

“What are you going to do?” Dante asked me softly, the green of his eyes darkening as anger filled them. “This is a fucked up situation, Riles, and while I will help in any way I can...”

He trailed off because we both knew there was really nothing he could do to help me.

I shrugged. “They own me now, so I have to play the game.”

Beck and the others had made that perfectly clear. There was only one way out. My brother, Oscar, had taken that route, but I was not at that place yet.

“And Beck?” Dante asked, and I was surprised that he didn’t sound as fucked off as he usually did when mentioning the heirs. “What are you going to do about him?”

Laughter finally burst from me, harsh and cynical. “Beck is dead to me. He used me. Made me care about him. All the time he’s been playing the long game for Delta. If I knew any of this shit was coming, I would have bailed long ago and just kept running for the rest of my life.”

Now I had blood on my hands. I was trapped.

That knowledge made it hard to breathe.

“One day you will control a portion of the most powerful company in the world,” Dante reminded me. “You can make them all pay then.”

I nodded, having already thought about that myself. It was my most fervant hope that one day they would regret inviting me into their world. I just had to figure out how to do it all without getting Dante killed. He was the one person I still trusted and loved. Even Eddy was iced from my life now.

Dante and I crawled into his bed, and I put the television on. Silence was the enemy, and thoughts had to be banished before I lost my mind. Snuggling down into the familiar sheets, breathing in the familiar scent, I could almost pretend for a moment that my life hadn’t completely gone to shit.

“You know you can stay here as long as you need,” Dante said sleepily, turning on his side to see me better. “But what are the odds that Delta won’t hunt you down?”

I wished I could just stay here forever. With Dante. And pretend the rest of those fuckers didn’t exist. Dante was right though, they were never going to let me fade away. The entire fucking point of me shooting a man was to have leverage to hold over my head.

“Like I said, they own me now, but I’m going to make it as difficult as I can for them,” I decided, pushing my hair back so it was across the pillow.

Dante reached out and took my hand, squeezing it gently before he rolled back the other way and almost instantly fell asleep.

Bastard had always been able to do that.

Meanwhile, every single time I closed my eyes, all I could see was the jerking of the Huntley dude’s head when the bullet went through. The spatter of his blood as it coated so much of the room behind him. The thud as the gun slipped from my hands and hit the ground. Beck’s face as he lowered his own weapon, freeing Dante.

Those images were permanently branded in my brain. On my soul.

“You want something to help you sleep?” Dante murmured, not quite asleep like I’d thought.

I shook my head. As badly as I wanted oblivion, I was scared to let myself be vulnerable again. Drugs or alcohol were going to be a rare occurrence in my life, because this new world I was part of was dangerous and cut throat.

Dante’s breathing got really deep, and I was relieved that he was finally resting. He had so many injuries, sleep was the best thing for him. Meanwhile, I continued to stare at the ceiling, too tired to even cry.

My heart hurt so badly, like the fucking thing had been stabbed and was slowly dying. It was so much more than the fact I’d had to kill someone. I’d lost four guys who I’d been counting as friends … as more than friends. Family.

My phone lit up again from the bedside table, and I ignored it. It had been going off all night, messages and calls, over and over, non-stop, until eventually Dante suggested I turn it off. I couldn’t bring myself to do that; instead, I put it on silent and just left it there to torture myself.

I wanted so badly to know what they were saying. So badly.

But I was too angry.

A loud banging on the door had me jumping about a foot in the air. Looking over, I was surprised to see Dante remained sound asleep. He desperately needed it, so I didn’t wake him. Stumbling out of bed, I pulled the shirt down from where it had crept up. I wore only Dante’s shirt and some clean panties that I’d thankfully left here and he’d washed for me.

Creeping out of the bedroom, I tiptoed through his living room and stood behind the door.

Somehow, before they even spoke, I knew who was out there. I could feel that energy they carried, like an extra spark or presence that most people didn’t have.

“Butterfly, I know you’re in there.” Beck’s low voice drifted through to me.

I dropped my head against the wood, and the tears which had been absent since I’d taken someone’s life finally appeared.

“Please open the door,” Dylan added.

“Go away,” I whispered, exhaustion and tears choking my words. “Just leave me alone.”

Please. I was silently begging.

“We want to explain,” Jasper said, and his voice was rough, “We … we can’t have this conversation out in the hall.”

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