Home > Bad Boys Break Hearts

Bad Boys Break Hearts
Author: Micalea Smeltzer




10 years ago…





The sun heats my skin, burning my neck. It prickles and I reach up to scratch it. I should’ve put on sunscreen like Mommy told me to, but I didn’t listen. She says I never listen.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” my older sister giggles, her eyes darting between me and my best friend Mascen.

“Uh…” I blink. “What’s that mean?” I hiss at Mascen.

He cuts his eyes to Hazel. “I think we’re supposed to kiss,” he whispers back, looking at the grass wrapped around my finger for a ring. Mommy wouldn’t let me borrow hers.


He nods, puckering his lips.

I’m eight, though, and shouldn’t be kissing. Daddy would hurt Mascen if he saw.

But before I can push him away he kisses me. It’s so fast I wouldn’t think it happened but static burns my lips.

“Ow!” I touch my mouth. “That hurt.”

“Kisses don’t hurt,” he argues.

Hazel runs toward the swing set, bored with this game, and I take off the itchy dress she made me put on over my clothes so that it’d be a real wedding.

“You shocked me.” Hands on my hips I stare defiantly up at the boy who’s only ten but is so big he could pass as twelve. It’s annoying.

“You knew I was going to kiss you.”

“That’s not what I meant.” My lips turn down in a pout.

Mascen looks at the blade of grass I put around his finger. “What do we do now?”

“Hazel’s gone, so whatever we want.” I’m already heading toward the jungle gym.

“We’re married. We should do married people things. Like … kiss again.”

I shoot Mascen a confused look. “My parents never kiss anymore. All they do is fight.”

Mascen stops walking. “Really? Mine kiss all the time. It’s gross, but kissing you isn’t.”

I feel my cheeks get hot. “No more kisses. We’re not actually married.”

“What if I want to be?” He tilts his head, hands on his hips.

“We’re too young,” I scoff.

Mascen’s eyes get bigger. “Fine, when we’re older you’re going to be my real wife.”

“Whatever you say. Can we go play now?”

“Sure, Rory.”

He grabs my hand and we run the rest of the way to the jungle gym.

That was the last day where my life was simple.

The next, everything went to hell.



Chapter One





Staring up at the big brick monstrosity, green ivy climbing up the sides and along the front, I can’t help but smile.

I made it here, all on my own. For so long I didn’t think college was a possibility for me, especially not one as prestigious as Aldridge tucked into the vast green hills forty-five minutes from Nashville. I worked my butt off to get chosen for a scholarship and I hadn’t celebrated that feat until now. I don’t think it felt real until I pulled onto campus.

I’m free.

The sun burns bright in the cloudless blue sky. It’s a picture-perfect day to welcome me to my new home.

Closing the door on my rickety old Ford pickup truck I inherited from my grandpa when he passed, I go to cross the street to the main building to pick up some things I need, like my schedule and room assignments. Somehow they didn’t turn up. No doubt my mother spotted them in the mail and in the trash they went—anything to try to keep me trapped and as miserable as her.

I’ve barely made it to the middle of the crosswalk when tires screech so loudly my hands threaten to fly up and cover my ears. Turning to my left I come face to face with a bumper.

The massive bronze colored SUV brakes to a stop inches from my body.

My breath is gone, my heart is beating too fast to be healthy, and now I’m frozen staring at the bumper with DEFENDER written across it in all capital letters. I have no idea what kind of vehicle it is, but it nearly had my blood splattered all across that too shiny hood. Red and bronze would not look good together.

Trying to compose myself, I stare at the tinted windows, too dark to make out the driver who nearly ran me over.

Before I can catch my breath the bastard behind the wheel honks his horn—or hers, I guess it could be—as if I’m the one doing something wrong.

Anger flares inside my small body and before I know what I’m doing my left hand shoots into the air, middle finger pointed and waving at whatever jackass thinks it’s appropriate to honk at someone they almost ran over.

They honk again, and I slam my hand against the hood. It doesn’t even dent or scratch but it makes me feel better. With that parting gesture I make it to the other side of the crosswalk unscathed except for my still out of control heart.

The asshole slams on the gas, leaving behind the scent of burnt rubber in his wake.

“Calm down, Rory.” I hold my hand to my chest, shaking my head back and forth in an effort to get rid of some of the jitters. “You’re fine. You’re safe.”

But maybe you can slash that prick’s tires later. Surely there aren’t many of those vehicles driving around here even at this exclusive university.

Entering the massive wooden double doors, my mouth gapes in awe. The ceilings are high, higher than I’ve ever seen, and dark wood floors extend through the foyer. The walls are comprised of large round stones with sconces inlaid, giving it a medieval castle flare.

Still not recovered from the incident outside, I spot a bench against the wall and sit down. The last thing I want to do is speak to a secretary or anyone in a professional capacity while looking like … well, like I just got run over. I came close to being road kill. The ironic part is that’s exactly what I’d be. No one would care about the poor girl who got hit on campus, and my mother certainly wouldn’t bat an eye. I think my sister might be hurt, but even that I can’t be sure of with our sporadic contact.

Smoothing my hair back, I take steadying breaths.

Once I feel calm enough and my hands are no longer shaking I stand, walking down the hall like I know exactly where I’m going. After I spot someone I get directions for where I need to go so I don’t end up wandering in circles. A few minutes later I find myself in the main office.

After explaining the situation the kind lady working there quickly prints off the information and passes it to me. Thank God she doesn’t ask why I couldn’t access it from my computer. I don’t have one, and if I had I’m sure my mom would’ve stolen and sold it for a quick buck. I was forced to use one in the old library a few miles from our house, which for the longest time I had to walk to until I got Grandpa’s truck. Speaking of computer, I’m going to have to buy a laptop to take notes on and for papers. I spent the whole summer working non-stop at the diner a few blocks from the trailer, stashing every dollar I made to cover the costs of necessities since thankfully I don’t have to worry about tuition or even my costs of food as long as I eat on campus.

“Thanks so much.” I flash her a smile, folding up the papers.

This time I manage to make it across to the parking lot without getting run over—or nearly in this case, but close enough.

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