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Dylan

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    Fantasy
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  1. Dylan

    Underworld

    I'm a wandress, I'm a one night stand Don't belong to no city, don't belong to no man I'm the violence in the pouring rain I'm a hurricane Chapter 15 [ Alexa ] The day of the accident Ever since the night with Jonah, Alexa couldn't eat. She couldn't sleep. Her tears had long dried, their descent leaving long dark streaks down her face. Her head pounded any time she opened her eyes, so she kept them shut. Days passed, and Giovanni's words were a broken record in her brain. He had just beat him and beat him. Surely, he had thought he had beaten him to death. But Jonah had called 911, and the paramedics had arrived just in time. They lifted him off the plush carpet of the den, carrying the stretcher out of the house as quickly as they had came in. Dao survived. Barely. She was to blame. Police inquired about the cause, and Jonah said it was a home intruder. There was no evidence of a break-in. The police couldn't just rule out domestic violence, so they talked with neighbors, seeing if they had seen anything suspicious recently. Questions about whether or not they had been arguing or had displayed odd behaviors also arose. Of course, the answers were no. The Chiangs were quiet but kind, and hadn't let their wealth go to their head like some do. With the lack of evidence and Dao being unconscious, they could only wait until he woke up for more information. Or for Jonah to come forward about who did it. Jonah, of course, couldn't reveal anything. Giovanni could just as easily finish the job if he wanted to. It wouldn't be the first time he had to bribe his way into a hospital or a prison to tie up some loose ends. Alexa sat there early that morning, brewing over all of this, with a heaviness in her chest and sore eyes. She was afraid that at any moment, Giovanni would snap and he'd do the same thing to her. She wished that it had been her. It had been her fault, not Dao's. Giovanni should've killed her. She had taken his money and split town. But he didn't. Instead, he just gave her that feral grin of his and did what he always did. He gave her a deal. Make enough money to cover triple of what he had lost because of her, including the money spent tracking her. And the money spent on getting a new suit. "My favorite suit and it got ruined by blood. Such a pity, isn't it?" He had told her. His wolfish smile made goosebumps rise on her skin. He'd also leave Dao alone in the hospital as long as she did exactly what he said. He reveled in reminding her of what he did constantly. And it was in those days that she realized why she was so special to him. Ever since he first laid eyes on her, the gears in his mind began turning. A pretty teenage girl could sell anything, and he wanted to expand his market past drug addicts. He wanted to slither his product into the grasps of naive teenagers and young adults alike. She was desperate, scared. Willing to do pretty much anything, as long as she never had to see her father again. The perfect pawn. She didn't know it at the time, but she had escaped a wolf only to run right into a lion's claws. She knew he wasn't bluffing, she had been doing just what he asked: selling more product than ever before. Anger rippled in her, and shame. It fueled her desire to sell more and more, to trick those who were stupid enough to buy this 'totally awesome trip' that none of their friends had heard of yet. Rich kids always thought they were invincible. She didn't even feel all that bad. So that's where she was that night. Some huge modern house on the hill, overlooking Lake Westwood. It was full of stupid, drunk rich kids, and she fit the bill perfectly thanks to the exquisite black dress she wore that fit every curve of her body. It was a gift from Gio himself. Despite being a monster, he had impeccable fashion taste. She got some looks, alright, and she knew how to play this game very well. Lure them in. Convince them. Take the money and go. She had more than just this new product on her, in case she needed something more familiar to loosen them up first. Coke, spice, you name it -- she had it. You'd be surprised how many baggies she could fit in the matte black clutch she held in her hand. She had more in the car, too. Gio knew how much she could sell, and he prepared her in advance. He knew of every ounce she brought, and he'd make her pay dearly if any money or product went unaccounted for. She danced, and acted her part, ducking into the darkness with each new customer like a wraith. But there was a whole other problem that she had put on the back burner, but she still very much knew it was there. She hadn't forgotten about Trever. The betrayal, the heartbreak, the sadness. Trever was her light in a very dark world, and she clung to it like a beetle on a streetlight. He made her feel wanted. A man who didn't hit her, talk down at her, or leer at her. That was enough to convince her that he was good. As the night went on, her thoughts were a hurricane in her mind. The fresh pain of Dao, the lingering bitterness of Trevor. Her anguish grew, and her blood burned. Each face started to blur, each transaction simply a repeat of the last. A baggie here, a baggie there. Lots of them were the same people coming back for a second or third hit, bringing a friend or two with them. She didn't care. She just needed to meet the quota Gio had given her and leave. And that was when she saw him. She would never forget his face. Like a puppy, big eyes and curly hair. Wesley was afraid. He was scared, and he was trapped, being pushed around by the dancing bodies in the middle of the room. The similar scene reminded her of the first time she saw him, at that stupid fucking high school dance. It felt like so long ago, so much had happened since then. Falling so, so hard for Trever. All the nights in his truck, driving to the pier completely shit-faced. Sitting on the edge of the dock, telling each other stories and trying to see who had the more fucked up childhood. Trever pushing her into the lake, her bare flesh electric against the cold water. How many times Trever and her had fought, broken up, and gotten back together only a week later. How she had put the pieces together that during these 'breaks', Trever was with him. How Dao was hurt, bad, because she left with Trever. All of these memories flashed before her eyes, and a cold resolve settled into her very bones. Wesley hadn't noticed her, not yet at least. However, he'd be noticing her soon very soon. Her ears screamed, her nails dug into the heels of her hands, and all she knew was rage. He had the nerve to come here. He took Trever, and when she finally thought he was hers, he stole him back again. She'd kill him. She'd kill him, and Trever would have no choice but be hers. Only hers. She cut through the crowd, spearing towards him, a giddy smile forming on her lips as she imagined carving her nails into his face-- He was just within her reach when he was grabbed and pulled out of the other side of the pulsing crowd. She let out a shriek of rage which was swallowed up by the music beating in her eardrums. Tears of anger pricked at her eyes, but as she was absorbed back into the rhythmic sway of those around her, an idea took shape in her mind. A cruel, insane idea, but one that she knew could work. -~-*-~- As the party inside started to die down, she quietly left the house and ducked into her car. She had parked it in the darkness under a willow at the edge of the huge driveway. Searching through the duffel bag she had in the backseat, she quickly found what she was looking for. She was disgusted that she even had roofies to sell, but Gio never turned down the chance to make some money. Even then, she luckily never had to sell any. Which was why she only had 2 tablets. She was glad that she had inflated the price of some of the drugs she had sold, as the excess would cover the cost of both tablets. Giovanni would be none the wiser. She had also brought a black masquerade mask in case it was that kind of party. It matched her dress, and it had black crystal butterflies fluttering up the sides. She slipped it over her head, the butterfly decals looking like they were trying to escape from her topaz eyes. She knew she'd stand out, but the remaining party goers would probably be too drunk or high to question it before she was gone. The last thing she wanted was to be recognized by Wesley. She slipped back inside the house, the music still deafening. It made her head hurt even more. She noted some of the people walking around offering people drinks. Earlier that night, she had spotted a blonde girl by the pool, not knowing why she recognized her. But now Alexa recalled. The blonde was his best friend. Everything went seamlessly after that. Alexa watched as one of the people offering drinks went towards the girl, and when she denied alcohol, the plan evolved in her mind. Alexa quickly went to the kitchen. A brunette, the girl who organized the party, Alexa realized, was already preparing a tray full of food and drinks for the next person to take and offer to the guests. When she wasn't looking, Alexa snatched up the tray and carefully maneuvered her way outside. The blonde was laughing, and a tatted guy she stood with smirked. "Jasper!" a girl called from the window, and the tatted guy looked up towards the house. "Get your ass in here!" He sighed, rolling his eyes, and whispered something in the blonde's ear that made her bite her lip. Then he ran inside. Alexa knew this was her chance. The music from inside the house spilled outside onto the lawn, and she waited until the song ended and the next began to approach her. As she strolled over, Alexa handed out drinks to people she passed, ensuring that the one she spiked remained on the tray when she got to the blonde. "Would you like a drink?" she asked. The blonde glanced at her, before sighing. "I can't drink. Designated driver." She exaggerated rolling her eyes. Alexa's smile was wolfish. Perfect. "A soda then?" Alexa said, and handed her the cup before she could say anything else. The blonde hesitantly took the cup, giving Alexa a weird look. "Thanks." "Quite the party, isn't it?" "Yeah, it's okay." She took a sip of the bubbly soda. If it tasted off, she hid it. "What's with the mask, anyway?" "They say that mystery is attractive." Alexa's eyes sparkled. Blondie looked over Alexa's shoulder, a smirk blooming on her red lips. "About time, I thought I'd drown myself in the pool out of boredom by the time you got back." The tatted guy laughed, stepping up next to them. "Duty called. Jaz needed me to clean up vomit." He playfully wiped his hand on her shoulder. Sydney feigned disgust. "You did not just touch me!" They laughed, and Alexa's eyes danced as she waltzed away, dumping the tray in the trash. -~-~*~-~- It was late when Alexa got back to the Chiangs' house. Jonah let her sleep in the guest room, but they didn't talk much. She hardly saw him anyway. Most of the time he was in the hospital with Dao. She gone with him once, but her guilt ate her alive. When he wasn't at the hospital or the rare time when he came home after tending to the club, he was drinking or sleeping. She suspected slept about as much as she did judging from the circles that were forming beneath his eyes. As she crawled onto her large bed, a weight grew in the back of her mind. She felt victorious when the blonde took the drink, and when she drove off with Wesley, she felt as if vengeance -- and Trever -- were finally hers. She left shortly afterwards, along with most of the crowd. She was near her car when she heard voices down the drive. Talk of an accident rippled throughout those around her, and the two tattooed guys that lived there left in a jeep. Dread and fear lined both of their faces. A jolt had gone through her when she recognized the one that got in the passenger seat. He was that guy from Natasha's apartment building, who gave her a ride that morning... Huh. Small world, she thought. After that, she climbed into her own car, something settled deep in her chest. For Trever, she'd do anything. But she realized that she could now be a murderer. Could she truly kill for him? Sweat began to form at her brow as she drove away, wads of money stashed beneath the seat to give to one of Gio's men who she was meeting downtown. As she drove down the interstate, thousands of pieces of glittering glass gleamed near the base of the mountain. A man and a woman in uniform scribbled on their notepads on the sectioned off part of the highway. Another officer directed traffic away from the trucks who were now towing the crumpled wreckage away. Alexa's stomach tightened. She had caused this. Twice now, destruction laid in her wake. She drove quickly to the meetup spot, giving Giovanni's men the money and the product she hadn't sold without a word. Her hands were shaking on the drive to the house. So there Alexa was, laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, as something curled and writhed in her gut. The blonde's laugh replayed over and over in her mind, as did the faces of the two men who left in the jeep. The crumpled metal, the shattered glass sparkling in the moonlight. Her mind also drifted to the last moments she had with Trever. It was in that town four hours away from Westwood, with the kind locals and cheap hotels. He had been drunk, and that's what she reminded herself every time the words he said returned to the forefront of her thoughts. The same words that speared her over and over since that moment happened just days ago. It felt like a lifetime. It started with what he whispered in her ear. He was on top of her, inside of her, and his warm breath tickled her neck. "I love you," Trever said, and it caused her to breathe even heavier than before. "I love you, too," whispered Alexa between moans of pleasure. "I love you, Trever." He had chosen her, finally. He loved her, and in that moment, she felt pure and whole and happier than she had ever been. Her heart beat for him. Trever, Trever. Trever, Trever. Trever, Trever. "I love you," he kept saying. "I know," she replied. "Oh, fuck," he moaned. "I love you, Wesley." Her entire world stopped in that moment. Even her heart had stopped beating. It froze in her chest. Her mind hadn't even fully registered what he said before she started hitting him. His chest, his shoulder, his chest again, and she kicked him off of her, screaming. He scrambled to his feet, swaying. She followed him. She shoved him, over and over. Her eyes burned, tears blurred her vision. "Fuck you, Trever," she screamed at him. "What is he that I'm not? A fag?" she spat at him. She didn't mean those words, but she said them anyway. He blocked her attack, and pushed her back onto the bed. "You're not him," he said, and his voice was thick. Emotion, drunkenness, or both. "You'll never be him." "I guess you two are perfect for each other," she cried into her hands. "Fucking cocksucker." He never replied, and she heard his truck start up outside. She didn't care if he crashed and died. She didn't care if the world burned. She didn't care about anything. Two days later she took a bus back to Westwood, the only place she knew he'd go. The three grand she had stolen for the two of them had been blown on booze, gas station food, clothes, and the shitty hotel they had stayed in for the weeks they were gone. The very place she wanted to escape from, and she returned for the one person she couldn't escape without. And he didn't want her. -~-~*~-~- Four days after the accident She hadn't left the house since that night. She'd have to tomorrow, she knew. That was when Giovanni needed her to sell more at yet another sleazy college party. Only a few more weeks of this and the debt would be paid. She saw them on the news two days before. Fatal accident - three people severely injured and one left dead. Driving under the influence is the suspected cause. And today, the police revealed that it wasn't due to drinking, and that foul play was suspected. Her fault. She was a killer. Twice now, her careless and selfish decisions had destroyed lives. She was a monster. She was no better than Giovanni. -~-~*~-~- a/n: I am extremely unhappy with this chapter. But I needed to publish something, because I feel like this story is slipping from my fingers. I need to get back on the saddle. I know I'm the fucking worst at updating. Everyone is aware of that by this point, yeah? I don't want people to think I'm abandoning Muscle Memory. I'm not. I think about this damn thing every day. I'll finish it, even if it takes me another 2 years. I do have the next chapter nearly done. It's back to Wesley's POV, so, look forward to that. ❤️ Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed. Until next time, - Dylan
  2. Dylan

    Hades

    I never saw this. I'm sorry! I'm beating myself up about it right now. I also can't believe I haven't posted since February. I suck. New chapter should be up today, if you're still interested... 9 months later... jeez. Thank you so much for the kind words. They're much appreciated. ❤️
  3. Dylan

    Hades

    Wow. Honestly, I've been holding off on updating because the thought of this book makes me cringe recently. I keep going through cycles of absolutely loathing this book and assuming the worst any time someone comments. I was genuinely paranoid after seeing I had all these new comments, and it really lit up my soul when I read them. Thank you for all the kind words, and the encouragement. I actually have a chapter or two past this written but I felt weird about posting it on here. I kinda feel in out of my depth. Way out of my depth. I don't want to give up on this story though. I feel like I've said that so many times lol. I gotta finish it. Anyways, again, thank you. Means a whole lot hearing that from you. Cheers ❤️ - Dylan
  4.  A belated Happy Birthday!

    1. Dylan

      Dylan

      Thank you <3

  5. Hi Dylan. You have been very quiet for almost a year now, I trust you intend to stick around. About time for an update (?). Haven't lost your muse, I'm sure it is around somewhere. Do hope you can find some time for us. Your rep says it well, ' Someone Likes Me ', so don't be a stranger.

    I want to wish you a Happy Birthday (how ever old or young you are) and that you had an awesome day of celebration. Sending positive thoughts your way.

     

    Take care

    sandrewn:cowboy:

    1. Dylan

      Dylan

      Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. I'm late to seeing these but still, I appreciate it! ❤️

       

      I actually have written a few chapters that I haven't posted here. I kinda have lost motivation for Muscle Memory.. I want to finish it but I also want to make it better than it is. There's the urge to just rewrite it that's warring with the urge to just finish it how it is. I'll figure out something. In the meantime, I'd like to practice writing other things. Maybe if I come back with more skill I can salvage what I have.

       

      It was my 18th birthday, and I started this thing like two years ago. Obviously a lot of things happen between 16 and 18 that change who I am. My love for writing has stuck though, so that's good. 

       

      Thanks again. 😊

  6. Dylan

    Hades

    Haha, I'm sorry. I know my updating needs some work. Well, I'm glad you're feeling something. Whether its sympathy or not, it was just my goal to humanize her a bit more
  7. Dylan

    Hades

    Sorry that you guys had to reread it. I agree with you to an extent, but she is only 19 and despite being with the Chiangs for a while she never truly lived with them. She only stopped by occasionally. She was still raised by the streets in her later teens
  8. Dylan

    Hades

    Its not that I want sympathy for her, because she's a terrible person and a villain, but I do like to blur the lines between someone being "evil" and doing what they think is good.
  9. Dylan

    Hades

    My past has tasted bitter For years now So I wield an iron fist Grace is just weakness Or so I've been told I've been cold, I've been merciless But the blood on my hands scares me to death Maybe I'm waking up today Chapter 14 [ Alexa ] Four years before the accident That night, Alexa settled in next to a dumpster in an alleyway between the nightclub, The Incubus, and another building. She tried to ignore the cold that enveloped her, the chill that had started to linger in her bones. Her bare toes were bright red, and it took what felt like days for her to fall into a troubled sleep. In her dreams, beasts pursued her, their forked tongues and slitted eyes making her scream. They cackled in delight and reveled in her fear. A man with skin of dancing flame and spiraling horns trapped her, taunting her with her father's voice. Her dark prison walls blazed like embers in a fire yet she felt nothing but freezing cold. One dream after another, she was tormented, and every time she tried to escape, she awoke in another nightmare. It was a noise at the end of the alley that jolted her awake, only an hour or two later. A muscular man stood in front of a dumpster, thus blocking her only exit out of the cramped alleyway. His dark hair was gelled up on top of his head, but that was the only feature she could make out in the darkness. His tall frame obscured the street lights behind him, illuminating his silhouette enough that she could only just make out him hefting trash bags over his shoulder into the overflowing dumpster. Her heart thrummed in her chest, fear seeping into her as she imagined all of the things this man could potentially do to her. She was young and alone in a strange city at night. If he found her, she'd be completely at his mercy. Alexa peeled her eyes off of the man, and scanned the walls of the alley for a potential escape. She didn't have much time to plot an escape before he suddenly loomed above her, blocking out the moonlight. It was then the only source of light in the alley. She let out a frightened yelp. Alexa scrambled to her feet and darted around him to escape. He was quicker, though. The man grabbed her, wrapping his fingers completely around her slender forearm. He towered above her, she'd guess he was around 6'1. He could very easily overpower her if he wanted to. She opened her mouth to shout, moments away from letting out a scream-- No sound came out, though, because he shocked her by releasing the gentle grip he had on her arm. She was prepared to try an bolt again, until he spoke. "Are you okay?" he asked, his expression foreign. "W-What?" Alexa rasped, her throat raw from screaming the night before and dehydration. Her heart hammered in her chest while her mind again raced through possible escape routes. "Are you alone?" his dark eyes scanned the alley, and she gulped. Slowly, she nodded her head. She could've lied, but the answer was obvious. She was all by herself in a strange city, and at his mercy. He frowned. "It's freezing out here. I'm sure you're starved as well. Why don't you come inside?" he said, and he gestured towards the nightclub behind him that was now dark, no traces of the people that were there before. The music was gone, and all of the neon lights outside were turned off for the night, but the lights inside illuminated the sidewalk through the windows. She gawked, only slightly more able to make out his features. Full lips, a straight nose, a strong and clean shaven face. He seemed nice, but-- But nothing, she thought. It's what lies beneath a man's appearance that she needed to worry about. His intentions. He turned, walking towards the building, and Alexa's brows furrowed. He stopped before crossing the street and looked behind him. "Are you coming?" She wasn't going with this strange man, no matter how kind he looked. "What do you want from me?" He frowned. "I only want to help you. My employees will be leaving soon, and I'll be closing down and going home, but there's plenty of food left over." The mention of food caused her stomach to grumble, reminding her of the fact that she hadn't eaten in almost 3 days. She felt weak, and another day without food would probably result in her being too exhausted to get up. "Well? Are you coming?" he repeated, and Alexa hesitantly stepped out of the darkness of the alley, a second rumble in her belly giving her no other option. If this man wanted to hurt me, he'd have done it already, she told herself. Right? She still didn't trust him. She slowly followed behind him, the streetlights around them illuminating his olive skin. He had on a rich magenta blazer that complimented his skin perfectly. His skin-tone and almond shaped eyes gave away his Asian ancestry, and his expensive clothes showed that he had a comfortable lifestyle. It only served to alienate him and intimidate Alexa more. As they approached, Alexa marked the large black doors, and noted that the street wasn't empty. A few stragglers from the club smoked a block down, waiting for a cab to pick them up. It made her loosen up. Ever so slightly. He opened the door to the club, and she stepped inside. Cool air from inside caressed her cheeks, and mixed scents wafted from down the inky hall. They weren't bad -- a hint of alcohol mixed with delicious food which made her stomach complain. She took another step, and winced as the cold black marble floor aggravated the cuts on her feet. The man only then noticed her bare feet. "Where are your shoes? You know what, it doesn't matter. I'll bring you some new ones in the morning." She didn't know what to say, so she just trailed him into a huge room at the end of the hall. She couldn't help but be taken aback. Dozens of LED lights were attached to the ceiling, frozen in place and casting circles of light around the dance floor that varied in colors. Everywhere she looked she could see purple and blue neon fluorescent lights. They wrapped around the walls, the furniture, the bar, and the stage, all reflecting off the shiny marble floor. On either side of the entrance were two spiral staircases - one wrapped in purple lights and the other in blue - that swirled up to the ceiling, attaching the first floor to the second. Opposite the entrance stood the stage where she assumed bands could play, and above the stage a giant projector screen took up the entire wall. Shapes on the screen danced and pulsed to the beat of music she couldn't hear. To the right was a bar that stretched from wall to wall, and was bright red instead of purple or blue like everything else, and several stools were positioned next to it. On the wall opposite of the bar, to the left of the entrance, sat several tables and leather benches where people could take breaks from dancing. And in the middle, right in front of the stage, a huge space was cleared for the dance floor. "Wow," she breathed, momentarily forgetting the past few days. "This is... this... wow." She had never seen something this amazing in her entire, short life. "Welcome to The Incubus," he smiled, and strolled over to the bar where a blonde man stood, wiping down glasses and putting them on the shelf behind him. "Jonah, do we have any leftover food?" The man was placing a glass he'd just cleaned on the shelf, and turned towards them as he spoke. "You're a bottomless pit, Dao. I'll never understand how you can eat so much yet remain so sexy." His eyes drank in every inch of the man beside her. The man from the alley was named Dao, then. Jonah had thick dirty blonde hair, long enough to be tied back into a loose bun. His silver eyes were striking, even in the darkness, and he had smile lines next to his eyes. He seemed to become more handsome the more she looked at him, and he gave off an aura of kindness which made her feel like she could trust him, despite the very short time since she had met him. "It's actually not for me this time, but thanks." Dao smirked at him, his eyes shining with something she couldn't recognize. Just then, Jonah seemed to see her for the first time. Dao must've captured his complete attention, regardless of whoever else was in the room. "Oh! I didn't even see you there." She couldn't tell if he was blushing or if it was just a red hue shining on his face from the fluorescents. "I'll see what I can find." He put the glass down and opened a set of black doors to the left of the bar, revealing yet another large room. From what she could see from glancing in, it appeared to be a very high end restaurant. She assumed that these men ran the place, and despite the edgy underground vibe it had, it also had a lot of class. Dao motioned for Alexa to follow him, and he brought her to a booth right inside the restaurant. Sitting down, the plush leather seats soothed her aches and she fought back a moan. She hadn't sat in something so comfortable in, well, ever. He took a seat across from her, just as Jonah came over with a few trays of leftover food from the day. It still looked quite fresh, not that she cared. It was warm and she was starving. Immediately she began to devour the steaming food in front of her, her tastebuds tingling at the delicious chunk of steak and buttered bread. There was also a portion of spaghetti, which she had never been a fan of, but she was its biggest fan in that moment. Dao seemed to enjoy seeing her eat so enthusiastically, so he waited a few minutes before he asked his first question. "What's your name?" "Awexa," she mumbled through a mouthful of roll, which she then washed down with a gulp of iced water Jonah had brought her. "Awexa?" His eyes shone with amusement. "Interesting name." She realized too late that she probably should've lied about her name. "Alexa," the girl amended, now that her mouth was empty for the time being. "Ah. Pretty." He seemed to study her for a moment, and it made her slightly uncomfortable. "Why are you in this side of town this late at night, Alexa?" Dao almost seemed weary of her answer. She chose that moment to take another sip of water, giving her time to think about how much she wanted to tell him. While she felt like she could trust him, he was a stranger, and an adult man no less. She wanted to know more about him before she answered anything else. "Is Jonah your boyfriend?" She contemplated whether or not that was a rude question to ask, but decided that she didn't care. Dao quirked his brow, not seeming to be upset that she avoided his question. "He's my fiancé." That look from earlier shone in his eyes, and this time she realized it was love. She had never seen two men together in real life, and it was sort of weird to her then. She had seen horrible heterosexual relationships first hand. These men seemed happy. Healthy couples were few and far between in her life. She once again surprised herself by telling him the truth. "I ran away from my family." She grimaced when she said family. "I've been in the city for a while." Dao seemed to ponder over what she told him, and debated on what he should ask next. "Why did you run away?" She looked down at her plate, which was nearly gleaming by that point. "My dad... he's not a good man." She glanced back up to gauge his reaction. His eyes grew tight around the edges, and they flickered to her neck, where old bruises still remained. Nothing else revealed how he processed this news. Again, he seemed to debate on how much he should pry, and must've decided against it for the time being. "Well, can you sit tight for a moment?" She continued eating. Dao stood, towering over her once again, but he seemed much less intimidating this time around as he stretched, groaning as his spine popped. "Damn, I'm getting old," he said, trotting away to find Jonah. Alexa found that amusing. He couldn't have been more than 30. He found Jonah near the bar again, and he was putting the stools on top of the counters. "You're watching her like she's a puppy," Jonah commented, a small tugging at the corner of his full lips. "I'm worried what you're gonna ask me." Dao scratched the back of his neck, glancing back at the girl who was swirling the ice cubes around in her cup. Her face already had a better color than when he first found her, and he was glad that it had been him that had found her. Not everyone was as empathetic as Dao was. She was far enough away that she couldn't hear their conversation. "She's so thin, Jonah. And she's alone. I talked to her." He was whispering even though she couldn't hear him. "I think her dad hurts her. There's bruises on her neck, and what kid would go through starving and sleeping in an alley if they had a safe place to go home to?" Jonah already seemed exasperated, running his slender fingers through his honey-blonde hair. "Dao... think about this. Surely we can't just take her in. People have to be looking for her, her parents, the police... do you really want to have a child abduction charge on your record?" Dao's features melted into a frown at his fiancé's words. "We'd never be able to adopt a kid if you got charged with that. I don't know, babe. There's so much to think about." Dao's frown deepened, and he appeared to be lost in thought. "Fine. We can give this more time to think over. But we can't just leave her here, and we definitely can't just let her back out there. She's lucky enough as it is that we found her, and I don't want to test our luck. I'll buy her a hotel room at the Pier. She can stay there for a few days, relax, eat, and be safe. Okay?" Jonah seemed content with this compromise, and his features relaxed into his trademark smile. "Okay." -~-*-~- 3 days before the accident A short drive after dropping off the black-haired guy at his work, Alexa pulled in to the Chiang's driveway, her bright purple Volkswagen bug looking like an insect in comparison to Jonah's massive truck. The tires were about as tall as she was, and the vehicle was close to the size of his house. The Chiang's lived in a small modern one story house, floor to ceiling windows taking up most of the front wall. Foreign trees decorated the yard and a giant cherry blossom loomed over the driveway, bright pink petals sprinkled over the cars and the sidewalk. Climbing out of the car and leaping up the steps in 3 big strides, Alexa invited herself in to the spotless house. She never saw the sleek black Porsche parked in the third spot away from the house, completely obscured from view by the massive monster truck. If she had, she would've never went inside. Stepping inside onto the gleaming walnut floors, Alexa admired the immaculate foyer, decorated by various pieces of art. On each side of her stood colorful paintings, depicting ancient Chinese royals and Asian culture. She moved slowly through the hall, admiring each painting and sculpture as she passed. It had been months since she had stepped foot in this house, and the art never failed to awe her. It was like a museum. She had known the Chiangs since they had found her in that alley. They had looked after since then, but for the most part she has been on her own. She hated feeling like she owed someone for giving her things, so she tended to visit sporadically. The one exception was her car. That was her 17th birthday present, and she had adored it too much to not accept the gift. This time, though, she had no other choice but to come here. She had ran out of options. Continuing down the hall, she was just about to reach the kitchen where she could usually find Jonah, but she stopped abruptly when the hair on the back of her neck stood on end. Her subconscious was picking up something that she wasn't. She froze, staring at two modern glass sculptures, realizing too late that she should've left. Her sense of smell revealed his presence long before her hearing did. The scent of the tundra; a harsh, frozen mountain range with towering pines covered in ice. "Exquisite, aren't they?" his deep voice murmured behind her, as smooth as water lapping on stones in a riverbank. Alexa's heart stopped for a beat. Goosebumps rose on her skin, and her breath caught in her throat. Swallowing, she tried to keep her composure. "Giovanni, darling. I've missed you." Plastering a cruel smile on her face, she turned and stared into his obsidian eyes. Giovanni Colarusso's own gaze pierced into hers. He was only two or three inches taller, but what he lacked in height, he made up with brawn. He was absolutely ripped, his blazer wrapped skin tight around his bulging biceps. I'm such an idiot, she thought. Of course he'd know that I'd come here. After all, Giovanni found her because of the Chiangs in the first place. "Hello darling," he purred. "Have you now? Well, I've missed you too, my sweet Alexa, quite dearly." His own cruel smile took shape, but it was a genuine one. "Why are you h-" her eyes widened as his slender fingers wrapped around her neck. "You know exactly what I want, my dear," he seethed, his smooth voice now strained. She could see her shocked expression reflected in his depthless eyes. She opened her mouth, but no words could come out. Oxygen was cut off from her brain, and darkness crept into her vision as his fingers closed tighter around her windpipe. She clawed at his arm, but she was growing weaker by the second. He was going to kill her. "Giovanni!" Reluctantly, his grip on her loosened, and Alexa crumpled onto the ground. Gasping for breath, she clutched her sore throat, trying not to sob aloud. Giovanni coolly smoothed down his blazer, before turning towards the sound of his name. "Jonah." "I believe I said that I would meet you in the living room when I was ready." Jonah looked pretty much the same as he did all those years ago, except now he had a dusting of stubble on his cheeks, making him look more ruggedly handsome. He seemed to avoid her completely. "Yes. You did say that, but I wondered who it was trampling through your foyer... for a moment I almost thought it was Dao," he chuckled, making Jonah's silver eyes cloudy. "Instead it was the very reason I'm here." He grinned like a wolf, staring down at the Alexa who was still regaining her composure. She didn't like the sound of that. She stared up at Jonah, who in turn looked down at her. His face was blank, but she knew that he felt betrayed by her. He wouldn't fill her in then. At least not yet. When Giovanni stalked back into the living room, Alexa stood on shaky legs. Jonah's gaze on her was cold, and he didn't say anything before he disappeared down the hall. She cursed herself for being so naïve. So caught up in her own drama that she didn't think about how her somewhat-foster-parents would feel about her showing up out of the blue after leaving abruptly. She smoothed down her clothes, wiped the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes, and followed Jonah's path deeper into the house. -~-*-~- Giovanni Colarusso had a complicated history with the Chiangs. You could say he was a drug lord, but even that didn't cover what he did on a day-to-day basis. Brothels, drug and weapon trafficking, you name it, he did it. Anything that he could possibly make money off of, he found a way to do it. He had slowly and silently grown to power and then snatched the reins all at once. The city and surrounding areas - including Westwood - sat in his palm. His thirst for power and wealth was never quenched, no matter how many lives he trampled over to get to them. The locals were more or less unaware of his presence; the only signs of him were the increase in drug related crimes and deaths. Even the police didn't know the true extent of his grasp, and even if they did, many of their own helped him for decent amounts of hush money in return. It would take a lot more than the local police to weed him out. Money could silence just about anyone, and the minority who couldn't be silenced by money... well, let's just say he had his ways of making sure he stayed in control. The Chiangs, at this time just Dao, a young wealthy orphan, had always found an escape in the nightlife. After inheriting his family's wealth, he invested most of it into building his nightclub. He was a natural businessman, and he knew the scene, so The Incubus rapidly grew into one of the most popular places that attracted the city's young partiers. As the club grew in popularity, it grew in size to accommodate it. Naturally, with alcohol and music present, drugs slithered in along side them. Normally, he'd let a few joints slide, but Dao was very strict when it came to hard drugs entering his club. Except Giovanni Colarusso was having none of that. From the brief history Dao gave her, and from what she had overheard of Jonah and Dao's conversations over the years, she could somewhat piece together what had happened between Dao and Giovanni. Seeing a prime opportunity to get newer drugs out into a younger and naïve market, Giovanni had approached - to put it nicely - the then newly engaged couple, hoping to cut a deal with them. Offering them 25% of profits to use their club as a way to streamline his brand new hallucinogenics into the extremely popular club, Giovanni planned to generously compensate Dao for whatever problems could arise. But money wasn't an issue for Dao; it never had been. He wanted to have a place for people to have fun and let loose; not a place to get addicted to some brain melting drug and never recover. He declined the offer, and hinted that no other offer would change his mind. Giovanni didn't take no for an answer. In fact, his refusal made it even more appealing to him. Being the man that he is, he still distributed through The Incubus by stealth, and when Dao caught on, he used force. Dao continued to fight against his control, to no avail. Giovanni was a cunning and brutal businessman. He knew where to hit Dao hardest, so he did it. Giovanni discovered Alexa quite early on, as he had eyes everywhere. He saw potential in her. A young, strong, and beautiful girl like Alexa could make him lots of money in many different ways. You see, Giovanni could take her if he wanted to, as he knew that the Chiangs couldn't call for help anyway. She wasn't their daughter, not legally or biologically. They were the closest things to a dad that she had but still, they'd likely go to jail. Deciding to try to cut them one last deal, Giovanni agreed to take his sights off of The Incubus for one price: Alexa. He didn't want her for reasons that you may be thinking. He preferred men. But he knew that a beautiful girl like herself could easily earn the trust of naive, horny men and promise them a good night... in the form of drugs. By this point, Alexa had turned 18, and she had already -- to the Chiangs' dismay -- dabbled in drugs. She felt up to the task, and felt that this was a chance to make up for all that Dao and Jonah had done and sacrificed for her. Before they could refuse his offer, she said yes. She thought that she'd be able to back out of it if she wanted to. She thought that it would only be a few small drug deals. She didn't think that it would be one of the biggest mistakes of her life. -~-~*~-~- Jonah's shoulders were tense beneath his white t-shirt, and his grip was so tight on the edge of the counter that his knuckles were turning white. His back to her, she slowly took a seat at the island in the middle of the kitchen. She debated on speaking, but decided on waiting for him to talk first. The air was so thick with tension that she could nearly feel it. She felt like a little girl waiting to be scolded by her father. She wouldn't have taken it from anybody except for Dao or Jonah, because they really are her dads. She'd take them over her biological dad any day. Finally, Jonah exhaled a deep breath, some of the tension vaporizing as he turned towards her. Looking at him up close for the first time in months sent a jolt through her. His silver eyes were dull, and the bags under his eyes were more apparent than they had ever been. He looked so worn down, so tired. A lump formed in her throat when she realized that this was probably her fault. "Where have you been." Not even a question. He didn't have the energy for questions. "I left." She gulped, trying to get that lump to soften. "I left with Trever." The lines on his face hardened ever so slightly. He seemed inclined to scold her for even mentioning his name, but once again, exhaustion just rippled off of him. "Why?" He asked simply. "I love him." Her heart thudded in her chest. "He wanted to leave and start anew. Just him and me," she said, and traced her lips as a smile fought to form. Just thinking about him reduced her to a childish, giggling girl. "Do you know what happened when you left?" his eyes pierced into hers. "What do you think happens when you disappear with thousands of dollars of Giovanni's drug money? Who do you think he goes after to get that money back when he can't fucking find you, Alexa?" His voice rose with each word, hoarse with emotion. "I begged him. He wouldn't stop." Jonah's shoulders started to shake. Each raw sentence speared through her. "He wouldn't stop." He repeated. Tears slipped down his face, silver and glistening. No. No, he can't be-- "He's... Dao is...?" she couldn't bring herself to say it. Jonah's eyes glassed over, but he gently shook his head. No, Dao wasn't dead. "Where is he?" Her own eyes stung. "He's lucky to be alive. He's been in the hospital for a month. Unresponsive." She got up and wrapped her slender arms around him, but his own remained limp by his sides. "Was it worth it?" He mumbled. "Was he worth it?" Another jolt to her chest. If it had been, if he had been... she wouldn't have been there. Trever always chose that boy. Never her. She always chose him, but he never chose her. Never her. "No," she said. "I'm sorry." He started shaking again in her arms, his tears dripping onto her shoulder. "You shouldn't have came back." Her own tears began streaming, and in that moment, she never hated herself more. -~-*-~- A/n: hey guys! I know, its been so long. I feel like I've said that so many times. I'm sorry. I'm trying though. I hope you liked this chapter. Until next time, - Dylan
  10. Happy Birthday Dylan!

    1. Dylan

      Dylan

      Thank you! <3

  11. Dylan

    Muscle Memory by Dylan

    Haha yeah I'm mostly recovered now. I've mostly been writing on the bus, as I got accepted into a nursing program which I'm super excited about, but I'm gonna try and get this next chapter out sometime this weekend!
  12. Dylan

    Muscle Memory by Dylan

    Yes sir, I just posted a new chapter called "The Quiet". I'm also working on the next one, which should be out soon! I've been missing you too, and writing. Life has been a, well, for lack of a better term, bitch. I had an amazing summer all the way up until I got wasted and fractured my spine in two places after a concert, and that hurt like hell. I planned on updating during recovery but never got around to it. Here I am, though What about you? How're you?
  13. Dylan

    Muscle Memory by Dylan

    I completely agree! I need to find a way to get my readers to enjoy reading through her as well. Thank you, I'll keep this in mind, and I hope I am successful
  14. Hey everyone! I'm posting here to hopefully try to generate some more interaction between myself and people about my story. I'm a very inexperienced writer, and any honest advice is appreciated (but that's not why I'm posting this). I'm hoping to spark up a conversation about how you feel so far about Muscle Memory. As a writer, my readers' thoughts and feelings are a big part of what fuels me to continue this story. Feel free to share anything, whether it's relating to a certain character or their experiences, how you feel about a certain situation, or just if you want to ask me anything about Muscle Memory specifically or even my writing general. So, to try and get the ball rolling, here is some random thoughts I've compiled about how this all came about: Muscle Memory is my very first attempt at writing fiction. Like, ever. Besides some poetry a few years back, I've never sat down and just written anything more than a few paragraphs, so starting this book was a bit daunting. Especially since I was just out of freshman year of highschool. I started the first chapter not really having any idea where it was going, but soon, a story started to take shape in my mind. Very quickly, I realized how much I loved characters. At times, I worry that there are so many in my book that they seem flat, or that there are too many for my readers to keep track of. It was definitely a risk going into my first writing experience with like 20 characters to juggle with, not to mention that I've basically made each character have something they are struggling with. Again, I worry that I'm losing depth by having so many different story arcs intertwining in my mind, but I also kind of love it. It's what I like in books. Another thing I wanted to mention is that somehow, I unexpectedly fell in love with the villain of my story. I love writing her, and I had lost hope for this story after, say, chapter 6, until one quiet night in late December, around 11 or 12, I was walking down this road and the song DNA by Lia Marie Johnson started playing through my earbuds. The song resonated deeply with me, and I also felt it tugging at something that I had put towards the back of my mind for 5 or so months. I realized that it was a newfound inspiration to give my character Alexa more depth. To do this, I felt as if she needed her own POV, which wasn't planned whatsoever. I've gotten pretty much only negative feedback on this, which saddens me, but now she is very important to the story as a whole. I've had people complain that it takes away too much from Wes and Ethan's story, which I disagree with. This is more than a romance to me. It's deeper. I feel that people who skip the Alexa chapters are missing an integral part of Muscle Memory. So regardless of how my readers feel, I still have a few more POV chapters planned. Anyway, I could go on for days about this, and that's enough rambling for now. Now it's your turn. What are your thoughts?
  15. Dylan

    Bad Decisions

    I'm just now seeing this! Unfortunately, I am a screamer, haha. I recently went to an amusement park over the summer and I told my cousin to tell my dog I loved her incase I died. In my defense, the bar that went over my shoulders wasn't secured tightly, and there were 6-7 loops on that thing... haha, I miraculously survived! Thank you so so much for reading and commenting. P.S. my mom would completely agree with you on the wooden roller coasters causing headaches. I used to drag her onto these wooden ones when I was a kid, and at the time I wasn't aware, but apparently they gave her migraines - oops. Now a days I'm lucky if she even gets on the steel ones
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