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C1 1

"Have you read what happened at the superiors?"

Devin sat across from me at the kitchen table, looking intently at his phone while I got busy pouring us both a cup of coffee to perk up.

"No, what is it?" I asked, yawning and briefly closed my eyes to take in the wonderful smell of the coffee before I took a strong sip and turned my gaze back to my brother.

Looking thoughtful, he put his phone down, ran a hand through his brown, curly hair, and then took a deep breath. That worried look in his sea blue eyes was once again typical of him. Ever since our parents abandoned us 2 years ago, he had taken on the role of minder and often drove me insane with it.

"Their school burned down," he then explained, looking at me intently. "We might have problems if they come to your school."

"If..." I said with a certain emphasis and tried to take some of his worry away, which of course didn't work.

"Jady, you stay away from them!"

He got up to put on his blue sports jacket while I just rolled my eyes in annoyance at his stern tone. His eyes met me immediately.

"Stop it! You know how much I hate that."

"Then don't treat me like a kid. After all, I'm 17 and you're only 2 years older, so don't let the nanny hang around here."

I stuck my tongue out at him and then gave him a provocative wink, which made him grin stupidly and throw my denim jacket at me.

"Get dressed, we're going."

He grabbed his cup of coffee, drank it all down in one gulp, then grabbed his phone to turn his mind back to the fire.

Still slightly tired, I also got up from the round wooden table and put on my jacket to grab my light-colored backpack afterwards.

How I would like to look at my cell phone now, just like him, but I had lost it on my trip in the forest, which my brother wasn't allowed to find out.

I told him that it had been stolen from me because it was forbidden for us lower classes to stay in the forest. If he knew all the laws I was breaking behind his back, he would almost certainly lock me up in this little cottage.

"Ground to Jady," he snapped me out of my thoughts and then put his arm around my shoulders to leave the house with me.

Arriving at his old, silver VW, he obligingly held the passenger door open for me and, smiling, I collapsed onto the seat to buckle up and take a look in the mirror.

I was immediately happy about my long eyelashes, which saved me from having to spend hours in the bathroom in the morning like the others my age. My green irises flitted over my long, straight brown hair, which I wore loose as always and which I arranged well for the time being.

"Who are you making up for? You know not to attract attention."

Devin looked over at me worried and I immediately dodged my reflection to turn on the radio in annoyance.

"Just for me," I snapped at him while listening to the soft RnB music. I knew it was dangerous to be noticed as a woman, especially an untagged one, but that didn't mean I had to act like a scarecrow.

He turned back to the front, drove down the street and when we got to the parking lot in front of my school, where it was already busy, he got out with me, which made me roll my eyes again in annoyance.

"Does it always have to be?" I whined and stood next to the car while he ran over to me.

"Do you think I like doing that? I just don't want to take any risks! Especially not when these idiots are coming to your school now."

In front of the stairs to the entrance I saw my friend Aleya, who had a close look at me and Devin.

She and my brother would have made a great couple, but no one here knew he was my brother because that was our little but important secret...

"I'll pick you up later." He pulled me close and closed his eyes to plant a quick kiss on the lips that just felt completely wrong.

He looked really good and his lips were soft and just tasted delicious like coffee, but the thought that he was my brother sent an unpleasant shiver down my spine, which forced me to break away from him immediately.

"See you later," I sniffed, wanting to wipe my mouth, but Devin was right. Our cover couldn't be blown, or I'd probably be in constant danger.

So, smiling, I watched him get back in the car and screech out of the school parking lot, feeling the other students' eyes on my back.

Yes, it was unusual to have a partner before the age of 18, but at least that way I was protected from....

Shaking my head, I banished the gloomy thoughts and turned to face Aleya, then walked towards her. Barely standing in front of her, she pulled me into a friendly hug.

"You're so lucky with your boyfriend," she murmured somewhat brokenly, and I took a deep breath.

If she knew...

"Oh yeah, I'm lucky," I said with exaggerated irony and then quickly broke away from her while her scent of cinnamon enveloped me.

She tossed her black hair over her shoulder, smiled confused at my sarcasm, and then walked into the school building with me.

"Have you heard about the heads up?" she asked excitedly when we arrived in front of our classroom and our mutual friend Sawyer joined us.

"Yes, I heard it," the blonde politely answered Aleya's question and before I could join in the gossip, I heard them both take a deep breath while their curious eyes fell past me.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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