Ruby My face burns a deep scarlet red as I stand in the middle of the training field with all of the students and Atwood glaring at me. Atwood clears his throat. I can tell that he’s attempting to compose himself, but I can see the anger behind his eyes and the way that his fists ball up at his sides. “Miss Ruby,” he says. “Late on your first day of transfer, and no uniform.” He makes a tsk sound with his tongue. It feels as though he’s trying to hide the fact that I’m his mate from the other students. Finally, he manages a cordial smile and addresses the rest of the students. “Thank you for coming to the first day of training,” he says. “Let’s kick off this school year on a high note. If everyone could please line up at the base line, we’ll begin with some stretches to warm our bodies up.” The students obediently line up on the white line. I go to follow and stand next to Nancy, who gives me a sympathetic smile. Atwood gives instructions to all of us to begin stretching. He wal
AtwoodAll I wanted was for Ruby to follow the rules and make a good impression on her new classmates. I wanted her to make friends, get good grades, and learn to enjoy the Lycan world. That’s it.Not… whatever this is.Did I not instruct Alice closely enough to ensure that she properly explained the rules to Ruby?Perhaps Alice just assumed that Ruby understood the rules of the Lycan world and gave her too much freedom. I find it difficult to see any scenario in which Alice would want to intentionally make Ruby’s first day so negative. My head housekeeper has always been loyal to me and the crown. She would never want to sully our reputation, let alone my mate’s reputation.Maybe I should’ve just instructed Ruby myself. It seems as though she wasn’t even aware that I am in charge of training here. Perhaps if she had known, she would have put in more of an effort to make her first day run smoothly.Perhaps I’m being too harsh on her.Truthfully, I just want her to run so she can sweat
RubyI make sure to wake up half an hour before Alice comes in so that I can have time to get ready on my own today. Besides, I figure that doing so will give Alice fewer things to complain about -- although I’m certain she’ll still find something.It’s still dark outside as I pop out of bed and scurry to the bathroom. Atwood’s side of the bed is still neatly made, which makes me wonder if he has been sleeping in another bedroom. Maybe he just doesn’t sleep at all. I jump into the shower, giving myself ten minutes to enjoy the hot water.Tamara and I didn’t have water this hot in our old home. I could only afford to pay the bills sporadically, so sometimes we would be lucky to have lukewarm water but most of the time we would have cold water. I got used to it after awhile, but having a hot, strong stream of water feels nice.When I step out of the shower, the bathroom is all steamy. I wipe the steam away from the mirror as I wrap myself in my towel and begin drying my hair, then I use
RubyWe all turn to look at who just spoke.“Earl?!” Donna practically shrieks. “Why would you invite this hillbilly?”“Donna, I don’t appreciate you treating newcomers like this,” Earl says, striding up to me. He smiles and holds his hand out for me to take. When I take his hand, he pulls me up to my feet easily as though I weigh nothing.“Here,” he says, pulling two invitations out of the inside pocket of his blazer. He hands one to me and one to Nancy, whose face is blushed a deep scarlet red.“Hmph!” Donna mutters, turning on her heel and storming off. Ethan grimaces at me and then follows her like a lost puppy.Earl ignores Donna and Ethan, continuing to smile at me. “Don’t worry about them,” he says. “They’re like this with all of the transfers. Pretty soon they’ll get bored of you and move onto someone else.”“I hope so,” I respond, looking down at the ticket in my hand.“I hope to see both of you at the party tonight.” With a smile, Earl walks away. I can feel the eyes of the
RubyThe weekend passes quickly.Far too quickly, because although it’s sunny and beautiful outside, Atwood won’t let me leave the castle. He has Alice follow my every move, even going so far as to have her stand outside the bathroom whenever I have to pee.It’s humiliating for me, but I can tell that Alice enjoys it, because now she has plenty of time to insult my every move.It feels like every five seconds she’s saying things to me like “Stand up straighter, don’t slouch,” or “We’ll have to work on your table manners, you pig,” or “Your slovenly appearance is no fit for a future princess.” With each snide comment, with each pinch of my belly to exclaim how fat I am, and with each comparison to the stranger named “Luna” I can feel myself beginning to break.I think that Alice wants me to break. She wants me to lose my temper and go on a rampage that will finally get me kicked out of the castle. In a way, I want that to happen so that Tamara and I can just go back to our old life. Bu
RubyAlthough the growing number of comments is horrible and traumatizing, I just can’t bring myself to tear my eyes away from my phone screen. My surroundings fade into the distance, and it feels as though I’m nothing but a floating pair of eyeballs in a void staring at a screen.“Is this really Ruby Jones? The new girl?”“omg, these pics are so slutty!!”“who goes 2 a buffet and steals the food like that?”“LOL, look at her stuffing her face! she’s such a pig”“there’s no way this pariah is an aristocrat. #expelrubyjones”“Hahahah, it’s her third day here and someone already hates her enough to post these! I think that might be a world record.”“should i retweet this? i think i should retweet this. lol #whorethief”I can feel a pounding headache suddenly coming on as the bile rises in my throat. Is no one going to say anything about this slander? It’s nothing but cruelty. I was clearly drugged and taken advantage of, although I don’t remember much more than flashes of dark figures l
RubyStudents watch and whisper as the professor ushers me down the hallway and up the massive staircase leading to the headmaster’s office.“No, please,” I beg, but she won’t listen. I just know that I’m going to be expelled, or worse if what Nancy said about the headmaster was true.The professor climbs the stairway, not caring for the fact that I’m stumbling and tripping behind her. Once we reach the top, she pushes me ahead of her toward a large wooden door at the end of a long corridor.“It wasn’t me!” I cry. “Donna started it!”“You can tell that to the headmaster,” the professor says with a grimace. “See if he’ll believe your lies.”The professor presses a button next to the large door. Inside, I can hear a doorbell chime followed by the sound of a man cursing and crashing about.The headmaster swings the door open.His hair is a bit disheveled and his jacket has been removed to show a white button down and a red vest that looks somewhat comical stretched over his round belly.
AtwoodWatching my mate cry makes it feel as though my heart is being ripped from my chest. I never wanted to hurt her, never wanted to make her cry. I never wanted to make her feel so unheard that she would need to resort to this to get me to listen.The power of the mate bond feels stronger now than ever.“Ruby,” I mutter, stepping toward her and wrapping my arms around her. She feels tiny and fragile. Her body shivers with a mixture of anger and distress, but I only hug her more tightly until she relaxes into my arms.I pick her up now and carry her over to my chair, sitting down with her on my lap. She leans heavily against my shoulder as she continues to sob. I say nothing, simply stroking her hair until she calms.“Just breathe,” I murmur into her ear repeatedly.When Ruby has calmed, she sits up and rubs her red eyes. I reach up with my handkerchief to wipe away the tears and snot from her sobbing.I look into her eyes when I’m done cleaning her face and cup her round little ch