The Prickled Heart

If there is one girl any guy in Westerfield High is afraid of, it's Jesy McKinnley. Forget the fact that she may as well be the hottest chick in campus, she's off limits; and not in the way that you might think.

When the resident school magazine is one scoop away from completion (a.k.a. 'The Hottest Scoop of The Year') it's up to the not-so-awesome Rhys Miller to save the day with the hottest topic the editor-in-chief could come up with. Unluckily for him, it just had to be Jesy.

Rated [Yellow] for future scenes.


8. A Runaway Royalty




As far as Rhys Miller knew, no one knows about the Cactus Queen's home life. There had been rumours that developed, but none of them were ever proven. There was even one that Rhys found absolutely absurd-- apparently, Jesy McKinnley was a royal heiress to an unknown exotic land who escaped to their gaudy town before the crown was passed onto her. How that one came out, Rhys did not want to know.

But that was all before he knew of his mother's close relationship with the mysterious girl though. And knowing her mother, Rhys was sure that she knew something about the Cactus Queen that makes the latter feel welcomed enough to visit his home during Saturdays.

Now he just needed to know what that something is.

But how?

"I'm not telling you anything," Laura Miller said to his son while he sat on one of the kitchen stools, asking about Jesy's home life.

"But why?" Rhys asked, silently feeling frustrated about his mother's unwavering loyalty-- a trait he either loved or despised at certain times. Laura sent him an annoyed look as she lowered the heat of her pot. Rhys could vaguely make out the smell of marinara sauce.

"Jesy is a sweet girl, Rhys Miller. And sweet girls like her deserve to have their private lives be kept secret if they wish it to be. She deserves at least that after everything-" Laura suddenly stopped as she realised she was about to blurt something out. Rhys, who had sat up straighter at the mention, slouched down again.

Well then.

Rhys sighed. "Alright, I'm sorry." he said. "I'll stop pestering you about it," he grumbled when his mother narrowed his eyes at his visible dismay.

"Don't you have some homework to do?" she asked. Rhys wanted to roll his eyes at the obvious dismissal.

"Not for tomorrow, I don't."

"Then do the ones for the other days," his mother said. "Your father will be here-"

"You know what?" he cut her off. "I just remembered Miss Dubois asking us to make a three-paged essay on European history-- in French." That was a total lie; Rhys didn't have French. It was a good thing his mother did not know that. "I probably won't be able to eat dinner," he said. His mother sighed.

"You can't keep pushing him away, Rhys. Gabriel is-"

"The man who you married, knocked you up, and left."

"He has a job in the city, Rhys. He couldn't just leave that." Rhys snorted.

"Is that what you've been telling yourself for the past ten years?" Laura stilled at that. Rhys only shook his head, too pissed to even notice the hurt that swam in her mother's eyes. "I can't believe you still believe that he'll come back after everything he's done."

Laura could only watch as her son stood up and left the kitchen. After a minute, she heard the front door slam shut.




Gabriel Miller was a sore topic for Rhys. Not only did his own last name always make him remember the certain excuse of a man, but his own features as well. Rhys looked a lot like his father and he hated it.

"Aargh!" he yelled out in frustration as he forcefully threw a fist-sized rock onto the small lake. He had went to a nearby park to let off some steam. It was nearing eight o'clock already but for some reason, he still did not want to go home. Even a no-brainer can guess why.

He silently cursed himself for forgetting his phone and wallet at home. Chris's parents would hate him if he shows up at their doorstep unannounced and an inn wasn't even an option. He had no other choice but to go home.

He just hoped he wasn't there when he gets back.

"Sucks, doesn't it?" he suddenly heard someone say behind him. Rhys froze as he recognized it. Footsteps were heard as Jesy slowly made her way towards him, carefully sitting cross-legged three feet from his right. Rhys tried his best to ignore her.

"Your mother called," Jesy informed him after a minute of silence. "She said you ran out. Your father's back, I reckon? Laura always said the man and you didn't have the greatest relationship." Rhys gritted his teeth at what she was saying. He didn't really care if Jesy McKinnley appears unconcerned about what he was feeling. But finding out that his own mother told her of all people about his problems, after she blatantly told him that it was none of his business to know what Jesy's life was like, didn't sit with him right.

Rhys let out a humourless laugh. Jesy raised an eyebrow in confusion. He ignored her.

"Just go home, will you? Tell my mother I'm fine and will be home before midnight. I don't need someone babysitting me."

"She's your mother, Rhys." Something in him snapped at that.

"And you care, why?" he harshly asked. "Last thing I knew, you were too angry at me to even speak to me. Now I have to find a way to get Yana Prinsloo to stop blackmailing me into doing her biding-a snort- What are you even doing here? How did you find me?" his tone had gotten accusing towards the end. Jesy ignored his questions and stood up. She patted the back of her jeans to rid of the dirt. Rhys turned his head away.

"Just go home, Miller. Your mother is worried."

She left without a backward glance.


Rhys was too exhausted, both physically and mentally to even write a blog post that night. Instead, he stormed into their house, not caring if woke anyone up and went up to his room. The lights in the hallway outside his room momentarily flickered open before being closed again. Rhys ignored it as he threw his shoes off and climbed onto his bed.

He lazily picked up his phone from the nightstand and swiped it open, seeing he had a new message. It was from Chris.


Your mother called. Where are you?


Rhys didn't bother to reply as he set it back to its former place.

Chris would know not to worry.

It wasn't even the first time he did something like this.

Rhys closed his eyes. He fell asleep in seconds.




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