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.


7. The Troubled Times



Rhys Miller was in a terrible mood. After meeting the unexpected visitor yesterday, he had scurried into his room locked himself into it. He didn't bother to go back down, even for dinner. Instead, he busied himself by reading sci-fi novels he had gotten earlier last week until he fell asleep.

His alarm rang out, jolting him awake.

Rhys loudly cursed as he rolled out from his bed, nearly breaking his right arm in the process.

Then, his phone rang. Rhys answered the thing, not bothering to check who it was.

"What?" he snapped.

"Mr. Miller," a voice warned. Rhys's eyes widened.

"M-Mrs. Langley," he stuttered out, forgetting his morning grumpiness.  "I'm sorry, I thought it was a friend of mine."

The woman on the phone hummed. "Obviously," she sniffed.

"I'm really sorry again," Rhys said.

"That is not why I called today, Mr. Miller," she said, dismissing him. "I had sent your manuscript to a colleague of mine last month. He read through it, and wants to meet up with you next week to discuss things."

Barbra Langley was Rhys's literary agent. She was also a very scary woman.

"R-really?" Rhys was astounded. Mrs. Langley hummed in response.

"Saturday, at the Midnight Moon, three pm," she said. "Don't be late."

"I won't," he promised.

Mrs. Langley hung up.

Rhys looked down at his phone, grinning from ear to ear. It fell, however, when he glanced at the time. He cursed and ran to his loo.




Rhys did not bother to stop at their kitchen to say goodbye to his mother. He was now in a good mood but knowing his luck, he'd probably find his father sitting there too. He did not want to hear anything coming from that man's mouth.

So he had settled on getting some takeaways from his favourite food joint.

"Hello," a pretty dark haired girl greeted him at the counter. Rhys smiled in reply.

"I'll have some hot choco latte and  two sfogliatelles, to go," he ordered. The girl nodded and with a smile, gave him his total.

Rhys handed her a twenty pound note. "Keep the change," he said. The girl's smile was large.

"Thank you, sir."

Rhys got is food in less than five minutes. And just as he was about to go back to his car, he stopped, seeing a familiar figure running from the other sidewalk. It was Jesy.

Rhys watched as she ran past, her eyes focused on the ground in front of her. She was wearing form fitting black shorts and a baby blue tank top. She also had a pair of earphones on, blocking every single noise around her. Rhys could not help but swallow as she turned the corner, not noticing him.

For what it's worth, Jesy McKinnley was a very fit girl. And Rhys would be blind not to notice that.




Rhys was late when he finally made his way to his locker. Late for him at least— he had five minutes until the morning bell rings. Usually, he was already at school thirty minutes prior.

Chris was waiting for him when he got there. Rhys tossed him the paper bag containing one of the pastries.

"Sweet," Chris said when he saw what was inside. Rhys opened his locker and grabbed the books he needed for his first three classes. With their schedules, he wouldn't have time to go back later to get them.

"So..." Chris started as Rhys closed his locker door. "Why are you so late?"

Rhys sighed turning to him. "My father's back," he simply said.

"Oh," Chris said, understanding his friend's worn out demeanor. "That sucks."

"Yeah," Rhys agreed. Both men were silent for a minute when,

"So, any chance I could copy your Biology homework?" Rhys cracked a smile at the change of subject.

"Not a chance, mate."

Chris shrugged as he happily munched on his bagel.

"It was worth a try."




Jesy loved running. She loved the feeling of the wind as it rushed past her; like she was finally breaking away from its confine. It was like nothing mattered when she was running. It was just her; nothing else.

She felt light. Free.

As she ran a corner, she spotted Mrs. Miller's car parked across the street in front of a dingy-looking Settimo Cielo, an Italian food joint.

She knew better than to think someone like Laura Miller getting takeaways from a place like that. It had to be her son.

Jesy shifted her gaze to the ground when the store's door opened. From the corner of her eye, her suspicions were confirmed when Rhys Miller stepped out of the store carrying one paper cup and a medium sized paper bag. She didn't bother to look back as she turned to another corner.



"Get out, mate," Chris stated in disbelief when Rhys finally mentioned to him about Barbra Langley's call.

Rhys sighed as he leaned back on his seat. "I know. I was shocked too," he said.

"Who do you think it is? Do you reckon it’s someone big?”

“Honestly? I doubt it. But it would be nice if it’s someone from a known company.”

“Yeah,” Chris agreed. “That way you’ll be in NYTs or Sunday Times.”

“Such wishful thinking you have there, mate,” Rhys said with a chuckle. “I don’t even know if I’ll get published.”

“With you, Rhys?” Chris said. “Nothing’s impossible. You’ll get that deal, Miller. Believe that.”

“I hope so.”


Yana Prinsloo was furious as she approached Rhys later that day.

“What do you mean, you quit?” she shrieked while slamming his locker door shut. Rhys jumped back in surprise but quickly recomposed himself.

“… Just that, Yana. I quit; I don’t want to do that stupid article anymore. The Cactus Queen is a mystery that even I can’t solve.”

“But you can’t quit. That’s not even you. You’re Rhys ‘The Persistent Journalist;’ you don’t give up.”

Rhys avoided her eyes. “There’s a first time for everything, I guess.”

Yana narrowed her eyes at him.

“Have you been pricked by her thorns or something?” Her question was accusing. Rhys vaguely remembered Jesy telling him of Yana’s obsession with her. Rhys faked a scoff.

“Of course not, it’s just as I told you before; I don’t want to be part of anything related to drama.”

“You don’t fool me, Rhys Miller. I’ve heard of your run-ins with Jesy McKinnley. And if you think you can just take all the credit in exposing her secrets, then you got another thing coming.” That’s what this was about?

“Are you kidding me? Didn’t you hear what I just said? I don’t want to expose anybody. I don’t want to do that stupid interview. And I certainly don’t want to take credit in anything related to the Cactus Queen’s love life.”

Rhys hoped Yana will just get what he was saying and leave him alone. Unfortunately for him, Yana is more stubborn than anything in the entire world.

“Get me that interview, Rhys Miller. Or I swear to all things that are holy, I will destroy your name in the publishing industry.”

And with that, she left, leaving a very troubled-looking Rhys in her wake.



This blog has been rated as CONFIDENTIAL.


9/15/ 2010


The Royal Pain, for all her worth, is one scary girl. And I don’t doubt one bit that she’ll come through with her threat.

The Prinsloos are one of the biggest names when it comes to publishing in our community. Yana, being their only daughter, is said to inherit all their businesses—including The English Daily. I think that’s one of the main reasons why she was elected as our school’s editor-in-chief.

I’m basically screwed if I don’t get that interview now.






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