"Shame. That asshole sure did ruin such a pretty face," a raspy voice popped up out of nowhere. A bewitching kind of raspy—but it startled me nonetheless. I wiped away a drop of blood hanging on my chin with the back of my hand and turned to face the owner of the voice. A brunette with heavy makeup and tan skin stood there with a light smirk on her lips. "I don't mind it, though. I like ruined pretty faces." She bit her lower lip and cocked her head to one side, as if to size me up before revealing her venomous fangs and swallowing me whole. But damn, was the girl foxy.

I gathered up saliva and blood mingling in my mouth and spat it on the ground, running my fingers through my hair to get rid of the sweat and blood-slicked strands stuck on my forehead. "You were watching?"

"Everyone was watching, jackass." She crossed her arms and laughed like I was the most amusing thing she had seen. "No one wants to miss a good old bar fight."

Although it wasn't like I completely lost or won, slight embarrassment washed over me through the layer of alcohol and adrenaline coating my exterior. Blood was covering the left side of my face and I could barely walk without staggering. The bouncer had removed me from the bar once the violent commotion became prominent above the usual boisterousness of the place. In other words, I was wasted, got beaten to a pulp by some jock, and thrown out without one company by my side.

"I don't need sympathy or whatever it is you're tryna offer." I swatted my hands in the air and propped myself up against the wall. Sliding down, I closed my eyes.

"Boy, does it look like I'm sympathizing? Mugging would make more sense."

My eyes shot open. I cast a lopsided grin in her direction. "Are you?"


"Going to mug me?"

She twisted her short locks of curly hair with her fingers—adorned with chipped red nail paint---and stooped down in front of me. The fact that her expression was inscrutable, like she was actually pondering it, alarmed me for a fraction of a second. Then she huffed out another laugh. "I would have, if I didn't fancy your face."

I lifted one hand and gestured at my wrecked face. "I've been told I have fine features. And nothing else."

"Nah, you got a car, too. Cadillac. A classic, black one. She's a real beauty."

My brain jumped awake from its misty slumber and clarity seeped in. I sat up, grappling the bricks for purchase. "How the hell do you know that?"

A familiar beeping noise from the parking lot caught my attention instantly. In the girl's right hand, a silver key chain rested. My key chain. She wore a playful smile as she pressed the button again and my Cadillac yelped in response.

"You bit---"

"Hold it there." The mysterious car thief held out her hand in front of my face and shushed me. "Now, I was planning on driving away but I saw you and thought, why not drive away together?"

"Well, who the fuck do you think you are---"

"Shut the fuck up and listen first." Something about her voice was authoritative enough to have me complying. "I know you're headed to Elysia."

My blood froze.

", what...," dazed, I stammered. The goddamn alcohol was still messing with my head.

"You're out alone in a big, wide world, honey. And in case you haven't noticed, it's an effin' dangerous one. Better learn how to hold onto your belongings if you wanna survive a week on your own," the girl sneered and took out a black leather wallet from her short flight jacket lined with dirty fur.

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