Authors: Kenya Wright
Flirting with Chaos
Flirting with Chaos, Copyright © 2013 by Kenya Wright
All Rights Reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher.
1901 Avenue of the Stars, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, California 90067
First Omnific eBook edition, November 2013
First Omnific trade paperback edition, November 2013
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
Flirting with Chaos / Kenya Wright – 1st ed
1. Interracial Romance—Fiction. 2. Mental Illness—Fiction. 3. Addiction—Fiction. 4. Artist—Fiction. I. Title
Cover Design by Micha Stone and Amy Brokaw
Interior Book Design by Coreen Montagna
My city of bright-colored night life,
and everything else in between.
to kill, if you’re saving someone else in the process, Rainbow.” Dad wiped my tears from my face with bloody hands. “Go ahead, sweetheart. Do it for Daddy. Pull the trigger.”
And I did.
Eve and the Apple
Five years later
off of my hands for five years. It was time to stop slogging through guilt and make a go at being normal.
Tonight, I would lose my virginity to my best friend, Jude. He didn’t know and it didn’t matter. He was a sex fiend wrapped in tanned muscles, with blue eyes that made the Caribbean ocean in spring feel jealous. Even worse, he knew it. Once I’d joked that more women walked into his bedroom and spread their legs than at a women’s health center. He’d winked and proudly agreed.
Jude will say yes. Stop worrying.
The difficulty rested on me and whether I could lock my heart and emotions away into a steel cage where nothing could slip in or seep out while we shared the most significant moment of my life.
I can do that. No big deal, right?
Once summer was over, I would return to art school and he would go into the studio to produce his first album. Our lives would return to normal, and neither of us would regret tonight. Our friendship would remain intact.
“Don’t overthink this.” I crossed my fingers on both hands for added luck.
My driver, Thompson, drove the town car along the path between lush hedges manicured in the shape of musical notes and stopped the vehicle in front of Jude and his dad’s gray stone mansion. I did a quick check in my compact mirror and realized my blue contacts still covered my eyes. “Shit.”
Jude hated the contacts as much as I did. Mom never demanded that I wear them, but I knew she thought I looked better with blue eyes instead of hazel, that they complimented my caramel complexion—which seemed to be the only thing about me that pleased her. Her skin was dark like chocolate, but I believed she didn’t see the beauty in her skin like I could. Regardless, I did whatever she preferred since she paid the bills. I wore the blue contacts and straightened my naturally curly hair whenever I dealt with her. We were supposed to meet for lunch before she headed to the airport—hence, why those horrid blue things covered my eyes now—but, of course, she’d backed out at the last minute.
“One must maintain one’s appearance at all times, darling,” Mom had admonished when I’d spoken to her. “Phones and cameras are everywhere, recording and judging. We don’t need any extra attention.”
Thompson turned off the car, got out, and headed to my door. I sighed as those blue contacts sparkled back at me in the mirror. “Well, I can’t take them out now.” My hands weren’t clean enough to start messing around with my eyes. Plus, I didn’t have my contact case or solution.
Thompson opened the door. Tossing my mirror into my purse, I took his hand and climbed out. If I didn’t get this moment over with, I was going to explode into a frenzy of anxious bursts. My nerves were on edge as I picked up the gift bag. A print of colorful apples covered it.
I hope Jude laughs when he sees the apples.
“Let me get that bag for you, Miss Rain.” Thompson reached for it.
“I’m fine.” I held up my hands to stop him. “Thanks, Thompson. By the way, take the night off. Mom’s out of town. She won’t find out about you getting some free time to yourself. You definitely deserve it.”
He flinched at the mention of Mom. “Miss Rain, I do not like this game. I told you before, I won’t be a part of this.”
I tapped my foot on the ground in annoyance. “Okay. I’m sorry. I won’t talk about her with you anymore.”
“Thank you. And I don’t like the idea of leaving you alone this weekend. Are you sure?” He glanced at the mansion’s front door. The song lyrics to “After the Storm” were engraved into the white wood and painted in black. “I’d feel more comfortable with being the one to drive you and Mr. Jude around.”
“Thank you for the offer, but that won’t be necessary. I’m a big girl, Thompson.” I formed my lips into a wide smile. “Please. If something happens, and trust me it won’t, but if it does, I’ll make sure to call you immediately.”
He rubbed his bald head and dropped his shoulders in defeat. “Please call me if you need me, and check in every day.”
“What day and time should I pick you up?”
“There’s no need. Like I said before, Jude will take me home later. We’re hanging out the whole weekend so I don’t need you to come by Saturday or Sunday. I’ll see you on Monday.”
“Well, then—” he did another quick glance at the house “—since I won’t see you on Sunday, happy birthday, Miss Rain.”
“Thanks so much. And you have a good night.”
“I’ll keep my phone next to me just in case your plans change.” He headed back to the driver’s side of the town car.
“Bye.” I continued to the mansion’s entrance. Worry pulsed in my veins, but I did my best to ignore it.
Hi, Jude. Yes. I know I’m here early, but there’s something important I want to talk about. Remember when we joked last year on my birthday about you taking away my V-card if I was still with it at twenty-one? Ha ha. Yes. That was so funny, but do you remember your promise?
I wobbled in my heels as I approached his door and almost dropped the small gift bag. My hands shook. My teeth chattered against themselves as my heart boomed at a staccato pace. Dampness appeared under my arms and probably soaked into the red, sleeveless dress I wore.
I should have put on the black one. Why did I wear red?
I stank of peach lotion and rose perfume. I’d slathered so much lotion on my legs that they shined and gave off a glossy look. Next, I’d spilled a whole bottle of perfume in my lap.
Sweat, peaches, and roses. Jude will vomit before I even get to ask him.
I combed my fingers through my curls. I usually straightened them with a flat iron until they were a long mass of brown and blond streaked strands that hung past my waist. But Jude loved my hair natural. I didn’t care what my mother thought, since Jude loved it this way. He said it added to my exotic look, made me look Brazilian or a mixture of many different races instead of a look that helped me fit in. Being half Jamaican and half white guaranteed I didn’t fit in with the African Americans at my college or identify with any of the Caucasian preppy kids from my high school years. I was an anomaly to all except Jude, who took me for what I was and never expected anything more or less.
I look fine. It’s just Jude. Everything will be okay. He’ll
I knocked on the door with shivering fingers. The gift bag swung back and forth in my other hand. Footsteps sounded on the other side of the door. I figured it was Douglas, his butler.
“Jude, are you expecting anybody?” That deep voice flowed from the other side and froze me. I recognized that voice. Kaden. Jude’s father.
I spun around to leave, but the heels slowed my pace. My town car had already left.
Right as I slipped my phone out of my purse, the door squeaked open.
“Hello?” Kaden asked behind me.
Think. How do I get out of this? Maybe I just won’t let him see my face.
“Um…never mind.” I kept my back to him and turned my phone on. “I left something in my car…I’ll be right back and then—”
“Rainbow? Is that you?”
My shoulders tensed. He remained behind me, and I refused to turn. “Yes. I’ll be right back.”
Kaden stepped around and faced me. “Dear God, you’re beautiful! You’ve grown so big.”