Home > Havoc at Prescott High (The Havoc Boys #1)

Havoc at Prescott High (The Havoc Boys #1)
Author: C.M. Stunich

“Havoc.”

The word slips past my lips before I can stop it, before I can question the decision I just spent a whole summer making. It's the first thing I utter when I get past the security guards, drug dogs, and metal detectors that guard the entrance of Prescott High.

The whole hallway goes silent. Everyone in it turns to face me, the girl foolish enough to bring them down on me, those dirty, rotten H.A.V.O.C. Boys.

Hael, Aaron, Victor, Oscar, and Callum.

Each of them is terrifying in their own right, but together? They own this school and everyone in it.

Their leader, Victor, turns around, leaving his open locker behind him, and crosses his inked arms over his equally inked-up chest. He's a fucking monster, this boy, six foot five with eyes like flint, and a mouth that's a hot slash of menace across the bottom of his handsome face. Like everyone else at Prescott High, he's got a history that's as dark as his violet-tinged black hair.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” he says, exhaling laughter along with cigarette smoke. Pretty ballsy to smoke right here in the hallway, but believe it or not, the administration has more important things to worry about. Well, that, and also: everybody knows you don't mess with Havoc unless you're willing to fight dirty and spill blood. “You're one ballsy bitch.”

“Don't call me a bitch,” I say, my voice cold but firm. I'm not afraid of the Havoc Boys, not anymore, not especially after they tore my life apart sophomore year. I'm over their shit. “And meet me after school in the library.”

“The library?” Victor asks, scoffing as he glances over at his right-hand man, the very cocky and (unfortunately) very attractive Hael Harbin. “Are you for real?” I return his dark stare with one of my own. Over the years, my don't-mess-with-this-chick look has been honed into an iron point. “Right, okay, whatever, it’s your fucking funeral.”

Victor takes off, but Hael lingers behind just long enough to look me over. He’s maybe an inch shorter than Victor, with a red fauxhawk that should be douche-y, but somehow isn’t, and a scar that runs the entire length of his right arm, shoulder to fingertip. Rumor has it that his dad sliced him up with a hunting knife, but nobody knows for sure.

“Request recorded, Blackbird,” he says, his voice an easy, overconfident purr, his lips twisted into a shit-eating smirk. When he turns around and heads down the overcrowded halls, I shiver and wrap my arms tightly around myself, leather jacket creaking.

“I hope you know what you're doing,” Stacey Langford says, pausing next to me with her posse in tow. She's the closest thing we have to a queen bee here at Prescott, but even she's afraid of the Havoc Boys. Like I said, everyone is. If you're not, you're either new here or not all that smart to begin with. But hey, natural selection eventually kicks in. There's a reason Raven Ashland dropped out and moved away to live with her aunt in Kansas.

“Don't worry about me,” I say, watching as people clear out of Victor and Hael’s way, moving to either side of the hallway to leave a path. The last thing anyone wants to do is draw those assholes and their attention.

Back in freshman year, the boys made a deal with the rest of the school: call out the word Havoc, that dark acronym of their first names, and they’ll do anything for you. But only if you’re willing to pay their price. And I’ve just done it. I’ve taken their word for it and called their gang. Now, I have to see what it is they’ll want from me in order to do my bidding.

Most students at Prescott would rather jump off a bridge than risk calling Havoc.

And it's the way I start my first day of senior year.

Stacey is right: I really do hope I know what I'm doing here.

But the phrase is fight fire with fire, right?

And I, I need an inferno.

My first day back at Prescott High is tense as hell. I'm witness to three separate fights, and a sophomore getting busted for bringing meth to school. Like, literal methamphetamine. Other schools freak out if a student is caught with a joint. Here, you're just lucky if you don't get hot-boxed while you're taking a piss in the girls' bathroom.

“Bernadette, right?” Callum Park says, taking the seat across from me in the cafeteria. The food here is crap, but at least it's free. It's better than not eating at all, so I choke it down. Callum has a tray, too, but the only thing that's on it is a can of Pepsi, a pack of cigarettes, and a lighter.

“Wow, you remember my name?” I ask, feigning joy as I put my fingers to my chest. “After kicking the shit out of me for nearly an entire year? Good for you.” I don’t bother mentioning that we’ve been going to school together since second grade, too. He knows that. All the Havoc Boys know that.

Callum smiles. It's not a nice smile. It's a smile nightmares are made of.

His lips are full and pink, but I’m not fooled by that pretty-boy face of his. Cal’s blond hair hides the scars on his forehead, and the lowered hood of his sweatshirt helps shadow the ones on his throat. Blue eyes watch me curiously across the surface of the beat-up cafeteria table as he drums navy-painted fingernails on the edge of his tray.

“You know how we work, just like anybody else. You say the word, we name the price, the job gets done. It's not personal, it's business.”

It’s not personal? I think, staring back at him. Tormenting me wasn’t personal? But like me, Callum’s an empty shell of a person, so maybe he doesn’t lose sleep at night over it. Bad things happened to him, but bad things happened to me, too. And he was one of them. During sophomore year, my ex-best friend hired the Havoc Boys to torment me. I’ve spent a year and a half wondering what price she paid. Mostly, I’ve spent a year and a half wondering if the Havoc Boys ever cared about me at all.

“Get the fuck away from me, and I'll meet you after school in the library. Isn't that how this thing is supposed to work?” I narrow my green eyes on him, running my tongue across my lower lip and tasting the waxy texture of my lipstick. I’m wearing a line called Naked Heat today, and the color is Scorched, this metallic copper shade that tastes even better because I stole it and I didn’t get caught. “I call Havoc, I set the terms.”

“More or less,” Callum purrs in that rough, husky voice of his, reaching up to run his fingers through his golden hair. He flips the hood on his sleeveless navy sweatshirt up. “But don't push it, Bernie.”

He stands up and stalks out of the room as my hands shake, and I pick the carton of chocolate milk up. Milk. Like a freaking elementary school student. I drink it anyway and pretend like hearing Cal call me Bernie again doesn't bring back horrible memories.

The Havoc Boys are more than just bullies; they're a full-fledged gang.

Once upon a time, they took me down.

This time, I'm sending them on a mission of my own. I just hope this transaction doesn't leave me broken and bleeding like it did last time.

This is such a stupid, fucking idea, I tell myself as I pace out back of the campus' main building, smoking a cigarette and trying to calm myself down. The only way I can face the Havoc Boys by myself is if I steel my nerves first. Otherwise, I might have a full-blown panic attack.

“Run, Bernie, but don't stop. If you do, we'll find you. And you won't like what we do to you if that happens.” I choke on the memory, and the cigarette, before ashing it on the side of the broken cement step I'm sitting on and tucking it away again. Can't waste any of it, it's not like I have an endless supply.

“Bernadette Blackbird, were you smoking back here?” Vice Principal Keating asks me, her mouth pursed into a thin line. I give her a smile and a shrug.

“Not me, VP,” I say, batting my lashes. “You know me: straight and sober.” She sighs, her shoulders drooping, fatigue lining her beautiful face. Ms. Keating is only thirty-two, but she looks fifty. She looked twenty when she started here two years ago. That's what Prescott High does to people: drains the life right out of them.

“You're a good kid, Bernadette,” she tells me, pointing in my direction with a freshly painted pink nail. Oh, well, if she's still getting her nails done, then there's hope for her yet. Maybe her soul hasn't been killed by this place? Mine has. “Don't get sucked into this crap.” I wonder how many other schools have VPs that say crap? Or worse. I've heard Ms. Keating drop the f-bomb on a bad day. “You're better than this, and you are so close to getting out of here forever.”

“With straight Cs, I should be able to get into the community college of my choice!” I cheer, giving her a sarcastic smile and flipping my pink-tipped white-blond hair over my shoulder. “Have a nice day, Ms. Keating.” I turn and hike my ratty backpack up my shoulders, marching into the library in my dark jeans, boots, and leather jacket. The whole goal here is to scare people off before they get on my ass, not after they've already set their sights on me as a victim.

It's like, to survive at this school, you need a warning system, like a porcupine with spines, or a blowfish with spikes. My piercings, tattoos, and leather outfits help with that. But only a little.

When I head into the library, there's another set of metal detectors, and a campus security guard in the corner. He's not looking at me though, he's looking at the Havoc Boys, his hand hovering over his stun gun. Not that a stun gun has much of an effect on these assholes anyway. Trust me: I tried it once.

“Bernadette Blackbird.” Oscar Montauk greets me, standing up from his seat and staring down at me through a pair of rectangular-framed glasses. With his dark hair, aristocrat face, and sharp smile, he should be at Oak Valley Prep with all the rich dickheads. The thing is, Oscar Montauk isn't rich, and even if he is tall, and slender, and wears glasses … I once saw him curb stomp a guy. Plus, he's coated in ink and piercings like all the rest of them. They stop at his neck, fingers of color crawling out from under the collar of his shirt. “You've come a long way, from eating dirt and bleeding out on the gym floor, to hiring us. Something tragic must've happened.”

   
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