Cleo was brought from her thoughts by a nudging from Lucia. Everyone was clearing out of the classroom and Cleo had been lost in images of Magnus's dark bruises. Lucia had no idea someone had beaten her brother which makes Cleo think there was something more to it than someone jumping him. He'd have told her if he'd have been attacked randomly. There was something deeper to the marks.
"Lucia?" Cleo asked, getting up from her seat. "Does Magnus have any enemies?"
"Enemies?" Lucia asked, tapping her chin. "Well, a lot of people don't particularly care for him. That is mostly because they think he is snobby."
"Well, he kind of is." Cleo commented.
Lucia chuckled. "Magnus just is not very social."
"Why doesn't Magnus try and make friends?" Cleo asked.
"Well, our father has always kept a close eye on us and he never approved of who Magnus hung out with in high school. He often scared them away. Magnus was his heir to his company until Magnus told him he was going to become a teacher." Lucia explained as they exited to room.
"Why would he give up all that power for such a low paying job?" Cleo asked.
"I do not know." Lucia answered honestly. "I've asked and Magnus always changes the subject. Magnus used to get into arguments with our father, my mother would always take me out to eat when they started to get really bad. I've always been suspicious of exactly what happened during that. Magnus never speaks to me after them and avoids me at all costs for a few days."
"What did Magnus say to you last night?" Cleo asked.
"I was dead drunk." Lucia sighed. "I can't remember anything past leaving the bar."
"Alright." Cleo said, looking down at her watch. "I have to meet him for our-" Her phone went off and looked down to see a text from Magnus.
Can't do it today.
Cleo furrowed her brows, the essay was due in two days she needed Magnus to help her today.
That's bullshit. I need your help today.
She waited for a little while and got no reply from him.
Look, I won't ask about last night. Just help me with the essay today and tomorrow and I won't bother you again.
Waiting for a little while longer and saying goodbye to Lucia. She huffed and walked down the sidewalk but felt her phone vibrate. She looked down to see a text message.
Fine. Hurry here.
"Such an asshole-Woah!" She exclaimed, running straight into the oncoming person while looking at her phone. They collided and she fell back up a hand caught her before she hit the ground. It smoothly wrapped a hand around her waist and pulled her up. She was met with a handsome face. He had unruly curly brown hair, bright eyes, and a charming smile.
"Careful there, princess." He chuckled. "We wouldn't want to scuff up anything on your pretty little head."
"Alright, you can let go of me." Cleo groaned, pulling herself from his grasp and setting back down the sidewalk. But he continued to walk with her.
"No thank you for your hero?" He asked, faking a pout.
"Fine, thank you for preventing me from falling. Now will you leave?" She rolled her eyes and kept on towards her destination.
"Not until I know the name of the lovely lady I saved and if possible her phone number." He said, keeping his hand tucked into a leather jacket and giving her a wink.
"If it will leave you alone my name is Cleo Bellos and my number is out of the question." Cleo said. "Don't you have a class to get to?"
"I'm not in college." He said. "My name is Jonas Agallon, currently unemployed thanks to Lagaris Co."
"Aron Lagaris's company?" Cleo asked.
"Yeah, my dad ran a wine shop but we had to close because we invested in Lagaris Co. and lost almost all of our money." Jonas said. "Me and my brother went and confronted Mr. High and Mighty Himself but when things started turning violent Aron stabbed my brother. The cops ruled it as self defense but I know Aron bought their loyalty. My brother was unarmed."
"I'm so sorry…" She said, quietly. "My dad's company went bankrupt recently too." Cleo confessed. "He the CEO of the Bellos Company when some organization named Limeros Co. made us go bankrupt as well."
"Lagaris Co. and Limeros Co. both work together." Jonas said. "We have a common enemy."
"You act as if you're planning a war." Cleo commented.
"Perhaps.." Jonas murmured. "They both need to pay for what they've done to me and the other families. When they brought down my father's shop and many others in the area I live so many people were laid off. Now they have to work at either Lagaris Co. or Limeros Co.'s horrible factories for a meager pay just to feed their families."
"We can't make them pay." Cleo said. "They won. That's how things go. My father was a kind man and they are ruthless. That is why there are where they are at. You can't fight them."
"You can always fight against injustice. We just need proof against them." Jonas said. "Go on, princess. I see you're headed somewhere. Here…" He handed her a piece of paper. "Just in case you change your mind about fighting give me a call." She opened it and saw it had his number on it.
He gave her a wink before turning away, lighting a cigarette as he walked and pulling on his hood. She gave a slight sigh. There was a defined difference between him and Magnus. While Jonas enjoyed the façade of a bad boy, Cleo could see he had a heart of a hero and no leather jacket and cigarettes were going to change that. Magnus had such sharpness to him, as if she might cut herself if she touched him. There was no mystery to Jonas but Magnus remained an enigma. Perhaps that was why Cleo didn't think much of the piece of paper in her hand but she still kept it.
She arrived at the library and found Magnus in a back room. His jacket and scarf removed with a loose fitting shirt. She could see the damage clearly now. The bruises and cuts shown against his pale skin like a coal amongst diamonds. Cleo knew she had to resist asking but her curiosity was nearly overcoming her reasoning.
"Is it too much to ask we get started?" Magnus sighed, pulling his glasses from his face.
"Good to see you too." Cleo scoffed and plopped down next to him. "What are we doing today?"
"Use your sources to write your paper. If you have any questions about grammar or the structure of the essay ask me." Magnus said. "But this is your paper and I cannot write it for you."
Cleo nodded and set to work writing this insufferable paper about history that she felt didn't even apply to her degree though she didn't even want to pursue it. She had written the out the thesis statement and about three sentences before she glanced over at Magnus. He was doing his own work, something from a class about mythology. She noticed something she hadn't seen before. There was a long scar that reached from his ear to his mouth. How she had missed that she didn't know. Perhaps she was in shock from his rudeness. Magnus hadn't wanted her to ask about the bruises. Didn't mean she couldn't ask about that.
"What happened to your cheek?" Cleo asked.
"I said if you had questions about grammar or structure, not about me." Magnus said, impatiently tapping his pencil against the table.
"I'm not going to write anything unless you get my mind off the question at hand." Cleo said. "So I ask again, what happened?"
"You were obviously raised very differently from me." Magnus groaned. "Have you been able to be this blunt your entire life?"
"Yes and I do not intend to change." Cleo gave a slight taunting smile. "I'll pester you till I get an answer. Hey, I pay you by the hour but I doubt you want to sit here that long."
"Fine, if it will shut you up." Magnus groaned. "I was at a store with my father, a hunting store. My father has a fondness for it. While there I saw a pocket knife that I really liked, it had my initials. I didn't have anything really nice so I hoped father would buy it. He refused saying if I needed a knife I could get one less pretty. I got angry and when no one was looking I hid it in my shirt and stole it. Father found it in one of my drawers and his fury came down on me. He took the knife and cut me with it, deep enough to cause this scar."
Cleo was left speechless. "And your mother-?"
"She bandaged me and soothed me. She did what she could." Magnus really did not want Cleo attacking his mother. She wouldn't understand the position Althea was in.
"What about Lucia?" Cleo asked.
"She was a baby at the time." Magnus sighed. "I answered your question now get back to work."
Cleo did not ask another personal question that day but new ideas swarmed through her head. Her assumptions that this had been either done by other students or common thugs swept away. Magnus's father, this unknown man to her had suddenly become a dark villain to her imagination. Someone who'd mark their child for the rest of their life obviously did not deserve fatherhood. Cleo had stolen a necklace from a store but Corvin did not scar her for it.
Soon Cleo was finished with her paper and Magnus's services were no longer required. Their goodbyes were surprisingly normal, devoid of sarcastic remarks or snide comments. Cleo saw Magnus differently now.
Magnus had noticed it too and he did not like it. He now wished he had not shared that story with her because he could feel the pity radiating off her. She likely assumed the truth as to who beat him the night before. He cursed himself for his honesty. So many times he had told a different story. A dog had bit him, a criminal, a glass shard, but the truth had poured from him and he could not stop it. He did know why but it felt somewhat better to finally tell that story. But he still did not want her pity.
"Magnus!" Lucia called, walking into his room where he was watching T.V. "Come on, get dressed!"
"For what?" Magnus groaned.
She snapped down the television and smiled brightly. "A party! haven't been to one since you were a freshman."
"I'll pass." Magnus said coldly reaching for the remote but Lucia snatched it up.
"Magnus Lukas Damora, get your ass out of bed and socialize." Lucia commanded making Magnus lose him composure and laugh loudly.
"Fine Lucia…since you asked so nicely."
Cleo looked down at her cell phone and saw a message from Lucia.
You coming to the party? :D
Cleo quickly replied saying she was. She hadn't attended a single party yet and she was quite proud of that. She had been a frequent visitor to many parties and her resistance to them had surprised herself. She entered it wearing a white dress with gold jewelry, her hair done in curls and make-up light and natural. She caught many people's eyes as she entered. It was one of first times since the fall of her family she felt powerful.
Someone stepped beside her and she wasn't too surprised to see Jonas Agallon walking along with her. "Hello princess.." He gave a wink making her roll her eyes but smile. "Good to see you here."
"You're not even in this college, why are you here?" Cleo asked.
"What I can't party even though I'm not as smart as you?" He chuckled. "I'll talk with you later princess. I hear a cold one calling my name."
Cleo laughed as he disappeared flirting with many girls as he passed. She herself began looking for Lucia who she soon saw waving her hand to get her attention but who was beside her was a surprise. Magnus stood here, wearing a button up and shorts that covered his bruises except for the one on his face. But Lucia believed Magnus's story when he told her he had been hit by a door.
He looked very handsome though the light colors he wore seemed out of place on him.
"Hi Lucia!" Cleo exclaimed. "Good to see you out and about, Magnus."
"I was forced." He said giving Lucia a miserable look who dismissed it.
Cleo and Lucia began to talk so Magnus went to the couch and began indulging in a beer. He tapped his foot against the floor and clenched the bottle tightly. He hated this so much. There were so many people here. He felt trapped. He felt like he was going to do something wrong. He just wanted to go home to the security of solitude.
He noticed someone had sat down next to him. He looked over and saw an extremely beautiful girl. She had silky raven hair and dark flawless skin. She wore a tiny little black dress with extremely high heels though she still didn't match Magnus's height.
"What boring party.." She said. "Don't you agree?"
"Completely." Magnus said honestly, taking another swig of his beer. He had a hopeful thought that maybe if he dead drunk the frightful feeling in his chest would go away.
"I'm Amara Cortas." She said. "And your name?"
Cleo looked over and saw Magnus was talking with a very lovely woman. She felt a pang of jealousy but brushed it away. She didn't care if Magnus talked to other girls. Cleo didn't care what Magnus did at all!
"Look who it is!" Someone yelled, his stare intent on Magnus. "Prince Damora himself."
Cleo was confused but Lucia's face hardened and Magnus has a sudden exasperated look on his face. Amara stepped away as the person who was confronting Magnus walked to closer to him. The person who shouted was a big man, shorter than Magnus but a lot rougher. Magnus stood up to meet his eyes.
"Ivan, stop." Jonas said, bursting through the crowd. "This isn't how we should go about it."
"What do you mean?" Ivan said. "This is Gaius's brat! The son of the man who helped ruin all of our families' lives."
Cleo's eyes widened in shock and she felt very dumb all of a sudden. The CEO of Limeros Co. was Gaius Damora and Magnus and Lucia were his children. How she had not put it together she did not know. Perhaps she simply didn't want to know and hid to truth from herself.
"Whatever qualms you have with my father I ask you leave me and my sister out of it." Magnus said. Lucia stood behind him, an angry look on her face but her hands were slightly shaking. Magnus would do everything to protect her but this is exactly why he didn't come to parties.
"We don't care about Gaius's adopted girl." Ivan snapped. "You're his eldest, his heir.."
"I do not accept my inheritance." Magnus retorted.
"You say that." Ivan chuckled. "But when all that money and power is laid at your feet you'll take it. You're just like him."
"I am not him."
"I don't believe you." Ivan gave a hard push against Magnus's chest making him stumble back. "I can see the very same monster in you as there is in Gaius."
"You think you're so wise!" Magnus suddenly snapped and pushed Ivan and gripped his collar. Ivan tried to fight back but Magnus cracked his fist against his nose. "You know nothing.." He hissed and dropped him, before storming from the party and as quickly back to his apartment as he could. Ivan went to follow and fight him but Jonas held him back.
"Not like this.." Jonas hissed in his ear.
Cleo was left dumbfounded but soon found that her feet following after him despite what her mind told her. This was Magnus Damora, the son of the man who had ruined her family's life. Why should she go and help him?
But her heart still commanded her movements as she followed his sprinting figure down the sidewalk.