Substance abuse (underage drinking and one of the main characters is a drug lord. Drug abuse mentioned) , strong violence, strong language, scenes of a sexual nature and the main pairing is slash. I'm not sure if this will remain as a T, I may later rate it M.
We're living in a den of thieves,
Rummaging for answers in the pages,
We're living in a den of thieves,
And it's contagious,
Regina Spektor, 'Us'
This part of the city was unlike anything Arthur had ever seen. As a small town New Jersey boy who's parents religiously protected their sons from harm, the closest he had ever come to life in rough city districts was driving through one in a cab on his way to the clean cut streets of Manhattan. He'd frequented in two places over the duration of his childhood, his home town and Wall Street, his parents frequenting there to sell shares of their billion dollar corporation. That was all.
So to see the run down areas he'd only ever viewed on TV or in movies, it was shocking. The buildings were cinder block and grey, not glass and spectacular. The atmosphere was depressing and quiet, not loud and claustrophobic. What was it the shopkeeper had said that morning when he went out to get milk for breakfast? "So, you're one of the famous Emersons, are you? Take a good, long look, this is the real world."
They were already a spectacle in the area. The local papers were plastered with the tale of how his parents had been given the chance to work with the best and brightest of the industry in England and they'd gratefully accepted, buying a low key flat in a run down city district to attempt to revert back to their roots. Not really, though. They'd both studied in London, but in no way did they belong here.
But Arthur had assumed he would fit in just fine. As long as he kept his name and attitude on the down low, he thought he may well blend in. He'd even traded in his Armani winter collection wardrobe for jeans and t-shirts.
He wasn't sure why his parents picked this area of London to move to, their university had been in a very lush part of the city. This place was so different to their past residences. But he was glad they did. He could taste adventure in the air of the dilapidated area and he was desperate to rid himself of his boring sheltered life.
So when Arthur and John were dropped off at Bricksdale High School that morning, the sun peeking through the grey clouds, they realised that they had gotten exactly what they had bargained for.
It was other worldly compared to their old private school, full of stuck up snobs whose parents paid tens of thousands of dollars every year for their kids to have their heads pumped full of self-righteousness. Bricksdale High resembled a prison. And that was no exaggeration.
As Arthur trotted down the steps that led to the entrance, John at his heels, he gazed up at the intimidating building in wonder. This was what he'd wanted his entire life, a sense of normality. His new white shirt was coarse to the touch, rolled up to his elbows, blue and gold tie tied loosely around his neck. A black zip hoody was in his bag which hung from his lean frame, it's straps pulled right down so that the bag brushed against his backside. A pair of black trousers and worn sneakers later and Arthur was grateful to see he blended in perfectly.
The brothers stopped in reception, John leaning languidly against the vacant front desk. "Excited?" he asked his younger brother, a reassuring smile pulled painfully across his lips.
Arthur grinned and nodded. This was perfect for him, exactly what he needed, even if John still wasn't sure. The secretary appeared around the corner and hurried back to her desk, pulling a heavy folder from a shelf that lined the far wall of her cubicle. "What can I do for you?" she asked timidly, clearly intimidated by the tall young men who frighteningly looked like they'd already spent months in the area. It made Arthur worry that they scared her. Was she easy to scare? Or just knew when to look scared?
"I'm John Emerson and this is my little brother Arthur. We're starting today," John replied with an easy smile, doing his best to set the edgy woman at ease. He applied his charming accent to the words, hoping to warm her to them.
"Ah, the Americans!" she squeaked, opening the folder and flipping through a few pages of information. "Well, welcome to Bricksdale. We will do our best to give you the warmest of receptions and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate in asking our prefects," she prattled off, like she'd been trained to speak the words to any newcomers.
Arthur nodded, his head jerking round at the sound of the front door opening. A petite girl in a black blazer with a golden hem stepped through it, closing it gently behind her. She was pretty enough, round face, olive skin, charcoal black hair. Her red badge stated her to be a senior prefect. "Rosie, you wouldn't mind showing the new boys around, would you?" the secretary asked.
Rosie gave a small nod, pulling her blazer tighter around her. "I'm Rosie Hopkins," she introduced herself.
She nodded in acknowledgement to the brothers, not seeming the slightest bit startled by their accents. "Follow me, I'll show you around."
Rosie led the way through the winding corridors of the high school. Arthur took in every piece of graffiti, every bit of litter as he walked, a slow smile spreading across his lips. Everything he wanted and so desperately needed to fill the empty void that was his life had been crammed into one building. He couldn't be more excited.
The desks were worn and aged, the walls peppered with scribbles, holes and other oddities. The textbooks looked like they dated back to the nineties and the computers looked even older. "It's not much," Rosie murmured as she ended their tour in the small music department.
Arthur took in the battered guitars and chipped drumsticks, numerous orchestra instruments stacked in boxes on the shelves. "It's awesome," he replied with a grin, hearing John chuckle beside him.
Rosie blushed and giggled. "Want to go to the quad? That's where we all go in the morning."
The brothers nodded and allowed themselves to be led outside to a cinderblock and slab courtyard, set at the very heart of the school. Rosie trotted on ever carefully, her fervent eyes making Arthur confused. They stopped in the shadow of an awning, Rosie gesturing to them to come close. "I'm guessing you know how cliques work, right?"
John grinned. "Yeah. Jocks, preps, cheerleaders, band geeks-"
"Sure, sure. Except, we're not in California. What you need to know about Bricksdale is that it doesn't matter which table you sit at at lunch, it matters who you're seen backing," Rosie explained hurriedly, like she wanted them to be informed before someone arrived.
Arthur's brow furrowed in confusion. "What?"
Rosie bit her lip for a second, trying to come up with a simple explanation. "There are two gangs at Bricksdale. The CRB and, as the much more dominant group, Eames' gang. CRB stands for Camden Row Boys, Camden Row is the nearest high school and every one of their big leaders has been expelled from there. Beware of Anthony Legates, the guy is vicious. But Legates and his bullies are nothing compared to Eames' gang. That's them, now," she spoke hurriedly, pointing to a pair of double doors as a group of about ten burly young men entered the quad, each dressed in darkly coloured hoodies and jeans.
Arthur's eyes went wide at the sight of them, massive, muscular and intimidating. And they were just the ringleaders, Arthur could spot tens of similarly dressed guys and girls dotted around the courtyard. "Who leads them?" he asked, trying to identify a dominant form amongst the closely packed ringleaders.
"Nathan Eames. He's as dangerous as they come, trust me, you do not want to be on the wrong side of his knife. The guy's laden with weapons. Knifes strapped to his arms, guns at his hips. He needs to be, you wouldn't believe how dangerous things are for him," Rosie said, pointing to the guy the group of leaders seemed to be forming around. His navy hood was pulled well over his head, the only visible part of his face was the tip of his nose and smouldering point of his cigarette.
John looked extremely worried. "How does he get away with it?" he questioned.
"Brute force. If you were a teacher, would you take him on?" Rosie asked. "When he's done here, he's taking up his Dad's old job as drug lord of the local ring. The industry's booming right now and that guy is upcoming. People are saying he needs to hurry up and have kids if he wants the business to stay in his family. He'll meet his sticky end in his late thirties, if he's lucky. His dad died in a street brawl and his grandpa was murdered when he couldn't pay off the loan sharks. It's his half brother that's carrying the business right now, holding it for him."
Arthur was shocked, his eyes darting between the gang, always coming back to rest on the boy they seemed to be congregating around. He was only an inch or two smaller than the tallest of them, just a little shorter than Arthur himself but he had an air of dominance, a dangerous aura. Suddenly, his head turned slightly so that it was inclined towards the three of them. He murmured something unintelligible to his friends and they all peered over their shoulders at the brothers, causing Arthur to look down.
"Just be careful, yeah? I don't want you guys getting hurt on your first day," Rosie heeded with a worried smile.
Arthur nodded. "Thanks, Rosie, it was real nice of you to show us around," he told her.
"No problem," she replied kindly, "And if you need anything at all, don't hesitate to ask."
It was just then that the registration bell rang and Arthur felt ten burning pairs of eyes leave his back. The students slowly milled to their classes, John clapping Arthur on the shoulder before they went their separate ways. Arthur was glad to find Rosie was in his classes and gratefully took the seat she offered him when they got to their first class. Biology, a subject in which Arthur excelled.
As he put his bag under the bench and perched himself on top of the stool next to Rosie, he became aware of someone behind him. Slowly, he turned his head to see who it was. An extremely pretty girl, the popular type with a skirt that was too short for comfort and a blouse with buttons that were practically popping off at her chest. "Hi," he said politely, even if he was startled by her proximity.
"Hey, you're the Yank, right?" she asked in a sly tone, one that was so slippery Arthur couldn't figure out if she was serious or not.
He smirked a little at that word, one that had often been applied to him since he got here. "Yeah, the name's Arthur. And you are?" he asked, spinning slightly to face her.
She giggled in an awfully attention seeking way. "Jane Legates. If you don't mind me saying, I seriously love your accent, it's just too cute," she replied with a smile.
Arthur blushed at that. "Thanks," he murmured, his mind ticking over the name. Legates... Anthony Legates was lead of the smaller of the two dominant gangs in the school, the CRB.
"You're such a slut, Jane," came a new voice, rich and throaty, from the door of the lab. Arthur looked up in surprise, his eyes falling on none other than the broad gangster from the quad, hood still concealing his face. Nathan Eames. "The poor Yank's been here two seconds and you're already chatting him up. What happened to Kai?"
"Kai's a cheating bastard, we both know it, sweetheart," Jane purred as she spotted Nathan but obviously knew he meant business. She backed down, all but dancing back to her seat.
"Skank," Nathan muttered under his breath as he took a seat on the bench in front of Arthur's.
The teacher entered, an elderly man that bore a stunning resemblance to Albert Einstein. "Hood, Eames," he called across the classroom as he went to his desk, pulling a folder from his shelf.
Nathan seemed to at least hold a small measure of respect for his teachers as he removed his hood in an instant. "Yeah, Mr Morgan," he drawled, peering over his shoulder and winking at Arthur. This allowed the younger boy to get a good look at his face for the first time.
And he was handsome. Incredibly so. Fairytale gorgeous with a rugged twist, scars marring his face. The kind of blue eyes that you just wanted to fall into. Arthur smiled back and turned his head to the front as Mr Morgan began the lesson, but he couldn't help but feel his eyes drifting to Nathan.
A/N: So, this is the start of Part 2! I really hope you enjoyed and if you did please review and follow, as the story will be heating up very soon. Also, do you like the idea of putting a song quote at the start of the chapter? :) S xxx