Crowned Crew Heights POV & Stories - E. M. Moore
I hit the ground with a thud, my cheek smashing into the tiled floor. Sticky liquid trails from my nose, moving over the curve of my lips and dripping to the tiled floor.
“When are you going to learn?”
The ire in my father’s voice is one I recognize. The thin line his lips make. The hatred in his cruel eyes. They can switch in a moment. I don’t even know which side of him I’ll see on a day-to-day basis.
He’s been like this for years.
I push off the floor to apologize because that’s what I do. I’ve pissed him off—again. The receiving end of his anger is not where his future second-in-command is supposed to be, but more often than not, I find myself here. “Dad—”
Fury crosses his face. A psychotic twinge that nearly cripples me, making my arms go weak so I slide back onto the floor. My stomach coils tightly when he eyes me up like a punching bag, but he doesn’t decide to punch this time. He tees up like I’m a soccer ball and kicks me in the ribs.
I groan, pain lances through me like a slingshot. All the breath leaves my lungs, so I gasp for air, but the pain only worsens.
Dad drops to his knees, bringing his face even with mine. “Keep this up, and I won’t even allow you into the Crew, you little fucker.” He growls one last time in my face because he can, then he gets to his feet.
He stretches out, moving his shoulders back and fixing the way his suit falls on him. Then, he runs his hands through his air, pulling it back perfectly into place while also moving his jaw back and forth as if to soothe the tension out of him. Within a minute, he’s back to looking like nothing ever happened.
“Leave me,” he orders.
I hiss in a breath as I try to get to my feet. Past experience tells me that if I don’t get the fuck out of here as soon as I can, he’ll just lose it again. I wipe my fingers over the blood on the tile, smearing the red. When I can’t get all of it, I use the hem of my shirt to remove any evidence of what just happened.
This is how it always is. We can’t let anyone else see when he loses his temper on me. They can’t see when I’m hurt. They can’t look at me like I’m the broken, little boy because if they do, it’ll reflect badly on my father. Not because he beats me, but because I need to be beaten. Mayhem will be choosing his successor, and my dad is the top prospect if I don’t screw it up for him.
My body protests as I lift myself to a standing position. I survey the ground to make sure nothing is out of place. The furniture is where it should be. The blood is all gone. When my inspection turns up nothing, I hobble to the mirror that’s tacked against the wall right into the kitchen to check my appearance.
I run my hands through my hair. I use the collar of my black polo to catch the blood dripping from my nose. I wear black a lot. It makes clean up easier. Plus, it helps that black seems to be the Crew’s signature color.
When I’m pretty much put together, I straighten as far as I can, testing the limits of my body. It hurts like a bitch, but I don’t say anything. I lift my chin in the air, place my hand on the doorknob to the basement, and pull it open. The walk to my own apartment in our family house isn’t far, which is lucky considering I need to lie the fuck down before I faint.
I put on a brave face as I take the few steps to my suite, testing my bored expression as much for the security cameras as for myself. One thing my father is good at is making us seem like we’re already important. None of the other higher-ups in the Crew have as much security as we do. On the plus side, everything that happens here is secluded. Private. Mysterious.
It needs to be that way.
I finally get on the other side of the door to my space and quickly shut it behind me. Letting out an exhale, I cringe when it gets caught in my throat, and I cough. Fuck. It hurts to breathe.
The backs of my eyes heat.