House of Leights Page 1

Author: Jaymin Eve

Series: Secret Keepers #3

Genres: Fantasy


“Hey, Maya. Wait up!”

At the shout, I swung around to find Brad loping across the front of the redbrick science building, heading for me. As I waited, I shifted my pack to the other shoulder. The thing weighed a freaking ton. The teachers here were taking this “prepare us for college” thing a little too seriously. It made me tired just thinking about the rest of the year. I really just wanted to cheer, hang out with my friends, and occasionally attend school for my senior year. Not cool that the teachers were making it such hard work.

“Sooo…” Brad drawled, stopping in front of me, towering over my five-foot-two frame. “Are you hittin’ up Owens’ party tonight?” His dark brown hair was rumpled, which he did deliberately because he thought it made him look hotter. As usual, his very blue eyes were twinkling.

He was a linebacker for our football team, and he used his height and broad shoulders to pummel the other team. Our team had yet to win a game, but they still gave it their all. Dae Academy was a very small, very exclusive private school in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia, meaning we had excellent facilities and awesome trainers, but not a lot of students to choose from. They did what they could, though.

Pushing some of my dark hair back, I sighed. “Honestly, I don’t think I’m going to make it.” I pulled a sad face. “I have two quizzes I need to study for, a history assignment which is over three thousand words, and now Mr. Chan wants us to demonstrate our public speaking skills by reciting a twenty-verse poem – without prompt cards.”

My sad face morphed into a pout, something I had perfected long ago. Brad just laughed, used to my antics. We’d been best friends since we were little, and I couldn’t imagine him not being around, which was another huge reason I wasn’t that excited about college. We were not going to end up at the same school. I had to stick around Virginia, as per my parents’ rules, but Brad was looking at Texas U.

“I’m sure you can get all of that work done over the weekend,” he pushed, reaching out to ruffle my hair. “Friday night is for relaxing … it’s like a rule.”

I elbowed him to make him stop ruffling my hair. It took time to get the long, thick strands into order. “I can’t argue with you about the Friday rule, but my parents are really on me about dealing with my college choices.”

“Still have no idea where you’re applying?” His tone was more serious now. He’d heard all my worries before.

“Nope,” I said softly. “Nothing feels right. Nothing fits. I keep hoping something will fall into place, but I’m half contemplating just running away for a gap year.”

It was a lot more than half, actually, but I didn’t want to freak everyone out. I hated the way I always felt so displaced. I tried to do all the “in” things – I was a cheerleader, had great friends, an awesome best friend, rich parents. I had everything. And, for the most part, I enjoyed my life. But there was this … emptiness.

Switching my bag to the other shoulder again, Brad reached out to relieve me of the weight. “Holy shit, girl. What the hell do you have in here, bricks?”

Wrinkling my nose at him, I let out a sigh. “Pretty much. Textbooks should be used to build walls. That would be a better use for them.”

“Come on,” he said as he started to walk. “Gracie will be waiting for you. She hates when you’re late.”

Gracie was my nanny, like a second mother, and she was pretty strict. She expected me out in the parking lot at 3:20 P.M. and not a moment later. That way our chauffeur could beat the majority of school traffic.

I picked up the pace, and Brad easily kept up with me. I had to take three steps to one of his. “Have you asked your ‘rents why they won’t get you a car?” he asked me, before he leapt down a set of five stairs.

I hurried after him, skipping just the bottom two steps. “They told me that we have Bruce to drive everywhere, so I really don’t need to worry about that yet. And my safety or some crap.”

My parents were diplomats. I pretty much knew nothing else about their job, because that knowledge required a clearance level just below God. Or maybe it was above God? Seemed that way at times. Suffice it to say, security was high on their list of priorities. While their jobs sounded cool and provided us with all the material things, it did require them to be away from me a lot, hence the need for Gracie.

Brad had his thinking face on, my bag swinging lightly against his back as he walked. His brow furrowed. “I just wish we knew more about their jobs. Like, they’re legit crazy about security. Extraaa strict. I mean, my parents work for the government, too, but they’ve never been on my case like yours.”

This was true. His parents were pretty relaxed. And while they were gone a lot, it was nothing compared to my parents. Brad was their only child and they indulged him to ridiculous levels. Which meant he was the epitome of a rich playboy: fast car, fast girls, lots of freedom. Under the playboy exterior, though, there was a reliable, loyal, caring friend. So, I forgave the rest. He was definitely the brother I had never had, and without him and Gracie, I would have been a hell of a lot lonelier growing up.