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Two of a Kind (FU High #3)
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When money is tight and your family relies on you, the rules don’t apply. For Brad, hacking is not only a way of life but it puts food on his table and sends his brilliant sister to a private school. Nighttime, secret fights funds the gaps like special tennis shoes or expensive school uniforms. His work doesn’t leave much time for average activities like school and dating. Ordinarily, a rich, privileged girl needing tutoring would only piss him off.
But Melody is no ordinary girl. She’s gorgeous, funny, and every part of Brad’s body wants her. There’s no law he won’t break, no rule that he won’t step on, no person—not even her Senator father—who will prevent Brad from claiming her. They belong together. They’re two of a kind.
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“Hey Brad, got a minute?” a voice says behind me.
I pretend to search inside my nearly empty locker for something in hopes that the person behind me will go away.
“Brad? A minute?”
Ever since I helped Carter Franklin, I’ve had jocks up on my ass every other week asking for favors. He’s on my shit list and if I ever see him step outside the line, I’m taking him down.
“Hey Brad. Did you hear me?”
“Maybe he has head phones on, Mark.”
A finger jabs me in the shoulder. “You got headphones on? Can you hear me?”
I back away from the locker and slam the door closed. “I heard you the first three times.”
Mark Stein blinks at me in confusion as if I spoke Arabic to him or maybe just English. He’s not super bright, which is likely why he’s harassing me today. I’d bet my last dollar that he needs a grade changed. This is why I don’t come to school. There are too many dumbasses who are always on my dick wanting idiotic things. I can’t wait to be free of this hellhole.
“Then why didn’t you say something?”
I shoulder my backpack and move past him. He steps in my path because he’s a football player and Carter Franklin has trained all these animals to think that they run this school.
“Because I was ignoring you, my dude. Take a social clue. When someone doesn’t respond to you, it’s because they have no interest in talking to you.” I wait for Mark to move because I’m not engaging in some weird-ass two step that he seems to think is going to end well for him.
Mark puffs out his bloated chest and pushes his chin in the air. “You should have an interest in talking to me.”
I look down at the top of his head where I can clearly see a thinning spot starting to form in the middle of his crown. Maybe his premature pattern baldness is why he’s such a prick. Nah.
“I don’t though.”
The warning bell chimes and the gawkers start drifting away to their classrooms. Mark doesn’t move. Carter walks by, takes a look at the two of us, and shakes his head.
“Dumbass,” he mutters as he passes. He’s holding hands with the girl who pretends to be his cousin. Or maybe they aren’t pretending anymore. I can’t remember all the soap opera events that go down in this stupid school. “Don’t mess with him.”
“You heard him. Don’t mess with me.” Mark chuckles. He folds his beefy arms across his chest. I try to remember what position he plays and whether he’s always been this big or whether he’s gotten out of shape.
“He’s talking to you.” Carter is one of the few people that know what I do.
“I’m talking to you,” Carter yells.
But Mark misses yet another clue because he’s dumb and maybe had his head bashed in a few too many times on the football field. “Yeah, so listen, Brad. I have a little project and I’ve picked you to take care of it.”
I scratch my neck. I can take care of this two ways and after a brief internal struggle, I opt for the non-violent one. “How much money do you have?”
Mark’s menacing grimace transforms immediately into a smug grin. “I knew you’d come around, man. Okay, how’s $500?”
I bark out a laugh. “You have to be fucking kidding me.” I don’t turn my computer on for less than ten grand. Does he think I run a charity? I’m done with this fool. I push him out of the way and move on.
He stumbles back in surprise, not sure how he, a Michelin Stay Puft Marshmallow man, could have gotten moved by someone who doesn’t look like he’s eating steroids for breakfast. “Wait, what? What do you mean? I’m not kidding. I have it right here.”
He bounds after me, pulling his wallet out of his jeans and opening it up. I don’t bother to look. “It’s not even enough to make me click my mouse.”
“It’s just a grade,” he protests.
Bingo. “Hacking into a school mainframe”–which I’ve done literally hundreds of times and it’s so easy that sometimes I get mad–”is punishable by up to two years in prison so I’m not going in to change the grade of some dumb jock who spent fifth period jerking off in the locker room instead of going to his bio lab for that amount of money.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I see his round face turn red. “Fine then. How much do you want? Eight bills? Ten?”
I stop and pivot to face him. He nearly falls on his face to avoid running into me. “Half a million.”
His jaw drops. “You can’t be serious.”
“I don’t have that kind of money.” Mark’s dad owns a few car dealerships so he’s probably right. Five grand might be easy for him. Fifty would be doable but he’d have to steal some money from his dad’s till. A half a million would require the sale of one of the businesses and he doesn’t have the power or pull to do that. That’s one reason I rarely do business with my classmates. They don’t have anything I want.