December 5, 2023


🌺 Prologue 🌺


My hand was sweaty when I read the message on my phone. I was too focused on it that I didn’t even hear the bell ringing, signaling that our history class was over.

My eyes were locked on the text, while my mind was going crazy.

📱Tyler: I’ve got a surprise coming up
📱Tyler: I’ll see you soon at the cafeteria
📱Tyler: Miss you

I froze like a statue. I might not have been this nervous if I hadn’t heard what my best friend told me yesterday.

“Luna, did you hear me?”
I snapped my head toward the source of the voice.

Rory, my best friend whom I was worried about, raised her eyebrows.

She plastered a cute pout on her face, resting her chin on her hands on the table, her grey eyes studying my expression. “Were you listening?”

“I’m sorry.” I blinked a few times. “What were you saying?”

A grin crept on her lips before she stood up, pulling me up on my feet. “I said I’m craving for that Rib Eye Steak and that we should head to the cafeteria now because I’m starving.”

My heart thumped hard, and I automatically stopped my legs from moving, wishing that they would be nailed onto the ground, but I had no power when Rory dragged me out of the classroom to have lunch together.

“Rory,” I protested, trying to get away, but now my arm was linked to hers. I’d never complained about my best friend being clingy and touchy, but today was an exception.

Because today, as my eyes darted on her happy face, I just couldn’t bear the thought of her being hurt.

Yes, the thought of her being hurt because of what would happen in a few minutes.

But it wasn’t like I could escape Tyler either. I knew that even if it didn’t happen today, it would happen sooner or later.
Every step we were making toward the school cafeteria felt heavy to me — the closer we reached our destination, the more air was being Ṣūçƙed out of my lungs.

God, please help me.

When we finally stepped into the place, filled with other students settling on the tables and grabbing their food, Tyler was already waiting.

He leaned against his usual table, the popular table filled with his football teammates. His arms were crossed on his chest. A smirk touched his lips as he saw me, while his friends watched in amusement as if anticipating what their captain would do.

Rory stopped short on her track as she noticed Tyler, and I could feel her grip on my arm tighten. My heart shattered although nothing had happened yet.

“Is he waiting for us?” Rory cluelessly asked, and I couldn’t answer her. Even though it wasn’t unusual for us to have lunch with Tyler, but I now knew that she would always be anticipating it.

How could I be so stupid?

My breath caught in my throat as Tyler left his table to approach us before stopping his steps halfway. He stood at the center of the cafeteria, drawing the attention of everybody else in the room.

The Ɓụťťerflies in my tummy went crazy as they had always been every time I was around him. Of course, they would be. It was Tyler Gates I was staring at.

While he focused his gaze on me, I couldn’t take my eyes off his piercing blue eyes, so beautiful but icy at the same time, not completely hidden under his messy bangs.

He was the guy that every girl in this school, the Royal Heights, dreamed of. Even though this place was the ultimate school for the richest, Tyler still stood out as the son of a well-known politician.

He was undeniably hot — he was Cöçky too, I had to admit, but that turned on most of the girls here even more.

“Attention, everybody,” Tyler’s voice boomed, and everyone automatically snapped their heads toward him, stopping what they were doing.

My heart rate kicked up a notch — I could even feel my arm shaking, still linked to Rory’s. Tyler shot me a meaningful smile, and I would be an idiot if I didn’t know what he was up to, because he’d given me plenty of hints.

Like when he said to me that he couldn’t wait to make me officially his.

Like when he told me that he wanted to declare his feelings for me to the entire world.

Tyler was always flirty when we were alone or when he called or texted me, and I knew that he wasn’t bluffing. He’d told me that he’d already set his eyes on me the moment I first stepped into this school.

I was in the tenth grade, and he was a year higher. We’d been close friends for months.

He’d always made me flattered, and the realization that I liked him just as much was just too much for my heart to handle. It made everything more complicated.

The room became silent as all the students watched the scene — I could smell the curiosity in the air. Tyler stared at me with such adoration in his eyes, and I could feel the jealousy and envy the other girls were throwing at me, as if they wished that they could wear my skin.

My heart sank when I felt Rory’s grip on my arm loosen. She pulled away from me, but I couldn’t break my eye contact with Tyler.

“It’s finally happening, Luna. I just have to do this and make everyone see who you belong to,” Tyler said in a firm tone, but his eyes softened as he kept staring at me.

A soft chuckle left his lips before he shifted his attention to our audiences, his chest filled with pride.

“I want every single soul in this school to know that starting from today, Luna Klein is off-limits.” His gaze returned to me, and the air in my lungs was Ṣūçƙed when he whispered to me, “I should have done this sooner.”

A gasp echoed in my ear, and I knew where it was coming from. I turned, only to find Rory looking at me in horror, hurt in her eyes as she stepped back slowly.

I felt my heart almost stop, but I couldn’t move an inch. I didn’t even know how to explain to her.

“Hey Luna,” Tyler called, making me snap my head back toward him. His charming smile was plastered on his face, and my heart felt like exploding.

The happiness I was feeling inside was just as much as the guilt — it didn’t make sense.

I felt that my eyes were slowly being filled with sudden tears, but I didn’t think that Tyler noticed it, because he still looked damn excited and hopeful.

It should be easy, because I liked him too, shouldn’t it?

Holding my breath, I heard the question rolled from Tyler’s tongue, “Would you be my girlfriend?”



🌺 Chapter 1🌺

•Present Day•


I step out of the car, looking up at the building of my school. It’s going to be another frustrating day, but as long as I focus on my study, everything will be fine.
Mom and Dad didn’t get me into the best school for nothing.

It doesn’t matter that I’ve been an outcast for a year.

A sigh leaves my lips as I tighten my grip on the straps of my backpack. Keep fighting, Luna. You don’t want to disappoint them.

A glance at my watch tells me that it’s only five minutes until the bell rings. I prefer coming into the class at the last minute even though I’m well aware that the first lesson today will be taught by Mrs. Smith — she has always pressed the importance of punctuality.

When I arrive in the hallway, most of the students are already settling themselves inside the classrooms. As usual, my body shudders, feeling the coldness of the atmosphere.

This place wasn’t supposed to be cold, but since the incident last year, the air has changed — only for me, though.

The loud sound of footsteps stomping in my direction echoes in my ear, and I turn around to find that someone is running in the hallway. A guy has just arrived, P@ŋting, snapping his head around like he’s looking for something.

My eyes dart on his features. Chestnut hair. Green eyes, the color emerald — I can still admire their beauty even though I’m not looking at him up close.

Damn. My eyesight is perfect.

He has a backpack slung across one of his shoulders, his chest still heaving up and down because he was running, and my eyes zoom in on how his shirt fits perfectly onto his body.

Besides having broad shoulders, I can tell that this guy has perfect abs behind that fabric of his shirt.

Oh, God. My eyes are blessed.

My cheeks heat up, and I want to slap myself for having such a stupid thought running in my head about this mysterious stranger.

Now that I think about it, he looks somehow familiar. My eyebrows furrow as my eyes scan him again, and I hold back my gasp as I realize who this guy is.
Max Cooper.

He’s a newly transferred student from Australia. I can’t be mistaken, because one of the girls in my classroom accidentally sent the link of his Instagram profile into our group chat, saying how hot he is.
My curiosity had kicked in and made me stalk his Instagram profile last night, going through his pictures.

And God damn, he looks even better in real life.

The fact that the girls haven’t kicked me out of the group chat is bewildering — but they like to bully me there once in a while, so I guess that I know why.

It’s unusual for a new student to be transferred into our school in the middle of the term, but I’ve heard that Max’s Dad has just been appointed as the main commissioner of one of the biggest oil and gas companies in the country — maybe that’s why they suddenly moved to New York.

“Hey,” he calls, his voice raspy and low, making him sound even more masculine.
Max approaches me, and I freeze, my body straightening up automatically.

“Do you know where class XI-2 is?” he asks.

I bite my lip, suddenly feeling pity for him. Our school is unnecessarily huge — it’s completely normal to feel like it’s some kind of maze or labyrinth the first time you step into it.

It’s funny that the venue he’s asking about is my class. Well, hello, my new classmate.

“It’s the one right there at the end of the hallway.” I point at our class.

“Thanks.” Without waiting for any second longer, he rushes toward it, leaving me staring at him with mouth agape.

New guy must not want to be late on his first day.

I watch as he heads to our class with long strides. I look around, hoping that no one is watching. Fortunately, the corridor is already deserted. My eyes land on Max again as he walks toward the end of the hallway.

It’s a long corridor, and I purposely nail my feet onto the ground, waiting for him to go further before walking behind him.
I don’t talk to anyone anymore in this school, and talking to the hot new student whom most of the girls in my class are currently hyping about will only trigger them. In their eyes, Luna Klein talking to any guy is a sin, especially a guy like Max Cooper.

Slowly, Luna. Slooooowly.

I move my legs in slow motion, one after another. Max has already disappeared into the class, but I keep walking like I’m about to step onto mines on a battlefield.

It’s painfully slow that the moment I finally stand in front of the class door, the realization hits me like thunder in the middle of bright daylight. My eyes widen as I stare at my watch. I’m 10 minutes late.
Shoot . I just made myself late in purpose. I’m so stupid.

I step into the class, and all eyes are on me. Max is already sitting, and I’m surprised that he’s sitting at the desk behind mine. The furthest desk of the row near the window.

Right. I forgot that it’s the only empty desk left. No one wanted to sit at the corner of the room
behind me.

“You’re late, Ms. Klein.” Mrs. Smith glares at me, fixing her spectacles.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Smith.” I gulp, my brain trying to form any reason that would make sense. “I was…” But it fails.

“I believe that you can keep your reason, Ms. Klein,” Mrs. Smith says firmly. “I don’t tolerate indiscipline. The mark for your next quiz will be deducted because of this.”

My heart sinks, but I don’t have any choice. While I’m shuffling toward my desk, Max eyes me, frowning. He must be thinking that I’m weird. I just saved him from being late, but I’ve purposely made myself late.

I let out a long sigh, sinking into my seat, trying to ignore the whispers around me.

When the lesson almost ends, Mrs. Smith announces to the class, “We’ll be having a lab session tomorrow morning, and I believe that you’ve already had a partner as I instructed before. Anybody who hasn’t been paired, please raise your hand.”

Reluctantly, I raise my hand, feeling ashamed. Of course, no one wants to be paired with me, and the fact that the number of students in my class is odd frustrates me.

“Well then, Mr. Cooper, you will be paired with Ms. Klein for our next lab session,” Mrs. Smith says.

I curse silently at myself because I almost forgot that Max would also raise his hand. Slowly, I put my hand back down onto the desk and, once again, trying to ignore the stares aimed at me.

“Which town did you live in? I have a house in Australia too.”

“I heard that your parents used to live here before. How does it feel to come back to your home country?”

“Dammit, man, a newly appointed captain of your football team? That’s awesome. We have one here too, but the rules must be different. How do they play over there?”

Questions upon questions are thrown at Max once we reach the lunch break. Girls, and boys, are now surrounding Max’s desk. I don’t fail to notice the excitement and adoration in the girls’ voices as they speak to Max.

It’s getting crowded over here that I’m starting to feel suffocated. I need to get away, uninterested to warm up with the new classmate who’s now sitting behind me.

I’m sure that everybody else wants me gone this instant.

Sighing, I stand up. I step away from my desk, walking toward the exit of the class.

The sound of chair legs being dragged against the floor, followed by a girl’s giggle, lets me know that some girl has just pulled a chair to sit at Max’s desk, probably now resting her chin on her hands as she stares at him dreamily.

When I reach the doorway, I glance back at his desk, and my heart skips a beat when I see Max’s eyes on me.

He’s surrounded by our classmates, listening to them talking, but he’s watching me.

I tear my gaze away from him and step out of the classroom.


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