It's been A WEEK over here in Mockland. I'm not going to complain because overall my life is pretty damn brilliant. But then it all turned around with the wonderful things my editor said to me. She told me I was "supremely talented" (her exact words) and like, I'm the girl who couldn't string a sentence together. I had to take special classes in Uni just to be able to turn in an essay that didn't look like it was written by an eight year old, let alone get me an "A". So yeah. That turned my frown upside down. Writing everyday, 5-8 hours/day for the past 8 years is finally paying off!
I also want to give a massive shout out to my editor. She's brilliant and makes my manuscripts shine. She makes sure Mock clarifies all the muddiness so readers can understand what I'm trying to say and she's done an amazing job.
Oh, but one thing before I get into Wells! I'm going to start a new group on here which I'll talk about in another blog. It's something I've been thinking about for a long time and then I had a request and well ... I'm gonna do it. That's my FYI. More on that another time.
He's one of those characters who wasn't supposed to stick around if you can believe it. Naturally, he told me to bugger off and stayed as long as he liked (forever) thank you very much. I actually can't remember exactly what I thought MY design would him for be. I don't know why I bother with "my" designs. I think originally, after a bout of enemies to lovers, Wells was a friend but like, in the distance? Something like that. But no. He grew into so much more. This is why I leave characters alone and let them do what they do. They know more about themselves than I do.
If you've read the previous version of this story, you'll have read Wells's HP counterpart, but something interesting happened with these characters while I rewrote. It was like they morphed into their own versions of themselves. You'll still pick out familiar scenes but the changes changed them. I recommend reading the story like it's "new" and like you've never seen it before.
Wells is a little older here than in the excerpt, but this is SO him. Nadia captured his beautifully broken thunder. This man is a force. I wouldn't cross him or you'll find yourself turned to alchemy ash ;) LOL But he's also the most loyal friend you could ever have. He's definitely trouble and the biggest brat you'll ever meet. He thinks he's smarter and better than everyone else. Ha! It's part of his charm.
Setting the Scene:
They are still in high school here. Jude is adjusting to having a parent and finding out who he is. Currently, Jude considers Rycroft a high school nemesis. Wells makes his first attempt at a truce. It won't be the last.
Copyrighted Material 2021
On Tuesday, it rains in the form of Rycroft on Jude’s happy parade. He opens his locker door and Rycroft’s standing there like the grim reaper. Well, if the grim reaper were incredibly handsome. Wells Rycroft does have a pretty face. It’s sharp in all the right places—nose, jaw, cheekbones. It’s clean-cut. His hair, so blond it borders on white, parts left, and it falls in perfect waves behind his ears to the nape of his crisp neck. His eyes are ice blue with chiseled brows arching over each one at precise angles like someone had used a ruler to make his face. His lips are full, and he’s mastered the sensual pout as his resting bitch face. “Hi, Parker. We need to talk.”
“No. We really don’t.” Jude’s in the black t-shirt and black jeans he’d planned on getting away with under his school robes today. He removes them from the hook and tosses said robes over his shoulder as he grabs his quantum earth energy text.
This close, Rycroft smells good. And of course, his robes hang off him in just the right way to showcase his lean form but not have him look too indecent for school.
“My father tells me your father’s coming out as Prince. Believe me when I say we need to talk about this.”
“Why would I believe a word you say?”
Jude’s had the displeasure of knowing Rycroft all through primary school. They weren’t friends. They aren’t friends. Rycroft exists as a termite eating away at the shreds of his good fortune until Jude retaliates against his better nature. Their rivalry is well-documented. From Wells pouring water over his sandcastles when they were eight to Jude singeing off Well’s eyebrows before the Halloween dance last year with a spell that prevented regrowth for twenty-four hours. They spend their time concocting what they’ll do to the other next, often recruiting friends to help.
Jude’s been busy this year. He’s got better things to do than war with Rycroft. Plus, his father would kill him.
Though it is strange Rycroft hasn’t struck first.
“I can’t give you a reason you would. I wouldn’t trust me either. Maybe you’re finally learning something from me, eh, Parker?”
Jude slams his locker shut. “Not in the mood for you, Rycroft.”
“You must know our families are family, Parker. Please tell me you figured that one out even with the spell scrambling your brain…?”
“We aren’t family, Rycroft.”
“Not blood-related, no—thank Merlin—but our parents were all good friends.” His voice is smooth. He buffs his perfectly manicured nails on his robes. How does he play football and manage to keep them that pristine? “We were supposed to grow up together, you know.”
“I’d say we dodged a lightning blast there, Rycroft.” Jude storms away, intent on class.
Rycroft follows like a bossy puppy. “Fine. So, you didn’t know.”
“I knew our parents were friends,” Jude admits. He does his best to slide into his robes while holding his textbook. It almost falls out of his hand, but he catches it with his football-quick agility.
“Here, let me—”
“—I don’t think so. Is that what you’re playin’ at? You’ll race off with my book and then I’ll be late to class?”
“You really should have a book bag, Parker. How do you not have a book bag?”
“Forget it. I’ll get to the point. We’re in the same circle the moment your father makes that announcement. Technically, we are whether he does, or he doesn’t, but for now it’s behind closed doors—I mean that figuratively, Parker.”
“I know how you mean it,” Jude grumbles. Why? Why is he plagued with Rycroft this morning?
“We’re going to have to end our war. Maybe we organize a truce? I’m not ending up over Uncle Maddy’s knee because I put bats in your dormitory, not worth—”
Jude slams Wells against the wall, his smooth blond hair flies all over the place. “What did you call him?”
Jude doesn’t give him the chance to answer, hauling Rycroft into an empty classroom. Jude sets his robe and textbook down and paces, Rycroft watching on like he’s observing a fruit fly in a science experiment, wondering if he should end it.
Finally, Jude ceases the pacing. He stares wild and helpless.
“You want me to talk now?”
“Our fathers are friends. They were more than that. They were partners at work. My father was involved from the outside during their undercover mission. He served as a check-in. Look, it’s complicated to explain but basically, Uncle Mads and Father had to do a lot of conversing at the house when I was younger. I was there.”
Jude’s chest pangs. Rycroft got to see his father all those years and he didn’t.
“What’s going on with you—oh I get it. Jealous of my time with him?” Rycroft is a prat but he’s an intelligent prat.
Jude doesn’t realize the energy has built until it’s there, sizzling in both hands.
“Whoa, okay. Okay, Parker. That was over the line considering. It’s not like we went to tea or hung out. He was mostly telling me off and taking me to task because my father is horrible at it. He’s ‘Uncle Mads’ by default because he’s Father’s best friend and now that he’s done with the whole, you know, he can assume his role as my back up magical guardian should anything happen to my parents. Merlin, even if nothing does. You know what he’s like. Feel better?”
Actually, Jude does. Imagining Rycroft kicking and screaming over his father’s knee is a nice vision. At least someone kept him in line. From what Jude can see, Lucian gives Wells anything and everything. “Why would you want to make me feel better, Rycroft?”
“Because I don’t fancy having my head blown off. Now will you put that away?”
Jude exhales the energy away carefully like his father’s been teaching him, allowing it to rejoin with the field and not annihilate the classroom. “What’s involved in this truce? I don’t want to have to be nice to you.”
Wells smirks. “Neither of us need to go that far, Parker. How about we say no pranks, no physical acts against the other? Insults are fine.”
“Our insults lead to acts of violence.” Jude’s not even a violent person. Rycroft brings it out of him.
Wells shrugs. “I think it’s the best we can do considering. It will at least keep us out from the under the firing squad more of the time. Your father has a lead hand, Parker.”
Interesting. Nothing else keeps Wells from doing what he wants, but a little spanking does. “He doesn’t have a lead hand, Rycroft.”
“So, you know about it then?”
Damn. Jude’s outed himself. His cheeks heat. “Is that all?”
“No. We’ll have to attend dinners together. I don’t like crossing bridges when we come to them. I like to be twenty steps ahead. We need a plan.”
“Too bad. I don’t make plans with you.” Jude’s late for class by now. Maybe he shouldn’t bother going? Rycroft’s turned his stomach. He’s lost his taste for everything.
Rycroft’s perfect brows angle down. “You’re so bloody stubborn. It’s no wonder your parents wanted to shield their identities from you. Was probably for their benefit as much as yours.”
When Jude lunges, Wells uses some of the brains he’s known for and runs out of the classroom, blue and black robes flaring in his wake. Jude’s left panting and burning with barely contained rage. He knows what Rycroft said isn’t true. He knows in his heart how much his parents wanted to keep him safe and for the most part the spell did. He just hates those circumstances worked out so that Wells Rycroft of all people got to have one of his parents in his life.
Jude’s not going to class. He takes a detour to their flat at Ravyndell.