Avoidables 5By: Rachel Medhurst
The Upper Side was like nothing I’d ever seen before. The buildings were posh and sky-high. The people who walked the pavements were clean, good looking and smartly dressed. I glanced down at my roughly made leather skirt and crop top as the guard’s car made its way towards the government compound.
‘Have you ever been here, Layla?’ Jason asked from the front seat.
I ran a hand through my hair as we passed a shop which had a sign saying ‘Beauty Salon.’ There were big pictures of women with hair that was shiny and pretty in the window.
‘No, I’ve only heard about it from the others,’ I replied, bringing my hand to the side of my neck where my birthmark curled onto my jaw.
‘It’s very different from what you’re used to. If you need anything, just ask.’
I nodded without looking forward. My gaze was too caught up in my surroundings. ‘What’s that?’ I asked, pointing at a long pole with lights on.
‘That’s a traffic light.’
‘What does it do?’ I asked as the car came to a stop in front of it.
I noticed Jason glance at me with raised eyebrows. He quickly lowered them when he saw me looking at him in the little mirror on the front screen.
‘It controls traffic so that people can cross the road safely,’ he said, coughing slightly.
‘Are there lots of men here?’ I asked, catching sight of a tall handsome man.
‘Have you never studied the Upper Side, Layla?’ Jason asked, ignoring my genuine interest in the male Perfects.
‘No, I’ve never studied in my life. I’ve been a rebel since I was born.’ A thump on the window made me jump. I saw the tall man I’d been eyeing up, looking in at me.
‘Hey, gorgeous, what….’ His words trailed off when I turned slightly and his gaze landed on my birthmark. He started to back away from the car with his hands held in the air in front of him.
‘What is it?’ I heard the muffled voice of his friend through the glass.
‘It’s an Avoidable!’ the man said.
The people surrounding him all looked at the car and started to back away. I stared at the light and sighed when it turned green and Jason moved the car away.
‘Don’t worry about them. Hope likes to give the impression that Avoidables are more accepted over here, but they’re not really. In the compound you’ll be treated professionally and more people will tolerate you because you’re under the employ of William.’ Jason pulled the car to the gate of a big walled building.
‘Is that what happened with Noland?’ I asked, feeling a twinge in my chest.
It wasn’t that I was in love with the tall handsome Viking, but he’d been the man I went to when I wanted some fun. Now he wouldn’t go near me. He drooled over that Perfect. My skin heated at the thought of her lovely hair and made up eyes. How could Noland fall for the enemy?
A twinge in my stomach reminded me I wasn’t supposed to be thinking of them as the enemy. I’d even come to like Jason as a person. Another twinge wrenched my gut when the gates opened and I was taken inside the government building. I’d heard stories of torture and death by Perfect hands, but I’d been assured by Jason and the others that the Chancellor had been the cruel one. Now he was dead, things were getting easier. I wasn’t so quick to believe it though.
‘Let’s go,’ Jason said, pulling the car up in front of a white building and getting out.
I fumbled with the door handle, but Jason managed to pull it open for me before I could do it.
‘Stupid thing,’ I huffed, climbing out.
‘What the door handle?’ Jason asked.
I was ready to knock those raised eyebrows off his face when a tall dark haired, incredibly good-looking man came up to us.
‘Jason,’ he said, nodding at my escort. ‘You must be Layla; Artie sent word you’d be coming today.’
I ran a hand through my hair and then stared at him as he held out his hand to me. Jason coughed and I glanced at him. He indicated toward the stretched out hand. William laughed as I glanced into his clear brown eyes. He went to take my hand, but I pulled away. What was he doing touching me? No Perfect had ever come near me.