By: L.A. Casey

"Neala! Damn it, woman!"

I didn't stop or look over my shoulder. I unleashed my inner lioness and ran. I kept my eyes on the ground so I could watch out for any black ice that would mess me up if I slipped. I heard Darcy let out a loud yelp then a grunt of pain follow by a spew of foul curse words and I smiled. He fell over.

I was breathless when I reached the roadside a few moments later. I was searching for a bus, but a blue taxi caught my eye instead. I instantly lifted my arm in the air and waved it down. I prayed the driver saw me, and when I spotted his indicator flashing, I squealed with delight. The driver was pulling over for me.

I ran up to the taxi and jumped into the back and slammed the door shut. I rattled off my address and asked him to pull off right away. The man did as asked and I relaxed back into my seat before I turned my head and looked out the window. I swallowed when I spotted Darcy.

He was stood in the car park still with his hands balled into fists by his sides. He was glaring at me with his jaw set. He was already pissed off, and since I had to have the last word and wanted to anger him further, I stuck my middle finger up at him as the taxi pulled away. I turned my head forward when I lost sight of him, and I giggled to myself.

Neala: 1 Darcy: 0.

I hated Neala Clarke.

I absolutely, bloody, hated her.

I growled in anger with just the thought of the thieving bitch.

She fucked everything up for me. Finding that God forsaken doll for Dustin in Smyths was my last option, everywhere else was sold out of the stupid thing. Any sites I found online that sold it wouldn't deliver until the New Year, which was no good because I needed it for Christmas day. I had the damn thing in my hands, twice, and she still managed to pull one over on me and take it away.

"Fecking cow," I snarled as I stared at the blank screen of the fifty-inch plasma screen TV on the wall in front of me.

There hasn't been a single encounter with Neala Clarke over the past twenty years that didn't end in my loathing her. It was always her fault, too. She just can't be civil with me - she has to be rude, physical, and has to one up me on everything. If I brought a girlfriend to a family party, she brought a new boyfriend who was always bigger than me and could probably kick my arse with ease. I was an easygoing lad - I was more of a lover than a fighter, but if someone ever came at me with the intent to harm me, I wouldn't back down. I would try to talk it out first, but wouldn't back out of a fist fight if it were for a good reason. I was a nice person who sometimes could be stubborn, but only when she was around.

I downed the last of my coke and squeezed the can until it crumbled within my fist. I momentarily imagined it was Neala's head, and I grinned.

"Why are you grinning like that?" Sean, my friend, asked me.

I was in his apartment. I had a key for emergencies, but I used it for random drop-ins and as usual, Sean was cool with it.

I continued to grin as I said, "No reason."

He raised an eyebrow. "Well, stop it. You're creeping me out."

I snorted. "Sorry, man."

Sean fell onto his spot on the couch next to me and kicked his feet up onto his coffee table. That was how I knew Jess, his fiancée, wasn't home. He would never put his feet up on the coffee table if she were here.

"So, did you get Dustin's present?" Sean asked.

Here we go.

I grunted, "Almost."

"Almost?" Sean asked, quizzically.

I blew out a frustrated breath. "Yeah, almost. I had the fucking thing in me hands then she appeared and took it away."

Sean turned his head so he could look at me as he asked, "She?"

"She!" I growled.

Sean laughed. "Who is she?"

The Devil.

I looked to him and spat, "Your little sister."

Sean Clarke was my friend, but he was also the older brother to the bane of my existence.

Sean smirked and shook his head as he said, "Neala. I should have known."

He really should have.

"Exactly, who else pisses me off like her?"

Sean considered this then said, "No one."


"Because she's a bitch."

Sean punched me in the shoulder, and then grinned.

"She got the doll?" he asked.

I nodded my head. "Not fairly though, she attacked me... Twice."

Sean bit down on his lower lip to keep from laughing.

"It's not funny. She hurt me man, me nipples are fucking killing me. I thought she made them bleed at one point, either that or she ripped them clean off. She was like a wild animal!"

Sean fell into me when his laughter erupted from him like a volcano.

"Nipple... twisters?" he asked through his laughter.

I lifted my hands to my nipples and flattened my palms over them. I was still in pain. The nipple twisters were unexpected, and that made receiving them even more painful. I should have been ready for anything when it came to Neala, but in my defence I thought she was 'too good' now to resort to violence when it came to me.

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