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I scratched my jaw and hid my face over the book I was reading. I prayed that she doesn’t notice me but the manner she entered the library and the pace of her walk told me otherwise.


I knew the effect I had on people. It didn’t matter if they were boys or girls; I could feel their eyes on me, admiring from afar. People like to check out beautiful things, and I happened to be one of them—an eye candy, if you must. I first started to notice this when I was 12. Teachers always let me get off the hook easily. My murmuring classmates giggle when I enter the room, and the most obvious one for me, the guys from my class either want to be my friend or they hate my guts for no apparent reason.


I didn’t want to sound arrogant, but aside from what they say “pretty privilege”, good looks can be a curse.


The peaceful ambiance of the library shattered when Trice, a girl I'd been casually seeing, yanked my book from the table and slammed it down. Heads turned our way, curiosity piqued.


"So that’s it?" she demanded, her voice shaking with anger. "You’re just gonna ghost me and act like I’m invisible to you? What the hell, Emmet?"


I ignored her, a tactic that usually worked. Standing up, I tried to walk away from her, away from her craziness. But Trice wasn’t having it. She grabbed my shoulders, her fingers digging in painfully. When I turned to look at her, she motioned to slap me but I caught her wrist mid-air.


"What is wrong with you?" I asked, my voice low and controlled.


She scoffed, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. "What is wrong with me? Are you… are you serious? You’re the one ghosting me."


"Excuse me, kids," a stern voice interrupted. The librarian, a middle-aged man with thinning hair and glasses perched precariously on his nose, walked over. "This is a library. Please settle this lover’s argument outside."


I turned to the librarian, trying to maintain an air of calm. "I’m sorry but you got it wrong. I don’t know this girl. I’m trying to read peacefully here."


Trice's mouth dropped open in shock.


"Are you sure?" the librarian asked, his eyes narrowing in suspicion. "She seems to know who you are."


"Yes, I’m sure. My name is not even Emmet. Look," I said, pulling out my ID. "Clark Benson."


The librarian examined the ID. Trice snatched it from his hand, glaring at the name on the card.


"You’re a psycho," she muttered, her voice barely above a whisper. "You’re a pathological liar, aren’t ya? I can’t believe I fell for your acts."


"Please, miss," I began. "Get a hold of yourself. You’re embarrassing yourself. Whoever Emmet is, I’m not him."


Trice’s face crumpled, a mixture of rage and humiliation. "I gave my virginity to you," she spat out.


I squinted my eyes, more out of disbelief than anything else. Virginity. It’s a social construct, a relic used to control people's desires. That Trice still thought it held some intrinsic value was almost laughable. I knew she was naive, but not this shallow.


"Miss, I will ask you to leave the library now, or I’ll have to call security," the librarian warned.


Trice looked around, realizing the attention we had garnered. With a final glare at me, she stormed out, leaving a tense silence in her wake. The librarian gave me a curt nod before retreating to his desk.


I slumped back in my chair, the weight of the confrontation pressing down on me. My reading mood was thoroughly ruined. I pulled out my phone, seeking a distraction, and messaged Erika, the latest girl I'd been seeing.


"Hey baby, where are you?" I typed, hoping for a quick reply.


My phone buzzed almost immediately. "Baby! Reading done? I'm back at my condo. Why?" she responded.


"Do you miss me enough to invite me over?" I texted back, a grin tugging at my lips.


"What are you gonna do here?"


"I think you know and I think you want it too," I replied, feeling the familiar thrill of anticipation.


"Andrew! Behave!"


"What? I just want to cuddle. Get your mind out of the gutter


" I teased, snapping a selfie with my best attempt at a cute expression and sending it to her. I shook my legs in excitement as I waited for her response.


"Promise?" she asked, the message popping up after a brief pause.


"I promise," I typed back quickly.


"Okay, come over then."


I grinned, swiftly gathering my things. The thought of spending time with Erika was a much-needed escape. As I moved to leave the library, I was shocked to see Trice standing near the entrance, her expression dark and menacing.


I sighed, trying to keep my irritation in check. "Trice, what are you doing here?" I asked, my voice edged with frustration.


She glared at me, her lips moving as if whispering something. A part of me pitied her; she was pretty and nice, but I had clearly broken something inside her. She seemed like a malfunctioning toy, lost in her own pain.


"Emmet!" she shouted, then corrected herself. "No, Clark Benson. You who play with people’s hearts, you who dispose of people like trash, you will come to regret your actions."


"Trice, come on. Let it go. We’ve only dated for what, a week? Move on. Forget about me," I said, trying to sound reasonable.


She smiled, a chilling, almost serene expression. "Is that what you want?"


I blinked, confused by her calm demeanor. "Very well. From now on, anyone who comes to know you will forget who you are after a week. Only then will you know the pain that you have caused me."


I cringed at her words but chose to remain kind. "I'm sorry for you, Trice, but you seriously need to work on yourself. Learn to accept rejection—"


Before I could finish, she shoved her hand into my mouth. I tasted something warm and metallic as her fingers pressed against my tongue. When she pulled her hand away, I saw that it was covered in blood.


"What the fuck?" I exclaimed, recoiling in horror. "You're a sicko!"


Trice grinned, the blood on her hand smeared across her lips. She walked away without another word, leaving me standing there in shock.


I watched her retreating figure as I wiped her blood from my lips, my mind reeling. "What the hell is her problem?"


I quickly forgot my disgusting interaction with Trice as soon as I arrived at Erika’s place. She had just gotten out of the shower, her damp hair cascading over her shoulders, and she wore a flimsy dress that clung to her still-wet skin. I grinned inwardly, knowing she couldn't resist me.


Without wasting a second, I pounced on her, my lips finding hers in a hungry kiss. My hands roamed down her body, feeling her shiver under my touch. Erika didn’t resist at all. She gave me what I wanted, and she seemed thankful for it, her soft moans echoing in the small apartment.


After we finished, Erika rested her head on my chest, her breathing slowly evening out. The room was filled with the scent of her lavender shampoo and the aftermath of our passion.


"Andrew," she murmured.


"Yes?" I replied, running my fingers through her hair.


"This is going to sound insane, but I know we just met a week ago, and I feel like I’ve known you for a long time."


I smiled and kissed her forehead, trying to keep my irritation in check. She did sound insane, but it was a familiar kind of insanity. "I feel the same way," I lied smoothly.


It wasn’t like I was counting days, but usually, I got what I wanted from a girl after a few weeks. Lately, though, I’d been lucky with both Trice and Erika. They fell for me quickly, and I enjoyed the thrill of it.


As Erika and I lay together on her bed, the warmth and comfort lulled me into sleep.


I woke up to a loud scream.


"Who are you? Get out! Get out!" Erika was standing at the foot of the bed, her eyes wide with fear and confusion.


I squinted at her, still groggy. "What are you talking about? I’m Cla—Andrew, remember?"


"I don’t know who you are! I’m going to call the police!" she yelled, her hands shaking as she reached for her phone.


My heart pounded in my chest. I probably looked more guilty than ever, but the mention of the police snapped me into action. I didn't want any trouble. She had gone crazy.


I quickly dressed myself, fumbling with my clothes in my haste, and darted out of her condo. The cold air outside hit me like a slap to the face, and I took a moment to catch my breath.


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