Chapter 31:


Midnight King

A lone police car sits ominously in the shadow of the warehouse. The sirens are off, but the lights are flashing, bathing the establishment in red and blue lights.

Honey sees it on her way in, her skates come to a screeching halt when a certain pair of bushy eyebrows with a haughty attitude appear from behind the car. He’s on the phone, fortunately looking frustrated while guarding his parked vehicle.

Honey’s insides curdle from just the sight of the police chief.

Joshua’s dad. A certified asshole.

But even a freak like that wouldn’t deter her.

Honey had gotten a Sinstagram message she couldn’t ignore and no cop nor natural disaster would be able to stop her from getting inside that building.

Stamp out the obstacles. Vigorously.

Within some reason.

She sneaks around the back of the warehouse, a nice little hole in the chain link fence appears and fate seemed to be in her favor tonight. Or maybe it was mocking her. If she had found that break in the barrier earlier, maybe she wouldn’t have rushed into a fight with Ben the Boulder because of that stupid phone check. Then again, she might have fought him anyway.

Her hair catches on the metal wires, but she pulls it free. A couple strands come loose.

The first thing she notices is the smell. Pungent and permeating through the atmosphere like a thick fog. It was faint from the fence, but standing right beside the building it’s enough to make her gag on virtually nothing.


Okay, maybe something could deter her. Was the police chief here for this? A fuel leak? Or this was a trap? Though poorly laid out, Honey could leave right now if she wanted and no one would be any wiser.

And Charlotte had never been that thoughtless.

That bitch.

Honey had known she’d attract the attention of the despicable Sinstagram star sooner or later, but when it finally came in the form of a text, she felt all her hatred from last year resurface like the eruption of a dormant volcano. Consuming everything in fire. Leaving nothing but ashes in its wake.

All Charlotte had sent was The Queen icon. And a message that read: 

Let’s be friends again :)

A time. A place. A conclusion to Honey’s incessant revenge in the best way she could think of. Charlotte better be ready to say goodbye to her pretty face, Honey would rearrange it unrecognizable.

Her only regret was that more people didn’t get to witness the end of Charlotte.

Charlotte and her deceptive tears. Charlotte and her condescending eyes. Charlotte and her pretentious smile. Charlotte and her tyrannous reign over everything that Honey does, over all her ugliest memories and worst insecurities.

To be rid of that disgusting stain on her life would be a relief she’d walk through hellfire to obtain.

And afterwards...afterwards…

Afterwards what?

Honey would become King. Or drop out of The Midnight Fights, purpose now fulfilled. And do what exactly? Enjoy the rest of her days with people she had to convince herself were her friends and bask in the splendor of their admiration and attention. Concern herself with followers, with her likes, biting her tongue and forcing a smile to keep the numbers up.

For some reason, that thought makes her more nauseous than the gasoline, but she doesn’t want to think about it. She doesn’t even want to acknowledge it.

She doesn’t have the time to.

Because there’s Charlotte.

Lurking like a creature in the middle of the warehouse with The Queen’s mysterious black hoodie and a smile that tugs at the corner of her revolting pastel lips.

An awful smile. The grin of a devil.

At her feet lies a crumpled purple sweatshirt and only after a few seconds does Honey realize it’s The King.

It’s Joshua.

“Hello, Honey dear,” Charlotte cradles a delicate hand against her cheek, tilting her head with an innocent pout. She shows Honey her phone.

The King’s icon.

“Is this enough to make you forgive me?”

If Honey could count all the times in her life where she had hated something, where even the smallest of dislikes or inconveniences caused her nerves to prickle and her blood to boil, where she choked on the acid in her stomach and the tightening of her chest, none would come close to how she felt about Charlotte.

Not even all those times combined.

Honey’s reckless. Honey had no brakes and no thoughts. Honey doesn’t spare Charlotte another breath.

She charges with nothing on her mind but her lust for revenge.




Great. Just fantastic.

Of course Misha would trust the wrong person, the same person, again and live to regret it twice. He had thought Joshua wanted to end The Midnight Fights, but now sitting in the back of a police car like the real criminal he was, Misha thinks he hadn’t known Joshua at all.

This had to be a trap, or some plan to finally get them to stop attempting to destroy this illegal fight club for good. Which should be benefitting the police, yet the officer outside does nothing but lock the doors and make phone calls to people he can’t hear through the thick glass windows.

Misha falls forward. Head hitting the plastic screen separating the back seats from the front.

How could he be so stupid? The gasoline. The grand plan of destruction. The gullible trust. A perfect way to frame them. When Misha heard the sirens approaching, when he saw the gleam of a flashlight around the side of the warehouse, he felt tired.

Exhausted, like all his past transgressions were coming back to weigh on his shoulders and drag him further down this mess than he already had been.

He deserved this. He should’ve been in here two years ago, behind bars up until now, away from the world and unable to ruin it more than he already had. Maybe his dad would be alive.

Maybe Elias would still have his mobility.

And Elias, the optimistic, princely, perfect teenager, seems rather resolved in his position beside Misha. Unaware of how much Misha had mangled his equally perfect life. Or oblivious to the fact that Misha had dragged Elias down with him.

So that they both would have to suffer the weight of Misha’s mistakes.

His fault, his fault, everything was his fault.

And he just happened to take everyone as casualties along with him.

“I’m sorry,” Misha says for the thousandth time although no matter how many times he says it, it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. He stares at the floor, his shoes against the plastic interior and focusing on nothing else.

Elias leans a little into him. Weight on his shoulder that Misha tries not to take any comfort in. He doesn’t deserve it.

“It’s not your fault.”

He really doesn’t deserve it. Not an ounce of Elias’ forgiveness should ever be wasted on him.

Misha curls against the plastic screen until his head is in between his knees. Doubled over, trying to find the right words, the courage, to keep apologizing.

“It is. Again. And I’m sorry, again. I’m so sorry, Eli. If you stayed away from me, you’d be much better off. Back then, and now. I should have-“


Elias uses a tone Misha had never heard before. It’s stripped of almost all its softness, left with just a thread of Elias’ usual light-heartedness, but Misha doesn’t want to hear it. Or his mouth refuses to stop spitting out sorry's like it’s the air he exhales.

“No, Eli, this is my fault, don’t you hate what happened-”

“Of course I hate it!”

That’s the first time Misha had heard Elias raise his voice.

“Of course I hate that we weren’t able to end The Midnight Fights two years ago, I hate that you had to do something you could never forget, I hate that your dad had to get caught in the middle of it, I hate that The King brought a weapon we weren’t prepared for, I hate that you had to carry me all the way to the nearest hospital that was a couple miles away, I hate that I can’t walk without having to take a seat every other ten minutes,”

Elias sucks in a deep breath, forehead coming to join Misha’s against the plastic divider. Misha just watches his freckles burn in the flashes of red and blue police lights, his hazel eyes rile up with a fit of foreign anger, and his exasperated posture seems like he’d been meaning to say all this for a long time.

“And most of all I hate that you blame yourself for everything that happened.”

There’s a pause. Long enough that Misha thinks Elias is waiting for a response, until he starts to speak again.

“Of course I wish I could change things, but we can’t. Misha, what happened in the past will stay in the past, as much as you blame yourself for it, it won’t fix anything.”

Misha scoffs bitterly, “But it’s repeating itself with Honey, what else can I do than apologize, especially to you, the only one I managed to keep alive.”

Elias lets out a sigh, a long one that sounds like it was years overdue and although he usually always knew the right words, now he seems to be struggling to vocalize anything.

“I didn’t tell you to stop fighting.” Elias says, eyes seemingly staring past the car floor and straight into the road underneath.


“I didn’t tell you to drop out of The Midnight Fights. I didn’t save you from ending The previous King’s life. I didn’t help discourage Honey from joining either, does that make all those things my fault?”

“No! No, it’s not your-” Misha rushes to say, but Elias speaks over him.

“So stop blaming yourself for things you couldn’t control. You aren’t indebted to me for anything, you’re not obligated to apologize to me, I did all those things on my own. Let those be my burdens, you have enough of your own already.”

The car is silent for a few moments, no sound other than the muffled barking of the police officer outside and the rumble of the engine.

Misha takes a look at Elias.

A good look and he becomes acutely aware of how much Elias’ shoulders have dropped, how much he sinks against the police car’s door, and how much it’s supporting all his weight. He’d never seen Elias’ eyes so narrow, so exhausted, and yet also so relieved.

Although Elias’ shirt is wrinkled, there are dark circles beginning to form under his eyes and under his freckles, and his hair has been ruffled on one side, Misha thinks he’s undeniably beautiful.

He’s always thought that.

From the first time he saw Elias, a red haired boy that showed up on his doorstep with a missing Gray in his hand after the kid had gotten sidetracked at a snack store, Misha thought that.


Something that he shouldn’t ruin, that he doesn’t deserve to be around.

Something that he didn’t deserve to love.

Yet here is Misha, despite all his beliefs and how much he already messed up Elias’ life, deeply in love with the popular Cavalier student that was way out of his league, one with as many fans as moles on his skin and utterly perfect in almost every way.

Wondering if he could really wish to have this. To be forgiven. To love without feeling so guilty. To stop uselessly repeating himself over and over again.

Elias eases that doubt as quickly as it manifests.

“If you keep apologizing, how am I supposed to tell you I love you?”

Misha stops breathing. His lungs have decided to stutter on his next breath and it catches somewhere in his throat. It could be the lack of proper oxygen or it could be the fact that Elias has told him something he never thought he’d ever deserved to hear.

It can’t be real. It couldn’t be. But when Misha meets Elias’ beautiful, beautiful, eyes, the look is so genuine it melts into his dimpled smile.

It is real.

Misha shouldn’t accept. He really shouldn’t hurt Elias anymore than he already had. He shouldn’t have something as nice as this. He shouldn’t be this lucky. This fortunate. This...anything.

He shouldn’t. He shouldn’t. He shouldn’t.

However, Elias is there looking at him like he’s the only thing that ever mattered and Misha didn’t realize it before, but Elias had always looked at him like that.

And Misha only returned that love with pathetic apologies.

Misha is really stupid.

He spent so much time, so many hours, wallowing in his hopeless self pity, choosing to make things worse by digging a bigger hole for himself and letting it swallow everyone around him in the process, when he could’ve just moved forward. Taken one step out of his abysmal despair. And made both of them that much happier.

Misha wasted two years feeling so damn sorry for himself.

Enjoy your life.

Misha hadn’t been able to keep that promise. But maybe he could start now. Because all Misha’s guilt and anxieties pale in comparison to red hair and hazel eyes.

He’ll hold onto them with everything he has left.

Elias tangles his fingers into the mess of his hair and almost chuckles when he says, “I can’t believe I’m in love with a boy that says sorry every other sentence and treats me like an old man.”

There’s a twinge of fear, a bit of uncertainty in Elias’ expression, but he doesn’t take back a single word he said. Misha can count every one of Elias’ freckles, he can see the speckles of yellow in Elias’ irises, he can measure the dips in Elias’ cheeks that form with his exasperated smile.

They’re close enough for their foreheads to touch and Misha studies the length of Elias’ eyelashes and how they flutter every time he blinks.

All extremely beautiful.

“I’ll cut you a deal then,” Misha says, reflecting Elias’ smile. A real one. One that’s different from any other grin he’d ever worn in the past two years. “I’ll replace every ‘I’m sorry’ with an ‘I love you’ from now on.”

Elias goes quiet for a second, breath hitching, before throwing his head back in a fit of giddy laughter. Wiping away any troubled expression he had on earlier and letting the giggles melt over his features like a warm patch of sun.

It’s a look Misha wants to remember.

He wants to remember it for the rest of his life.

“Please don’t, that’s incredibly embarrassing.” Elias tries to say between laughs.

Elias is right there and it’s so easy. It’s so natural for Misha to close the distance between them and kiss him.

But there’s a muffled sound from outside, a crash and thud against the police car door that reminds the both of them they were still in particularly bad situation.

And it keeps getting worse.

The car door opens and Joshua stands outside, looking a bit battered and worn out. Breathing so heavily, Misha thinks his lungs might collapse from the strain. The police officer lays motionless on the ground and Joshua doesn’t look at all that concerned that he just attacked law enforcement.

In fact, he doesn’t give the officer a second glance or even spare the man a pity glare.

“Honey’s here.”

Misha’s blood turns solid in his veins. All his limbs suddenly feel heavy. The lightness in his heart from just mere seconds ago disappears with just two words.

Then the warehouse behind Joshua bursts into flames.