Wicked Dreams (Fallen Royals, #1)

Wicked Dreams (Fallen Royals, #1)

S. Massery


Impossible truth #1: My foster parents decided they didn’t want kids anymore.

Maybe I should’ve suspected that. Their jobs were keeping them so busy: they stayed late at work, they left the house early. They were irritated when they were home. I figured the three of us were easy keepers, so to speak. We did our chores and stayed quiet.

Impossible truth #2: The social worker found a new home for me.

That’s not the impossible part. The impossible part is that it’s back in my hometown, just three streets over from where I used to live.

Before Mom got addicted to drugs.

And before Dad got arrested.

Impossible truth #3: I’m going back to private school.

Part of me is elated that I’m going back to familiar territory. But the majority of me is terrified. I’m sure things have changed, that the people I went to elementary school with have changed, but it’s going to be... safe.

“Hurry up, now,” my social worker calls. Angela stands on the edge of the new home’s lawn, waiting for me to get out of the car.

I take a deep breath and open the door, hauling my bag with me. I was lucky enough to get a real backpack. Each other move had my stuff in garbage bags.

“Let’s go, Margo.” Angela taps her watch. “We’ll make sure you feel settled, and then I need to get to an appointment across town.”

The house is giant. Bigger than my old home used to be, that’s for sure. I think my eyes bug out when we walk up to the door, and it’s all frosted glass and dark wood.

“What are their names?” My voice comes out scratchy. I spent the night prior crying, and my throat is on fire. I got close to my foster siblings while with the other family. We thought it would be a permanent thing, because that’s what they always told us. No mention of adoption, of course, but we were guaranteed another eleven months together—until I turned eighteen.

Guaranteed. Ha. Joke’s on me.

“Robert and Lenora Jenkins,” my social worker says. “You’d be their first… no, second foster.”

I suck in a breath. “I don’t suppose I should ask what happened to the first.”

She purses her lips and rings the doorbell. “She aged out.”

Once you hit eighteen, you’re out.

The door swings open, and a tiny woman stands in front of us. She has dark-brown hair and bright-blue eyes. Her lips curve up into a smile, and she steps aside. “Welcome, Margo! It’s so nice to meet you.”

I smile back. “Thanks.”

“Angie,” Lenora greets. “Please come in.”

We walk into their large foyer. The need to run away hits me, and I eye the door.

“Robert is upstairs. Margo, do you want to come with me and I can show you your room? We can go grab him together.”

Angela follows us up the stairs, clearing her throat every time I pause to study the pictures. Their other foster daughter looks like Lenora. Dark hair with soft bangs, big blue eyes. She’s petite, too, framed between Lenora and a taller man.

“Margo,” Angela whispers.

“Sorry, sorry.”

Lenora glances back, and her face falls.

I stiffen.

“That’s our daughter,” she says. “She passed away a few years ago.”

Death is an ugly thing.

She shows me to my room, and I drop my backpack on the full-sized bed. It’s a nice room, simple enough. I just need to keep reminding myself: Eleven months until freedom.

Robert comes out of a room down the hall and grins at us. “Ah, you must be Margo! Lovely. Lenora showed you your room?”

“Yes, sir,” I mumble.

They seem like regular rich people, all sweaters and comfortable pants that look more expensive than my entire wardrobe. Their smiles seem genuine, and I pray that there isn’t any malice lurking under the surface.

We all sit in their living room.

Angela clears her throat again. “Margo just turned seventeen two weeks ago. We have about eleven months before she ages out of the system. You have kindly agreed to enroll her at Emery-Rose Elite School—”

“Robert works there,” Lenora says, reaching out and patting my hand. “It’s a good education, and the tuition was free.”

“Thank you.”

Angela glances at me. “Well, Margo was originally there on scholarship when she was younger. Is that correct, Margo?”

“The elementary school portion.” I shift back in my seat. “They accepted me back even though I’ve been in public schools?” Nine of them, to be exact.

While the last family was good to me, and I was there for two years, there was a period of about five years where I bumped around different families and group homes, and the changing location meant changing schools, too. I tried my best to make it seamless, but jumping into new curriculums every year has pushed me a little behind, I’m sure of it.

“Yes,” Angela says. “Congratulations, hon. You’re going back to Emery-Rose.”

I swallow. My stomach is a mess of butterflies. “When do I start?”

“Tomorrow,” Robert says. “They only just got back last week, so it’s perfect timing. You’ll be starting as a senior, although they mentioned you may need to do extra work to graduate with the current seniors.”

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