The Thief

The Thief

A Short Story Series
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"Is this a test?" Mark asked.

Olivia's eyes narrowed, but she remained silent.

"Alright. Alright."

Mark slid his jacket off and held it out to her. Her gaze didn't waver.

"Please? This floor isn't the cleanest."

Olivia ripped it from his hands and resumed her hardened stare. An exasperated sigh escaped Mark.

"That was hardly necessary."

He pulled his shirt over his head and put his arms down at his side. Olivia moved closer and stared at his shoulder. There was what looked like her brother's birthmark on his shoulder. She ran her fingers over it, feeling for ridges that shouldn't be there. There were none. There was no scarring or fading that might have been there from a tattoo.

"Satisfied?" Mark asked, annoyed.

Olivia took a step back and waited as he put his shirt and jacket back on. She had no doubt that this man was her brother but just to make sure...

"What's the last thing that mom said to me before she died?" Olivia blurted.

Mark rolled his eyes.

"Answer the question." Olivia demanded.

"'Livvie, my love bug, listen to your brother okay? I love you sweetheart.'"

Olivia had never told anyone about what her mother's last words to her had been. She'd never even brought it up to Mark as she got older. He would've had to be there in order to know that.

Olivia nearly tackled Mark to the ground as she threw her arms around him. Tears streamed down her face as she held onto him. He stroked her hair gently and rubbed her back.

"I can't believe it's actually you." Olivia sobbed.

"It's me and I'm not leaving again, okay?" Mark reassured her.

Olivia nodded. She reluctantly let go of Mark and shoved her hands in her pockets. She shuffled her feet on the floor as she thought about what to say next. She could feel his eyes on her.

"So, where do we go from here?" Olivia finally asked.

"That's up to you. Do you want to stay with the Blades or do you want to come join me?"

"In your rival gang that I know nothing about?"

"You know more about them than you think you do."

"Meaning what exactly?"

"The Golden Dominion."

Olivia's heart skipped a beat at hearing that name. She stared at her brother for a long minute.

"You're with them?" Olivia hissed.

"So you do know them." Mark said flatly.

"That isn't a guild. That's a gang and a nasty one to be a part of."

"I wasn't left with much choice, Livvie."

"I can't go with you. Damien has already shot me once. I won't make the mistake of being in range again." Olivia lifted up her shirt to show a round, silvery scar.

"When did this happen?" Mark's voice was filled with anger but Olivia couldn't tell where it was directed.

"Two years ago."

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle: Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay.

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying. What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense. I've heard it all, "He was cute, why didn't you like him?" "You didn't even give him a chance!" "You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous; however, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do. I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well. Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

THIS IS CRUCIAL FOR FINDING A NICE GUY. It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault. If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs." Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him. If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it. He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush. Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling. :)

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Stop Making Instagram Your Only Outlet For Social Activism

Instagram is a great place to spread awareness, but stop confusing your desire for clout with your desire to save the world.

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Instagram is, without a doubt, one of my guiltiest pleasures. I often find myself spending way too much time on social media, caught up in the world of likes, filters, and hashtags. On the daily, I scroll through hundreds of selfies, beach pictures, happy birthday posts, and the occasional dog pictures. I am all for posting whatever you want on your Instagram account and personally hate the so-called "rules" that govern how we use social media.

Just as the use of Instagram and other forms of social media keeps growing, so has our generation's awareness of social issues. Everywhere I go, I get reminded of the issues our world is facing. Whether it be plastic, global warming, poverty, animal rights, etc., it is clear that our generation wants to see a change. Even though this is amazing, recently I've noticed that so many people my age are confusing the true desire to spread social awareness with the desire to make their Instagram account look better.

A few months ago on Earth Day, my Instagram feed was flooded with pictures of nature. Almost all of these pictures were of girls at the beach, or hiking with their friends, or even taken from the window of an airplane. While the idea of posting about how much you love the Earth and want to save it is a harmless idea, it does nothing to actually save the planet.

I fully support posting a picture of yourself at the beach, and showing off your confidence, but don't post it on Earth Day, pretending it's the ocean behind you that you care about. If you really want to save the Earth and make a difference, posting a yearly Earth Day picture of yourself is not the way to do it. Wanting likes and clout on social media is a part of how today's generation values themselves and each other, but thinking that this is actually promoting any form of social justice is plain wrong.

More recently, videos of baby calves being taken away from their mothers (highlighting the truth behind the dairy industry) have been flooding my social media feed. These videos are heartbreaking, and I am sure that the people posting them truly think they are horrific as well. Posting this type of content is a great way to spread initial awareness, but don't let it be your only outlet for promoting justice for the things you care about.

Social media keeps our world extremely interconnected, and without it, awareness of many of the problems our world is facing wouldn't reach nearly as far as it does. I'm not saying that using Instagram to spread awareness is a bad idea, I'm just saying that it shouldn't be your only outlet for doing so.

If you hate how much plastic our world consumes, go around to local stores and restaurants and ask them to cut their use of plastic. If you hate how the dairy industry treats cows, become a vegan. Promoting awareness while not actually doing anything to change the issues at hand is useless. Our generation is so strong and powerful, and we all need to stop hiding behind our desire for Instagram likes and start actually changing the things we care about.

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