Fallen crest public, p.11
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       Fallen Crest Public, p.11

         Part #3 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan
 

  me. My phone was plucked from my hand and he barked into it, “Who is this?”

  The fight left him when he heard his father’s voice.

  Glancing at Sam as I drove to Nate’s house, I watched as she curled in a ball. The seat belt was restricting her from completing the fetal position, but that wasn’t what sent a searing pang through me. It was the look on her face. She was lost. I recognized the look and heard her sniffle, trying to cover up the lone tear at the corner of her eye. I figured it had something to do with our upheaval. Nate’s parents were flying in. The last I heard, they were in New Zealand so they’d be here in a day, but we would be booted out when they arrived. James said that Helen was coming as well. That meant she would book a suite in the best hotel, expecting Logan and me to be there.

  She had a rude awakening coming. Sam was coming too.

  Reaching over, I put a hand on her thigh. She glanced up, her dark eyes made darker by her misery. “Things will work out.” I tried to reassure her with a smile.

  She closed her eyes. Just like that, I’d been given a window to her soul, and then she took it away. Sam would never know how much that affected me. I needed to feel connected to her. Sometimes it was like air to me—I needed it to breathe. When she would pull away, it staggered me—every time. I tried again, “It will, Sam.” They opened again, baring her insides to me. My lungs filled as the connection happened.

  “I thought it was you,” she whispered.

  I frowned.

  “When Logan sent that text, I thought it was all over.”

  Regret washed over me. “I’m sorry. I should’ve asked what Logan texted. No, I should’ve called you myself. I’m sorry.” I grimaced. If I’d gotten a text like that, I would’ve gone nuts. My reaction would’ve been a lot worse than hers had been. Even considering it, the beginning of rage swirled inside of me. I don’t know what I would do if she was ever hurt …

  Then she sent another pang through me when she said, “I can’t go back to my mom’s. I thought I could before. I was willing to do it for you and Logan. I think you guys should live with your dad. It’s your last semester here,” her voice hitched on that last statement, “you should have as many memories with your dad that you can.”

  “We can’t. Sam—”

  “I know.” She sat up and faced me.

  She was now in the shadows, but the streetlights flashed over her, illuminating her for a brief second. As I watched, her eyes never changed. There was always such earnestness mixed with sadness in them. Everything in me sank. There’d always been pain in her, but it had gone away for a little while, but it was back now. It had increased. My eyebrows furrowed together. Was this because of my dad?

  She murmured, “You said your mom would get you guys’ hotel rooms.” She bit her lip. “I can’t stay with my mom, not if you guys aren’t there. There’s no way.”

  “You won’t.” My voice grew rough. “You’re staying with us.”

  “But your mom—”

  “I don’t care about my mom. If she thinks she can push you out … there’s no way in hell. You’re staying with us.”

  “But what if she—”

  “Sam.” My hand gripped her thigh harder, my fingers sinking into her jeans. “I don’t care what my mom says. Logan and I both have our own money. We can get our own room. Besides, even if you didn’t stay with me, for some unknown reason that I can’t imagine, Logan would have you in his room. He’d hide you in his suitcase or something.” I grinned at her. “You’re covered no matter what.”

  Her eyes held mine, so stricken and vulnerable.

  I tried not to let it slip, but this was killing me. Sam was strong. I knew that. I’d seen it and it was one of the things that drew me to her in the first place, but she was fragile too. I could see her nearing the line of too-much. The fight with her mom had almost defeated her. I couldn’t fight for her, not with that battle. It was on the inside. She was still dealing with all the emotional turmoil Analise shoveled at her.

  Fuck her, that’d been my theory for Sam’s mother from the beginning, but I knew she needed to put Analise behind her on her own. If she didn’t, her mother would still hold so much power over Sam and nothing good would ever happen then.

  Analise Strattan was toxic. She ruined everything she touched. It was only a matter of time before she’d ruin my father, but James remained with her, his eyes wide open. He knew what he was getting himself into. I would never have sympathy for my dad. He refused to leave Analise, so fuck him. She hurt Sam. I was done with my dad as long as he was with that woman.

  Feeling Sam slip her hand underneath mine, I broke out of my thoughts.

  She smiled at me. She didn’t waver, but the sadness in her eyes would haunt me. I lifted her hand and pressed a kiss to the back of it.

  “What was that for?”

  I shrugged, putting our hands back in her lap. Then I took a deep breath. I was rattled. I thought my best friend had died. Now his parents were coming back. I knew they would circle the wagons. He’d be banned from seeing me. There was a lot left to handle. Parker. Whatever else Kate was planning. I had a strong feeling when my mom got here, she wouldn’t be leaving for a while.

  Things were about to get interesting.

  It seemed to take forever to get to the house, but when we did, I held the door for her. Sam brushed against my arm, and the need to have her was sudden and overwhelming. I reached for her without thinking, but stopped. More and more waves of intense desire rocked through me. I wanted her. I wanted to be wrapped up in her. I wanted to pin her against the wall right then and there.

  Holy shit.

  My hand shook as I forced it to return back to my side. She paused in the door, stood on her tiptoes and pressed a kiss to my lips before moving inside.

  I let loose a ragged breath. Fuck. Needing Sam had developed into an addiction after my first taste, but she had no idea how she could affect me. If I was being honest with myself, I was scared of letting her know. Marriages could be broken from that. If someone had more power over the other, they could use that love to manipulate the other. It went down the same all the time. Even with Tate and Logan. He adored her, and she didn’t care. She had all the power and had used it to walk all over him.

  A part of me knew that Sam was different. I could tell her, and she wouldn’t use it against me, but I didn’t know for certain. I was too scared to find out, so I kept quiet. She knew I loved her. She just didn’t know how much.

  “You okay?” Her voice carried around the corner.

  I needed to clear my head. My dick twitched. I needed to clear that too. Dropping my hand, I adjusted myself before answering back, “I’m fine.”

  When I entered the kitchen, she had the freezer open and pulled out an ice cream carton. That was good. She was eating. Sam hadn’t said a word about it, but I knew she didn’t eat enough. “You hungry for anything else?”

  “What?” She dug in with a large spoon.

  I fell silent, leaning against one of the counters as I watched her put two big-sized portions of ice cream in her bowl before pushing the carton aside. Neither of us had bothered to turn the light on. The moonlight filtered in through the windows enough so we had no problem seeing. I liked it on nights like tonight. It helped with masking emotions at times.

  “Nothing,” I answered.

  “You sure you’re okay?” She turned from the counter, bowl in hand, but didn’t lift the spoon from it. She wore a small frown and her eyes were filled with concern.

  My dick twitched again. And love. Her eyes were filled with love too. I tried to reassure her with a small grin. “I’m good. You want a burger or something?”

  “Oh.” She glanced down at the bowl. “No, I’m good with ice cream. It’s been a long night.”

  I grunted. That was true enough.

  “Are you okay?”

  This was the second time she’d asked. “I’m fine.”

  “Mason.”

  “Sam?” I grinned at her as
fantasies of taking her, pinning her against the nearest counter, and pushing inside of her overwhelmed me. Sam had been through too much tonight for me to be that rough with her. She deserved better.

  “You can talk about it, you know?”

  “About what?”

  “Nate. The car accident. He’s your best friend. I’m not stupid. It must have rattled you.” As she finished her statement, she sat on a chair at the table and drew her knee against her chest. Wrapping her arms around it, she lifted her bowl and spoon, but propped her chin on top of her knee. Filling her spoon with ice cream, she popped it into her mouth.

  I watched how she savored the taste of it. My dick was full force again.

  Enough.

  Pushing off from the counter, I went to her. I didn’t pause, even when her eyes got big and the bowl fell from her hands. I needed her now. I needed her any way I could get her, and I wasn’t going to be gentle.

  “Mason?” She squealed when I lifted her in my arms.

  As she looked in my eyes, she saw the hunger in mine—I wasn’t hiding it. That feeling, needing to be enraptured by her, wasn’t meant to be hidden or repressed. It was meant to be shared. When her mouth opened, a soft sigh left her, and I knew she felt it too. Her hand lifted to cup the side of my face.

  It was one of those touches that I savored.

  Carrying her upstairs, I didn’t make a sound. Neither did she. I just watched her. When I went inside our room, I lowered her to the floor, but kept her against me before I kicked the door shut. I savored that feeling, too. Bending down, my hands still on her waist, I breathed her in. She smelled of fresh air and vanilla. She never wore the fancy stuff or the expensive stuff. I’d seen her in the mornings when she would lift her body spray and use one spray. It was enough. The scent of her was embedded in me; I’d never forget it.

  I’d never get enough of her.

  “Mason?” she murmured again, her voice throaty.

  My eyes opened and saw that she was watching me. Her hands were on my chest, but she was clinging to my gaze.

  Lifting my hands, I cupped both sides of her face. Without realizing I was going to, I asked, “Do you know how much I love you?”

  She shuddered before me, and her mouth fell open another inch. Her eyes got wider and a look of wonderment shone through.

  She didn’t know the depth of my love for her, but that was part of her magic. It was one of the reasons I loved her. She had no clue what made her special or what made her beautiful. It wasn’t her trim body. It wasn’t how my hands fit perfectly around her waist or how her breasts fit in the palms of my hands. It wasn’t even how her dark eyes would tear up when I’d whisper my love to her, or how her perfect lips would open. Samantha was gorgeous, but she had no idea. She didn’t think about looks. I watched her this week at school. She had no idea how people watched her. She thought it was because of me, but it wasn’t. People watched her because she was beautiful. She had a look that no one did. It was natural and graceful. She was kind and loving. The guys could see it with one glance. All of them wanted her. I knew it, but she was mine, and the girls, the nicer girls liked her without even talking to her. The others were jealous. She had what they didn’t, inside and outside beauty.

  She had no idea just how rare she was.

  She had no fucking clue, and I didn’t have the words to tell her. Even if I did, she’d be uncomfortable at the idea. She’d fidget, look anywhere other than at me, and then convince herself that I was being dramatic. Samantha didn’t know how to be loved—her mother made sure of that—so she’d never understand how special she truly was.

  With that last thought, my hand fell from her cheek to her thigh. I took a firm grip, my fingers sinking into her leg, and I lifted her into my arms.

  She gasped, but she wrapped her arms around my neck. Grinning, she murmured, “What’s this about?”

  “I’m not going to be gentle.” My blood was pumping too much for that to happen. “I’m not going to be quick.” God no. I was going to enjoy the feel of her body underneath mine. All of her soft curves, the little gasps she made when I was inside of her, and the feel of her hands skimming over me. I was going to make it last. “And you are going to be thoroughly fucked when I’m through with you.”

  I lowered her onto the bed. As she kneeled on the mattress before me, her shoulders and chest lifted when she took a deep breath. Her hands were on my chest, and she tipped her head back. Her dark hair fell backwards, and then she grinned. The look of her made my heart skip before pounding back with a renewed vigor.

  In a soft husky tone, she murmured, “What’s taking you so long?”

  That was all the okay I needed.

  I took her lips with mine. I claimed her, forcing her to open for me, and swept inside to taste every inch. That was just the beginning. I heard another soft sigh from her. She always did that, right before she surrendered to me. With that sound, she pressed against me so every inch of her was touching me and her hands wrapped around my neck. Then she pulled me down to her, and I knew I could do whatever I wanted.

  So I did.

  The rest of the weekend passed quickly. Nate had a concussion, three fractured ribs, and a strained back injury. He was kept in the hospital until his parents arrived. When they did, it was with gusto. Their first point of business was banning Mason and Logan from their son’s hospital room. They were good enough to be allowed information, but Mason explained later that night that Nate’s parents had never approved of their friendship. It was why they moved Nate from Fallen Crest in the beginning. He was only allowed to come back for his last semester because he was eighteen. When I asked how they could even ban them from his room since he was an adult, Mason only shrugged. His reply was, “Guess the hospital has different policies for rich movie producers. I’m sure they’re hoping to get a donation out of them.”

  In the end, he still snuck in to see Nate the next night, but it was after we packed our things and checked into a hotel. He wanted to avoid Nate’s parents. Logan overheard him and when the door closed behind him, he commented, “He wants to avoid our mom, too.”

  That sent panic through me. He wasn’t the only one. An hour later, I followed in Mason’s trail, except I went to Manny’s. When Heather’s dad told me it was her night off, I tried their house then. While Mason was seeing his best friend, so was I. I spent most of the night on her couch. We watched movies, and she filled me in on the latest rumors about Nate’s car accident. There were two competing theories: The first was that the Broudou brothers cut the wrong brakes; they meant to cut Mason’s. The second was that Kate had cut the brakes to hurt Nate, so it would hurt Mason.

  There were a few others, but they were ridiculous. Nate’s parents owed money to the mob. Nate just wanted attention. Nate was the one that actually caused the accident, and the cops were covering for him.

  The first two sent chills down my spine. I stopped asking about any more theories, and we went back to the movie. I thought about asking if she received any more texts from Kate or her friends, but I didn’t. A part of me didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to worry about losing my one female friend.

  It was late when I returned to the hotel. Slipping inside the suite, I wasn’t surprised to find it empty. Logan texted that Ethan was throwing a party to celebrate that Nate was alive. Mason texted an hour after Logan saying that he was leaving the hospital and was going to the party. He asked if I wanted to go, but I declined. There’d been too much drama for me, so I enjoyed the solitude of the room that night.

  My drama free night carried on to the next morning.

  Helen had checked into her own room, but she was on a different floor.

  When I learned that, my relief was powerful. My knees almost buckled, but I caught the table and plopped down on a chair. I landed harder than normal, but I didn’t care. I ignored the smirk Logan gave me and then he gave me even better news. They were going to spend the day with their mother. Neither of them asked if I wanted to go along. They b
oth knew I’d rather hang out with Kate and her princess bullies.

  It wasn’t long after that when I went for my run, but instead of running from the hotel, I drove to my old neighborhood. There was a trail from a nearby park that connected to the trail that went behind Quickie’s. The scenery was too beautiful to miss. Even before I parked, I was already itching to fly up the hills behind the gas station. Maybe it was the anticipation of pushing myself up those hills, but my run went faster than normal. It was invigorating and when I ran back, two hours later, I considered going for another hour, but I didn’t. I needed my energy to start on my homework. However, when I drove past my old house, I stopped the car. I don’t know why. I wasn’t nostalgic about the home. There were a lot of bad memories in it, but I sat in the car and stared at it. Maybe I was more tired from the run than I realized. Maybe I wanted to avoid doing homework. Or maybe I missed the slight semblance of normalcy that the house used to give me, but whatever it was, I stayed for an hour. I didn’t move from the car. I just stared at the house. No one was home, but when I saw a car that I thought was my dad’s, I started my engine and drove away.

  I didn’t tell Mason about my run. I didn’t know why. There wasn’t anything significant about it, but I realized that I didn’t want to tell him about my old house. When they came home and he got in bed with me, I asked about their day with their mother. As he filled me in, I kept wondering if that car had been David’s. Maybe he’d been home. Maybe he saw me there.

  “Sam?”

 
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