Fallen crest public, p.13
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       Fallen Crest Public, p.13

         Part #3 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan
 

  lies. I hadn’t said a word about my run-in with both Broudous. I had no idea how to tell him Brett Broudou asked me out. He didn’t know that I sat outside David’s house or that Kate stole my clothes. I knew why I kept quiet about some of those, but not my home. As I thought about it now, my heart began pounding again, louder and louder in my eardrums.

  I didn’t want to feel any of this. Regret. Confusion. Lost. So I turned around and started my run back home. The adrenalin always pushed everything away, but that didn’t happen this time. My body was tired. That was all there was to it. I was tired. For once, running hadn’t helped me. It made me feel more defeated than when I had started.

  It was later that night when Mason texted me.

  Mason: Nate’s at his house now. Going over to hang out.

  Me: I thought you couldn’t.

  Mason: Banned from hospital, not his place. I need to talk to him about some things. You ok?

  Me: Yeah. We should talk tonight, too.

  I waited, holding my breath. Then my phone buzzed again: Ok. Won’t stay long. Love you.

  I closed my eyes, let out a deep breath, and replied: Love you too.

  “Was that Mason?”

  I glanced up and tossed my phone to the other side of the bed. My textbooks and computer had taken up most of the bed. Logan was in the doorway to our bedroom. His hair was wet and he had on a Fallen Crest Public athletic jacket. “Did you shower here?”

  “Nope. At school. Ran home to get some cash.” His eyes fell to my phone. “Where’s Mason at?”

  “He went to see Nate.”

  “Oh.” Then he turned thoughtful, studying me. “What are you doing?”

  “Studying.”

  I was going to tell him that I was exhausted from the run, but paused. Logan had that look. He was thinking and that meant he was planning something. I kept quiet until he nodded to himself, some decision made. He then said, “I’m meeting the guys for pizza. You want to come?”

  “Why do I get the feeling that I don’t have a choice?”

  He started for me, rolling his shoulders back, a cocky smirk adorning his face. “Because all you do is go to school, study, run, and have coital bliss with my brother. You need to hang out with friends and have fun.”

  “I do.” He was beside the bed now, and I couldn’t hold back my grin. “I watched movies with Heather on Saturday.”

  He snorted, leaning down and taking hold of my ankle. He started to pull me to him. “That wasn’t fun. That was hiding from my mother. That’s work. Come on.” With one abrupt tug, I was jerked to the edge of the bed. He tucked his shoulder down and moved me onto it. As he stood, I was slung over him.

  “Logan!”

  “You look fine. Always hot, Sam. You never need to worry about that.” He patted me on the back and turned for the door.

  I was laughing too hard to fight back. He scooped down and handed my shoes to me, along with a coat and my bag. We headed out like that. There were others in the elevator, but Logan commented, patting my butt at the same time, “She forgot how to walk.” An elderly couple was confused while someone chuckled. A little kid circled to look up at me, pointed, and said, “You look weird.”

  I felt Logan’s reaction. His body tensed and then shook in silent laughter. When the doors slid open to the bottom floor, everyone let us go first. Logan didn’t lower me until he got to his Escalade. I was deposited into the passenger seat, and he jogged over to his side.

  When he pulled into Manny’s parking lot, I glanced over at him. “I thought you said pizza.”

  Turning the Escalade off, he shrugged. “They have pizza here.”

  “And this has nothing to do with my one good friend that’s here?”

  A shrug was my only response before we went inside. Logan’s friends had congregated around two tables in the back section. I recognized some of the girls from the drill team at the second table. I recognized their hostility, too. Brandon lifted his hand in greeting, and Heather glanced up from the counter. Her eyes darted from me to Logan pointedly, and I shook my head. She mouthed back, “When?” I tried to tell her to shut up with an extra oomph in my glare, and I jerked my shoulders up and down. I was going to tell Mason. That was the plan.

  As it turned out, it wasn’t Heather or myself that brought it up. The first pizza had already been devoured when a few of the girls scooted their chairs to our table. They did what those girls did. The displayed their boobs. They tried to be coy and mysterious. A couple had even pulled their jeans down low so they could show off their thongs. I was certain another girl went to the bathroom and took off her bra. She returned with her boobs bouncing. The shirt she wore did little to cover her nipples. There was one girl that stuck out as the leader. She started talking to Strauss. From what I could overhear, they were discussing a class assignment until I heard the word ‘gym’ mentioned.

  A blast of cold air came over me and I turned, as if in slow motion, towards them.

  She was grinning at me and nodded in my direction. Everyone else grew silent and then she asked, her voice rising above the background noise, “Did you ever get your clothes back, Samantha?”

  Samantha. That was my first thought. I don’t know her, and she called me by my full name. Then the rest of her words hit me.

  Logan paused and lowered his pizza slice. He frowned at her, then back at me. “What’s she talking about?”

  Someone muttered in the background, “Shit’s about to get reaaal.”

  I was pretty sure that was Heather, but when I turned she lifted her hand in a rolling motion. I got the message, let’s get this going.

  “Let’s talk outside.”

  Logan was up from the table before the words left my mouth. His hand was on my arm, and I was hauled behind him. Instead of going through the entire diner, he shoved through the side door. I started for one of the chairs we used when we took our breaks, but he shook his head. His fingers tightened. “Nope. We’re doing this over here where no one can listen.”

  He took me all the way across the alley and towards Heather’s house. We were starting up her porch when the door slammed shut behind us. Heather’s jaw was set and her top lip curved up, flashing us a warning as she headed towards us. “Oh no. I’m staying. She’s my friend too, Kade.”

  “Fine.”

  Her arms were crossed over her chest and then both of them moved as one. I was center stage. Lovely. “Okay …”

  “Kate, or one of her lackeys, stole Sam’s clothes after gym class when she was in the shower,” Heather beat me to it. Her eyebrow arched high. “You know what they’re going to do. Stop them, Logan.”

  He threw her a scathing look, but turned and pinned me down. “Is that true, Sam?”

  My mouth was still hanging open from my ‘okay’, but I shut it now. This was it. This was the moment where he went after them and I’d be at home worrying if he was going to be arrested or worse. At least Mason was at Nate’s. I doubted Logan would need him for this.

  He bit out a curse and hopped off the porch. His phone was pulled out a second later and I heard, “Mase? We have a problem.”

  That hope exploded.

  “Thanks for that,” I said. “Note the sarcasm.”

  She rolled her eyes. “You wouldn’t have told them, and you know it. I don’t understand why you didn’t say something after it happened. It’s probably too late now.”

  “Because I’m scared for them. I don’t know what Mason and Logan are going to do.”

  “Oh please.” Another eye-roll. Another swear word. “They’re not idiots, and this isn’t their first rodeo. This is Mason and Logan Kade. This is what they’re known for, this is who they are. I don’t know what you’re scared about. Stop kidding yourself, Sam.”

  My head jerked back. “You just bitch-slapped me.”

  The corner of her mouth lifted in a crooked grin and she shrugged. “Well, that’s what real friends do.”

  “You really think they’ll be fine?” No matter what she sa
id, the fear of Mason’s future was still in me. My mom had been so close to ruining it.

  ““Yeah.” She softened and reached over to hug me. She whispered in my ear. “I think they’ll be fine. I’ve never seen those two more protective over someone. It’s why everyone hates you at school.”

  I stiffened in her arms. “Quite aware of my popularity.”

  “Things will be fine.” She patted my arm again. “They’ll put her back in her place and everyone will relax at school. People will start getting to know you for you. I’m sure of it.”

  I hoped so. I really did, but Heather was forgetting one thing. Things wouldn’t go back to normal. Mason and Logan had been quiet, but I knew they were planning their revenge against the Broudou brothers. Thinking of them … I still needed to tell Mason about Brett. He needed to know sooner than later.

  It was then when Brandon stuck his head out the side door. When he spotted us, his face scrunched together. I could imagine a few curse words coming from him until he hollered, “Get your ass in here, Heather! We’re swamped.”

  “Yeah, yeah.”

  “I mean it!”

  Her voice rose another octave. “I said ‘yeah, yeah’! I’ll be there in a sec!”

  His middle finger rose in response before he disappeared back inside.

  “Stupid brothers.” She glanced at me. “Not step-brothers, but you know what I mean.”

  “I do.”

  She jerked her thumb towards Manny’s. Another crooked-grin appeared. “Don’t suppose you want to work the rest of the night? Lily and Anne both quit last weekend. Lily’s dad got a new job so they moved and Anne won’t work here if Lily doesn’t. That’s the excuse she gave me, but Cory saw her working at the Fallen Crest Country Club. The tips are better over there.”

  “You’d be surprised at how cheap rich people can be.”

  “You’ve been there?”

  “Unfortunately.”

  She shrugged, musing at the same time, “That place is too fancy for me. I don’t speak hoity-toity.”

  “That’s funny. You named it perfectly right there.”

  “HEATHER!” Brandon was glaring at us from the door again. “Come on! We’re getting killed.”

  “I’m COMING!” We started down the alley, and she muttered under her breath, “Someone’s getting killed tonight. That’s for sure.”

  The damn mannequin was where I thought it would be—Kate’s garage. She was smart, but not that smart. Since it only had a dark wig on it, and Sam’s clothing were next to it, I figured they hadn’t done anything to it yet.

  “Fuck,” Logan muttered. “Is that a dildo over there?”

  Her dad had an old truck parked on one side. The other side had a yellow-stained refrigerator where Harold stored his beer. He liked to drink while he played around with his truck. He kept the ‘good stuff’ inside the house. Two worn plaid couches that were torn up, from the cat sharpening its claws, sat next to the refrigerator. A small table with a coffee can full of cigarette butts on top was placed between the couches. There were empty bottles lined up next to the couches Kate’s uncles used to spit their chew in.

  “Smells like someone died in here.”

  “Watch it,” I warned when Logan hopped off the steps leading from the house. “There might be a dead animal in here. This is where her dad skins his kills.”

  “You’re talking about animals, right?” Logan wrinkled his nose up before covering it with his shirt. “Man, this place really stinks.”

  This was Kate’s world. It was fucked up and I didn’t want to be there longer than I needed. I went over and got all of Sam’s clothes, making sure the cat hadn’t pissed on them. They smelled fine. Sam’s vanilla body spray was still on them.

  Logan had opened the refrigerator. “Holy shit. Why don’t we party here?”

  “Used to party here?”

  “Oh yeah. You know what I meant.” The smirk lingered on Logan’s face as he grabbed a beer from inside. Twisting it open, he took a good swig before he pointed at the mannequin. “So what’s our plan for that thing?”

  “No clue, but I know where they get the things.”

  “Where’s that?”

  “Sashes and Bows.”

  “Say again?” Logan had lifted the beer to his mouth, but paused before he took another drink.

  “Natalie’s aunt. Her clothing store.”

  “Oh.” He bobbed his head up and down. “Makes sense now.”

  I tried to see if there was anything else we should grab. Once Kate realized we’d been there, the extra key would be moved somewhere else. I didn’t know if she would warn her parents about me or not. Her mom worked at the hospital eighty hours a week, and her dad was always gone with his buddies. When Harold was home, he was drunk. If nothing else, I knew where Kate’s mom stored her purse at the hospital. Kate told me the combination.

  Stupid.

  “Let’s go,” Logan started to say, but broke off at the sound of car doors slamming shut.

  Going to the garage door, we saw Kate’s and Natalie’s cars.

  “Come on.” I grabbed the mannequin and went to the side door. It led to the outside and I shoved the thing into Logan’s arms and pointed to the road. Kate lived in the country. Her house was surrounded by trees, and there was a road that led around to the back of her dad’s barns and property. We had parked the Escalade behind one of the barns and crossed through the woods to sneak into the house. I didn’t know who was going to be here, so coming in from the north side kept us hidden. It helped Logan now as he nodded and took off with the mannequin.

  I stayed behind. I wanted to hear her reaction.

  “… isn’t that what we’re doing? I mean, come on. The girl just can’t lay down and take it … Oh, holy gawd!”

  The door banged against the wall, and Jasmine’s voice stopped abruptly. I grinned to myself.

  “OH MY FUCK! FUCK-FUCK!!”

  “Calm down, Kate,” Natalie drawled. Her voice fell halfway through her statement as if she’d stepped to the side. “You don’t have to screech so loud. I just had flashbacks to my mom.”

  Someone snickered. “From last night, you mean.”

  “Shut it, Parker,” Natalie snapped back. “And speaking of, where were you last night?”

  “What are you talking about? I was with Nate. Kate told me to see him.” Her voice rose sharply. “Kate, you told me to go see him. I wasn’t supposed to?” Her voice was near hysteria.

  Everything got quiet.

  A door opened and closed. Then the truck’s doors were both opened and slammed shut. A thud came next before Parker asked again, quieter now, “Kate?”

  “FUUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKK!”

  “Kate, why are you flipping out like this? Stop screaming. I didn’t give up a shift at Str8t to hear this.”

  “Shut up, Natalie,” Kate shot back.

  Something hit the garage door. She was throwing shit. That was good. I didn’t think they’d look out the side door, but I tucked my head down in case. It was on the opposite side of the truck, but I didn’t know for sure. I tried to blend in with the shadows as much as possible. Then I heard Kate start screeching again. Something else thudded into the garage door.

  “Hey,” Jasmine spoke up, “where’s that whore’s clothes?”

  Natalie laughed. “You got rats in here, Kate? I’m sure they were attracted to her musk.”

  “For the last time,” Kate’s voice turned ominous. “Shut. The. Fuck. Up. You’re not worried about her clothes?”

  “Well, yeah. We need them for the whole thing. It was pointless to borrow my brother’s camcorder, and I won’t enjoy doing his chores for the week. Punk kid,” Natalie grumbled. A smaller item was thrown against the garage door. “Little does he know that he’s going to pay for that.”

  “You guys are pissing me off.”

  “Tell us something we don’t know,” Natalie threw back.

  “What are you going to do?”

  “I’m going to kill someone,
Kate bit out, her voice harsh.

  Natalie ignored her. “I sent all his buddies his last video on
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