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The original crowd, p.27
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       The Original Crowd, p.27

         Part #0.5 of A Whole New Crowd series by Tijan

  “It’s useless anyway. It only showed the building’s security codes—I’m sure those have been changed by now.”

  “I still want it. Geezer wants to study it.” It was only a half-lie. Geezer might’ve wanted to study it, but he’d never asked. No chance in hell I was going to give him the opportunity.

  Tray was studying me intently. When wasn’t he? But this time I knew he was checking to see if I was lying. So I held firm and was rewarded with a small sigh. “Fine. I’ll get it when we leave.”


  “The deal was for you to get the PRS-500 for me. We never talked about me giving it back.”

  “Well, we just did,” I stated.

  Tray ran a hand down my back and pulled me closer. I knew where this was going, so I put a hand to his chest and pulled back. “Hold on.”


  “You know my shit,” I reminded him, not really knowing if it was needed, but… “So I’m just telling you—your stuff goes public, I know my stuff will go public.”

  “Can we stop talking about the possible consequences if this,” pointing to me and him, “ends?”

  “Sure.” I leaned forward and kissed him, feeling his hand run down my back, and then lifting me up and onto his lap. I complied and turned to straddle him, his hands falling to my thighs, where he caressed them, moving up and down. I melted, my bones turned to liquid as I leaned against him, one of my hands running through his hair. I tilted my head back and sighed, my eyes closed, as he kissed down to my neck and found a spot.

  A second later I felt a draft and realized he’d pushed my shirt up and was working it over my arms. I lifted my arms and the shirt was thrown. So I turned to his and soon his landed beside mine.

  Meeting his lips again, more urgently, Tray took over and laid me down, with him coming to rest above me.

  I loved it.

  I grinned, running a hand down his chest, slowly, until my fingers hitched on the inside of his pants, where it was buttoned. I was rewarded with his sharp intake of breath. My fingers flicked the button free and the zipper gave way.

  Tray groaned as he swept his hands to my bra and pulled it off, flinging it to the side.

  “Fuck,” he gasped, resting his forehead against mine.

  “What?” I asked, my breathing coming in fast and hard.

  “My condoms are in the nightstand.”

  I swiftly cursed.

  “Wait,” he said swiftly, standing then disappearing. A second later, grinning in triumph, he waved a condom at me. “Good thing I remembered Bryce left some here.”

  “Fuck!” I cried out, shoving him away.


  “I don’t want to know where Bryce screwed whoever he screwed,” I said hotly, reaching for my bra and shirt.

  “Come on, Taryn,” Tray reasoned, grabbing my hand and crawling to sit on top of me. “Stop. Come on. I’m sorry, I won’t ever utter his name again, not when we’re doing this.”

  “One, that should be a given. And two, only when we’re doing this?”

  “Oh come on!” Tray cried out, standing and shooting me a glare. “He’s my friend. You’re—”

  “I know,” I finally said.

  Tray sunk onto the couch beside me. “Taryn, I’m like Bryce. At least I was, before you and me. And I’ll probably be like him if you and I—,” end, but he didn’t want to say the word, “someday in the future.” He grinned and then climbed over me.

  “You’re not like that with me because you wouldn’t get away with it,” I retorted, folding my arms across my chest. Fully knowing how ridiculous I looked, sulking like a child with Tray straddling me. I even had the pout on my face.

  Tray chuckled, grinning down at me. “Yeah, you’re right about that. And if I ever did, you’d probably lock me out of my own house and get the cops to arrest me on burglary charges.”

  He must’ve seen I was softening because he caught my hands and raised them above my head. Leaning down, his lips a mere centimeter away from mine, he whispered, “But you won’t ever do it, because while I’m with you, I won’t treat people like that. I fully know how you’d hand me my ass.”

  I couldn’t stop the grin on my face. He swooped in for a kiss, deepening it instantly.

  Before long, I was melting all over again, wrapped around him as he slid into me.


  The rest of the day was nice. Tray and I even watched an entire movie. Later, we moved into the pool-house and, of course, spent most of the time fooling around on the couch.

  His phone rang a few times—okay—it rang a lot. But Tray put it away after the sixth call. The first few had been the guys, wanting to grab a burger. The last was from Amber. I cringed, hearing her voice on the phone—she wasn’t happy.

  That was an understatement.

  He finally put the phone on silent and left it on the counter. Every now and then we’d hear the voice message alarm, letting us know another person had left a message.

  But it went ignored.

  We fooled around, watched a movie, swam a bit—we’d started a race, but Tray quit early on. I taunted him as I swam my laps and he cannon-bombed me at different points.

  Around ten-thirty that night, I glanced at my phone and realized Mandy had called six times within the past twenty minutes.

  Probably wanting to bitch at me. I’d already called home and told Shelley that I was going to Pedlam to check on my friend and that I’d be sleeping at a friend’s house tonight.

  Tray talked me into staying the night, after all my car was already at school. He might as well just give me a ride there in the morning. I had clothes in my gym locker and he had all the other essentials at his house.

  “What?” Tray asked, watching me frown at my phone.

  “Mandy called.”

  “So?” He sat up beside me and grabbed for the phone. “When don’t they call? Just ignore it.”

  “I know,” I replied. “But she doesn’t call this much; once or twice maybe, not six times in a row.”

  “So call her,” he suggested, “and then once she starts in, hang up.”

  “Oh and it’s so easy,” I mocked, shaking my head.

  Tray lunged at me, wrapping his arms around me and tossing me back on the couch, him on top of me—his favorite position.

  Laughing, I pressed her number on speed-dial as I tried to wrestle my way out of his arms.

  “Taryn!” Mandy yelled into the phone. I could hear blaring music in the background.

  Holy crap, where the hell was she?

  “Where are you?”

  “Oh my God, Taryn. We did something really stupid,” she scrambled.

  “What did you do?” I demanded.

  Tray stopped, hearing my tone. He watched as I sat up from him.

  “Sasha and Amber went off about you and Tray. How you’re just screwing him and that’s why you get away with everything you do…and so,” she took a deep breath, “Sasha remembered your friend Grayley and how you were so protective of him. And she wanted to get even with you…”

  “Yeah?” I encouraged her, a knot of dread forming in my stomach.

  “And she remembered that you told her that he hung out at the Seven8, so we asked around and Bryce said the Seven8 was a club in Pedlam…so…”

  “You went to the Seven8?!” I cried out, in disbelief.

  Oh my God.

  “Are you insane?” I added, outraged. “I was joking. I was not serious. The Seven8 is dangerous, Mandy. People go there in masses, girls just don’t go there unless they want to get assaulted.”

  “Yeah, well…we kinda figured that out for ourselves.”

  “Oh, fucking A,” I groaned.

  I saw Tray moving around the room and realized he was dressing in more formal clothes.

  “Can you leave?” I asked, standing also.

  “No, um…we’re kinda…we’re in trouble.”

  “Oh my God, what kind of trouble?”

  “We finally got in
and these guys started hitting on Amber and Jasmine. When Bryce tried to step in, they beat him up, Taryn. He can barely walk and he’s bleeding everywhere and they won’t let us leave.”

  “Grab one of the bouncers. Make them help you.”

  “We can’t move in this place. You don’t understand—it’s—these guys are keeping us in this corner and no one even knows that they beat Bryce up.”

  “Are any of the other guys there?”

  “Yeah, Grant is here but they won’t let him over to us. We haven’t seen him since we got here. Amber thinks he got beat up too,” she cried out. I could hear a hitch in her voice.

  “Oh, fucking hell, I’m coming.” I stood up, about to walk out of the room, but Tray caught me and tossed the rest of my clothes at me.

  I’d forgotten to finish dressing.

  “Hurry. Please,” Mandy demanded, hanging up.

  Tray had his keys in his hand and waited at the door as I finished dressing.

  I swept through the door, darting to his SUV and waited impatiently as he climbed in and backed out of his driveway. When he didn’t turn towards the school, I cried out, “What are you doing?”

  “You’re not going to the Seven8 alone,” he stated firmly.

  “Jace owns that club. I’ll be fine.”

  “I don’t care if God owns that club. You’re not going in there alone,” he merely said.

  I sighed and sat back in my seat, grateful that he was at least speeding down the interstate.

  Instead of the normal hour, it only took us forty minutes to get there. Tray parked across the street and I unbuckled my seat belt. “You might want to—” I was about to suggest he stay in the vehicle, but Tray was already out and crossing the street.

  As I darted after him, I saw the club’s line was around the corner—again. The nightclub was one of the most dangerous clubs around, but for some stupid reason, it was one of the most popular.

  Ben was at the front door.

  Ben and three other bouncers were manning the front door. Seeing me cross the street, he stepped away from the group. And he folded his arms, an imposing figure, he waited.

  “Girl,” he murmured, shaking his head, “you shouldn’t be here.”

  “My sister’s inside, Ben. She’s in trouble.”


  “My adopted sister,” I clarified. “Is Jace in there?.”

  “He in a meeting. One that he ain’t coming out of. Not even for you, girl.”

  “Ben!” I cried. “Let us in. I have to help my sister.”

  “Hold on.” He held an arm out, blocking me. “I’ll get you some escorts.”

  A moment later, three burly guys came to the door and Ben lifted his arm up, allowing us entrance—which caused the crowd to swear at us.

  I swept inside, uncaring that the escorts weren’t even catching up. Tray was right behind me, he had one hand on my elbow and the other through one of my belt-loops. As I stopped just inside the largest area, I could see why Mandy was trapped in a corner. The place was overcrowded to maximum occupancy and probably over the max. If there was a gunshot or a fight, either no one would ever know, or there’d be a riot to the door. More than a handful would probably be trampled to death, trying to get out of the way.

  Tray stood right behind me, one arm around my waist, protecting me from the crowd.

  “I can’t see them,” I shouted in his ear frantically. Then I saw Krein—thank God. He was laughing with a guard in front of him, a girl at his side, and two guards behind him.

  “Krein!” I screamed over the crowd. It was a fricking miracle that he heard me because he lifted his head, scanning the crowd. A moment later he spotted me, shock on his face before he moved towards us.

  Raking his eyes over Tray, measuring him up, Krein grasped my arm and shouted in my ear, “What are you doing here? Jace would freak. Tonight is not the night to be here.”

  “My sister’s in trouble. Some guys won’t let her and her friends leave.”

  “What does your sister look like?”

  I pulled out my phone to show him a picture of her.

  Krein grabbed my arm and led the way. I tried to see, but I couldn’t see anything. There were too many people blocking my view, but I held onto him. A few times he stopped and shoved his way through, one time he grabbed a guy with his arm, neatly twisting him in the other direction as he tried to grab for me.

  The place was beyond chaos tonight.

  Tray was backing me up, blocking any advances from behind, keeping his fingers inside my belt loop so we wouldn’t be separated.

  Another time, Tray and Krein both restrained two guys that were fighting. One of them swung at the other and almost fell into me.

  Finally, I saw Mandy standing behind a tall, lanky guy with tattoos riddling his body. There were four more, all positioned in a way that kept Mandy and the rest in, but didn’t alert anyone watching that they were being held against their will.

  “Mandy!” I screamed.

  I saw Bryce in the corner, laying on a table. She was right, he was covered in blood and the bruises were already starting to swell.


  I’d never thought Sasha and Amber would be relieved to see me, but then again, they were probably relieved to see Tray and Krein, followed by five guards.

  The four guys were quickly hauled off to a side hallway.

  I grabbed Mandy in a hug and then turned to follow the guards, just behind where they took the four guys.

  We were in the hallway leading to Jace’s office, but we were taken to a different area. It was a large open room, with a few bare tables loitering in the middle. At one side there was a bar and a fridge.

  I’d never been in there before and it was…scary.

  “Tray!” Amber cried out, throwing herself at him.

  Mandy couldn’t even say anything. She just broke down, sobbing in a puddle.

  Gesturing to Bryce, Krein asked me, “You want him taken to a hospital?”

  “Uh,” I glanced at Tray, who looked him over and said, “Nah. He’ll live. My car’s outside.”

  Sasha sat down beside us, shaking. “Tray, thanks for coming.”

  Krein snorted at her before turning to talk privately with some of the guards.

  A moment later, a door opened and Jace entered, stopping short when he saw the crowd.

  “What the fuck?” he demanded. He hadn’t seen me yet. “Krein! What the hell? I told you no fucking parties. Tonight’s not the night. Galverson’s here.”

  Krein smiled tightly and then gestured to me.

  Jace’s gaze swung in my direction, and froze.

  “Taryn,” he murmured, seemingly paralyzed.

  Just then Tray stepped forward. “We’ll take Bryce out.”

  “Evans,” Jace regarded him stiffly.

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