Fallen crest alternative.., p.28
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       Fallen Crest Alternative Version, p.28

         Part #2.1 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan  

  We didn’t hear from Logan that night or the next day. Happy birthday to me. When I woke up, Mason was gone. He stayed away most of the day but came back in the late afternoon dripping from sweat carrying a basketball. Nate trailed behind him, plopping down at the table as Mason disappeared up the stairs.

  “Hey.”

  “Hey.” I frowned. What does one say in the aftermath of an earth-shattering revelation? Apparently, it was ‘hey.’ I stored that away for future use. “You guys were playing basketball all day?”

  “Yeah.” Nate bent down, untied his shoes, and kicked them off. He jerked a thumb in Mason’s direction. “When he’s stressed, he doesn’t talk.”

  I gritted my teeth. I was his girlfriend. I should’ve known that. “That’s good to know.”

  “Yeah.” Frowning, he craned his neck. “Is Mousteff in there? Mason said we could eat here before that party tonight.”

  “What party?”

  “Dumbshit’s party. That one that your dad’s wife is catering for, you know, that guy?”

  “Do you really not know his name?” I couldn’t believe it.

  “Wanker.” Nate flashed a grin. “That’s all Logan calls him and Mason doesn’t talk about him. He doesn’t care, so yeah. I guess I don’t know his name. What is it?”

  “Peter.”

  He snorted. “I’ll stick with Wanker.”

  Irritation was boiling up, but Mousteff came from the kitchen at that moment. He set a plate in front of Nate with a sandwich, chips, and another big chunk of meat. Then he turned to me. “Would you like anything?”

  “No thanks.”

  Nate took a huge bite out of the sandwich and pointed it at me. “You need to eat more.”

  “Why are you not worried about Logan?”

  He paused, then took a second big bite. Half the sandwich was gone. “I don’t know. He’ll be mad, but he’ll get over it. Those two fight.”

  “I’ve never seen them fight.”

  “But they do and they have in the past. They’re always fine. They’ll be fine again.”

  I sighed and lifted my feet to the chair. Hugging my knees against me, I rested my head on them and let out a deep breath. The knots in my stomach wouldn’t go away. No matter what Nate said, I knew things weren’t going to be fine. They wouldn’t go back to normal, not with me. Somehow my relationship with them was going to change. A knot tightened, twisting in me. I only hoped I wouldn’t lose both of them.

  Hearing Mason on the stairs, I looked up and saw he had showered. He pulled his shirt down as his jeans rode low on his hips. When he saw me watching, he frowned. “You’re going like that?”

  “What?”

  “The party. We should go.” He dropped into the chair next to Nate.

  “You’re going to the party?”

  “Well, you have to go. I figured I should go with you. Those are your friends, right?”

  “I attacked Miranda last night.”

  “Exactly. That bitch will be there. Let’s go and find out what she said to Logan.”

  It made sense now. I glanced down at my jeans and sweatshirt. Then I shrugged. I was starting not to care what anyone thought of how I dressed.

  Nate slid his plate over to Mason. When he took the other half of the sandwich, Nate popped a chip in his mouth and asked, “You want me to come too?”

  Mason hesitated, then said, “No. Stay here in case Logan shows up.”

  “You want me to wait here?”

  “Yeah. Watch the game downstairs. Call a girl over.”

  Nate bobbed his head and tossed another handful of chips in his mouth. He said around them, “That sounds like fun. I’ll do that. You don’t mind if I get a blowjob on your dad’s couch?”

  Mason frowned at him. “Did you really just ask me that?”

  “True. Logan lives here.” He wrinkled up his nose. “Maybe I should put a blanket on the couch.”

  Or Logan did live here.

  I was horrified at my own thought. I couldn’t think like that. Logan wasn’t Garrett. He wasn’t David. He wasn’t Analise. He was coming back. He had to.

  Mason was watching me, and my eyes widened when I saw his gaze on me. A dark look flashed in them, but then he shook his head. The look was gone when he asked, “Are you ready to go?”

  “As ready as I’ll ever be,” I murmured, but stood and followed him to the car. It was after we had gone a few blocks that I asked, “Are we going to talk about it?”

  As I asked that, I watched. His hand tightened around the steering wheel before he replied, “About what?”

  “Mason.”

  He never looked over. His gaze remained straight ahead. There was no outward reaction, but I felt the shift. He closed himself off from me.

  “Logan has feelings for me.” I paused, holding my breath. “What she said was right, wasn’t it?”

  His lips pressed together in a thin line.

  My stomach dropped. It was. I closed my eyes. Holy shit. I couldn’t believe this was really happening. “We have to talk about it.”

  “Why?”

  “Why?” I couldn’t believe him. “Because your brother has feelings for me. That’s why.”

  “It shouldn’t affect anything, unless you have feelings for him.” He looked now, his head moving in slow motion. When his gaze connected with mine, I felt punched in the gut. The anguish there was paralyzing. He thought I did. I saw it then.

  I shook my head, but my voice was soft. “No. I don’t.”

  “Are you sure?”

  “I can’t come in between you guys. I can’t be like that other girl.”

  “You’re not, Sam.” He softened his tone too. “Look, I don’t know if Logan really does have feelings or not. I have a suspicion that he does, but I don’t know. He’s never said a word to me. I don’t think he’s ever acted on it.” He waited, watching me.

  My eyes got big. “No. Never. He’s never said a word or anything.”

  “Then it shouldn’t be a problem. I’m more worried about when he finds out that Nate and I manipulated him.”

  “Maybe he won’t figure it out.”

  “He’ll figure it out.”

  He sounded so sure. “How can you know that?”

  “Because he knows me. I broke the code. We don’t do that to each other. He’ll be more mad about that then the other thing.”

  “Oh.”

  “Sam, you have nothing to worry about. He’ll be mad at Nate and me, not you.”

  A lump formed in the back of my throat. “I was a part of it too.”

  “He doesn’t know that or need to know that. Nate and I will cover for you.”

  “Mason.” I stopped. This sounded so easy. Logan will be mad. Mason and Nate will apologize, cover everything up, and Logan will get over it. He wasn’t saying it in those words, but that was what he was thinking. My gut told me otherwise. There was a major hole in that theory. Logan. I shook my head. “I don’t think you can cover for me.” I didn’t think it would be the easy to fix.

  Mason glanced at me. My head went down, but I felt his gaze on me as he wheeled the car into the club’s parking lot. “Well, we’re here. We can figure this out later.”

  “Okay.”

  As he parked and got out, I did the same. When I was about to lead the way into the door, he caught my hand and pulled me back. He pulled me in for a hug and bent low to murmur into my ear, “It’ll get better. I promise. Happy birthday.” He pressed a kiss to my lips. “I should’ve said that this morning. I’m sorry.”

  I shivered. It was the same effect as always. When I got close to Mason, my body wanted him. Without thinking, I pressed into him and lifted my lips. He was right there and his lips brushed against mine, teasing them, “I am sorry. I love you, Sam.” His hand lifted to cup the side of my face, and I closed my eyes, leaning into his hold. I whispered back, “I love you too.” Then he dipped and his lips pressed fully against mine.

  Home.

  The feeling swirled inside of me. Mason was home, no matter the problems. As his lips opened and he took control of the kiss, I let him. Things would be fine. They had to. I couldn’t go without this.

  As he pulled away, he held me close for a moment. Burying his head into the crook of my shoulder and neck, a shudder wracked through him. I held him close, wrapping my arms even tighter around him. He didn’t think it would be easy. I realized that then. He was scared.

  So was I.

  “Let’s go in. We can find Logan afterwards.”

  “Okay.” He pulled away, lacing our fingers together, and we both turned for the door.

  *

  Going into the party was like walking through a minefield. There were bombs everywhere. I could see some, but most were hidden. When we entered, I was surprised at the amount of adults in the room. Then I realized they were the parents of the Elite. Seeing Cass and Peter in one corner, I followed his gaze. He stood with his hands in his pockets. Cass had a hold on his arm, but he was looking across the room at Miranda. I stopped when I saw her. She was smug, standing with Emily and Amelia. Mark and Adam were with them too. The five looked like a tight unit.

  Adam saw me first. He snapped to his fullest height when his gaze collided with mine. He seemed bored, but that fled instantly. Anger flashed in his eyes. His eyebrows bunched together when he jerked his gaze to Mason before looking away.

  The rest of the group saw us then too. Emily waved and saluted me with her drink. Mark frowned. Amelia glanced at Cass and then Miranda before turning away. The only one who wasn’t affected was Miranda. She lifted her chin, holding my gaze in a challenge.

  Anger pooled in my stomach. It started flowing through me now. Bitch. She did this. I started for her without thinking. As I realized what I was doing, my foot tripped and I stumbled to the side. Mason caught me, readying me with a hand on my hip. He was right behind me and said in my ear, “Let’s go. It’s time, Sam.”

  He didn’t mean leaving the event. I knew what he meant. It was time to handle Miranda and the Elite. I knew without a doubt that I was out after this night. Miranda had stepped wrong. She was going to pay the consequences.

  When we got to the group, Peter and Cass were there too. He was frowning, but he seemed transfixed on Miranda. She took a step forward. She was the leader now. It happened just like that. The others didn’t react, but Cass faltered. Her hand fell from Peter’s arm and she turned to Miranda. “What are you doing?”

  Miranda folded her arms and narrowed her eyes. “What do you think?”

  “You’re not in charge anymore. Remember?”

  “Are you sure?”

  Miranda let her question hang in the air. No one argued against it and Cass gasped. “Are you fucking kidding me? You guys want her back?”

  Emily grinned and took a sip from her glass.

  Amelia looked away. Mark shrugged while Adam was looking away too. His shoulders were tight, and his jaw was clenched. I had a feeling Adam didn’t care about Miranda’s resumed position as their leader. His hand jerked at his leg into a fist, but he shoved it into his pocket.

  Cass’s eyes were wide and round. She hissed, “I can’t believe this. This is ridiculous. Amelia, she called you a whore.”

  “You too.”

  “What?’

  Amelia swallowed but lifted her chin. Her voice trembled. “You too. You slept with Logan too. We all have now.”

  “So?”

  “So maybe we shouldn’t do to her what she did to us. She fell for him too, but he set her up. He didn’t seduce me or you. He seduced her.”

  “How the hell do you know that?”

  Amelia’s gaze jerked to mine but turned away. Her shoulders slumped down. “That’s what Miranda said.”

  “And you believe her?” A laugh gurgled up from the bottom of Cass’ throat. A high pitch came with it. “This is fucking unbelievable. He fucked her. He fucked all of us.”

  “Cass.” Peter glared at her and moved away. “Stop it.”

  “But--what?”

  He looked at Miranda, who gave him a small smile in return. It was a secretive one. My eyebrows arched high at that. Those two were going to get back together. No. As I watched, Peter returned Miranda’s smile. They were together. A grin pulled at my lips. I wanted to laugh. This was a train wreck in the making.

  Cass saw it too. Her mouth fell open. “I can’t, no, oh my go--” She sputtered out, skirting between the two. “Are you serious?” She rounded on him. “I threw you this party. You. My boyfriend. Now you’re,” she looked at Miranda again. A full smile was on her face. Cass screamed. “Oh my god!”

  Her hand jerked. Her entire body tensed.

  I saw it coming.

  Cass’ eyes narrowed. She turned so she was facing Miranda squarely. Then the decision was made. She attacked.

  She launched herself at Miranda, tackling her down to the ground.

  I couldn’t hold back. I was loving it. My entire face was one big smile. It stretched from ear to ear.

  Miranda shrieked. Cass shrieked back.

  “Bitch.”

  “Whore.”

  More names were thrown out.

  Amelia dropped her plate of cake and then rushed into the foray. An elbow knocked her back, and she fell to the ground. She shrieked too, cradling her face as tears slid down. “You guys! Stop.”

  Emily turned for the bar and asked for a refill.

  “Girls.” Two older men waded between them and separated them. As Cass strained against who was holding her, she tried to kick at Miranda. “You bitch.”

  “You’re the bitch,” Miranda shot back. She flicked her hair out of her face, but it fell back in place. Her dress was ripped and there was blood on her cheek. She had been scratched.

  Cass laughed, the sound was hollow and slightly hysterical. A wad of hair was still in her hand. She kicked out again, but the guy holding her grunted and moved further back. Cass cried out, “You might have him back and you might have the group, but this isn’t over. It’s not over Miranda.” Her holder carried her out of the room. Cass kept yelling the entire time. “It’s not over! You whore.”

  Miranda was placed back on her feet and Amelia rushed to her side. She threw an arm around Miranda’s back and took her to the bathroom. Once they were gone, the older men left, looking slightly dazed. Then they started laughing and went back to their wives. Mark looked disappointed. He went and stood beside Emily, who continued to nurse her drink.

  The only ones who hadn’t moved were Adam and Peter.

  Peter blinked, shook his head, and asked, “What just happened here?”

  Adam growled at him. “You broke up with Cass and you’re back with Miranda.”

  “I am?”

  Emily laughed and handed over her drink. “Here. It looks like you need that more than me. Happy birthday, Peter.”

  He downed the entire thing.

  Then he looked at us. No. They all looked at us.

  Shit. It was our turn now.

  “You have to pick, Sam.”

  Adam led the charge. There was no going back now. His gaze was locked on Mason, but he said to me, “If you’re going to be one of us, you need to be one of us. You can’t have both.”

  “You’re making me pick between you guys and Mason?”

 
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