Fallen crest alternative.., p.30
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       Fallen Crest Alternative Version, p.30

         Part #2.1 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan  

  knew.” It came out as a whisper.

  “My god,” he murmured. “My god. Mason. You. Who else knew?”

  I shook my head. “We didn’t talk about it until Miranda. I don’t know who else knows.”

  “Nate?”

  “I don’t know.” That was the truth. “I didn’t know he did it because of your feelings until Miranda said it. It clicked then, but I knew it was the truth. I knew he was worried because of Tate. He didn’t want me to come in between you guys.”

  I stopped and heard my own words in my head. He didn’t want me to come in between them. Mason hadn’t been right to manipulate Logan, but I understood why. I was already coming in between them.

  “I’m sorry, Logan.” I couldn’t come between them.

  He started to shake his head. “No. No, this can’t be happening. My brother doesn’t do this, not to me. He wouldn’t. There’s no way.”

  He had.

  Logan fell silent. Then he cursed. It was low and soft.

  I jumped from the sound of it. “I’m so sorry, Logan.”

  “My own brother…”

  I started to stand up, but my legs weren’t working. I fell back to the couch and took a deep breath. Work. I willed them to work and then I started to stand again. It was slow and unsteady, but I stood upright.

  Logan wasn’t looking at me. He was bent forward, his head was cradled again in his hands. “My own brother.” He repeated those words.

  A tear slid down my cheek. I had done this. I couldn’t undo this. “I’m so sorry, Logan. I am. I really am.”

  He didn’t hear me. My voice was a whisper. I left him there, like that. Going to my room, I began packing in a blind rush. Logan’s voice, the hurt in it, was on repeat in my head. I did that. I was the cause of it, and I had to fix it.

  I didn’t know how long it took me, but I packed enough. Throwing my books and laptop into a bag, I took a breath and scanned the room. I felt like I was dying inside, but I only knew one thing. I couldn’t be the cause of them falling apart. After scribbling a note and leaving it on the kitchen table, I left.

  I drove to my dad’s and knocked on the door. When he opened it, he took one look at me and stepped aside.

  I was moving back in.

  It was an hour later when he asked me what happened. I told him. “I broke up with them.”

  *

  Mason called me that night. He came to the house, but David didn’t let him in. Analise came over the next day, but she brought my bags with the rest of my clothes. She asked for David to leave the house before she came inside. I hated asking him, but he left without a word. He pressed a kiss to my forehead and then he whispered, “Just call when she’s gone. I’ll bring food back for us.”

  More tears spilled at his kindness.

  Then I sat down at the kitchen table. Analise made herself tea and she placed her cup down and took her seat. She sat as if she were the queen in her own servant’s headquarters. I snorted to myself. It hadn’t been long ago when she lived in this home, when she had been a wife to David, and now she was acting like this.

  I couldn’t keep the bite from my voice as I said, “Thanks for bringing my stuff. You can leave if you want to.”

  “What do you mean by that?”

  I gestured at her. “It’s obvious you can’t stand being here. Go, Analise. I’m fine.”

  “Honey,” she started.

  I stopped her, lifting a hand. “No. I’m fine. I’m living here now.”

  She frowned. “This is why I didn’t want you sleeping with him. This would’ve happened anyways. It’s probably best it happened now and not later. It would’ve been a bigger mess than it is now.”

  “You’re right. It would’ve been and Mason and Logan would still hate you.”

  She stiffened. “That’s a mean thing to say to me.”

  I couldn’t handle it. “Are you kidding me? I loved him. You’re my mother. You’re supposed to be sympathetic. Supportive. Your first time seeing me and you’re thankful it happened now and not later. You’re happy this happened, aren’t you?”

  “I brought your stuff.” She pointed at my bags. “I didn’t have to do that. I did that to help you.”

  “You did that to save yourself from a bigger mess.” I rolled my eyes. This was my mother. She was selfish, shallow, and she would never be caring towards me. I knew not to expect it now. “They’re still going to hate you, Analise. Even if he does marry you, James’ sons will always loathe you.”

  “Stop it.”

  “No.” She came here. She judged me first. “I left Mason because I didn’t want to come between them. How dare you act like this was an inconvenience to you.” I narrowed my eyes. My anger started swirling in me. “I left to prevent more heartache. You cause heartache.”

  “STOP it.”

  My voice rose. “You cheated on my father.”

  “I did not.”

  “David. He’s my dad, no matter where the sperm came from. You were wrong to take me from him.”

  “Stop it, Samantha.”

  I was just starting. “You were wrong to keep me away from Garrett. You were wrong to manipulate David. You were wrong to lie to me. You lied to me. I’m your daughter. You screwed with my life so that yours was easier. That’s what you did. You put yourself before my needs.” The anger was coursing through every part of me now. I couldn’t stop even if I wanted. “You fucked everything up. I have to pick up the pieces. Not you. Me. I have to try and make things right and I have no idea how to do that.”

  “Shut up.”

  I grew even more heated. “You shut up. You stop doing what you do. You ruin everything, Analise. You ruin everyone. You’re going to ruin their family too. If he doesn’t leave you, you’re going to cheat on him. You’ll meet someone else, someone even more powerful and rich and I hope, I really hope, that guy will see through you. I hope he’ll destroy you because that’s all you do.” That’s what I had done. I grew quiet, the anger still boiling in me, and I knew that I had done too much damage already to Mason and Logan. “I’ll stay away. I’ll stay out of Mason and Logan’s lives, but you can’t hurt anyone else.”

  She had grown pale. Her hands were clenched around the teacup.

  I shook my head. She couldn’t hurt anyone else. “You can’t cheat on James. You have to be loyal, faithful, loving. Stop causing more wreckage, mom. Just stop. I’ll stop too. You can’t keep doing what you’re doing.”

  “Samantha,”

  “Mom. Stop.” I stood up from the table. I couldn’t stomach the sight of her. “I’m living with David from now on. I have no idea what Garrett is doing. He’s with his wife now. He might reach out. I have no idea, but I’m through waiting. David’s the only one who hasn’t left--” He did leave you. Pain sliced through me at that thought, but he was the best option. I had no one else. “I’ll stay here with him, but I don’t want anything to do with you. I can’t stand you.”

  “Samantha,” her voice was a soft whisper now. Tears swelled up in her eyes.

  “Go.”

  “Sam.”

  “Go. I mean it. Leave me alone. Thank you for the bags, but go.” I turned away. I couldn’t handle looking at her. She was a connection to Mason and Logan. Shit. I drew in a shuddering breath. I missed him. I loved him. I couldn’t see Analise anymore. She’d remind me of him and I wouldn’t keep going then. I had to banish everything out of my life that reminded me of him, of them.

  I didn’t wait to see if she left or not. I went upstairs and locked the door. David came home later in the evening. He knocked on my door and offered supper, but I couldn’t eat.

  *

  Mason called again. He called the house. He called my phone. He called David’s cell phone. He stopped every night at the house for a week. David turned him away each time. I heard him the last time. I heard the anger in his voice, and he threatened, “I’m done being patient.”

  I was in the kitchen and held onto the counter to keep from going to him.

  David cleared his throat. “Mason, when she wants to see you, she will come to you.”

  “Sam?” he called inside. “You owe me an explanation.”

  I left him that note.

  “A fucking note doesn’t cut it.” He read my mind. “Logan and I both have some things to tell you. You owe us, Sam. You owe me.”

  He was right, but I couldn’t. Pain, longing, yearning to be in his arms overwhelmed me. All of those emotions, plus more, swept up. I had to stay away. I wasn’t strong enough yet. I couldn’t see him or I would take it back. Everything would be damaged again.

  “I’ll tell her, Mason,” David said. “I’m sure she knows.”

  “Fuck that.”

  “Give her time.”

  There was silence. I closed my eyes. I could see him in my head. He was at the door. David stood, holding it open for him, and I was just beyond his eyesight.

  He called out again, “I’m done giving you space. Sam,” he sighed. “Please just talk to me.”

  I went to him. My legs turned, but I held onto the counter. Jerking back in place, my mind screamed at myself. NO. I couldn’t go.

  “I’ll tell her your message, Mason. Thank you.”

  The door closed a moment later, and David came around the corner. He took in the sight of me. I had crumbled to the floor. My face was wet. I’d been crying without realizing it and I turned away. I couldn’t handle the sympathy from him.

  He knelt beside me and wiped some of my tears away. Then he sat beside me. “That boy is going to hunt you down.”

  I nodded. I knew that.

  “If you won’t talk to him here, he’ll come to the school.”

  I knew that too. My heart twisted.

  “It’s only a matter of time.”

  CHAPTER THIRTY

  “I don’t get it,” Emily was saying. She leaned against my neighbor’s locker the next week. “You broke up with him because of Logan?”

  I sighed and grabbed my book from the bottom of my locker. Standing up, I glared at her. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

  “You brought it up.”

  “I know. I’m regretting it now.”

  We started down the hallway, and Emily tilted her head to the side. She mused, “So Mason still loves you?”

  I growled.

  “And you love him?”

  “Emily.”

  “And the reason you’re not with him is because of his brother?”

  “Shut up.”

  “And that makes no sense because you don’t even know if Logan really has feelings for you? Right?”

  I frowned.

  She kept going, “Did he tell you did?”

  Oh my god.

  “You left when he was still figuring out what you said, that all three of you had manipulated him and you left a note breaking up with Mason?”

  “I broke up with both of them.”

  “Yeah, but you were dating Mason, not Logan.”

  “I had a relationship with both of them--”

  “--which sounds weird, even though I know it’s true.” She flashed me a grin. “I mean, hello, I’ve been witnessing the whole thing.”

  “You promised not to say a word to anyone about this.”

  “I know. I won’t. Trust me. I’ve got a lot of shit on people, but do you hear me spilling anything?” She laughed. “Stop trying to change the conversation. Back to you having a relationship with both of them.”

  I sighed. Mason had stopped after that last day. I’d been waiting for him to show up at school, but he stayed away. It was a week later, and I was beginning to think he had given up. I wasn’t sure if that’s what I wanted, but I couldn’t think about that either. I thought about what I could understand. “I can’t be with Mason. This whole thing happened because of my relationship with Mason and Logan’s feelings. I refuse to be the reason they fall apart.”

  “Still not making sense to me.”

  “If I’m there, then it’ll be a problem. I know it. I have to not be there, and then it won’t happen.”

  “So you’re assuming two very hot and very alpha guys won’t be able to figure their own shit out because of your mere presence?”

  I stopped. An anchor dropped in me. When she put it like that--no. I couldn’t start doubting myself. More damage would happen then. “Stop it, Emily.”

  She quieted, watching me. “I’m sorry, Sam.”

  It stung. It hurt every day. I swallowed it. It’s what I had been doing every day. It’s what I would have to keep doing.

  “I’ll stop asking questions about them.”

  I nodded, unable to talk. The emotion was right there. It was still fresh and it was still overpowering. Feeling the tears again, I left and escaped into the bathroom. Crying in the back booth was normal for me now. I’m sure people knew who was in the stall crying, but I didn’t care. No one said a word. Whenever I left the bathroom, I kept my head down. I went from class to class and the only person who ventured to talk to me was Emily. Becky wrote me a note. She explained that Adam was hurt by my choice and she needed to be his friend and support him. I didn’t have the strength to explain what really happened, nor did I care anymore. Surviving was my first priority. Emily didn’t put any demands on me. This last conversation was the closest she had come to questioning my decision.

  After an hour in the bathroom, I waited for the bell to ring and then I left. It was the last class of the day. I could go home. I could escape and wallow all by myself. Hoping to avoid Emily, even though she kept her distance from me if she knew I had been in the bathroom, I didn’t see him until I was already at my locker.

  I saw his feet first.

  I stopped, paralyzed, and then I snapped out of it. My head jerked up and there he was. Logan.

  He was waiting for me, and his gaze pierced through me.

  He was furious.

  “Hey.”

  “Shut up,” he growled at me. “Don’t talk. You don’t get that right anymore.”

  My eyes widened. He had never used that tone with me. He was shaking, and he said without waiting for a response, “I don’t know where you get off making decisions for my brother and me. If you’re going to dump him, then dump him, but don’t do it because of me, or because of my relationship with my brother.”

  “Logan,”

  “Shut up.” His eyes were fierce. “Like I said, you don’t get a voice here. Not after the shit you pulled.”

  Everything went flat in me. All of it. He reached in, took hold of every last reserve I had, every decision I had made, and he yanked it out of me. It happened in one instant. I was left shattered. Again.

  Logan continued, “Whatever feelings I MIGHT have for you are only an issue if I make them. Whatever I feel for you and trust me, right now they aren’t nice, are mine and mine alone. They are not your problem. You have no right to decide for me. You hear me?”

  I flinched as if he had slapped me. Every word from him was a knife into me. He kept stabbing.

  He said, “Furthermore, your fucking dad slapped Mason with a restraining order. He can’t come here or near your house. Good for him for finally deciding to grow a pair, but fuck, it’s the wrong fucking timing right now. Mason’s hurting, Sam. That’s your fault. Fix it. Fix all of this mess.”

  I was trying. “Logan,” I whispered.

  “No. I don’t want to hear some weak ass excuse. Your reasons
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