Fallen crest public, p.30
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       Fallen Crest Public, p.30

         Part #3 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan
 

  thrones, reigning over the lower class. All of them were there: Miranda was on Peter’s lap; Amelia; Emily; even Adam was sitting with them. When I turned to go inside and make my way to the kitchen, Cassandra was pushing her way out. Both of her hands held cups of beer. A sneer came over her when she saw me. “You really need to get over this stepbrother thing. It makes you look like trash, but then again, you are trash.”

  “Does Adam know that you finally gave up your obsession with him? Or is it not public knowledge you’re stalking Mark now?”

  Mark laughed from behind me.

  Cassandra sucked in her breath, and her hand raised. I was waiting for it. It wouldn’t be the first beer thrown at a party.

  Adam swooped in. His hand covered Cass’s and he took the cup from her. “Thanks, Cass. I owe you.”

  “Yeah,” she said, raking me up and down. “You sure do.” Storming past me, she would’ve rammed her shoulder into mine, but Mark stepped right next to me. She would’ve ran right into him, but growled as she was forced to go around him instead. I waited. She rammed her shoulder into his. Mark’s laugh was cut off, but then he started chuckling again.

  Turning to us, he rubbed at his shoulder. “The girl can hit. If she can do that with her shoulder, I’m excited to find out what else she can do in bed when she’s angry.”

  Adam frowned, but shook his head. “I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

  “Screwing Cass?”

  “Dating Cass.”

  “Oh, come on. It’s not like that.”

  “You will be. Before you know it, you will be.”

  I was still wondering what happened with Amelia, but I caught a glimpse of Logan. He was walking past the kitchen door. “I have to go.”

  “Sam,” Adam started.

  His hand caught mine, but I shook him off. “I’m fine.”

  “Sam.”

  “I am,” I reassured both of them before turning and following Logan.

  Kate walked past the kitchen door, too. The rest of the Tommy Princesses followed behind like ducklings, but there were too many people between us. I couldn’t get to the living room fast enough. When I did, it was full of Fallen Crest Public people, but no Mason. All the people I wanted to see were nowhere to be seen.

  “Sam?” Jeff stood up from a couch. His arm had been around a girl, and he grabbed her hand, pulling her with him as he crossed to my corner. “What are you doing here?”

  A light bulb was flickering as I stared at his girl. She looked familiar—wait. Adam. Basketball game. “Your name is Kris. I saw you at the basketball game last week.”

  “Oh.” A faint smile came over her small lips. Her hand was pulled from Jeff’s, and she wrapped her arms around her petite frame. “I didn’t see you there.”

  Jeff threw an arm around her shoulder and pulled her against his side. He announced to me, “She’s friends with Jessica and Lydia, but I’m trying to make her see the error of her ways.” He sent her a pointed glance. “Sam would know. They were best friends with her and …” he flailed, closing his mouth. “Never mind. So you’ve met Kris, huh? Quinn’s trying to court her, too.”

  She gasped, and her head jerked down.

  I gestured to the girl. “You embarrassed her.”

  Her shoulders stiffened, but she didn’t correct me.

  Jeff’s smile was blinding as he squeezed her again. “It’s like you 2.0, except I have a clean slate and I’m hoping without the Kade part. I can’t hold up against your …” He cringed. “I need to stop talking tonight.”

  “Yeah, you do.” Kris nudged him with her elbow.

  He laughed, squeezing her again.

  I sighed. “Young love. Too bad you’re going to get screwed over. It’s inevitable.”

  Jeff dropped his arm from her shoulders and they watched me with pity. I could detect that look from a mile away now. He asked, “You okay, Sam? I tried getting my ‘friends’ to help you, but they all said you were handling yourself fine.”

  “Uh. Yeah.” I pointed to my face. “It’s not porcelain skin underneath all this make-up.”

  “I know.” His mouth dipped down. “I meant that I tried, you know. I told you at Nate’s party that I’d try to get them to help.”

  This conversation was going to a bad direction. He was talking like I had died, and I still had fight in me. I needed to find Kate. I had a whole lot more fight in me. “Where’d they go?”

  “Who?”

  I snorted. “You’re a bad actor, Jeff. You might’ve been able to lie to me before, but I’m smarter now and I hang out with liars who are in the professional league. Tell me where they went.”

  “Sam, don’t do this.” He reached for me.

  My arm swung away from him. “Don’t.”

  “It’s not going to end well. We heard about it.”

  “Where are they?”

  “She’s been all over him this week. Even if it’s not over between you two, it’s,” he hesitated, “it’s over, Sam. He’s back with her.”

  I was getting really sick and tired of hearing this. “You tell me where they are, or I’m going to give a character reference to your new girlfriend.” I bared my teeth at him. “And it won’t be a good one, if you know what I mean.”

  “They went downstairs. That door right there.” He pointed at a door behind me. It was closed with Jasmine and Natalie guarding it. Strauss and another guy stood with them, but I marched over anyway.

  “No. No way—” Jasmine started to say, raising her hand at the same time.

  Strauss caught it and twisted it behind her back. The other guy opened the door for me and stepped so he was blocking Natalie from me. I sailed behind both of them without breaking stride. As the door closed behind me, I heard Jasmine cry out, “What?”

  As soon as the door clicked shut, I stopped on the other side of it. The stairs were in front of me, but I grabbed the railing and held onto it. I couldn’t move. Everything in me was trembling. I felt them kicking me. Hitting me. Shut up and get her. Kate’s voice came back to me. Images flashed in my head, and I flinched with each one. I felt every hit and every kick all over again. I was back in that bathroom. It was dark, like it is now. They were coming for me.

  “Hey.”

  I cried out, shooting my hand out. They wouldn’t hurt me. Not again.

  “Bitch,” someone hissed at me.

  My eyelids flew open—when had they closed? My hands jerked up, ready for an attack. It never came and I was staring at Tate. She was pressed against the far wall, rubbing at her throat. She cursed at me. “You hit me. That hurt.”

  “Oh.”

  We stared at each other, and no one said a word. She snorted then. “Of course you’re not going to apologize.”

  Waves of anxiety were still crashing over me, but I wouldn’t have even if I was fine. She knew it. I knew it. Why lie about it?

  “I’m in this mess because of you, you know.”

  “How?”

  “Because I backed you in the hallway.”

  “You backed Heather, not me.”

  “It doesn’t matter to Kate. Once someone crosses her, she doesn’t let it go. So thanks for this.”

  “You blew Logan when you knew a camcorder was there.”

  “I thought he covered it up. We don’t make noises when we do things like that.”

  “Why in there then?”

  She shrugged. “I don’t know. He looked stressed. I was giving him a treat.”

  A bitter laugh came from me. “I don’t get you two. You guys just hook up now? There’s no feelings anymore?”

  She smirked. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

  My smile matched my tone. Brittle. “Just don’t screw him over again.”

  “Hard to hurt someone who doesn’t give a flying fuck about you anymore.”

  I paused.

  As she started down the stairs, she added, “And he doesn’t, you know.”

  “What? Give a fly
ing fuck about you?”

  “Care about me like that. We’re friends, only friends.”

  I followed her to the bottom, but no one was around. “You didn’t come back to be friends with him.”

  “No.” She jerked her head to the right. “They’re down there. Logan said you’d be coming, so I came to get you. They need to get the tape first.”

  “You didn’t come back to be friends with him,” I pressed.

  “I didn’t. You’re right. My parents shipped me out here so I thought it was my second chance.” She skimmed me up and down. Her top lip curved up in a sneer. “It didn’t take me long to catch on that I was wasting my time.”

  Pausing outside a door, she reached for the door handle, but stopped. “You ready for this? Logan told me a little of what they’ve been planning. It’s going to be brutal.”

  “Besides setting her up for Budd Broudou?”

  “What?”

  “Nothing.”

  “Okay. Showtime.” She flashed me a grin and opened the door.

  I held back. Mason had more planned? Then I heard Kate’s shrill voice. “What is that whore doing here?”

  Kate had dressed for me.

  Her jeans were ripped in the crotch area. She’d worn them before, always with a skimpy thong underneath. Kate thought they turned me on, but they didn’t. They never had. Those jeans were her signal that she was down for anything. I knew I could have her anyway I wanted and some of those times, I’d take her up on the offer. That was all Kate had been to me. I had an itch, and I used her to scratch it.

  I regretted it now.

  She came in with no question, no regret, no doubt and she came straight for me. I didn’t do a thing. Someone normal would’ve reacted. She was coming into a trap for slaughter, but I wasn’t normal. She was going to touch me and I wanted to shove her away. I didn’t do that either. She ran her fingers over my chest. The tips of them trailed down to the front of my pants, and she rubbed there.

  I turned it off. This was Sam touching me. This was Sam in front of me, pressing against me. I did what I had done all week. I pretended. “You have a present for me?”

  “I do.” Excitement lit up her face and she held up the camcorder.

  I took it from her and saw she had the video ready for me to watch.

  There was no sound, just an image of Logan on the couch and Tate kneeling before him. His eyes were closed as he leaned back on the couch. His hand was tangled in her hair as her head moved, sucking on him.

  I passed the camcorder to Logan.

  “Hey—” Kate stopped herself.

  There it was—doubt. I caught it and it was the first time it showed all week. Then she stopped and it was shoved aside. Desperation flared for a moment before blind trust came back over her. She gave it so readily to me.

  I told her, “He doesn’t care. He just wanted to see the evidence before it goes viral.”

  “Oh.” Relief flashed over her face.

  “You have other copies?”

  “Just what’s on there.”

  “And this.” Parker held up a USB drive. “We’ll keep it safe.”

  Ethan snatched it from her hands. “I don’t think so.”

  “Hey!”

  “We’ll keep it safe,” I said.

  Parker cast Ethan a sidelong look, but quieted.

  Kate’s hand grew bolder as she continued to rub on me. She was more insistent. “So what’s next?”

  “Did you email this to anybody?”

  “Just Tate. I’m sure she’s freaking out.”

  I glanced at Logan, who nodded. His thumb hit a button. The video was gone. With that done, I texted Nate and then nodded to Ethan. Without hesitation, Ethan took off the case, pulled the chip out and tossed the case to Logan. Then he left the room.

  “Hey!” Parker cried out again. “What the hell?”

  Kate frowned. “What’s going on?”

  I waited a minute. They needed a head start. “That was Ethan destroying your USB drive.”

  “What—”

  “I knew we shouldn’t have trusted these guys. You’re an idiot, Kate,” Parker snapped as she started for the door.

  “It’s already gone,” I stopped her. “It’s pointless to go after him.”

  “You’re such an asshole.”

  She had no idea. “There’s more to come, some of it you’ll want to see.”

  Kate grabbed the camcorder from Logan and started searching through it. We waited, and her eyes widened the more she searched.

  Logan grinned. “It’s gone.”

  “You wiped everything.”

  “You’re the dumb bitch who handed it over.”

  “Not to you,” she seethed. “To Mason. I trusted him.”

  He rolled his eyes and laughed. “I don’t even feel bad for you. You’re so stupid.”

  She jerked back. “Mase?”

  There it was again. She still didn’t believe it. “I agree with my brother.”

  It was at that moment that she started to get it. I watched as each piece of the puzzle began to fit into place and she stumbled back a step. When she ran into the pool table behind her, she choked out, “It’s on my computer. It’s in my email. You’re going to regret this.”

  I lifted my phone. “Both of those are gone. Say goodbye to your email.”

  My phone beeped.

  “What’s that?”

  Parker whispered from behind her, “Oh no.”

  Logan began laughing. “You guys are so screwed. Getting it, Park? Did you get a text, too?”

  Kate whipped around. Parker had gone pale, and she showed her phone to Kate. “It’s Nate.”

  “Nate?”

  “Yeah, Nate, you fuckheads.” Logan shook his head. “He might be injured, but he’s not out of action. He hasn’t been the whole time. We knew about your plans for Sam. You wanted to drug her, have him make a sex tape with her?”

  “Oh my god.” Kate lifted stricken eyes to me. “You knew?”

  Logan started to say it, but I shook my head. I needed to do this. Everything was cold inside of me. I’d been hiding it for the past week. They should’ve known better. Smarter people would’ve, but Kate wasn’t sane. She was desperate so I used that to pull her back in. She saw what she wanted, but she couldn’t mistake it this time. I let her see my loathing. I let her see the cold calculation and when she did, she began shaking. The blood drained from her face, and I knew she was going over everything in her head. I waited and when she gasped, I knew she remembered.

  “You should’ve listened to me that day.”

  “No.” She shook her head. “No. You dumped her for me.”

  “Did I?”

 
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