Fallen crest public, p.4
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       Fallen Crest Public, p.4

         Part #3 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan
 

  “Yeah.”

  Logan started laughing again. “New definition to the phrase ‘dumb bitch’.”

  My gaze lingered on the door, even after it closed behind them. Logan thought this was going to be fun, but he had no idea. It was going to get ugly. I knew it, and I was ready for it.

  As soon as I was through the doors, Heather linked her arm with mine and pulled me close. Dressed in faded jeans and a loose black shirt, I had to grin when the V-neck dipped low. She didn’t mean to, but she oozed sexuality. I had a feeling Heather Jax would look provocative in a grocery bag and she had no idea. Her eyes weren’t clueless. They were sharp and focused as she asked, “What was that about?”

  “Your ex-bestie.”

  She froze in mid-step, but was jostled from someone passing by and jerked me to the side for a split second. “Sorry.” She patted me, withdrawing her arm at the same time. “Tate was out there?”

  “She gave Logan googly-eyes.”

  Heather grimaced, side stepping a group of freshmen girls before swinging back to my side. “And let me guess, Mason didn’t like that, did he?”

  “No.”

  She rolled her eyes. “Tate’s a bitch. I side with your boyfriend on this one. If she’s already looking at Logan, who knows what she’ll be capable of doing later.”

  “You make her sound like a villain.”

  “She is.” Stopping at a locker, Heather wheeled the lock and opened it. Putting her books inside, she added, “Whatever Tate is saying, don’t believe her. We didn’t really talk about her before, but there’s more to the story then whatever Mason told you.”

  That didn’t sound good. “He told me that she dated Logan and, two years into their relationship she hit on him. There’s more than that?”

  A hollow laugh came from her. “Oh, a hell of a lot more. Things that Mason and Logan don’t even know about.”

  I narrowed my eyes and moved closer. The hallway was packed. A lot of people were watching us, or me. A sudden wave of nervousness came over me. I had pushed aside the normal first-day-of-school-jitters with seeing Tate in the parking lot, but they were back now. They came back hard, but when I grinned at a few girls, they rolled their eyes and turned their backs to me. If that wasn’t subtle, I didn’t know what was. I was not welcome here. Glancing at a few others, they stared right back. I tried smiling at a few more, but I got varying responses. None welcoming. A few others continued to stare back as if I hadn’t smiled at them, while a couple narrowed their eyes at me. The ones who turned away, bent forward to whisper with their friends. I had a feeling this was my welcome to Fallen Crest Public. I’d have to get used to it.

  Heather took out a textbook and a notebook. Shutting her locker, a tired expression came over her as she faced me, but then it was gone in the blink of an eye and replaced with caution. Her eyes locked on something behind me, and I turned, my gut already knowing who it was going to be. Heather was tough and spunky, but only a few things or people could affect her like that.

  And I was right. The Tomboy Princesses had arrived.

  Kate was leading the pack with the three others close behind.

  “I really hate those girls,” Heather murmured to me.

  Me too, I thought as I locked eyes with Kate. Me too.

  All four of the Tomboy Princesses stood there. Each wore tight, ripped faded jeans. They weren’t designer brands like the girls at Fallen Crest Academy wore, but they clung like a second-skin, and definitely gave off a sexy vibe. Their shirts were a variation of the same. Kate’s was plain white that was snug against her tight abdominals, and it was evident she was wearing a pink bra under the sheer material. Her dark hair was swept up into a waterfall braid with the ends curled. They had a healthy glow as they fell past her shoulders. Parker glared at me, her dark eyes were hostile, and her lips were pressed together in a snarl. Unlike their leader, her black hair fell loose. It matched her black sleeveless top that rested an inch above her jeans, showing off a good amount of midriff.

  Natalie and Jasmine brought up the last of their group, and they were the two that I was the least familiar with. They had similar black hair. Natalie’s was a little lighter with caramel highlights showing through. She was the only one wearing a Fallen Crest Public jersey. It was red with black lettering and had the number eight on the back, the bottom of it tied around her tiny waist. Jasmine was the girliest of the group. Her black hair was pulled into a ponytail that rested high on her head, bouncing back and forth as she followed her friends. Pink lipstick, glitter on her cheeks and pink eye shadow matched her pink sweater that looked like soft cashmere and had a low neckline. Her cleavage was right there, saying hello to anyone who wanted to view the girls.

  Heather cursed under her breath when the group stopped before us. She leaned against her locker as I waited. Kate said she’d make our lives hell. First day jitters and surviving my mother’s recent attempt at destroying Mason’s future had combined together. I was angry. I was ready to fight back. I was more than ready for whatever Kate had in store.

  “Last chance, Jax.” That was Kate’s greeting. “You can back out now and everyone and everything you hold dear will be left alone.”

  “Shut up, Kate,” Heather retorted, shoving off from her locker. She took two steps, sticking her face right up in hers. An inch separated them while her followers surrounded us. As a hush fell over the hallway, I knew all eyes were on us.

  Still.

  “I don’t like when people threaten me or my friends.”

  “She shouldn’t be your friend. She’s a liability,” Kate hissed back at her, breaking their stare-off to glower at me. She smirked. “What’s with you and having bodyguards? Mason. Logan. Now Jax? Don’t you have balls of your own?”

  I smirked back. Balls? She wanted balls? I opened my mouth, ready to show her some balls when an amused voice broke into the group, “Kate, are you serious? You’re still doing the bullying thing?”

  Tate stood there, books in hand, as she skimmed the group with a bored expression. She rolled her eyes, flicked some of her hair over her shoulder, and shook her head. “What are you going to do after high school, Kate? You can’t bully everyone to do what you want, and why are you even doing it now?” Tate gestured to me with perfectly manicured nails. “Pushing Strattan around isn’t going to do a bit of good. You know that you won’t get Mason back. He’s gone. He was gone the second her mom moved her into his house.”

  Kate sucked in an angry breath. “Back off, Sullivan. This isn’t your business.”

  “Maybe not, but Heather used to be a good friend and since I’m all about making amends, I can’t walk by.” She arched an eyebrow. “Wanna hear some advice from someone who has gone against Mason and his girlfriend?”

  “Go away, Tate. I mean it.”

  She shook her head. “Let it go.”

  “Can’t you hear, Tate?” Jasmine stepped right in front of her, much like Heather had done with Kate. The petite black-haired beauty looked even smaller standing in front of Tate, who had model-like long legs and towered over. “Kate said to keep walking.”

  Tate grinned down at her, like an adult whose child tried to boss them around. “You’re like a mosquito that won’t die. Back up or I’ll swat you down.”

  Jasmine bristled. “Don’t talk to me like that.”

  Tate lifted her bored eyes again, skimming me and Heather up and down before landing on the leader again. “I’ve been back a week, been around the last weekend, and I already know you’re losing power. You’re deluding yourself if you think you can push your way around like this. Let it go, Kate. We used to be friends and this is friendly advice. Stop going down this path, lick your wounds, and find a different guy to latch onto.”

  Heather shifted back, refusing to meet her ex-best friend’s gaze, bumping into me in the process. I sighed and settled back against her locker.

  Kate lifted her top lip and bared her teeth. “We weren’t friends.”

  “We were in the beginning.”


  “When you ditched Jax.” Kate threw a smug look to Heather. “Remember that, Jax? When your best friend stabbed you in the back?”

  Tate stiffened.

  “Or didn’t you tell her what you did, Sullivan?”

  “Shut up.”

  “Oh.” Kate’s triumphant smirk spread over her face. “You didn’t tell her? That you slept with her boyfriend at the time?”

  “Shut. Up.”

  “What?” Heather’s voice had grown quiet.

  “No. You started this. You came over here and interfered. You’re on the list now, Tate. I was giving Jax one last chance to get away, but it’s too late now. For both of you. You’re all going down, right along with Mason’s latest screw.”

  A dry chuckle left me. It acted like a beacon and as one, the rest of the girls turned to face me. I stood from the lockers. I caught movement from the corner of my eye and glanced over. I spotted Logan watching from a distance, frowning. Ethan was with him, and they both seemed unsure of what to do. I gave him a nod and sent him an unspoken message: I would handle this.

  His frown deepened.

  “You got something to say, slut?” Kate mocked. “Finally?”

  “Finally?” I threw back, moving closer, replacing the spot that Heather had been in. Kate was my height, so I could stare her right in the eyes. I did so now, no blinking, no turning away, nothing was going to break our stand-off. “Why break this up? I don’t need television. You’re entertaining enough. Please, keep going. Threaten Tate some more. I’m not a fan of hers. Or even better, try going after Heather again. Go for it.” I bared my teeth. “Fair warning. She bites back.”

  She frowned.

  I rolled my eyes. “Am I supposed to be scared that the four of you ganged up on me? Or that you’re willing to threaten my friend? You’re making a list? Is that supposed to strike terror in me? Anyone can make a list. I’ve got one, too. Does it make your knees shake?”

  I heard a wolf whistle from down the hallway, followed by, “That is so hot!”

  Another guy yelled out, “Girl fight!”

  Kate wanted to scare me. She didn’t. I’d gone against the best of the beasts: my mother. As Jasmine took another step forward and raised her hand, I shifted so I was facing her head-on. She stopped in her tracks and surprise came over her. Her hand lowered.

  “You think physical violence is going to do it?”

  Tate started laughing now.

  I ignored her. “Go ahead and touch me. I’m not scared to take a hit, but you’re only going to hurt yourself. One bruise and I can go to the principal. It’s not like there aren’t witnesses here.”

  As those words left me, Kate grabbed Jasmine’s arm and shoved her back.

  “Kate,” she protested.

  “Not yet,” their leader barked. “Go to class. All of you.”

  Parker gasped now. “You’re letting her win?”

  “No.” Kate turned her back to me, but I heard the warning in her tone. “It’s not time.”

  “But—”

  “Go, Parker. I won’t say it again.”

  All three did nothing to hide their disgust with Kate as they left. Parker glowered at me for a full five seconds before she was dragged away by Natalie, the only one who hadn’t said a word. My gaze lingered on her and wondered what she was like. Parker and Jasmine seemed to be the hotheads of the group. They reacted the quickest, but Kate must’ve been their leader for a reason.

  Kate rounded back to me. She took a deep breath and shook her head. “You’re not what I expected, Strattan.”

  Tate snorted behind her. “You haven’t even scratched the surface, Kate.”

  Kate glanced at her. “And you have?”

  “I know that Mason Kade wouldn’t be in love with her if she were simple.”

  “Maybe.”

  Heather burst out then, “Go away. All of you.”

  “I was trying to help.” Tate frowned as Kate followed after her friends.

  “You’re not.”

  For a second, the two former best friends stared at each for a second before Tate’s shoulders dropped. Her head lowered an inch and she lifted one shoulder in a halfhearted motion. “Fine.” She was swallowed up by the crowd that remained behind her. They were all still watching and as I scanned them, a sense of déjà vu came over me. It was like my last semester at my old school, but I didn’t know these people. I hadn’t gone to school with them since kindergarten. I didn’t know the embarrassing stories from middle school or all the cliques.

  This wasn’t my school. This was foreign territory to me. That should’ve staggered me, but it didn’t. I had endured Analise. I could endure this.

  Heather fell back against her locker with a groan. “I didn’t expect that.”

  “I did.” I actually expected more.

  She eyed me up and down. “I thought maybe they’d steal your clothes during gym class or something. Maybe write the word ‘whore’ on your locker.”

  I grinned at her. “And on that note, I need to go to the office to get my combination. When I registered they didn’t have that for me.”

  Heather tried to smile, but the corners of her lips went down instead of up. She glanced in the direction Tate had gone. “Why do you think she did that?”

  Because she wants to be friends again. I didn’t say that, though. I said instead, “What boyfriend were they talking about?”

  Pain flared over her face. “Channing.”

  “I’m sorry.”

  She lifted a shoulder and shrugged halfheartedly. She looked away. “Doesn’t matter. We’ve been broken up for a year anyway …”

  “It couldn’t have been anyone else?”

  Heather looked down now. “No. I’ve only been with him, and we were dating when Tate was my friend. It makes sense now …”

  Score one for Kate.

  “I’m sorry,” I said again, but I knew it wouldn’t help.

  Kate won this round. She hurt my friend.

  The first bell went off when I reached the office. The final bell went off when I was given my locker combination. I would officially be late to my first class, on my first day. Wonderful. When I asked where Coach Grath’s office was, the secretary informed me that he’d be gone all week. That dilemma was resolved. So with that new information, I headed back out and started my day as a new student.

  When I got to my class, the teacher didn’t care that I was late. A worksheet was handed to me right away and the rest of the class went fast as I began working on it. There were no Tommy P.’s in there, but there were in the rest of my classes. Jasmine and Natalie were in my second period. Kate was in my third and Parker rounded out the fourth. My mornings were going to be glorious, but the one silver lining was that my locker was still clean when I headed to lunch. No ‘whore’ or ‘slut’ decorated it. Yet.

  There was no sight of Mason or Logan when I went to the cafeteria, but Heather called me over to her table. There were a few others sitting with her. The guys were friendly or friendlier while the two girls gave me a cold reception. One, dressed in all black clothing, gave me a sneer and turned her back to me.

  Subtle.

  The other one, wearing a white sweatshirt emblazoned with a large rainbow, gave me a shy grin. She had the softest blue eyes and palest skin I’d ever seen on a person. After we ate, Heather explained on the way to our lockers that the shy one was an albino. I’d never met someone who looked like that, but she warned me not to expect anything nicer than the greeting I got. The shy one didn’t talk and Heather said that I was better off not knowing the other one’s name. I didn’t question it. She added that No Name Chick wasn’t a fan of anyone associated with the Kades. Both girls were routine targets by the Tommy Princesses and neither cared that Kate’s group was no longer supported by Mason or Logan anymore.

  It wasn’t until after fifth period when Logan showed up at my locker. “What was going on with those girls this morning?”

  It was amazing. Logan Kade appeared at my l
ocker and most everyone stopped to watch us. I sighed as I exchanged one book for the next one. I’d have to get used to the pull he held over everyone.

  I shrugged. “It was nothing.”

  “That didn’t look like nothing.”

  “Stop, Logan,” I warned. “I have to take care of them. You can’t do this for me.”

  He rolled his eyes, cursing under his breath at the same time. “We’re going to have to step in. It’s inevitable. Kate’s a bitch.”

 
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