Fallen crest public, p.6
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       Fallen Crest Public, p.6

         Part #3 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan
 

  Nate bit out a curse. “Are you serious? You want me to leave?”

  “Not to be an ass, but this is family shit.”

  “What am I then?”

  “You’re extended family shit. You’re one of those long-distance cousins.”

  Nate looked over. “Mason.”

  “Just go, Nate.” Logan leveled him with a harsh look. “This is family and you’ve been a douchebag lately.”

  Nate gritted his teeth at him, but turned to his best friend. “Mason, come on.”

  Mason sighed. “It doesn’t matter what I say. You need to be trusted by all of us and you’re not. That’s what matters.”

  He pushed up from the couch and stalked out. No words were shared, and the tension in the room was thick enough to cut with a knife. I didn’t dare breathe until he had left. As soon as he was upstairs and the door shut, Mason leaned back and sighed. “I hope you guys know what you just did.”

  Logan sent him a dark look. “Screw you.”

  “I already ripped him a new one this morning—”

  “Not good enough,” Logan interrupted him. He shot forward, his eyes stormy and lips pressed tight in a snarl. “Nate’s been so far up your ass, I’m surprised you remember about the rest of us.” As Mason glanced at me, Logan added, “Except for Sam. You do need to get your daily screws in, don’t you?”

  Everything happened so fast after that.

  I gasped, but then Mason was off the couch. He had Logan pressed against the wall in the next instant, one hand fisted in his shirt and the other had pinned Logan’s arm up. He snarled at him, “Are you fucking with me?”

  Logan twisted, jutting his hip out to move Mason aside and then slipped his arm free.

  My heart was pounding. It sounded so loud in my eardrums that I struggled to hear the rest. Everything had jumped up in me, and it felt like my pulse was lodged in my throat. It was going nuts.

  Mason didn’t move against him, but Logan didn’t move away. They were almost touching, glaring at each other.

  “I’m not screwing with you.”

  “You sure about that?” Mason lashed back. Every muscle in him was primed. He was ready to fight; his hands had formed into fists and were pressed against his legs. He was holding himself back.

  Logan eyed him warily before sending me a furtive look. His shoulders were rigid, but they dropped a fraction of a centimeter. His jaw was still like cement as he clipped out, “I’m not, but I am getting sick of this shit. Nate’s up your ass twenty-four-seven. “

  “We are staying in his house.”

  “So let’s move.”

  “And go where?” A hollow laugh came from Mason’s throat. He turned to me. “Back to Dad’s? Sam, there’s no way I’m living with your mom again. I meant to tell you earlier, but I forgot.”

  Rising from the couch, I hugged myself, but spoke up, “It’s not right that you guys are here. Nothing against Nate, but you should be with family during this time.” My heart kept pounding, thumping against my ribcage. “And yes,” I caught the look he sent to Logan, “that means Logan and me, too. I don’t have a family anymore.”

  Mason and Logan had been eyeing each other, but they turned as one now. I was front and center once again.

  I gulped. Sometimes their attention was a little much, too much at times. This was one of those times. I felt stripped and raw as I added, “My life went to crap five months ago. My mom left my dad. I found out my dad wasn’t my real dad. Then my real dad came into my life, but he’s gone. They’re both gone and then my mom went psycho. I’ve got you two, and on the outside, I am so jealous of you. You have a dad. He’s still here. He loves you guys—”

  Mason started forward. His voice soft, “He’s with your mom, Sam.”

  I flinched at that. It felt as if he’d slapped me.

  “I love you and she hurt you. That’s the math to me. If we go back there, she’s going to keep hurting you.” Mason was in front of me now. His hand lifted to touch the side of my face. “There’s no way I can watch that and not do anything.”

  Logan spoke up, “We can’t scare your mom anymore. She’s too crazy for that, so being there and seeing that happen to you,” he gestured to his brother, “I’m with Mason. There’s no way I could watch that and not do anything, except this time, we’d really hurt your mom.”

  “It’s best if we just stay away. Our dad knows the deal. As long as he has her in his life, we’re out. That’s the way it is.” Mason’s chest lifted as he took a deep breath. His touch was so tender. “He’s making that decision. Not us.”

  A piece of me broke away. It fell to the bottom of my stomach. The sadness that washed over me was overwhelming. “I can’t be responsible for you guys losing your dad.”

  “You’re not.” Logan frowned, stepping next to his brother. He didn’t reach out, but I felt his concern. “It’s our dad. He turned into a douchebag, too.”

  “Logan.”

  “What?” Logan shrugged, giving his brother a crooked grin. The sudden tension from before was gone. “You know it’s true. Well, I guess our dad’s always been a douchebag. How many mistresses did he have? Had to be twenty, at least.” He whistled in appreciation. “Gotta give it to your mom. She’s the one that landed him. Our dad must be really nuts if that’s who he chooses to settle down with. He’s stuck with her even after all the crap she did to Sam.” The other half of his mouth curved up. “Maybe we should have him committed? He can go through one of those brainwashing programs, brainwash him back to being normal.” He pondered that for a second. “No, he’d just pick another winner again.”

  “This isn’t funny.”

  Logan shrugged. His crooked grin didn’t lessen. “Has to be. Dad left Mom, cheated on her for years, and Analise is who he ends up with? She’s the one that he decides to stick it out with? That’s the funniest damn thing I’ve heard.” He clapped his brother on the shoulder. “Come on. You think it’s funny too.”

  When the corner of Mason’s mouth curved up, teasing at his own grin, I couldn’t believe this. “Stop,” I cried out. Shaking my head, I moved away. “I can’t believe you guys. You’re laughing about this? You can’t—”

  “We can,” Mason stopped me. A tender expression came over him. “Logan’s right. It has to be funny. We’ve lived through all the other stuff. The divorce. Dad’s cheating. The only good thing we got from him was you.”

  “I second that.”

  I rolled my eyes. They were missing the entire point.

  “Sam.” Mason reached out and took my hand, pulling me back to him. “We’re not laughing to be dicks, but this is our dad. You can’t judge us because we’re not accepting the crumbs he’s giving to us. He’s not a great dad.”

  Logan snorted, “Try he’s never been a great dad?”

  “We understand what you’re saying. Trust me. We do.” He tugged me closer to him, but I didn’t look up. I couldn’t. His finger went underneath my chin, and he tipped my head up. Then I couldn’t look away. His green eyes caught mine and the wall he normally had up slid away. He let me see everything—the bitterness, hurt, pain, anger—all of that was there, but it was mixed with love. I saw it. I felt it when he murmured, “I’m grateful to him for you, but because I love you, I can’t accept your mother. There’s no way. Would you? If you saw someone hurting me, over and over again?”

  When he put it like that, I drew in a shuddering breath. “I would kill that person.”

  Logan started laughing. “We go from scaring to hurting. She jumps right to killing. Hardcore, Sam.” He patted me on the shoulder. “It’s why you’re our Little Kade. On that note, I love you. I’m sorry for my comment before, but I can tell where this is going. Believe it or not, I don’t get off on watching the two of you.” He pressed a quick kiss to my temple and headed to the stairs. As he got to the top, he called out, “Coast is clear. Fornicate away.”

  Mason ignored him. “You okay?”

  I nodded. My throat was too thick with emotion to speak.
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  “We can’t move back in. We can’t watch her hurt you, and he’s not going to leave her, so this is how it has to be.” He drew me against him and I rested my head on his chest. If the situation had been reversed, there was no way I could do it either. I hadn’t been joking. If I saw someone hurting Mason and Logan, over and over again, I would do anything to stop them.

  Mason bent down and dropped a soft kiss to the top of my head.

  “So you haven’t told them yet?” Heather popped her head out from her locker as her mouth fell open. “I can’t believe you. That was a week ago. Don’t you think they should know?”

  “Why? They know that Budd and Brett are trying to find out who I am. They said it to their face.”

  She slammed her locker shut and handed me her notebook. “Hold this.”

  I did. “What do you want me to do?”

  Heather stopped looking through her book and glared at me. A strand of her hair slipped down, blocking her face, but I could still feel the heat of her stare. “You’re not a moron, Samantha. Stop trying to make me think of you are. It’s an insult.”

  “I’m screwed.”

  “Pretty much.” Her eyes lit up as she found her page and folded over the corner. Then she grabbed her notebook from me before shaking her head. “Look, granted, Mason and Logan did their ‘run-in’ with Budd and Brett. They know Budd’s looking for Mason’s girlfriend so that’s not news to him, but you yourself saw them at Manny’s. You work there. They could go there any time. It’s something they’d want to know.”

  An outburst of giggles and yells came from down the hall, and I glanced over. Logan had arrived. He was at his locker, along with Ethan and Strauss. Both guys had smirks on their faces as they enjoyed the cheerleaders next to their lockers. Boobs galore and if their skirts lifted an inch, pussy galore. I snorted, falling back against the locker behind me.

  Heather paused, mid-reach into her bag. “What?”

  “Nothing.”

  “What?” And she turned, twisting around to see further down the hallway. I knew when she spotted them. Her back straightened. Her shoulders flattened and she let her bag fall to the floor. “Oh.”

  Oh, indeed. “I’m starting to get used to this school.”

  “Uh oh.”

  “What?”

  “No one says they’re getting used to this school. Those are the people that get a smack-down.” She shook her head, trembling in an exaggerated manner. “I can’t let that happen to you.”

  I laughed. “No, not like that. I meant that I’m starting to understand this school. Instead of the Elite, like at FCA, you guys have cheerleaders.”

  “And the drill team.”

  “Drill team?”

  “Yeah,” Heather nodded towards a group of girls across from Logan’s locker. They were dressed in sweaters. Not one of them wore jeans. They all had on dress pants that could’ve been matched with a business suit. They looked professional, how I would’ve dressed for a job interview. I glanced over their different hairstyles, all swept down or over the shoulder to look like perfection. I understood what Heather was saying. The Tommy Princesses might’ve been the girls at the top because of how tough they were, but these girls would’ve usurped them if given half a chance. They reminded me of Miranda and Cass from the Elite.

  “Do they think they’re in a walking beauty ad?”

  Heather chuckled. As we headed towards them, she added, “Those girls try to get the boyfriends. There’s a few that are always trying to land any of the guys in the Kade group, but they’d love to get Mason or Logan the most. Kate and her bitch crew were the main go-to girls for the guys. They weren’t into having a boyfriend like the others and each guy kinda had their own. Mason had Kate. Nate had Parker. Ethan had Jasmine and sometimes Logan would hook-up with Natalie, though we both know he never had a certain go-to girl.”

  “And speaking of …”

  I stopped as Tate came around the corner. She didn’t give us a glance as she went straight to Logan and draped herself over him. One arm went around his neck and the other hand rested on his chest. He’d been listening to Ethan, but stopped. As she moved closer to him, his head lowered so it looked as if the two were whispering to each other. A small grin was teasing the corner of his mouth when she started talking.

  “Okay.” Heather bobbed her head up and down. “I now see what you and Mason are worried about.”

  My eyes grew wide when he lifted a hand to the side of her hip. That was how Mason touched me. It was intimate and it was his precursor move before he pulled me even closer. Logan didn’t pull her closer, but his hand lingered there before moving to the small in her back. Oh yes. He was enjoying every bit of her attention, but then he looked up and caught us staring. Correction. He caught me.

  My face got hot. I knew I was probably red, but what was he doing? I narrowed my eyes and tried to ask him that question without saying it.

  The other side of his lips curved up and the grin was no longer a tease. He was full-on smiling at me. Another correction. He was smirking at me.

  “What?” I bristled next to Heather. Both knew who that question was for.

  He lifted one shoulder. It dropped lightly. He said back, “What?”

  Tate turned around, a Cheshire Cat grin on her lips as Logan’s hand didn’t fall away. Instead of being on her back, as she turned to us, it slid around her hip to her stomach and stayed there. She was now almost in his arms.

  Heather was frowning at them, but I couldn’t hold it in. “Did I miss the announcement? Are you a happy couple now?” There was an edge in my voice, but I couldn’t hide it. Tate was bad news. She was slimy. She was sneaky. She hurt Logan. She’d do it again.

  “You can’t be jealous, Samantha,” she taunted me. “You’re happy with Mason, aren’t you? You can’t have both Kades.”

  I growled, “And you can’t hurt him again.”

  “Uh, guys …” Heather started.

  Logan shook his head. “Sam, relax.”

  “No—” I stopped him.

  Tate turned her gaze to Heather and a bitter look came over her. “What’s your problem, Heather? I didn’t know we were enemies. You don’t have to have her back all of the time.”

  That had me seething, but I glanced around and saw the crowd that was forming. The drill team snobs were mingling with the cheerleaders. Ethan and Strauss had front row seats, leaning against Logan’s locker, were grinning from ear to ear. I skimmed the edge of the crowd and saw Kate. She was expressionless, but her eyes narrowed when they met mine. A slight chill went through me. Whatever she was thinking, it wasn’t good. I caught Logan’s eye and gestured to her. The amusement on his face faded then, and he stepped towards me.

  Tate stopped in mid-sentence. “What are you doing?”

  Ignoring her, he took Heather’s arm and mine, pulling us through the crowd.

  “Logan!”

  “Your girlfriend is calling,” Heather told him.

  He grimaced. “Okay, that was a joke. I can’t believe you guys got so riled up.” He led us into the senior hallway and quieted his voice, leaning in closer to me, “I don’t have those feelings for Tate anymore. You don’t need to worry. I’d have to care about her to get hurt by her. Those feelings are long gone.”

  Heather put on the brakes. She went pale as a group broke away from the hall. “Oh, crap.”

  I recognized two of the girls. “Those are your friends, right?”

  “Let’s hope.” An apology flashed in her eyes as she started for them. “I gotta go. I’m sorry, Sam. Come to Manny’s tonight if I don’t see you at lunch?”

  I nodded as she hurried to catch up with them. When she did, the girl who was dressed all in black refused to look at her. The tiny one gave her a half-grin. It was more like a half-hearted attempt at a grin. It only came out as being sad. As the other one snapped at Heather before stalking away, the tiny one got up and followed. She didn’t say a word to Heather either. There were a few guys in their group, and th
e one with dark hair and a tattoo circling over his jaw slung his arm around Heather’s shoulders. He looked to be reassuring her, but she pushed him away and hurried after the two girls. He called after her, “Don’t sweat it, Jax.”

  “Who’s that?”

  “Uh,” Logan tilted his head to the side. “Max Monroe. I don’t know him that well. I think Mason might. He’s friendly with the Roussou peeps here so don’t get close to him.”

  “There are Roussou peeps here?”

  “A few.” Logan started to lead me further down the hallway towards Mason’s locker. “I think they’re cousins or have relatives over there. No worries, Little Kade. They’re not going to rise up and mutiny. There’s not enough of them here, and they’re not really liked by everyone else. Your throne is safe.”

  “Do you try to be annoying, Logan? Or is this post-coital bliss from whoever you went to see this morning?”

  He chuckled, throwing his arm around my shoulder again. “I’m not being annoying. I’m being charming and since when do you want to know who my post-coital bliss is from?”

 
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