The original crowd, p.6
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       The Original Crowd, p.6

         Part #0.5 of A Whole New Crowd series by Tijan
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  Tray seemed fine, no reaction showed as he looked in the rearview mirror. He pulled over.

  “What are you doing?” I cried. “He’s going to kill you.”

  Tray said calmly, “Get out of the car. We’ll be fine.”

  “Do you even know Gentley? He said he’s going to put you in the hospital.”

  With amusement in his voice, Tray replied, “No, he won’t. He wants to deal, that’s all. He was just getting a rise out of you.”

  Seeing that I had no intention of getting out of the car, he said again, “We’ll be fine.”

  Reluctantly climbing out, I saw Crispin walking towards us with his two friends, Brent and Hayden right behind him. They were infamous in Pedlam. Tray walked around to the back of his SUV and leaned back casually. I stood beside him fidgeting nervously. I felt Tray grab my arm and pull me against his side. “Relax,” he soothed, stroking my arm with his thumb.

  “Evans,” Gentley greeted icily. His eyes raked over my form. “Bitch.”

  Before I responded, Tray squeezed my arm and said, “Tsk, tsk, Gentley. You’re insulting one of mine. Not a good beginning for our partnership.”

  “What partnership? You took off before we could even strike a deal,” Crispin sneered, rumpling his Ralph Lauren polo as he hunched forward.

  “Lanser’s presence wasn’t foreseeable. It added complications,” Tray said smoothly.

  God, Tray was hot.

  What the hell was he talking about?

  “I don’t want her here. Why’d you bring her?”

  “Hey,” I said indignantly.

  “She’s one of them. She’ll go running to them.”

  “She’s one of mine,” Tray promised, a hard glint in his eyes. “So she stays.”

  “Whatever. This isn’t how I do business.”

  “This is how it’s going to have to be or we won’t deal.”

  Crispin stared long and hard at both of us. Jerking a hand out, he ordered Brent, “Give it to him.”

  “Dude.”

  “I said give it to him,” Crispin snapped, kicking some gravel away.

  Brent produced a brown bag and passed it to Tray, then backed away.

  “This is the last of it?” Tray asked, looking inside and passing it to me. I held it, slightly unnerved. I didn’t like surprises and whatever this deal was—was a surprise. I didn’t like it one bit. I really didn’t like it that Tray had done a business meeting with Jace, much less Crispin Gentley.

  I didn’t look inside, but I really, really wanted to.

  “She’ll probably swipe it. That’s what she does, you know. She steals shit for them. She can steal anything. Just ask her what she’s stolen for them.”

  I gritted my teeth and snapped, “I wasn’t lying about your daddy’s file.”

  “It was good doing business with you,” Tray said clearly, pulling me around the SUV to the door.

  “You can’t trust her, man. She’ll go running to Lanser. You don’t know the two of them. They’re like freaking Bonnie and Clyde.”

  “I heard your first warning,” Tray said, a warning note in his voice. Opening my door, he ordered me to get in.

  Walking back around, Tray got in on the driver’s side, started the car and moved back onto the highway.

  I waited a whole minute before saying anything. Then I shrieked, “What kind of business deals are you doing with Gentley? And how exactly do you know Jace? What is it? Something illegal?”

  Tray skimmed my figure, seeing the barely contained rage, and said lightly, “It’s not as bad as robbing banks.”

  “What is it…steroids?

  “How the hell—?” Tray gazed at me in surprise. “How did you know?”

  “If it were drugs, you’d know Jace a lot more than the little bit he could remember you and it’s the only thing I could think Crispin dealing.”

  “You’re a nightmare, you know,” he suddenly growled. “You’re in deep with both of the Lansers. You got guys like Gentley avidly hating you. And…you got me driving around and waiting like a good little lapdog for you while you’re off doing God knows what.”

  I sat back in my seat, arms crossed. “I wasn’t doing anything illegal. Well, I was, but it isn’t anything that’s going to get reported, trust me.”

  Tray snorted in disbelief. “The way you walk is illegal.”

  “It is not. Shut up.”

  “Just…be quiet,” he shot back.

  I sat back, mystified. I couldn’t stop a smile from growing. I hadn’t this much fun since…since I’d broken into a car dealership with Brian. That had been fun.

  As my phone rang again, I sighed. “For the love—” I mumbled, but seeing Mandy’s name I quickly answered, “Hey.”

  “Devon and I broke up,” she said rushed. “I was right. He’s been sleeping with Jasmine. Jasmine of all people! God, and the way she acted tonight, like she didn’t even know who he was. I caught ‘em in one of the bedrooms. I hate that bitch!”

  “Mandy, I’m so sorry.” I could sympathize. After I caught Brian cheating on me—twice—I could’ve murdered both of them.

  “Oh my God…I hate her, I hate her so damn much. What am I going to do? It’s going to be all over school!”

  “Fuck school. You don’t let her get away with this,” I bit out. I was feeling for my sister here.

  “I know, but what can I do? I’ll get caught whatever I do and then I’ll probably get suspended. I can’t do that, Mom and Dad would be furious with me. Not to mention, I might lose my scholarship to Brown next year.”

  “Mandy,” I said sharply, “are you forgetting your resident criminal newly adopted sister, here?”

  “I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble. That’d be much worse than me, they might send you back to juvie or something…”

  “Meet me at Tray’s, we’re almost there.”

  “You’re still with Tray?”

  “Yeah.”

  “I hate Devon. I absolutely hate Devon. I’m going to…I’m going to key his car, that’s what I’m going to do.”

  “I’m hating him for you and keying his car is juvenile. Trust me, there are much classier ways to get back on a cheating bastard. I’ve perfected ways to get back on cheating bastards.”

  “Brian cheated on you?”

  “Twice, but my revenge was so good I actually got paid to help other girls when their boyfriends cheated,” I said smugly.

  I ceased caring that Tray was still in the car. He was a bastard just like everyone else.

  Noticing the SUV had turned into his driveway, I murmured, “Okay, we’re here.”

  “I’ll be there in a little bit. Thanks, sis. Love you.”

  I was shocked. Mandy was my sister. I knew this, but the words seemed different just then. They weren’t forced, it wasn’t just a phrase. There was meaning behind them.

  “Hey,” Tray interrupted my haze.

  “What?”

  “We’re here. You coming in or waiting for your man-hating sister out here? Or is an hour in my house with another—man—going to dissolve your bond,” he teased.

  I gasped. “You have humor. You actually know what comedy is. I never would have guessed.”

  “Fuck off,” he growled before slamming the door, but not before I caught the small grin that flitted across his features.

  The place was eerily vacant compared to the mob that had been in his home earlier. Following Tray as he strolled lazily inside, I shivered a little from the breeze that wafted through the rooms.

  “Want a drink?” he asked, opening the fridge and rummaging inside.

  “You have beer?”

  “Is that meant to be an insult?” He smirked, pulling out a bottle and sliding it towards me over the counter.

  I didn’t reply, but tipped my head back and took a long drink.

  Leaning against the counter, his arms crossed over his chest, he regarded me. “So Devon and Jasmine, huh?”

  I narrowed my eyes. The bastard knew.

  “You
knew,” I stated.

  He shrugged, crossing the room towards me. Grabbing my beer, he took a drink. “Yeah.”

  “And said nothing,” I condemned.

  He merely smirked, rounding the counter to come up beside me. Setting the beer in front of me, he kept both his arms on either side of me, effectively trapping me in place. Nudging the barstool I sat on with his knee, he twirled me around until I was facing him; he was so close I could feel his breath on my face.

  “I’m not a narc,” he replied, studying me.

  I hated that word. I really did. I hated narcs. The thing was, I understood him. There had been a few times I’d known some of my friends had cheated on their boyfriends or girlfriends. I’d said something only once, and immediately hated my decision when the girl flew into a hysterical rage. She’d turned on me since I was the one there. Kill the messenger and all that shit. Ever since then, I’d stayed away from all that drama. I had enough drama in my own life.

  “How long has it been going on?”

  “What? Dev and Jaz?”

  “How long?”

  “Uh huh. Nope,” Tray said, pulling away. “That answer will not help Mandy at all.”

  “She said seven months…was it seven months?” I persisted, grabbing his arm as he straightened.

  Glancing at my hand, he lifted his eyes to my face. “No, I’m not telling you.”

  I pulled him closer. “How long?”

  “Why are you pushing this?”

  “Because Mandy’s my sister and because the girl has to know how long it’s gone on for. Don’t ask me why, but we just have to know. Besides, I’m getting the PRS-500 for you, it’s the least you can do.”

  “Fuck that. No. That’s for Mandy to ask Dev, not you to ask me,” he said firmly.

  I needed a new tactic, so I pulled him closer and slid a leg around his and twined it around his waist, bringing him into full contact against me. I could feel him through my clothes and I slid one hand up his chest to curl around his neck. He had both arms around me, one tilted my neck back and the other was on my butt, grinding me against him, our mouths inches apart.

  “I want to know how long,” I breathed against him, my lips grazing his as I spoke.

  “And my response is, fuck you.”

  His hand left my neck to grasp my other leg and twine it around his waist, both legs now wrapped around him. I fell against the counter slightly as he arched me against him. I gasped from feeling him and the heat that seared through my body. He slid his hand to the front of my pants and moved underneath my shirt. I panted silently as his fingers caressed me, moving upwards to softly flick against one of my nipples.

  “I’m going to get you off,” I said silkily, seeing his eyes darken at my words and his body’s response. “And you’re going to tell me what I want.”

  “And my response will be the same, I want to fuck you,” he promised, his intent glittering in his amber eyes as he slammed his mouth against mine. It wasn’t exactly rough, but it was fiery.

  I tilted my head back and opened my mouth, feeling his tongue sweep inside where it met with mine. As I felt him lift me from the barstool and plant me higher on the counter, I heard a soft moan and realized it had come from me. One of his hands was keeping my leg firmly wrapped around him as the other was exploring underneath my shirt, moving to the other breast. I slid one of my hands underneath his shirt and explored him in return, the other was wrapped firmly around his taut shoulders.

  And then he ripped himself away from me, both of us breathing hard.

  “What—” I murmured, dazed.

  Tray ran a hand through his hair. “Fuck.”

  Then I saw the headlights through the window. Mandy or someone had arrived.

  I don’t think I even cared if they had seen us or not.

  “Bathroom,” I choked out.

  Jerking his head, he clipped out, “Second door on your right.”

  *

  After I’d composed myself, I emerged from the bathroom and could hear Mandy’s shrill voice yelling. Rounding the corner, I saw Tray leaning against the counter again, his eyes unreadable as he watched the scene before him. Mandy, eyes wild, hands gesturing in the air, was ranting about Devon and Jasmine. Seeing Grant lounging in the doorway, I figured he was her sober-cab since it was obvious Mandy was very drunk. Her speech was slurring, but everyone could make out exactly who she was damning to hell, the cheating bastard.

  Spotting me, she exclaimed, “I know now, Taryn! I know now. God, I want to kill that bastard. I thought she was a friend, but Jasmine’s nothing more than a back-stabbing bitch slut.”

  I was at a loss. Mandy was beyond control right now. Tray and Grant both looked detached, as if this were a common occurrence, one they’d grown immune to. And maybe it was.

  “Huh,” I faltered, shaking my head, “so you walked in on them?”

  That was the wrong thing to say because Mandy launched into a screech, painting a vivid picture of what she saw when she caught them: what clothes were missing, what position they were in, and the grunting noises they were making.

  “Okay,” I said quickly, “that’s good, I get the picture.”

  Mandy let out a sob, you could hear the catch in her throat when she said, “It’s been going on for a year.”

  I met Tray’s eyes, he was bemused, remembering my promise.

  “That slut has been going behind my back for a year. It started last year at homecoming. At Bryce’s party. I was in New York with student council so I missed it and I guess Devon got lonely,” she said bitterly, hiccupping on a sob. “I fucking hate them!”

  I moved beside her, but stayed a few feet away.

  “Oh my God, Taryn!” she wailed. “What am I going to do? Everyone’s going to know. And…I’m…I loved him. He was my first, you know…how could she do this to me? What am I thinking, of course she would’ve. Jasmine’s screwed every guy in our grade. They all just run to her, the only guy who’s sent her packing was Tray,” she scoffed, gesturing carelessly in Tray’s direction. “Guess she had to move onto a new target. Bryce wasn’t enough for her.”

  “You get even,” I said coldly, “and you keep your head high at school. Fuck whoever knows or talks about it.”

  “I don’t know if I can,” she sniffed, her eyes glued to mine, “I’m…I’m not like you.”

  “That’s bullshit,” I said firmly, not blinking. “You just haven’t gone through what I have.”

  “Yeah, but—”

  “No, Mandy. First thing first though,” I glanced to Grant, “can you give us a ride home? Devon was our ride here.”

  “Yeah, sure,” he said in surprise.

  “I want to get even. Tonight,” Mandy cried. “I want to—”.

  “Mandy,” I interrupted, “you need a shower. You need to calm down—slightly—and then we’ll figure out what we’re going to do.”

  She stared at me, seemingly enraptured by whatever she saw in my eyes, before she nodded slowly. “Okay.” She sniffed, moving to follow Grant as he was already walking outside.

  As I moved to follow, Tray pulled me back and asked quietly, “What are you planning?”

  “Why?” I shot back. “You want to get involved?”

  “No, but Devon’s a good guy even though he cheated on her. He doesn’t deserve whatever you might be dishing out.”

  “That is just like you to say he’s still a good guy. He’s a cheater. He’ll always be a cheater.”

  “Look, just don’t…paralyze the guy or something. He’s our best
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