Fallen crest public, p.7
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       Fallen Crest Public, p.7

         Part #3 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan
 

  “I don’t. As long as it’s not Tate, I don’t care.”

  He squeezed me tight, laughing as we pushed through another crowd. Mason’s locker was in the back corner. It was broken off from the main wall with four others besides his. Spotting Nate and some of their guy friends, the other locker owners weren’t a big leap. When Mason saw us coming, he straightened up from the wall. Nate glanced over, but he wasn’t as welcoming. Shutting his locker, he took off.

  “Unlike you, I’m guessing he’s not interested in my post-coital bliss either.”

  “Logan.”

  “What?” He flashed me a grin, rubbing where I’d hit him. Then he said to Mason, “Nate’s still not over our family meeting?”

  “Would you if we kicked you out of your own basement?” Mason grimaced as he eyed Logan’s arm that was still around my shoulder. “Do you always have to touch my girlfriend?”

  “What?” Logan laughed and pulled me tighter against him. He rubbed his hand up and down my arm. “I thought you’d be happy that it’s not Tate I’m touching. Sam just saved me from her clutches, you know.”

  “Your ex is causing more trouble?”

  Logan’s grin fell flat “I was joking about Tate.” His arm fell away and he moved back a step. “You both can let up on Tate. She’s not going to be a problem.”

  “Logan.”

  He gave me a little wave as he headed off.

  “Let him go.” Mason opened his locker and grabbed one of his books. Then he skimmed me up and down. “You headed to school early this morning.”

  “I went running.”

  He frowned. “When you run that early in the morning that means something’s up. What’s up?”

  I leaned against Nate’s locker. Even standing in the back corner, I could feel everyone’s attention on us. I still wasn’t used to it. “You guys are like gods here.”

  He grinned. “That’s a new deflection.”

  “No.” I shook my head. “It’s not meant to be. I just …” I gestured to the hallway. There were students everywhere and most of them kept glancing at us. A couple girls in the far corner huddled together. When they noticed my attention, their heads ducked down and they skirted into another hallway. The last one peeked back. Her entire face was flaming red, even to the back of her neck.

  “Sam?”

  “It’s nothing.”

  But it wasn’t nothing.

  “Hey.” His tone softened and it did what it always did. It reached inside of me, loosened the knot that had formed in my throat, and pulled me towards him. I had to grin. Mason Kade would always hold this power over me, and as he tugged me against him, all my anxiety and concerns were pushed away. “What’s going on with you?”

  “Nothing.” I corrected, “Nothing that’s important. What do you think about Tate and Logan?”

  “You mean,” he raised an eyebrow, “besides what he just said? We’re supposed to let up on her?”

  “She draped herself all over him and he seemed to like it.”

  “Oh.”

  Nothing. No reaction. Just an ‘oh.’ Tilting my head to the side, I studied him and narrowed my eyes. “Oh? That’s it?”

  He flashed a grin before pressing a kiss to my forehead. “I’m not worried about Tate anymore. Not that much anymore.”

  Bombs exploded. The apocalypse had arrived. I could only stare in shock as he leaned back against the wall and pulled me between his legs. Looping his arms around my back, I was firmly enveloped in his arms, but I couldn’t enjoy it. My stomach had started on a loop, rolling over and over again.

  He sighed, watching me. “What?”

  “Come again?”

  “I’m not that worried about her.”

  “And when did this happen?”

  His eyes narrowed, just a fraction, before he caught his reaction. Then it went back to the normal mask he wore in public. I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. It’d been a long time since he used that mask on me and anger started churning inside me. “I think my boyfriend left his body and someone took over. Who are you and what did you do with Mason?”

  “You’re being funny now?” he shot back, straightening away from the wall.

  His arms fell and I stepped back. There was always a chill when I left his shelter, but not this time. I was growing heated as the conversation continued. “I’m sorry. Was that role taken? Only Logan can have his one-liners? Remind me of my role. I wasn’t aware that I could never question my boyfriend.”

  “Sam, come on.”

  “No, you come on.” My voice rose.

  He glanced around and reached for my arm. “People are listening.”

  “I don’t care.” I stepped further back and his arm fell back to his side. “I want to know when you suddenly decided Tate wasn’t something to be worried about.”

  “It’s not like that. I just …” He shook his head. “Can we talk about this later?”

  “I want to know what’s happened. I know there’s a reason why you’ve decided to let Tate off the hook.”

  “She does go to school here—”

  My voice lifted again. “Not helping.”

  His shoulders dropped.

  I added, “Before we were even together, you hated Tate. You went to parties just to humiliate her. You whispered some mojo to her the first day of school, and I don’t think that it was pleasant, and now four days later you don’t care? Logan likes her; I can tell. She’s going to hurt him again. No one worries you and she worried you. That made me worried too.” My chest grew tight and I knew I must’ve started to look enraged. Mason wasn’t even fighting back. “You better tell me what’s going on and do it now.”

  My heart was pounding. I delivered one of my best mini-rants and I stood there, waiting for his response.

  My answer?

  He shrugged. “I don’t know what to say to you. I just don’t think he loves her anymore, so I’m not that worried.” Then he pushed off from the wall and left.

  That—what the hell just happened?

  Walking away from Sam cost me. I was lying to her. She asked me a question, point-blank, and I dodged it, point-blank. She wasn’t an idiot, but I couldn’t tell her the real reason. Logan said he wanted to play with Tate, fool around with her, use her. So whatever. I wouldn’t run interference anymore. It wasn’t the best idea. I knew that much, but this was what Logan wanted and a part of me couldn’t fault my little brother. She dated him for two years. She’d been the only girl he had fallen in love with, and she hit his older brother up. The need for revenge was too sweet for Logan to walk away from, but Sam wouldn’t agree. She wouldn’t understand. Sam protected. She loved. She wasn’t a vengeance girl.

  She was good. Logan and I were not.

  Dodging around a group of girls, I headed down the hallway and ignored the two that stuck their hands out. One got a good grope of my stomach and the other tried to hold me back. Her fingers curled into my arm, but I twisted it free, knocking her back into her friends at the same time. As I kept going, one cried out from annoyance and I turned around.

  They thought they could grab me, there were things called boundaries. “Try it again and I’ll make your life hell.”

  Their eyes got wide and their heads shot straight up, but the one who tried to hold me back only rolled her eyes. I could tell she was the leader. Skimming over them, I figured they were freshmen—they would be the next Kate and crew—they were tough, popular, and already oozing sex.

  “Mase!” Nate called, waving me down.

  He was standing at Strauss’ locker. The two were lounging back and watching the girls. A group of cheerleaders were next to them. I wasn’t surprised. The exile had been broadcasted loud and clear. Kate and her friends weren’t on friendly terms with us anymore so there was a vacancy at the top. There was always attention from girls, but it was different since the exile. The girls had become more aggressive with the guys, and more competitive with each other. My eyes fell to the left of Strauss and saw some of the drill
team. Two had seductive grins on their faces while their friends were glaring at the cheerleaders.

  That was one benefit when Kate reigned. She kept the hierarchy in order.

  “Hey.” I nodded to Nate and punched Strauss in the shoulder. I pulled it back at the last second so it turned into a friendly nudge.

  Strauss gave me a halfhearted grin, his gaze lingering on an ass that walked past us.

  “How’d that family pow-wow go? Did you guys get everything straightened out?”

  Shit.

  Strauss glanced at Nate as well. His hostility hadn’t been kept in check, but Strauss didn’t comment on it.

  “It wasn’t like that, Nate.”

  “Figured I should jet, just in case it was. I wouldn’t want it to be awkward.” He fixed me with a pointed look.

  I lifted a hand and raked it through my hair. This wasn’t a scene I wanted to happen here.

  “Logan!”

  Turning, I saw Logan had a girl pinned up against a locker. He was grinning right in her face, and her cheeks were flushed. She lit up, smiling widely, and took a deep breath. It lifted her breasts, and Logan fixed his gaze on those. He didn’t look away, and the girl squirmed again. “Logan, stop.”

  Strauss grunted.

  The girl didn’t want him to stop. She was giggling, pressing against him, and pushing her breasts out even further.

  “Mr. Kade,” a loud voice boomed from the end of the hallway.

  Logan stepped back, dropping the girl at the same time. She squealed again, this time not from enjoyment.

  “Both Mr. Kades are here. Two for one deal. Lucky me,” the voice said again with the same gusto. A hand came down hard on my shoulder at the same time.

  Logan glanced up, meeting my gaze with a dark look before we moved as one. I turned around, dislodging the hand as Logan took a few steps to stand beside me.

  I spoke first, “Principal Green.”

  Dressed in a grey suit, green tie, and standing over six feet, he was at eye-level with me. The older man, in his early forties with graying hair, lifted his lip. It was an imitation of a smile, but it didn’t match the resignation in his eyes.

  Logan snorted.

  The principal inclined his head. “Something funny, Mr. Kade?”

  He rolled his shoulders back, a cocky smirk coming over him. “Nah, Principal Green, except you look ready to drop on your feet. Busy night with the missus?”

  Disapproval replaced the resignation. “I am here to give you both a warning.”

  “A warning?” Logan locked gazes with me again. “We haven’t done anything.”

  “Yet,” someone coughed from behind them.

  Nate, Strauss, and some of the others laughed at the comment. A girl added in a groan, “They can do anything to me that they want.” Her friends giggled and began whispering together. Someone snapped at them, “Shut it. Stop being so annoying.”

  Kate.

  The girls fell silent.

  Principal Green surveyed the crowd in the hallway, shaking his head at the same time. “How is it that you two command so much attention in this school? I’ve never met another person, much less a pair of brothers that can compete with the level of power you hold over my student population.”

  Logan shrugged. “We’re cool, an inspiration to others.”

  A smattering of laughter started again.

  Principal Green drawled, “I highly doubt that.”

  “It’s true. We’re like a walking Hallmark card, full of quotes and bible verses. We make people feel like they’ve been touched by an angel.”

  “Oh, shit,” someone laughed.

  Another commented, “He makes people feel touched all right.”

  A third snorted, “And not from anything angelic.”

  I cleared my throat and everyone shut up. “What’d you come here to say?”

  “I got an interesting phone call from our local police.”

  I glanced at Logan. What the fuck? Then I narrowed my eyes at the principal again.

  “They’re screwed,” a guy laughed.

  Principal Green twisted around. “Don’t you people have classes to go to?”

  A few left. Most stayed.

  He sighed. “I’d rather not have this conversation with an audience. Mason. Logan. Both of you come to my office?”

  It was asked as a request. It wasn’t. We followed him to his office. As we were about to turn right into the main office, Sam was coming from the left. Both of us saw her and she stopped mid-stride. The arm that held her books fell to her side and her mouth opened. A questioning look came into her depths, but I also saw the hurt still there. My jaw clenched and I turned away.

  Logan wolf-whistled at her.

  She didn’t reply. I felt her gaze burning into the back of my skull. My shoulders tensed and I gripped the handle on the office door harder than necessary. I knew Logan caught the exchange and I knew my little brother wouldn’t understand.

  Fine. He could explain it to her himself. Then Logan would understand.

  As we took the two seats across from Principal Green’s desk, Logan bumped his knee against mine.

  I ignored him.

  He hissed, “What was that?”

  “Nothing.”

  “Mase,” Logan hissed again.

  “Okay, boys,” Principal Green started.

  I ignored him too. “Remember the thing you talked to me about last night?”

  “Oh.” Logan fell back against his chair. He let out a long breath. “She knows.”

  “She picked up on it. You can tell her.”

  “What? No way—”

  “Gentlemen,” their principal clapped his hands together and leaned over his desk, “am I interrupting a little spat between the two of you?”

  Logan rolled his eyes and slumped down his chair. I leaned forward. Principal Green had never done anything to screw us over, but he was an adult. It was bound to happen. “What do you want? We haven’t done a thing so the police stuff has nothing to do with us.”

  Principal Green smiled to himself, leaning back in his chair. “Always down to business, Mason. I do appreciate that. Like I said before, I received a phone call. I was going to mention it to you at some point, but when I saw both of you in the hallway, I figured I should get it over with.” His top lip lifted in an attempt at a smile.

  “Congratulations, Principal Green.” Logan rolled his eyes. “But here’s a tip. Don’t give your number out to hookers. They can’t call for bail the next day.”

  “I was called by the police station this morning.”

  “You know a hooker that got arrested?”

  “Logan Kade.”

  “Or don’t even use hookers. If you get a mistress on the side, buy a pre-paid phone. Make sure to use cash. The wife can’t catch you and your lady friend can call you all she wants.”

  “Mr. Kade, you should leave before I put you in detention.”

  He ignored him. “Don’t go on Facebook either. I wouldn’t even have an account if you become a pro cheater.”

  “Leave or I’ll give you detention. I am not in the mood.”

 
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