The original crowd, p.8
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       The Original Crowd, p.8

         Part #0.5 of A Whole New Crowd series by Tijan
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  something to keep you away from me permanently,” I growled. I was beyond pissed now. “And I’m not your property. I have never been your property or anyone else’s. Got it?!”

  “That’s what this was about? You gave Jace the codes because I said you were my property?” Brian asked incredulously, straightening slightly.

  I didn’t respond, but glared frostily.

  “You’re so damn gorgeous when you’re furious.” He grinned, still in pain.

  Oh I hated him. I especially hated the melting that started in my heart at that grin. It always worked on me, always, and he knew it. The bastard.

  “I hate you,” I seethed, my hands balled into fists.

  And the bastard laughed. “No, you don’t, baby. You could never hate me because you’d be hating the one person that’s been there for you through everything. Thick and thin, Tar.”

  Fully straightening, he grabbed my hand and tugged me closer. I dug my feet in and ended up being dragged awkwardly across the space, my arms acting as a barrier since I had them crossed over my chest, as he tried to hug me. I was stiff in his embrace. I felt him nuzzle my ear, which made the melting intensify and spread.

  “You still love me, Tar, and no matter how much you push me away, I always know you’re pushing yourself just as much,” he whispered, kissing my ear. “You want this new life so much and you’re willing to cut us all out in order to do it, but it’s not going to work. I’m a part of you, you can’t push yourself away.”

  Hearing a few car doors slam, I looked up and saw Ben watching from a few feet away. I recognized the rest of Jace’s guys, one must’ve been new because I didn’t recognize him.

  Brian shouted across the street, “We’re good. You don’t need to come and protect little ‘Terry.’ You can report back to big brother that no cops need to be called.”

  “Taryn?” Ben questioned, intent.

  “Taryn?” Oh God, that was Mandy. Turning around my eyes widened in horror, seeing Mandy standing with the rest just outside the front door of my house. I saw Tray, Grant, and another guy slowly walk down the driveway.

  My house.

  Shoving Brian away, I said quietly, “Get out of here. Now.”

  “Tar?”

  “Get lost.”

  “You don’t mean that,” he soothed, self-assured.

  I snapped. It was the only thing that could explain the sudden change inside of me, but I’d had it being placated by him.

  I slapped him and then yelled, “I don’t mean that? I don’t mean that? I’m sick and goddamn tired of being told, by you, what I do and do not mean! I’m not a child whose parent’s know what’s best for her. I’m not anything to you, Brian! Not anymore. Not to you!”

  Brian frowned, and I saw his resolve set in.

  “You want to know why Jace looks out for me so much?” I was such a bitch. A cold, heartless bitch. So I said, “Because I fucked him on your birthday. Your birthday last year when I walked in on you and Liza. You couldn’t find me that night, because I was with your brother. And holy hell, did he make me scream that night.”

  “You’re lying,” Brian seethed, white around his mouth, his jaw firm. “You’d never do that. Jace would—”

  “We did,” I said smoothly, “And the next morning, we did it all over again.” Gesturing to Ben, I suggested, “Ask Ben. He was there. He saw me leave the next morning, hell—he probably heard us the whole night.”

  Brian looked over at Ben stiffly, not saying a word.

  Studying me, Ben nodded, tightly.

  It was enough because Brian started yelling, “You fucking bitch. You’re nothing but a slut. A whore who gets her rush stealing crap. How pathetic is that? I wasn’t only with Liza, baby, you want to know all the other girls I fucked—”

  I used my taser on him and it worked because he shut up and fell unconscious to the ground.

  Huh.

  I looked up as a shadow fell across the ground near us. Ben. “You can take him now,” I said coolly.

  Ben gestured to the rest and his guys swooped in and picked up Brian and carried him to his car. One of the guys, I think his name was Carl, got in the driver’s seat of Brian’s car.

  “He’ll leave you alone,” Ben spoke. “I’ll make sure of it, even if Jace doesn’t, and we both know Jace will now…now that…”

  “That I’ve told,” I murmured softly, hugging myself. “Thanks Ben.”

  “Hey,” he called out, turning back around. “Whatever he just said, the boy was infatuated with you. Those two times—they were only the two times. I’d have known otherwise, so I’m telling you…he only had those two fuck-ups. Don’t let that filth nag at you, alright, girl?”

  It was stupid, but it comforted me. Because it would’ve eaten at me, in the back of my mind, thinking about who else Brian had been with. As their two cars slid away, I glanced behind me and saw everyone was still there. Still watching. Some of the girls were gaping at me. Tray and the other two had lingered at the end of our driveway, just a few yards away from me.

  I met Tray’s gaze and let him see the plea in my eyes. I needed to get out of here.

  Nodding, he walked to his SUV and got inside while I ran around to the passenger door and climbed in. I huddled against the door as he looked at me once before starting the car and pulling down the street.

  Away from everyone.

  I closed my eyes and saw Brian’s face flash across my mind, screaming at me, hearing his words lash against me. Over and over again.

  I was barely keeping it together. Lifting my hands I saw a trickle of blood in my palms where my nails had dug through the skin. I hadn’t even noticed.

  A little while later, the car came to a stop and I looked up, seeing we were at Tray’s home.

  Following him inside, neither of us had yet to speak. I saw a little more of his palace as he led the way to the back, outside to the pool house. Apparently this was where he lived. Once we were inside, he shut the door, and nudged me into his little kitchen area.

  Without asking, he took out a bottle of tequila and poured us both a shot. I tipped my head back and downed it. Tray filled it again.

  It felt good. It burned my throat, but that’s what I wanted. I wanted anything to take my mind away from Brian.

  I set my glass down for a third shot and Tray filled it. He took out a beer for himself as he lounged against the counter, watching me.

  I was never one for talk, so I closed the distance between us and tilted my mouth to meet his.

  It was better than the tequila because a fire exploded inside of me. He answered my demand with his own. I felt his arms pick me up and place me on the counter, my legs automatically wrapped around him.

  Tray must’ve carried me to his bedroom because pretty soon we had tumbled on his bed. Tray moved his mouth to my neck, and had me groaning as I worked at his shirt to come off. Rearing up, he threw his shirt off and then met my eyes as his hands slid underneath mine and pulled it off, followed my bra, then his pants, then my pants. I was panting heavily when he slipped two fingers inside my thong and slid it down, slowly.

  Taking charge, I flipped him over and straddled him, kissing my way down his chest, lingering on his stomach, then moving further down before I took him in my mouth. I grinned when I heard his own groan.

  Before long, I found myself on my back again, Tray leaning over me, kissing my mouth, my neck, and worked his way down. I arched my back when his mouth found me and went to work.

  I frantically pulled him back up to meet my mouth and I entwined my legs around his hips.

  Panting, he pulled away and grabbed a condom from his nightstand. I took it from him and put it on, my eyes holding his the entire time. He paused and I grabbed him to bring his mouth down to mine. It was all he needed and he slid inside. He went deep with each thrust and I nearly screamed with the first one.

  *

  Neither of us had spoken one word. Not throughout the entire thing. Not before our first time, our second, or the thi
rd—much later. We’d spent the entire day in his bed, without saying one word.

  I loved it.

  After showering and a fourth round, we got dressed before we silently walked to his SUV and drove back to my house.

  I breathed easier seeing only a handful of cars still in the driveway. Turning my phone on, I hadn’t realized I’d turn it off, but six messages were waiting for me.

  I turned it back off.

  I caught a flash of amusement in Tray’s eyes.

  When he turned the engine off, both of us sat there for a moment.

  I couldn’t help it, but my eyes trailed to where I had stood with Brian a few hours earlier.

  “If he really loved you, selflessly, he’d have respected your wishes a long time ago.” It was the only thing Tray had said before we both unclasped our seat belts and walked up to the house. Inside we were met with hysterical shouting. Great…Mandy and Jasmine.

  “You’re a fucking tramp, you bitch!” That was Mandy, I could recognize her screech if I were deaf; the vibrations in the floorboards were a dead giveaway.

  “Oh please.” Jasmine huffed. “What do you expect from me? An apology? You’re never around and when you are it’s all cheerleading this, student council that, not to mention yearbook crap and your perfect little family with your perfect little GPA and your precious scholarship to Brown. No, you’re a great girlfriend. You’re a perfect girlfriend, except you don’t give a shit where your man is or how he feels.”

  There was shocked silence when Tray and I made our appearance. Devon was anxiously watching Mandy, Jasmine was staring indignantly with Amber in the corner by her brother, her eyes skirting between the two girls. Bryce and Carter were lounging on the couches looking amused.

  “I can’t believe you just said that!” Mandy yelled, leaping towards Jasmine.

  Devon moved to intercept her, but Carter beat him to it, leaping from the couch. Grabbing her shoulders, he held her back as Mandy tried to get around him. “Get off me!”

  “Mandy,” he urged soothingly.

  Alarmed, Jasmine had taken a step back. Devon stood in the middle, arms half raised between them, uncertain of what he should do.

  I saw Amber staring determinedly at us before she sneered, “Where have you two been?”

  Tray shot her an amused look. “We had business.”

  “What kind of business?”

  “None of yours,” Tray said firmly, settling against the wall near the door.

  “Mandy,” I spoke up, walking to her side, “go to your room.”

  “Taryn—”

  “Mandy,” I interrupted sharply, “go.”

  “Fine,” she cried out, shoving Carter aside as she swept out of the room.

  Turning on my heels, I faced Jasmine squarely. An icy calm had taken over me and all the rage I had from Brian, Jace, everything—all of it erupted inside of me as I saw a fitting target for my outlet.

  “You’re a pathetic, little, insecure, selfish, bitch with narcissistic tendencies. You have no empathy and no compassion in your bones. If you did, you wouldn’t be screwing your best friend’s boyfriend.” I was seething. Stepping closer, I hissed, “And if you had done it to me—trust me, you’d find yourself in a psych ward by the end of the month and you’d have no idea how and where exactly you got fucked along the ride.”

  “And who are—” she sputtered, taking another step back.

  “I’m not done,” I cut in ruthlessly. “You will stay away from Mandy. You will not speak to her, you will not speak about her, and you better be clear across the room every time you’re in the same vicinity. Because if I get wind of any rumors, any nasty little things your pathetic mind could think up, you’ll deal with me. You won’t deal with Mandy, I’ll be coming straight for you. And trust me, you don’t want to be my enemy. There’s a few bitches in lock-up who can attest to that.”

  Everyone was silent. Jasmine had grown pale, shrinking away.

  “Now get out,” I finished.

  Devon grabbed her arm and hauled her behind him, out the door.

  Amber slipped away after them, dragging Grant with her.

  Bryce, Carter, and Tray all remained behind.

  A moment of silence filled the air between us before I heard a deep laugh coming from Carter, who had thrown his head back. “Oh, I like you. I really like you.” Passing by, he thumped Tray on his chest and chuckled. “She’s a cold hearted bitch.”

  I took it at as a compliment. I heard him walk up the stairs and knock on Mandy’s door.

  Bryce stood up, stretching. “Evans, let’s go get a burger.”

  Tray, who’d been staring at me steadily, nodded before turning and following him out.

  *

  Mandy knocked on my door that night, around eleven-thirty, so I was pretty surprised when she told me I had a guest downstairs. Swinging my legs off the bed, I asked, “Who is it?”

  She shrugged. “I don’t know, but he’s hot. Like really, really hot.”

  Before she turned, I saw the shadows underneath her eyes. “You okay?”

  “Carter’s staying over,” she said, walking into her room and shutting the door.

  I frowned at her bedroom door a moment, seeing the light turn off from underneath the door.

  Walking down the stairs, I halted abruptly seeing Jace casually leaning in the doorway, looking like he owned the place.

  “Hey,” I said softly, crossing over to him, stopping a few feet away, uncertain.

  “Hey.” He attempted a grin, but it came out more a frown.

  “So…”

  “You told him, huh,” he stated.

  “Uh…” It wasn’t often when I was short for words, but Jace had effectively made me speechless. He’d had the effect on me for a long time, ever since Brian and I first became friends in the fourth grade. He’d already been famous in the eighth grade, he was the Lanser that everyone knew was either in detention or skipping school. He was the number one hated student by all faculty in middle school and high school. I’d always had a crush on him, but Jace was just too much, at least for me. He was too much for anyone, even the cops.

  “He’s on a rampage, Taryn.” He sighed, looking exhausted. He sighed, looking exhausted.

  “I should’ve called. I’m sorry.”

  “Ben called, but a little warning would’ve helped,” he said dryly.

  “It was the only…”

  “I know.” He sighed. “And the shit of it is that I don’t even know if this will do it. He’ll be back in a few months, doing all the same shit again. He’ll compartmentalize it somehow, make a way where you and me together doesn’t affect him, had nothing to do with him…I don’t know. He’ll be back.”

  “I’m sorry, Jace,” I said softly, meaning it.

  “He and I—that’s been broken for a long time. And we’re done, there’s no going back with us, but hell…there hasn’t been for a long while.”

  “You don’t know that…” I said half-heartedly, because we both knew it was true.

  “Come on, Tar, Bri’s hated me all my life. He grew up hating me. Our dad made sure of that.”

  “What happened tonight?”

  “Threw a few punches, that’s it really. Cam got in the middle, had to take her to the hospital.”

  “Oh God. Is she okay?”

  “She’ll be fine.” He shrugged. “More worked up about you and me. Heads up, by the way, she’s gunning for you.”

  It was ironic really. I had to watch my back because I was a cheating bitch while I was protecting Mandy from the same thing. I had to appreciate the irony, for a moment anyway.

  “I’ll handle her…”

  “I’ll smooth things over, she always comes back, but with you…she’s always wanted a reason to hate you. I can’t fix that.” He
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