Fallen crest alternative.., p.9
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       Fallen Crest Alternative Version, p.9
 

         Part #2.1 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan  

  He groaned as he checked the clock. “Six thirty or so.” He nuzzled underneath my jaw and chuckled. His breath teased my skin. “Guess we know what time Garrett got home, huh?”

  I could’ve smacked my forehead. “I forgot to text him and tell him where I was going to be tonight.”

  Mason cursed. “Forget him.”

  I slid my fingers through his hair and tugged his head up. His eyes sparkled from the moonlight as he grinned down at me. “What else did James say?”

  A dark look flared for a moment. Then he replaced it with annoyance and collapsed next to me. “Your mom wants a family meeting.”

  My heart stopped. “When?”

  He cursed again. “I have no idea. We have to finish that tournament today so it’s not today. I know that much.”

  “Where?”

  “The tournament?”

  I swatted his chest. “The family meeting.”

  Mason looked over. “Are you serious? Don’t you usually avoid things?”

  I shrugged in the bed. “Maybe I’m proactive now?”

  He rolled his eyes but reached for me. I was lifted in the air and placed on top of him. My eyes sparked as I straddled him with my hands on his chest. He caught them and rolled again. I was on my back. This time, he straddled me and my hands were held captive above my head.

  “You’re proactive now?” he asked as he bent low and started to lick underneath my jaw.

  I gasped and squirmed when he moved lower. “Don’t you have a tournament today?”

  He gave me a look filled with promise and tucked two hands on the inside of my underwear. As he whisked them off and scooted even lower, I sucked in my breath, feeling his lips linger at the apex between my legs and his tongue swirl between them.

  I forgot all about the tournament.

  *

  When I rolled over, the bed was empty beside me. The clock said it was past eleven, and I felt bone tired. Mason left a note on his desk with a set of keys beside it. The tournament was still in Roussou, and they would be back late. After I showered and changed in my room, I grabbed Adam’s keys and headed downstairs. When I passed the kitchen, Mousteff stuck his hand out. A steaming cup of coffee drew me closer. It smelled of heaven and French vanilla. I grabbed the to-go cup with a smile of thanks. He grunted to the kitchen, and I heard a chopping sound soon after.

  Like old times.

  Once I found Adam’s car in the spacious garage, between James’ BMW and his Mercedes Benz, I called Adam to see where he wanted me to drive his car. He told me not to bother.

  “I’m at Mark’s right now. I can run over in an hour.”

  “Is that Sam? Tell her to come over,” Malinda hollered in the background.

  Before he could relay the message, I chuckled. “On my way.”

  It wasn’t long before I parked his car on the street and rang their doorbell. Malinda threw it open a second later. She wore a long blue silk robe with her hair up in matching curlers. A smile stretched from ear to ear as she held a phone to one of them.

  She waved me in. “Come in, come in.” Then she turned away. “Oh, not you. David’s daughter was at the door…”

  As she went to the kitchen, I went to the dining room and stopped short at the sight before me. Mark and Adam were hunched over in their seats. Each wore gym pants and sweat shirts with messily rumpled hair. Their eyes looked soft around the edges, and I wondered if they’d just woken up. Adam ran a hand through his blonde hair, his eyes sparkling. “Hey, Sam.”

  Mark grunted as he dug his fork into a pile of pancakes in front of him. “Hi, Samhow’sitgoing?” He shoveled two thirds of a pancake into his mouth as he reached for more syrup.

  “Hey, guys…” I was amazed. There was no other word as I took in the buffet before them.

  There was a dish piled high with pancakes next to one with French toast. A bowl of sausage was at the other end of the table beside a bowl of bacon. In the middle were three different flavors of syrup, butter, whip cream, strawberries, blueberries, chocolate chips…my eyes couldn’t take it all in. My stomach rumbled in protest when I caught a whiff of a fresh batch of—I turned around and my mouth fell open—omelets.

  Malinda walked past and placed a dish with omelets piled high. Hard boiled eggs were added to it, along with a separate bowl with scrambled eggs.

  “Here, honey.”

  I turned in time as Malinda shoved a cup in my hand. She filled it with coffee and then dumped creamer and sugar afterwards. A small spoon was plopped into it, and she blasted me with a smile. “Sit, honey. Sit.” She nudged me to the table.

  Adam chuckled as I sat across from him, wide eyed. He ran a hand over his face. “Yeah, I couldn’t believe it at first either. My mom doesn’t cook and she exists on egg whites, coffee, and energy drinks. She claims they’re healthy drinks, but its crap.” He gestured to Malinda, who was popping bread into a toaster. “She’s not at all like Mark’s mom.”

  “It’s Malinda.” She pretended to shoot him a glare but turned back to the phone with a charming purr.

  Mark elbowed him. “You gotta try some of these omelets. My mom makes them with feta cheese. Mmmm. Ilothemessomuch.”

  I frowned at him.

  Malinda piped in, “Don’t talk with your mouth full, honey.”

  He lifted his fork in an apology.

  She went back to her phone call.

  “Who is she talking to?”

  Mark shrugged.

  “Samantha, drink your coffee. Your father told me it’s the only sustenance you get sometimes.”

  I bit my lip as I felt a little guilty. I had inhaled the coffee Mousteff handed me. Hers couldn’t compare to his, but he was a chef. I drank hers anyway, and some of the rumbling went away.

  “How was the rest of the night?” Adam’s eyes were intense as he studied me.

  I looked away. “It was fine.”

  Mark’s stopped stuffing his face. His fork went down to the table.

  “So they weren’t mad about Cass?”

  My cheeks flushed, and I fought the urge to twiddle my thumbs.

  “Sam.” Mark was quiet. “What’d they say?”

  I swallowed over a knot in my throat and looked up. “No parties with you guys.”

  “With us?” Mark waved between him and Adam with his fork. “Or…”

  “With anyone who goes to Academy.” It went without saying that I was excluded from that group.

  “Are you serious?” Adam’s face fell.

  Mark cursed and leaned back. The pancakes had lost their appeal. “Cass is going to be tortured at school. Public parties, man, everyone lives to go to those.”

  I twiddled my thumbs now.

  Adam asked, quietly, “You can’t talk to Mason?”

  I shook my head. “I was attacked. He wasn’t there.”

  “You were going to be verbally attacked by his friends before her.” Adam leaned forward.

  My shoulder lifted and dropped. “I don’t know what you want me to say.”

  “You slapped Cass. Remember? At the Alumni festival.”

  “It’s not the same.”

  “Are you kidding me? It’s all girl catfight crap. Of course it’s the same,” Adam cried out as he pushed back his chair. “This blows.”

  Mark threw him a crooked grin. “Guess you’re going to have to get laid by the Academy gene pool.”

  “Shut up.”

  Mark shrugged. His fork reached for some strawberries.

  “You haven’t even asked about Becky—”

  I frowned. “How is Becky?”

  He stopped short. “She’s fine.”

  I nodded. “Good.”

  Then he bit out, “She was worried about you. We kept hearing about you, how you got hit, how you shouldn’t have, how Cassandra was going to hell. Blah, blah, blah. We heard it all.”

  Mark grinned with a mouthful of fruit and nodded his head.

  “Okay.” Malinda’s voice was bright and cheery. The phone was put away, and she d
ropped into a chair beside me. “What have I missed? What happened last night?”

  Adam looked at me.

  I looked at him.

  We both fell silent.

  Mark gestured between us with his fork. “Those two are mad at each other, but I don’t know why.” He swallowed his fruit with a gulp and speared an omelet with his fork. “After dinner last night, Sam shoved Cass into our bushes. She got mad. She came to the party we were at and slapped Sam. Then her boyfriend got mad and now all of us can’t go to Public parties.” He gave Malinda a mouthful grin. “And that sucks because those parties are awesome. They talked about Becky. I have no idea why.”

  She turned to us. Her eyes were bright.

  I sucked in my breath.

  Mark mumbled around some French toast, “And I didn’t sleep with Amelia last night, mom. I wanted you to know that.”

  She melted. “I know, honey. That means so much.”

  I blinked in surprise and blurted out my first thought, “Did my dad sleep here last night?”

  She froze and then melted again. She patted her chest with a hand. “Oh, Samantha. I would love it if David would spend the night. The good Lord knows that I’ve been trying, and it’s not in vain of His name. I love David. David should be here. I have made my vows in my heart.”

  Adam spit out his food and started choking.

  Malinda frowned. “I love David very much, Samantha. Someday I would be delighted if you’d live with us as well.”

  Mark choked this time.

  I frowned at her. “Have you met Mason? I don’t come alone anymore.”

  Her smile slipped a bit. “I’ve met Logan, and I thought he was a delightful young man.”

  “He’s an ass if he doesn’t like you,” Mark pointed out.

  Adam nodded. A dark look came over him.

  Malinda touched my hand and leaned forward. “I’ll admit; I’ve always been a bit intrigued by those two Kade boys. They’re so handsome and athletic. Bit of bad boys, aren’t they?”

  Mark groaned. His forehead dropped on the table with a thump. “Mom, could you be more embarrassing right now?”

  She straightened. “I could. You really want me to be?” Her voice came out razor sharp, and her son lifted his head, gave her a sheepish look, and reached for a piece of sausage.

  He mumbled as he popped it in his mouth, “I love you, mom.”

  She melted again and beamed. “Oh, honey. I do love you so much.”

  And then there was a knock at the door. Malinda went to answer, but I heard a deep masculine voice as soon as she opened the door. My stomach twisted into knots and my heart picked up its pace.

  “You okay?”

  I stood from the table and walked to the foyer. There he was. Garrett stood above Malinda and he flashed a charming smile to her. His teeth were white and perfect. He had angular cheekbones with a dash of grey in his dark hair. He had broad shoulders, a slender waist, and I knew his type.

  He was the usual dreamboat to mid forty year old women and I saw him working his magic. Malinda touched his arm. I expected to hear a purr, but when I didn’t, I drew up short and blinked back to focus. Her eyes were twinkling, but there was no real flirtation in her voice.

  Oh right. Garrett seemed the opposite of David, who was her real dreamboat.

  When he saw me, I could tell that he was surprised by how his sex appeal seemed to bounce off of Mark’s mother.

  “Sam.” He gestured for me to come closer.

  She touched his arm again and glided away. When she passed me by, she murmured as she touched my arm, “I’ll let you two have some privacy.”

  As soon as she rounded the corner, Garrett came inside and shut the door behind him. His eyes raked me over before glancing back towards his house. “I saw you come in here. When you didn’t come out after a while, I figured…” His tone was cautious, but I sensed the disapproval from him.

  “You’re mad because I didn’t come home last night?”

  A deep breath left him in a rush. “I’m mad because when I came home, your room was empty. There was nothing. No note. No phone call. No text message. Nothing. What if something had happened to you?”

  A knot tightened in my gut, but another unraveled at the same time. It put me off balance. “I…I’m sorry. I didn’t—I forgot. I didn’t think about you or that… My mom hasn’t really cared and since we moved out, my dad’s been… Well, you know.”

  He jerked his head in a nod and cleared his throat. “I know. I do. Helen pointed that out to me—”

  My head went down. “You were with Helen?”

  He sucked in his breath. “I…was… We had a date night, but… I called her when I saw you hadn’t gone home last night.”

  “And she told you to call Analise?”

  “No.” His voice was strained. “She was going to call Mason. I told her not to and that’s when I called Analise.”

  I nodded. “And James came down to the room.”

  “Yeah…” He pulled the collar of his shirt away from his neck and glanced around. Then he cursed under his breath and his shoulders dropped an inch. “Look, Sam, I know your mom wants to have this family meeting, but I have to go back to Boston.”

  Something fluttered in my stomach and I glanced up. I asked in a quiet voice, “To see your wife?”

  His face twisted. “Uh, yeah. So…”

  “I won’t say anything.”

  “Really?” He studied me with an intensity that had me frozen in place.

  “I won’t. I don’t even want to deal with that.”

  “But if you say anything to Mason…” He looked outside, and I felt the regret from him.

  “I won’t.” I reached out and touched his arm. It was tense, enough that it sent my hand away as if I’d been scalded.

  “Yeah, okay.” He sounded regretful. “I don’t know, Sam. You shouldn’t have to deal with this, with…”

  “I won’t say anything.” My voice grew firm.

  “Okay.” His shoulders loosened some more before he jerked me against him. He wrapped both his arms around me and lifted me in the air.

  “Oomph.”

  He squeezed me harder, tucking his head into my shoulder. “You’re a good kid. I’m damned lucky that I knocked up your mom when I was reckless and stupid.” His voice was gruff, but his lip trembled a tiny bit. “I’m damned lucky, that’s all I gotta say. I’ll see you in a few days. You’re staying, right? I don’t want your mom to swoop in and demand you move back to their home.” He patted my shoulders again as he withdrew. “And I’m taking back that bucket of condoms. Your ass was right. I wasn’t being a father when I did that. It was all a joke, but he was right.”

  My lip twitched at that. My ass…

  “Okay.” He hugged me again and pressed a kiss to my forehead. “I’ll be back in a few days. Promise. Don’t give your mom too much of a heart attack at that family meeting. I know Mason will, but he’s not my kid. I don’t have much say over what he’s going to do.” He whistled under his breath. Then he was out the door with a final wave.

  He muttered all the way as he crossed the street, but I couldn’t hear him anymore.

 
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