Fallen crest alternative.., p.1
Fallen Crest Alternative Version, p.1Part #2.1 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan
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When I let myself into Garrett’s new house, I dropped my two bags in the foyer and walked to the kitchen. It was a large room with granite countertops and a steel-encased grill in the middle of it all. As I glanced around and skimmed where his office was, I knew I didn’t need to look further. He wasn’t there. I saw a note left on the counter and grabbed it.
‘Heya, Sammy. Had to fly to Boston. Be back in deuces. Mi casa es su casa and I mean that. There’s a tub of condoms in your bathroom. Tell your mom. I live to piss her off. C ya in dos dias, peaches!
The note fluttered down as I let go of it and turned to survey the house. When my bio dad had decided to move closer and get to know me, no one had known how literally he meant it. He moved two houses down from James Kade’s house. When he gave me a key, extended his wish that I’d stay with him every now and then, Analise had flipped her lid. Plates had been shattered. Mugs were thrown across the room. She kicked a few vases over. When she had picked up a wine glass, she finally hesitated before setting it back down. Seeing that, Mason and Logan both bent over in laughter.
James stood in the back and waited. It seemed like he was always waiting, but when my mom started to quiet down, he scooped her up in his arms and whisked her from the room. I didn’t hear a word from my mother for three days after that, so whatever James told her must’ve worked. A week later, my mom returned to her tea drinking, dress wearing fake ways she’d taken up when we moved into the Kade mansion.
Analise Summers Strattan was back. Or—well—she was going to be Analise Summers Kade at the start of the summer. There’d been a hurry order placed on the divorce hearings, and she was excited when she exclaimed that the divorce would be final around Valentine’s Day, gleeful when she noted the ironic timing.
My hate returned for her at that moment. She didn’t care. She turned back to the television with her wine, and then her phone started lighting up. I heard enough to know that she was planning some benefit or banquet event.
I didn’t care.
It wasn’t long before Garrett extended his first home welcoming. Everyone had gone, David included, but Analise stayed home. James went in her place. I promised Garrett that Friday night, to stay with him for an entire week the next Monday. Today was Monday, and when I returned home from school to pack, Analise spoke her first genuine words to me in nearly a month.
“Are you sure you have to go? I don’t think it’s safe. He flies back to Boston all the time. His firm is still there. What if he’s not there? I don’t want you to be alone. Sam, it’s not safe. Don’t go. Stay here. You can stay with him another time when we know he’ll be there for sure. I’m not comfortable with this.”
It went on and on like that. It was on the tip of my tongue to remind her that I wouldn’t be alone, but that wasn’t a conversation I wanted to remind her about. She disapproved of my relationship with Mason, and I knew she would always disapprove. James hadn’t liked it either. There’d been a few tense conversations between father and son, but Mason never shared what was said. He always shrugged and commented that James needed to say what he needed to say and then he would forget for a while. That’d been the pattern for the last three months.
When I had finally left the mansion and got into my car, I let out a deep breath of relief. I loved living with Mason and Logan, but I was excited to live in a house all by myself. Garrett would probably be there, but like Analise had said—a part of me was okay if he wasn’t. Peace. That’s what I wanted. My life had been too dramatic for too long now.
But then I got inside, read the note, and a sense of disappointment filled me.
I really was alone and when I glanced at the clock, I knew it’d be hours until Mason would show up.
It was five now. I had four hours to kill.
And then I was doing something before I really knew what I was doing. I had my cellphone out and I had already pushed her number before I realized what was going on. Then I blinked and I held my breath.
When Becky answered, my heart skipped a beat and my fingers got clumsy. The phone fell from my hand and I yelled as I bent to scoop it up, “Don’t hang up! Please. I dropped the phone. Got it—” I panted as I plastered my phone against my ear. “Hey! Hi! How are you?”
There was silence on the other end.
I frowned but rushed out, “You picked up. I’m hoping that’s a good thing. Can you talk to me? I was really hoping you’d talk to me?”
Then I stopped and the silence grew painful. My heart beat in my ear and I gritted my teeth, but then she replied in a quiet voice, “Why are you calling me?”
“Uh, because I miss you. You haven’t talked to me for three months, since…” I clasped my eyes shut. “I’m just happy that you answered! Thank you. Thank you for that.”
There was some more silence again.
Then she murmured, “You don’t ever call me, Sam. You were calling. Is something wrong?”
“No.” I glanced around at the empty house. “Well, I mean, not really. I mean…”
“What’s going on?”
“You see, my bio dad moved here. Did you know that?”
She seemed in pain as she admitted, “I might’ve heard that, yes.”
“Okay, well, and I told him I’d stay with him for a week, and today is the first day, but he’s not here. He had to fly back to Boston so I’m all alone, and this is a really big place with a theatre in the basement. It’s pretty great, actually. I was thinking we could order a pizza, maybe have some wine even? I know he’s got a bunch in one of these rooms, but I don’t feel like exploring on my own and…” My heart was pounding now. “I don’t know who else to call. Do you want to come over?”
“Why don’t you call Mason or Logan?” She sounded so small.
I shrugged. “I don’t know. It wouldn’t be fun with them.” And they had things to do after school, like their first basketball practice.
“So will you come?” I kept my eyes closed and waited.
“It’s the new house close to the Kades, right?”
Why wasn’t I surprised she had known that? I gripped the phone tighter and grinned into it. “Yes, that one. My car’s in the driveway. It has the red gate.”
“I know! I’ll be there quick.” She hung up, sounding in a breathless excitement like I’d known her to be so many other times.
I shook my head as I let loose a deep breath. The girl was going to kill me. She’d become a friend when no one else wanted anything to do with me, but she found out three months ago that her fairytale hero had been using her to get to me and Becky ceased to exist from my life. The rumors hit not long after that about Mason and me and nothing seemed like normal anymore. I had people trying to be friends when they’d been the ones gossiping behind my back and others who decided they wanted to kill me when they had gotten along with me previously.
It didn’t take that long before my doorbell rang. I had taken my bags to my room, ordered a pizza, and worried if I’d given the right address before I opened the door to Becky. She looked up and gave me a small smile. Her red hair was pulled back in two pigtails that were low on her head, and she had her hands clasped together.
I grinned. I was just glad she’d shown up. “Hey.” And I opened the door wider. “Come in. Please. I need company.”
She grinned but stepped in and started to swivel her head around. “This place is gorgeous, Sam. I can’t believe it.”
“Well,” I felt so awkward. “My bio dad is a senior partner in his law firm so I guess…” I spre
She went from one room to the next. She started in the main living room with leather couches and a chandelier from the ceiling and moved through to the next living room with red couches. She walked past a piano placed in an open area by a small fountain and looked in the dining room and patio room. Both were extensions from the kitchen.
She arched an eyebrow. “Is this place bigger than the Kade mansion?”
“Really?” Her awestruck tone had come back.
“I mean, that place is so formal and all.”
“Is it bigger or not?” She pinned me down with her eyes.
I squirmed under her gaze and then relinquished, “No, it’s not, but it’s more modern. James’ place is just huge.”
She glanced under her eyelids at me before she looked away. “I wouldn’t know. You never invited me over.”
This was where I held my tongue. I only knew one other person that’d been invited inside, and I wasn’t going to start any drama by inviting Becky over. It was something that I knew had hurt her, but I gave her a small smile instead of telling her that she hadn’t made the short list to be allowed inside. That conversation wouldn’t end well.
“So you said you had a theatre here?”
“I did!” I perked up as I led her downstairs to the room with a screen that covered an entire wall. A few rows of lounging chairs made up the rest of the room. Each chair could be reclined and had a resting place for drinks and anything else someone might’ve brought.
“Oh my god!” Becky gasped as she walked inside. “This is amazing, Sam. Your bio dad thought about this all on his own?”
I shrugged again. “He’s one of a kind, trust me.” When she lifted up a barrier between two of the seats, I started laughing. “Yeah, I liked the ideas of couches more, but then Mason showed me that. I like this room a lot more now.”
Her smile faded quickly and I paused in confusion, but then I realized. We’d never talked about him before, and I took a deep breath. “You can ask anything you want, you know.”
She let the barrier fall. The gravity in her eyes set me back, but I clenched my jaw and waited. She had a right to know, didn’t she? She’d been my friend when I hadn’t any so I owed her. Right? Pain seared me when I remembered two other friends that I would’ve thought the same about, until both of them stabbed me in the back.
She threw me with that one. “What do you mean?”
“How did it happen? Do you love him?”
I smiled weakly. “Maybe we could have some wine before we have this talk?”
She blocked me when I started for the door. “I mean it, Sam. I want to know. Are you really with him?” Then she blushed and looked down. “Of course, you are. I was there. I saw how he touched you. But…” She looked back up. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I…” had no idea what to say to her. How could I explain things I didn’t know myself? So I settled with, “It just happened, I guess. I don’t really know—there wasn’t an exact time when it happened.”
“When we were at the cabin party, you were gone that first whole day. Was it then?”
Oxygen left me in a rush. “Okay, maybe that’s when it started.” A flash of lust spread through me as I remembered that day. His arms had held me in place as he nuzzled under my neck, my cheeks, and under my ear. Adam had been there and he’d been a witness to the power Mason held over me. Heat flared through me as I recalled that time. It wasn’t one that I was proud of, but it pushed Adam back. I knew now that Mason had paraded our relationship in front of him for a reason.
“You were with him that day?”
Her cheeks flushed up and she squeezed her hands together, but she asked in a dreadful tone, “You had sex with him that day?”
Okay, enough with the sharing. I narrowed my eyes and asked in a flat voice, “Why do you care about that?”
She squeaked again and looked away. There was a frantic feeling to her when she hurried out, “I don’t. I just—did you? I mean, Adam said you did and I didn’t believe him.”
It took one step before I latched onto her arm.
Her eyes were round as she gaped up at me.
I gritted my teeth and tried to contain my anger. It was like whiplash. “Are you kidding me? You never cared before. You would’ve been excited. Now you care? Now you’re telling me Adam had something to say about it?”
She gulped and moved away from me. My hold tightened on her, and her eyes got bigger when she tried to pull her arm from me. “Let go of me.”
My eyes bore into her. I needed to know. “When it came out that Mason and I are dating and that Adam had been using you to get to me, you stopped talking to me. I thought it was because you felt hurt or betrayed, but now I’m starting to wonder. Why’d you stop talking to me, Becky?”
Her mouth had fallen open and she closed it now. Her eyes slid to the side.
“Tell me the truth too.”
“I…” She took a deep breath. “IstoppedbecauseAdamconfusedme.” Another deep breath. “Hesaidyouliedtomeonpurposeanddidn’tconsiderme,” another breath. “afriendotherwise
My fingers let loose, and I was ashamed to see there were white finger prints on her arm. “You’re an idiot? You know that, don’t you?”
She gulped and hung her head. “I’m starting to think that.”
“I didn’t tell you about Mason because I don’t trust anyone. You can’t blame me for that. I caught Jeff cheating on me, then found out that Jessica had been screwing him for two years, and to make it worse, Lydia knew about it. My other best friend covered for them. You showed up, and we were only friends for two months before this shit’s hit the fan again. Can you blame me for not telling you?”
She gave me a sad look.
I narrowed my eyes and clipped out, “And Adam’s talking to you? You’re listening to the guy that used you because you were the only one I was talking to? Really? Come on, Becky. I know you think Adam Quinn is this great guy, but he can be really low and dirty if he doesn’t get what he wants.”
“I know.” It came out like a whimper.
Then the doorbell rang again, and I let loose with a string of curses. “It’s the pizza. Hold on.”
But it wasn’t the pizza.
“Malinda Decraw?” I blinked in shock. Mark’s mother stood on my doorstep with a covered casserole in her arms. She wore a red coat with a red scarf draped and knotted in a fashionable way. She had her long brown mane of hair with gentle curls swept over one shoulder. As she stood there for a moment, she rubbed at one of her jean-clad legs and stomped her feet in black boots.
“Hi, Samantha!” She held out a hand with a warm smile and brushed some of her long brown locks over her shoulder. “Could I come in?”
“Uh, sure.” I took two steps back, still dazed.
She came inside and rubbed her arms over her coat. “Oh, hello, Rebecca. How are you dear?”
Becky came forward with strained features. As Malinda kissed her on the cheek, she looked at the floor. “I’m good, Ms. Decraw. How are you?”
“It is quite chilly, even for January. Don’t you think, Rebecca? I have to say, I’ve gotten to know your mother a bit more from the Country Club and find her delightful. You must tell her.” The warmth Malinda oozed made me take a step back. It was immediate and seemed heartfelt. Her eyes twinkled a bit as she spoke to Becky, who seemed shy all the sudden.
“I will. I know she really likes you too.”
Malinda’s cheeks were pink and she pressed a hand to her neck as a gushing laugh bubbled forth. “Oh dear. Have I overwhelmed you? Laura told me that can happen sometimes. How is your friendship with Adam going along? He comes over all the time now for dinner. He’s such a charming young
“Wait—what?” I turned to Becky and lifted an eyebrow. “Are you and Adam dating?”
She stood frozen. The blood drained from her cheeks.
“Goodness, no.” Malinda laughed again and placed a gentle hand to my arm. “Laura and I have grown quite close. She’s told me all about Rebecca’s feelings for Adam. I approve, whole-heartedly. But
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