Fallen fourth down, p.2
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       Fallen Fourth Down, p.2
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         Part #4 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan

  We heard a girl screech. Recognizing it as Cass, I grabbed a beer from the refrigerator and leaned against the counter beside Kris. Logan scowled at the crowd, but turned to me. His eyes were dark and stormy. Kris had been running her hand through his hair, so the curls were gone. He trimmed it short so little ends stuck up instead. As he continued to glare at me, Kris pressed against his chest. Her hand started roaming over it and lifted his shirt. His stomach muscles rippled from her touch, and he sucked in his breath.

  I smiled at him.

  He expelled a frustrated sigh. “What did you just do?”

  “Nothing.”

  “Logan,” Kris murmured, pressing kisses to his neck and around to his mouth.

  He moved out of the way and tucked her to the side. His hand was splayed out on her hip, but she was already reaching for him again. A closer look at her revealed she was beyond drunk. She was obliterated. As she tried pawing for his shirt, he shook his head to clear the lust. His scowl appeared again. “Did Natalie do something?”

  “Relax, Logan.”

  His scowl deepened. “No.”

  I laughed. “I can handle this now. It’s not like before with four against one. I know the game. I know the rules of your school. I can take care of myself now.”

  His head moved back a fraction of an inch. “Really?”

  I nodded and opened my beer. It tasted like copper. “Delicious.” I smiled anyway.

  “Since when do you drink?”

  I lifted a shoulder and let it drop. Since Mason was gone. That thought seared through me, but I banked it down. Instead, I said, “Since I’m a senior. Come on. I don’t have a meet this week. I can drink, for one night anyway.”

  Kris managed to evade his hand and wrapped her arms around his waist. He continued to stare at me, studying me. The good-natured Logan was gone. This was the intense Logan, and to be honest, it was one that I hadn’t seen much of. When Mason was around, Logan didn’t have to worry as much, because Mason took care of things, but he was gone. This year was different, and now Logan had to take care of things.

  “I’m here.” Heather landed next to us with a huff. Her eyebrows shot up as she inspected Kris, now trying to get her hand inside of Logan’s pants. He didn’t deter her wandering hands, and he didn’t look away from me. As Heather gestured to the crowd, I looked back at him. He was trying to get inside my head like Mason did. He was trying to figure out what was going on with me. Oblivious to our stare-off, she stated, “I’m here two seconds and a chick fight broke out. Talk about that nothing’s changed…” She trailed off as she focused us. “Oh.”

  Logan’s jaw clenched.

  He was pissed about something. As Kris lifted his shirt and started pressing kisses to his chest, he didn’t move. He never broke eye contact.

  My jaw hardened, and I raised it. Two could play at this game. What was I doing? I was declaring that something was wrong. Logan wasn’t an idiot, nor was he a chicken shit. He would find me later, and he would interrogate me until I confessed, or, I gulped, he’d tell Mason and Mason would get it out of me within seconds.

  I dropped the anger, even though I wasn’t sure what I was so mad about, and tried to give him a small grin.

  His eyes narrowed even more.

  “Okay.” Heather waved a hand between us. “Not sure what’s going on, but I have to pee. Sam, since I’m sure you know this house and all the ways to sneak in and out, why don’t you show me to the nearest and most private bathroom we can find?”

  I broke the spell and turned away. “Yeah, sure.”

  “Great.” She took my hand and stepped forward, pushing me to the side, forcing Logan to move back a bit. She gave me the space I needed. What the hell was my problem? She stared at Logan, but said to me, “So, which way do we go?”

  I tugged her backwards. Before we slipped past the refrigerator, she snaked her hand out and grabbed a case of beer. Tucking it against her chest, she turned and followed me, flashing me a smile. “I’m all set. Something tells me we’re in need of a girl chat.”

  I sighed. I had evaded an interrogation from Logan, but I was going to get a different one. As I led her through the hallways and up the stairs, I took her to Mason’s room. When she saw the coded lock installed on the outside the door, her eyebrows shot up. I keyed in the code and let us in, saying, “He’s not dumb. He knew Logan would eventually have a party or his mom would snoop in here.” I gestured to his bathroom. “It’s all yours.”

  “I’m not going to find anything gross and maybe personal in there, am I?”

  “No. He mostly stayed with me.”

  “Gotcha.” Putting the beer on his desk, she took a can with her and hollered from inside, “Help yourself. Something’s telling me you need to get lit tonight.”

  I had already had one, but she was right. I took another.

  Mason had a couch and love seat on one side of his room. His desk had been custom built into the wall, between two closet doors. His king-sized bed was set in the corner, on a slight pedestal.

  I sunk down on one of the couches when Heather came out. She gazed around and whistled. “Shit. It boggles my mind that this is just one of his rooms. He’s got like eight hundred, right? His mom’s house. His dad’s. At college. Yours. Where else?” She pointed to me with her beer can. “That’s right, that one penthouse thing you told me he took you to. The lifestyle of the rich and dicks.”

  “Mason’s not a dick.”

  “Yes, he is.” She laughed as she sunk down on his desk chair, straddling it, facing me. “But he’s not to you or to anyone he loves, and that’s what makes him so damn hot.”

  I fiddled with the tab on my beer can. I missed him. A wave of longing rolled over me, suffocating me. My throat swelled, and I forgot about Tate’s words for a moment. I could feel Mason’s arms around me. I could feel his hard chest as I rested my head on it. I could even feel the soft graze of his fingers as he tucked a strand of hair behind my ear, dropping a soft, delicate kiss to my forehead.

  Feeling the threat of tears, I shook my head and cleared the yearning. Fuck the three hours driving there, I was ready to throw my purse in the car and head there right now.

  “Are you going to tell me, or are you going to make me force it out of you?”

  Heather’s clear, sober voice was like a bucket of ice water.

  “Sam.”

  I jerked my head up. My fingers were still playing with beer can’s tab, and I cleared my throat. “Yeah?”

  “Girl,” she leaned forward, intense scrutiny on her face, and stated, “you better start talking, or I’m going to drag Logan in here and make him start talking. Either way, I’m getting the truth.”

  “Why?”

  I cursed under my breath as her eyebrows shot up, and she leaned back. “So there is something? Holy shit. What is it?”

  I hung my head. Crap. My secret was out. She might as well know all of it before it ate me alive. I looked up, feeling all the fear, all the burden, all the potential destruction these words caused. I said, “Logan’s in love with me.”

  CHAPTER THREE

  MASON

  I glanced at my phone. It was almost ten and Sam would be calling at eleven. If we left for this party now, I knew I might miss her call. That couldn’t happen. Something had been wrong with Sam all summer. I knew she was worried about being apart for a year, but everything would be fine. It was one year. It sucked. Okay, it didn’t suck. It was torture at times, but even thinking about her and knowing she was probably with Logan right now, when I was supposed to head to one of Nate’s parties, felt like a branding iron to my heart.

  Fuck. Whatever. This was what we had to do, but I hated it.

  My roommate came back from the shower and glared at me. A towel hung around his neck, and his hands went to his hips. He let the other towel fall. His stomach rolls jiggled as he held back his laughter. “You, man. Matteo doesn’t like this. This party, nothing good will come from it.”

  I showed him my phone. “
I’m Skyping with my girlfriend.”

  Curses came from him as he dove for his towel and disappeared back into the bathroom.

  I laughed, threw the phone on the bed, and finished dressing. When he didn’t hear any voices, he poked his head back out. His eyes fell to the phone and he scowled. “You a liar, Kade. That wasn’t cool.”

  “Got your fat dick out of my face, didn’t it?”

  “That’s right. Be jealous.” He pounded a hand to his chest and swept off his towel again. “It’s like the helicopter.” His hips started moving, as did his dick, and his white teeth gleamed back at me. He smacked a hand to his bald head as he kept moving his dick in circles. “It goes round and round. All the girls like it. You should try this move. I bet your girl will like it.”

  Pulling a shirt over my chest, I shook my head. “Sam hasn’t complained yet, but I’ll keep it in mind.”

  He grunted and slapped his stomach, making those rolls jiggle again. “It’s the only thing that matters, keeping your woman happy. You got a good one?” He didn’t wait for my answer and went into his closet. A second later, Matteo came out with a pair of pants, a shirt, a pair of boxers, and socks. As he sat on his bed and began to pull his boxers on, he glanced at me. “Those are some nice threads. You must come from money, Kade.”

  I scowled. I did, but I didn’t want that to define me. “My rich parents didn’t pay for these clothes if that’s where you’re going.”

  “Oh. Whoa, my dude. I was gonna say that you don’t seem like one of those rich pricks.” He held his hands in the air, making a show of backing up a step, smirking at me. “I’m messing with you. I can be wack sometimes.” He hit himself in the chest.

  “Sometimes?”

  “Oh ho ho. You funny, man. You funny.” He pointed his hand at me and shook his head, laughing as he grabbed his wallet, put two condoms inside, and slid his phone into his pocket. He stood up and spread his arms wide. “How do I look?”

  Matteo was tall and large. He had muscles, but some of it was fat. Being an offensive lineman, he needed that. I’d been practicing and rooming with him for three weeks, so I knew he was quick and fierce on the field, but easygoing and a joker off. I was tempted to tell him he looked like one of those rich pricks he was referencing, but I didn’t. He wore a white polo over trendy khakis and sneakers that put him in that rich prick category. I knew how much those were, but I didn’t want to question it. Where he got his money wasn’t my concern. We were still getting to know each other.

  “You’re good. You hoping to get a few girls?”

  “Me?” His eyebrows shot up. He was tan, with white teeth and handsome features. He could. From what I had witnessed around campus, football players at Cain University were like gods. Matteo would have no problem getting a girl, or two, if that’s what he wanted. “No, no, no. I’m taken. My girl’s meeting me at this party. Speaking of,” the scowl he had been wearing when he first dropped his towel reappeared, “we never go to Park Sebastian’s frat parties. Why are we making an exception tonight?”

  “My best friend pledged. His dad’s an alumni.” I lifted my chin. “Why’s your girl going?”

  “Her friends like the frat pricks. She doesn’t. She’s going because of me.” He paused. “You’re talking about that dude you were trying to get Coach to let him live in the football house with us?”’

  “Yeah.” Nate hadn’t been happy when he heard the entire house was for football players. He wasn’t good enough to make the team, but he’d been fine with that. Nate had known coming into Cain U that he wouldn’t be on the team with me. However, when he found out the living situation, he went a different route. “He says they’re the best frat to pledge?”

  Matteo’s scowl deepened. “Because Sebastian’s an ass kisser. You’re warned, Kade. He’s going to try and do you doggie-style. He’s been around the game, and he loves football players, especially a football player that’s going to the pros. He’s like his dad, some senator. They pull people in close until those people aren’t useful to them, then they drop ‘em.”

  I followed Matteo, as he led the way to the hallway and down the stairs. A few other players were waiting for us. It was the first night we didn’t have practice in the morning. When Nate mentioned the party, I figured I’d go to be supportive. The guys found out and more than a handful wanted to tag along.

  When we were on the sidewalk, covering the three blocks to frat row, I asked, “So, how do you know all this?”

  “Because he screwed over my best friend last year.”

  “Yeah?”

  “Jamie Satture. They were real good buddies until Jamie got hurt and lost his scholarship. He thought Sebastian would help him out since his fraternity has a lot of money and his father’s corporation sponsored the scholarship, but no way, man. That prick dropped him like a one-night stand. Ignored him for the rest of the year. He’s bad news, dude. I’d stay away from that one.”

  It was noted. I wasn’t a pushover, but these guys didn’t know that. They knew it on the field, but not off. I’d been warned. I knew what I was walking into, and I wasn’t happy. Nate was friends with these guys. It’d been a vacation in some ways, being out of Fallen Crest. There were no battles. People weren’t plotting to take me down or fighting with my brother or my girlfriend. It’d been me and football. Even Nate had kept away since he was busy with his fraternity. I had a strong hunch that those simple days were about to end. If Sebastian was half as bad as Matteo said, he would not like me. He might think he would, but he’d find out I wasn’t one to be manipulated.

  Letting out a silent sigh, I grimaced. I didn’t want to deal with that battle, but if it came, it came.

  The street leading to frat row was packed with cars, which wasn’t a surprise. Every road within the campus vicinity rarely had an open parking spot. When we rounded the block, it was evident which one was Nate’s house. It was an old house with bricks and green stuff growing up the walls. Greek letters had been carved into the brick above the front door. The lawn had people all over it. The door was open and music blared out from it. As we started across the street, people stopped and watched us. I’d gotten used to anonymity over the last three weeks. Classes hadn’t started so no one knew me, but walking with this group of guys, all large and toned, they knew who we were. A group of girls turned to gawk from the patio. Shock filled their gazes and one girl’s mouth dropped open. Another dropped her drink.

  “Hold up.”

  A guy separated from a group of guys on the lawn. He disappeared inside, and it wasn’t long before another guy came out with him. The second one was taller, as tall as me, but leaner. I grunted. This was Park Sebastian. I could already tell. He was a pretty boy with enough arrogance to fill a blimp. This guy was another Adam Quinn, and at that reminder, I gritted my teeth. The old feeling to rip into Quinn came back to me, but this guy was the new target.

  His eyes lingered on Matteo, who lifted his chin in a challenge. Sebastian pressed his lips together, as if holding back a scowl, but walked towards me. His eyebrows furrowed together. I could see it plain as day. He was racking his brain, wondering if we had met already. We had, the day I helped Nate move in, but he hadn’t given two shits about me that day, and I hadn’t with him. Things were different. My reputation as a wide receiver had been building since I got to school. With my performance on the field and in practice, I wouldn’t have been surprised if that had been the real motivation behind Nate’s invitation. He hadn’t invited me to one all summer. As I stood there and looked right back at Sebastian, I wondered if I was staring at the real reason I’d been invited.

  He looked me up and down, holding a cup of beer in his hand.

  I didn’t stand for this shit at home; I wasn’t going to now. “We can leave, if you’d like.”

  His head snapped back up, and he narrowed his eyes, assessing me once again, but with a different emotion. I had surprised him. Extending his cup towards Matteo, he said, “I’m not in good standing with the football team. No of
fense, I’m surprised is all.”

  Matteo shifted on his feet and growled softly.

  “My friend is a pledge. He invited me here.”

  “You?”

  It was an unspoken question to find out who I was. I kept quiet. I had no intention of dancing to his tune.

  “Mason!” Nate came from the front door and waved a hand. He jogged off the patio and stopped beside Sebastian. “This is my best friend I was telling you about. Mason Kade, this is Park Sebastian. He’s the president of our fraternity.”

  Park started to hold his arm out. I shot Nate a warning look and he stepped in, laughing, as he blocked his president and held his arm out to Matteo instead. “I’m Nate. You’re Mason’s roommate, right?”

  Matteo glanced sideways at me, but shook Nate’s hand with reluctance. A corner of my mouth lifted up in a small smirk, and I rounded behind Matteo to stand on the other side of Nate. I was no longer in his president’s line of sight. Nate was firmly between us. Reading the situation correctly, Nate waved at the rest of the guys and gestured to the house. “Park said all football players drink for free. Just let the guys manning the kegs know that Nate Monson vouched for you. They’ll know what it means, not that five bucks is a lot of money.”

  The guys headed inside. If I had stood there, Park would have tried to shake my hand again, and I would have ignored it a second time; I wasn't going to shake the guy’s hand. Nate knew the awkward situation would’ve occurred had Park tried to offer his hand again, so to prevent the insult from happening, he flashed Park a grin. “I’m going to show Mason around. We haven’t talked much the last few weeks.” He pounded my shoulder. “He’s been busy with training.”

 
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