Mason, p.6
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       Mason, p.6

         Part #0.5 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan
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  gnawing ache in my stomach was still there, but it was worse. I closed my eyes and hung my head. The gnawing feeling would never go away.


  Nate’s mom was in front of me. She pointed to the house. “Leave my house. Now.”

  I nodded. “Yeah. Okay.”

  As I left, I realized that the only people paying attention to me were the ones I hadn’t called out. As I went past them, each one turned away or stood behind a person, hiding from me. The rest were buzzing about what had happened, and I could hear shouts from outside still. I never minded when people were fearful of me, but this time it left me empty. I had joined them. I had sunk to their level and I felt dirty because of it. When I got to the door, Nate was there. His prick friends were too. I didn’t give a shit what they were thinking, but Nate folded his arms over his chest. He gestured towards the patio area. “My mom kicked you out?”

  “Yeah. You’re probably going to be banned from being my friend.”

  “They’ve already tried.” He shrugged. “I won’t listen. I never do.”

  “I’m sorry.”

  “For what?”

  “I put my dad shit above our friendship just now. I’m sorry, Nate.” And I was. It had been the wrong thing to do. He’d be hurt by it. I wouldn’t. That was the sad thing. My dad would come home and pretend I wasn’t there. It’s how he dealt with life. He would continue to do his own thing and pretend there were no consequences.


  I had started out the door, but turned back to Nate again. “Yeah?”

  “Spend time with Logan tonight. Just the two of you do something together.”


  “Because being around your brother always seems to help you.”

  Guilt and shame shot through me, and the hole in me grew bigger. “You’re a good friend.”

  “So are you.” He flashed me a half-grin. “Maybe not today, but you are. I’ll sneak over tomorrow.”

  “Sounds good.”

  “See you.”

  He shut the door behind me and I walked away. I didn’t feel better at all.



  A girl in a tight shirt and jeans came over with a beer. I skimmed an eye over her—she looked fine—tight body, decent rack for our age. Her bra was showing; girls did that shit on purpose. They wanted us to see it. When Nate saw my approval, he flashed me a grin and took off. We were at one of Fischer’s parties, but it was still early in the evening. Logan insisted on coming, but he was in the corner with his girlfriend draped all over him.

  A grin teased the corners of her lips. “Do you know who I am?” She placed the top of her bottle between her lips, sucking on it lightly.

  Did it matter? That thought flashed in my mind, but they never liked it when I called them on their bullshit. I slowly skimmed her up and down, and this time, I tried to place her. When I couldn’t, her grin fell and she straightened to her fullest height, frowning instead.

  Kate came over, her own frown on her face. They were dressed the same, but Kate’s pants were ripped around the crotch and her shirt exposed a lot more of her rack than this girl. As she stopped at our little group, she glared at the girl. “Sarah Cast.”

  I grinned. “Your name is Sarah.” I nodded at Kate, but said to Sarah. “Cast. Sarah Cast.”

  She snorted and grinned again. She turned to Kate. “Do you mind? I was hoping to talk to Mason alone.”

  Kate moved so she was closer to me, her back brushing against my arms. It was a gesture for boyfriends to put their arms around their girlfriend, but I didn’t. I kept my hand in my pocket and never moved from the counter that I was leaning against. Kate shot me a dark look, but I flashed her a grin. We weren’t a couple. We’d have to have the same conversation again, but she wouldn’t want it to happen in front of the new chick. She said that was embarrassing. A sound of disgust came from her. “Are you kidding me?”

  Sarah glanced between the two of us.

  I lifted an eyebrow. I wasn’t in the mood for Kate today. “I’ll be in the mood tomorrow.”

  Anger flared in her eyes, and she stormed off. “Whatever. I won’t.”

  She would. She always was. I turned to the new girl and kept that information to myself. “You go to FCP?”

  She nodded, but glanced down for a moment. When she looked back up, she was biting her bottom lip. I frowned, wondering if this was the same sexy appeal she was going for. She seemed cautious, not sultry now. “My mom works for your dad.”

  “A lot of people do.”

  “Yeah. True.”

  She started looking around. When she saw her friends, they gave her a thumbs-up sign and she rolled her shoulders back, lifting her gaze back to mine again. What was going on?

  “What do you want?”

  She tensed. “What do you mean?”

  “You came over here looking like you wanted one thing and now you’re playing at something else.” I didn’t like games, and this girl was throwing out too many different signals. She was a head trip. “Look,” I started. I shook my head. “I don’t know what you’re playing at, but girls don’t come over to me unless they have one thing in mind. I don’t date. Girls know not to even try with me. So…” I drew out the last word and let it linger between us.

  She didn’t react. She knew what she was doing. Realizing that, I narrowed my eyes. Then I asked, “Did they put you up to this?”

  She looked too and frowned. Her friends realized we were talking about them and squealed, turning around so their backs were to us. All their heads went together and Sarah sighed. “You saw that before?”

  “Was this like a dare? I dare you to go up to Mason Kade and what? Kiss me or something? What’s the end goal?”

  Her eyebrows shot up. “Jeezus. You’re straight to business, aren’t you?” She went back to biting on her lip, but she rolled it out so it looked like she was pouting. “This was a mistake. I should’ve never listened to her.”

  I grinned. Now we were getting somewhere. “Who’s her?”


  “You said you never should’ve listened to her. Who’s her?”

  “My mom.”

  “Your mom?”

  She nodded. “She works for your dad.”

  “A lot of people work for my dad.” As I said that, I already knew the angle. The mom wanted an introduction to my dad. She heard about the divorce and sent her kid as bait. My stomach clenched. I let out a disgusted sound. “Bit of advice.”

  She paused, listening. Her eyes narrowed.

  “If a guy has a reputation for being an asshole and doesn’t date, he’s not fairytale material. He’s not going to change so don’t go over to waste his time.”

  Her mouth fell open. “Jeezus, you’re blunt.”

  “Are you here to screw me?”

  She turned away and crossed her arms. I thought she was leaving, but she didn’t. She stood there, as if thinking it over. When she turned back, there was a tentative look in her eyes. I said, “You heard me. I don’t date. I don’t hold hands. I don’t do nice things for girls. I have sex and that’s it. Your mom put you up to this, right?”

  She nodded. “Yeah, I know, but my god. You’re so ‘in your face’ about it.”

  I frowned. “I don’t know why you’re so shocked. You know my reputation. Your mom wants an ‘in’. How do you think this would happen?” I made a show of looking her up and down. “Think about it. I would have to like you. I would have to keep you around. I would have to develop feelings for you. All that would have to happen before we’d think about inviting your mom over—” I saw that she was speculative. That didn’t make sense, and I paused, thinking about a different angle. When it hit, I had to laugh.


  “Shit.” I shook my head. “No. Your mom wasn’t going to wait around for that to happen. She was going to wait for us to screw a few times and then what? You’d pretend to get pregnant? Your mom would sue us for money?” Seeing t
he surprise in her eyes, I watched as it turned to being suspicious and realized she hadn’t thought about that either. Then it clicked and a storm filled her gaze. I smirked and shook my head. “Your mom is a piece of work.”

  She muttered, “I was just hoping to hang out. None of that crap.”

  I began to look around, but Kate was gone. No. I saw her. She was grinding against a different guy. When she saw me looking, she gave me a smug smirk, but I didn’t care. She could do whatever she wanted and thanks to this girl’s appearance, I was in a certain mood now. Feeling the old restlessness and anger in me, it was all boiling together. I needed to get laid or I’d end up getting in a fight. As if sensing my mood, Logan lifted his head from Tate’s neck and frowned at me. I narrowed my eyes at him, but turned away when he began to lift his girlfriend off of his lap.

  As he approached us, he looked her up and down, throwing an arm around my shoulder. “Who’s this, brother?”

  I shrugged his arm off. “Sarah Cast.”

  “Hey guys.”

  I tensed when Tate came over to the group. Her tone was friendly, but she was trying to dissect the girl with her eyes. Logan cast me a questionable look. He had felt me stiffen next to him, but he didn’t say anything.

  Logan frowned, leaning back against the counter beside me. Tate laughed softly. “What’s going on?”

  I said to Tate, “Why’d you come over here? We were fine.” Tate had been doing that shit a lot lately. If a girl was talking to me, she came over. The only time she didn’t was if it was Kate. Those two had started to pretend they were friends. They weren’t. They only thought they were fooling the other.


  Tate’s head reared back. “Fuck, Mason. Do you always have to be an asshole?”

  “Yes. Why do you always have to poke your nose where it’s not needed?”

  “My boyfriend is over here.” She gestured to Logan. “Excuse me if I wanted to know what was going on. He left me over there for you.”

  “Yeah,” I shot back at her. “He left you over there for a reason. He didn’t bring you with him.” Then I remembered the girl was still there and said to her, “Go. None of it’s going to happen, even if you’re interested. I’m not anymore.”

  She hurried off. Then Tate started, “Mason.”

  I rounded on her. “You’re not wanted here.”

  She looked at Logan. “That’s your brother.”

  He started to say something and didn’t. Instead, he lifted his shoulders up and let them fall. “You’re butting in, Tate.”

  “You always butt in. Butt out.” I glared at her. “Go away.”

  “Logan.” She pointed at me. “Are you going to let him talk to me like that? Really?”

  He started again, but I cut him off this time. “I didn’t come to you. You came to me. Go. Away.”

  “Unfuckingbelievable,” she hissed out, and left, shoving through the crowd. They scattered at the sight of Tate, her jaw clenched, her eyes enraged, as she passed through without hitting anyone. Like a flock of birds, they moved back together in her wake and turned back to watch us.

  I looked at Logan. “Your girlfriend’s pissed.”

  “Uh yeah. With good reason.” He shook his head, but he didn’t seem too concerned. “Why do you talk to her like that? It’s been getting worse lately.”

  Because she’d been more of a whore lately. I hadn’t told him about the times when I was in the gym at home and she would come in to use the treadmill. The speed was so low, she barely moved. She just watched me, but there were others. She would come in my room when he was sleeping; there were times when she would ask if I would make food for her; or if I was in the pool, she would come out to race laps. My friendliness waned the more frequent those occasions happened and it had turned into hostility when I saw her outside my bedroom door the other night. She waited, listened through the door, and lifted her hand to turn the knob. I watched from down the hallway when I was coming back from the kitchen. Kate was in my room, and when she said something on the phone, Tate hurried away. She went back to Logan’s room and shut the door, but her whole demeanor had been guilty. Her shoulders tightened. She never looked around. She fled.

  She was a migraine waiting to happen. I had no idea how to stop it from coming. Logan wouldn’t believe me, not unless I had proof. He loved her.

  “She’s not my girlfriend. She doesn’t have to involve herself when I’m around,” I said

  Logan let out a short laugh. “Are you kidding? She practically lives with us.”

  That was the problem. Tate wanted something. I was starting to think every chick wanted something. Glancing over, my gaze lingered on Sarah. She was with her friends. She paused, watching me back and then tilted her head to the side and grinned at me. It was an invitation for more. My stomach clenched from anger. Even now, even after I laid it out how her mother wanted to use her, the girl was actually interested.

  I was beginning to believe no girl was trustworthy.



  I could hear Logan and Tate in the hallway. She was giggling, then she shrieked, and his door shut a second later. His room was down the hall, but when his music switched on, I grinned. He was getting it on.

  My phone buzzed. It was a text from Kate. Want me to come over?

  I leaned back from my desk. I’d been trying to do homework. Fischer had a party tonight, but I opted out. Coach wanted me to come in for extra training in the morning so I chose to stay in and be responsible.

  Where are you?

  Horny. That’s where I am.

  I grinned, but typed back, I’m good. Talk to you tomorrow. Then I waited. Kate hated being rejected and I’d been rejecting her a lot lately. It was a while before my phone buzzed again. F U. Yep. I laughed. She was pissed. Logan kept telling me to hook up with other girls; that it would put Kate back in her place. To be honest, I didn’t mind other girls, but I wasn’t a whore and Kate was good in bed. She knew me. I knew her. It was comfortable and easy. The clingy shit was getting old though. I debated my next move. I could text back a smart-ass comment or leave it alone.

  I sighed and tossed my phone in my drawer. I left it alone. Sometimes it was fun to see how pissed I could make her, but I didn’t want to deal with her anymore. She’d find another guy tonight and think I would care. I hoped she wouldn’t bring it up because I wouldn’t care. If another guy was dealing with her, good for him. She hated being reminded how little I gave a shit.

  I had other things to deal with. With a plan set in my mind, I went downstairs for a quick mile sprint in the gym. When I came back, the hallway was dark and the music in Logan’s room had been turned off. When I passed his door, I didn’t hear a sound, so I figured they had passed out. Because of that, I didn’t lock my door. I had started to when Tate was around. She liked trying to spend time in my room. One time she brought her textbook and spread out on the couch before I even realized what she was doing. I had been about to kick her out, but Logan came in and lifted her feet so he could sit on the other end of the couch.

  I hadn’t liked it and asked Logan the next day why he had his girlfriend hanging out in my room. He was startled and responded with, “Why not? I’m in there all the time anyway.”

  I wanted to tell him his girlfriend was a skank, but I kept quiet. She hadn’t done anything wrong. My gut told me she would. It was only a matter of time. When I mentioned to him about seeing her outside of my room one night when Kate was inside, he laughed. He said, “Oh yeah. She told me about that. She wanted to talk to you about my birthday, but didn’t want to deal with Kate. Can you blame her?”

  That told me two things: one, she was smart and she covered her bases; and two, he wouldn’t have believed me. He wouldn’t want to hear what my gut said about her; he was in love with her. So since that night, I kept my door locked. Logan questioned me about it and I told him the truth, “I don’t want to deal with the skanks in this house.” He assumed I meant our dad’s women. I let him. I w
asn’t sure if I wanted to tackle a fight with him. It would’ve been because of a girl, and I didn’t like letting a girl have that power over my relationship with my brother.

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