Broken and screwed 2, p.2
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       Broken and Screwed 2, p.2
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         Part #2 of Broken and Screwed series by Tijan

  My lips brushed against his as I said, “I knew before we came up here.”

  His chest lifted and he sucked in a deep breath. “Are you sure about this, Alex?”

  I nodded. I couldn’t talk. I needed this too much. Or I needed him. I wasn’t sure, but as he lowered his lips to mine—finally—I gave him everything. I wanted to forget everything. There was no brother. There were no parents. There were no friends. There was no loss or mourning or grieving. No sadness. Only heat. That was all there was between us. Even the pain that occurred was minimal to what I’d felt for the last three days.

  That night I gave myself to him. I just didn’t know the extent of it until later.

  Two years and two months later

  When I went to Jesse’s house, I wasn’t expecting to find a naked chick on his couch. I knew it was his house. As I walked in, there was a giant portrait of him and my brother in the foyer. He must’ve had someone paint it from a picture at some party. Both wore easygoing grins and their affection was obvious. They were happy. Ethan was happy. It stopped me in my tracks, but I pushed it down. I couldn’t handle that. Nope. Rage. Rage was my friend right now, and the girl who was straddling Jesse on the couch was going to be a recipient of my rage.

  A head of black hair sat underneath her, and he moved to kiss up the girl’s neck. As she leaned back with her eyes closed, his hand lifted to cup her breast. A moan slipped from her as he ran his thumb over it. As she gasped, her eyes opened a slit. It was enough. She saw me and horror flashed over her. She belted out a scream and scrambled off Jesse’s lap to the couch.

  “What the fuuu-?” Jesse whipped off the couch and whirled around. His face was contorted in fury, but then shock stopped him.

  It stopped me as well.

  That wasn’t Jesse.

  I clamped a hand over my eyes and turned away. “I’m so, so, so, so sorry, Cord. Oh my gawd. I’m really sorry.” Muttering more curses, I tried to run from the room but smacked into a wall.

  He spewed a few more curses as the girl cried out, “Who the hell is that?!”

  I frowned when I heard the snippy tone. She had every right to be pissed. I couldn’t fault her.

  She continued, “You said we had the house to ourselves. Who is this girl?”

  “It’s no one.” His voice faded for a second. “Here. Put this on, Chandra.”

  She growled at him.

  “Chandra.”

  “You owe me for this,” she snapped at him.

  I waited, still against the wall with my hand over my eyes. I breathed in and out with a brief hope that maybe he’d forget I was there and go after her. This was too awkward.

  “You can look now.”

  He hadn’t.

  The awkwardness lifted a notch. I could tell he was pissed.

  My hands didn’t move. “Are you dressed?”

  “Yes.” He sounded exhausted and I peeked. There were bags underneath his eyes as he sat on the couch, leaning forward on his knees. He wiped a hand over his face and regarded me with narrowed eyes. “You’re looking for Jesse?”

  I nodded.

  His head dropped to his hands and his shoulders bunched together. He was still shirtless, but his shorts rode farther up his thigh, his very manly thigh. As he didn’t say anything for a moment, my eyes roamed over him. I couldn’t help it. He had filled out since the last time I saw him, around nine months ago.

  “You look good,” I remarked lightly as I perched on the end of the sectional.

  “We’ve been training like crazy.” His head lifted and he grimaced, rubbing a hand over his jaw. It clenched under the movement.

  I searched for where the girl might’ve gone. “Who was that?”

  “No one.”

  From the soft tone of regret, I grimaced again. “That wasn’t ‘no one’. That was someone. Is the infamous Cord Tatum off the market?” I teased, “I know someone who goes to school an hour away that’ll be disappointed.”

  “Who?”

  “Marissa.” I frowned. He didn’t know that?

  “Oh. Her.”

  And judging by how he said “her,” I knew Cord Tatum had definitely moved on. I took notice. This was a new guy in front of me.

  “Jesse’s not here.”

  “I gathered.”

  “Yeah.” His head turned away. He continued to rub at his jaw, as if mulling over some problem in his head.

  I glanced at my lap, unsure what to say. I didn’t know this was how it would go down. When Zala gave me Jesse’s address, I had every intention of marching in and giving him an earful. He knew secrets about Ethan’s death and hadn’t returned any of my calls. I just got a letter that gave me the ‘fuck off’ sentiments from my parents. I had no intention of taking another one from Jesse. I was primed and ready to tell him how it would be since I was going to be attending the same university.

  All of that vanished when I saw the naked chick. A whole different form of rage had balled in my stomach, but it shriveled up. I swallowed it down and bit my lip as I contemplated how many other forms of apology I could utter to Cord.

  “Look,” I began, smoothing my hand down my pants. “It’s obvious that I interrupted something special—”

  “No, you didn’t.” He stood abruptly.

  I froze from the sudden movement, but he left the room and hollered, “Come on.”

  Sliding off the couch, I trailed behind him and he led the way into one of the biggest kitchens I would ever see in my life. It was half the size of a banquet hall, but then I had to roll my eyes. Should I have expected otherwise? Zala told me that his father bought this house for Jesse. Of course, it would be grandiose. His dad was a movie producer and a jerk.

  Cord opened a cabinet and pulled out a bottle of wine. “You want some?”

  I hesitated. Maybe, but I still needed to move into my dorm room.

  He flashed me a grin.

  My shoulders loosened. There was the cocky son-of-a-bitch Cord Tatum. I reached for one of the glasses that hung from a cupboard and slid it across the counter. “Fill her up.”

  He chuckled as he did. Then he topped off his own glass. “Instead of talking about the chickadee that was just here, why don’t we talk about you?” He took up his glass and moved towards the large table that could’ve sat thirty people. He plopped down in a chair and motioned to another. As I sat, he asked, “You were here to see Jesse?”

  Oh goodness.

  As I sat, I needed to remember who this guy was. He charmed his way into Marissa’s pants—who was I kidding? She charmed her way into his after trying to charm her way into Jesse’s pants. With a scowl on my face, I took a big gulp of the wine. I set the glass back down, roughly, as I scowled at him. “Why’d you sleep with Marissa?”

  His eyebrows shot up, but he schooled his face. I had to give him points for that. Not too much shock got through before he contained himself and asked, in a soft murmur, “What do you mean?”

  I scoffed, drinking more of my wine. “Don’t act like I’m stupid. I know she was calling Jesse and you took up the cause.” The whole thing settled on the bottom of my gut in a bad way. A pang seared through me. She’d been my friend and she had been hoping to get Jesse while she knew of our history. It hurt. It hurt a lot.

  He leaned forward with his arms resting on the table. His tone was gentle, “Look, Marissa was stupid, okay? I don’t know how you two are right now, but take it from me. She was a stupid girl. She was selfish.”

  I swallowed over a knot in my throat. It hurt. It hurt so fucking much.

  He continued, so soft and gentle, “And if you think Jesse wanted anything to do with her, you’re completely wrong. The dude’s barely looked at another girl since you took up your walking papers and marched last November.”

  Relief hit me like a ton of bricks. I sat there, stunned, with my head down. It felt good to hear that. It felt really good to hear that, but he never returned my calls. Why hadn’t he if he cared that much?

  “Look.” Cord sighe
d and stood from the table. He tossed the rest of his wine in the sink, then did the same with mine. “Have you moved into the dorms yet?”

  I shook my head.

  “And I bet you have a whole car loaded to the top with stuff, huh?”

  I nodded this time.

  “All right. Mind’s made up. Come on.”

  He bent to slip on his shoes, pulled a Grant West University shirt on, and grabbed his keys. He dangled them at me from the door. “You coming or not?”

  “What are you doing?”

  “I’ll help you move in.”

  “You will?” This visit had gone in a different direction than what I intended. “I didn’t come here for that.”

  He shrugged, grinning at me. “I know, but Jesse would want me to do this. He’d do it, if he were here.”

  I stood and frowned. “Yeah, where is he?”

  Barking out a laugh, he shook his head. “Nope. Not going to touch that one.”

  Touch that one? I was even more confused as he put his hand between my shoulder blades and urged me out of the house. Following behind me, he locked the door and then asked, “What dorm are you in?”

  “Frasier Hall.”

  A glimmer of a frown appeared but was gone in a second. “What floor?”

  “Sixth.”

  His eyebrows shot up now.

  I narrowed my eyes at him. “Why?”

  Jerking a shoulder up, he shrugged but turned for his car. “Nothing. I’ll follow you?”

  “Suurree…” Something was up. That was obvious, but when Cord climbed into his Jaguar, I shook my head. I’d need to admit defeat on this one.

  “Let’s go, Connors.” He reversed out of the driveway. Pounding the top of his car, he gestured for me to hurry up. His car was idling in the road as he waited so I got into my car and pulled out. He followed behind and when we pulled up to the back door of my new dorm, the reaction to his Jaguar was comical.

  There were girls everywhere, along with their parents, little siblings, and friends galore. Most of the dads seemed to halt whatever they were doing. Their heads craned for a better view so they could see his Jaguar. The girls snapped to attention as well, but their eyes were on Cord himself as he rounded his car and sauntered to mine. Even though his head was down and he only looked at me and talked to me, he still emanated a subtle cockiness. It was as if everyone knew he was an elite athlete among their mix.

  I could only shake my head. If people reacted like this to Cord, how would they handle Jesse?

  “Any order?” Cord asked as he opened my back door and bent to scoop up a box.

  “No order.”

  “What room?” He straightened from the car.

  “613.”

  “Got it.” His head clipped up and down in a brisk nod before he headed for the opened stairway. It was like he knew where he was going, exactly where he was going.

  “Was that Cord Tatum?”

  I had expected the question from a girl. When it was a deep masculine voice instead, I was thrown off balance for a second. He looked in his mid-forties with a beer belly. Sweat soaked most of his shirt and he wiped a hand over his glistening forehead, but his eyes were lit up. “Was it?”

  Then I remembered.

  Cord and Jesse were on the basketball team. They helped take their team to the NCAA Championships. Of course, they would get this reaction. They were Grant West gods, already basketball legends.

  I had a feeling I’d be getting this question a lot from the other dads.

  “Uh,” I wasn’t sure what to say.

  “Yo, Connors.” Cord was already back.

  I almost did a double take. He must’ve sprinted up the stairs and jogged down, but he looked like he could do that twenty more times. He grinned from the corner of his mouth at me as he bent to picked up another box. “You got no roommate. Nice.”

  The dad moved in his way. “Are you Cord Tatum?”

  “Nah, man.” Cord gave him a polite smile and jogged back to the stairway. “I just look like him.”

  The guy’s shoulders dropped down. “Oh. I thought—well—he looks a lot like him.”

  He was still looking at me, but I shrugged and grabbed a box of my own. Locking the door, I went inside and up the stairs. Cord passed me on the third floor. He rolled his eyes as he held his hand out for my keys. “That guy still down there?”

  I nodded. “Does that happen a lot?”

  “Usually only when we head to a bar. I didn’t expect that here, but makes sense. It shouldn’t be a problem.”

  “Is that…” I hesitated. I wanted to know how it was for Jesse. Should I ask that?

  Cord flashed me another grin. “Don’t sweat it, Connors. Jesse comes off as a Grade A bastard so he’s usually not approached for autographs.” He laughed to himself, shaking his head. “And he gets away with it. No one’s going to think anything less of Malcolm Hunt’s son.”

  I nodded. I wasn’t sure what to think of that.

  “Oh, hey.”

  I turned back on the stairs.

  He winked at me. “Jesse will like knowing that your room is right next to the stairs.”

  “Cord!” I hissed, horrified, excited, and embarrassed at the same time. I didn’t want to dwell on any of those emotions, they were too threatening, so I ignored all of them and went the rest of the way to my room. When I stepped onto the sixth floor, I realized he was right. 613 was right next to it. It was in its own hallway since the exit sectioned off from the main hallway and my room was the last, tucked away in a corner.

  My room wasn’t anything special. There were two beds, two desks, two closets, and two dressers. I had paid for a single after I received the screw-off letter from my parents. I hadn’t known my grandfather was wealthy, but I capitalized on it. I had the money so I was going to use it. I’d heard enough horror stories about freshman roommates.

  I was stepping out from the room and heading back downstairs for another load when someone tapped me on the shoulder.

  “Hi, there!” A girl waved at me with a friendly smile. She had bright blue eyes and platinum blonde hair. Dressed in white khaki shorts and a white polo, she could’ve stepped out of a golfing magazine for the rich and preppy. Then I noticed the GW logo on the top right corner of her shirt in purple lettering.

  This girl was my resident advisor.

  “Hi.”

  She held her hand out, tanned like the rest of her with a diamond-encrusted watch wrapped around her wrist. “I’m Kara.”

  I shook her hand and tried not to grimace at how my hand contrasted next to hers. She was golden and beautiful. I was pale and grotesque, but I drew in a breath. This girl was stunningly
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