Broken and screwed 2, p.28
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       Broken and Screwed 2, p.28
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         Part #2 of Broken and Screwed series by Tijan

  When we went back to the dorms, Hannah and Beth went to Club T. I was invited to go along, but declined. By now I knew there was someone there for Beth. I figured it was a worker. She’d go and she always seemed more laidback when she would come back. Hannah seemed different when she came back as well. Beth told me over breakfast the next morning (Hannah had slept in) that her cousin met a guy. He was in a band, someone famous apparently, and he was bald with a scar over his face. Hannah loved describing the scar to Beth when they rode back in the cab.

  After we finished eating and went our separate ways, I headed to anthropology. The class was filled with upperclassmen. At first, I didn’t pay attention, but when I heard Jamie’s voice, my stomach rolled over. Not again. But I looked up and there he was. Again. And Jamie wasn’t alone. He was followed inside by Cord…and Jesse.

  Both guys stood in the doorway. I was in the back row, but I knew I’d been spotted.

  I couldn’t look away from him. His hair had been cut short again. As his jaw tightened, his eyes flashed an unnamed emotion. It glimmered in him before I pulled my gaze away. As I did, my chest lifted up as I tried to catch my breath. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Jesse was gorgeous. And the sight of him, after so many weeks apart, sent sensations through me. Not the good kind.

  It seemed that everyone else in the room felt the tension. All eyes trailed from Jesse to me and back again. I looked back. I couldn’t keep my gaze away. And then I watched, as if in slow motion, as he made a decision. He led the way and took the seat beside me.

  I couldn’t speak. I wanted to say so much, to ask him about the secret, to ask him why he was doing this to us, but I couldn’t do any of it. Instead, I slunk down in my seat and I didn’t say a word. Jamie took the seat on Jesse’s other side and Cord took the seat on my side. I felt everyone watching and then the whispers started again.

  I heard, ‘girlfriend’, ‘dumped’, ‘whore’, and a few other more colorful tones.

  Jamie barked out, just as the professor was coming in, “Ya’ll shut the fuck up. You don’t know shit.”

  “Mr. Striker.” The professor placed his briefcase on his table. “Will you enlighten me to the reason behind your profanity?”

  “Sorry, Mr. Cates. Just putting a stop to the gossip mill before it got going. That’s all.” Jamie leaned around Jesse and flashed me a grin. “New leaf here, Alex. I’ve got your back.”

  “Thanks,” I muttered.

  Cord was trying to muffle his laughter beside me.

  The professor took a breath and skimmed our group in one long and silent scrutiny. Then he sighed again, “I’m going to have problems with you four, aren’t I?”

  Jamie spoke for us, “No way. Model students here.”

  “Athletes are rarely my model students.”

  “We are.” Then Jamie jerked a hand off his desk. “At least Hunt is.”

  “Shut up,” Jesse hissed. “You’re not helping.”

  “Sorry.” Jamie leaned around him again. “Sorry, Alex.”

  I was mortified. I tried hiding behind my books.

  “If you four are done, may I assume my responsibilities as the professor of this classroom?” His sarcasm was duly noted.

  “Yeah, sure. No problem.”

  “Thank you, so much, Mr. Striker.”

  “No problem. Thanks professor. I’m keen to learn about this stuff.”

  “Shut up, Jamie,” Cord spoke this time.

  “What? What’d I do?”

  The professor cleared his throat and gave us another meaningful look. “Please refrain from talking for the rest of the class period. All of you.”

  Not a problem for me.

  After class, I sped out of there. Or I tried. Jesse was on my tail. He grabbed my elbow and pulled me into an empty classroom. As soon as that door was closed, I twisted my arm free and shoved at him. “Get off.”

  He chuckled but stepped away. “I need to talk to you.”

  “That’s surprising. I haven’t heard a word from you since I left. Thanks for that one text, by the way. Happy holidays to you too.”

  “I’m sorry. I was trying to fix things before I came to you.”

  I stopped. My eyes lifted and I felt my chest fill with hope. Did he?

  Regret filled him.

  My heart lurched. He hadn’t done a thing.

  “I couldn’t. I’m sorry, but I’m trying, Alex. I really am.”

  Shaking my head, I started for the door. “You’re wasting our time. Let it go.”

  “I can’t.”

  “Spill whatever you know or stop playing with me.”

  “I’m not playing with you.” He took my arm again.

  This time, I couldn’t pull it away. My heart was racing. I was struggling to breathe. Good god, it felt so good to have him this close again. I turned it off when I left him. Again, I became the numb monster that I’d been after Ethan died. It was like nothing existed. I watched the world happening through a television screen with no sound, no smell, no taste, no color. As soon as he touched me, the world became 3-D again. High definition. My senses were on overload.

  “I’m not,” he insisted. Gently, he moved even closer until I was tucked against his chest. I felt his own heartbeat. It was racing like mine.

  “Just tell me, Jesse. Please.”

  It was as simple as that.

  He let out a ragged breath. “I can’t because it’s not my secret.”“It’s Ethan’s.”

  “It’s Ethan’s and someone else’s.”

  I frowned. What did that mean?

  “Look, I have to talk to you about your parents.”

  All the 3-D and high definition of the world was slapped away now. I was back to watching the world in black and white, barely audible sound. “I don’t want to talk about them.”

  “They’re coming to my game this weekend.”

  “Now I really don’t want to talk about them.”

  He tugged at my arm again. “They’re coming with my dad.”

  “What?”

  “My dad and my...that girl. She’s coming too.”

  “Your sister?”

  He nodded, finally letting go of my arm to rest on a desk.

  Except my arm yearned for his touch again. It tingled where he’d held it. I rubbed at it, hoping that maybe it’d stop. It didn’t. It intensified. My entire body wanted Jesse.

  “My dad dropped the case. He paid her off.”

  “Your sister?”

  “No, it was her mother. She was using her kid to get at my dad, but after seeing what your folks did to you, I talked to my dad. I met the girl. She’s sweet, kind of.”

  I grinned. “Another ringing endorsement from Jesse Hunt.”

  He grinned back. “It’s still weird.”

  “So you met her?”

  “Once. She seems sweet. Her mom’s a whack job so we’ll see how far the apple falls from the tree, you know?”

  “Yeah, look at my parents and me. I didn’t fall far.”

  He groaned, tipping his head back and raking his hands through his hair. “I didn’t mean that at all. I just meant, oh to hell with it. I want you to come to my game.”

  I opened my mouth, a hot argument on the tip of my tongue.

  He stopped me. “You haven’t been to one game. We’ve been playing for a couple months now. You owe me.”

  “You owe me the truth.”

  He slouched forward again. “I told you. It’s not my secret to tell, but trust me when I say I’m trying.” He reached over and drew me to him. HIs voice softened, “Believe me, Alex. I am trying. My fucking bed is too big for me. It feels empty now. I can’t believe I’m even saying that, but whatever. That’s how I feel. I want you back. I want you to move in. I want you with me again.”

  My body melted. I sagged forward, wanting the same thing, but the back of my throat was burning. It was so fucking painful to pull away from him. The tears were there again, threatening to spill as I shook my head. “I can’t. You can’t keep something
about my brother from me. I can’t come back until there are no secrets.”

  He cursed under his breath.

  Since I was at it, “And we define what the hell we actually are.”

  “What do you mean?”

  “What am I to you? Or what was I to you? A body to keep your bed warm? Fuck buddies? That’s what we were before—”

  He jerked me back and bit out, “We were never that. You were never that to me.”My hand went to his chest, to push him away. It lingered instead. It curved against him and I felt his heart again.

  “You were my fucking sanctuary, that’s what you were to me. You were my guilty indulgence. I should’ve stayed away from you, but I couldn’t. I still can’t. Jeezus. Look at me. I’m damn near on my knees here.”

  “Jesse.”

  “Stop. I don’t want to hear it. I got it. You want the secret. I’ll deliver. I have to, but when you find out—don’t be mad at me. This wasn’t my secret. This was what Ethan wanted. I was just trying to do what he wanted from me.”

  The pain doubled in me. “Ethan wanted this kept from me?”

  “I was left fucking instructions from his lawyers.” A threat of violence mingled with his tone. It was low and heavy. It sent shivers down my back. If Ethan had been alive...

  “Will you come to the game? Please come.”

  I broke. I heard myself saying in surrender, “I won’t sit with my parents. I can’t do that.”

  “Fine. But they want to do dinner after the game. Your mom emailed me. She wanted me to ask you, but…” Sensing my resistance, he pulled me close again. “I want you to come for me. Be there for me. My dad’s going to be there. No doubt some whore will be with him and my sister. I can’t get through this damn dinner alone. I need you.”

  “Jesse,” I murmured. My head fell to his chest. The fight was leaving me. Every second he touched me, it was becoming harder to pull away.

  His hand cradled that back of my head. His thumb moved back and forth against my neck in a soothing manner. “Please, Alex. I don’t usually ask for much.”

  “You don’t ask for anything.”

  “Except sex.”

  I felt the rumbling in his chest from laughter.

  And he finished with, “I really, really enjoy screwing you.”

  What every girl wants to hear.

  I refused to sit with my parents or Jesse’s family so I asked Hannah and Beth to go with me instead. Our seats were across the gymnasium and higher up. The view was perfect for me to spy on Jesse’s new sister. I already knew what to expect with my parents, avoidance, and I knew Malcolm Hunt was a douchebag most of the time. I also had met a few of his girlfriends to know they were the same. Model thin, big breasts, and an aspiring actress/supermodel/singer/take your pick. A few had made sexual advances on Jesse when they were bumped off the line by his father.

  Hannah put her binoculars down and sat back. “Jesse’s dad is hot. He doesn’t look like some big-time movie producer. He looks like an actor or someone who’d be in front of the camera, if you know what I mean.”

  Beth grabbed for the binoculars, but she put them in her bag instead.

  “Hey!” Hannah tried to grab for them again.

  “No.” She moved the bag out of reach. “I can’t believe you brought these. I’m emo and I think it’s embarrassing. That says something.”

  “What do you mean by that? I can’t see. This place is huge.” Hannah dove for the bag again.

  Beth threw it on my lap as she held her cousin away with a hand on Hannah’s forehead. “That I usually don’t give a damn what people think about me, but that’s too much. It’s embarrassing on Alex’s behalf.”

  I shrugged. “I don’t care.” I was tempted to use them myself.

  “See. She doesn’t care. Only her opinion should matter.” She reached over and snatched them from my lap. No one stopped her this time.

  Beth glanced over. “You really don’t care that Hannah has binoculars to scope out Jesse’s family?”

  “I don’t. Really. I’d like to use them too.”

  “Oh. Here.” Hannah had pulled them out and held them across Beth’s lap. “You were spot on about the girlfriend. I think she’s a Playmate. The sister looks weird. And your parents are still bitches. They won’t talk to the sister or the girlfriend.”

  “The sister looks weird?” As I put the binoculars in front, I was able to follow along until I saw a girl sitting between Malcolm Hunt’s girlfriend, or I figured because of the long legs and big cleavage, and my mother. Ignoring the tension that came over me, I skipped over my parents and centered on Jesse’s father. He was striking, just like his son. He had a similar build, tall and lean with broad shoulders that tapered down to a slim waist. However, unlike his son, who had inherited his mother’s dark eyes, Malcolm had green eyes. It’d been years since I had spoken to Jesse’s father and judging from the confident authority that clung to the movie producer, I wasn’t looking forward to it. I hadn’t been surprised by Hannah’s comment. Malcolm wasn’t a womanizer just from his money. He had the looks to draw them in, but I was among the few that realized how careless he was when it came to his son or their relationship.

  I backtracked to Jesse’s sister. She was petite with golden brown hair. It looked lightly curled and I could tell that it was long. Sitting down, it covered her shoulder and fell to her waist. It was then that I caught a slight movement. She had a hand wrapped around her hair. It was hidden underneath her other hand, but as her arm tensed the strand of hair tightened as well.

  She was nervous. I understood.

  “She looks weird.”

  I lifted a shoulder. “She’s scared.”

  “I don’t know what about. She’s set for life. Didn’t you say that he paid her off?”

  I was regretting my one moment of confession with Hannah and Beth. Even though I still hadn’t given them any explanation of my relationship with Jesse, they weren’t stupid. They knew things had gone south so I had been interrogated why I was going to his game. So I broke and told them Jesse’s new sister would be there and I was curious. That started a whole new interrogation, which I tried to appease with a quick recant of the illegitimate daughter’s court case that never made it to court.

  I hesitated about the mother, but figured they’d kept quiet about his sister. I hoped they’d keep quiet about her mother as well. “He paid off the mother, not the daughter.”

  Hannah snorted, fixing the binoculars on them again. “Yeah, right. I’m sure she got a nice settlement.”

  Beth punched her in the shoulder. “Stop that. He’s trying for a relationship with his daughter.”

  “You don’t know that.”

  “He brought her to this game.”

  “Yeah, his legitimate son’s game. If he wanted a relationship, don’t you think he’d meet her in private for a while, father/daughter bonding and that crap? My bet, it’s some guilt manipulation to work on Jesse. And why are your parents here as well?”

  I sighed. I gave them some explanation, but like my falling-out with Jesse, they had heard from Tiffany about my real relationship with them as well. Finally, I murmured, “I have no idea what my parents are doing here. But they like Malcolm. They went to one of
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