Fallen crest public, p.5
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       Fallen Crest Public, p.5

         Part #3 of Fallen Crest High series by Tijan


  “You know it, Sam. Stop fighting us and let us help you. You’re going to have to at some point.” A final warning was in his gaze before he took off.

  As he did, all heads turned to follow him. As he went one way, Mason passed him coming towards me. The heads turned and followed him instead.

  As I waited, watching him come to me, people parted for Mason. He didn’t seem to notice it. His gaze was on me, but I couldn’t stop from watching how people reacted to him. Logan too. They knew when Mason or Logan were around. Even if they didn’t see them, they still moved out of the way. It was beginning to dawn on me how big their near-celebrity status was at this school. Everything they did, people knew. Everything they said, people heard. This shouldn’t have been a surprise anymore, but it was. It was different at their school. It was more than I had experienced before.

  As he drew closer, his intensity softened and he gave me a grin. I saw the love in his eyes and it warmed me. Hell, he was becoming like oxygen. I needed him.


  “Hey, yourself,” he murmured, bending down to give me a soft kiss.

  I closed my eyes as the usual ache started in me again.

  The whispers started around us. They grew to a low buzz, and I started to turn around, but Mason grabbed my chin. His eyes were once again the only thing I saw—everything else started to melt away. He stepped closer, his hand grew gentle on my face, and his thumb started to rub over my cheek. “What happened with Kate earlier?”

  “Nothing.” The Kade brothers were consistent. “It’s my fight, Mason. Let me fight it.”

  “Sam, come on.”

  I felt him now. His arms brushed against me. His stomach flattened and tightened, grazing through my shirt, and his familiar heat started to pull me in. He didn’t have his arms around me, but I still felt sheltered by him.

  This was what Mason did. His charisma was so intoxicating, and I couldn’t blame anyone from wanting what I had. I reached up to his face now, feeling the small dip underneath his lips, before it formed his chin, I couldn’t look away from him. Even now, my fingers ached to explore more, to feel his lips, to trace them and then cup the side of his face.

  “Hey,” he murmured, stepping even closer. He was almost pressed against me. My fingers fell from his face and down his chest. It felt like a cement wall underneath my touch. My hand fell to his jeans. It caught there and I curled my fingers around one of his loops. Then, feeling desire swirling inside of me, I bit my lip and pushed one of my fingers in the waistband of his jeans.

  Whatever he was about to say was forgotten.

  “Sam,” he groaned as he turned us so that my back was against the locker. He was against me now. As my finger tucked further down, I felt him harden. The power I had over him was intoxicating. It wasn’t just him. My head fell back against the metal locker, but I didn’t feel it. Everything else fell away. It was only him and me. Nothing else mattered.

  My desire for him rose, and I fought against letting it take me over.

  My eyelids flitted closed and I felt him bend down. His chest rubbed against mine now and then I gasped when his lips found the corner of mine. He stayed there, sucking lightly, as his other hand slid down to my hip and pulled me tighter against him.

  “I feel pregnant just watching you two.”

  Breaking apart, Heather was standing there with her arms crossed over her chest, and the corners of her lips curved down. She looked ready to vomit. “Honestly, come up for air every now and then. The masses look ready to riot.”

  She jerked her head down the hallway, where Kate and the rest of the Tommy Princesses were.

  I sighed, pushing Mason away. “That’s her locker?”

  Heather leaned against my neighbor’s locker. “No, that’s Natalie’s. She and Jasmine are only juniors. Kate and Parker are seniors. Good riddance too. I’m ready for their entire group to ship out.”

  Still watching Kate and the glower she was sending our way, I shook my head. “She looks ready to kill me.”

  “You and me both. I’m not doing what she wanted.”

  Mason frowned as he deliberately turned his back to Kate, blocking her view. “She wanted you to do something?”

  “She told me to stop being friends with Sam.” Heather shrugged, but I caught the small look of alarm in her eyes. It flared for only a second. “She gave me the warning this morning and Tate, of all people, tried to help me.”

  The interest Mason held fell flat now. He straightened from the locker as he ground out, “Don’t believe anything she says.”

  “Well, I’m going to believe Kate.” Heather peeked around him, eyeing her warily. “I wonder what she’s going to do.”

  “Nothing.” Not if I had anything to do about it. I was getting more and more irritated with Mason’s ex-on-and-off-again hook-up. She hadn’t even been a full-fledged girlfriend. She’d been used only as a scratcher when he had an itch. “I’m not going to let her.”

  Mason frowned, twisting around once again.

  I held my breath. There was an unspoken message there, and I knew he was delivering it to her. As she made an exasperated sound before slamming Natalie’s locker, I guessed she had received it, and whatever she saw, she didn’t like. Then he moved again. Kate and her group were coming towards us. I snuck a peek at Mason, whose eyes went flat, but she only hissed as they went past us, “You’re going to regret this. All of you.”

  Her friends smiled at us, following behind her.

  Heather shuddered. “Evil. They’re all evil.”

  I agreed with her, but asked Mason, “How’d they take the exile?”

  His gaze had lingered on Kate, who paused and glanced back once, but he turned back to me. “What?”

  “The exile. How’d they take it?”

  “Oh.” He lifted a shoulder. “They took it. They didn’t have a choice.”

  “Must be nice,” Heather drawled. “You declare it and people have to follow it, whether they want to or not.” She snorted, tightening her grip on her bag. “I’d like to declare something. Whoever won the lottery last week will hand their ticket over to me.” She rubbed her hands together. “And voila, all my problems—poof!—gone.” She eyed Mason up and down. “Must be nice to be rich.”

  He shot her a dark look. “That’s not how it went down.” He touched my arm again. “We have basketball practice. What were you going to do after school?”

  “Oh.” I hadn’t driven to school and Coach Grath was gone for the week. I glanced at Heather. I wasn’t scheduled for Manny’s until Saturday so what else was there? “Running.”

  “You want to take my car home?”

  I held my hand out to Mason. “Yes, please.” I didn’t care how I got home, I just needed to run.

  He grinned as he put his keys in my hand. “Just don’t go for hours. Please.” He pulled me close and pressed a kiss to my forehead, whispering at the same time, “And be careful. Keep an eye out when you’re running.”

  My throat grew thick at his concern, and I nodded, reaching for him again. My hand clasped onto his shirt’s collar and hung there. “I’ll be safe.”

  “Good.” He pressed another kiss to my lips before he pulled away.

  As he headed down the hall, Heather groaned. “I stand by what I said. You two are disgusting.”

  Running was my escape. I escaped all reality and pushed forward. I kept going. It was like a drug to me. It came with its own challenges and obstacles, and as long as I kept going, I broke through every single one of them. Tearing down a wooded trail, the bass was pounding through my earbuds and my adrenalin matched it. My heart pumped as I lifted my knees and pushed off from the ground. Power rippled up through my legs. I ducked my head and raised my hands to keep projecting forward.

  I’d never tire of this.

  And with that thought, I rounded a turn in the new trail. My eyes widened in surprise as Quickie’s came into the clearing. I never knew this path came through here, but it wasn’
t far from Nate’s home. It made sense. There were no cars in the lot so I raced through, but saw the clerk watching me. When our eyes caught for a second, he lifted his hand and I nodded back, but then I was gone again. The path led up a hill behind the gas station and I heaved a deep breath, pushing myself upward now.

  There were no thoughts in my head. No concern. No fear. There wasn’t even love. When I ran, I was just being. My nostrils flared and I kept going, flying up one hill and then another. I tore past another clearing. The trees parted below me and I braked. My chest heaved up and down, but I couldn’t move away.

  I was looking down on Fallen Crest.

  I hadn’t realized how high I must’ve run, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away. It was breathtaking. My old school’s campus was on another hill, straight from where I stood. Fallen Crest Public was in the valley below. The massive football field was a patch of green among the rest of the town. Then I looked for the south side, wondering if I could see Manny’s. It was surrounded by trees so I wasn’t surprised that I couldn’t. Then, without thinking about it, I glanced to the neighborhood where David’s house was, my old home.

  Instead of the old pain, there was nothing. I frowned, but started forward. A chill drifted over me and my blood was pumping. I needed to keep going before the cold settled in. With that last thought, I tucked my head down and pushed forward with a new burst of speed.

  After my run, I showered, ate, and then fell asleep watching television in the basement. It was later in the night before the guys got home. A stampede of feet sounded above me, and the door slammed shut as I heard Logan yell, “SAM! WHERE ARE YOU?”



  “You don’t have to scream your head off.”

  “Whatever, Nate. You’re pissed because you need to work for some pussy now. Can’t have Parker running over anymore.”

  “Shut up.”

  The door leading to the basement was thrown open and Logan’s voice grew clearer as he laughed. “Don’t blame me that girls are scared of you. You’re a shady, motherfucker.” He hurried down the stairs, but stopped before laughing. “Sam? You’re down here?”

  I scowled at him before rolling back over and pulling my blanket over my head. “You’re so loud. Shut up.”

  He chuckled before yelling upstairs, “SHE’S DOWN HERE, MASON.”

  I held my breath. I already knew what was coming next, but as he dropped next to me, the couch jerked from his sudden weight, and I went airborne for a second. Oomph. Oh yes. I was fully awake now. I pulled the blanket back to glare at him. “Thank you for being quiet.”

  He flashed me a grin, pulling the handle to the footrest next to him. “No problem.” It came up and he lounged back, getting comfortable. “What are you doing down here? You’re never down here.”

  “Resting. What are you doing down here?”

  Grabbing the remote from next to my feet, he switched the channel and pointed at the screen. “Game’s on.”

  Of course. How stupid of me.

  I groaned to myself, but sat up and curled my knees to my chest. The sounds of a basketball game came next. It was only the first day of school so I didn’t have any homework yet. No shift at Manny’s. I already ran. I knew Mason would be heading down soon. I wasn’t going anywhere. When Logan reached down and lifted a fast food bag to his lap, I asked, “You guys got food?”

  He had pulled his burger out. It was half unwrapped and lifted to his mouth before he stopped and turned to me. “Did you want some?”

  My stomach growled. The smell of greasy food hit me like a cement truck. Crap. The little sandwich I had after my run hadn’t tied me over.

  Logan heard it and one corner of his mouth lifted. He held his burger to me. “You want a bite?”

  I shook my head. “No. That’s yours. I’ll go and find something else.” Still. My stomach growled louder.

  “Sam.” Logan was fighting back a smile. “You can have the entire thing. This was my second one.”

  “No, then you’ll be hungry.”

  “Nah.” The smile won out and he grinned from ear to ear. “I can steal Nate’s. He got three of them, and I know he hasn’t touched them. He said we should wait till we got home.” He snorted. “No fucking idea why.”

  “Because I was going to ask Sam if she wanted one,” Nate spoke up, coming down the stairs. He frowned at Logan, before he sat down on the other couch. He had two bags with him and held one in the air. “There’s a chicken sandwich in here. Sam?”

  My stomach spoke up with a resounding ‘yes.’ It groaned, growled, and shuddered all at the same time.

  Logan chuckled, but turned to Nate. “Kiss ass.”

  “Screw you. Mason got the sandwich for her.”

  “Oh.” Logan frowned. “I thought you were going to take the credit.”

  “What’s your problem?” Nate tossed the bag so it landed on the couch next to me. “You’ve been on my ass all day.”

  “Because you’ve been an ass lately,” he shot back before giving me a wink. He said to Nate, “It’s not every day you get knocked down a peg and take it. I have to enjoy this while I can.”

  Nate’s frown deepened to a glower as he rolled his eyes. “Well, it’s getting old.”

  Logan shrugged. “Not my problem. You were the shady motherfucker in the first place.”

  “Guys,” I murmured as I unwrapped the sandwich. My stomach wouldn’t stop groaning. I hadn’t realized how hungry I was.

  Nate glanced back at the stairs. “Your brother’s being an asshole.”

  There was no response, but I knew who it was. I knew who was coming and enjoyed waiting for him. I sunk my teeth into the sandwich. Good gracious, I was in heaven. A chicken sandwich had never tasted so delicious to me. My stomach was doing cartwheels, but then I was being lifted in the air again. I didn’t even react. I already knew where he was going. When he moved so he was underneath me, I kept eating as I got comfortable on his lap and rested my head on his chest. One of his hands remained on my leg, his fingers on my inner thigh as I took another bite.

  “Did you not eat?”

  I nodded, mumbling around the sandwich, “Not enough.”

  He grinned and leaned back into the couch.

  Logan chuckled, turning the volume louder.

  “Nice, dickwad.”

  He only got a shrug in response.

  Mason held me on his lap and moved his fingers in a circling motion. It was soothing and sensual at the same time. Part of me was getting excited while the other part wanted to fall asleep. With the chicken sandwich in my stomach, and the warmth from Mason, the sleepy part won out. Then Mason’s phone went off. It buzzed from his pocket underneath me, and he shifted me to the side, his arm sliding under me to grab it. Pulling it out, he opened the screen. It was a text from his father: We would like to invite you over for dinner. When are you moving back?

  “Uh, okay.” Logan was reading his phone at the same time. He put it down, his eyebrows bunching together as he said, “I know you talked us into moving back, but no way. I can’t do it, Sam.”

  “What?” I sat forward. “You guys said you would.”

  Logan shared a look with Mason. I twisted around. “You agree?”

  Mason didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to. I shook my head. “What? Did you guys come to this decision without me?”

  “No.” Logan shook his head and then nodded. “Yes.”

  A lead stone dropped to the pit of my stomach. This was my fault. I promised James and now they were changing their minds. “You guys should live with your dad for the last semester. Mason, you only have a few months before you leave.”


  That big lead stone wasn’t moving. I sat up and went to the empty chair.

  Nate took the remote from Logan and silenced the game.

  Logan snorted. “Why’s it so damn important for us to live with our dad? It’s not fair to put your daddy issues on us.”

  Narrowing my eyes, I
crossed my arms over my chest. “You can’t say that to me. You have no idea—”

  “No idea?” Logan scoffed. “Yes, we do. Our dad’s an asshole.”


  He overrode me, “It’s not going to happen.” Then he stopped, and glanced at Nate.


  Logan turned to the stairs.

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