Broken and screwed 2, p.6
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       Broken and Screwed 2, p.6
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         Part #2 of Broken and Screwed series by Tijan

  The realization of who Jesse was on the campus and how many knew him was settling in. Mortification and horror was starting to take root and I felt like smacking myself in the forehead. Going to his house before had been a horrible idea. I wanted to demand answers about Ethan’s death, but if someone else had been there and not just Chandra, I gulped. It could’ve been bad. Really bad. I was starting to think the best way to start life as a student at Grant West was for no one to know about our relationship.

  Goodness.

  Our relationship.

  What was our relationship?

  Images of him above me flashed in my head and lust sparked again. My throat went dry and I knew he was in my room still, waiting for me. What the hell was I doing?

  “You okay?” Beth frowned at me. “Don’t worry. I won’t say anything. I was just playing with you. Sucks to be on the receiving end, huh?”

  I nodded. It did. It really did. I shook away the desire and any remaining terror. “You won’t say anything?”

  “No, but I think it’s cool you know Jesse Hunt. It’ll be nice to see Tiffany knocked down a peg. Finally.” She started back towards our rooms and I fell in step beside her.

  “What do you mean?” Different dread formed now.

  She stopped again, before glancing in the direction of my room. “Is he still in there?”

  I jerked my head in a nod. My limbs felt like lead.

  She touched my arm and tugged me back closer to the bathroom. Lowering her voice, she said, “Tiffany’s dating Jamie Striker. Do you know who that is?”

  I frowned. “Just that Cord laughed at me when I asked about him. I have no idea why.”

  “Well,” she searched for her words. “Let’s just say that Jamie’s not the brightest bulb in the group, or the nicest, or the one with morals. Okay. Jamie doesn’t really have any morals.”

  “What does this have to do with Tiffany and Jesse?”

  “I don’t know. Hannah’s sick of her attitude, but I think Tiffany mothers Jamie and so that goes to the rest of the guys too. She’d try with Derek and Cord if they didn’t have girlfriends.”

  “Cord doesn’t have a girlfriend.” Or he hadn’t said he did, but as I remembered, there was more between them. I picked up on that immediately.

  “Trust me. He is taken. Chandra’s been working him for three years, since they were freshman.”

  A dull headache was forming in the back of my head. I felt it growing bigger and bigger. The pounding would start in a moment. “How old are they all?”

  “Tiffany’s a junior, so’s Jamie. I think the rest are too except for Hunt. He’s a sophomore.”

  I nodded. He had wanted to get out a year early and go with Ethan, but it hadn’t happened. The paperwork never was turned in because of...because my brother died.

  The headache was raging and I pressed my hands against my temples. I’d be throwing up soon, but I croaked out, “How do you know all this?”

  She stepped back and scowled, but then it was gone. She schooled her features in the next second and an impassive mask stared back at me.

  My eyes widened. What had that been about?

  Her voice held a chill in it, “I grew up with them.”

  “Oh.” Why so damn cold then?

  She grimaced then and rolled her eyes. “Look, I’m sorry. When I say that I grew up with them, I mean in their house. My mom left me with them when I was eleven and I’ve been living with them ever since.”

  “Oh.” I could relate.

  The scowl flared back. “Don’t feel sorry for me. Hannah’s mom is wonderful. Trust me, I got the better end of the deal.”

  I scowled back. “Relax. You were dumped by a parent. I understand.” My hands went up in surrender. “That’s all I meant. You’re a bit touchy, you know.”

  The scowl lessened, but didn’t completely vanish. “So, yeah. I know all about that select group.”

  I frowned.

  She explained, “That’s what Tiffany calls them, The Select, since they’re all on the—”

  “It made sense. I just think it’s stupid.”

  “Me too.” A grin lifted the corners of her mouth and her eyes warmed. “And she thinks she’s Grant West royalty.”

  “Why does she think that? Because she’s dating this Striker guy?”

  “It’s because they have Homecoming Court here and she gets nominated every year.”

  “Are you serious? Colleges do that?”

  “Yep, we’re like a rich high school that’s bigger.”

  “That sucks.” I was starting to think Ethan had horrible taste with his college choices. I should’ve thought this through more, but then I remembered this was the only school where I had an academic scholarship. At the time, I hadn’t thought I had money so the decision had been set in stone. Now I had money, but I was locked in place.

  Like you were going anywhere that Jesse wasn’t? Be real.

  I frowned at the nagging voice, but it was right. I sighed as I was starting to get a better picture on my new life. Jesse was still at the top and there were a bunch of prissy bitches surrounding him. The only problem was that they didn’t know about me and I didn’t know if I wanted them to know. Keeping it a secret had its benefits, but they already knew I was ‘family’ to Cord. I wanted to growl from frustration.

  There’d been a brief hope of starting over again and living a life as a nobody. That was gone now.

  We went back and parted at our doors. When I went inside, Jesse was gone. In his place was a note beside my cell. ‘Cord arrested, snuck out. Call later.’

  It was like Homecoming all over again.

  I got to my political science class early on the first day of classes. Sunday was spent moving in, Monday was the day for making sure everything was ready to go, and it was now Tuesday. My first class was at eight thirty, but I showed up at eight. It wasn’t that I was nervous. I think it was that I was bored. I hadn’t slept well and was up early so I got dressed and headed out. After grabbing a bagel and coffee, I found the classroom and took the seat farthest in the back. As others started to trickle in, I put my bag in the chair beside me. I wasn’t feeling social.

  No one minded.

  They trailed in and sat by themselves. A few girls came together and took the row in front of me. At eight twenty-nine, I slumped down in my chair and rested my head against the wall behind me. Closing my eyes, I could’ve fallen asleep. I was hidden in my back corner, but then I heard something that had my eyes wide open again.

  One of the girls whispered in her friend’s ear in front of me, “That’s Cord Tatum and Jamie Striker. I heard they might take this class, so glad we took it now.”

  The friend giggled, whispering back, “Super HOT!”

  “Jenna was with Jamie at the Kappa party last Friday night.”

  “Really? Isn’t he dating…”

  The first one nodded, her excitement was barely contained. “Tiffany Chatsworth. Sucks to be her, huh? He’s the biggest manwhore on the team.”

  “Bad for her. Good for us.”

  The two shared a knowing grin. Then the first one leaned closer, “I heard they’re having a party next Friday. I’m going to try to talk to Jamie after class; maybe we can get an invite.”

  “We need an invite? We can’t just go?”

  She rolled her eyes, flicking her hair over her shoulder. “It’s at Jesse Hunt’s house; you have to have an invite to even know where it is. No one knows where it is unless you’re in their circle. I heard his daddy bought him a new mansion.”

  The friend groaned, giggling at the same time. “Jesse Hunt. Oh my gawd! Is he going to be there?”

  The other one shrugged. “Don’t know. I heard he’s anti-social. You have better chances trying for Cord.”

  “Why Cord? Jesse Hunt is way hotter.”

  The first one blinded her with a smile. “Because I’m going for Jamie. And trust me, Jesse Hunt is out of our league.”

  “What about Tiffany?”

&
nbsp; “Who cares.” She shook her head, a look of disgust flashing over her. “She’s a bitch. She needs to be taken down a notch.”

  Then the third friend leaned over. “Would you two shut up?! They can hear you.”

  “Sorry,” one whispered.

  “Sorry,” the other hissed, but both still giggled.

  I wanted to groan. Cord was in my class. Nothing against Cord, but I hadn’t told him about my hope to be anonymous. It hadn’t mattered over the last two days. Jesse hadn’t texted or called. I hadn’t cared. For real. After he left, my head had swollen with questions and doubts. I hadn’t gone to him with the intention of starting our relationship up again, whatever relationship that was. And I didn’t know if I wanted a real relationship, if he did. I had no idea. Jesse wasn’t the committed type. It was why I had stopped our arrangement in the first place, but then he was in my dorm room. He hadn’t ignored my calls on purpose and there was no big secret about his phone call to Ethan that night.

  All control fled when he was close, but he hadn’t been close since. Reason flooded back in.

  I could not do a relationship. No way.

  I was barely able to stand saying hello to Beth the past couple days. Kara had been sickeningly sweet when she saw me in the bathroom. She wanted to know if I had hung out with Beth and Hannah, but my mouth had been full of toothpaste. I used that to my advantage and shrugged, unable to talk. She’d been nice and waited until I spit it out, and then rinsed my mouth. I hadn’t been so nice. I gave her a polite smile and walked out of the bathroom.

  I didn’t need anyone knowing my business.

  Hurt flared in her eyes, but that didn’t stop me from snubbing her. She was better off. That’s what I told myself and the next time I saw her, she didn’t try again.

  An unnamed emotion burned low in my gut, but we were both better off. She hadn’t asked how I knew Cord and I hoped she would let that go as well. No one needed to know any of that information. And certainly not these three girls who sat in front of me.

  I tried to crouch farther down in my seat, but to no avail, I could see Cord and a taller guy who looked like he could’ve been a poster boy for any Ivy League school follow behind him. He was tall and built with wavy blonde locks, dark eyes, and a smirk plastered over his thick jaw. He knew they were the center of attention and he loved it.

  They approached the back of the classroom. The girls in front of me bristled from excitement. Their eyes were glued to them as they trekked all the way to the back, where I was.

  The first girl drew in her breath. The second one nudged her friend.

  They were openly staring now. In slow motion, I watched as their heads followed the guys and they turned facing behind them now.

  Oh gawd.

  I closed my eyes. My gut fell to the floor and I looked up. Cord was grinning down at me, three empty seats between us. His friend seemed annoyed, shifting on his feet behind him.

  “Little Connors.” A big smirk came over Cord’s face.

  I was reminded of an exchange he had with Marissa once. The same cockiness had been with him as he told her to get lost. I bristled with irritation now. No way was he going to treat me with the same, even though he had been nice to me on Sunday.

  I scowled at my bag. “The seat’s taken.”

  His smirk deepened and he gestured to the two empty seats next to it. “These too?”

  “Yep.”

  “Alex, come on.”

  “I have friends coming.”

  “We’re the last ones in and there’s no other seats.” He flashed me two dimples now. “Sorry, Little Connors, you’re shit out of luck. We’re sitting here.”

  “Come on, man.” His friend was growing restless. “Let’s sit already. Since when do we have to chat about it?” He shot me a dark look. “Who’s the chick? Never mind. Sit down, Cord.”

  The decision was made.

  Cord’s bag landed on the seat with mine and he took the closest seat. Our bags were between us, but he leaned over and asked in a quiet voice, “Why you got a stick up your ass? I thought after Sunday night, you’d be happy to see us.”

  I glared at him.

  His friend snickered. “That’s what I thought.”

  Cord ignored him and asked me, “You embarrassed to be seen with me, Little Connors?”

  “Stop calling me that,” I hissed. I was fully aware of the attention we were receiving. All three girls were salivating as they eavesdropped over our conversation. Not that they needed to strain to hear. Cord wasn’t quieting his voice. “And stop insinuating we slept together.”

  “Hmmm.” Cord’s dimples appeared again. Oh yes, he was enjoying himself.

  “I mean it. It’s like we don’t know each other, okay?” I wanted to smack my forehead. I had just made it worse. Judging by the smug looks, the girls were certain we had done the deed. The one who wanted Cord was eyeing me now, measuring me up and down.

  I glared at her. “Eyes up front.”

  Her mouth gasped open, but she turned quickly in her seat. The third friend’s shoulders were shaking in silent laughter.

  “Were you left unsatisfied Sunday night?” Cord mused. Lounging back, he rested his arm across the back of the seat between us. “Are you mad at me?”

  “Yes, Cord. You left me unsatisfied Sunday night. May the decree be announced that you didn’t measure up.”

  His eyebrows furrowed together. “Well, I wouldn’t put it that way.”

  “Nope. We should air this out, you know, so other girls have been warned ahead of time. My time with my lover was cut short. A guest arrived, prematurely, if you’re getting my drift. Its arrival came early.”

  His eyebrows shot high and his arm dropped from the table, but then he caught himself and chuckled. Shaking his head at me, he put his arm back on the seat. He looked ready with a retort when his friend checked into the conversation. “Dude, you were in jail Sunday night. When’d you hook up with her?”

  “He didn’t,” I snapped at him. “That’s my whole point.”

  The friend glared back. “Sounds like you need to get laid to me. You’re a bitch.”

  “Jamie.” Cord gave him a pointed look. “You don’t know who she is.”

  “Yeah, but—”

  “You don’t know who she is. Watch your tone.”

  He reared back. “Are you kidding me? She’s just some—”

  “No, she’s not,” Cord cut him off again. “I was just giving her a hard time. Relax.”

  “She was being a bitch to you. Just saying, that’s not cool.” His friend leaned back in his chair with a slight glower. He grumbled, “Since when do you let chicks talk to you like that?”

  “I was baiting her on purpose. She lashed back. It’s my fault.”

  Hearing this, I sat back and had to reanalyze Cord again. This was the same Cord from Sunday, when he’d been nice and helped me move in. This wasn’t the old Cord from when he had thrown aside Marissa after their first hook up. What brought this change to him? But I kept quiet. I had no intention of asking. It was interesting to see the change.

  Cord dropped his arm and leaned close. This time he lowered his voice so the girls couldn’t overhear him, “You pissed that Jesse hasn’t called? He’s got stuff going on right now. I don’t know if
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