Fallen Fourth Down

Page 14

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“Yeah. Coach started me last and told me to smoke the guys. They had a ten minute lead too.”

She whistled in appreciation. “God, I love you, woman.” A shit-eating grin was on her face.

“I gave them the middle finger when they said I only had endurance because of all the sex Mason and I had.”

“Yeah.” She glanced around the hallway. A group of cross country guys weren’t far away, and her gaze centered on them. Her top lip curved up in a slight sneer. “I heard about that. Precious egos and chauvinist pigs.”

I grinned, moving my hip to shut my locker. We began walking to hers since it was closer to our first class. When we passed by the guys, Heather called out, “Hey, Hayes.”

A head popped up. It was the guy who’d been in the lead the day before. He had been turned towards his locker, but cast her a puzzled look. “What?” His gaze slid to mine. A small amount of anger stirred in the depths of his eyes.

Heather snorted. We passed by, but she turned around to face them. “Just so you know, if you beat me in calculus, I’m going to tell everyone it’s because you like to sew with your mom.”


“Yeah. Makes no sense, but it makes you look dumb, and I’ll feel slightly better.” She pointed and winked at the same time. “I grew up next door to you. I know all your secrets and that was virginal compared to what I know about you.”

“What?” His eyebrows furrowed together, and he shared identical looks with his friends.

I laughed as we moved around the corner. “The guys didn’t even get it.”

“It’s because they’re stupid assholes.”

Coming up to her locker, I rested against her neighbor’s. “What’s up with you? I can handle those guys. Trust me. After Kate, they’re a piece of cake.”

“Nothing.” She shook her head, then paused and closed her eyes. Lifting her hand, she skimmed it down her face. “I need to clear my mind. You’re right. You can handle them, but man, I get so angry when guys use sex to belittle a girl.”

I grew thoughtful, but before I could say anything, she gave me another grin. This one was more carefree and laid back. She asked, “What’d Logan say when you told him? Or should I ask what’d Logan do when you told him?”

“I didn’t.”

“You didn’t?”

“He was gone all night. I ran home, but he never answered his phone. I was hoping he’d give me a ride to get my car. Mark got the honor instead.”

“So much for you being Mark’s bitch?” She chuckled, tucking some of her hair behind her ear. She bent down to pick up a book from the bottom of the locker.

“Yeah.” The beer pong game had been last weekend. “Although I did do his laundry on Sunday. He wasn’t kidding. His entire closet was just dirty clothes. He uses the storage room in the basement for his closet.” I grimaced, remembering the smell of dirty boxers and moldy food. “I was tempted to wear a mask over my nose so I wouldn’t inhale anything and get sick.”

“God forbid, you get sick. Those guys would rejoice on your hospital bed.” There was a bite in her voice.

When the first bell went off, we headed towards first period. I threw her a confused glance. “I mean it. Those guys really aren’t a big deal.”

“I know.” She sighed and opened the classroom door. “I just really dislike Hayes. We were friends, but when my mom left, his mom decided we weren’t good enough for their family anymore. He agreed and has had a superior attitude ever since. I’m surprised he’s never tangled with Mason or Logan. Wait,” she stopped and a rueful expression filtered across her face. “I can. He’s in cross-country. They’re in football. I think he’d piss himself if Logan went after him.”

“Who’d piss themselves if I went after them?” Logan had come up behind us. We both jumped, startled, and he chuckled. “Always be aware of your surroundings, Jax. You never know what creeper is stalking up behind you.”

“Not long ago you threw your arms around our shoulders and told us we needed shorter skirts.”

“And cupcakes,” I added.

She nodded and pointed back at me. “What she said. Where’d the love go, Kade? I feel like we need to explore that happy place once again.”

He barked out a laugh. As we stopped in the hallway, he moved between us. Hooking an arm around my shoulder, he bent me forward so my head was firmly within his hold and he tugged me into the class. He said over me, “The happy place went away when you got a stick up your ass about my girlfriend.” He stopped, patted my head, and added, “And when you started protecting Sam from me.” The last was spoken with dead seriousness.

I winced. Shit just got real. Closing my eyes, I could feel the sudden tension come over the room. They’d been talking and laughing, but when he said those words, it acted like a blanket had dropped over everyone.

Logan was tense.

Heather cut out a short laugh. “For real? I’m being a friend.”

I felt him take a silent breath. As he let it back out, his body loosened with it. He was forcing himself to relax. “Yeah, well, I call dibs for today. Sam sits with me.”

“What?” She started to argue, but I pushed up enough so I could meet her gaze. When she saw me, I shook my head and she got the message. “Fine.”

He turned around and led me to the table in the far back. Kicking a chair out, he let go of me and pointed to it. “Sit. You can’t avoid me, and you can’t say no to your future stepbrother.”

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