Fallen Fourth Down

Page 15

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He sounded like he was joking, but I caught the heated spark in his gaze. When he dropped next to me and didn’t start talking right away, the rest of the classroom began their own conversations again. More than a few kept glancing back, just in case a heated exchange broke out again. Rubbing my neck, I tried to apologize to Heather as she took a seat beside the board. We were next to the window and surrounded by Logan’s friends. It wasn’t long after that when a group of girls came in. Kris was with them, dressed in a floral skirt, a white tank top, and a jean jacket pulled over it. With pink ballet shoes on, she was ready for a picnic date. Her friends headed to the front two tables in Heather’s row and Kris scanned the room for Logan. When she saw me with him, her mouth fell open an inch.

He wasn’t paying attention so I hit him with my knee. “What?” I jerked my head to her, and he cursed. “I forgot she was transferring to this class.”

“Whatever. Do something quick or you’re going to be kissing her ass all week.”

He groaned, but got up from the table. “Hey…”

“I’m sorry.” She closed her mouth, and her hand jerked out, pointing to me. “I assumed I would sit with you.”

“Yeah.” His hand lifted to the back of his neck, and he gripped it.

His back was to me, but when he grabbed the back of his neck, it meant he knew he was in trouble and had no idea how to get out of it. I had to laugh. Logan was never at a loss for words, so I stood up and said, “Don’t get mad. I made him promise before school started that we’d sit together in a couple classes. I pulled out the sister card.”


He twisted around so she couldn’t see and mouthed, “Thank you.”

I rolled my eyes, then sat back down.

“Okay.” Her hands came in front of her and twisted around each other, cradling her book and notebook in her arms. “Well,” she scanned the room, “I guess I could sit…”

One of her friends raised her hand. “We have a seat. Come on, Kris. We’re more fun than boyfriends. We can gossip.”

She laughed. “There is that.” Casting another shadowed look at Logan, then me, she started for the front of the classroom. When she passed Heather, my gaze caught hers and her mouth was hanging open. She jerked her hands up and down and mouthed, “W.T.F.?”

I flinched. What the fuck was right. I had an opportunity to avoid Logan. Why hadn’t I taken it?

Sitting next to me, he let out a deep sigh of relief. “Thanks, Sam. I had no idea how to back out of that.”

I knew. He was family. Secret be damned, he was still family, and I couldn’t hide from him. I didn’t want to. I pretended to punch him in the arm and said, “What do they say? Bros before hoes? In our case, fam before…females?” I shook my head. “Sorry. I’m not funny.”

He laughed, leaned back, and rested his hand on the back of my chair. “Yes, you are, and you’re right. Family before all others, right?”

“That sounds better.”

“Good.” The relieved and jovial look disappeared and his gaze trailed over my shoulder to fix on someone else. It grew dangerous as he said, “You gonna tell me what was said to you at your practice last night?”

I turned and saw the object of his stare. Hayes. He was staring back, but unlike the puzzled look from earlier and the arrogance from yesterday, fear flooded his gaze. He swallowed, his Adam’s apple moved up and down, and he turned forward in an abrupt movement. His head went down and his shoulders hunched forward. His table mate cast him a confused look, but didn’t say anything.

Logan leaned close and murmured in my ear, “At the first sign of anything, you give me the go. I mean it. I won’t be having you getting carted out of another bathroom to the hospital. Can you imagine the beat down I’d get from my brother?”

“I’d imagine it’d be similar to the beat down you’d give to anyone who might try to do that again.” I stressed the word. “And it won’t be a problem. I promise. His ego just got bruised.”

“It doesn’t matter. Say the word.”

I nodded. “I will.”

“I mean it.”

“I know. I know you do.”

“Mason’s gone. You’re my responsibility.”

A surge of warmth spread through me. It gave me hope that maybe it wouldn’t matter. If I told him that I knew, he could deny it and we’d laugh it off. Nothing would happen. I wouldn’t lose him or Mason. Logan was waiting for my response, watching me intently, and I joked, “What’s this shit with me avoiding you? I called you last night. You avoided my phone call.”

“Sorry.” The teacher came in at that moment. As everyone sat up and quieted down for roll call to begin, Logan said to me, “I was having sex most the night.”


It was the first week of classes and I had political science with Matteo and Drew. As we went through campus, we drew attention. I was big already, but Matteo was bigger. He was a lineman. He had to be huge, but Drew wasn’t a slouch. Some quarterbacks were smaller, but not him. He stood at the same height as us. His shoulders were broad, but he wasn’t as filled out as me. He was leaner.

The three of us walked through the quad with our backpacks on and our waters hooked through the straps. People stopped and watched us. They stepped off the sidewalk as we went past, then stepped back on. We heard the whispers behind us and around us.

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