Fallen Fourth Down

Page 33

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She began to shake her head when Logan muttered, “Shocker.” She stopped, and her glare got colder.

I looked between the two of them. “What the hell is going on?” They were involved in a heated stand-off.

Sam crossed her arms over her chest, but one of her hands broke free. She gestured to Logan. “Ask him. We were fine this morning and now he’s ready to rip into the world. The guy was an ass, but Mason’s right. He wasn’t that bad.”

Logan rolled his eyes. “Maybe I’m just sick of the bullshit and lies going on. Something is obviously going on with you, and you won’t say a word about it to me. This,” his finger moved in a circle between the three of us, “is a joke. I’m in Fallen Crest, but it’s like I’m a stranger to you. Coming here, and—” He stopped and cursed. “Whatever. I’m fine. I’m sorry.” He sent me an apologetic look. “Sam’s been distant as hell since you left. I have to fight with my girlfriend’s sister just so I can see her. We went five rounds today. That’s why we’re late. Seeing Nate with that douchebag. What the hell, man? It’s like he doesn’t even want to be friends with you anymore. That pisses me the fuck off. I just want to punch someone.”

Sam wasn’t letting him in. I grunted in response. I could relate. There were times her wall was up to me and it hurt like hell to break through it, but I couldn’t do anything about it. As for the rest… “Nate wants to branch out and make new friends. I don’t blame him. My friends are going to be my teammates. I’m not too interested in making new friends up here.”

“Still.” Logan cursed again, then downed the rest of his beer. When it was empty, he crushed it and left to toss it in a garbage can by the house. Nate and Logan’s girlfriend came back onto the patio. Both wore uncertain expressions and Logan’s whole demeanor changed. He’d been tense and wanted to rip into someone, but as she stepped outside, his shoulders went back, his head lifted, and I knew he stuffed all that down. As she laughed at something Nate said, she went to Logan and he wrapped his arms around her legs, lifting her in the air and whirling her in a circle. She laughed, hitting at his shoulder, but Logan moved her further away from everyone.

That was on purpose. When he set her back down, he met my gaze. I knew he wanted to leave and turning, I caught the knowing look on Nate’s face again. He headed off the patio and approached us. He skimmed a look at where Logan remained, and said to me, “You’re going?”

“It’s for the best.”

“Logan’s in a mood?”

I didn’t answer. I wasn’t going to throw Logan under the bus. Nate knew I wouldn’t and he didn’t wait for a reply. He said to Sam, “It was good seeing you for a little bit. I wanted to show you the alumni room. My dad’s picture is in there.” He nodded towards me. “So is his. It’s kinda cool to see all the history.”


I grinned. I couldn’t stop it. Sam had been silent most of the time, but that one word told us all how uncomfortable she was. As my hand touched the small of her back, I felt how tense she was. Maybe I needed to push more and find out what was wrong? I knew it was bothering Logan as well.

Distracting me, Nate said, “Park wanted me to invite you to a dinner we’re doing at the end of the month. I promised him I would invite you. Some of the alumni are coming back, including my dad.”

We both knew I wouldn’t go. I didn’t even respond. “I’m sure we’ll go out for breakfast or lunch tomorrow. Did you want to come?”

“That sounds good,” Nate said.


“Bye, Nate.”

“See ya, Sam.”

Logan had gone ahead for the car. When we got to the sidewalk and before we got to the car, I asked Sam, “You’ve been distant with Logan?”

She stiffened again, then jerked her shoulder up in an abrupt shrug. “It’s nothing. I mean, it’s me doing my thing, but it’s nothing.”

I pulled her to a stop. “I’m not hearing that it’s nothing.” There was more. I heard the undertone of anguish in her voice.

She closed her eyes and her forehead went to my chest. Her shoulders lifted again and fell back down as her hands rested on my waist. She murmured, “It’s hard. You’re not there and…” Her head tipped back. Her eyes were swimming with unshed tears. “Being close to Logan makes me miss you even more. If I shut him out, I shut out that pain. Sometimes.”

My thumb went to her chin. Moving it back and forth in a comforting motion, my own emotion rising in me. “It’s a year and then you’ll both be here.” But it didn’t matter. My reassurance fell on deaf ears. I could tell because I felt it too. We were family and the family was torn apart. Drawing her into my arms, I rested my chin on the top of her head and held her. That’s all I wanted, for only a moment. No matter what we did, the truth was that I was a three hour drive away. Logan was with Helen and Sam was living with another family, again. My hand swept down her back and she burrowed even closer to me. I dropped another kiss to her head.

We stayed like that, for a few seconds, before Logan honked the horn at us.

I lifted my hand, not moving away from Sam, and gave him my middle finger. His laughter pealed out a second later and I glanced over, grinning. He flicked me off right back, then hollered, “Let’s go. You two can get it on tonight. I want to party with my brother.”

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