Fallen Fourth Down

Page 49

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No. I couldn’t.

She sighed and her hands rested on her hips. “Sam, come on. This is you and me. You told me about Logan. Tell me about this guy, whoever he is. I can tell he is someone to you.”

“Oh my god.” I pressed my fingers to my forehead and tried to rub the headache away. “This is a nightmare.”

“Apparently.” She took my hands, pulled them down, and got in my face. “Spill it, woman.”

I couldn’t believe I was going to say this. “His name is Jackson Sallaway. He’s my ex’s cousin.”

“Okay.” She scratched her head. “That’s not the dramatic answer I was expecting, but okay. I guess?”

“No, you don’t get it.”

“Yeah, following you on that one.”

“I lost my virginity to him.”

“OH.” She moved back a step, both eyebrows arched high. “For real?”

I nodded.

“Whoa. I wasn’t expecting that answer.”

“And Mark’s right. He’s an amazing player.”

“Logan just kicked his ass.”

I shook my head. “Jackson was on the other side of the line, but I know him. He watches and studies the players. He looks for all the weaknesses and once he has everything figured out, he exploits those weaknesses.”

“Is he as good as Mason?”

“No.” I was being honest. “But he’s been watched by scouts for years. That’s how I met him. I went to a football tournament with Jeff to watch his ‘superstar’ cousin one weekend.”

“And how did this de-virginizing occur?”

I hated even thinking about it. “Jeff was being an ass. I caught him hitting on a bunch of girls. We were at a party so I went the other way and got drunk. Jackson showed up. He was nice. He was good-looking—”

“He’s still good-looking. Quinn’s got competition for the golden boy of FCA, by the way.”

I shrugged and hugged myself, warding off the bad memories. “Anyway, one thing led to another.”

“You were drunk and slept with him?”

I nodded. “I know. I’m an idiot.”

“Was he drunk?”

“I think so, but it wasn’t like that. It was just…it was a mistake. I cheated on Jeff. I was wracked with guilt for the longest time, well, until my mom left David and we moved in with Mason and Logan. Once that happened, I didn’t think about him anymore.” I swallowed, pushing down the regret that surged up again. “I know Jeff is an ass or was an ass, but I expected better of myself. I didn't think I would ever cheat and I did.”

“Did you ever talk to him about it?”

“No. He fell asleep and I left. I called my dad and made him come and pick me up. Jeff never said anything about it. I remember thinking he was being nice about me ditching him, but he probably cheated on me that weekend anyway. God,” I groaned, “what a mess.”

She stuck out her bottom lip and pulled me in for a hug. “Oh, Sam.” She began to rock me back and forth in a soothing motion. “You’re human. You make mistakes and you probably cheated because your ex was an asshole. I doubt he made you feel loved.”


I tensed, hearing him, but I didn’t look right away. Heather kept me in her hug. She asked, “What do you want me to do?”

This wasn’t something I wanted to deal with, but I knew Mason would say to deal with it. Nip it in the bud and get it moving. I tried to calm my nerves, and told her, “Stall Logan. I don’t want him to know about this.”

“He will.” She pulled back, but her hands lingered on my shoulders. “You know that.”

I did. “Just stall that from happening.”

“On it.” She moved her head in a nod. Her hands fell from my shoulders, and she saluted me with two fingers, a smirk already appearing. “I’ll probably get in a fight with him. It’s the best stall tactic I got right now.” She started backpedaling. “Just be ready for the fireworks. It’s not going to be pretty.” As she went past Jackson, she gave him a swift pat on the back. “You have no idea what you’re about to step into, but I have to admire your balls. You must have a cement pair.”

When she turned and walked the rest of the way back to the football field, an impish grin appeared on his face. He ran his hand through his hair, messing it up again. I had to laugh. Putting up with Jeff for years, Jackson had seemed like a god to me. He had a leaner build back then, and with his dark eyes, friendly grin, and high cheekbones, he had a soft look to him. It appealed to me, and I saw that he still had that same look. He was pretty.

I noted, “You’ve put on some muscle.”

“Yeah.” He shrugged and stretched his arms across his chest. “My coach said I had to when he switched my position last year. It worked for me.” Biting his lip, he moved closer to me and stopped a few feet away. He gestured to the field behind him. “I told the guys I was going to call Jeff and see if he wanted to play.”

“Are you?”

He laughed. “No. Jeff wouldn’t play anyway. He quit the team. I don’t know if you knew that.”

I didn’t, and I didn’t care. I couldn’t stop looking at him. The memories from that night came back to me; how his hand rested on my knee and I turned into him. How he placed his other hand on my shoulder, drawing me closer for a hug. That was all we did, at first. I pushed the memories away. “Why are you here, Jackson?”

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