Fallen Fourth Down

Page 50

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His eyes widened an inch, then he laughed. “My parents are going through a divorce. My mom wanted to move close to her sister, and so we’re here.”

“But the football program? Jeff told me that you were scouted.”

“I was. I already committed to a school. It’s a soft commitment, but yeah. I know FCA doesn’t have that great of a program. Still. I like your dad. I have a lot of respect for him, and my last coach speaks highly of him. He says your dad has been turning the program around, so this year might not be too bad.”

So he was staying. That meant he was going to be popular. He had the looks. He was friendly, nice, and it was only a matter of time before he started coming to Mark’s house.

I murmured, “I see.”

His eyes scanned over my face, and he laughed softly. “You’re not happy about the move?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“You know,” I tensed, hearing his tone turn serious, “this doesn’t have to be awkward. I can see that you’ve got a whole new life. Jeff said you transferred last year and something about a new boyfriend.” He pointed to the field again. “Is it Logan Kade back there? I’ve heard of him, just didn’t know you were attached to him.”

I shook my head. “No. I'm dating Logan’s brother.”

“Ah. Gotcha. I’ve heard of him, you know.” His head moved up and down in a slow nod. “Mason Kade. He’s a big deal.”

“Yeah, he is.” My tone hardened. “He’s better than you.”

A short laugh came from him. “You’re more honest than you were before.” He grinned. “I approve. I always thought my cousin was an ass to you.”

“He was.”

“Yeah…” He glanced to the ground and bit his lip again.

I almost rolled my eyes. Jeff did the same thing when he was nervous. I guessed it was a family trait. “Look,” I cleared my throat. I was all business. “This doesn’t have to be awkward.”

“You’re right.”

“We had sex. It was one time.”

“You’re right.” He moved back a step. The nervous behavior stopped, and he raked a hand through his hair. “It’s good to see you. I think it was nice to catch up since we did run into each other. I’m not a big partier so we probably won’t run into each other at parties.”

“I live with Mark.”


“Mark Decraw. I live with him. My dad is with his mom, and I’m living with my dad, so that means that I live with Mark. Just thought you should know, in case you come over to hang out with Mark sometime.”

“Oh.” Realization appeared in his gaze. “Yeah. Got it. Okay. Good to know, in case that ever comes up.”

“It will. His mom likes to be a mom to everybody, so I’m sure you’ll be invited to the house sometime.”

“Okay.” His head bobbed up and down. “And when I get that invitation, should I…” He paused, waiting for my answer. “Accept it…?”

“I don’t care.”

“…or don’t accept?” He nodded again. “Okay. That sounds like another plan. I’m glad that’s cleared up as well.”



We stood and stared at each other.

“Okay.” He jerked a thumb to the field. “I’ll be going back there.”

“Okay.” I would be staying right where I was.

Then we heard, “Screw you, Jax! What the hell is your problem with my girlfriend, and where the fuck did Sam go?!”

This was going to be a long night.



Nate and I hadn’t talked since Sam and Logan’s visit. I kept to myself and my teammates. Football. My team. School. That was my life besides my nightly phone calls with Sam and talking with Logan every few days. When I went to class, I never looked in Marissa’s direction. She was a non-factor. I meant what I had said. There was no friendship between us. The only awkwardness that happened was when we had been paired to be in a small group together. There were three others so our group presentation meetings were strictly business for me. We met in the library, and if the conversation steered towards hanging out, going for a beer, or hobbies, I brought them back to the assignment.

We were in the library again, and it was our last meeting. Matteo and Drew were coming to meet me. All three of us were going to find a study room on the third floor and lock ourselves in to study for our exam. And, as I thought of them, I glanced to the clock on the wall. They were supposed to be here by now. Irritation grew in me. This meeting was supposed to have been done thirty minutes ago, but they were still discussing who was going to present the bibliography.

I leaned over and grabbed the paper from the other guy. “I’ll do it.” They were quiet, and I leveled all of them with a hard look, gathering my books. “Are we done? Everything’s set to go?”

“Uh.” The guy’s Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. He tugged at his collar, stretching his trendy polo from his neck, and shrugged. “I guess. Yeah?” He looked to the others, but they weren’t saying anything. Marissa’s head was down, avoiding my gaze. The two other girls in the group looked dumbfounded. The redhead recovered first. She was interested in me. I had known the second our group was formed. Her shirt was lowered, her skirt was raised, and she kept flipping her damn hair over her shoulder. Some girls did that when they were uncomfortable, but not this one. This girl barely touched her books. Now, her finger went right to her lip, and she pulled on it.

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