Fallen Fourth Down

Page 63

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“I’m sorry.”

“Me too.” He shook his head, closed his eyes, and when they opened again, a mischievous look had replaced the sadness. Wrapping his arms around me, he stood and swept me up with him. I was tossed over his shoulder. He climbed over the bench, smacked my rear, and yelled out, “Derek! Do you have a pool?”

“No!” I started kicking. “Logan, put me down.”

He started forward. The crowd moved aside for him. Smiles started to spread around the backyard. His friends had moved to the basketball court. When we got there, they noticed the change in his attitude, and just like that, like a switch had been flipped, the party atmosphere went up a notch. It was all because of Logan. He seemed to infect everyone.

As he kept laughing, I felt the reverberations through his body as he moved me around. “Huh? Huh? Want to get wet, Sam?” His head straightened, and he hollered across the backyard, “What about it, Derek? If you don’t have a pool, please tell me you have a large tub.”

I should’ve been fighting more, but I couldn’t. Logan’s excitement was even affecting me. I had a feeling that I’d be trying to dry off on the drive to see Mason.


It was dark, nearing one in the morning, when I got to Mason’s house. I called, but he never responded so I was relieved to see the living room lights on when I headed for the front door. Instead of ringing the doorbell, I knocked softly. Mason told me earlier they had practice in the morning, but that it was exam week too, so he didn’t know if people would be sleeping or staying out to party. When the door swung open, I recognized their quarterback.

He squinted at me, rubbing the side of his face. He pulled the door so it was only a fraction of an inch open. His head poked around the frame. “Who are you?”

“I’m Samantha, Mason Kade’s girlfriend. You’re Drew, right? We met a few weeks ago.”

At the mention of ‘girlfriend’, his eyes got big and he stepped back from the door. Still holding it open with a hand, he tilted his head to the side.

I flushed. He was looking at me like I was an alien. “Is there a problem? Do you have rules that I can’t be here?”

“You’re Kade’s girlfriend?”

“You don’t remember me?”

“No offense, but when his girlfriend was here, I only saw her for an hour. Mason kept her all to himself, not that I could blame him.” He skimmed me up and down. “You sure you’re her?”

I crossed my arms over my chest. What’d he mean by that? “Yes.”

“Girls show up all the time and say they’re so and so’s girlfriend. Kade’s serious about his girlfriend so if I let you in and he throws you out, don’t be surprised.”

“Well, I am his girlfriend and thank you?” This conversation was weird. “I don’t know what to say to that.”

He shrugged, stepped back, and opened the door wider. “Your funeral, lady, if you aren’t who you say you are.” He gestured up the stairs. “He’s probably still awake. We just got back an hour ago. Second door on the right.”

I stepped inside. Shooting him a dark look, I said, “It’s the third door on the left.”

He flashed me a grin. “Ah. So you have been here before.”

“Whose door is the second on the right?”

“Mine.” He was beaming. As I stepped past him, heading for the stairs, I smelled alcohol on his breath. Things were making sense. He laughed to himself, saying, “It would’ve been awkward if you had gone to my room.” Then he shut the door, locked it, and went to the living room.

I paused, right before going upstairs. He plopped down on the couch, pulled a blanket over him, and burrowed face first into the cushions. He mumbled, “Hit the lights, would you? They’re right there.”

I skimmed the wall. “Where?” I saw nothing.

“Right there.” His voice was becoming drowsy. “Left wall.”

I glanced to the right instead and there they were. Flipping them off, I saw a small light upstairs, so I could still see. When I started up, I heard him mumble, “Thank you.”

The light was off in Mason’s room, and hearing loud snoring from inside, I left it off. Tiptoeing in, I went to the direction of Mason’s bed and felt for the bedcovers. Before I could wake him, a hand snaked out and grabbed onto my wrist. With a cement-like hold on me, I was pushed in the direction of the hallway. Mason got up from the bed, looming large over me. He never made a sound. For a moment, my heart paused, and a chill went down my spine. Once we were in the hallway, he shut the door and pushed me against the wall, still holding onto my arm. The little light illuminated the side of his face, and I could see the fury in his eyes. His mouth was pressed in a flat line. His jaw clenched, and he rasped out, “What the fuck are you doing?”

The air was held trapped in my throat. I couldn’t talk for a second, then I whispered, “Mason?”

His eyes narrowed.

I waited a beat.

His hand abruptly dropped mine, and he stepped back. “Sam?”

“Yeah.” My heart slammed back into pace, pounding against my chest. “Holy shit. Who did you think I would be?”

A door opened from across the hallway. A girl stood there in a tight shirt and skirt, wiping her mouth. Her hair looked like she had just run her fingers through it. She started out to the hallway, saw us, and jerked back. Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. She went back into the room and slammed the door shut.

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