Fallen Fourth Down

Page 7

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Park started to hold his arm out. I shot Nate a warning look and he stepped in, laughing, as he blocked his president and held his arm out to Matteo instead. “I’m Nate. You’re Mason’s roommate, right?”

Matteo glanced sideways at me, but shook Nate’s hand with reluctance. A corner of my mouth lifted up in a small smirk, and I rounded behind Matteo to stand on the other side of Nate. I was no longer in his president’s line of sight. Nate was firmly between us. Reading the situation correctly, Nate waved at the rest of the guys and gestured to the house. “Park said all football players drink for free. Just let the guys manning the kegs know that Nate Monson vouched for you. They’ll know what it means, not that five bucks is a lot of money.”

The guys headed inside. If I had stood there, Park would have tried to shake my hand again, and I would have ignored it a second time; I wasn't going to shake the guy’s hand. Nate knew the awkward situation would’ve occurred had Park tried to offer his hand again, so to prevent the insult from happening, he flashed Park a grin. “I’m going to show Mason around. We haven’t talked much the last few weeks.” He pounded my shoulder. “He’s been busy with training.”

Sebastian stood there, that same frown on his face from before. The other fraternity brother nodded and grinned, waving to me. “Nice to meet you.”

“You too.”

As soon as we were clear from their hearing range, he muttered, “Fuck, Mason. That didn’t take long.”

I flashed him a grin. “Yeah. Well, you know me.”

He groaned, weaving through the crowd. “You want a drink?”

“No, I’m training.”

“Oh.” He shook his head. “I didn’t even think about that.”

“The guys might have a few, but they won’t go nuts.”

He moved his head in a nod and continued to move through the crowd until we were in the backyard. Guys and girls clapped him on the shoulder, calling out hellos and greetings. Nate said hello to each in return until he found a back table in the corner of the yard. There were a few chairs around it, but we had a private area to watch the party. I nodded. I liked it. As we sat, I noticed people were still watching us.

“Since we’re alone right now,” Nate started as he sat across from me, “you don’t like Park, I’m assuming?”

“He’s an asshole.”

“You just met him.”

“That’s all I needed. What’s going on with you? I’m not known for getting my reads wrong.”

Nate sighed, irritation flashing across his face. Seeing some of the players coming over with their beer, he cursed. “This isn’t good.”


“Because Park wants to get to know you. His dad gave him the heads-up about you and to make friends with you because of your dad. He asked me about you. I never brought you up to him because I figured the two of you meeting face to face would go how it did.” The guys were almost on us, so he hissed, “I don’t want a war happening with my fraternity.”

“Too late.”

He stood, holding my gaze. The guys stopped as they saw the tension. Nate shook his head. “Really? This is for me. You’re going to do this?”

“I’m not doing shit.” For fuck’s sake. This wasn’t Fallen Crest. An act of war didn’t have to be thrown out there, not yet, anyway. This was on Nate to handle. “I’m here for football and school. That’s it. I don’t want to get involved with any political social stuff.” And that was the problem. That was who Park Sebastian was. Every nerve in my body went on alert when I saw him. Even without Matteo’s warning, I would’ve pegged him the same way. I was surprised Nate hadn’t.

He cursed again and stepped back from the table. The guys sat down around it, and Nate shook his head again. “I’ll have to figure something out.”


“Fuck, Mason.” Nate cocked his head to the side.

I didn’t say anything. He should’ve seen this coming. “When have I ever been friends with guys like that?”

“He knows your dad.”

“When has that mattered to me?”

“He knows my dad.”

I kept silent. It wasn’t my problem. This was his problem, and Nate knew it. He rolled his eyes, raked a hand through his hair, and started to leave. “I gotta take care of this somehow.”

He was gone, disappearing through the crowd again.

The guys didn’t seemed fazed by our conversation. A few of them were eyeing up the girls, and Matteo grunted at me, nodding his head in approval. “That was smooth, Kade, real smooth.”

He had no idea.

He lifted his cup up in the air. “A toast to Kade. I’m thinking this year’s going to be epic, on and off the field.”

“Hell yeah.”


“Salute to Kade.”

I tuned them out. They raised their cups, did their toasts, and went back to drinking. As we stayed there, most of the guys took off to find girls. Matteo’s girlfriend came over with a couple friends, but I tuned their conversations out.

I had only met the guy, but my gut was telling me Park Sebastian was going to be a problem. Nate came over later, less stressed and less sober. I knew this could be a problem with our friendship. Only time would tell. I missed Sam and Logan.



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