Fallen Fourth Down

Page 70

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“I know Logan. I know when he’s in love, and I know when he’s using a girl for a distraction.”

Oh god. My heart skipped a beat. I shook my head. This was my nightmare coming true. The real truth was right there. I felt it lingering beside us, and he was so close to it. One step and he’d stumble on it, and he’d know. I was holding my tears back. The truth would be out.

I shook my head. I couldn’t lose him. I couldn’t lose Logan either. “Mason,” I whispered, my voice hoarse. It was there, on the tip of my tongue. But I stopped myself. I couldn’t lose him.



His shoulders lifted in a silent breath and I turned away. His hand touched my arm, and I turned into him at the gentle touch. He pulled me in, his arm moving around me, his other smoothing back my hair, falling to cup the side of my face. His thumb moved back and forth on my cheek in a comforting motion, and he pressed a soft kiss to my forehead. His lips brushing my skin and his breath warming me, he whispered, “I love you.”

I clasped onto him and I nodded. I couldn’t talk.

He whispered again, “I won’t push you, but I know something else is wrong, other than Sallaway. You can tell me whenever you want, but I love you. I’m not going anywhere, not unless you want me to.” His chest lifted and stayed there, suspended on his last word, until I burrowed to get even closer to him. His chest fell, as if he’d been scared for a moment.

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t say a word. I held on tighter to him.

Logan called when we were in Mason’s Escalade. He and Kris were at the hotel, and they’d be going back tonight. Mason asked, “Is there anything we can do?”

I waited, but I never heard Logan’s response. Mason put his phone away and told me, “He’s not mad, but they’re talking. Kris called her sister, and she demanded Kris be taken back or she was coming to get her.” He gave me a halfhearted grin. “The sister sounds like a handful.”

I nodded. “She doesn’t like Logan.”

Mason laughed, but it was halfhearted as well. The conversation was dropped after that. When we got to the house, he held my hand and led me upstairs. After changing, I slid into bed and sighed from contentment as Mason pulled me into his chest. We didn’t talk. We didn’t do anything. We just held each other. I remained awake, but I never moved. I wanted to savor this feeling. I never wanted it to go away.


Logan and Kris didn’t break up. I didn’t ask how he pulled that off, and he never told me. However, things didn’t go back to normal for them. Everyone knew the happy couple was no longer the happy couple. Even the girls in cross country steered clear from asking questions about Logan, and I knew they used to love gushing about him. As the season was winding down, our coach had the girls and boys run together. Everyone was pushing themselves because of it. It was no longer a competition against each other, but a competition against ourselves. As it was, more people began running alone and without the cliques. Almost every practice ended the same, I ended first with Hayes behind me. We were getting close to the state meets, where college scouts would come to recruit. I already had a scholarship, but I wanted one to Cain University. That scout was going to be there. I qualified to run, but the entire team did as well. Our last practice was grueling. We had two days of rest, but everyone was pushing themselves to their maximum limit. When Hayes came up to me after everyone had finished and were stretching, I wasn’t surprised when he asked if I would do another run with him.

We were supposed to rest, but I knew he was concerned. He hadn’t gotten as much attention with scouts as I had so I nodded, and we started off again. We didn’t talk. We didn’t need to. If I lengthened my stride, he did too. If I picked up my pace a half second, he matched mine. He was using me to make himself better. When I realized that, I threw him and grin and really let loose. I held back during practices, but if he wanted to really get better, I was going to put him through the wringer. Switching off the normal running path, I took him to my favorite one. We sailed past Quickie’s and up to the hills. By this time, I had almost every part of that path memorized; I didn’t think as I avoided rocks and big branches. Hearing Hayes curse behind me, I glanced back and saw that he was on the ground.

Panting, I went back. “What’s,” breath, “wrong?”

“I almost tripped.” He scowled at me. “Is that why you brought me here? To injure me?” He stood up and brushed dirt off his running tights. “You must really hate me. I was hoping to get recruited too.”

I rolled my eyes. Six months ago his words might’ve stung. They bounced off me. “Chill, buddy. If you want to go against the best, you have to go where the best goes.” I spread my arms out and began jogging backwards. Giving him a cocky grin, I said, “I’m the best and this is where I run my best. Get your ass up and let’s go. If you can’t keep up, then slow down. I didn’t put those rocks there. If you don’t see them, that’s on you. You didn’t have to follow me.”

“You’re arrogant.”

“No.” I took off, and threw over my shoulder, “I’m the best. I’m just confident.” I took off and it wasn’t long before I heard him behind me.

He never caught up to me, but he stayed within viewing distance. When we got back to the school, Hayes looked like a puddle of bones. I wasn’t sure if he could keep standing, but to be honest, my legs were like jelly too.

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