Fallen Fourth Down

Page 73

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Pulling out to the street, he leaned out his window and gave Mark the middle finger. Mark’s car had pulled away, going the opposite direction, but a second later, we saw him stick his middle finger up as well. He held it high as he went up a hill and over.

I was done trying to figure them out.

Logan flashed me a grin. “I love your other future stepbrother.”

“I’m sure you do.”

He laughed and yawned. “Are you nervous?”



I sighed. “Yeah.” The state meet was in two days. In two mornings, I would be driving there instead of school. I wanted to throw up.

“I’m going.”


“I want to be there. It’s a big deal, right?”

“I mean, I already have a scholarship. I have a back-up if I don’t get one from Cain.”

“Yeah, but the Cain U scout is going to be there.” He’d been laughing seconds ago. Now he was so serious. “That’s a big deal, Sam. Why are you downplaying it?”

My stomach decided it didn’t like my breakfast. I pressed a hand there, trying to soothe my nerves. “Because if I don’t get it, I don’t know what I’m going to do.” The Escalade rolled to a stop at a light, and I looked over. Logan met my gaze. His seriousness wasn’t faked. It was real. He was thinking about me, worried about me, and I could see the support from him. He was right there, seeing how scared I was. I murmured, “I have to get a scholarship to go there. If I don’t…”

“You will.” He reached over and took my hand. The light turned green and we started forward. Logan squeezed my hand. “I’ll be there for the whole thing. Whatever you need, you tell me. I’ll be your running bitch. I’ll give you a radio and you can call me any moment. I’ll come running. I’ll do whatever. If you want an inspirational poem, call me Logan Angelou. If you want music to warm you up, I’m the new Beastie Boy. Whatever you want.”

“Thanks Logan.” The ball of tension was still there, but I had to admit it had lessened by the time we got to school. It wasn’t until then that he let go of my hand.



The conversation with Nate had been put off long enough, so I headed to his fraternity house. I knew it might end ugly, but I was done with being patient. We had made a deal going into college. I was about football and school. He was about networking and branching out. That was fine with me as long as he didn’t assume I would go along for the ride. I was tired of social drama. I was tired of fighting. I was tired of worrying about my girlfriend getting hurt. My intention with college was to keep my head down and to keep moving forward. Then he fucked it up. He wanted me to be friends with his friends. No. That wasn’t the deal. After he brought Marissa to that lunch, I knew it was Nate’s way of giving me the middle finger. He declared his side in that one move, and it wasn’t with me.

The street was full of cars when I got to the house. As I found a spot and headed towards the house, I heard cheering from the backyard. Rounding the side of the house, I saw a large crowd had formed behind it.

A loud horn sounded and the crowd erupted in cheers. They flung their fists in the air. A few guys dumped their cups over their head, drenching themselves in beer. They let out a primal sounding cry as they shook their heads in a frenzy.

“Ladies…and the rest of you ladies,” a voice boomed through a microphone, “we are here for the Rival Revelry Rally because we are going to what?”

The arms shot up in the air again and a collective sound went out, “Revel!”

“That’s right, folks and Greek brothers! We may be in rival houses, but under the system, under the national blanket of our fellow houses, we are all brothers at heart. Am I right?”

I started through the crowd. As I did, I could see a guy standing on a platform set above the crowd. With his last question, he held the microphone to the crowd, and they yelled back, “No!”

He brought the microphone back and asked again, smirking, “What was that?”

“No. No. No,” the crowd chanted.

“No what?”

“No to brothers!” The crowd yelled out their responses at different moments, but the guy next to me grumbled, “I’m not saying I’m a brother to those Alpha Omega’s. No fucking way. Is Dusty nuts?”

His friend elbowed him in the side. “Just go with him. You know he’s leading to something big.”

“No way.”

Dusty gripped the microphone, bringing to his mouth once again. “All right, ladies and gents. If you’re not Greek brothers at heart, then what are you?”


The sound was loud and yelled with such force, the air switched. It’d been light and fun, but a deeper feeling came over the group. It was intense. When I glimpsed the fierce determination in a couple of the guys’ faces, I knew there was a history between Nate’s fraternity and this other one.



A chant started, “RIVAL. REVEL. RALLY. RIVAL. REVEL. RALLY.” It kept going, but I ignored it, skimming the crowd. I saw Nate on the back porch and started for him.

“AND GO! FIGHT, YOU MOTHERFUCKERS!” A whistle sounded, and the cheering intensified. People began pounding their feet. I turned back, startled at the ferocity that had come over everyone, and saw two guys had started to circle each other below the platform. One threw a punch and the other countered.

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