Fallen Fourth Down

Page 82

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Kris turned to Logan when he said Tate’s name, and it clicked. Her mouth fell open. “This is your ex? You loved her?”

Tate closed her mouth, but it was pressed in a firm grin. Even her dimples were showing and laughter spilled from her tightened lips. “Oh, honey. I’m not the one you need to worry about.”

No, no, no. I already knew, even before she rested her gaze on me, what Tate was going to say.

She was enjoying this too much. I heard, “You need to worry about little Strattan right there. Logan doesn’t love me. Oh no. I screwed that up, but this chick, she’s got it going.” Her voice was clearer, and I opened my eyes to see she had moved forward a few steps. “A little birdie told me that you haven’t let out the secret. Can’t say I blame you. Why mess up a good thing with one brother? I mean, Mason’s gone. You and the other brother can get your rocks off too, if you know what I mean.”

She laughed. She wouldn’t stop laughing. The sound sickened me.

“What. The. Fuck. Is going on?” Logan was gritting his teeth, turning to me, then back to Tate and Kris. “Tate, what the hell are you doing here?”

“Oh no.” She waved a finger at him. “This is my town, Logan. I go to school here. You don’t have any right to say that to me, to make me feel like I’m trespassing. It’s you this time. I get to flip it on you and make you feel unwelcome. My town.”

“I don’t fucking care.”

She reared her head back, flipped her hair over her shoulder, and her hand fell to her hip. “Well, you should, because this whole thing is about you.” She circled the room with her hand. “This is all about you or should I say about how you fee—”

Kris cut her off. “Do you love Sam?”

Tate shot her dark look.

Kris placed both her hands on her hips and stuck her chin out at her. She said to Tate, “How do you like that? You didn’t get to say it.” She muttered, “Bitch.”

It was a small victory for Kris, and one for Logan even though he didn’t know it. Tate had been rubbing her paws together. She’d been so happy to be able to deliver the news, and even though I heard it coming, I couldn’t talk. I was frozen, but I glanced at Kris. I tried to thank her for interrupting. Those words should’ve been spoken by me, but I hadn’t said them. I held it in too long. I didn’t know if I ever would have said Tate’s words, but they were out. And they hadn’t been delivered to Logan by someone who only wanted to harm us. Even then, as Kris nodded at me, I knew she still cared about him.

I turned to Logan. He was right next to me, but he was radiating tension. His jaw was clenched tight, his shoulders were rigid, and he was staring down at me, heatedly.

He was furious.

“Cat got your tong—”

“Shut the fuck up.” He turned to her, his eyes flashing in warning.

Tate fell back a step. Her own eyes widened again. “Whoa.”

“This is from you?” He was still looking at Tate.

“Wha—what do you mean?” A wary expression came over her features.

“This.” He pointed at me, Kris, and our audience. “Did you do all this?”

She shot a hesitant look at the crowd, but shook her head. “Not them.”

“Kris?” He was still interrogating Tate.


“How?” he commanded, the word coming from deep in his throat.

She heeded it. “My neighbor is one of her friends.”

“She’s not,” Kris added. “Not anymore.”

“Not my neighbor?”

Kris rolled her eyes. “Not my friend. She’s my enemy.”

“Oh.” A cloud of confusion settled over Tate, but she just shrugged and looked back at Logan. “Whether or not it’s true, you need to know that I told Sam last summer. It was my last goodbye present.”

Logan seared her with a dark look.

She stopped, her chin trembled a little, but she swallowed. Her head lifted again, and she smoothed out her shirt. “I went to Manny’s to say goodbye to Heather. Sam was there and I couldn’t keep the truth to myself any longer.”

“Truth.” Logan snorted. He raked a hand through his hair. “You don’t have any idea what the truth is. You wanted to mess with us. That’s the truth. Stop lying to yourself, Tate.” He cursed. “And I thought you changed last year. All this bullshit about making amends, turning over a new leaf, trying to make things right.”

“I was,” she shot back. “I fucked up. I wanted to try with you again. You’re the best guy I had and lost. That’s on me, but let’s be real here. I’m not a saint. I mean, come on. I had no shot. You should’ve been honest with me right away.”


“You strung me along. Used me for sex—”

“Stop, Tate.” His voice dropped back down. He was keeping himself calm, but the level of hate in his eyes gave me an indication of his true feelings. “I never lied to you. I never said we’d date. I told you we wouldn’t. You still came onto me, and it wasn’t one time. I told you over and over again, but you kept coming. You’re the one who called me. I never called you first.”

“Stop it.”

He laughed. “The tides have turned. You keep throwing out the truth. I’m going to throw out the real truth. Now you want me to shut up?” He waved at our audience, who still hadn’t moved. “The truth, Tate, is that none of these people give a shit about you. They’re up here to watch some shit storm go down in front of them. They’re eating popcorn, enjoying this show.” He jabbed his hand in the air, his finger pointing at her. “You gave this to them. You. Not me. Not Sam. Or Kris. You did, coming in here and acting like you’re too good to be in the gutter.”

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