Fallen Fourth Down

Page 85

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“Marissa,” I tried again. There was no her and me.


I interrupted her, “—I had Nate take care of you because I was having sex with Sam.”

She choked on her protest and fell back a step. Her hand flew out, grabbing hold of the Escalade, righting herself. Her mouth clamped shut. Even under the rain and in the darkness, I could see that she had paled. “No, you were protecting me from her. You didn’t even want me to meet her—”

I clipped my head to the side, cutting her off again, “I didn’t want you to meet her because I didn’t want her to find out that I let people bully you. I never stopped them, and I should’ve. I was ashamed. I didn’t want Sam to look down on me. I had Nate do my dirty work. He was on babysitting duty. The truth is that I never should’ve invited you, but I was trying to be nice. I was trying not to be an asshole all of the time.”

“But—” She shook her head.

I could see the argument coming. She was going to spin it someway. I couldn’t let her. “Stop, Marissa. I don’t like you.”

Her hand fell from the Escalade.

“You didn’t want anything from me in high school. You were a vacation for me, but that was it. I was using you to escape from all the fucking piranhas everywhere else in my life. I’m sorry. I am. I’m sorry you got hurt and picked on, but I don’t like you. I don’t love you. I don’t even want your friendship.”

Her mouth fell open and lowered with each statement I delivered. By the end, she couldn’t look me in the eyes anymore. She was hugging herself, as if warding off my words. She turned to the side, but stopped. She whispered, “I love you.”

“You don’t even know me.”

When she looked up, the misery in her was so evident, and a twinge of regret flared in me. I pushed it down. She was affecting Sam. I needed her to go away and stay away. I made sure the coldest, fuck-you mask was on my face as I said, “Stop daydreaming about me. You were right the first time. I never should’ve given you attention. I didn’t know what a head case you were going to be.”


“And stop using Nate to get to me. That’s the lowest you could go, screwing someone else and hoping they’ll bring you around me.”

Her shoulders seemed to shrink beneath my gaze. Her head lowered all the way down. I couldn’t see the tip of her nose. If she could’ve curled up in a ball and disappeared, I had no doubt that’s what she would do. For a moment, I regretted everything. I did. I remembered the hurt in Sam’s eyes, how Logan warned me about her.

I was going to hell.

Marissa was already broken. I’d been her slight ray of hope, helping her get through the storm, and I just snuffed that out of her. I had broken her even more. Knowing I should probably stop soon, I added, “Just stop coming around. Leave me alone. Leave my relationship alone. Leave my friends alone. This is for you too. Stay. Away. Fall in love with some nice guy, someone who will care for you, but keep away from me. I mean it. I need you to go and never come back. I don’t even want to see you in class.”

I waited. I didn’t know what she was going to do. I heard someone else call my name from behind me. “Mason!”

Park was standing in the other row of cars behind my Escalade. He stood between two trucks and waved at me. “Can I talk to you?” He was dressed in a black hooded sweatshirt and black pants. If he hadn’t waved, I wouldn’t have known he was there.

What the fuck was up with rainstorms and heart to hearts? I scowled at him. “Can it wait?”

“It’s about Nate.”

Crap. “Yeah.” I glanced back to Marissa. She had turned the other way around. Her arms were still hugging herself, but she was bent forward, pressing against my Escalade.

Fuck. I had no idea what to do.

“Kade!” Park yelled again.

Suddenly, Marissa burst around me. She ran past my Escalade, heading in Park’s direction. A burst of bright lights lit up. She stopped in the middle of the lot, frozen in place.

It happened so quickly, but it was in slow motion at the same time. Her eyes got big, her mouth opened, and she let out a scream as she held a hand up before a truck barreled into her. Her body hit the front of it and flew in the air. I watched as her body flipped an entire 360 degree circle and fell to the ground ten feet away. Her body bounced and settled back down with a thud.

I couldn’t comprehend what had just happened, but as quick as that thought flashed through my mind, time slammed back into place and I took off running. “MARISSA!”

The truck had screeched to a halt as soon as it hit her, and a door flung open. As I raced past it to where Marissa laid ahead, I heard someone say inside, “SHIT! Who was that?”

I stopped paying attention. Marissa was my focus. Getting to her side, I felt for her pulse. It was there. She was alive, but she was unconscious. I looked back up. I was going to tell Park to call nine-one-one, but instead I saw him leap into the truck. Before he shut the door, he pounded his fist on the dashboard and yelled out, “PUT IT IN REVERSE! YOU HIT A GIRL! GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!”

“FUCK!” The truck sped backwards, its lights right on us. I couldn’t see them, but I knew they were watching me.

They hit her on purpose. No. They hit her by mistake. I had been the target. My mind was reeling and I felt vomit coming up my throat; I shoved it down. That fucker. I reached for my phone in my pocket, but I had a hard time getting ahold of it. My fingers kept slipping. As I finally got a firm hold and pulled it out, I dialed nine-one-one. The truck got to the opening path and careened to the right, whipping the front around.

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