Fallen Fourth Down

Page 86

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I lifted the phone to my ear, my one hand on Marissa’s shoulder, and saw Park in the window. His eyes met mine. He flinched, and his eyes slid down to look at her. I saw fear come over him. Good. The fucker was going to burn.

Then I heard the operator answer, “Nine-one-one, what is the location of your emergency?”



The bus ride home was the longest thing I had ever endured. My heart was breaking a little more with each mile we passed. I couldn’t stop envisioning Logan’s face. He was hurt, by me. I had done that, and I knew, even before we talked, that it was because I had kept Tate’s words from him. I should’ve confronted him right away, even if it was true, I should’ve. Mason would’ve wanted me to.

When we got to the school, any other time I would’ve received well wishes and congratulations. This time, everyone was silent. They were all watching me and Kris. As soon as we got off the bus, I was going to my car and heading home. I already knew what I was going to do when I got there, even if people were there or not. As it was, I was lucky. No one was home. A note was left on the kitchen counter for me. Malinda and David were out on a date. I shouldn’t expect them home, and Mark was out with Cass. I scribbled my own note beside it.

I’m going to Mason’s. Be home Sunday night. Late. Love, Sam.

I went downstairs and started packing a bag. Everything in me hurt. I had to get to Mason. I had to tell him the truth, and I had to know that everything was going to be okay.

Knock, knock

I stopped, my heart pounding. It was Logan. He had come to talk about this, deal with it, and get it out of the way, but when I whipped open the door, he wasn’t standing there.

It was my dad.


“Hey, Samantha.” He had a timid smile, holding a bag in front of him with his coat tucked over one of his arms. “I, uh, I know you wanted time. I’m supposed to wait for you, but I’ve never been good with being patient.”

My lips pressed together and I crossed my arms over my chest. I had wanted it to be Logan. Badly. “What do you want?”

“Uh.” He lifted a hand and raked it through his hair. It was then that I noticed he was dressed in a suit and tie. Even his shoes looked rich. The last time I saw him had been at Logan’s football game. He always emanated wealth, even when he was dressed in jeans and a sweater.

He was not like me. He was so far from me.

“I have to fly back to Boston. I had hoped to come tomorrow. I wanted to give you a present. David told me about your race, that you won, and that you will probably get a scholarship. I wanted to say congratulations.”

“I’ve wanted you to stay away. That didn’t happen either.”

His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. “Uh, yeah. Listen, Samantha, I know I messed up. I know that I was coming in at a bad time in your life. You probably wanted an escape. David’s told me more about that time, that he had stepped away from you and you felt abandoned by him, then it was like I had abandoned you too. I get it. I do, but I’d really like to talk to you about that time. I’d like to explain what I did and why.”

“I don’t care.” I didn’t. I had. I’d been hurt. I hadn’t wanted to trust him again, but after tonight, after the possibility of losing Mason and Logan, I didn’t give two shits about anything else. “You’re my dad. Whatever. Fine. We can have a relationship, just don’t think you can pressure me to do what you want.”

“I haven’t been—”

I didn’t have time for this. “You have. You call every fucking night.”

“I don’t.” He glanced to the side.

“You’re right. You don’t. You just call the nights we have the ringer turned on. Thank you for correcting that for me.”

He grimaced, then a grin crept over his face. “You’re just like me.”

Rage slammed into me at those words. I shot back, “I’m not. I’m not anything like you. I’m the product of a crazy abusive mother who’s finally locked away and not able to hurt me. I am who I am because I lost my family. I got another one, and voila, you’re back and you want another shot. Well, guess what, I’m more concerned about not losing another family. I don’t care about you. That’s the truth. Maybe I will. I have no idea. I don’t really care to find out right now. All I care about is you leaving so that I can leave. I have places to be.”

He’d been watching me. His eyes narrowed with each statement I said and as I finished, he noted, so softly, “You are like me, but it’s my job to show you that. Give me a chance. Please, Sam.”

I cursed.

He laughed. “Give me a shot.”

I let out a sigh.

“I went back to Boston to make things right with my wife. Having a daughter changed everything for me. I didn’t want to be a part of your life with Helen at my side. I needed the woman I loved, even if she cheated on me. I went back because of you. I wanted that family. Things are better. She moved here with me because of you, because I want to be a part of your life, but, Sam, the year’s almost over. Let me have some time with you. I will never hurt you. I promise.”

I watched him warily.

“Give me another shot.”

Oh hell. I gave him a rueful look. “You’re lucky that I’m all about second chances tonight. Fine. We can do dinner next week.”

A smile lit up his face and for a second, I saw myself. He was right. I was like him. For some reason, the thought sobered me. It grounded everything for me. He was begging me. I’d be begging Mason. We had both messed up.

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