Fallen Fourth Down

Page 92

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She didn’t shirk from me. She didn’t look away. She held my gaze the entire time I spoke, and when I was done, she said, without blinking, “Tate lied to you.”

I sat there for a second. I heard her say those words. For one split second, I wondered what she was talking about, but it clicked. Surging to my feet, I exploded. I yelled, “WHAT?!”

Again, she didn’t cower from me. Marissa just watched me. “Tate made it all up. She laughed about it, said it could actually be true, but she doubted it. She was going to try anyway.”

Oh my god.

Tate had lied. Tate had lied. Those words were repeating in my head, laughing at me. I couldn’t stand still so I started to pace. As I did, she kept going, “Logan doesn’t love you like that. Well, he might, but as for Tate knowing about it, that was a lie. She said that was her graduation gift to me.”

This had to be a joke. It had to be.

“Tate knows how I feel about Mason. She’s always known. It’s why she bullied me in the first place, but she said she wanted to make it up to me somehow. I told her that I got into Cain University, and that I was excited. I didn’t go to Cain U on purpose, because of Mason. I applied to a lot of schools, but when I got in, in my mind, it was like my fairytale was coming true. I always thought Mason was going to be my husband. We were going to be together, and I was no longer going to be that invisible girl that I had always been.” She broke off and looked away. When she started again, the pain that came from her struck deep in me. It mirrored pain that I had gone through myself. She continued, so quietly, “She said the lie was going to eat you up inside. She told me that you wouldn’t tell them, that you’d be too scared of losing them, so it would send you into a tailspin where you’d destroy yourself.”

Each word she said was a blow to me. Tate had assumed right. I’d been manipulated and the end result was just pain, all around pain. All because of one lie.

“I didn’t ask her to do that, but I didn’t stop her either. I’m sorry. I realized this whole thing was wrong when I was standing in the rain, professing my love to Mason, and all he seemed was irritated. I don’t know why, but I had this grand idea in my head that it would work. I would proclaim my love. We would have this fairytale scene, and he’d tell me he felt the same. I don’t know what I actually expected. I wasn’t thinking about you or what I was doing to Mason and his relationship with you. I was just thinking about myself.” Her voice was so quiet again, it was barely a whisper. “I just wanted to be loved.”

“No.” I cursed, shaking my head. “You wanted Mason to love you. You’re making it sound like you were nothing and he was going to make you someone. If you just wanted to be loved, you would’ve been loved. You’re pretty, you might seem normal outside of this? I’m sure there are other guys who have liked you. You wanted Mason. You allowed Tate to lie to me, to make us all suffer. It was because you wanted one particular guy. Be honest about that.”

God, I couldn’t believe I was still listening to this. She was confessing, but it wasn’t to make things right. It was to make herself feel better. A mangled sounding laugh ripped from me. “You have no idea what you did. Tate might’ve said the words, but you let her. You didn’t say anything to stop this. You’re just as guilty as she is.”

The tears started. They began falling down her face and as I kept talking, they became a steady stream. I shook my head. Everything about her screamed victim. And she’d been hit by a truck. She was a victim, but what she did wasn’t okay.

I couldn’t stay there. I needed to leave, but there was one other thing. “That night, were you going to sneak into his bed?”

Her shoulders were shaking from sobbing. At my question, she stiffened and paused; a small whimper left her mouth as she nodded. She couldn’t talk.

I heard all I needed to hear. Heading to the door, I thought of another question. Pausing, my hand on the handle, I asked, “Did you manipulate that whole night?”

A second slow nod, like she still didn’t want to confess to that part.

“You pretended to be drunk?”

A third nod, even slower and just the bare minimum of motion.

I gripped the handle so tight. I knew my knuckles were probably white. “Were you there with friends? If Mason had found who you were with, what then? The whole lie would’ve been pointless.”

She looked back down, but I heard her say, “I told them not to answer their phones. They knew. My phone was stuffed in my bra.”

She set the whole thing up. She was going to try and seduce him. I felt sick, my stomach protested, and I realized I really was going to be sick. I hurried out of there and sprinted to a bathroom in the hallway.



Sam and Logan. Sam and Logan.

I couldn’t get the images out of my mind: them standing so close together; her reaching up, tucking some of his hair back. I saw them through the lobby windows, even though Nate tried to block me from seeing them. Fuck that. He didn’t try to block me. He tried to stall me. The two of them looked so intimate out there. They had looked like a couple, and it stuck a dagger in me.

My brother and a girl. This was Tate all over again, but worse. Even though Marissa told me the truth, all about the lie Tate had said to Sam, I was furious when she touched him. But this was Sam. A part of me wanted to grab her, take her somewhere, and remind her that she was mine. It was the animalistic side of me, but I couldn’t do that. The other side, the one always in control, kept me from doing that. It told me to remain calm, think about it from her perspective.

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