Fallen Fourth Down

Page 94

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I sighed. “Yeah, well, I’ll talk to her later about this.”

Logan gave me a half-grin. “Come on. The chandelier comment was funny. That’s serious Golden Logan shit.” He looked past me and the attempt at humor faded. “What’s up, Traitor?”

Nate came to stand next to me. He shook his head. “I didn’t know they were going after him. I swear.”

“And now you do?” Logan was baiting him, watching him darkly. “What side are you picking?”

“Do you have to ask?”

“Yes,” Logan threw back. “I do and that’s what pisses me off. I shouldn’t have to ask.”

Nate was brimming with anger next to me. I could feel his tension. He gritted his teeth. “Back off, Logan. You have no idea how hard it is to be friends with you guys. I love you guys, but I’m nothing compared to you. Sue me for wanting to branch out and get some of my own friends this year. I’m sorry they turned out to be psychopathic assholes. Mason punched me, me, his best friend. That had nothing to do with the fraternity, and I had nothing to do with what they did to Mason, or tried to do. Park lied to me. I was wrong. I just wanted Mason to be a part of my other life, one where I’m not in third place every time.”

Logan lifted an eyebrow, looked at me, then back to Nate. “That really touched me. I have no smartass comment to follow that.” He patted Nate’s shoulder. “Good job. I will call you Three from now on.”

Nate groaned. “Really, Logan?”

He smirked at him. “I wasn’t aware of how inferior you felt to me. I mean, that’s a compliment since I’m a year younger and you’re Nate Fucking Monson.”

“Shut up.” He shoved at him, laughed, and then grumbled, “I’m so stupid.”

“Three, don’t get so hard on yourself.” Logan moved to pat him on the shoulder again, delicately, but Nate caught the arm and pretended to punch him instead. The two grinned at each other, and as the laughter died down, they turned to me.

It’d been squashed and buried. Just like that, in our way, that’s how we dealt with things.

Logan asked, “So what’s the plan?”

The other way we dealt with things? Payback.

I said, “Nate’s going back to the house. He’s going to pack his stuff and get out of there.”

Logan nodded. “And me?”

“You go to a hotel. Get a big suite. We’ll all stay there. I don’t want anyone from the football house to know about this. I’ll come with Sam later tonight.”

Nate asked, “Is this going to hurt your career?”

I nodded. “It could, if it’s not kept under wraps, but they were trying to hurt me, to either ruin my career anyway or something worse. They brought this to a whole new level. I’m not going to let them get away with it.”

They left after that and I waited.


Mason was waiting for me when I left the hospital. He was outside, leaning against the wall, and for a moment, the sight of him stopped me in my tracks. His head was bent down with his shoulders hunched, and his hands were in his pockets. He was wearing dark grey athletic pants; they were light weight and stuck to his form. The wind picked up, rippling his shirt, and as it swept over him, some of his oblique muscles were exposed. He had always been defined, but since he had been training for his new position, he had become leaner. It had just made him more sculpted. For one slight second, everything melted away. Shit, I wanted him then and there. A surge of heat bloomed inside me.

He looked up and I felt pierced by his gaze. I’d forgotten how penetrating those green eyes could be. He saw through me, even if I didn’t want him to. He still could and I felt stripped bare in front of him.

Wetting my lips, I started forward. “Marissa told me the truth.”

He didn’t react to that. Instead, he said, “He loves you.”

I jerked back. The suddenness of that statement caught me unaware, and it took a moment for it to filter in. I gasped softly.

He straightened from the wall, his hands still in his pockets, and holy shit—he was hot. With a dark look in his eyes, he asked, “So, I need to know. Do you love him? Could he make you happier than me?”

Those two questions slammed me back into place, and I felt the world spinning from beneath me. “What?”

“Logan says he ‘could’ve loved you.’ Do you reciprocate?” A nerve clenched in his jawline. “I don’t want to waste time thinking about this. The idea of you two together is a fucking cancer in me. I want it out, here and now. Do you love Logan?”


I didn’t bat an eye and neither did he when he shot back, “Could you?”


He paused and turned away, but caught himself and continued looking me in the eye. “Would he make you happier than me?”

Again, there was no hesitation from my end. “No.” When he didn’t respond, I lifted my head higher and squared my shoulders. I was sure about this. There was no second guessing. There was no area of doubt. Everything else had fallen to shit in my life—my family, my mother, my friends—but the one thing that helped me remain strong was him. So I told him, “It’s you. It’s only been you for me. When I came into your life, I might’ve seemed strong, but I wasn’t. I had nothing to lose. When you have nothing to lose, you’re capable of doing a lot of damage, but suddenly I had something to lose. You. My mom put me through hell, and I will never forgive her for that. She threatened to take away your future and mine because of it. She damaged me, but you held me firm. Kate and her cronies came along. They tried to break me. It didn’t happen. It was you. You held me up. You kept me strong. You loved me. I don’t think you will ever understand how much I love you. I could love Logan. Yes. There was a small moment when it could’ve been him, but only if you were never in my life. ONLY then. You’re the fucking moon and stars to me. Logan would’ve been fireworks on the Fourth of July. There’s no comparison. You need to get that.”

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