Page 24

Mr. Rooney came to the front of the class, shaking his head, chuckling. “Uh, Miss Hooper, I can think of a lot of words to call Mason Kade, but shy is not one of them. It’s not even close to any of them.”

“Tread lightly.”

He kept laughing, but held his hands up. “No offense intended.” The class continued to laugh except Kate. She was staring Marissa down like she wanted to tackle her. I tensed. That would be a battle.

When we took our seat, Marissa leaned close and whispered, “Why are they all laughing at me?”

“Because I’m not shy at all. If I was, that’d probably help me in life, but I’m not. Why do you think I’m shy?”

“Because you never talk.” She said it louder than she had intended and another roar went through the class. Her cheeks grew red and she ducked her head down. “Oh god.”

I glanced at Kate and saw her chewing the corner of her lip. If I didn’t talk, that meant I didn’t care for them. She knew that about me. The problem was that wasn’t true for Marissa. I enjoyed her presence, but for her own safety, I didn’t want Kate to catch onto that.

I sent Marissa an apologetic look before I cleared my throat. I made sure people could overhear me, “Why would I talk? You don’t need encouragement to talk more.” It wasn’t that hurtful, but I knew people would take it as that. I was throwing her under the bus. As hurt flared in the depths of her eyes, I wanted to explain it to her. But I couldn’t. Then I snuck a look back again. Kate had gone back to flirting with a guy.

Damage was done.

Marissa went back to not talking to me. After class, she fled to the hallway and the next month was strained between us. It wasn’t until one day when I stayed for extra training and had showered. It was late, around six in the evening. I was heading for the parking lot when she turned the corner. When she saw me, she squeaked. Her hands clenched around her book, but she lost her footing and fell to the floor. I could’ve caught her. My hand had started to reach out, but I kept it held back. She didn’t need my help. I’d only be damning her.

“Oh ugh.” She moaned, standing up, brushing off the back of her pants. “That was embarrassing. Ouch.” She looked up, and then hung her head again. “You’re still there.”

I glanced around. There was no one else around so I grinned. “Were you expecting me to leave?”

“That’s your reputation. You’re an ass**le, right?”

I winced, but she had a point. “When was I an ass to you?”

She scowled at me. “You know.”

“That was for your own good.”

She rolled her eyes and scoffed. “Please.”

“It was.”

“Right. Because I’m in danger, right? You have a reputation for being an ass, but not for screwing with someone’s mind and feelings. You’re known for saying it how it is.”

“I am.”

She shook her head and began to turn away. “You’re just screwing with me. You’re like those other guys.”

She started to walk away, but I caught up with her and grabbed her arm. “What other guys?”

Jerking her arm away, anger flashed across her face. “Back off, buddy. All those other girls may fall all over you, but that doesn’t mean you can touch just anybody.” Rubbing where I had grasped her arm, she scowled at me. “I’m not one of those girls. I don’t care about you. Not at all.”

A firm look came over her. I tried to hold back a grin. She looked like a pissed off Chihuahua.

“You think this is funny?”

“Sorry.” My grin vanished. “Look, I had to be mean. Kate was noticing you.”

“Noticing me? She used to pick on me, but that stopped.”

“She did?”

“Yeah, from the first time we worked together on a project…” Her voice trailed off when she saw my reaction. “What?”

“It was because of me?”

She nodded. A stark note appeared in her gaze. “Yeah. It’s been on and off all year. Tate too—”


“Yeah.” She was becoming scared again. “Don’t tell them I said anything. Don’t say anything to them at all. It’ll get worse. I know it. I—” She cursed.

My eyebrows shot up when I heard words from my daily vocabulary.

When she saw the surprise, she rolled her eyes. “Right. Like you’re the only one with a potty-mouth. I don’t think so.”

A chuckle slipped out. At the sound of it, she froze again and her head jerked back down. Then she was muttering, “I should get going. I shouldn’t be here. You’re right. I’m sorry.”

She was about to slip away, when I blocked her. “Hey.” I frowned.

“Stop, Mason.” Agony was in her voice now. The sound of it had me wincing. Dropping to a whisper, she added, “You’re right. You were right to be mean. I didn’t think about that. I thought they had stopped, but if you say that she noticed,” she stopped. “I can’t handle that again.”

How bad had it been?

“I have to go.” Then she rushed off. I was left in the hallway, wondering what had really happened just now.



The girl beneath me groaned as I continued thrusting in her. Her hands fell to my hip and her eyes were closed. Her head was tipped back, exposing her neck to me and she moaned again. I thrust deeper, closing my own eyes, as I felt it coming. The build-up was the best. I was almost there and I went deeper, harder, then it was there. It was so close. Fuck. I thrust one last time, going as deep as I could, her legs lifted up from the force. They wound around my waist. Her hips rose from the bed, but then I felt her own climax shooting through her. Her walls were trembling and she collapsed. I collapsed with her, feeling my own climax ripping through me.

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