“I’m waiting,” was all he said.
“Logan.” He was so damn resigned.
I gritted my teeth. That shit, that sound from my brother…I was right whether he’d admit it to me or not. He was waiting until football was done. That was what he was doing. It’d be too late.
“He’s going to go after Sam,” I said.
“Not if we don’t engage him more.”
I clipped my head back and forth. He wasn’t getting it. I wanted to rip off his fucking door to throw at him, but I couldn’t. Feeling a twinge of disappointment for the first time, I said, “You’re wrong, Mase. He’s going to go after her whether we wait or not.”
“Yeah. He’ll go after her for sure now.”
“And you have one security guard on her.”
His shoulders lifted, held in the air, and lowered slowly. He couldn’t refute it. One guard for all of Sebastian’s friends.
I asked, “What if he really tries to hurt her?”
“I’ll fucking kill him.”
“And that right there is how he’s going to win this time. He does one thing to her, and you’ll go after him. Boom, he’s got you. Cops show up. He’s got hidden cameras recording the entire thing, and he’s won. Your career is gone. Your future is gone, and fuck, Mase, it could get bad enough to where you do time. All the crap we do, we should’ve done some time by now.”
We were arrested before, but James got us out every time. That was over. If we got caught again, there would be no rich daddy to help us out. I tried again, “Let me handle Sebastian.”
“Logan,” he started, shaking his head.
“I’ll run everything by you. How about that? You can help me with the masterminding shit. I mean, holy dumbass, I took a page from your book last night.”
“What do you mean?”
“My original plan was to go in, get a hit in, and jump over the fence and have Nate there, waiting for me with a getaway car. I couldn’t do that, and I had to switch agendas.”
“What did you do?”
“I thought you heard?”
“Drew called this morning. All he said was that you got into a fight with Sebastian’s guys. That was it.”
“Oh.” My shoulders felt a little lighter. I almost felt pride as I told him, “I outed some of his enemies. I put them in a corner where they admitted to hating him, or they’d have to kiss his ass and slink away with their tails between their legs.”
“They fought with me.”
Mason nodded, a look of admiration in his eyes.
My head lifted. My shoulders straightened again. I stood an inch higher. My brother was proud of me. “Fuck yeah.” I grinned at him. “They were a little sore at me later, but those guys will fight with me again, if I need them. They think they’re manly men now.”
Mason nodded again, grinning back at me. “Good job, brother.”
He gestured to the ceiling. “And sorry for interrupting. I knew you had a chick. I just wanted to be a dick back to you.”
“Ah, I see. You’re learning from me. I’m not just a smart-ass with my words. I can be a smart-ass with my behavior, and yes, barging in when you’ve got Sam straddling you, that’s definitely a smart-ass dick way of doing things.”
Mason narrowed his eyes at me and said ruefully, “Yeah, I must be learning from you.”
“I’ll teach you more ways, my student, but first,” I lifted my hand to look at the number, “I might need to show up somewhere with a latte. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Sam, it’s that girls love their lattes.”
“Logan,” he called out as I turned to leave.
The gravity on my brother’s face made me pause for a second. I’d only seen that look a few times—when our mom left, when we found out Sam was beaten up in the restroom, and when Nate’s vehicle crashed in front of us. There were other times, but those were the ones that ran through my memory.
He said, “Be careful with this one. He thinks like I do.”
It wasn’t an insult, but I knew what Mason was saying. Sebastian strategized. He analyzed. He thought five steps ahead, whereas I didn’t. I was two steps ahead, if I were lucky.
I nodded and murmured, “I will.”
It was fun to walk to the football game with the girls. I hadn’t enjoyed hanging out with a group of girls in so long that I almost missed what it was like. Gossip. Laughter. A few tears, but I wasn’t sure the cause for them. Some whispering. The occasional belch, followed by some farting jokes. This hadn’t happened with my old group, and it was sad to realize that Jessica and Lydia were my last real group of girlfriends. Cattiness and competition came with them.
Who knows? I skimmed over the group of my floormates. If I grew closer to them, perhaps the same thing would occur.
So far, it hadn’t. So far, I was protected. Maybe it was because I already had a boyfriend. Maybe it was because I was still kind of a loner. Maybe it was because my roommate had more to be envious about with her long legs and model cred.
A few envious looks were sent Summer’s and my way. When we got to the stadium and sat down, those looks grew more and more. When Mason ran out onto the field and the crowd started a frenzied cheer for him, the whispers in the group tripled, and so did the envious looks.
Summer noticed the looks and narrowed her eyes at the closest girls. She asked with a bite in her tone, “Yes? May we help you?”
The two girls closest to Summer froze for a second.
One whispered, “Is her boyfriend Mason Kade?”
“Yes.” Summer sat up as far as she could, so she was literally looking down her nose at her. “And, no, you cannot use Sam to meet him. They’re in love. They’re so in love that they make me want to vomit, and I probably would if I wasn’t so starstruck by Mason Kade myself.”
“Oh.” The girl shrank back but fanned herself. “We’ve seen him in the hallway, but we didn’t realize he was the same Mason Kade on the team. He’s gorgeous.”
A part of me was damn proud of Mason. The other part went on instant alert. If this were their reactions already, would I have another restroom fight on my hands? I hoped not. This was college. I wanted to assume violence like that only happened in high school and by the hands of girls like Kate.
Summer leaned in close to me. “Don’t worry. They’re all rug rats. Mason could easily step over them.”
I gave her a smile—or I tried. It fell flat. If she only knew what I was actually worried about…
“Yeah, that’s true.”
She studied me, narrowed her eyes a little, and nudged me with her elbow. “They’re not going to drug him or something. Besides, Mason is one dude who will not be coerced. You don’t have to worry about him with other girls.”
My head moved up and down. I was nodding. I was agreeing to everything she said, but her voice sounded from a distance. Football, money, looks—that was the world that Mason and Logan ruled, and I had been brought into their world. A shiver racked through me. I didn’t even want to imagine how I would’ve been if those two hadn’t welcomed me into their twosome family or if Mason and I hadn’t fallen in love.
“You okay?” Summer was still watching me, now concerned.
“Yeah,” I rasped out, coughing to clear my throat. “Yeah, I’m good.”
“Oh, yeah. I’m good.” I forced another grin. “Peachy.”
We were halfway through the game when Summer asked to use my phone. She forgot hers. I didn’t think anything of it until the game was over. We won. Everyone was in good spirits, and I was proud of Mason.
My whole chest was full of it, but I’d forgotten that along with his fame came the thirst from others. They wanted him. They wanted what I had. They would plot, scheme, and deceive. They’d do what it took. I already knew it would end in failure, but they didn’t. They’d go the gamut to
try to destroy my heart.
We were following the girls through the parking lot, but I was looking for Mason’s car. I was going to text him and say that I would wait for him by it. Summer caught my elbow as I started to veer for his Escalade.
She asked, “Where are you going?”
“I—” I was about to tell her when I stopped.
Logan hadn’t come to sit with us, but I hadn’t thought about it. I’d figured he wanted to steer clear of Kitty and Nina. I would if I were him. But now, I saw him standing a few yards from us. He wasn’t looking at me. He was looking past me, and the expression on his face was like an invisible hand pressing down on my chest. But that wasn’t the only thing. A large and nasty-looking bruise was on the side of his jaw. I looked over his other injuries—a cut lip, a bandage on the corner of his eye, and another bruise on his forehead.
He was focused beyond me, and it hit me. Logan was staring with hatred at whoever was behind me. The loathing wasn’t hidden. It was there. It was in the open, and there was no hiding it.
A shiver trailed up my spine.
I knew who was behind me, but I turned, and everything went into slow motion.
Sebastian was staring right back at Logan. Sebastian’s face was bruised. One of his cheeks was swollen. More bruises were on his neck. Through a small opening in the crowd, I saw his hand resting on his side. His knuckles were cracked open, all black and blue, too. The crowd covered his hand up, and I couldn’t see him anymore.
Neither of them looked like they were going to approach the other.
I was almost invisible to them, but a second tingle shot up my back. A sixth sense had me looking, even before I’d realized it, and behind Logan was Mason. He had just come out of the doors.
He was standing there. His hair was wet, and I figured he’d showered. He was wearing a Cain U shirt that clung to parts of his chest that were still wet. His athletic pants only accentuated his trim waist and athletic build. He stayed there, holding a bag, as he looked at me. Concern and heavy wariness was there before he masked them and looked at his brother. He lingered, watching his brother, as his eyebrows jerked forward a split second. They smoothed back out, and his gaze moved past to Sebastian.
I couldn’t look away from Mason. A dark ominous sensation took root in my gut. This was a standoff. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up, but I couldn’t move.
Summer was talking to me. Her voice came in and out. It was as if I were submerged in deep water, and she was above me, calling my name, while I was fighting to break the surface.
Something bad was going to happen.
Someone else was saying my name, and I frowned. That person…
I tore my gaze from Mason and turned.
Heather was right there. She was right in front of me, and she was waving a hand over my face.
I broke the surface.
I could hear her plain as day.
She said, “She goes into these freaky trances. Don’t worry. She’ll break free. Usually, it just means she needs to jump Mason’s bones—”
I didn’t let her finish. Launching myself at her, I tightly wrapped my arms around her. I hadn’t realized how much I missed my best friend until that minute.
“Are you going to tell me what was up with the weird stare-offs earlier?”
Heather was outside the house party, lounging in the backyard with me. She wanted a smoke, and I wanted some peace and quiet. My head had been full with too many thoughts.
After an awkward dinner with Mason, Logan, and Summer, they’d dropped us off at the dorm. The plan had been to grab some clothes for me, so we could sleep back at the house. It was more comfortable there, but those plans went awry as soon as we stepped foot on the floor. Kitty and Nina were going into Ruby’s room, but they went wild when they saw us. Ruby’s friend, Blaze, was throwing another party, and we were supposed to be the guests of honor. Ruby informed me later that Blaze now considered himself a badass, and he had near idol-worship for Logan. He became a man and wanted to repay Logan in beer and pussy.
Ruby cringed as she said the word pussy, but it was a direct quote from Blaze himself. She added, “Though, I have to be honest, I’m pretty sure Logan’s being used to bring the pussy part. Blaze told me that where Logan Kade goes, pussy follows.” She shook her head. “I’m sorry, but can you guys come?”
“Uh…” I’d glanced at Heather and Summer, the latter had been unnaturally quiet during dinner.
Both gave me blank faces back.
I’d made the decision. “Why not?” The evening couldn’t get more awkward, could it?
When we informed Mason of the change of plans, he planned to drop us off and pick us up later. That hadn’t lasted long. Logan got on the phone, and within five minutes, Mason’s phone was ringing. Drew and half the football team wanted to go to the party, too. Mason’s hand was forced, but I knew he was fine with that. Going to a party with Logan was like old times. The only reason Mason hadn’t originally wanted to go was because he’d thought I’d want my girl time.
That was what I was getting right now. Hanging out in the backyard with Heather while everyone drank, flirted, shrieked, giggled, whispered, danced, and whatever else inside was fine by me.
That brought me back to her question, something that had not been discussed during dinner. I shrugged now, sliding down in my chair to get more comfortable. “It’s Park Sebastian.”
I chewed on my bottom lip. It was obvious Logan had been in a fight with Sebastian. Both were covered in bruises. When we got to the house, one by one, guys poured into the party, and they all had bruises, too. It looked like they’d been in a mass brawl.
Heather took a drag off her cigarette and flicked the end into an ash bowl set between the lawn chairs. The setup was already here when we’d come out. There must’ve been others in the house or at the party who smoked. I was grateful for some privacy, though.
“He’s the current big bad villain?”
I nodded. “He’s an asshole.”
She grunted, taking one more drag. “Aren’t they all?”
I peered at her, pulling my knees up to my chest and wrapping my arms around them. She looked good. Her blond hair had a slight curl to it. She was tanned, toned, and decked out in a simple black tank top. Her jeans were tight with holes and rips all over them. Underneath her ass cheeks were two slits in her pants, and as she had walked through the house before, all the guys had noticed. Her entire demeanor screamed sex and cool.
I sighed, grinning. “You look happy.”
Her blue eyes flicked to mine, and her lips slightly curved down. “Really?”
I sat back up, straightening in my seat. “You’re not?”
“I’m a fucking mess.” She ground out her cigarette and pulled out a second one. Lighting it, she murmured, “I have no clue what’s going on with me and Channing. And—” She stopped talking but glanced at the house for a second. She didn’t say a word. She just stared at the house before her gaze fell back to the cigarette in her hand. “You know I screwed Logan, right?”
I nodded. “I knew that night.”
“You weren’t mad?” She seemed to have been holding in her breath.
I shook my head. “There’s always been a flirtation between you two. I figured it would happen when you told me that you and Channing were on the outs.”
“Oh.” Her head dropped back down. “Fuck me. I’m a piss-poor friend. I’m sorry, Sam.”
“I screwed him on your dad’s wedding night.”
I couldn’t hold back a grin. “I screwed my boyfriend that night, too. It was a good night for some lovemaking.”
A smooth and husky-sounding chuckle left her. She searched my face before putting the cigarette to her lips. “You’re seriously not mad?”
My head moved from left to right. “I’d be selfish if I were. I know it won’t last, and I know I won’t be put in the middle, if anything does happen.”
“It won’t last. You’re right there.” She chuckled again. “What’s up with your roommate?” She took a drag and gestured to the