Home > Fallen Crest Family (Fallen Crest High #2)(17)

Fallen Crest Family (Fallen Crest High #2)(17)
Author: Tijans Books

As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I sprinted to the basement area and slid in through the bottom door. Then I let loose a huge breath. My hands were trembling, but I tried to be as silent as I could as I made my way up the back steps to my room.

When I got to my room, I couldn't calm down. Panic rose within me. My arms still shook. I tried crawling into Mason's bed. That didn't help either. There was a ball at the bottom of my stomach. It was twisting and churning, rolling over and over. The unease in me was burning up and all my emotions were fuel to its fire. It was lit and as I tried to ignore it, the flame built and built. Finally, I threw back the covers and went to my room for my running clothes. As soon as my sneakers were on and my earbuds were in, I bolted from the house. Everything inside of me was ablaze so I pushed hard in my run.

After an hour, the panic was still in me. It was slick and slimy. It crawled all over my body and I couldn't get rid of it. So I pushed harder. Another hour went by, but I was still feverish. My heart was pounding as the fear acted as a poison. It sent everything into hyperdrive. I was soaked in a cold sweat an hour after that. Then my hands started to tingle, but I continued to go faster. I felt something at my heels. I could hear Analise's voice. She chased me as I was now sprinting down the street. No matter how far I went, how fast I went, I couldn't outrun her. And then I collapsed.

I fell to the ground on someone's front lawn. My arms and legs were spread out and my chest heaved up and down. My pulse pounded throughout my body. It was one solid thumpthumpthump. I felt it all the way through my toes.

I couldn't move so I remained there and stared at the sky. The sun had risen a few hours ago, but the sounds of the morning were just starting. I should've moved. I looked like a crazy woman, but I couldn't. My limbs had turned off and refused to listen to my brain. I knew to get up, but my heart said to stay still.

I kept breathing. My chest rose up and down. The sick panic in my gut never went away, but I gulped breath after breath and I tried to numb it down.


Oh god.

My eyes closed as I recognized that voice. I couldn't face him, not like this.

The sound of his car hit me like a cold wave. His tires moved slowly over the gravel on the road as he pulled to the side. Then his engine turned off and I gulped. I knew what was happening. When his door opened and closed, I needed to face facts. He was coming over. He was going to see the near-hysteria on me and he was going to ask questions.

Everything clenched inside of me. Then, as my body lifted up by its own accord, I looked at him with grave eyes. At the sight of him, freshly showered, with a pair of jeans and a tight tee shirt, everything went dead inside of me.

He was everything I was not.

He was the golden boy of a rich private school. He was gorgeous. He had talent. He was the football quarterback, most popular and most wanted guy in our school. He had it all. I had none of it.

I took a gaping breath and tried to remember who I had become, but it didn't matter. In that moment there was no Mason, there was no Logan. Not even Nate. They'd been stripped from me, and I was the same as I always wanted to deny before. I was the unwanted child to a hustler. My mother. I never wanted to admit it, but it was the truth. She had loved someone else, became pregnant with me, and hustled a stand-up guy to marry her. Enter David Strattan. He raised me, loved me—or so I thought—and loved my mother. Then came the time when she found another con, another one that fell in love with her, a better one—wealthier one—than David Strattan.

It was hard to swallow.

Adam crossed the street now, but I couldn't stop the thoughts racing in my head.

I was nothing. I had always been nothing. My mother tolerated me because I came from her. I felt like her. I felt like I had conned Mason into loving me. I had conned Logan into protecting me, but it was all a lie. If they saw inside of me—how I was the dirty spawn from my mother—would they still stand by me?

Adam's foot stepped onto the lawn where I sat.

I swallowed everything down. All the gravity, all the deadness, all the truth. Down it went, and I blinked at him, back to the shell I projected to everyone.

"It is you." He blinked in confusion. "Are you okay?"

I pushed it down so fast that I could almost pretend it was never there. I grinned up at him and grimaced at the same time. "I'm a mess, but yeah. I'm fine."

He shared my grin. The corner of his lip curved up to his cheek and a dimple showed. "I'm not going to disagree with you. One of those mornings, huh?"

My stomach dropped. My smile stayed the same. "Where are you headed?"

"Uh." He scanned up and down the street, but then shrugged before he dropped down to sit next to me. He drew up his knees in the same way I sat. His arms hung from them as he looked casual and relaxed. "To tell you the truth, I was going on a date."

"A date?" On a Tuesday morning?

"Yeah." His head ducked down in a sheepish manner. "It's my mom's idea to help fix her marriage."

I blinked at him. "Come again?"

He grimaced and rolled his eyes. "I know. It's stupid." Then he groaned as his head fell between his knees. "I can't believe I'm even doing this."

"How is your date going to fix her marriage?"

"Gawd, I have no idea. I really have no idea, but it's my mom's latest project. She likes to focus on everybody else's life rather than her own."

His head shot up and bitterness flashed over him. I expected it to go away the next second, but it stayed. Then I sat farther up. This wasn't the Adam who was angry at me because I was dating Mason. This was the friend I once thought I had.

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