Home > Fallen Crest Forever (Fallen Crest High #7)(9)

Fallen Crest Forever (Fallen Crest High #7)(9)
Author: Tijans Books

He knew the answer. I refused to give it. I just stared.

He sighed, his hand dropping back down. “That’s what I thought. Let me guess. He asked if you were going to join, and you said no. That was probably the entire conversation, wasn’t it?”

“Not fully.”

He snorted. “He probably asked if you were sure, and you said you were. Then he dropped it. Right?”

He was a bit closer this time. I gritted my teeth. “You’re mad because he didn’t push me? Is that it?”

“No, but the whole reason you’re coming here today is because you don’t know what you want to do. Maybe you should do something you want to do. Maybe that’s the first step. Instead of taking some stupid test, actually go out there and join the team. Yes, you’re sacrificing time with Mason, but it’s only for a few months. It’s not like you don’t live with the guy. I’m foreseeing lots of midnight screwing happening.”

I wavered. He was right, but it’d be hard.

“If I did this—” I shot a hand out when his grin morphed into a smirk. “—And that’s a big if. But if I did this, you’d have to make me a promise.”

“Sure. Anything.”

“No. Don’t say that. I mean it. You’d really have to make me a promise.”

The smirk fell away, and he grew serious. “I promise.” His head inclined toward mine. “I’ll do whatever you want me to do.”

“You can’t get Mason in trouble.”

His eyes widened. “What do you mean?”

“He’s walking on eggshells. No drama can happen. Nothing. His name can’t be linked to any kind of scandal.”

He shook his head. “Do you not know who we are? We should’ve been named Mason and Logan Scandal, not Kade.”

“Taylor’s dad said that if anyone got wind of them looking the other way about the tape, there could be consequences. Like, if a lot of people got pissed about a wealthy guy not being punished, Mason would be off the team. He’d be suspended, or worse. You know that’s not good for his career. He still has to get drafted.”

“That’s bullshit. That’d never happen.”

I raised an eyebrow. He knew it could. He just didn’t want to admit it.

Logan cursed, raking a hand over his jaw.

I nodded. “It just takes one person to find out, get pissed, and start talking.”

“I know. I heard what Mase said in Taylor’s kitchen. I just . . . don’t like it.”

“Don’t get him in trouble. Be smart about things. I’ll join the team, if you don’t get Mason in trouble.”

He stilled, eyeing me.

I held my hand out.

He looked at my hand. If he shook it, he’d honor our agreement. That meant no fighting, no pranks, nothing combustible.

The part of Logan that would make him a great lawyer was the part Mason didn’t need in his life right now. He couldn’t go and fuck things up.

He let out a surrendering sigh and shook my hand. “Deal.”

Logan was right.

Mason was understanding and even encouraging when I told him about Coach Carillo and the deal I’d struck with Logan. He laughed a little at that, but I saw the relief in his eyes. It was small, but it was there. I understood it too, because no matter what was best for Mason’s career, if Logan got into a spot, Mason would have his back. Damn the consequences.

This made him a little less worried about having to do that.

I, however, was all sorts of worried. I was going to have to do the unthinkable: I’d have to branch out. I couldn’t stay back within what was comfortable to me.

Last night I spoke to Coach Carillo on the phone, and he promised he would call the cross-country coach and instructed me to show up early. And here I was. Bright and early.

I pulled up outside the coaching administration offices at seven in the morning. There was a small chill in the early morning breeze, but it felt nice. I wore running clothes, running tights under my sweatpants, and I’d skipped my four a.m. run, banking on running with the team later. But my body was ready to go now. I could feel the itch.

“Hey!”

I turned to notice another car had pulled into the parking lot and saw Taylor jogging over.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

She was dressed similar to me, but I’d snagged one of Mason’s Cain University sweatshirts. She had on a black hoodie instead.

“Logan said you were trying out for the cross-country team today.” She shrugged. “I’m not in your league, but I’m no slouch. Figured I might try too.”

“Are you sure?”

She rolled a shoulder again, glancing away for a moment. “Yeah. I mean, I’ve been adding to my mileage since I started dating Logan. I think I can hold my own, or try it.” Her eyes widened. “Unless you don’t want me to. Did you want this to be your own thing? I can go. I mean it. I just thought it’d be nice to have something in common with you that Logan and Mason weren’t a part of. You know what I mean?”

I relaxed. She was doing this for me.

I squeezed her hand. “Thank you, and I’d love it if you ran with me.”

“Oh. Phew.” She laughed, pretending to wipe her brow. “I just thought, if it were me, I’d be nervous to join a team my junior year. I’d want a friend with me.” She leaned closer, lowering her voice. “I’m shitting my pants about trying to catch up, but I really would like to try.”

“No. Thank you. I appreciate it.” I smiled at her. “Carillo said we need to find Coach Langdon’s office.”

More cars were arriving, and soon a few more girls headed our way. As Taylor and I started for the coaching staff building again, some of those girls dropped down on the grassy area just outside the doors. They began stretching, talking, and laughing with each other.

One looked our way, and then her eyes widened. She gasped, hitting her friend on the arm. I saw her say something, and she pointed in our direction.

That’s when I recognized her. It was the drunk, naked chick from the party.

I groaned. “I don’t know if this is good or not.”

Taylor had reached for the door handle. She glanced back. “What?”

I nodded at Nettie, and the other girl looked over too. I recognized Grace. A third girl stretched on the other side of them. I was betting that was Courtney.

“Our best friends from the party this weekend. Look.”

Taylor stiffened. “Oh no. They’re coming over.”

They moved toward us in a group, but Courtney didn’t seem as enthused as the other two.

“Hey!” Grace waved and stopped just short of barreling into us. “Logan Kade’s girlfriend.”

More girls had arrived to stretch, and most looked over after Grace’s exclamation. Even the ones still stretching seemed to be listening.

Taylor shared a look with me. If we’d hoped to remain anonymous, be known only as Taylor and Sam, that was over. It was only a matter of time before my secret was blown too.

“What are you doing here?” Nettie gushed.

She and Grace directed all their attention to Taylor. The only one looking at me was Courtney, and she wore a slight frown. Her eyes narrowed as she tilted her head to the right.

“Bartender girl, right?”

I coughed.

“Strattan!”

A fit-looking guy, strong jaw, older forties, came out the door behind us. The clipboard, whistle, athletic warm-up clothes, and the fact he had the same aura as Coach Carillo indicated immediately who he was.

I turned to him. “Coach Langdon?”

He nodded, looking me over. “Martin says you’re worth my time.” He gave Taylor the same cold appraisal. “He never said anything about an entourage.”

“This is—”

Taylor held out her hand. “Taylor Bruce. I’m not in the same league as Sam, but I was wondering if I could try out too. I can do ten miles on a good day.”

He didn’t move to shake her hand. “Bruce?”

She withdrew her hand. “My dad is Coach Broozer.”

“Whoa!” someone exclaimed.

We heard Nettie whisper behind us. And like a chain reaction, more whispering and conversation followed.

   
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