“I was called by the police station this morning.”
“You know a hooker that got arrested?”
“Or don’t even use hookers. If you get a mistress on the side, buy a pre-paid phone. Make sure to use cash. The wife can’t catch you and your lady friend can call you all she wants.”
“Mr. Kade, you should leave before I put you in detention.”
He ignored him. “Don’t go on Facebook either. I wouldn’t even have an account if you become a pro cheater.”
“Leave or I’ll give you detention. I am not in the mood.”
Logan snorted as he stood up. “Detention? What will the coach say? I’d miss practice.”
“Leave, Mr. Kade.”
“Leaving, Principal Green.” Logan flashed him a grin and lifted two fingers in the peace sign. “Remember my tip: Don’t give your number out to hookers and no Facebook. It’ll save you a lot of trouble.”
As soon as the door closed, I stated, “We didn’t do anything.”
“I know. They know that, too, but someone else did. Budd and Brett Broudou. They went to Quickie’s and beat up a clerk. When the clerk was questioned, he indicated an earlier incident with them this week. He said you almost fought them.”
“They beat the guy up?”
“Yes, they did.” He cleared his throat. “Everyone is aware of the strained relationship between the two schools. There have been past incidents and this is my warning to you, Mason. Stop it. This rivalry with Budd and Brett Broudou needs to stop. This is between them and you, but both parties have included their schools. Other students will be hurt by this. Have you considered those consequences?”
My tone went cold. “I’m aware of the consequences.”
Then I left. Principal Green didn’t stop me, but it wouldn’t have mattered. I didn’t care to listen to any more advice from him. I was more aware of the consequences than anyone else.
As the rest of the week passed, I was in an alternate universe. Logan was pissy because I disapproved of Tate, who continued to stop at his locker every chance she got. Nate was pissy … well … that was deserved. We kicked him out of our meeting. I was pissy with Mason because he didn’t disapprove of Tate anymore, or because he didn’t explain it to me. There must’ve been more to it than what he said. He didn’t have some ‘sudden’ realization that Logan wasn’t going to fall in love with Tate again. There was a reason—this was Mason—there was always a reason, and as the rest of the week wore on, I was starting to realize he wasn’t going to tell me.
The conversation was avoided, and when I brought it up, he’d distract me. Of course, most of those places were distracting anyways. In the shower. In bed. In the car. The only place he didn’t try was in the kitchen. The one time I raised the question again, he ate quickly and left. Some excuse was thrown over his shoulder as he headed to his car.
I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy at all.
But when Friday came around and I found myself in an empty house, I was ready to admit defeat. I had no idea where anyone was, but I had a shift at Manny’s. The evening would go fast, or that was my hope.
When I got there, there was no one. Crickets.
The door shut behind me and sent an echo throughout the place. Brandon stopped wiping the counter and lifted a hand. “All hail, Strattan.”
“Are you trying to be funny?”
“Not you, too.” His grin vanished.
“Not me what?”
“You’re crabby.” He gestured inside the kitchen with a glass and towel in hand. “You and my sister. What’s in the water at that school? She’s been crabby all week.”
“Shut up, Brandon!” I heard through the door. “Just be happy you’re still getting dates.” Her voice became clearer as she stood in the doorway. Her hand was in her hair; it looked stuck there. “You’re almost a has-been, tending bar for a living.”
“Screw you. I own this side, remember?”
She rolled her eyes, stalking past him and shoved open the screen door. When it banged shut behind her, she plopped down in one of the lawn chairs. The smell of cigarette smoke soon drifted inside.
The usual sibling camaraderie had vanished.
Following her outside, I took one of the other chairs. “What’s wrong?”
Flicking the end of her cigarette, she got up and shut the solid oak door. Letting the screen door shut after it, she sat back down and took a long drag before she shook her head. Her voice trembled. “Have the Tommy P.’s done anything to you this week?”
I frowned. “What? No.” And I was surprised by that. They’d been so grrr and threatening before, I had expected something. “Why?”
Taking another long drag, she reached inside her pocket and held her phone to me. “They’ve been sending me texts all week.”
She snorted. “Can’t you guess?”
I could, but I didn’t want to. They were starting with my friend. I knew this was the beginning. The first one read: First warning, bitch.
I rolled my eyes at their originality and clicked on the next: Second warning, cunt. Again. So original. The third and fourth were the same, more warnings followed by an expletive. Then they started getting interesting. The fifth read: Ditch the bitch or you’ll be sorry. Something new. The sixth was different: You used to cut. The word is out. Wanna know who told?