“No, he won’t.”
“Mason’s always listened to me.”
“Things are going to go to shit. I know it.”
I frowned, but the knot tightened again in my gut. As Logan turned into The Quickie, I agreed with him. This semester wasn’t going to be an easy one.
When Logan turned into the gas station, I laughed when I saw who was sitting on the bench outside of Quickie’s—Jeff. When we got out, a quick grin came over him and he stood up. His hands were pushed deep into his pants pockets and he rolled his shoulders back. His dark hair had been gelled, much the same as Logan’s, and as he came closer, I saw the idol worship he had for the younger Kade.
Logan narrowed his eyes at him, but I asked, “What are you doing here?”
He jerked a shoulder up. “My car broke down.”
I glanced at his phone. “Who were you going to call for a ride?”
“Not that girl I was telling you about on Friday. She hooked up with this guy Saturday.” He gestured to Logan, who had started to reach for the gas nozzle.
“Yeah.” Jeff lifted a corner of his mouth up. “No worries. I’m not heartbroken. At least I know what she’s like now.”
He looked ready to say more, but Logan interrupted after he started the gas, “I’m going in. You want your coffee?”
I nodded. “Thanks.”
As he went inside, Jeff laughed to himself. “Man, I forgot how scary—” He stopped suddenly. His eyes darted past my shoulder and widened. I turned to see Mason’s black Escalade pulling into the lot. He parked next to us, on the other side of the gas pump, and hopped out. When he came around, Jeff put a few feet between us. “Hey, man. How’s it going?” His voice sounded strangled as he jerked a hand up and grabbed a fistful of his hair, making it spike even more.
Mason reached for the nozzle, but turned to me. “Logan’s inside?”
I nodded. “Where’s Nate?”
The corner of his mouth dipped down into a brief scowl. It was so quick—there and gone in the blink of an eye—but I caught it. No one else would’ve noticed it. That wasn’t good. A knot tightened in my gut. “Did he have company?”
“No, but he did last night.” Mason’s tone was cold. I knew it wasn’t because of me.
“Uh,” Jeff’s hand tightened on his hair, and he tried to give me a halfhearted grin. His other hand shoved down in his front jean pocket, and his shoulders hunched forward. “Maybe I should get going …”
“Did you call someone for a ride?”
Jeff’s eyes darted back to Mason.
Even though he was filling his vehicle with gas and his back was turned to us, I knew he was listening. He was waiting for Jeff to leave.
“Not yet, but since you’re here …” His voice trailed off again. “Oh shit.”
Two car doors slammed shut, but it wasn’t the sound of them or the alarm that flitted over Jeff’s face that sent alarms off in me.
It was Mason.
He wasn’t moving. An unnatural stillness had come over him. His hand fell from the nozzle, and he stopped everything for a second. It was a small pause as he took a breath. It lasted only a second. Then his hand reached over and he flipped up the handle so the gas stopped. The nozzle was left in his vehicle as he walked forward.
Then I saw them.
Brett and Budd Broudou. They had gotten out of their car and one yelled inside it, “Hurry up, Shannon. We’ve only got twenty minutes and you’re going to make us late.”
She climbed out from the back seat, straightening her skirt so her ass didn’t hang out. “Shut up, Brett. I’ll take my time if I want to.”
“No, you won’t,” Budd interjected. “Not unless you want to call for your own ride. You better piss here too. We’re not stopping.”
Her lips clamped shut, but if looks could kill.
Her older brother didn’t care. He gave her a look of death right back. “Bitch.”
“Screw you.” Jerking forward, she tried to hurry inside but stopped and slowed to a casual walk. Her shirt had ridden up, showing a good dose of skin, including the top of her butt crack. Muttering under her breath, she reached up and pulled it back down. As both her brothers started laughing, she turned towards them, but stopped when she caught sight of us.
Mason was in front of his vehicle, a human wall between them and me. I knew he had done it on purpose, but I was surprised when Jeff took two steps and positioned himself in the same manner. He was facing them squarely with me right behind him.
I scooted to see what was going on, but Jeff moved with me. When I went to the right, he went to the right. “Stop. He doesn’t want them to see you.”
I started to protest, but remembered how Heather had acted when they were at Manny’s. She’d been terrified. Heeding all of their warnings, I stayed put. If Budd recognized me from that night, he’d say something and that was still a conversation I needed to have with Mason.
Then Logan came out of the gas station. He had two coffees in hand with his head down, clueless of the Broudou brothers as he crossed the lot. There still hadn’t been a word spoken between the brothers and Mason. Yet.
It was coming.
A shiver went down my spine.
Slipping my hand inside my pocket, I made sure my phone was there and pulled it out. If they made one violent move, I was calling 911. I wasn’t going to risk them being hurt. Mason’s future had already been threatened by Analise. It wasn’t going to be threatened again.