Nate’s shoulder tensed under his hand, but he shrugged. “Trying to make up. I’ve recently learned that I’ve been a dick lately.”
“You have.” Logan kept chuckling, turning to see me. “You missed it, Sam. Nate clipped Budd Broudou with his car.”
Mason’s eyes narrowed at Nate. “What were you going to do? You hopped out of your car like you were going to take a bat to him.”
Nate shrugged again. A brief glimmer of regret crossed his face, but it was gone instantly. “I needed to make sure he stayed down … and to make sure that I won’t get sued.”
“He’s down now. Don’t worry, you just clipped him. Budd’s a cockroach. They think a lawsuit is a pansy way to deal with a fight.” Logan’s hand was still on him, and he used it to push up from the ground in a semi-skip. His eyes sparked from giddiness. Before I knew what he was doing, he had rushed over to me, and I was thrown over his shoulder. “That was awesome, Sam. I can’t believe you missed that. Shit. I’m horny.”
“On that note.” An arm slid underneath my waist and I was lifted from him. Mason slid me down his body and kept his arms around me. I wasn’t inclined to leave his shelter. He spoke near my ear, a deep chuckle in his voice, “I’ll be taking Sam with me to school.”
“Whatever.” Logan’s grin widened. “I’m off then. Got something to do.” He darted to his Escalade, stopping once to punch Jeff in the arm before he climbed in and took off.
“Ow! That hurt. Oh, Sam. Hey …”
I knew what he was going to ask and started to answer, but Mason beat me to it. “We’ll give you a ride.”
Jeff flashed a bright smile quickly before the stoic mask of coolness slid back into place. I shook my head. This would be interesting. Mason didn’t wait around. He got into the front and I climbed into the passenger seat. Jeff got into the back. No one said a word as he turned onto the road leading to Fallen Crest Academy.
The irony didn’t escape me—my boyfriend was driving my ex-boyfriend to my old school. A lot had changed in such a short amount of time.
“So, um,” Jeff started, leaning forward, “how much does one of these cost, Mason?”
I turned to him. “Don’t even start.”
He frowned. “Just trying to be friendly.”
“Oh.” He remained quiet until Mason pulled into the Academy’s parking lot. Just like when I went to school here, everyone looked up and saw whose black Escalade was there. They all watched like hungry vultures. It’d been a while since Mason Kade had graced my old school. I remembered their reactions then. The reaction now wasn’t a surprise to me. When Jeff got out, everyone’s mouths dropped open. When he hid a quick grin, I knew he loved the attention. He lifted a hand in the air. “Thanks, Mason!”
Mason ignored him and pulled away from the curb. “Why is your ex-boyfriend acting all buddy-buddy with me?”
“Because he wants to be cool.”
“Is he trying to get you back?”
I snorted. That’d never happen, not even if I developed amnesia, but when he turned onto the road and drove past the front of the school, the comment died in my throat. Standing on the lush green lawn with two gym bags full of equipment at his feet was my father. Or no. David. He stared back at me, but I couldn’t see his expression. Reflective sunglasses hid his eyes and his arms moved to cross over his chest. He was wearing a Fallen Crest Academy polo. I had seen him wear the same coach’s wardrobe for years, but he looked different. He had bulked up. Gone was the healthy weight he kept while he’d been married to Analise and the twenty pounds he lost when she left him. The weight was back and more so.
Mason saw it, too. “Your dad looks ripped. Not bad for a guy his age.”
I slunk down in my seat, ripping my eyes from David. “Whatever. It doesn’t matter to me anymore.”
It didn’t. I wouldn’t let it, but I was thankful for Mason’s silence all the way to my new school.
When he wheeled into the lot, he headed to the back corner and parked in the slot beside Logan’s vehicle. Strauss was rounding the back end of a rusted brown truck that was parked on the other side of Logan’s, a book bag over his shoulder, where he met up with another guy. Both went over to the back of Logan’s Escalade, where the others were already waiting.
I took in the crowds that were watching them. There were so many cliques. Each looked different, but they all looked the same. They were all students, but those guys were at the top. Cheerleaders. Preppies. Others dressed all in black, even black hair. A few guys lingered around a picnic table in the corner with sleeveless shirts, spiked hair, tattoos and chains.
I kept scanning the back end of the school, and saw a few girls giggling together, whispering and pointing at the books they were holding.
This wasn’t Fallen Crest Academy where everyone wore the same uniforms, and the only thing that separated their image was how short the skirts were cropped or how tight the shirts were tied. The top of the food chain had been the Academy Elite, but they wouldn’t have made it a day at this school.
Mason glanced over, shut his car off and leaned back. “What is it?”
“Look at me.”
“This is my first day here.” I hadn’t been nervous before. I was now.