“He went to her.”
“He was alone with her.” He could’ve hurt her.
“Everyone at school is teasing Brett about the hospital chick. They’ve all heard about the girl that got jumped at the basketball game. Half of them think it’s because Brett liked her. That psychotic bitch crew at your school jumped her for you. They think it’s an entire Roussou/Fallen Crest thing, and they’re waiting to see what Budd’s going to do now.”
“I don’t care about any of that.”
“I know. I know.” Channing pointed to his head. “Think about it. Brett knows who Sam is, he asked Heather if her friend was okay.”
The rage in me stalled.
He asked if she was okay … after he knew who she was.
It settled me, enough to slip back into my old skin. I began picking up the pieces. I saw where Channing was leading me. “He covered for her that night. Budd was starting to figure it out, but he stopped him. He said we had school problems.”
“Because that makes sense to Budd. Someone got hurt in your school. He knows you’d want to know about it.”
I frowned. “We’re not that controlling.”
“But Budd is, or he tries. Brett covered for you.”
“I’m getting that now.” It’d been something I had kept in the back of my mind, but I hadn’t given it enough time. “Brett’s continued to lie for her?”
She lied to me. I flinched at that reminder. It stung.
“He has.” The tension left Channing, his shoulders dropped, and he nodded. “Heather was at my place earlier. He wanted to know how Sam was doing. He told her that he’d keep the secret, too. He promised that Budd wouldn’t know. In fact,” he took a deep breath, “that brings me to the next part of business.”
I knew where this was going.
“She said that Kate’s back in power. She’s acting like your girlfriend and the rest of her friends too, like everything’s back to normal. This isn’t any of my business, but it’s making her lose sleep. I care about Heather and I don’t like seeing her suffer. She doesn’t know if she should tell Sam you’re back with the Bitch Crew or wait till you do. Either way Sam is going to find out.” He touched his chest. “And that’s where I’m coming in. I’m thinking you’re doing that for a reason. Am I right?”
“It’s none of your business.”
I kept my calm. My voice was cool, but it was the truth. I didn’t care what Heather Jax was worried about. She could say all the things she wanted. My relationship with Sam was my relationship with Sam. No one else got in there.
Channing sighed. “I was afraid you would say that.”
Kate had arrived. The bottom of my gut dropped, and I fought against the disgust of being near her. I had two ass**les to deal with, Kate and Budd Broudou.
“MASON, WHERE ARE YOUUU?” She hiccupped at the end before shrieking with her friends. All of them began calling my name.
Kate was drunk. Now was the perfect time.
I downed my beer. I emptied the entire bottle before handing it to Channing. Without a word, another beer was handed to me. I cursed before downing that one, too.
“I know what you’re going to do,” Channing said.
I waited. The judgment would come. I was already preparing myself for Sam’s reaction.
“He’s going to hurt her.”
That was the point. “She hurt Sam.”
Channing nodded. He didn’t say anything more, but he understood. He’d do something similar if it’d been him and his girl. When I went back, Kate was in the center of the area, dancing around the barrels. Her shirt was off and she was only wearing a bra with her tight jeans. When she swung around, I saw the bottoms were ripped to show the bottom of her underwear.
Giggling some more, she tipped her head back and drank out of a Jack Daniels bottle. Her friends danced with her. Everyone was watching her. Then they saw me. They were waiting now. A group of people moved back for me. A girl lifted her beer to drink from, and as I went past, I swiped the bottle from her.
“Hey. Oh …”
She was ignored, but before Kate saw me, I glanced over my shoulder. Channing had followed me but he headed to the Roussou side of the party. He went to Heather’s side. It was then when our gazes collided. Her eyes burned bright with condemnation. Channing hadn’t judged me, but she was. Sam’s best friend hated me.
Kate gasped, swaying on her feet, “Mason! You’re here!”
I hated myself, too.
I smirked at Kate as she came over to me. She was trying to be seductive. She looked like a drunken idiot and reeked of booze. Then she looped her arms around my neck, pressed her br**sts against me before sliding them up my chest as she moved into me. Then her fingers curled into my neck and she drew my mouth down. As my lips stopped above hers, she whispered, “Are you going to f**k me tonight?”
I didn’t think. I couldn’t.
I slammed my lips onto hers.
It wasn’t home.
That was my first thought when I walked inside. David unlocked the door, but waved me through first. Nothing felt familiar about my old home anymore. It was cold. It was dark, and there was a musky smell in the room.
“Oh, sorry.” David rushed around me, and the door slammed shut in his wake. “I meant to drop by earlier and turn the heat up. I knew you were coming, but things happened at school and …” he trailed off as he stared at me.