Strauss asked, “What about the other girls?”
“Kate and Parker can come down with us right away. Hold Natalie and Jasmine back.”
“But what about the stuff? They need to hear it, don’t they?”
“We’ll text you when to let them hear. Ethan, give yours to Streeter. He can play it for Jasmine.”
Swapping phones, Ethan smirked at the other guy. “Good luck with that. She’s going to go nuts on you.”
Derek paled, but jerked around to me. “What do we do then? He’s right. They’re both going to flip.”
“Then let them through.”
Logan remarked, “That’s the whole plan, dumbass.”
When we crossed the street, people stopped what they were doing on the front lawn. A tackling game paused. Conversations halted. People looked up, but no one said a word as we walked past them. It was the same effect inside. The music continued playing, but the partying halted until we were downstairs. As we descended the stairs, I glanced around to find the best room, but Logan tapped my arm and pulled me into a corner. Ethan got the gesture to stay back and he did. Tate came down the stairs a second later, but he pulled her over to him.
Logan waited to make sure she wouldn’t head to our corner. He lowered his voice then, “What are you going to do if Kate goes to Broudou? She’s going to get mad. She could tell him the truth about who Sam is.”
I shook my head. He was right, there was a chance. “There’s people in Broudou’s camp that are covering for her. He saw Kate and me. We both know he doesn’t trust other people’s word, just what he sees for himself.”
“And when he does whatever he’s going to do?”
“Channing said he’d let us know. We’ll call the cops.”
“She won’t go to the cops. Kate hates being the victim.”
I flashed him a grin, though my eyes were dead. “We’ll make a personal call to her uncle. We both know how protective he’s been.”
“He’s going to hurt her bad. We’re okay with that?”
Thinking about what Kate did to Sam and knowing it could happen again, but by Budd Broudou reaffirmed everything for me. I didn’t care what he did to her. I was too dead inside to care. “He was going to hurt Sam. All we’re doing is giving him a different target. You know that.”
Logan nodded with the same darkness coming over him. “Okay.”
Another look passed between us. An image of Sam in that hospital bed flashed in my mind. It haunted me. All the bruises, dried blood, how frail she looked in that bed would haunt me for the rest of my life. This was what I needed to do to make sure it didn’t happen again.
I headed to Ethan’s rec room and went to the far wall. Logan filled Tate in on her part of the plan. She disappeared into a separate room. Then he came to stand beside me while Ethan took position next to the pool table in front of us.
The door was left open, but it wasn’t long until I heard Kate’s voice.
It was go-time.
Cars were lined around the block, as well as the next block over. When he pulled into a back alley, there were a few hidden spots open behind Fischer’s house. Cutting across the backyard, a lot of people waved at Mark. I recognized a few people from Academy spread out throughout the yard, but when we went up the back porch, the Elite had taken their spots. From how they were sitting, with everyone beneath them, it looked like they were perched on their thrones, reigning over the lower class. All of them were there: Miranda was on Peter’s lap; Amelia; Emily; even Adam was sitting with them. When I turned to go inside and make my way to the kitchen, Cassandra was pushing her way out. Both of her hands held cups of beer. A sneer came over her when she saw me. “You really need to get over this stepbrother thing. It makes you look like trash, but then again, you are trash.”
“Does Adam know that you finally gave up your obsession with him? Or is it not public knowledge you’re stalking Mark now?”
Mark laughed from behind me.
Cassandra sucked in her breath, and her hand raised. I was waiting for it. It wouldn’t be the first beer thrown at a party.
Adam swooped in. His hand covered Cass’s and he took the cup from her. “Thanks, Cass. I owe you.”
“Yeah,” she said, raking me up and down. “You sure do.” Storming past me, she would’ve rammed her shoulder into mine, but Mark stepped right next to me. She would’ve ran right into him, but growled as she was forced to go around him instead. I waited. She rammed her shoulder into his. Mark’s laugh was cut off, but then he started chuckling again.
Turning to us, he rubbed at his shoulder. “The girl can hit. If she can do that with her shoulder, I’m excited to find out what else she can do in bed when she’s angry.”
Adam frowned, but shook his head. “I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
“Oh, come on. It’s not like that.”
“You will be. Before you know it, you will be.”
I was still wondering what happened with Amelia, but I caught a glimpse of Logan. He was walking past the kitchen door. “I have to go.”
“Sam,” Adam started.
His hand caught mine, but I shook him off. “I’m fine.”