“I am,” I reassured both of them before turning and following Logan.
Kate walked past the kitchen door, too. The rest of the Tommy Princesses followed behind like ducklings, but there were too many people between us. I couldn’t get to the living room fast enough. When I did, it was full of Fallen Crest Public people, but no Mason. All the people I wanted to see were nowhere to be seen.
“Sam?” Jeff stood up from a couch. His arm had been around a girl, and he grabbed her hand, pulling her with him as he crossed to my corner. “What are you doing here?”
A light bulb was flickering as I stared at his girl. She looked familiar—wait. Adam. Basketball game. “Your name is Kris. I saw you at the basketball game last week.”
“Oh.” A faint smile came over her small lips. Her hand was pulled from Jeff’s, and she wrapped her arms around her petite frame. “I didn’t see you there.”
Jeff threw an arm around her shoulder and pulled her against his side. He announced to me, “She’s friends with Jessica and Lydia, but I’m trying to make her see the error of her ways.” He sent her a pointed glance. “Sam would know. They were best friends with her and …” he flailed, closing his mouth. “Never mind. So you’ve met Kris, huh? Quinn’s trying to court her, too.”
She gasped, and her head jerked down.
I gestured to the girl. “You embarrassed her.”
Her shoulders stiffened, but she didn’t correct me.
Jeff’s smile was blinding as he squeezed her again. “It’s like you 2.0, except I have a clean slate and I’m hoping without the Kade part. I can’t hold up against your …” He cringed. “I need to stop talking tonight.”
“Yeah, you do.” Kris nudged him with her elbow.
He laughed, squeezing her again.
I sighed. “Young love. Too bad you’re going to get screwed over. It’s inevitable.”
Jeff dropped his arm from her shoulders and they watched me with pity. I could detect that look from a mile away now. He asked, “You okay, Sam? I tried getting my ‘friends’ to help you, but they all said you were handling yourself fine.”
“Uh. Yeah.” I pointed to my face. “It’s not porcelain skin underneath all this make-up.”
“I know.” His mouth dipped down. “I meant that I tried, you know. I told you at Nate’s party that I’d try to get them to help.”
This conversation was going to a bad direction. He was talking like I had died, and I still had fight in me. I needed to find Kate. I had a whole lot more fight in me. “Where’d they go?”
I snorted. “You’re a bad actor, Jeff. You might’ve been able to lie to me before, but I’m smarter now and I hang out with liars who are in the professional league. Tell me where they went.”
“Sam, don’t do this.” He reached for me.
My arm swung away from him. “Don’t.”
“It’s not going to end well. We heard about it.”
“Where are they?”
“She’s been all over him this week. Even if it’s not over between you two, it’s,” he hesitated, “it’s over, Sam. He’s back with her.”
I was getting really sick and tired of hearing this. “You tell me where they are, or I’m going to give a character reference to your new girlfriend.” I bared my teeth at him. “And it won’t be a good one, if you know what I mean.”
“They went downstairs. That door right there.” He pointed at a door behind me. It was closed with Jasmine and Natalie guarding it. Strauss and another guy stood with them, but I marched over anyway.
“No. No way—” Jasmine started to say, raising her hand at the same time.
Strauss caught it and twisted it behind her back. The other guy opened the door for me and stepped so he was blocking Natalie from me. I sailed behind both of them without breaking stride. As the door closed behind me, I heard Jasmine cry out, “What?”
As soon as the door clicked shut, I stopped on the other side of it. The stairs were in front of me, but I grabbed the railing and held onto it. I couldn’t move. Everything in me was trembling. I felt them kicking me. Hitting me. Shut up and get her. Kate’s voice came back to me. Images flashed in my head, and I flinched with each one. I felt every hit and every kick all over again. I was back in that bathroom. It was dark, like it is now. They were coming for me.
I cried out, shooting my hand out. They wouldn’t hurt me. Not again.
“Bitch,” someone hissed at me.
My eyelids flew open—when had they closed? My hands jerked up, ready for an attack. It never came and I was staring at Tate. She was pressed against the far wall, rubbing at her throat. She cursed at me. “You hit me. That hurt.”
We stared at each other, and no one said a word. She snorted then. “Of course you’re not going to apologize.”
Waves of anxiety were still crashing over me, but I wouldn’t have even if I was fine. She knew it. I knew it. Why lie about it?
“I’m in this mess because of you, you know.”
“Because I backed you in the hallway.”
“You backed Heather, not me.”
“It doesn’t matter to Kate. Once someone crosses her, she doesn’t let it go. So thanks for this.”