Page 23


The conversations around us quieted when they heard us, and they moved closer.
Kate was watching them. Her unease was clear, but she kept quiet. For once. I rolled my eyes. “You listen to me because this was the last straw.”
She snorted, folding her arms over her chest. She was trying to be brave, but I saw the fear in her eyes.
I kept going, this wasn’t her time to smart off to me. “I don’t care about you. I might have at one point, but the farther you push things, the less I give a shit about you. You did this. You trampled our friendship into the ground. You and I are done. Do you hear me?”
“Good luck trying to get with someone—”
I shook my head in a forceful clip. She stopped talking and I finished for her, “There will always be someone else. Always. You don’t have the power to keep girls away from me so don’t use that card. Don’t even try to use it. It won’t work. You’re scary, but not nearly as scary as I can be. Trust me.”
The fight was in her gaze. She wanted to fight back, threaten me, use her fists, but she didn’t. She kept it reined in. As I stepped back from her, she hissed at me, “We’re through.”
“I mean it, Mason.” I almost rolled my eyes, but I refrained. I’d let her have her say. She added, “You can screw whoever you want. I’m done. I won’t give a shit anymore because I don’t give a shit about you.”
Then she swept a cold look at the crowd that had formed. “Do you hear that? He’s fair game. I’m out. Go ahead and deal with him, but I feel sorry for whoever does.” She ended with a last hateful look at me. “You’re broken inside. I don’t know what broke you, but they did a goddamn good job. You’ll never love anyone. Only Logan. That’s all you’ll let in. I feel sorry for whoever falls in love with you. It’s not a mistake I’ll be making.”
She left, stalking around the house. I heard her snap out, “Let’s go, you guys!”
“Why? What just happened?”
There was a little bit of silence after they took off and then someone started laughing. “Finally. She’s been on that high horse for too long.” Others joined in laughing and I glanced over. Her friend was there, the one that hooked up with Nate. He had his arm around her waist, but he dropped it when he saw me looking. He jerked his head in an abrupt nod and moved back a step. Parker? I think. She twisted around, fixing him with an accusing look. He never met her eyes. Then she cursed. “Are you serious?”
She stormed away, but bypassed me on her way. As she went past me, she muttered, “You turned Kate into a laughing stock just now. Don’t think for one second that I won’t tell her.”
I didn’t care. Maybe I should’ve, but it was becoming hard for me to care about anything at that moment. Kate. Other girls. Maybe I should’ve cared, but I didn’t. Then Nate came up to me. He said, “Logan called. He needs a ride. He’s at Quickie’s.”
He shrugged. “I have no idea. You want me to go?”
“No.” I shook my head. “I’ll go. Stay here and have fun.”
“You sure?”
“Didn’t your hook-up just leave?”
Nate shrugged. “My dick’s not dipped in gold like yours, but I don’t have a problem getting girls either.” He flashed me a grin. “But if you want to go and pick him up, I wouldn’t mind sticking around and finding a new hook-up.”
“Yeah. Have fun. I’ll get him.”
“All right.” He paused. “You okay?”
Was I? I shrugged. The Kate thing was a problem that I didn’t know how to reign in.
I didn’t answer him. I didn’t know how and I didn’t want to lie. When I pulled into Quickie’s, I didn’t see Logan. Sending him a quick text, I waited, but there was no answer so I got out. When I went inside, there was still no Logan, but I saw Marissa behind the counter.
She was biting her lip as she waited for my reaction.
“What are you doing here?”
Her hand shot up in an awkward wave before her cheeks grew red. She looked down and her hand slammed to the counter, spilling her water. “Oh shit.” She lunged for the napkins, knocking over another glass of liquid and then groaned. “Oh my god.” The second glass tipped onto the register and she began repeating, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god,” over and over again as she looked around. “There’s no towel. Nothing. My uncle will kill me. I swear.”
I grabbed a bunch of napkins and began piling them on top of each other, absorbing the first pile of liquid. When I had enough, I slid it over. She was still jumping in a circle, frantic, so I started wiping up the second spill. Leaning over the counter, I was finishing off the register when she squealed, grabbed her coat from under the counter, and pivoted back to me. She was ready to use her coat to absorb it, but she froze when she saw the spills were already cleaned up.
Her hands dropped. “Oh.”
I grinned. “It’s done. No damage.”
“That’s so embarrassing.”
I checked my phone. Still no reply from Logan, but I asked again, “What are you doing here?” After sending another text to him, I added, “Working a gas station at night is dangerous. You shouldn’t be here.”
“I know. He knows.”
She was picking up the soaked napkins now. A few slipped from her fingers and fell back with a splat. When she tried picking them up again, they broke in half. “Dammit.”
“What?” she looked up. “Oh yeah. My uncle runs this gas station. I don’t normally work, but there was a family emergency and he asked if I would fill in. I’m only here for a little bit. He’s on his way back.”
“Your uncle owns Quickie’s?”
She nodded. “Yeah.” She gave up trying to pick up the napkins by hand and grabbed a trash can. Holding it beneath the counter, she swiped all the napkins into it, then groaned when she saw the puddle of liquid that hadn’t been absorbed. “These are cheap napkins.”
I frowned. “I guess.” There was still no answer from Logan. “Have you seen my brother? I’m supposed to pick him up from here.”