Home > Collide (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #1)(11)

Collide (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #1)(11)
Author: H.M. Ward

Trystan tried to calm her. He didn't want her to think that. He wasn't playing her. He lifted his hands to her elbows as she rubbed her eyes. Touching her lightly he said, "This isn't a game. It's not, Mari."

She let out a rush of air and dropped her arms to her sides. Mari stared at him, her lips parted like she wanted to say something but she only shook her head. Grabbing her books, she swallowed hard, "I know what it is. It's the same thing it's been with every girl. It's never a game in the beginning, is it Trystan? She catches your eye and you can't fathom being with anyone else. That is until you sleep with her." A tear rolled down her cheek. "I've been burned before. I can't do it again. I won't. And not with you, so stop this charade or whatever you want to call it. End this seduction scene you created. You're wasting your time. I don't like you that way. I never have. I never will."

Trystan absorbed her words, internalizing them until each one exploded inside of him. She thought it was a game. It was worse than he feared. Mari's words weren't sharp, they were pleading - begging him to stop, but he couldn't. He loved her. It wasn't random. It wasn't a quest. He didn't care if he slept with her or not. He just wanted to be around her, hear her voice, and feel the curve of her body in his arms. And now he didn't even have that.

He swallowed hard and sat in the chair facing the stage. Trystan didn't look at Mari. He didn't respond.

Mari's voice shook, "I'm serious, Trystan. Stay away from me." She turned on her heel and walked out the door, leaving him behind.

Trystan stared straight ahead, not blinking. He felt his heart shattering as she spoke, but there was no way to stop it. He let her leave, he let her walk away. She begged him to stop, to keep away from her. Trystan leaned forward and put his face in his hands, knowing he just lost his best friend.

Chapter 23


It took me a while to calm down. I spent study hall in the girl's room trying to stop crying. Eventually Katie came in.

I heard her voice echo when she walked through the door. "I know you're in here. Melissa Drury saw you come in." Katie walked toward the stalls and bent over, looking for shoes. "Come on, Mari. Come out." She stopped in front of my stall. I was sitting on the back of the toilet with my feet on the seat so no one would see me. Katie rapped her fingers on my door. "What happened?"

I got down and unlocked the door. Blotting a tissue to my face I told Katie, "I'm in love with him." A sad, frightened smile laced my lips. It was the most pathetic, stupid thing I'd ever done, but I couldn't deny it anymore. It wasn't a crush. I loved Trystan Scott. Tears streaked my face.

Katie held out her arms and I fell into them sobbing. She hugged me hard, and then set me on my feet. "It's going to be all right. This isn't as bad as it seems."

Shock lined my face, "Not as bad as it seems? I'm in love with a guy that doesn't know what love is. How would you feel if you suddenly realized you loved Seth?" Katie flinched. "Same thing." I dabbed my eyes again. My make-up was toast, and I'd be lucky if I could stop crying before the bell rang.

Katie was supposed to be at lunch. She had a fifteen minute pass. After that, they'd come looking for her. "It's not the same thing. You guys have been friends."

"Well, we're not anymore," I sniffed. "I told him to stay away from me. That I'd never like him that way. It was like falling at his feet and begging him to love me. The way he looked at me, Katie," more tears ran down my cheeks, "it was like he couldn't even look at me."

"So, he told you he was just playing?"

"No," I said looking up at her.

Katie seemed confused. "I'm missing something. What made you tell him off? What'd he do?"

My lower lip quivered. "I thought he was going to kiss me, but he didn't. He stayed there, so close and asked me to kiss him."

"No way," she said wide eyed. Katie leaned back on a sink. "What'd you do?"

"I couldn't. I wanted to, but I can't. I can't let this happen again."

"Trystan isn't Greg. They aren't the same guy. You can't act like they are."

I stared at her. "What the hell is wrong with you? Yesterday you were telling me to stay away from Trystan and now you're on his side?"

She slid off the sink and stepped toward me. Taking my shoulders she said, "I'm on your side. Trystan has his own faults and it scares the hell out of me that you like him - "

"I love him, Katie. I feel it. It's in every inch of me and I wish it wasn't."

She released me. "Why are you crying? Because he asked you to kiss him?"

"No," I answered tugging my hair, "because I can't pretend anymore! I can't deny it and I can't let him play me whenever he wants. When his big blue eyes look at me a certain way, I'm toast, Katie." Sadness bled through me like I'd been fatally wounded.

Her arms folded over her chest. Katie was quiet for a while. She handed me another tissue and finally said, "Then tell him."

"What?" I squealed.

"You're stuck in the middle. You love him, but he doesn't know. He's flirting with you like you're a toy. That's why you're mad, right?" I nodded. "So tell him. He either runs away screaming, or takes you in his arms. Either way, there's no more in the middle."

Katie sounded crazy. The idea of walking up to Trystan and telling him how I felt scared me to death. But I felt desperate. Without a word, I turned to the bathroom door.

Katie rushed after me. Grabbing my arm, she turned me around. "Wait! What are you doing?"

"I'm going to tell Trystan Scott that I love him."

Katie smiled sadly at me, and gave me a hug. "I'm across the hall. Let me know how it goes. I'll watch for you to come back." I nod and she released me.

Chapter 24


After Mari ripped his heart out, Trystan stared at the stage. A million thoughts ran through his mind but he couldn't focus on a single one. She's not coming back he thought, and ran his hands through his hair. Looking up at the high ceiling, he scolded himself for putting pressure on her, for telling her to kiss him.

If they hadn't gotten locked in that closet, he wouldn't have done it. But when he sat there with her, so close that he was breathing her in, he couldn't help himself. Mari was on his mind constantly, and it didn't matter what she thought - this wasn't a game. Trystan knew it. He felt it in his hollowed out gut.

Trystan's throat was so tight he couldn't speak. That's why he let her walk away. There was nothing to left to say. He blew it and she flat out rejected him. Hollowness consumed Trystan until he couldn't sit there another second. He sprang from the seat and bound up the stage stairs. Pulling open the basement door, he descended in darkness.

He felt his way through the room until he found a music stand. Feeling his way along the cold metal, he found the light at the top and clicked it on. Trystan crossed the room and grabbed a guitar that the music teacher offered as a prop a million years ago. He dragged a stool to the center of the room and tuned the ancient guitar, hoping the strings wouldn't snap. When he was done, Trystan took some pages that were folded in his pocket and smoothed them on the stand, spreading each on out so he could see the song he was working on - the song he didn't think he'd get to finish since his dad smashed his guitar. But since Mari left him here alone and Tucker was probably still fuming in his room, Trystan risked it. He put the pages in front of him and strummed the cords of an unfinished melody.

After a few moments, he hung his head, holding the guitar in his lap. One foot extended off the stool onto the floor. He turned himself around so that the light was to his back and before he knew it he was playing the song he always played when he was hurt. Mari's song.

At first he didn't sing. He couldn't. The knot in his throat choked him into silence, but as he played it melted and Trystan could breathe again. The tightness in his chest didn't release though. Mari's words echoed in his mind, I never liked you that way. I never will. Stay away from me, Trystan.

The guitar became part of him as he played. It was an extension of his soul. He poured his heart into his music and right then it was shattered. Trystan's fingers knew the song. They moved across the strings, pressing and sliding as he closed his eyes. There was nothing to compare this to. He'd never felt so broken in his entire life.

His hair hung in his face, but he didn't bother to push it back. Trystan played through the entire song three times before he found his voice. It broke through his sorrow and spilled over his lips. His fingers strummed as his mouth formed the words pouring from his heart. They were always the same, always equally haunted and adoring. He was foolish enough to fall completely in love with someone who didn't think he had a heart. Trystan pressed his eyes closed harder, willing himself to get lost in the song. And he did.

Chapter 25


Every fiber of my being was wound tight. My emotions were a total mess. I could barely think and the part of me that still could was screaming at me to reconsider my plan, but I didn't. I crossed the hallway and pulled open the auditorium door expecting to find Trystan where I left him, but the seat was empty.

I rounded the stage corner and climbed the stairs as I went over what I was going to say in my mind. It's dark and I had to feel my way along the wall until I found the door to the prop room. It was open slightly, like it didn't close right. When I looked down, I saw why. The rubber flap on the bottom of the door folded under and held it in place. Pushing through, I stood on the upper-landing ready to flip on the lights when I heard someone singing and the soft sound of a guitar.

The basement was normally pitch black, but there was a small burst of light cutting through the darkness. It was too dim to do anything but cast a narrow beam of golden light. Pulse pounding, I slowly felt my way down the stairs. Music drifted up softly and when he began to sing my heart twisted. It was that song by Day Jones. The melancholy tune, the longing in his voice, the way he played the guitar, the way his voice resonated on certain notes... A shiver ran down my spine as I came to the lower landing. The only thing separating us were the flats stacked next to the stairs.

My stomach twisted wildly as I stepped off the landing. Each note sank into me. Each word he sang pierced me whole. It made me move slower, breathe slower. It was like this wasn't happening, like it couldn't be real.

I stepped out from behind the flats and stared. It looked like the video. A guy sat in pitch black with a single light behind him. His head was bent forward, his fingers moving gently, strumming the instrument as he sang. He played a few more bars, singing softly before he noticed I was there. Suddenly, he gasped and looked up, startled.

I could barely breathe.

Trystan looked at me with those haunted sapphire eyes. "Mari," he said, his voice a rush of air. Rising off the stool, Trystan lowered the guitar from his lap. Yellow light poured from the music stand behind him. Handwritten music pages were spread across it like he'd been composing something.

"You're Day Jones," I whispered, pressing my fingers to my lips. Shock ratcheted through my body. Trystan didn't deny it. He stood there, beautiful and devastated, with his guitar at his side.

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