Home > Collide (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #1)(6)

Collide (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #1)(6)
Author: H.M. Ward

Tucker yelled, "You're late, Levetto! Who the hell is prompting that wing?"

Brie replied sweetly, "Mary Jennings. I think she zoned out."

"Mari," I muttered to no one. That girl never said my name right. It wasn't Mary. It's Mar-e. The muscles in my arms twitched. I wanted to strangle her. Brie glanced back at me and smiled like this was funny.

"Get out here Jennings!" Tucker's voice boomed across the stage from his seat in the first row.

My cheeks flamed red as I walked out on stage with the play book in my hands. I shot Brie a nasty look. Trystan was across the room. When I walked on stage, he looked up at me. He was sitting on a kitchen table, his legs dangling. His eyes flicked to Tucker.

The teacher's chest puffed up like he was going to explode. I hated public humiliation. If I could run, I would have. Trystan stopped swinging his legs and straightened, as he watched Tucker have an embolism.

"Everyone listen up!" Mr. Tucker yelled. "A play is only as good as its weakest link and right now that link is Miss Jennings." My face grew hotter, but he didn't stop. Brie was smiling like a demented doll. "Take note. Anyone who doesn't pull his or her weight will do double time. That means no lunch, no free periods." Some of the students groaned. He waved his meaty fist and they fell silent again. "Let this be an example to all of you. Miss Jennings," he said tartly, his fat face pinched into a scowl, "you will report here every day for the next week. If you don't come, I'm throwing you out. And since this isn't an elective, you'll have a serious problem come graduation." By the time he finished screaming at me, my face was bright crimson. Every inch of me was stained. I stood there, pulse pounding taking a beating that should have been dished out to Brie. Instead of protesting, I nodded. Everyone was watching me and the sooner I was in the shadows again, the better.

"Good. Now that that's cleared up... Scott, on stage with Brie. Pick it up from the second half of the second act." Tucker leaned back in his chair, visibly deflating.

Everyone cleared off the stage, except for Trystan and Brie. As people poured out of the wings, no one would look at me. I sat down in my metal chair and flipped the book open to the page Trystan rehearsed with me yesterday.

Brie sashayed up to him and folded her arms across her chest and threw out her hip. Bitch is the only role she can play, I thought to myself. God, I hated her.

Trystan took a deep breath and they started. He said his lines with efficiency, but they didn't sound the way they did the other day. Something wasn't right. I leaned forward, trying to see him better.

Trystan's voice carried across the stage, "But I didn't. I was a coward."

Brie sighed and switched her weight to her other foot, "If you had it to do over again, what would you do?" Instead of sounding like he was winning her over, she sounded annoyed, like he was wasting her time.

I didn't want to watch, but I couldn't look away. Everyone was watching. The wings were filled with actors and the stage crew. Each one was silent, wanting to see that kiss.

Trystan leaned closer to her, slowly, hesitantly, his lips nearly touching hers.

He whispered, "I'd do this." His hands shot out and grabbed her waist. He pulled her tight to his chest and dipped her backward over his arm. Her long hair dangled and she screamed. Brie's arms flailed before she slapped Trystan in the head. When her hand sailed into his face, Trystan lost his grip and dropped her. Brie fell to the floor and landed hard on one hip. Her short skirt flew up. Laughter erupted. It was comical. Everything from the slapstick way Brie went down to the floral granny panties she was wearing.

Brie fixed her skirt and jumped up, screaming in Trystan's face, "You did that on purpose!" She shoved him hard, but Trystan didn't move.

"I don't know what you're talking about," he said calmly, but his voice was a little too high, like he was trying not to laugh.

Tucker pinched the bridge of his nose, watching the shrieking Brie assault Trystan. When he stood up, the kids in the wings fled, and went back to whatever they were supposed to be doing in the first place. Tucker's deep voice boomed, "Scott!" Trystan squinted and looked past the stage lights at an irate Tucker. "For the next week, your life belongs to me. Every free period, every lunch, every day. And so help me God, if you show up one minute late, I'm failing you." Trystan's eyes went wide. He held up his hands, stepping forward like he was going to protest, but Tucker cut him off, "NO! That's enough from you today. Jennings!" he yelled, calling to me.

I wanted to die. When Brie fell it was awesome, but I didn't want more attention from Tucker. I stepped out onto the stage again. When Tucker saw me, he said, "You two. Get your act together or you fail. It's that simple." He tossed Trystan a set of keys. They arced across the stage and Trystan reached out and grabbed them. "My classroom. Both of you. Practice until I come for you."

"Now?" Trystan asked, intentionally goading the teacher who was about to blow a gasket.

If Tucker was a cartoon, steam would be screeching out his ears. "NOW!"

Trystan nodded his head at me, and I followed him off the stage. We walked to the back and escaped through a side door. As I followed him down the hallway to Tucker's room I had to ask, "You did that on purpose?"

He glanced over his shoulder at me, a small smile on his lips, "Of course not." The playfulness in his voice was tantamount to saying, Hell yeah.

"Thanks," I replied.

Trystan stopped and turned toward me. "Brie had it coming. Besides, you took a few hits for me over the years. I figured I owed you one." He smiled at me softly and shrugged his shoulders, like it didn't matter. "Come on. Better get into Tucker's room before he finds us out here."

"Wait," I said, reaching for his shoulder. When my fingers touch him, Trystan stopped. His back was to me, but I could see the tension shoot up his spine like a steel rod. He breathed in slowly, like my touch bothered him. I lifted my hand and pulled it back. I felt foolish, and didn't know why.

Trystan turned and looked down at me, "What's the matter?"

"I don't have the play. We can't practice anything."

The corner of Trystan's mouth pulled up, "That was never my intention."

Chapter 14


When Tucker chewed out Mari, Trystan couldn't stand it, but if he said something or did something right then, everyone would know he cared about her. Besides, it was better to flip things around and humiliate Brie.

Trystan and Brie were an item over a year ago, and Brie never let him forget it. She hung on him, acting like they were still together, which pissed off her current boyfriend beyond belief. Brie must have fantasied about the two of them fighting over her. Although Trystan knew how to throw a punch, that wasn't going to happen.

The entire thing worked out perfectly. As soon as he started saying his lines, Trystan knew what he was going to do. Brie walked right into it. Dipping her back like that made the rest of the dominoes fall in rapid succession. It was perfectly played. And here he was walking back to Tucker's room with Mari. Alone.

He slowed his pace a little, to match hers.

"I don't know how you used to date her," Mari said.

Trystan stared straight ahead, "She seemed different then."

"Every girl seems different before you go out. It's not until after a few months that you see who they really are," Mari picked an imaginary piece of lint off her shirt.

Trystan looked at her out of the corner of his eye, smiling, "Yeah, and you'd know this because..."

"I've dated before Trystan." She didn't look at him. Shrugging she continued, "He wasn't who I thought he was either. He was really sweet at first, and then he turned angry - controlling." She laughed like it was funny. Trystan felt jealousy twist around his heart and squeeze. Mari looked over at him, "I'm enough of a control-freak for two people in a relationship."

"No?" he said sarcastically, grinning at her.

She leaned into his side, bumping her shoulder to his. "You already knew that. Why do you think Tucker stuck us together in the first place?" She pointed her thumbs at her chest, "Control freak perfectionist. He probably thought I'd beat you with the play until you learned it." She was laughing, picturing swatting Trystan with a rolled up play book.

Mari thought she was uptight, but Trystan thought she just liked things a certain way. Whenever they were together, she made him feel happy to be alive. Everything else, every other thing that was weighing him down flittered away when she laughed. He loved that sound, so he made her laugh as much as possible.

"That would have been far more enjoyable," Trystan smirked with a wicked gleam in his eye.

Mari's jaw dropped in a wide smile and she laughed. "Only you would say that."

"Only you would offer."

Mari shook her head. The smile on her face was aching like it did when Trystan was around. "God, you're so - "

He stopped and turned toward her, "So what?"

They stood motionless for a moment. Trystan's heart raced in his chest, faster and faster as she stood there with her shiny pink lips pulled into that shy smile he loved. When her big chocolate eyes looked up at him from under those dark lashes, he wanted to kiss her. His eyes stayed locked on hers. The amused smirk he often wore around Mari lined his lips. Trystan put his hands behind his back, clutching them at the wrists so that he didn't try to kiss her again. Every inch of him was drawn to her. Smiling, he rocked up and down on his feet, his dark brow inching up his face waiting to hear what she had to say.

"Do you ever think about anything else?"

"Does this have something to do with the innuendo?" he grinned.

Mari's smile was perfect. She laughed and shook her head as she said, "You're starting to sound like Seth." She glanced up and down the hall and then leaned closer to Trystan. "We have a nickname for him, you know. Me and Katie call him Seth Sexbot." Trystan snorted, a wide grin spread across his lips. He watched Mari try to repress a giggle, but she couldn't. "When he's done, he says, I'll be back." She lowered her voice and said the phrase like the famous movie line.

Trystan burst out laughing. It made the grip on his wrists loosen and his shoulders hunch. He tried not to laugh too loudly, but he couldn't help it. The way she said it cracked him up. Mari touched his arm, leaning into him, and she said it again. And if it wasn't hysterical before, it was now. Trystan and Mari leaned into each other laughing so hard they thought they'd fall over.

Mrs. Collen came out of her classroom down the hall, "No loitering in the halls, Mr. Scott. Get to where you're going. Now."

That only fueled their giggles more. Trystan and Mari started to walk down the hallway again. They staggered along, trying to swallow their laughs. When they got to Tucker's door, Trystan could barely get the key in the lock.

Mrs. Collen was watching down the hall. Finally the key slipped in and the door opened. Mari pushed in first, followed by Trystan. They both laughed until they couldn't breathe.

Chapter 15


After our laughter was spent, Trystan made himself comfortable on top of Tucker's desk. His long legs dangled off the sides. I sat opposite him on top of a student desk. For a moment neither of us said anything.

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