Home > Collide (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #1)(9)

Collide (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #1)(9)
Author: H.M. Ward

"Never fall in love, Trystan. It's the fastest way into hell. Once you're there, you can't escape." The sound of the bottle clunking against the floor told him that it was empty. Dad would pass out any second.

Trystan's eyes blurred, partly from weariness, partly because he saw himself in his father. Dad let love destroy him and Trystan was doing the same thing.

Chapter 19


Later that night, I tossed my backpack on my bed and went to my computer. Before I could turn on the screen, my mom popped up in the doorway.

"Absolutely not, young lady." I cringed. She only called me that when I did something wrong. It was the verbal equivalent of smacking a dog on the snout with a newspaper. She thinks that I crapped on the carpet.

"What'd I do?"

Tapping her foot with her arms folded over her chest, she asked sharply, "What do you think?"

Shaking my head, I said, "I don't know. There are so many things - "

She stepped toward me and the rest of my snark died on my lips. "Your English teacher called today. He said you weren't behaving in class. Is it true? Did you really fall asleep in class? How could you!"

I took a breath to steady myself, "I didn't fall asleep. Some girl missed her cue and Tucker took it out on me. She lied, Mom. I told her. I was awake and doing my part. You know the drama class has a diva in it. I pissed off the diva and she got me in trouble."

"How'd you piss her off?"

I shrug, "No idea, but I doubt her attack was random. She's a bitch, but she only does stuff like that when it makes her look good." I laughed, remembering the look on her face when Trystan dropped her. Brie is going to be gunning for him now. The two had been an item at one point, which was another reason why I shouldn't be infatuated with Trystan Scott. Ewe.

Mom sighed and closed her eyes. When she opened them again, she seemed calmer. "You have detention all week?" I nod. "Well, do whatever you have to and stay away from Brie. Her mother is equally mental." She turned and started to walk out of my room. Before she left she said over her shoulder, "Don't let this affect your other classes. Make sure you keep up with your homework, Mari."

"I've got it covered, Ma."

When she left I turned back to the computer and pulled up the YouTube video of Day Jones. I listened to the song again, loving it even more. He was perfect. Everything I wanted was in that song. The way he sang to her was so real. His voice was filled with so much pain, so much longing. His words stuck with me long after the music stopped.

"Who are you?" I asked the screen. I bet I sounded like every other teenage girl in America, drooling over Day Jones.

My gaze lingered on the comments, and I scrolled down. Day didn't say anything else, but there were agents on there saying they wanted to represent him. Scrolling further, I saw a post from a record label with instructions to contact them. Wow. I sat there in shock staring at the screen.

Day Jones looked like he was on his way to being a hit, but he remained hidden. I wondered if he was chronically shy or burned in acid or something. Most people wanted to be rich and famous, and from the look of it, that was where Day Jones' song would take him.


Lunch was my first free period. I walked to detention, rounding the corner just as Trystan did. We nearly collided.

Reaching out, he took my hand and pulled me towards Tucker's room, "His clock is fast. We need to hurry." Just as we stepped into the room, the class clock ticked.

Tucker's gut hung over his belt, "Cutting it too close, you two."

We both nodded, and for once Trystan was quiet.

Tucker dabbed beads of sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief and led us to his massive closet. It looked like a bomb went off. Papers, books, and plays were everywhere. There was no order, no way to find anything. The gruff man pocketed his hankie and walked into the closet and flicked the light on.

"The two of you will be doing this for the rest of today. Clean it. Make it look brand new. You," he said pointing to me, "Pay attention because Scott will forget." I glanced at Trystan, wondering if it bothered him that the teacher thought he was a moron. I wondered if the forgetfulness was an act.

Tucker pointed a chubby finger at the dusty shelves. "Novels there, plays there, and textbooks there. Roll up the posters and put them in that box. Just make it clean and organized with the rest of this stuff. Put the old stuff we don't use on the top shelves." I open my mouth to ask how we can tell which stuff is old, but Tucker cut me off, "You'll know. If it looks like something from a previous decade, shelve it. Funding is too dismal to throw anything out," he grumbled, walking out of the closet.

While he showed us where to put things, Trystan and I hung back in the doorway looking in. His classroom was empty since it was Tucker's lunch hour. The sound of the clock ticking filled my ears. When Tucker exited the closet, he shoved in a chair to stand on and held open the door. I walked through and surveyed the mess. When I looked up Trystan was still standing on the other side of the door.

"Get in there, Scott," Tucker said, pushing on Trystan's back, making him step into the closet with me. "And if I find out that she did all the work, your free period tomorrow will suck even more. Get to it." Tucker released the knob and the heavy oak door closed. We were alone.

Trystan breathed in deeply, which made him sneeze. It was insanely dusty in there.

"It's not that bad," I said to him, trying to move the chair to the other corner. The closet was a walk-in. It had shelves that stretched floor to ceiling. There was just enough room for Trystan and me to move around without bumping into each other. If Tucker stayed we would have felt like sardines. Thankfully he left. Since it was his lunch hour, we wouldn't see him again until the bell rang. I ran my finger over a shelf and it came up coated in white dust. "Gross."

Trystan tossed me a damp towel that Tucker left behind with a small bucket. We wiped down the shelves, moving things around in silence. Eventually Trystan and I ended up shoulder to shoulder. He'd pick up something off the shelf and look at it while I wiped up the dust.

"What the hell does he use this stuff for?" Trystan was holding a record in his hands, flipping it over. He glanced around, "There isn't anything to play it on."

I shrugged, "Maybe his mom gave it to him. It's sentimental."

Trystan snort-laughed. "Yeah, I can see that." He cleared his throat and spoke in a girlie voice, "Here's your present for getting a teaching job at Dilapidated High." I smiled as he said it, trying not to laugh. When he did Tucker's voice, I couldn't help myself. "Oh! A linguistics record!" He pressed his hands together, "Just what I always wanted." He impersonated Tucker down to the last syllable.

"Stop it," I laughed, snapping the dirty towel at him. "I don't know about you, but I want to have time to eat something when we're done."

"You think we'll finish this in less than an hour? Are you insane?"

A tilt of my head said yes we will and no I'm not crazy. "This is nothing. It just looks messy." I took the chair and slid it against the shelves so I could reach the top. "How about you hand me stuff and I'll organize it and make it look nice."

Trystan handed me records, posters, and other archaic teaching aides. I put them on the upper shelves as neatly as possible while we talked.

Trystan handed me another poster. I reached, trying to get it on the back of the top shelve with the others. The chair started to slip, but Trystan stopped it. His hands shot out, gripping my legs as I lost my balance and clutched the shelves.

"Whoa. Easy, Mari." Clutching the shelf, I laughed lightly and looked down at him. Trystan's grip on my legs loosened, and he stepped back.

"Sorry, I'm a bit of a klutz." When I released the shelf my hands were shaking. I couldn't hide it from him.

"No, you're fine. Where's your lunch? I'll go grab it. You're probably just hungry." I told him where it was and he turned to the door to get it, but when he tried to turn the knob, it wouldn't twist. Trystan looked at the knob, still gripping it in his hand. His shoulders tensed. "It's locked."

"What?" I squeaked, climbing off the chair, and nearly falling into Trystan's back. I hopped a step to keep from falling and only smacked into Trystan a little bit. The room suddenly felt too small. My heart was racing.

When my hand touched Trystan's back, he jumped. He pressed his forehead to the door. I shoved past him to try the knob myself. When it didn't open I felt insane, "Oh my God!" I beat my hands against the door, hoping someone was out there. "Help! Let us out!" I screamed.

Trystan grabbed my wrists, and stopped me. "No one is out there. Tucker's at lunch. Don't bother."

I felt frantic. When I spoke, my voice was too high, too tense, "I can't be locked in here. I can't. There's not enough air."

"Awh, fuck," Trystan said pushing his hand through his hair. "You're claustrophobic?"

"No," my voice was wispy and light. It hardly came out as I stared at the door unblinking. "I just don't want to suffocate in a closet."

He grabbed my shoulders and turned me around, "You won't. Listen to me. It's fine. There's more than enough air in here. It's the same as before." I nodded slowly as he spoke, staring into space. Panic was licking at the inside of my belly making me jumpy. Trystan continued to speak in soothing tones. When I didn't answer him, he pulled me down to the floor with him. We both sat against the door, hip to hip. "Put your fingers here," he pulled my hand to the gap between the door and the floor. Cool air rushed over my fingers. There was a slight breeze, almost. The fear gripping my heart faded a little.

Looking over at him, I asked, "How'd you know that would help?"

"You wouldn't believe that I sleep in a closet under the stairs, would you?" I smiled a little and tried to fold my arms over my chest. Trystan held onto my hand, so I couldn't move it. "Keep it there. Feeling cooler moving air helps." I nodded and left my hands by the gap under the door. Trystan started to talk about other things, things that would distract me. While he spoke I wondered how much time he spent in small spaces. He was tense, every muscle wound tight like he hated it, but he didn't freak out the way I did.

Eventually I asked, "You have it, too? Don't you?"

Silence was my answer. Trystan smoothed his thumb over the back of my hand. Looking at the floor he said, "Maybe. I got stuck in the closet once when I was little. Spent an entire day there before they found me. At least we have light in here. For some reason it's worse when it's dark." He stroked my smooth skin as he spoke. His gaze was distant, like he was remembering something he wanted to forget.

I nodded slowly, and took a deep breath trying to steady my pulse. "He's going to kill us - Tucker, I mean. We didn't do much."

"He locked us in a closet and left the room. I don't think he'll say anything to anyone," Trystan said flatly.

After a moment, I ask, "How much time is left?"

"I don't know. My watch is in my locker. I took it off for gym and forgot to put it back on this morning."

I glanced down at our hands between us, noticing the gentle way he stroked my skin. Trystan watched me. When I lifted my gaze, his eyes met mine. My stomach twisted and suddenly the locked door didn't frighten me so much. Trystan's eyes bore into me. I could feel it. Combined with his touch, I couldn't breathe.

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