Home > Backdraft (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #2)(2)

Backdraft (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #2)(2)
Author: H.M. Ward

Before he did something stupid and scared her off, Trystan smiled and released the pass. “I hope you do.”



Did I just say that? Did I actually confess that I was always looking at Trystan? I was so flustered. Trystan stood there, his warm skin brushing mine with that playful look in his eye. He tugged the pass hard and I tugged back. We were nose to nose by the time he said that. His lips were so close, so perfect. I sighed inside, wanting to fall into his arms, but I couldn’t. He was lost in some other girl. If I threw myself at him now, it wouldn’t end well. I’d be second to whoever stole his heart.

I heard myself say, “I’ll figure it out,” not knowing what I’d do after that. I just didn’t want to leave. Part of me wanted to confess why I came back in the first place. Heart racing, I looked into his vibrant eyes, unable to look away.

Trystan grinned and released the pass. “I hope you do.”


I replayed the whole thing over again in my mind as I walked to class in a daze. Trystan Scott was in love. As if that wasn’t weird enough, he was also Day Jones. I didn’t even know what to ask him about that, so I didn’t ask anything. I cursed myself for thinking I could tell Trystan that I was in love with him. Naivety often blindsided me. I’d listened to that Day Jones song enough times to know that whoever wrote it was completely and totally lost to love—even if she didn’t even know he was alive.

A spark of jealousy flamed to life inside of me. I knew Trystan was alive. Every inch of me knew Trystan was alive and wanted to know him more. Sighing, I put my books on my desk and slid into my seat. I’d walked so fast that I’d gotten to class early. While many students still lingered in the halls, hardly any were at their seats, yet.

Katie arrived half a beat later. I heard her voice before I saw her face. She slipped into the seat next to me asking, “Did you tell him?”

I shook my head, not bothering to look up. “Couldn’t.”

“Why not?” Katie was pumped, ready to support me however I needed, but she couldn’t tell what I needed. “You’re killing me! Tell me.” She shook my arms as she said it and I sat upright in my seat.

I glanced at the front of the room. The bell would ring in a second. Mathboy started to hand back papers. When he passed Katie’s desk, she practically drooled a puddle on the floor.

“Later. I’ll tell you later.” Just as I finished saying it, a wadded-up piece of paper nailed me in the back of the head. Katie and I turned in unison looking for the source.

Brie Parker. She had that horrible smile on her face, the one she wore after she did something really bad. I was in advanced math and Brie wasn’t. Since the school budget didn’t pass this year or last, there wasn’t an honor’s class. Instead they combined a class of nerds with the class of burn-outs who were a year older than us. It had to be hell for the teacher. I didn’t like it much either. It meant I had to hear about Brie and Trystan all last year while they dated. Sometimes he had come into the room and taken her in his arms. Every other girl was jealous, enviously watching Brie and Trystan. When they broke-up, there was a lot of chatter about who Trystan would date next. It drove Brie crazy. Trystan bounced from girl to girl, while Brie snagged the first thug she could wrap her pointy little fingers around. She made sure to slobber all over her new boyfriend in front of Trystan regularly.

I hated her guts before, but after Brie got me in trouble the other day I hated her even more. I figured out that I must have done something that pissed her off, but I had no idea what. Throwing stuff wasn’t the normal backstabbing Brie-method of humiliation. She was usually more subtle, more devastating than that. It worried me that she seemed to have chosen me as her new target. There would be more crap like she pulled the other day. I’d hoped that Trystan humiliating her would have made her focus on him. As far as I could tell, she didn’t change targets. Maybe it was because Trystan was already on her hit list.

Katie snatched up the paper and hurled it back at Brie’s face, but Mathboy chose that second to walk in front of her. The paper wad nailed him in the back. He turned around and cocked his head, staring straight at Katie.

“Really?” he asked as a brow drifted higher on his face.

Katie flushed scarlet and she turned around in her seat. Mathboy picked up the paper-ball and stuffed it into the crook of his arm and continued to pass back papers. When he stopped in front of Katie’s desk, he placed another of her tests in front of her, along with the wadded paper. Brie was sniggering from the back with her clones. When the hot guy finished passing out the papers, he left the room to do something else. The teacher walked to the front of the class and started the lesson.

On the side of the crumpled paper, there was a blue pen mark that looked like a number. It wasn’t there before. I poked it with my pencil and glanced at it several times to get Katie to notice. When she did, she smoothed the piece of paper and saw Mathboy’s phone number. The day got a lot more interesting after that.


As Katie and I walked to my locker after school, she leaned in close to make sure no one could hear her over the sound of slammed lockers and hallway chatter. The last bell had rung. There were ten minutes before I was supposed to be at practice.

“What’s with you?” Katie asked, bumping my shoulder. “You’ve been out if it since lunch.”

I was out of it. I couldn’t stop thinking about Trystan, about that guitar in his lap, and the beautiful tone of his voice when he sang. I’d never heard him sing before. It was breathtaking and heartbreaking at the same time. Whoever caught his attention did a good job.

A jolt of jealousy shot through me, straightening my spine. I glanced at Katie. I couldn’t tell her what happened. I couldn’t say that Trystan was Day Jones. I promised I wouldn’t say anything, even if I didn’t understand why. Revealing that he was Day would have meant financial independence. He could leave this place and never look back, but Trystan left the agents’ requests unanswered and kept his identity a secret.

Clearing my throat I said, “Nothing. Everything. I can’t get him out of my head.” I stared blankly ahead. I didn’t want to lie to her, but felt I had to. “He doesn’t feel like that about me, Katie.”

The smile slipped off her face, “How do you know if you didn’t tell him?” She leaned closer to me, clutching her books to her chest. Her eyes darted back and forth to make sure no one else could overhear us.

“Because he told me that he likes someone else.” That wasn’t a lie. Not totally. His song said he liked someone very much. He sounded like he was in love with her. I didn’t understand how he could have written that, and sang that way, if he didn’t. Swallowing the lump in my throat, I stopped in front of my locker and took a deep breath before opening it. I tossed my books in as Katie put a hand on my shoulder.

“I’m sorry, Mari. But at least you know now. You can move on. Find someone else.”

I nodded and stared into the open locker like I was forgetting something. “I know.” And I knew there would never be anyone else like Trystan. Every time I thought I knew all there was to know about him, another thing popped up—like Day Jones. It drew me to him more, making him too irresistible to forget.



Tucker sat in the first row like he always did, pinching the bridge of his nose as he watched the actors on stage. Everyone wondered why he taught all the theater classes, since he appeared to hate it so much. There were rumors that he was paying his dues, being the youngest English teacher in the school, but Trystan wasn’t so sure. At times he saw the subtle smile on Tucker’s face that said he enjoyed it. The man may have been new to teaching, but it also gave him passion some of the older teachers were lacking. Tucker didn’t seem to think anyone was a lost cause, which was probably why he paid attention to Trystan when the rest of his teachers couldn’t wait to shove him out the door.

Tucker stood and stomped up the steps, his gut shaking as he went. His voice was strained, “Brie, dear—” he started and she beamed at him, bating those blue eyes like she thought he was going to compliment her.

Trystan stood opposite Brie, his arms folded across his chest and rolled his eyes. Brie shot Trystan a nasty look when Tucker wasn’t looking. She was still pissed about her skirt going over her head. Brie’s expiration date on revenge was never. He’d been waiting, but so far she didn’t seem to be plotting anything.

As Trystan watched Tucker coach Brie, he looked away. Everything about her irritated him. When she messed up, she’d pout and toss her golden hair over her shoulder. Her bottom lip would slowly push out until it looked like she’d cry. It kept her from getting the correction she needed.

Trystan couldn’t believe how fake she was and that he failed to see it sooner. Brie smiled and said something. Tucker walked her through her lines again. Trystan stared into the stage wing, peering through the darkness, looking for Mari. Instead of seeing the girl who stole his heart, he only saw her empty chair. She was downstairs. They didn’t need her to prompt anymore, and Tucker had sent her into the prop room to dig something up.

Trystan couldn’t stop thinking about Mari. She consumed his thoughts to the point that he didn’t hear his own name.

“Scott!” Tucker bellowed.

While Tucker coached Brie, he’d retreated to the other side of the stage and slid onto the table. He sat there, dangling his legs over the side and staring at his feet, while Brie played dumb. When people thought you were stupid, they didn’t expect much from you. Trystan knew that trick. It was one of the reasons he’d been assigned someone to run lines with. No one knew the other reasons.

Trystan looked up slowly. He’d been so focused on the memory of Mari listening to his song, the way her face looked as he sang to her, that he failed to hear Tucker. Coolly, Trystan lifted his gaze and said, “Yes?”

Tucker folded his arms across his massive chest and looked at Trystan like he was crazy. Tucker jabbed his thumb at Brie, “Run through the end of the second act with her.” When Trystan didn’t move, Tucker added. “Now.” The large man turned, huffed as he descended the stage stairs, and walked back to his seat. Clapping his massive hands, he bellowed, “Top of the second act people.” Those who weren’t supposed to be on stage cleared the stage, leaving Trystan alone with Brie under the spotlight.

As Trystan slipped off the table, he saw a sliver of light cut across the wall backstage. A moment later, Mari appeared. Her long curls dangled down her back as she rounded the stage, appearing next to Tucker below. She handed him something too small to see and went back to her metal chair in the wing.

As Trystan’s gaze followed Mari back to her seat, Brie stepped closer and whispered with her ruby red lips a little too close to his face, “You’ll never nail that. Her mom’s on the school board and her dad’s a doctor. There’s no way they’ll let their only daughter anywhere near scum like you.”

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