Home > Backdraft (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #2)(6)

Backdraft (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #2)(6)
Author: H.M. Ward

“That’s so gross.” My lip pulled up a little bit, as she swiped another fry through ketchup and then dipped it into her shake.

She laughed, “Creative cuisine was never your thing.”

“That’s not cuisine. It’s seeing how many things you can put on a fry before shoving it in your mouth.” I reached for the pepper shaker and said, “Try this and maybe some jelly next time.”

“Twit,” she laughed, and then added a heaping amount of pepper to her fry that was already covered in milkshake. This was why guys loved to watch her. She stuck anything in her mouth. I cringed, watching.

Before I had a chance to unwrap my straw, the diner door swung open, and Seth walked in with a girl on his arm. My face must have shown my distain, because Katie turned and looked. She started to open her mouth to say something, but she was half-choking on pepper. Turning fast, she sloshed half a cup of water down her throat, before turning around and seeing Trystan and another girl follow Seth inside. The four of them stood, waiting to be seated, just inside the door.

Trystan had on his leather jacket. It looked so soft. It was the same one he wore every year once there was a chill in the air. There were tiny white lines in the leather, showing its age. It must have belonged to someone before him. The jacket didn’t look new, but it sure made him look good. When he wore black, his gaze always seemed more intense, more vivid. More blue.

They didn’t see us. Trystan had his hand on the small of the girl’s back. She was pretty, all curves and hair, with big eyelashes with lots of make-up. She was the kind of girl who dated for fun.

I was her polar opposite. I was looking for love, which apparently was not fun.

Katie swung around before they saw her, “Holy shit. Is he frickin’ serious?” She blinked at me like she couldn’t believe it, and then glanced back at Trystan and Seth.

“Let’s just go,” I said softly, feeling the rest of my heart shatter and fall into my shoes. “I can’t watch this.”

Katie shook her head, “No. We’re staying. Something’s up with him.” A waitress led them to a booth on the other side of the door. There was a long counter with silver stools with thick padded red seats between us, along with a scattering of booths. I was in their line of sight. As soon as they sat down, Trystan would see me.

When their backs were turned, Katie jumped up, “Quick, switch sides with me.” I did as she said, my heart racing way too fast. I clung to the table, slipping silently into the booth while she passed behind me. “I’ll watch them for a while and let you know what’s up.”

I nodded slowly, wishing I were somewhere else. I didn’t really feel like eating, but I picked at the fries and sipped the shake. I couldn’t tell Katie about the other side of him, the Day Jones side that was hiding from fame. If that part didn’t exist, I would have thrown him out of my life. But I couldn’t. It didn’t make sense. Katie thought he was a glory-hog, but that wasn’t it. I didn’t know what the truth was, but it hurt to watch, trying to figure it out.

Katie told me about Mathboy. They shared a phone call earlier and some texts. “He’s so hot, Mari. Look what he said.”

I took her phone and read the texts, as she beamed back at me. It appeared that he had quite the crush. “So,” I said, “it was a good thing Brie pegged me in the head. Just think, if she hadn’t done that, and you hadn’t tried to protect me, you and Mathboy would have never connected.”

The corners of her mouth curved up. She cradled the phone in her hand, looking down at the messages. “He has a name you know.”

“Sorry. I figured we’d be calling him Mathboy until you guys got married. Then we’d call him, Mathman. That’d make you, Mrs. Mathman.” I smiled at her, but was distracted. Her eyes kept flicking over my head, back to Trystan’s table. After a little bit, I said, “Can we leave now? He’s on a date. You don’t have to protect me. I know what’s going to happen. He’ll leave with her, they’ll screw around, and I’ll cry. I really don’t want to know all the details, Katie.”

Katie ignored me, her gaze still over the top of my head. “Trystan isn’t acting like himself. He’s sitting next to her, but they aren’t touching at all. Weird, right?”

I nodded. Okay, that was weird for him. Every time I was around him, it was like he found some excuse to touch me. I’d seen him do it to other girls, too. Not touching was weird.

Katie continued, “Sexbot, on the other hand, has got some heavy hands for a public place.” Her face scrunched up, “Gross. He’s feeling her up and sucking her face off. Where does he find these girls?”

“Hoes-R-Us, aisle 4.” I said deadpan, not really thinking about my words. There was no explaining, Seth. Katie snorted. I continued, “How someone could find him appealing, with that mouth, is beyond me.”

“Maybe that’s why she hasn’t stopped sucking his face—to shut him up.”

I laughed a little too loud. I smacked my hands over my mouth and grinned.

Katie’s eyes went wide. “Holy friggin’ frack. Just sit there. Smile and laugh again.” When I started to turn around she hissed at me, “Just do it!”

I had no idea what was going on, so I smiled uncertainly and laughed again. It was a weak haha that sounded totally fake. Katie stomped my foot and I made a strangled sound, as a grin spreads across my face. Then, I kicked her back, laughing louder, not realizing that someone was approaching behind me.

“I thought I heard you,” Trystan said, as he stopped in front of our table. His leather jacket was gone. The shirt he wore clung to his body and his scent filled my head. Trystan slipped his hands into the pockets of his jeans and looked from Katie to me.

Katie had a plastic smile on her face. She raised her eyebrows at me, but made no other indication that she thought this was unusual.

Every hair on the back of my neck stood on end when he spoke. My heart stopped. Don’t turn, don’t turn. If I look at him, I’m toast, I thought to myself. I continued to smile at Katie, tilting my head back like I looked up at him, but I didn’t. My glance grazed his shoulder, not his face.

“Hey,” I replied, sounding as normal as possible. When I glanced up, I didn’t catch his expression until the memory of his face registered in my mind. The look in his eyes was soft, like he was fragile. God, I wanted to die. I couldn’t take this.

As if Katie could read my mind, she blurted out, addressing Trystan, “So, double date with the boobie twins?”

Trystan glanced back at his table. Running his hands through his hair, he sighed, “Yeah. Seth needed a wingman. Personally, I’d rather be over here.”

Katie had her foot on the bench next to me, keeping him from sitting down. She pulled her foot down, and said, “Then sit, actor-boy, but don’t steal Mari’s cherry. It’s kind of important to her,” Katie smirked evilly at her innuendo, as she glanced at my bright red Marciano cherry, still sitting on top of my spoon. “She saves the best for last.”

Instantly, I flushed head to toe and promptly kicked her in the shin.

Trystan grinned deeply, showing off a set of dimples that made me die. He slipped into the booth next to me, his shoulder brushing mine. God, he smelled good. “I’m aware of that.” He glanced at the cherry, and then looked at me. “Plan on demonstrating any cool party tricks? Tying the stem in a knot?”

I started to answer, but Katie cut me off, “I’m afraid that’s privileged information.”

Trystan smirked at her. “Really?” He folded his arms across his chest and stared Katie down.

“Mmm. ‘Fraid so.”

Trystan turned to me, “You’re a bottomless box of surprises.”

“I’m not a bottomless anything. Not around you,” I said dryly. Katie had her straw in her mouth, sucking up some milkshake and promptly choked.

Trystan raised a single brow at me and smiled. Leaning in closer, he breathed, “I wouldn’t bet on it.”

A tingle shot through my stomach. The way he looked at me, the way he said it, made my heart slap into the sides of my ribs so hard that I thought they’d crack. I did everything humanly possible to not react to his words, to his charm—because that’s what it was, charm. Flirtation. There was nothing else there.

Holding my gaze for a moment, he smiled softly. Heat spread through my body and I couldn’t look away. Trystan might as well have been holding my face in his hands. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think. The power he had over me scared me to death, especially, because he didn’t seem to care. Every part of me reacted to him, was drawn to him. Trystan was beautiful—like a wisp of flame—and I knew trying to hold him would only get me burned, but I was mesmerized.

Trystan slipped out of the booth and stood, leaving me there with my jaw hanging open like an idiot. “See you around, Jennings.”



“Where’d you go? The food’s getting cold.” Seth glanced around after Trystan excused himself, but he didn’t see who he was talking to. The diner was full of the dinner crowd and he could barely make out the top of Trystan’s head across the room.

“Nowhere,” he said. “Just thought I saw someone.”

Seth groaned, “Oh, God. Seriously? You’re on a f**king date.” Exasperated, Seth dug his fingers into his scalp before letting out a huff of air.

The blonde next to Seth recoiled a little, “What’s the matter? What’d he do?” She glanced around as she said it, and then looked back at Seth.

“I didn’t do anything,” Trystan said, ignoring his own date, who didn’t seem to care one way or the other.

“You didn’t tell her?” Seth scolded, his gaze narrowing on Trystan.

“No,” Trystan hissed. “Drop it.” He slouched back into the booth and put his arm along the top of the seat, not touching his date.

“I will when you stop acting like a lovesick dick. You can’t live like that, man. She’ll rip your goddamn heart out of your chest.”

Trystan held his temper in check. That was one good thing about having a father like his—he could hide his feelings so that no one had a clue. Trystan dropped his arm down onto his date’s shoulders. Grinning at Seth, he said, “Not planning on it. I’ve got Beth here—”

“Betsy,” the blonde corrected.

Trystan didn’t bother correcting himself. “—and nothing is distracting me from her beautiful face.”

Seth stared at him from across the table. A plate of half eaten food sat in front of him. The guy’s arms were wide, made to hit stuff. Trystan could tell that he pissed Seth off by looking for Mari, but when he heard her laugh, he had to see her. Trystan did it without thinking and didn’t plan on giving Seth, or anyone else, an explanation. Besides, he was gone less than five minutes. There was nothing to tell.

Seth’s tongue moved over his teeth under his lips, as his jaw tensed. “I thought you were into this,” he hissed, pointing at the girl next to Trystan.

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