Home > Shattered (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #4)(2)

Shattered (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #4)(2)
Author: H.M. Ward

"Are you a minor, kid?" the new cop asks. Trystan shakes his head and wishes he didn't. It makes his head throb more. He mutters curse words under his breathe and looks back at Trystan's dad who is still lying on the floor.

A few minutes later the paramedics arrive. Trystan doesn't want them to look at him, but the cops insist. There's no way to pay for this, but they look him over anyway.

They tell Trystan that he'll be all right. They tell him that his father is awake and unharmed, but they are taking him in anyway. They repeat a question, "You sure you didn't pass out? Not even for a second?"

Trystan mouths no. He lies. He isn't going to the damn emergency room. Trystan knows exactly where he's going as soon as the paramedics leave.

"Kid, we're going to have to bring you to the jail if you don't go with them. Blacking out would be normal. It's nothing to do with how much of a man you are." The cop looks at him. He doesn't understand. It isn't blacking out. It's that his private life is suddenly exposed. All those years of misery are out in the open. The only thing Trystan wanted was to get through the next couple of months and then go out on his own. This wasn't part of the plan.

Mari appears in the doorway. "I'm not pressing charges." Trystan perks up in his chair, but the cop places a hand on his shoulder to keep him in place. There are two officers with Mari, walking her out to the car. She screamed the words as she passed by.

Trystan says, "But her father will."

"Smart boy. Come on. Let's get going. You're going to have a long night." The cop gestures for Trystan to stand and hold out his wrists. Cold metal bites into Trystan's skin when the handcuffs tighten. He blinks slowly, wondering how he ended up with this life.



Tear stains streak my cheeks. When the cop car pulls up in front of my parent's house, I nearly die. One of the officers goes ahead to the door, while the other one fishes me out of the backseat.

"They aren't home," I say.

The two cops look at me. They're both young with no wrinkles around their eyes. One has dark skin and the other one is so pale that he's practically glowing. They're like a law enforcement ying-yang.

The pasty guy asks, "Where are they?"

"Work," I say. They're always at work. And if these guys call them, I'm going to get my ass handed to me. It doesn't matter that it isn't my fault. "My dad's a surgeon. My mom's a nurse. Is there any way you could take care of this with them in the morning?" They both shake their heads. I reach for the door and stick in the key. "Fine, come inside." I keep talking as I walk in. They follow me. Their heads swivel on their shoulders as they take in the house. Everyone does that. It's too posh, too pretty. It's a status symbol in the extreme.

"Do you want coffee or something?"

"No, thank you, Miss," the cop with the super-tan says. His name is Marcello. I squint to read it on his chest. "We'll just wait for your parents. What time do you expect them?"

"In the morning. They both work the night shift." I quickly add, "And if you call them, and I'm not dead, I will be when they get home." I can't say more. I hope to God that they understand what I mean and take me seriously.

The pasty cop furrows his brow. He steps toward me. "Is someone hurting you here?"

I say nothing. I just stare at them. No one is hurting me. No one is ever here. It's not like what Trystan was enduring. My God. My stomach clenches thinking about him, about the pain in his eyes. He hid it from me all these years. There were times he seemed off, but I couldn't figure him out. Now I know why. I feel sick.

Pressing my lips together, I ask, "What'd you do with Trystan?"

"He's been taken in for questioning. They should let him go, because of what it is. You're the wild card in this equation. Your parents need to be notified. If they want to press charges, we'll be forced to comply."

"What does that mean?" I ask looking at both of them. "Why would they press charges?"

Marcello takes a deep breath. His eyes shift and he looks at his partner. Neither of them wants to tell me, but they both know the answer. "Just be glad things didn't get worse, okay. And stay away from that complex. There's some low-life scum in that part of town."

"Trystan's not like that," I say, automatically defending him. "He's a good guy. His dad beat the shit out him."

Marcello doesn't want to say it. His eyes shift to the side and then back to me. "Listen, kid. Guys like that don't get second chances. His dad may have been the one that messed him up, but there's no saving him. You understand? There's nothing left to save. He's already gone. Stay away from guys like that if you want to be happy."

The cop stares at me like I'm his little sister, like he's remembering something. He blinks and looks away. His partner is at the door. They're leaving to find my parents. I hope to God that my parents aren't at work - that somehow they fail to be notified - because I know how this will end. My throat constricts and my heart pounds harder. I say nothing else. They nod and leave. Once again, I am alone.

The next morning, my parents sit across the table from me. They eat breakfast like nothing happened last night. They don't even talk about it. It isn't until I stand to leave that my father asks my mother about the lawyer.

I stop and turn with my plate in my hands. I'm worried that they're going to press charges against Trystan. "Lawyer for what?"

Daddy shoots daggers at me with his eyes. "For what? Oh, let's see. First of all there was that assault you were involved in with Brie and then there was the incident last night." His jaw twitches. I know he wants to scream at me until his eyes get too big for his head and that vein in his temple swells to spaghetti size.

"She had nothing to do with the incident last night. The officer said - " Mother is kind. She tries to defend me for once, but Daddy cuts her off.

"The officer was being polite. He didn't want to say that our daughter was with a derelict and his drunken father, doing God knows what, when things got out of hand." Daddy gives Mom a stern look and she lowers her head and goes back to her eggs. My heart falls inside my chest. I wish she'd defend me. Just once.

When Daddy resumes his rant, his voice is tense, clipped. "I'm not pressing charges. It'll cost more than it's worth." I hear it'll cost more than you're worth. It rings crystal clear in my head, like he actually said it. He looks up at me and asks, "Tell me, Mari - do you intend to throw away your life on someone so utterly beneath you, or do you intend to make something of yourself? Actions like this have consequences and from where I stand, you're throwing away your life. You're nothing but a goddamn waste."

His words cut me in two. I don't know what I expected him to say but that wasn't it. I move robotically to the sink and set my plate down. My chest constricts and turns cold. My eyes don't blink, they look but they don't see. I don't see Daddy go back to his breakfast like he wished me well today. I don't see my mother cowering, doing nothing to prevent his words from stabbing me in the heart. I've done nothing to warrant this from him, yet, this is my treatment. I'm an inconvenience. He makes that abundantly clear.

I'm a bill.

I'm an expense.

I'm an adverse risk, one that he would have rather lived without.



The police don't know what to do with him. Trystan is too old or too young. The cops don't want to throw him in jail, but they haven't released him yet, either. Trystan sits in the police station after questioning that took too long. He didn't say much. There wasn't much to say.

The police station is busy even though it's getting late. It seems like the later it gets, the more stupid people become. Trystan is sitting in an old beat up wooden chair by the detective's desk. The cop sits next to him filling out paperwork, not saying much. Trystan's gaze is carefully placed on the floor where it can't attract trouble. His arms are folded over his chest and he's slumped back in his seat. There isn't anything that he wouldn't give to be somewhere else. This trip, this whole damn night, is going to ruin his shot at the army. Trystan stares at his toe, the once-white part of his Converse, as he thinks that plan was shot to hell anyway. Mari loves him. Mari wants to be with him.

And now this.

Trystan rubs his hands over his face and back through his hair. He stretches and looks over at the cop. "Can I go?" He's polite. It's a stupid question. After everything that happened, Trystan's sure they won't release him.

"Not yet, kid. Let me finish this and you can sign it. If the girl's family presses charges, we'll deal with it then. I don't want to throw you in a cell with the guys that are in there tonight. Too much shit has happened. They'll rip you apart before you even get a chance to turn around." The cop has a wrinkled dress shirt on. His tie is loosened around his neck. His face is covered in wrinkles and his skin weathered like old leather. There are too many creases and he has that smoky smell that comes from lighting up too many times each day. The cop doesn't look up at Trystan.

This is the first time anyone told him what was going on. Since they dragged him into the station, no one said anything to him. Trystan doesn't want to ask, but he can't help it. "Did they say if they're going to press charges?"

The cop nods, not looking up from his paperwork. "Not yet, but she's a minor. They'll probably talk to their lawyer in the morning and we'll hear back then." He glances up at Trystan and points a pen at the string of bruises blossoming around Trystan's neck. "From the look of things, it could have been a lot worse. You're lucky."

Trystan laughs. The sound is so bitter that he can taste it. "If that was lucky - "

The cop cuts him off. He looks straight at Trystan and narrows his eyes. "Damn right, it was lucky. Lucky she showed up. Lucky your old man didn't break her ribs. Lucky you're still breathing. You were lucky, Trystan. No one else stepped in. That parking lot was filled with people. They all minded their own business and let your dad strangle you. That girl saved your ass." His old eyes hold Trystan's for a moment and his expression softens. "If you've got some family you can stay with until you graduate, do it. These things don't end well. Once you pass that point, once you fight back, there's just going to be more of it." Trystan holds the cop's gaze for a second and nods.

Trystan gets what the detective is saying. Don't go home.

Trystan slides down further in the seat. His arms are flexed tightly across his chest with his head lowered. It's the only way to hide the marks on his neck. He swallows hard and waits, thinking. Too many thoughts, too many images flood his mind. Everything in his life sucks, everything expect Mari.

When Trystan thinks about what she did, how she raced in like she wasn't the least bit afraid - oh God. If there was a rewind button on life, Trystan would press it. He would go back and delete the whole thing. If he'd never went home, this wouldn't have happened. As it is, it kills him that Mari was hurt and he couldn't stop it.

There are too many things wrong with his life, too many things that he can't fix.


A noise startles Trystan awake. He rolls over on the old couch and flinches. His shirt is on the floor and he's wearing nothing but his jeans and a tattered blanket from the prop bin. When Trystan had nowhere to go, he decided to break into the school and sleep in the prop room. No one comes down there early in the morning, which is confusing him now.

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