Home > Shattered (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #4)(5)

Shattered (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #4)(5)
Author: H.M. Ward

"There was nothing you could have done. Mari, this shit is normal. The cops don't even come anymore. I'm lucky they didn't toss me in jail last night. I'm eighteen. That arrest would have been permanent. I got lucky this time. There can't be a next time." He's next to me. His voice is soft, his breath is in my ear.

I know he wants me to turn to look at him, but I can't. Something is strangling me from the inside. I want to fix this. I know I can help him, at least a little bit. I know he can't go home anymore. I know he has no clothes. These are things I can offer. Before I even realize what I'm saying, the words are out of my mouth. "Then, stay with me. Hide out at my house until you graduate." I glance at him from the corner of my eye. My heart is beating too hard, too fast.

He laughs. "Your dad hates me - "

"My dad's never home. Last night after everything that happened, he didn't even call to see if I was all right. He stayed and worked his entire shift. The only thing he cares about is work and my mother." Trystan's eyes search my face. I turn toward him and press my back into the lockers. A sad smile lines my lips. Glancing at his chest, I say, "I shouldn't complain. Compared to you - "

He shakes his head. Dark hair falls in his eyes. Trystan's hands land on my shoulders. "Don't say that. Compared to me, you have your own hell. Compared to me, you're in just as much pain. I see it, Mari. It's written on your face and chiseled into your heart."

Trystan's eyes lower for a moment. His hand slips across my cheek, leaving a warm trail on my cool skin. "I wish I could take it away," he breathes. "I wish they'd see how wonderful and special and amazing you are. I don't know how your parents can't see that. They must be blind.

"You outshine the sun, Mari. And I'm not just saying that. It's true. When I look at you..." he breathes hard and rests his head against mine. "I see everything I ever wanted and more." By the time he finishes, his voice is a whisper.

I don't look at his eyes. I'll fall apart. Moving slowly, Trystan brushes his lips across my cheek. Every part of me reacts to his touch, to him. I'm breathing too hard. It's too hot. Trystan pulls back. There's a breath between us and no more. My heart hammers inside of me. We're like two magnets, slightly separated, pulling toward each other. When I lift my gaze to meet his, I melt. My lips part and I breathe. Trystan lowers his lashes and watches my mouth. I'm falling. I'm lost in his gaze.

Trystan is about to kiss me when a jarring voice slams through the hall.

"Oh, no. Not this shit again. Scott, you said you were over this." Seth walks toward us. His boots echo up and down the hall. He's as graceful as a gorilla with concrete sneakers.

Trystan gives me a look that says he's sorry and a million other things. Before Seth gets closer, he leans in and whispers in my ear, "I'll come. After seven?" I nod. Trystan's eyes meet mine and the only thing I want is his arms around me.

He winks at me and turns away. Trystan is all swagger and charm. He struts away saying, "You know how much I like to tease her." He looks over his shoulder at me. I play back and give him a pointed expression. Trystan laughs and grabs Seth's shoulders, pulling him away from me. "Come on. Let's grab dinner. I'm starving."

Seth looks at Trystan and then back at me, saying, "We had an understanding Jennings and this isn't part of it." Seth gives me a hostile look and points his finger at me. "You're back on my shit list."

"I was never off your shit list," I huff and slam my locker door. I walk down the hall and shove past them, adding, "And I don't really care if I'm on your list or not, Seth. Have fun making out with yourself, Sexbot." I feel their eyes on me.

My heart is flying, soaring so high, so fast. Trystan said yes. He'll stay over. Nothing could ruin this night. Nothing.



Seth doesn't drop it. As soon as Mari disappears from sight he hisses, "I thought you were over her?"

Trystan keeps that distant look in his eye. He never tells Seth much of anything. The guy panics. He wants Trystan's life to make sense to him, but it doesn't. Hell, it doesn't even make sense to Trystan. How is he supposed to explain anything to the guy?

"Maybe I'm just friends with her," Trystan says, "and maybe I don't want to rehash this whole thing with you tonight. Do me a favor, okay? If you still can't stand her on Monday, tell me and we can discuss it then." Trystan says, pushing his hair out of his eyes. "From the way your acting, it seems like you liked Brie better."

Seth's eyes get a little too big for his head. "You're into her, too? Damn man." He grins. "You think you can get 'em both at once?"

Trystan's fingers flinch. Instead of slugging his friend, he smiles and nods. Trystan says things he doesn't mean, wishing for things he doesn't want. Mari and Brie. As if that was something to hope for. Trystan shakes off the skeeved layer sticking to his skin and changes the subject. "I heard you were talking about enlisting?"

Trystan couldn't believe it. When they were in lab, he heard a teacher mentioning Seth's lack of teacher recommendation forms. The teacher from across the hall said Seth was enlisting. It was weird to find out that way.

Seth doesn't look a Trystan. Instead, he nods and says, "Yeah, I mean, it's not like I'm a nerd and can get into a good college. Besides, I haven't got cash for that kind of shit."

"I know what you mean." Trystan and Seth weave their way through the school as they talk, and then exit the front of the building. The air is crisp, like it might snow. There are about two hours until he has to be at Mari's house. Two hours to kill with Seth. He breathes in deeply and runs his fingers through his hair. "I was going to enlist, but I don't know anymore..."

Seth gives him a look. "Dude, you're seriously going to let me enlist by myself? Why do you think I went to the recruiter?"

Trystan gives his friend an awkward smile, "Thanks, but there is no way you should enlist to hang out with me. I'm headed nowhere too fast."

Seth laughs, "Well, it's better to have company along the way. I mean, who else is going to be your wing man when they send you to China or some shit?"

"I don't think we have troops in China." Trystan glances at Seth and tries not to smile. The guy is about to sign on the dotted line and has no idea about anything, which sounds about right for Seth. "Besides, I might not enlist anyway. I've been thinking about doing something else."

"Like...?" Seth asks, knowing as well as Trystan does that there aren't many options. Neither of them is exceptionally anything.

Trystan shrugs. "The hell if I know. I'm just saying, don't enlist because of me. There's a chance I'm not going to do it."

Seth is staring at a car full of girls in track uniforms. Seth and the girls are hollering at each other. The man isn't even listening anymore. The girls pull over to the side of the road. "Hey hotties! Want a ride?" One girl asks and they all start giggling. Seth's eyes go wide, like he's being called to the mother-ship.

Trystan grabs Seth's arm and waves them off, "Not tonight, ladies." The car full of girls takes off, leaving behind streamers of white smoke and giggles.

"What the hell was that for? What'd I ever do to you?" Seth whines.

"I want to eat dinner. Plus I gotta be somewhere in an hour, so get your ass moving or I'll have to eat without you." Trystan starts walking again. Seth waits a beat, and then follows. Trystan has eight bucks in his pocket. It's the last of his money from Sam. He'll have to go bust his ass after school next week and earn more.

"You have something set up?" Seth asks, his voice filled with innuendo.

Trystan shoves his hands in his pockets and stares straight ahead, wishing the diner would materialize and suck them through the front doors so he wouldn't have to take part in this conversation. "Something."

"Way to be vague, Scott. Come on, man, who's the lucky girl? You think she'll put out?"

Trystan smirks and laughs. That's the last thing that he expects to happen. The night will probably be filled with Mari's voice and lips, and maybe if he's lucky, her dad won't come home early and beat the shit out of him. Repeating last night is the last thing he wants to do. But still, it's worth the risk. Deciding to go to Mari's is one of the stupider things he's done.

"Come on, Trystan. Give names, man. Who are you gonna nail?" Seth yips like a dog, begging for scraps. He's relentless and doesn't stop until they walk into the diner. He scans the booths for girls they know. "Nicole's over there." Seth says, hopeful.

"So go sit with her if you want. I'll be over here." Trystan points, and follows the waitress. Seth seems to be stuck. You could see the guy getting pulled in two directions.

Seth finally follows Trystan to the booth and sits down. He grabs a menu and then something weird happens.

The girl sitting across from them says, "If it's not my two favorite idiots." Katie sweeps her long hair over her shoulder, tosses a tip on the table and walks over. "How's it hanging, Trystan?" She places her fingers on their table and cocks her head to the side. "Cuz if you mess with my girl Mari, I'm gonna make you wish - "

"Mari's at home, and I didn't do anything to her." Trystan says, tightly. He wonders what Katie knows, if anything. She's Mari's best friend. They're always together.

Seth is watching Katie a little too closely. "Hey kitten, you want me to make you purr?" Seth grins at her and sweeps his eyes over her body, lingering way too long on her br**sts.

Katie's mouth falls open. When she snaps back to life, Katie swings her purse and pegs Seth in the side of the head. He makes a noise like a pig bouncing out of the back of a pickup truck, and then clutches his head between his hands. "What. The. Fuck." He glares at Katie.

Katie's pissed. Her jaw is locked and when she talks, she sounds like she'll rip his face off. "Don't talk to me, Seth. So help me God - "

Katie is interrupted by the waiter. "Is there a problem over here?" the waiter asks, looking at each of them in turn.

Trystan beams and shakes his head. "Nope. We're ready to order though." He goes ahead, ordering three plates of food, fries, and shakes. When the waiter leaves, Trystan points at Katie and then the booth. "Sit down, Katie Scarlett," he says with a thick Irish brogue.

She lifts a dark brow at him. The girl could eat them alive. She'd spit out their bones and ask for seconds. There's a fierce thing going on with her, that's for certain. "You think I'm that vapid skank from Gone with the Wind? Seriously?"

"No," Trystan replies with a smirk on his face. "I just thought you liked big hats. Besides, that's the only famous Katie I know."

Seth offers, "Katie Couric."

Trystan inclines his head toward Katie. They lock gazes. Katie's expression is telling Trystan to piss off, but that look tells him that he's right. She'd happily slaughter them both with her purse. Seth got off easy. God help the poor bastard who dates this girl. "Katie Couric doesn't have the same spunk as Katie Scarlett."

"Who the f**k is Katie Scarlett?" Seth blurts out way too loud. That pretty much sums up dinner. Seth and Katie bicker for an hour and Trystan tries to derail everything by throwing them off their game. It works, but not for long. It's as though they like fighting with each other. Eventually, he just sits back and watches and develops a deep respect for Katie in the process.

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