Home > Shattered (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #4)(8)

Shattered (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #4)(8)
Author: H.M. Ward

By the time I finish talking, I'm whispering. I don't want to admit the words to anyone, but I do. As I speak, the words crush me. The bitter truth is that I feel guilty that my parents don't love me. I feel like it's my fault. For a long time, I thought that if I was better or smarter - I thought that I could earn their love - but it didn't happen. Nothing changed. I stare at my ceiling without blinking. Thoughts stream from my head like rainwater down a gutter.

Trystan sits up. He's at the foot of my bed on the floor, looking up at me. His hair dried into that messy look he always wears. Pulling his knees into his chest, Trystan leans back against the side of my bed. "I think that's the key - admitting that the day will never come. It's the hardest part it. Hope just rips your heart apart with shit like this.

"There is no hope. There is no peace. Accepting it makes it easier to wade through the day to day stuff. But, I've done a crappy job at hiding it lately. My old man locked me in my room the other day after tossing all my things. He does stuff like that from time to time. It's supposed to remind me of my place. He says that over and over again, like it's a lesson that I need to learn. I know my f**king place."

Trystan takes a deep breath and runs both hands over the back of his neck, stretching as he does it. "Tucker figured it out. For the past few weeks he's been hinting, telling me it's okay to talk to him, but they don't get it. Dragging it out for everyone to see will just make it worse.

And I've got no right, but it makes me mad. Where was Tucker ten years ago? Where was he five years ago? It would have made a difference then. It won't do a goddamn thing now." Trystan startles and looks over his shoulder. His eyes meet mine. He smiles, sheepishly. "I didn't mean to say all that."

I shrug. "It needed to be said."

"How do you do that?" He stands and sits on the end of my bed.

"Do what?"

"How do you make me feel like this? I can be talking about the most horrible thing that ever happened to me, but with you here, the pain lessens. I feel like I'll get through it and everything might be all right after all."

I smile at him. I don't know what else to do. I'm lying back on my pillow. I cross my ankles under the blankets and tuck my hands behind my head. "That's what you do for me. Maybe it's magic. Maybe you're my yang."

"Yang?" He gives me a weird look.

"Yeah, like on a yin yang. We reflect each other, despite everything." I watch him for a moment. His eyes are on mine. I pat the bed next to me and Trystan finally gives in. He crawls toward me and lays his head on my pillow. I turn on my side to look at him.

Trystan kisses my lips lightly and sighs. A smile pulls at the corners of his mouth. "Good night, beautiful girl."



A car door slams and jerks Trystan awake. Early morning sunlight pours through Mari's windows. Trystan sits up and looks down at Mari, still asleep. That noise woke him up, made him jump. Call it conditioning from his father, but if Trystan didn't jump up and grab his things that second, he would be thrown out the window.

Trystan peeks out the bedroom door and sees Mari's dad. He's still wearing scrubs and is setting his things down on table in the hallway below. Panicked, Trystan doesn't know what to do. He can't sneak out. Her dad is blocking the way.

Trystan goes back to Mari and wakes her gently, kissing her cheek. She smiles and stretches. "Trystan." The way she says his name makes him reel, but he can't afford to think like that. Not now. If Mari's dad catches him, he's dead.

Whispering next her ear, he says, "Your dad is downstairs. I need to hide."

Before Trystan has a chance to say anything else, the sound of footfalls reaches their ears. Mari sits straight up in bed, her brown eyes wide like dinner plates. She points to the closet. Trystan takes his things and ducks inside and closes the door just before Mari's dad enters the room.

He bangs on the door and shouts, "Wake up, Mari. You're going to be late." He flicks on the lights and it fills the crack under the closet door. Trystan can hear him enter the room. His heart beats harder, faster. He pulls on his shoes and shirt without making a sound. Trystan feels like a coward hiding. He should run out and stand up to the man, but he can't. He can't even take care of himself. And getting found out won't help either of them.

"Mother said you apologized to Brie last night. I was glad to hear it. No more of this, Mari. Now get dressed for school. And mind your mother. She said no more tight clothes. Do as she asks. I don't want to hear about my daughter looking like a street-walker ever again." The door clicks shut and he's gone.

Trystan cracks the closet door open and looks at Mari. The life has been sucked out of her. Her shoulders are slumped and her skin is sallow. The color in her cheeks is gone. There's no light in her eyes. He knows that look and wishes to God that he could take it away, but he can't. Even if they were older, Trystan doesn't have the money to save her from that man. Her dad crushed her just now and there was nothing he could do about it.

Mari glances up at him. She blinks slowly and smiles, but it doesn't reach her eyes. "You better go before Mom comes home and decides to go through my closet. You can climb down the trellis like you wanted to the other day. Dad is headed for the shower. Wait a second for the water to turn on and then go. I'll meet you in the basement at the school and fix up your neck."

Trystan doesn't know why he does it, but he does. He can't stand that flat listless voice. He can't bear to watch Mari like this. He crosses to her bed and pushes her back into her pillows while pressing his lips to hers. They both have morning breath, but he doesn't care. Trystan loves her. He wants her to be happy. He wants that smile on her face again. Trystan tangles his hands in her hair and lays on top of her, kissing her so hard that he can't breathe.

When he pulls back, she's smiling shyly. It's a perfectly Mari smile. "I love you," he whispers and bounces off her bed and heads to the window. Mari touches her fingers to her lips like she's dreaming.

Trystan sneaks out before anything else can go wrong.



When I'm done pulling on my jeans and tee shirt, I bend over to find my boots. I kicked them under my desk the other night. When I pull them out, I see a piece of paper caught between the desk and the wall. I reach for it, instantly knowing what it is - Trystan's song. How'd it get on the floor? I go to pin it back in place, but decide that it shouldn't be where anyone could get it. If my parents took the song or Brie managed to get her hands on it, that'd be bad. So I take it with me, stuffing it into my jeans pocket.

I get to school early and head to find Trystan. The halls are empty. I pull open the basement door and run down the stairs. After that kiss this morning, I have a kiss of my own to give him. But when I reach the bottom of the landing, I freeze. He's singing softly. His back is turned to me, like he doesn't know I'm there. After a moment, he glances back at me and startles.

"Hey, ninja. Fancy meeting you here." Trystan's eyes sweep over me in a way that makes me feel beautiful.

"I heard there was a rock star living in the school basement. I had to see it for myself." I smile at him and drop my bag on the couch. Walking over to him slowly, I swing my leg over his lap and sit. We nearly fall off the little stool. He laughs and holds onto me with the guitar between us. "This was more romantic in my head."

He grins. Hard. "Kiss me, Mari."

The way he says it makes my heart jump. My stomach twists and that empty space inside my chest fills with warmth. I'm beaming at him, moving in slowly, crushing the guitar between us. My lips brush against his and then he's kissing me back. Trystan's hands find my face and he holds onto me, encouraging me, wanting me. My heart pounds harder and harder. I wish there was nothing but this moment now. I can understand this. I can deal with this. Everything else can fade away and I'd be happy. When we come up for air, I slip off his lap.

Trystan moans and puts the guitar back. "I wasn't done with you."

I'm still flushed. My lips are too sensitive. I can still feel his lips on my mouth. I smile and shake my head. I know how much it will devastate him if anyone saw the marks on his neck. "You need make-up first. Kisses later."

He gives me a funny look. "I never thought I'd hear that sentence."

I laugh. He tugs a loop on the waistband of my jeans and pulls me close. His hands lace through my hair and he kisses me again. I don't want to pull away. I moan and say, "We're running out of time."

He sighs and gives me a serious look. "What if we just said you gave me some really wicked hickeys?" That makes me laugh even louder. The smile that stretches across his face when I laugh is beautiful. It's Trystan without anything hindering him or weighing him down.

I shove him back down to the stool. "Sit. Let me do this before the bell rings."

"Fine, but you're going to have to talk about something else. A guy only has so much self-control, and your chest is right in front of my face. Honestly, I'm having a lot of trouble not jumping on you and covering you in kisses." He smirks, his eyes still way below my neckline.

The way he says it is so casual, like he might actually do it. Part of me wants him to. My pulse is racing, making it so I only hear the steady, swift, beating and my breaths. I reach toward him and take his chin in my hand and tilt it up to my face. His blue gaze is dazzling. It's like someone's lit a flame inside of him and it's shining through his eyes. Trystan grins at me.

"You are impossible. You do know that, right?" I'm breathing too hard, flustered beyond belief. Trystan loves it. I can see it in his eyes.

I dab and blend until the ugly marks around his neck are gone. They fading fast, but the colors are worse. Now there's an ample amount of green and yellow mixed with the blues and blacks. I finish his make-up and he stands and turns toward me. "I can't wait for tonight, for that scene that includes kissing you senseless on stage in front of dozens of people. I'm really looking forward to it."

I can't help it. The way he's looking at me makes me feel giddy. I slap his chest lightly. Trystan grabs my wrist and pulls me toward him, careful not to squeeze me too tight. "You would be - "

"So are you. I can see it in your eyes." I tear my gaze away from him, suddenly feeling very nervous. Trystan takes my chin and turns me back. "No one knows, love." He kisses my bottom lip. "They think we're acting." He kisses my top lip. "Only we know it's real."



His heart is pounding. Mari is so close. Her lips are right there, but the bell is going to ring. Trystan settles for nipping her lip again. Mari slips off his lap and hands him another flannel.

"It'll help hide the marks if something happens to the make-up. Besides, I like the way you look in it."

"In that case," Trystan reaches for the shirt and tugs it on over his black tee shirt. He leaves the front open. The collar makes him feel more secure. Mari knew it would. That's why she brought it for him. Trystan wants to say something, but words escape him. Instead he leans his forehead against hers for a second and looks into her eyes. "You're too good to me."

She smiles softly, shyly. It's like two people are living inside of her - one is so demur, but the other is a firework, bright and beautiful. "Come on. Today's going to be good. I can feel it." Mari backs away and reaches out for his hand, taking it in hers.

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