Rival Page 45

“You know,” she started, turning her face to the side, “it’s inappropriate for you to stare at my ass here.”

The couple praying looked over at her and then to me and back down to their hands.

Yeah, pray for us.

“But it’s the only nice thing about you, little sister.”

The couple’s gasp made me want to laugh, and they got up, the woman glaring at me as they walked off. I tightened my jaw, not wanting to admit that this was the first time I’d genuinely laughed in a while.

Fallon’s back straightened, and she turned around slowly, her patient eyes marking me, but I nudged my way in before she got started.

“So what did you think?” I asked. “That I was slowly circling the drain of despair without you?”

She hooded her eyes, embarrassment warming her cheeks. “I shouldn’t have come. Tate was sure you were snorting coke off a hooker’s ass on a daily basis. She bullied me.”

She’d be the expert. I laughed to myself, but then I tensed up.

She talked about Tate like they were friends. Like they had a whole relationship, and I wasn’t aware of it.

Hell, I wasn’t. I dropped the ball, and Fallon picked up what I had let go.

Fallon watched me, and I realized she wasn’t wearing her glasses. She usually wore them in public and only took them off in the bedroom. They were just reading glasses, so she didn’t need them all of the time, but it was like a fashion statement or something.

Now, they were gone. Her eyes were unshielded, and she was beautiful. Always beautiful. Just different now.

“Why would I be off the rails?” I challenged as she approached me. “I’m very happy. Great team, interesting classes, a good girl to spend my nights with . . .”

That was sort of the truth. I loved playing for the team. My classes sucked, though. I was bored as hell, not sure what I was doing half the time, and I didn’t have a girlfriend. I didn’t want one. Friends with benefits was the arrangement Ashtyn and I had. She was a freshman, same as me, and played tennis for the school.

“Yeah, you have it good, Madoc. I’m glad.” She nodded. “Really, I am.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Believe it or not.” She came to sit down beside me, still keeping a distance. “I do want to see you happy.”

I stared at her mouth and the glint of silver I saw from her tongue. She’d put her tongue ring back in.

The muscles on the inside of my leg twitched because I wanted to touch her. I wanted to feel her tongue. I wanted to feel the ball on it dragging across my skin.

Fuck.

I looked away before responding. “Well, I am. Things are easy here. No bullshit, no drama.”

“Good,” she replied instantly. “I’m sorry they worried.”

Signal the end of the conversation. The mood was dead, and I was angrier than a motherfucker. I was pissed off and elated at the same time.

There was shit we weren’t saying, and fights we weren’t having. She thought she could nip this in the bud with a tidy little bow and walk away, but I wasn’t done.

Who the f**k was Fallon, anyway?

I wanted to come at her. Again and again until she came undone. I wanted her screaming and crying. I wanted to chip away this tough little act until she was red with anger and sobbing miserably.

I wanted her broken.

And then I wanted her shivering and grabbing for me in need.

I stood up and stretched my arms out behind me.

“So I offered everyone my dad’s house for the night. There are some bars to hit with the team, and I want to spend some time with Jared, Tate, and Jax—”

“Well, have fun,” she cut me off.

My stomach knotted. “You’re not staying?”

“No, we brought two cars. I’ll take Tate’s back tonight. I was just waiting to see what everyone else was doing before I headed out.”

I rubbed my jaw, trying to figure out how to keep her here without looking like I wanted her here.

“So stubborn,” I mumbled.

Her eyes shot up to mine. “What do you mean?”

Yeah, what did I mean?

I dug my keys out of my pocket and spoke without looking at her.

“Good-bye, Fallon.” My tone was curt.

Walking past her, I picked my cell out of my other pocket and dialed Jax.

“What?” he answered.

“Pull the plug on Tate’s throttle body,” I ordered.

“Why?”

“Because if you don’t, I’m going to tell everyone where you disappear to on your long nights out.” My threat wasn’t empty. I probably should’ve told Jared when I’d found out last spring.

“I knew I shouldn’t have told you,” he grumbled.

I sneered. Although he couldn’t see it, he could hear it. “You didn’t. You showed me. And now I have those nightmares to contend with. I think I need to talk to someone about it,” I hinted. “I think I need talk to a lot of people.”

“All right!” he hissed. “Damn! It’s not like Tate’s not going to figure out how to fix it in two seconds anyway.”

“Well, you just make sure she doesn’t look under the hood then.”

CHAPTER 19

FALLON

At St. Joe’s, I read Dante’s Inferno. He stated that the seventh circle of hell was reserved for the violent. The inner ring of the circle housed the violent against God, the middle ring housed the suicides, and the outer ring was for the violent against people and property.

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