Authors: Lauren Landish
Melissa, it seemed, was too overwhelmed by pleasure to notice me, her teeth clamped down on one of Mason’s pillows as he railed her.
He started pounding her harder, swiveling his hips, as if to show off, all while looking right at me, the sounds of smacking flesh filling my ears.
It was more than I could take. Gasping for air, I turned and ran from the room.
Don’t cry, don’t cry,
I told myself as I raced down the hall and stopped at the staircase. My chest heaving, I struggled to quell the emotions that threatened to overwhelm me.
Don’t let it bother you.
You always knew he was like that.
It wasn’t like he was doing anything he hadn’t done a million times before. I just didn’t have to witness it before.
should’ve never came home!
I calmed myself as best I could and descended the stairs. By the time I reached the dining room, I was almost entirely composed. I even managed to put my fraudulent smile back on.
Mom looked at me like I was from Mars as I sank into my seat. “Well?”
I played stupid. “Well, what?”
Murder flashed in her eyes. “I heard you yelling from down here. Where’s Mason?”
I smiled at her so hard my face felt like it was going to crack. “Upstairs.”
She scowled, gripping her butter knife so tightly that she probably left an imprint in her palm. “Well, why isn’t he here?”
I shrugged. “Depends.”
Mom went red in the face and I swear if the Gardeners weren’t there, she would’ve leaped across the table and put the knife to my throat. She loved to put on a front, and for it to look like she didn’t have her house in order, she wouldn’t stand for it.
Gritting her teeth, she asked, “On what?”
I glanced at the Gardeners, who seemed to be hanging onto my every word. For a moment, I pondered holding back. I could just say nothing and let my mother fume silently until Mason and his newest conquest undoubtedly showed up with no one the wiser.
But I was angry. Okay — I was fucking enraged. Why should I cover for him? At this point, I didn’t care, and I’d be happy if someone else could share in the rage that I was feeling inside.
“As soon as he can pull his dick out of Melissa,” I said cheerily. “Don’t worry, at the pace he was going, it shouldn’t be too long.”
The room went eerily silent for several moments.
Anne was the one to break the silence.
“What did you just say, young lady?” she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.
I grabbed a nearby carrot and bit into it heartily. “Your supposed goody-two-shoes daughter. She’s up there bent over my asshole stepbrother’s bed. I believe the last words I heard her say when I left them was,
fuck me Mason
!” I really shouldn’t have been saying that, but my mind wasn’t right.
Anne’s face twisted in outrage, while Hugh’s eyes went wide in shock. “How dare you!”
“Carly Belle Washington,” my mother growled, her face an unhealthy shade of purple. “You apologize right this instant—”
“Sorry we’re late,” said Mason as he walked into the room with Melissa in tow. Besides the tussled hair, neither one of them gave off any indications that they’d just been fucking like rabbits. Melissa did have a huge smile on her face, though.
“Melissa!” Anne said sharply.
“Hey, Mom.” Melissa grabbed a seat next to me. The nerve of her.
“Where were you?”
“Using the bathroom, like I said.”
Anne glanced at me. “Carly said you were upstairs with Mason.”
Melissa paused, her eyes briefly settling on me and then back on her mother. “I was. Mason was showing me his room.”
“Carly said you were up to more than that,” Hugh blurted. The man looked very angry. Apparently, he was having doubts about his darling daughter’s chastity.
“Okay now, we’re getting a little bit ahead of ourselves,” Brian broke in with a nervous chuckle. “It’s obvious that Carly was just playing around and I’m sure she’s ready to admit that before things get out of hand.”
Mason didn’t wait for me to reply. “Carly is telling the truth,” he broke in. Mason turned his gaze on me and I gaped at him with shock.
Why did he do that?
“Mason!” Brian snarled with warning.
But the damage was already done.
The Gardeners stood up abruptly. “We’re leaving!” Anne snapped.
“Now!” Anne roared. Sullenly, Melissa rose from her seat and walked over to her mother’s side.
Mom was quick to react, getting out of her seat and going over to block the path of the fuming neighbors. “Wait Anne, please, this all some sort of big misunderstanding—“
“Out of my way!” Anne growled, sidestepping her and dragging Melissa along like a rag doll out of the dining room. “Your son is a disgrace!”
I could hear them arguing in the hallway as Hugh paused to address Brian before he left the room.
“You know that deal we were going to cut for that property next month?” Hugh asked. “It’s done!” Hugh swiped both hands out to the side in a cutting motion. “Finished!” Snarling in disgust, he stormed out of the room, yelling behind him, “I’ll never do business with you again, asshole!”
A second later the front door slammed.
“God damn it!” Brian roared, slamming his fists down on the table and knocking over several wine glasses. His face was red with rage and the veins were standing out on his neck. “I worked for months on that fucking deal!”
Mom glared at me balefully. “You see what you’ve done? You should’ve kept your mouth closed!”
I gaped with shock. Mother was insane. I wasn’t the one fucking the neighbor while we were supposed to have dinner. I didn’t even want to go up there! “Me?” I rasped. “How is it my fault?” I pointed at Mason. “It’s his fault!”
“So? You didn’t have to tell them that!” Mom yelled.
Mason intervened, getting in between us. “Carly’s right, Sherry. It’s my fault. Don’t blame her.”
Mom glared at him. “She still shouldn’t have told them—”
I couldn’t believe Mason was defending me for being a little snitch. Maybe he felt guilty that he was caught in the act.
“What the hell is wrong with you, boy?” Brian yelled.
Mason shrugged. “Hey, she came on to me. You expect me to turn that down?”
Brian ignored the bait and stabbed a finger at the floor, growling, “Do you have any idea how much work I put into that deal?”
Mason shrugged, not able to offer a response.
“You ungrateful little shit!” Brian yelled. “I should make you pay your own tuition. See how you like working for a living.”
Mason laughed. “It doesn’t matter. I’ve already dropped out.”
Brian froze in his tracks, shock on his face. “You did what?”
Mason smiled, enjoying his father’s shock. “I dropped out. Those people can’t teach me anything — they might ask me something. My talents are better used elsewhere.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Brian shook his head in disgust. “Why would you drop out after wasting all those years? You get bored and give up and waste both your time and my money?”
Mason made a dismissive motion. “Degrees are so overrated anyway. Schools oversell their importance to fill seats in their classrooms — you’ll see what I can do when I put my mind to it. Besides, I never asked for you to pay, I never wanted to go to begin with. You guys pressured me into doing it in the first place,” Mason pointed out.
“You’re right, but what’s wrong with wanting to see my son succeed in life?”
“The point is — I’m a rebel, Dad. I don’t want to be part of a broken system. I’d rather fight it.”
“I’m done arguing with you, Mason. You’re going to go back to the school’s administration office and hope to god they let you back in,” Brian commanded. “If not, you’re on your own, young man.”
Mason stared at his father for a long moment. “All right, then.” He walked over and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “I wish things could’ve turned out different between us,” he whispered in my ear.
What the hell was that supposed to mean?
Then he turned and walked out.
“Get back here!” Brian yelled.
The front door slammed a few moments later. I was sure it was barely hanging on its hinges.
He’ll be back,
I told myself.
He was just pissed off and talking out of anger.
“Well,” I said wryly, “that’s one way to ruin dinner!”
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