Home > Shattered (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #4)(3)

Shattered (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #4)(3)
Author: H.M. Ward

Trystan blinks again and yawns. A pair of brown eyes and soft dark hair comes into focus. "Mari?" he asks, still half asleep. He wonders if he's dreaming. Trystan blinks again, but his throat is still aching. It feels like his body was ripped apart last night and reassembled. Add to that the shame he's feeling and Trystan can barely breathe.

Mari reaches for him and smoothes her hand across his cheek. Her touch is warm, gentle. "Did you sleep here?" Her eyes slide over his chest and then back up to his face.

Trystan stretches and sits up, letting the blanket fall from his body. He really doesn't want to answer. It isn't that he doesn't trust Mari, it's that he wishes that part of his life didn't exist. But, after last night he owes her. Trystan rubs the sleep from his eyes and says, "Yeah. I had to. I couldn't go home."

"What happened last night after I left? I tried to stay, but they wouldn't let me do anything. The police treated me like a child. It..." her gaze is on the side of his face. She lets out a sigh and closes her eyes for a second. When she reopens them again, Mari looks at the same spot on the floor as Trystan. They both have that vacant gaze.

"I was worried about you." She bumps his knees with hers.

"I'm fine," Trystan says, but deep inside he's not fine. Somehow Mari got sucked into his private hell, and that makes it worse. Trystan couldn't stop it. When he finally passed out on the couch last night, the whole nightmare unfolded again and again as he dreamed. That's the problem with his life, there is no escaping it, not even in sleep. Trystan glances past Mari, looking for his shirt. "What about you? Did your Dad..."

Mari stirs and sees his shirt. She reaches for it and hands it to him. Trystan pulls the fabric over his head as she speaks, but her eyes lift to his neck and lock there. She can't tear her gaze away. "Dad doesn't listen to me. He doesn't hit me, but sometimes I think he will. Oh God, Trystan. Why didn't you tell me? I had no idea - "

"There's a reason why you had no idea. I love you, Mari, I really do - but I can't talk about this. It isn't something that I want to share. I'm completely horrified that you walked into it. I'm horrified that he hurt you. I..." Trystan's jaw drops open and for the first time since it happened, he really looks at Mari. He meets her gaze and holds it. She's his refuge. Mari is his glue, his balm, his other half. Her brown eyes are wide. Her narrow fingers are gripped tightly in front of her waist, like she thinks she did something wrong. "I just want to get past it and now I can't even hide it. Everyone is going to see my neck and know."

Mari is wearing an oversized flannel shirt. Without a word, she unbuttons it, revealing the cami beneath. Trystan doesn't realize what she's doing until she holds out the flannel to him. "Take it. It has a collar. And I have access to the stage make-up. That will cover up the marks in front. No one will know. Everything will be okay." Even as she says it, Trystan knows Mari doesn't believe it. There's a look in her eye, but he doesn't press her about it. Instead he nods and takes the shirt, grateful.

Mari changes the subject and talks about other things while she dabs thick, cold, goopy, foundation on his neck. This will work. It covers everything. Her fingers are so soft and work so fast. Trystan waits until she stops talking and asks, "What made you come here this morning? School doesn't start for another hour or more." Part of him thinks that she was looking for him. The other part thinks something happened, something with her dad.

Mari's shoulders tense. She stands taller and her eyes dart away. He's right. Fuck, he didn't want to be right. She licks her lips and finishes covering up his mangled neck. "I had to get out of my house. You know how it is."

"Yeah, I know." He's quiet for a moment.

Mari is wearing one of those cami's with the lace at the top. It hugs her body, closely fitting to every curve. His eyes drink her in. In the back of Trystan's mind, he knows that he's going to lose her. Life isn't fair and he knows that, but losing her so soon is unbearable.

Mari's dark hair falls down her back in a cascade of thick curls. They sway and fall over her shoulder as she works. Mari moves around him, not feeling his eyes on her skin as she picks up the make-up and puts it back in the kit. Trystan feels so torn. He needs her, but she'd be so much better off without him. Trystan has nothing to offer her. He only brings pain and shame. He swallows hard, trying to ignore the guilt that's choking him.

When Mari turns around, she has a soft smile on her lips. She isn't afraid of him. She doesn't pity him. Mari acts like Trystan is the same guy he was yesterday, before she learned his secret. She sits down next to him and helps him pull her shirt on. It was too big on her, but it's about the right size for him. She buttons it up, a few of the top buttons she leaves open, and smiles at him.

Mari places her hand over his heart and says, "No one will know."

Their eyes lock. A rush of emotion floods through him. Trystan feels too much. After everything that happened, he just wants to hold onto her and never let go. Acting on the urge, Trystan leans in and gathers Mari in his arms and holds her tight. She winces as he does it, which makes him let go. "You're hurt."

Trystan's blue gaze slips over the cami. He doesn't see anything. Slowly, he inches his hand toward the hem of her shirt. Mari is very still, her dark eyes tracking his hands as he takes the bottom of her cami and slowly slides it up. An angry purple mark mars her perfectly pale skin. He can't breathe. Things can't be like this. She's hurt because of him. He shouldn't do this. He shouldn't be here with her and he sure as hell shouldn't be touching her, but he can't stop. It's still early. No one is here. Trystan could slide his fingers along her soft skin and press his lips to hers. She could take him away from here with a taste of those lips. Trystan could be higher than high in a heartbeat if he just leaned in and kissed her.

Mari's eyes drift to his lips. His hands are still on her shirt, his fingers are so close to her skin that it aches not to touch her. Mari takes a jagged breath and looks up at him. Her eyes are molten chocolate. They shimmer with golden heat. The way she looks at him makes Trystan's heart beat harder. Suddenly, he's hot all over. His body is responding to her. He wants to lean in. Trystan wants to be with her, but he doesn't move.

Trystan's lips are a breath from Mari's. The stay like that too long, impossibly long. Lingering thoughts tease him, telling him to take what he needs - that she'll let him - that Mari needs him just as much. But he can't. He can't drag her into this more than he already has. Guilt juts up between them like a wall.

Trystan blinks and breaks their gaze. He turns his face away from Mari without explanation. He sucks in air and runs his hands through his hair and down the back of his neck.

She deserves so much more.



When Trystan pulls away, it feels like my lungs have been ripped out of my throat. I don't understand why he does it. My heart races frantically, and won't calm down. Trystan bends forward and lowers his head like he's praying. He doesn't look up right away. I want to take him in my arms and fix this, but I know I can't. There are too many things bottled up inside of him, too many thoughts that I don't know. So, I do the only thing that I know to do.

I stand up and smooth my shirt back into place. My middle is still sore as hell, but I'd rather die than pass up the chance to have Trystan's hands on me.

"Come on, Scott," I say, grabbing a pillow off the couch. The thing is old, huge, and heavy. Trystan glances at me from the corner of his eye. I waive the pillow at him. It nearly knocks me off balance. "I'm serious, Scott. We both have shitty lives. Mine is covered in glitz so people don't bother to notice, but I'm not stupid. And I'm not letting you give in to it. Get up."

When Trystan doesn't move, I swing the pillow at him. I try to do it gently, but there is no gently with these things. It's too big. The pillow hits him in the side of the face and makes a smacking sound. Trystan actually sways sideways. He glances at me with a shocked look on his face. The corners of my lips curl up. "You know you liked it." I waggle my eyebrows at him and he laughs.

Trystan stands and plucks a pillow from the couch, but not before I have the chance to whack him again. The pillow is too heavy. It pulls me forward every time I swing. When it smacks Trystan, it sounds like I hit him with a ream of paper. He rounds on me with that boyish grin on his face, and then nearly falls over. I laugh, but Trystan already has his footing back. He taps me lightly with his pillow, like I might break.

"What the hell was that, Scott?" I tease him and bounce on the balls of my feet. I taunt him and say, "Play like you mean it."

"You like it rough?" The corner of his mouth twitches.

"No holding back. Not now. Not ever." I say the words and know that I'm not talking about a pillow fight. I'm talking about us, about what's happening between us and to us. I don't want to give up and I don't want to lose him.

I swipe my pillow at his arm. It took a mega-swing to get momentum, but I manage. When the pillow collides with Trystan, he staggers to the side before dropping his pillow. His blue eyes are crystal clear. Trystan steps toward me, pulls the pillow from my hands, and slides his palms up my cheeks and then tangles his fingers in my hair.

A rush of tingles shoots through my middle. I can't breathe. Trystan looks at me like I'm air and that he can't breathe without me. He brings our faces closer, so slowly that it feels like I'm going to die, but then our lips touch and everything changes. Butterflies fill my stomach. They swoop inside of me, making me giddy. The spots on my face where his palms touch my skin are electrified. A current shoots through me and makes me tingle.

And his lips, oh God, his lips - they press lightly at first. His mouth is so soft, his lips are so full. It's like that kiss when we were rehearsing, and then suddenly it's not. Trystan stops holding back. His desperation hits me hard. The tension in his arms flows into his hands and onto my cheeks as he tightens his grip.

The heat from his body encompasses me and I'm lost, falling through space. My eyes close and little white spots flicker behind my eyes. His hands slip over my skin and carefully move down my back and under my shirt. I gasp and press my mouth harder to his. The kiss is urgent, demanding. It's like we both know our time together is limited and everything is going to change. I can't stop and I don't want to. Heat seers under my skin as Trystan's hands slip over me. His tongue licks the seam of my lips, teasing me. My heart beats harder, and drowns out every other sound. When I open my mouth and let him, I feel my body going limp in his arms.

Trystan holds me to his chest and kisses me harder, deeper. His tongue moves in my mouth and I'm floating and falling at the same time. I don't come up for air. I'm afraid he'll stop. I'm afraid of what will happen next. I'm afraid...

Trystan barely breathes as the kiss endures. It's seeking, giving, and hoping. It's everything that I though a kiss should be, but he pulls away too soon. Trystan's face is flushed. Heat fills his cheeks and he breathes like he's run too far, too fast. His fingers brush my cheek and rest on my shoulder. "I love you, Mari." His sapphire gaze locks with mine. We hold each other. We say nothing.

The moment remains perfect, as if it's suspended in time. We cling to each other, hoping to God that there's more for us, that there's a way I can hold onto him. But, Trystan is like a snowflake. I'm afraid that if I try to close my hand around him, he'll disappear from my life. Trystan can't accept who he is, that it stems from where he came from. He won't forgive himself for this. Somehow I know it, but I can't let it go. I can't let him go. I love him with every ounce of my being, and I know that I always will.

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