Home > Boys South of the Mason Dixon (South of the Mason Dixon #1)(9)

Boys South of the Mason Dixon (South of the Mason Dixon #1)(9)
Author: Abbi Glines

Some things never changed. Except that my baby brother was now as tall as me.

Deep down, I never expected this. I knew that my walking Dixie to classes would keep most guys back. But I should’ve been prepared for guys like Sellers Brachen to be cocky enough to walk up to Dixie right in front of me.

“Heard it’s your birthday,” Sellers drawled as I stood there and watched Dixie blush and stammer over her words. Sellers came from money. His dad was the head of the boosters and we had top of the line equipment on the field and in the locker room thanks to his contributions. Sellers was a good running back. And now he was pissing me off.

“Yes,” she managed to respond. He clearly made her nervous and I wasn’t sure I liked that much.

“Well, happy birthday, Dixie.” He then turned his attention to me for a second and I could see the challenge in his eyes. Dumbass. I wasn’t going to compete with him. Dixie wasn’t a prize to be won.

“What are you doing after school?”

She stammered again, then replied. “Nothing. Going home.”

He gave her a crooked grin, stepping closer to her. “That’s a shame. On your birthday, you should go have some fun. How about going to get a cupcake? Then I’ll take you out to see my new colt that was just born last week.”

I was sure she was going to turn him down until he mentioned the new colt. Dixie loved horses.

“Oh, really? Okay, yes, I’d like to see the colt.” She was less awkward now, smiling brightly at him. Sellers’ smile changed too because Dixie’s smile did that to a guy.

“We’ve got practice,” I reminded Sellers.

“Only till four. Dixie, can you wait until four for me?”

She briefly glanced at me. I had no time to react. What was she expecting me to say? Did she want me to stop her?

“Sure. I’ll, uh, do my homework, then come out to the parking lot.”

Shit. Not what I wanted to hear.

“I’ll be looking for you. Highlight of my week,” he told her with a wink. He fucking winked. Like a douchebag.

Once he was gone, I tried to collect my thoughts, decide what I was going to say. I didn’t know how to warn her away. He wasn’t good enough for her.

“This is my class. Thanks for walking me. I’ll see you later,” Dixie said. She broke into my thoughts with her voice and then was gone before I could say anything.

Shit.

Fuck.

I wasn’t okay with this.

But what could I do to stop it? She was a freshman. Sellers was a junior. Not a big deal to most people. He hadn’t done anything I hadn’t done. My reputation was probably worse than his. I was the one she needed to be protected from.

Goddammit. I just fucked up.

“You look like you’re about to go jump off a ledge,” Bray said, snapping me back from my thoughts.

“Not today,” I replied. Although pushing Sellers off a ledge didn’t seem like a bad idea.

“Dixie,” was all Bray said. Just her name. Like it was all the explanation needed for my current demeanor.

“What?” I was annoyed that the little fucker saw too much. He paid too close attention.

“Don’t act stupid. You’re the smartest one out of the five of us.”

Actually, Bray was the smartest. His grades just didn’t reflect it. He had an explosive temper that was hard to control. Since he was a little boy, we’d had to deal with it. “Bray, I’m not in the mood for games. What do you mean by that?”

Bray sighed as if my question exhausted him. “She’s fifteen today, older, but not old enough to make it alright for you. That’s what I fucking mean.”

Out of all my brothers, Bray was the one who didn’t let anything get past him. He was the one who saw it all, soaked everything in. And in moments like these, that insight might get him thrown from a window.

“Dixie is my friend. Just like she’s your friend.”

Bray laughed. “Oh, no. I’m not whacking my dick while fantasizing of fucking her.”

“Jesus! What the hell is wrong with you?” I growled, knowing all too well that I couldn’t deny it.

“Lighten up. She’s grown up overnight. I’m not blaming you. Just saying you need to admit it and do something about it before someone else does. Because, believe me, brother, they will.”

“What are y’all talking about?” Brent interrupted. The twin I liked. The one who wasn’t a nosey ass fucker.

“Asher’s wanting Dixie. Time he did something about it. Admitted that shit.”

“Oh, yeah, you really should. Sellers is already talking about her. Move fast, bro, or perish.”

Not what I wanted to hear.

“I’ve got literature, I think. Fuck, I don’t know for certain. Either way, I gotta go. Do something, Asher. Get on it.”

Those were Bray’s parting words as he turned and jogged toward the gym. There weren’t any classes that way. His lit class was in the opposite direction.

“Reckon he’s going to meet someone?” Brent asked as we both watched him jog away.

“I wouldn’t be surprised.”

“How does he keep his grades up?”

That was easy. “He’s brilliant. Crazy as shit and a fucking genius.”

Brent nodded. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

There was no guessing to it. I knew I was right. My brother was a force to be reckoned with.

“Can I ask you something, Asher?”

I turned to Brent. “Yeah.”

He glanced at Bray’s retreating form, then looked back at me. “Do you think he’s okay? Like, mentally stable?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“Because . . . sometimes he gets this darkness in his eyes. Like he’s not there. Like he goes somewhere else in his mind. Somewhere I never want to be.”

I knew the answer to that, but it wasn’t my secret to tell. Instead, I replied, “he’s fine. Just Bray being Bray.” Because that much was obviously true.

Dixie Monroe

AS WE WALKED into Jack’s, Steel’s hand tightened around mine. He’d texted me to meet him here. The only place in town to do anything, even though they didn’t serve alcohol to minors, or at least that’s what they told everyone. I’d seen a waitress bring a Sutton boy a beer more than once in the past three years I’d been allowed to actually come inside the front door. When I drove up and saw Asher’s truck, I called Steel and he came outside to meet me. He assured me Asher was fine with us being together and that he’d been all smiles.

Was it wrong of me to feel disappointed that Asher was happy I was with his brother? Shouldn’t I want him to be okay with this? Steel loved me. Steel wanted to marry me. Steel wouldn’t toss me out like yesterday’s trash.

But . . . now Asher was home.

I scanned the crowd. I could lie and tell myself I wasn’t looking for Asher, but I was. I craved to see him and I had to get a handle on this. I was happy he was fine with me dating Steel, and it bothered me, too.

Brent’s laughter caught my attention and I knew Scarlet was probably with him. But my eyes didn’t seek Brent or Scarlet. They sought Asher who was sitting on a bar stool, holding a cue, watching Brent taunt Bray. The smile on Asher’s face wasn’t the heart-stopping one I’d once loved so much. Instead, it was a sad one. Did coming home make him sad? Once, I would’ve been able to wrap my arms around him and ask him what was bothering him. He would’ve told me and we could’ve worked right through it together.

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