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Going Under

Georgia Cates

Page 13


  I put the thoughts of material things aside and I reminded myself of how she reacted when I flirted with Gretchen and remembered how close she looked to giving in to me this afternoon. I got out of my truck and let down the tailgate, then sat as I waited for her to make an appearance.

  I felt the shift of my truck as Dane sat next to me on my tailgate. “Glad to see you made it. Where’s your lady friend?”

  Assuming he was referring to Gretchen, I answered, “I’m pretty sure you can’t call her a lady, but I haven’t seen her yet. Frankly, I’m not looking forward to finding her because when she figures out that she and I don’t have the same agenda for tonight, it’s probably not going to go well. ”

  “And what is your agenda for tonight?” he asked, suspiciously.

  “Things with Claire have changed a little since we talked. I ran into her after school and we had an interesting…let’s say interaction. I think I almost had her. ”

  “What do you mean you think you almost had her?”

  “I think she was about to tell me to get rid of Gretchen tonight,” I bragged.

  “I think you’re wrong about that,” he informed me.

  What made him think he knew anything about me and Claire? “How do you know? You weren’t there. ”

  He hesitantly answered, “Dude…I hate to break it to you but Forbes said that tonight was the night for him and Claire. ”

  I knew exactly what he was implying, but I needed confirmation. “What is that supposed to mean?”

  “He says he’s tapping it tonight. ”

  “I assume you mean Claire, and not a keg. If he’s bragging about tapping it tonight then that means he’s never tapped it before. ”

  That was good information to know and I liked knowing she had not given herself to him. In fact, I loved it and it made me wonder if I had Claire Deveraux figured out at all.

  “I wish you the best of luck if Claire is into you, but be prepared for Henderson’s wrath because it won’t be pretty if you take his girl. Especially if he thinks he’s finally about to get what he’s worked on for so long,” Dane warned.

  I looked across the field, my eyes searching for Claire. I saw her through the golden lights of the bonfire standing with a small group of friends next to Forbes and Payton. “I would be disappointed if his wrath was anything less than ugly. ”

  Claire’s eyes caught mine and she smiled. When I returned her smile, I watched hers suddenly disappear as I felt a hand on my arm and I turned to see Gretchen standing next to me.

  Dane took Gretchen’s arrival as his cue to leave and said, “I’ll catch up with you guys later. ”

  I had hoped to talk to Claire before I got stuck with Gretchen. Of course, I had no such luck. “Been here long?” she asked.

  “Nah, just got here about five minutes ago. ”

  “I wondered if you might stand me up,” she laughed as though it wasn’t even a remote possibility and totally unaware I would have in a heartbeat if only the right girl had asked me to.

  “You want to go for a ride?” she propositioned with a suggestive tone.

  Wow, she wasted no time, but I shouldn’t be surprised because the girl had a turbo charged sex drive. “I’m good. Let’s just hang out here for a while. You want a beer?”

  “Sure,” she said, her voice drenched with disappointment by my decline of her sultry invitation.

  Maybe she would get drunk, then pass out and leave me alone so I could talk to Claire. “I’ll grab us a couple. Be right back. ”

  I grabbed a cup and began to fill it with beer for my date as I saw Claire walk toward me. When she stopped by my side, I said, “Hey, Princess, need a refill?”

  She smiled and laughed as she said, “Yeah, I’ll let you fill me up,” then she lightly bit her lower lip while waiting for my response.

  “You’re such a dirty girl and you have everyone fooled. But you know that already, don’t you?”

  She grinned mischievously and said, “I might have most people fooled, but not everyone. ”

  I shook my head in agreement. “Nope, you don’t have me fooled. Maybe you did a little at first, but it didn’t even last a whole day. ”

  “Why is that? People that have known me my entire life can’t see me for who I really am, but you didn’t know me a day before you pegged me. ”

  “Maybe we’re more alike than you know. ”

  She looked around for eavesdroppers, then said, “I need to talk to you alone, but not right now. ”

  There they were; the words I was dying to hear. “Okay. What cha got in mind?”

  “Give me at least half an hour, then watch for me to walk into the woods right over there,” she said as she pointed out the area where she would be.

  “Okay, I’ll meet you there,” I said before we parted ways and I returned with Gretchen’s beer.

  She began her interrogation as soon as I returned. “What did the Miss Goody Goody have to say to you?”

  “Nothing you’d care to hear,” I replied dryly, which wasn’t a total lie.

  “I’m pretty certain she could never say anything I would care to hear, but was it anything you cared to hear?” she grilled.

  “Look, I don’t give explanations to girls about anything I do, so do us both a favor and don’t go there,” I warned.

  “I’m just thinking it’s a little strange it took all week for you to notice me, then the minute you do, Miss Virgin Queen with a boyfriend is slamming books around like she’s mad as hell and now she’s catching you alone to talk to you. It’s obvious something is going on between the two of you. ”

  I avoided eye contact and didn’t deny her accusation as I raised my plastic cup to take a drink of beer.

  “I don’t hear you denying it,” she pointed out.

  “Like I said before, I’m not afflicted with the need to explain myself to anyone,” I reiterated, possibly a little too strongly.

  “No need to get pissed about it. I don’t give a rat’s ass if you’re after her or if she’s after you. I’m just trying to figure out if I need to find another date because mine is fixated on someone besides me. ”

  “Do you want to hear that I’m fixated on you or would you rather hear the truth?” I asked, coldly.

  “You knew all along you were going to try to get with her, didn’t you? That’s why you wouldn’t pick me up,” she accused.

  “No, I didn’t want to pick you up because I did’t want to get stuck with you all night. It has nothing to do with Claire. That merit is completely your own,” I informed her.

  “You used me to make Claire Deveraux jealous. And it worked. If I wasn’t so happy about that fact, I might be pretty pissed at you right now. ”

  “Glad we both got something we wanted out of this. ”

  She leaned in toward me and said, “I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, and just so you know, you didn’t have to trick me into making The Chastity Belt jealous because I would have gladly done it for the fun of it. But now that I know what’s going on, I’ll gladly help you to make her as jealous as you’d like. ”

  “I think I’m good for now,” I declined, then she leaned in further and kissed me slowly on the mouth.

  When she pulled away, she smiled and said, “Claire is staring at us, so sorry. I couldn’t resist doing that to make her blood boil. Don’t forget, I’m willing to push it further if you need me to. ”

  “I’ll let you know if the time comes,” I laughed.

  I hoped Gretchen’s kiss didn’t make Claire change her mind about meeting me. After the first thirty minutes went by, I begin to wonder. I waited and watched for Claire to make her getaway to the woods while Gretchen and I talked on the tailgate of my truck. Occasionally, I looked over to where she was and I would catch a view of Forbes kissing her or holding her hand and I didn’t care for the way it made me feel.

  Almost an hour later, I saw her sneak awa
y from a very drunken Forbes. I waited a moment before I followed her to avoid anyone seeing us sneaking into the woods together because I felt the need to protect her.

  I anxiously and nervously walked in her direction, then heard her whisper, “Psst, over here,” and I turned to see her peaking out from behind a large tree.

  I walked over to her and she leaned back against the tree and flirtatiously said, “Hey, you. ”

  “Hey, Princess,” I said sweetly, realizing that the nickname I once used as an insult was now used for an entirely different reason.

  “You managed to get away from The Penivore. ”

  I had to laugh as I asked, “The what?”

  “The Penivore. You know, like a herbivore or a carnivore. Gretchen is better known at school as The Penivore. ”

  “Wow, I might have asked her out sooner if I had known that,” I laughed.

  Claire made a fist and hit me as hard as she could in the chest before she began walking away. I was a little impressed with the pain remaining after her punch and I rubbed my chest with one hand, while grabbing her arm with my other.

  “Come back, don’t be mad. I was only kidding, Princess,” I pleaded.

  I stopped her by stepping in front of her and she began backing up as I walked toward her until her back was against the tree and she could go no further. I didn’t stop until we were eye to eye. Her chest was heaving rapidly and our eyes never lost contact as I said, “There was something you wanted to talk to me about?”

  “Yes,” she whispered, breathlessly.

  “I’m listening,” I said, softly.

  I waited with hopeful anticipation of hearing her say that she was interested in me the way I was interested in her, but she remained silent. I leaned forward to encourage her as I waited for her to speak. I placed my lips against her ear and whispered, “Why do you look so frightened, Princess? I promise I won’t bite…unless you ask me to. ”