Crush, p.17
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       Crush, p.17

           Lacey Weatherford

  Chapter Fourteen


  My music was blaring as I sat at my desk with my head buried in my hands. Pictures from today were spread all over in front of me, but I wasn’t seeing any of them. All I could see was Cami—her hair, her lips, her skin, her sweet body wrapped around me as I kissed her over and over again in my car, ravishing her until she’d finally pulled away, putting some much needed-distance between us.

  I’d driven her home in silence, as my thoughts overwhelmed me. We were explosive together—combustible—and I should’ve never crossed this line. I had no idea it would be like this. I’d never wanted a girl as much as I wanted her. I shuddered to think what might’ve happened in that darkroom if we hadn’t been interrupted. I’d lost all restraint.

  I slammed my fist down against the pictures. What the heck was happening? Where was my carefully maintained restraint? I’d been confident I could withstand anything thrown at me when we’d come here. Now I wasn’t so sure. I wasn’t in control at all. I was playing around with a chick I was hot for—one that could cause me a serious bundle of trouble. This was completely unacceptable.

  My phone buzzed, and I saw it was a text from Cami. R we ok?

  I stared at it—almost afraid to touch it—as if acknowledging her would make me combust all over again. I shouldn’t reply. I should walk away now and look like the jerk Clay had told her I would be. She’d cry, I was sure, and it would burn her in a big way, but she’d get over it eventually. She could forget about me and move on with her life. She’d be safe.

  But would I ever get over it?

  I picked up a picture I’d zoomed in on and stared at it. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t walk away from her now. She’d gotten under my skin, and I wanted more . . . a lot more.

  Chris was right when he said I’d be walking a tight rope. I hadn’t realized at the time how tight it would be. I wasn’t sure what was going on yet, but things were starting to unravel in my mind. I ran a hand over my mouth as I tried to figure out what to do.

  Sighing, I picked up my phone to text her back. I was going to take the plunge and make an executive decision. From now on the role of boyfriend was going to be played by me. It was definitely crossing a line, and I hoped I wouldn’t cook my own goose while I was at it. I wasn’t lying to myself anymore. I wanted to be with her, so I was going to live my time with her to the fullest and be happy she was part of my life, even if it was for a short while. Man, I felt like a sick bastard.

  Hey gorgeous, I replied, laying it on thick. Haven’t been able 2 stop thinking of U. That was the absolute truth.

  U were really quiet earlier. Thought U were having regrets.

  More regrets than you could begin to imagine, I thought. Cami, this afternoon was like, wow, but kinda scary wow, if U know what I mean.

  Yeah. I kinda attacked U.

  Really? I chuckled. That wasn’t how I remembered it at all. I liked it, I replied honestly.

  U did?

  U couldn’t tell? I laughed out loud, even though she couldn’t hear me. She was kidding, right? Didn’t she realize how close we’d come to sealing the deal right there? Just thinking about it was getting me all worked up again.

  Haha. Maybe.

  I shook my head. I still didn’t have a clue to the way girls thought.

  Well, if U can’t tell whether or not I liked what went down today then U and I have some serious problems. More like I would be having some serious problems.

  Ur a good kisser. She put a little smiley face after it.

  I groaned. She had no idea what she was doing to me.

  Haha. Thanks. U 2. What ya doing tonight? I was desperate to change the subject.


  Me 2.

  Well, ok. I’ll let U go then. Just wanted 2 make sure we were cool.

  We R so much more than cool. U have no idea.

  Another smiley face. Talk 2 U at school 2morrow.

  Do U want a ride? I knew now that Clay had been her transportation.

  That wld B nice.

  Gr8. Pick U up at 7:30.

  Sounds good.

  I was smiling when I tossed my phone down. I grabbed my leather jacket, putting it on before I slipped the weapon I occasionally carried for protection into its hiding place. A guy could never be too careful. I grabbed my digital camera and car keys and headed out the door. Time to see if I could score a little celebratory refreshment.

  I leaned my head against the leather seats with a sigh before rubbing my eyes. The smoke filled the car around me, but I didn’t really care at the moment. Derek sat beside me, taking a drag off his joint.

  “I’m glad I finally caught up with you, dude. I’ve been craving some of this for a while.”

  He chuckled. “Anytime, man. There’s more where this came from. I thought you’d gone all preacher on me now that you’re dating Cami.”

  I frowned a little. “Yeah, she’s made it plain that she doesn’t want me to do this stuff.”

  “I’m guessing you don’t care what she thinks?”

  “I do. I’ve decided to try and be clean while I’m hanging around with her. The rest of the time is fair game.”

  “Gotcha. Glad you got it all worked out.”

  “I do. Hey, can you get your hands on some meth for me?”

  He looked at me pointedly. “It’ll cost you, but yeah, I can try to scrounge some up.”

  “Cool. I appreciate it. Sometimes I just need something with a little more oomph—know what I mean?”

  “I do, man, I do.”

  “So what’s the problem with the best friends today?” Russ asked, elbowing me and pointing to where Cami and Clay sat far apart, not talking to each other, in Chemistry lab.

  “Me, apparently,” I replied with a grin.

  “You?” Russ seemed puzzled.

  I leaned over so I could whisper in his ear. “Clay’s a little angry because he thinks I made out with Cami yesterday.”

  Russ’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “And did you?”

  “I don’t kiss and tell, man.”

  “You did, didn’t you?” He gave a silent look of appreciation between Cami and me. “So was it like a onetime thing or are you headed back for seconds soon?”

  I shook my head. “I’m headed back for thirds and fourths . . . heck even tenths. I like her. She’s super chill.”

  “You don’t have to convince me. I’ve always thought she was hot. I’m just not as brave as you are.” He laughed. “You aren’t the first guy to want her, ya know. Outside her geeky little circle of friends, I mean.”

  I felt a small thread of jealousy shoot through me. “Really? Who else is after her?”

  “Well, no one now that I’m aware of, but Jordan Henley was carrying a pretty big torch for her before he died. I heard him making a bet in the locker room with some other guys about how he was gonna smash her.” He shook his head. “We all thought he’d strike out. There’s no way she would’ve given him the time of day.”

  I didn’t like hearing about another guy wanting her like that. “I’m sure she would’ve given him the same lecture I got about how drugs are bad and he shouldn’t be doing them.” My body was tense as I tried to casually redirect the conversation.

  He shrugged. “I don’t know. He was never really into the drug scene that heavy. Maybe a joint or two here and there. He drank with us, but he had his heart set on some big athletic scholarship. He tried hard to keep his nose clean, wanting to be in the best physical shape possible for the teams who were looking at him. College football was a really big deal to him. That’s why his death was weird. No one could believe he started using so heavily.”

  “Such a bummer,” I said, fingering my notebook as I stared at Cami.

  “It’s okay, dude. He’s not competition anymore, you can relax.” Russ gestured at my clenched hand on my lap, and I realized I was grinding my teeth.

  I released everything with a sigh. “I’m okay. Guess I like her more than I thought. H
earing you talk about another guy put me on the defensive a little.”

  Russ clapped me on the shoulder and squeezed. “You’ve got it bad, don’t you?”

  “I do.” I knew that simple comment would spread through the school like wildfire, and everyone would know about it before the day was over.

  That was exactly how I wanted it too.

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