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Crush, Page 26

Lacey Weatherford

  Chapter Twenty-Three


  I quickly scanned the paper, cursing under my breath before crumpling it up myself. I shot Gabrielle a glare before I ran out the door after Cami.

  “Mr. Wilder!” the teacher shouted. “You’re going to get detention!”

  I didn’t care. I hurried down the hall and saw Cami rounding the corner ahead of me. I ran to catch up with her.

  “Cami, wait up.”

  “Go away.”

  “It’s not true. I swear to you it’s not true. She’s screwing around with you, and it’s working. Don’t let her do this.” I was desperate for her to believe me.

  She stopped, tears running down her face. I was getting really tired of seeing her so sad all the time.

  “Come on.” I grabbed her by the hand and pulled her after me. She didn’t ask where we were going. We walked in silence to my car, and she climbed in when I held the passenger door open.

  I went around to the other side and joined her.

  “We really need to discuss things. I know everything has been messed up, and I know it’s my fault, but I can’t take seeing you cry anymore. I want you to be happy. Talk to me please, and let’s see if we can work this out somehow.” I stared while she played with the edge of her notebook.

  She finally looked up. “I want to believe you, Hunter, I really do, but you keep so many secrets from me. I know there is stuff going on you don’t want to talk about, and I’ve tried to respect that, but when you combine it with doing drugs and partying I have a hard time trusting you. I was under the impression you were trying to get away from that type of thing. Apparently I was mistaken. Then this very suggestive picture of you surfaces, showing you with someone else. She says she was with you, and the picture seems to support her, but you say nothing happened. It makes me realize—despite how I feel—I don’t really know you. Other than making some nice memories of our own, and being extremely attracted to each other physically, you’re practically a mystery.” She gave a deep sigh as if this let a huge weight off her chest and laid her head against the seat.

  I tapped my fingers against the steering wheel nervously, knowing I needed to tread carefully. I wanted to tell her everything, but I couldn’t—both for her safety and mine. Things were so royally messed up. I should’ve never gotten involved with her. I knew this, but I couldn’t seem to make myself walk away.

  “As far as Gabby goes, I can only tell you nothing happened. Honestly, the play by play went something like this—I was stoned and zoning out. I’d drifted off to sleep and was kind of dreaming or thinking of you subconsciously, and I could even feel you next to me—your hand sliding down my body. I jerked awake, and she was there. I shoved her away and told her I was with you. She said she didn’t see you around anywhere, and climbed on top of me, sliding my shirt up. I shoved her off hard enough she fell on the floor. She was mad at me, said I hurt her. Derek called her over, and she started making out with him. That’s when I left the party. I worried I was too blitzed to drive so I pulled over at the theater. I considered going in to watch a movie and let things get out of my system a little, but I was really tired—and I was afraid to see the disappointment in your eyes—so I fell asleep in the car. That’s it. You know everything. Please tell me you forgive me and we can move past this. I never meant to hurt you.”

  I waited, every nerve tense, wondering what she would say.

  “Are you going to do drugs again?” She wouldn’t look at me.

  “I’d love to tell you I’ll quit right now and walk away, but it’s not that easy.” I was so frustrated. There was no way I could make her understand why I used, or why they were so important to me.

  “It is that easy. You just do it, Hunter, and let those of us who care for you, help you through it.”

  I closed my eyes, knowing she couldn’t possibly understand what it meant to suffer through an addiction since she’d never been there. But I also didn’t miss the hidden message in her words. “Do you care for me, Cami?” I held my breath, turning to look at her. “Is that what you’re saying?”

  She sighed, holding my gaze. “Yes, and I want to do more, but you won’t let me get close enough. All I can say is I care about what I do know, despite our issues.”

  I slipped my finger under her chin and leaned over, kissing her softly on the lips. Instantly, the burn she created inside me was back. I’d never experienced anything like it before in my life. I didn’t care what I had to do to keep her—I had to find a way to have this girl.

  “I want you,” I whispered against her mouth. “I want everything I know about you now and all the possibilities of what I’ll learn about you later. I’ve never felt this way about anyone. You mean more to me than you could ever understand.”

  She was crying again, and I continued to kiss her softly, staring into her honey colored eyes, wiping away her tears with my thumbs as I went along.

  “This is happening really fast,” she said quietly. “It scares me a little.”

  I kissed her mouth lightly again. “I know. It scares me too, but does happening fast make it any less real?”

  “I guess not,” she replied in between kisses.

  I couldn’t stop touching her. “Then the real question is where do you want to go from here?”

  My lips traveled over her cheek, continuing my parade of endearments down to her neck.

  “Hunter, stop. I can’t think rationally when you’re all over me like this.” She tilted her head, giving me better access.

  I smiled against her skin. “That’s the whole point, isn’t it? Admit it. You’re enjoying this as much as I am.”

  “We aren’t done talking, though. This is what always happens. We get distracted by all the physical stuff, and the things we really need to discuss get glossed over. While I love how you make me feel, I kind of hate that this always happens.”

  I stilled, my face nuzzled in the crook of her neck. I breathed in heavily, letting the light scent of her perfume overwhelm my senses for a moment. I really wished I could lose myself in this girl. I wanted to make her mine in every sense of the word, but I knew it just wasn’t possible right now. I slowly pulled away.

  “What do you want me to say?”

  “Tell me about you. I want you to trust me with whatever your secrets are, and let me help you through them. I want you to let me know all of you.” A hopeful look shone brightly in her eyes, and it was killing me—ripping me to shreds.

  “Cami . . . ,” I stroked her beautiful mouth. “I’d love nothing more than to pour out my soul to you and share what you’re asking, but I can’t right now. I still need some time.”

  Her expression fell, and it was like a knife straight to my heart. I hated hurting her. I was so tempted to throw caution to the wind and tell her, but even then I was still afraid I would lose her once she heard what I had to say. Anything I did would betray her. I was caught in a web of lies and deceit, and there was no easy way out of it.

  She looked down and her lip trembled. “Okay then. When you’re willing to trust me, I’ll be willing to give things a try. You know where to find me.” She picked up her books and reached for the door handle.

  “Cami, don’t please,” I begged her.

  “This is your choice, Hunter. You know what you need to do to change things.” She got out of the car.

  I slumped into my seat as I watched her walk toward the school. My heart felt like it was being sent through a meat grinder. Running my hands through my hair, I sighed heavily. I couldn’t blame her, really. It was totally unfair of me to ask her to go blindly into a relationship when she didn’t understand what she was getting into. I was being selfish, but I wasn’t sure what else to do.

  I hoped she didn’t think I was just going to walk away from her because of her ultimatum, though. I couldn’t tell her things, but there was no way in hell I was going to leave her alone with Clay so he could move in for the kill. I didn’t think she realized yet exactly how manipulative her precio
us bestie actually was, but I’d been watching him closely and it hadn’t surprise me at all that he’d managed to worm his way back into her good graces. I knew he still wanted her too—whenever we were around each other, the tension between us was bad.

  I dug my cell phone out of my pocket and speed dialed Chris. He answered on the second ring.

  “Are you okay?” his voice was full of concern.

  “Yeah, I’m fine. Can you call the office and excuse me for the rest of the day? I need a break.”

  “Sure thing. I’ll tell them you aren’t feeling well.”

  “Perfect. Thanks, man.”

  “No problem.”

  I ended the call, tossed my phone in the cup holder and headed for the condo.