Crush, p.31
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       Crush, p.31

           Lacey Weatherford
 

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Hunter-

  “You out here, Hunter? Oh—hey, yeah, sorry to interrupt! I can catch you later—uh—as you were.”

  Russ’s voice broke slowly into my hormone-driven mind, and it took me a second to pull away from Cami, both of us panting. I glanced in his direction before looking at her. If my hair resembled hers at all then everyone was going to know exactly what we’d been doing. I briefly wondered how many employees lost their job on the first day for fraternizing.

  “Hey, man. Hold up!” I called before the back door closed all the way.

  His hand came out to catch it, but the rest of him didn’t reappear. “Are you sure it’s safe?” he asked.

  I chuckled at Cami who was frantically running her hands over herself as she tried to straighten her clothes and hair. I couldn’t help my widening grin as I ran my fingers through my own, trying to fix it too. I should be shot for attacking her like this in a friggin’ alleyway.

  “Yeah, it’s cool, bro. What’s up?”

  “Oh, nothing important.” He gradually peeked his head around before deeming it safe enough to set out apparently. “I just stopped by to give you crap at work, and Clay told me you and Cami were on your break. He said you’d gone outside.”

  Good ole Clay. I felt my happy demeanor ice up a bit. “How nice of him to keep tabs on us,” I replied. “Whatever would we do without him?” I glanced at Cami, feeling irritated.

  She pushed past me. “We still have seven minutes left on our break. Let’s go in and get drinks. Russ, we’ll get you one on the house.”

  “Sweet!” Russ grinned and followed after her.

  I tagged along behind them, figuring the best thing I could do right now was appear without being attached to her hip. I couldn’t help the small smile, which continued to grace my mouth. She was gorgeous, and she was mine. My stubborn inner child wanted to walk right up to Clay and tell him, “Cami loves me.” Heck with Clay, I wanted to tell everyone! It wasn’t going to happen though, so I would have to content myself with casting secretive glances of admiration in her direction.

  She went to Clay, who was working the counter, and ordered her soda. I stopped at Mandy’s register. I’d never talked to her before, but she was in some of my classes at school. She seemed nice enough. When Russ saw I wasn’t going to follow Cami, he came over with me.

  “What you having?” I asked.

  “Dr. Pepper,” he replied.

  “Mandy, give us two Dr. Peppers, and why don’t you let my buddy, Russ, here have my free popcorn. I’m feeling a little generous today.”

  Mandy smiled, pushing her plastic rimmed glasses farther up her nose. “You seem awfully happy tonight. Are you enjoying your new job?”

  “I am happy.” I grinned and looked over at Cami who was staring at me while she waited for her soda. I winked and she smiled. “As far as the job . . . well, I’m enjoying some of the extracurricular benefits that come with it.”

  Cami snorted, and Mandy gave us both a funny look.

  “Check this out, Russ,” I said, pulling him away to stare at some of the Coming Soon movie posters before she could ask me any more questions.

  “What?” Russ asked as I glanced to where Clay looked like a volcano ready to explode.

  “Nothing. That chick was getting nosy. If people knew Cami and I were kissing outside we both could get fired. While it doesn’t hurt my feelings any, I don’t want Cami to lose her job.”

  Russ chuckled quietly. “You better work a little harder at keeping it in your pants then, bro. You two looked like you were ready to go at it right there against the wall.”

  “Don’t remind me.” I groaned, trying to shove the tempting images back down. “I don’t know what it is. Whenever we’re together things get . . .” I paused.

  “Combustible?” Russ offered. “Heated? Enflamed? Frenzied? Intense? Explosive?”

  I punched him in the shoulder. “Okay, okay. You get it. I see that. And what’s with all the words? Remind me to call you if I’m ever in need of a thesaurus.”

  He grinned. “Just telling it like I see it. I think even inanimate objects were getting turned on by the intensity rolling off you two. There are cars in the parking lot that are probably pregnant now.”

  I laughed. “You’re such a dork.”

  “But you love me.” He batted his eyelashes, and I punched him again.

  “I don’t know . . . maybe,” I replied.

  “Okay, now that was just harsh.”

  “Can’t let peeps think we’re having a bromance over here in the corner now, can I? My girlfriend might start getting a little worried.”

  Russ snorted. “I highly doubt she has any concerns after the performance I witnessed.”

  “I certainly hope not. That would definitely destroy my reputation.”

  “Sorry, but it’s already destroyed. You took care of that when you made it clear how hard you’ve fallen for Cami. People are talking about how the good girl caught the bad boy. In fact, the guys are taking bets.”

  “Bets on what?” I hadn’t heard any of this.

  “On who will corrupt who first. Will she turn you into a geek, or will you turn her into a smash queen?” He grinned. “I threw a little money into the pot myself. I’m anxious to see how it turns out.”

  “Really? Did you bet for or against me?” I folded my arms while I studied him. I wasn’t sure how I felt about what he was saying.

  “I’ll never tell.” He chuckled, and the two of us turned to look at Cami talking to Clay.

  “What if neither happens?” I asked.

  “What do you mean?” He arched his eyebrow.

  “What if I don’t become a geek, and I don’t smash her.”

  He looked stupefied for a moment. “Hmmm, never thought of that. I guess I never considered it in the realm of possibilities, given your reputation with the ladies and all.”

  I grunted. “I’m beginning to think I know which way you bet.”

  He grinned and shrugged, not offering an answer.

  “I like this girl, Russ. Don’t tell her about the bet. I don’t want it to bother her. Her feelings are important to me.”

  We both noticed Cami trying to gather our sodas and popcorn together. I hurried over to help, grabbing the popcorn.

  “These two are the Dr. Peppers,” she said, gesturing to the cups. “Mine’s the Sprite.”

  “Got it.” I handed one of the sodas and the bag of popcorn to Russ, and took the other for myself.

  “Let’s go sit in the breakroom,” Cami suggested. “We need to get our carts anyway. We don’t have much time left.”

  “Is it okay if I go in there with you?” Russ asked, taking a long sip of his drink.

  “Ask the boss,” I said, gesturing to Cami.

  She elbowed me. “I’m not the boss, but sure, you can come with us.”

  Russ sat at the table when we entered, and I leaned against the wall, giving a quick glance to my phone. Cami and I needed to get back to work, so I punched both of our time cards in.

  “You wanna hang out in here?” I asked Russ. “We need to clean a theater.”

  “Can I tag along?”

  “Sure,” Cami replied, grabbing her cart. “These are the last shows for the evening, so people won’t be coming in behind us. It shouldn’t be a problem.”

  “Well, then, I better come along to chaperone. I wouldn’t want your future child to say he or she was conceived in a movie theater.”

  Cami blushed a bright red and quickly turned back to her cart.

  “Russ, you’re gonna have to go a little easier on her dude. She’s not used to that kind of talk.”

  She was still blushing when I placed my hands on her shoulders and turned her around to face me.

  “You okay?”

  “Yeah,” she mumbled, not looking at me.

  I lifted her chin until she glanced up. “You have nothing to be ashamed of. You better get used to the teasing, though. T
here’s bound to be more if it.”

  She was biting her lip again. “I’ll be all right. Worse things could happen.”

  I pecked her once on those adorable lips of hers. “Let’s go.” I put my drink on my cart and gestured for her to go first.

  “The next movie should be over any minute,” she said. “Let’s clean the hallway down here while we wait for everyone to get out.”

  We grabbed our brooms and dustpans and began quickly sweeping. I tried desperately to ignore Russ’s snide comments about watching me become domesticated, and managed to successfully resist the urge to smack him over the head with my broom. The doors opened as we were finishing and the crowd began to pour out. We waited until the last of them were gone before going in. Cami and I had set up a system earlier. I started at the top, and she started at the bottom, and we worked our way toward each other.

  “See you in the middle,” I teased, slapping her on her cute rear end before I turned and ran up the stairs.

  She gave a little squeal and swung her broom at me.

  “Ha, ha! You missed!” I laughed.

  “Hunter!” Russ’s choked voice caught my attention and I turned. He was staring at me with a funny expression.

  “What?”

  He dropped his drink, spilling the little that was left on the carpet, and he slouched against the wall.

  I ran down to his side. “What is it, man? What’s wrong?” I grabbed him by the shoulders, noticing he was trembling and sweating profusely.

  “I feel funny. My heart is racing.”

  I slid my hand down his arm, searching for the pulse at his wrist. It was beating wildly.

  “When did this start?” I questioned. “Have you felt sick today?”

  “No.” He looked like he was going to vomit.

  I searched his eyes, noticing his pupils were wide and dilated.

  “Russ, be honest with me. Did you take something? Drugs?” He seemed to zone out for a bit and I shook him. “Answer me, dammit! Did you take something?”

  “No, nothing,” he whispered. He slipped further down the wall, and I tried desperately to hold him up. His eyes rolled back into his head, and he started twitching.

  “Cami, call an ambulance!” I shouted over to where she seemed frozen in shock. “Get help!” I carefully eased him the rest of the way to the floor.

  She quickly dug her phone from her pocket and dialed 911 as she ran out of the room. “Somebody help!” I heard her shout.

  “Russ!” I yelled, trying to rouse him again. “Russ, can you hear me?” I briskly rubbed my knuckles against his sternum.

  There was nothing. I leaned my ear next to his mouth, listening. A faint breath stirred at my cheek, and I could feel his pulse still racing along. He started foaming at the mouth, and I rolled him to the side to try and keep his airway clear.

  “They’re on their way!” Cami said as she ran up to my side. “What happened?”

  “I don’t know, but it acts like a drug overdose. I’ve seen something similar before. Go wait for the ambulance, and show them where to come.”

  “Will you be okay?” she asked, concern laced through her voice.

  I nodded and she hurried away.

  Mandy, Clay, and Shane ran inside the room, all pausing with a horrified look at Russ’s body.

  “Jen ran to get some things at the store before they closed. I’ll go call her and wait in the lobby until she gets here,” Shane said.

  “What can we do to help?” Mandy asked, and I could see tears in her eyes.

  “Bring me some wet paper towels or something. The guy is burning up. Let’s try to cool him down.”

  She grabbed some hand towels from the cleaning cart and ran out of the theater, leaving Clay and me alone with Russ.

  “I hope you’re getting a good look at this,” Clay said, advancing closer. “This is what happens to stupid kids like you who won’t lay off the dope.”

  “So help me, Clay, if you say another word I’m gonna get up and rearrange your face. Now’s not the time.” I continued to hold Russ on his side. “Besides, he said he didn’t take anything.”

  Clay snorted. “You would believe him. You’re as stupid as he is.”

  I lifted my head, anger suffusing through me. “That’s a little like the pot calling the kettle black, don’t you think?”

  His eyes narrowed. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

  “Well, then let me refresh your memory before you continue on with your high and mighty rant. I’ve had my eye on you, Clay. I know what you’ve been up to, and if anyone in this room qualifies as stupid, it’s you.”

  Russ made a loud, gurgling sound, and I quickly checked him, turning his head some more as a bit of fluid rushed from his mouth.

  Clay cleared his throat uncomfortably. “I’m going to go keep the hallway clear. There are still shows letting out.”

  “Fine, you do that,” I replied. “But before you go, you might want to know that I saw you that night—under Cami’s window.”

  Clay’s eyes widened, and I saw a touch of fear pulse through them.

  “That’s right. Who’s the sicko now?”

  “Did you tell her?” he choked out, not denying anything.

  “Hell no. The last thing she needs to hear is that her beloved BFF is sexually fanaticizing about her while he watches outside her window. You’re a pervert.” Fury surged through me as I remembered following him that night.

  “What’re you going to do?”

  “I haven’t decided yet, but you can bet your ass I won’t ever be leaving you alone with Cami. She’s my girlfriend, Clay. Back off. So help me if you ever try to touch her, you’re dead meat—but now isn’t the time for this conversation. You and I can chat later.”

  Clay swallowed hard, his eyes darting around quickly before he turned to leave without a word.

  My heart was racing, and I tried to calm my adrenaline, refocusing on the situation at hand.

  I was alone with Russ now. “I don’t know if you can hear me, Russ, but keep hanging in there okay? Help is on the way. Just a little longer—you can do it.”

  Mandy came running back into the room. “Where do you want these?”

  “On his head and neck, and maybe in his armpits too, if you’ve got enough. Just be careful to keep things away from his mouth so he can breathe.”

  She quickly did as I asked, and I was grateful when the soft wail of sirens filled the air.

  Soon, Cami returned followed by a policeman and two firemen.

  “What happened?” the policeman asked as the firemen quickly opened a bag and began hooking Russ up to some equipment.

  “He was fine, and then he suddenly complained of being sick. He just slumped over.”

  “Do you know if he took something,” he asked.

  “He said he hadn’t.”

  “Does he have a history of drug use?”

  I shrugged. “I only know of him smoking some pot before.”

  The officer gestured for me to follow him. “Let’s step to the side and let these guys do their job. The ambulance will be here shortly.”

  “His name is Russ Weston,” I said to the fireman next to me. “He turned eighteen on the seventh of this month.”

  “Thanks,” he said, never pausing. “Don’t worry, we’ll give him the best care possible.”

 
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