Crush, p.8
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       Crush, p.8

           Lacey Weatherford

  Chapter Five


  She was here, and I was so mesmerized with staring at her it took me a second to realize who the guy was standing next to her. I did a double take as I took in Clay’s new look, amazed with the transformation. I couldn’t believe this was the same nerdy kid I saw every day.

  I glanced around the lobby of the theater, noticing he was getting much of the same reaction from the school kids who knew him. Some were pointing and laughing, though there were a few girls who looked at him appreciatively.

  Returning my gaze to the two of them, I also noticed there seemed to be some sort of friction. Clay was looking at Cami as if she was the axis his world was spinning on. Cami was biting her plump bottom lip and doing her best not to pay any attention to him, studying everything around her instead.

  I chuckled slightly and leaned back against the wall. Well, this was interesting. It seemed as if the guy was carrying a serious torch for his gorgeous BFF, and she was not willing to reciprocate. For some reason, I found a great deal of pleasure in this.

  She looked amazing in her green dress, her soft, red hair falling in waves down to brush her bare-skinned shoulders. She was showing a fair amount of leg—something I hadn’t really seen her do before—and I didn’t mind one bit. She reminded me of some sort of green apple just ripe for the picking.

  I grunted internally, realizing I was comparing her to fruit again. What was up with that? You know exactly what’s up with that, my mind countered, but I couldn’t force myself to look away. I knew she wasn’t for me, though somehow, it didn’t seem to matter much at the moment.

  “Enjoying the eye candy again, I see,” Russ said, joining me after getting his snack.

  “Who? Clayton Bradley? I don’t think so.”

  Russ snorted. “Yeah, we’re both aware that’s not who you were looking at. Dude, if you like her that much just go get her. You know you want her.”

  I shook my head and turned in the direction of the theaters. “Can’t.”

  “Why not?” Russ pressured, trying to understand. “You got a girlfriend back home? Or are you saying you play for the other team?”

  I snorted. “I just can’t, okay? No girlfriend for me, period.”

  “So you’re going to lust after her from afar?” He elbowed me as he took a bite of his giant popcorn.

  “Something like that.”

  We found ourselves a seat at the back of the theater. I liked sitting here so I could watch what everyone around me was doing while I was waiting for the movie to start.

  “This is just a crying shame,” Russ said.

  “What is?”

  “Sitting on the back row and not having any honeys to make out with in the dark. I need a date soon.”

  “Good luck with that,” I replied. “Maybe you should try actually talking to a girl. That might help.”

  “Oh, look who’s Mr. Advice all of a sudden—he who stares and drools from afar.”

  “At least I have an actual babe to drool over instead of just wishful thinking.”

  “Ah ha! You just admitted it. You do like her!” His face was lit up like he’d just discovered electricity or something.

  And dang it, he was right. “Eat your popcorn like a good boy and leave me alone.” I grinned.

  He laughed. “There’s not a good bone in this body.”

  “That sucks for you,” I countered with a sly smile. “Good bones are all I have lately.”

  Russ choked, spewing popcorn out into the aisle.

  “That’s just sick, man,” I chuckled with a shake of my head, observing the chewed popcorn on the back of the chair in front of him.

  “It’s your fault. Don’t blame me.” He took a napkin, wiping his mouth and then the chair.

  “You’re never gonna get a girl like this. Maybe I should show you how it’s done.”

  “Well, master, here’s your chance.” Russ gestured into the theater, and I saw Cami and Clay enter together.

  I stiffened immediately as I watched them. They chose some seats a few aisles down from where we were. Clay put his drink in the cup holder and leaned in close to her. Cami clearly shifted away from him.

  This caused an alarm to go off in my head. She was obviously uncomfortable with his close proximity. I wondered if he’d tried to hit on her, and she didn’t like it. It was as if they weren’t the same people I’d watched in class together. Clay had changed his appearance, and it seemed to have the opposite effect of what he was going for—changing the dynamic between them completely.

  He bent closer and whispered something in her ear and she leaned even farther. There was definitely something bad going on between them.

  I reached over, grabbed Russ’s popcorn, and got up.

  “Hey, where you going?” he asked, looking confused.

  I ignored him and walked down to the row Cami was on. I had to find something out.

  “Hey, Goody,” I said as I sat down in the chair right next to her. “I guess I don’t know you so well after all. I never pegged you as an action adventure kind of girl.”

  Her face was a mask of complete surprise as she turned to look at me.

  “Popcorn?” I asked her innocently, tipping Russ’s bag toward her.

  She shook her head. “No thanks.” I saw what I was looking for after the shock wore away. Relief. It was plain—there was no way I was leaving.

  “Can we help you with something?” Clay said leaning forward, annoyance written all over him.

  “I don’t think so. Just settling in to watch the movie here with my good buddy, Cami.” I turned and glanced up behind me to where Russ was sitting with his mouth hanging open. “Come on, dude. These seats are way better than those up there. I told you they would be.” I shoved a handful of his popcorn into my mouth, chomping happily.

  Russ got up, moving in our direction. He ripped his popcorn out of my hand when he sat down and gave me a glare followed by a questioning look.

  Cami was still staring expectantly, as if she were waiting for me to say something else.

  I flashed her my most winning smile, hoping there was nothing stuck in my teeth. I was going to lay on all the charm I could and do some messing with Clay boy. “So how’s your weekend been going, Cami?” I cast a glance over her rockin’ body. “Looks like you got a little sun since the last time I saw you. That dress shows it off very nicely.”

  Her eyes widened in surprise, and I thought I actually saw Clay bare his teeth at me. I had to work hard not to laugh out loud.

  “Um, thank you.” A smile faltered on her lips as if she weren’t really sure if I was messing with her or not.

  I needed to make things a little more clear. I was trying to send a message here. “I’m sorry I didn’t get another chance to talk to you at school on Friday. I wondered if you’d like to go on a date with me sometime? Maybe get a burger or something—go to one of those art galleries you told me about?”

  Russ choked on his popcorn again for the second time tonight as the previews for the movie started.

  Cami was staring at me like I was someone who had just crawled out of a foreign film and she had no idea what I was saying.

  “Cami,” Clay growled, nudging her a bit. That brought her back to life.

  What the hell was I doing? What part of ‘no girls’ was my brain not understanding? I hurried to amend. “No rush or anything. I shouldn’t have put you on the spot like that. You can think about it during the movie and tell me afterward.”

  “Oh, okay,” she spoke in almost a whisper and reclined back into her seat.

  Clay hissed something in her ear I couldn’t understand. He was not happy by any means, and I was irritated when Cami visibly became rigid.

  She tapped me on the shoulder, and I leaned over so I could hear her better. “I don’t need to wait,” she whispered. “I would enjoy going out with you. Thank you for asking.”

  I smiled softly, wondering briefly why my heart sped up so much at her simple words. “I’m glad
. I promise we can do something fun together. Nothing that will make you uncomfortable.”

  She nodded and returned my smile. “That sounds good.”

  I pulled out my cell phone. “Can I get your number so I can set things up with you later? You can have mine too.”

  “Sure.” She pulled hers from her bag and handed it to me, taking mine, and we typed our numbers into them and switched back.

  “Thanks,” I said again. “Do you mind if we sit here with you for the show?”

  She shook her head. “Not at all.”

  Clay huffed, sitting back into his chair, crossing his arms as he obviously pouted. Cami glanced at him, but he wouldn’t acknowledge her, so she turned and watched the movie.

  I leaned back into my chair feeling satisfied. She’d definitely needed some help. I looked at Russ who was watching me in shock.

  “You’re one crazy S.O.B. You stole her right from under the guy she was with,” he whispered in awe. “I can’t believe you got her to go out with you. How’d you do that?”

  “I paid attention to what was going on around me, which is what you need to do. Then you’ll start seeing the things you’re missing.”

  “I have no idea what you mean, but feel free to teach me, Master Obi-Wan.”

  I snorted and Cami looked at me. I smiled and she gave me a shy one back before turning toward the screen again.

  “You already have her wrapped around your finger.” Russ said in a low voice with a laugh.

  I elbowed him in the ribs. “Shut up and watch the movie.”

  “Yes, Master,” he groaned, and I couldn’t help the chuckle that burst from my lips. I faked a cough, lifting my hand to cover my mouth.

  My humor didn’t last long, though. As the movie started I couldn’t help the guilty feelings, which coursed through me, and I found I had a hard time concentrating. Yes, this girl was beautiful, and it was obvious I liked her . . . a lot. The truth was I really had no business messing with her. Red warning flags were dropping all over, and suddenly I felt like I was standing right in the middle of a potential mine field. One wrong step and everything would explode in the worst way possible, and it would be a bloody, friggin’ disaster.

  I glanced at Cami again, watching her stunning eyes flash in the lights coming from the screen. I wasn’t sure what was going on between her and her friend right now, but I promised myself I was going to find out. For some reason, I needed to make sure she was all right. One thing I’d learned was always listen to my intuition, and right now it was speaking loud and clear, telling me there was a big a problem.

  I hope she’s worth it, spoke that nagging internal voice again.

  “She is,” I whispered, answering myself back.

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