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Devour (Devoured #1)(2) by Shelly Crane

“What? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong, just my boyfriend. Just don’t listen to anything he says for the next five minutes, ok? I’m sorry ahead of time.”

“Ok,” he said, dragging it out in apprehension.

Tate stopped the truck and I saw it overcome him. His fingers turned white on the steering wheel, his lips grim in a tight line. He opened the door and closed it gently, too gently to be considered normal. It was a façade.

“Hey, Tate. Were you coming to see me?”

“You weren’t at home. I was headed to the park to give you a ride…but I see you don’t need one what with prince charming walking you home and all,” he sneered, glaring daggers at Eli.

“Tate, this is Eli. He’s new here and lives near me. We were walking home together, talking about school tomorrow.”

“Uhuh.”

“Tate,” I chided and went to give him a kiss on the cheek. I felt his skin, hot and angry on my lips before I pulled back. He flicked his eyes to me once before looking back to Eli. “Tate, this is ridiculous,” I whispered to him. “Why don’t you trust me?”

“It’s other guys I don’t trust!” he yelled, making me jump. “You have no idea what guys are thinking about.”

I took a deep confused breath. He’d never been that vehement before. I glanced over at Eli to apologize but he looked strange. Almost like he was...in ecstasy. His mouth was slightly open and his eyes hooded as he watched me. His breathing was heavy. I squinted at him and he seemed to snap out of it.

“Come on, man,” he said to Tate. “Really, it was nothing. She was just telling me about classes changing and all since I just moved here. She told me she had a boyfriend within the first two minutes of talking to her.”
Tate looked at me, his eyes softening a little. I looked at him pleadingly. He took a hesitant step towards me and when he saw I made no move to step away he caved and pulled me to him.

“I’m sorry, Clara, you know how I get. I can’t... It’s dumb, I know. I’m really sorry.” He pulled back to look at me. “I didn’t mean to be like that.”

“I know you didn’t,” I said softly and him being the blonde, beefy guy he was who stood right at my height level, put his forehead to mine.

“How do you even put up with me?” he whispered.

“I don’t know,” I said jokingly, “you’re pretty cute. I guess it makes up for it.”

“Pretty cute?” he joked and suddenly dropped to one knee and in his best English white knight accent began to beg. “Oh, please, my darling. My love. Forgive me and my assness!”

This was the Tate I knew and cared about. He was fun, playful and not afraid to make a fool of himself.

I laughed and bowed a little.

“You’re forgiven. Now. Tate, this is Eli Thames. Eli, this is Tate Richman. He’s captain of our wrestling team and his dad’s the mayor,” I said proudly.

“Hi,” Eli said cautiously and stuck his hand out.

Tate stood and took the hand offered.

“Hey, man. Sorry. I’m can be a bit of an ass when it comes to this girl. I’m sure you can understand,” he said with a wry smile.

“Understood.” Eli looked back to me and smiled a little sadly. “Well, I guess I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

“You can have lunch with us tomorrow,” I threw out. “I’m not sure if I’ll see you before then, but we eat at the long table right in the middle of the cafeteria.”

“Ok. Thanks.”

“See ya, man,” Tate said and waited for Eli to turn, then pulled me to him, snuggling into my neck. “Oh my gosh, Clara, you smell like something I very much want to eat.”

I giggled and pushed him back a little.

“You think you’re getting off that easy, buster?”

“What do I owe you this time?” he asked amused and touched his tongue to his lip to think. “Diaper duty? Because if that’s it, it was nice knowing you.”

“Hey!” I yelled playfully and smacked his chest. “No. Mrs. Ruth has the kids tonight, but you do have to take me home and...watch the last Vampire Diaries I DVRed.”

“Ah, Clara,” he groaned. “Anything but that.”

“Come on, it’s not that bad.”

“It’s torture,” he said pointedly and then smiled. “But for you I’d do just about anything.”

“I know,” I agreed and I did. Tate had reasons to be the way he was and the way he normally treated me would put the Salvatore brothers to shame. But for some reason, I just couldn’t move past the feeling that he was just some guy I liked, had feelings for, but knew it wasn’t going anywhere. “Come on.”

He helped me into the truck and drove the short distance to the Parish. Once we stopped in front of the house, I started to get out but he stopped me.

“Wait. Before we enter the no-touch zone...”

He pulled me to him across the seat and kissed me. Tate was usually a gentleman and knew how far I was willing to let him go. Sometimes he casually tried to push the envelope; he was a guy after all. This was apparently going to be one of those times.

His hand gripped my leg, as if to tug me into his lap. I let him. He seemed fueled by that and as his hands on my hips pulled me closer to him. I heard him groan a little. It rumbled through me and made my heart beat a little faster. I knew it was only torture to do this. I’d never let him do anything more than this. We were both virgins, though I was happier about it than he was. But sometimes, I just needed to feel the glue to the envelope strain a little.

I let him kiss me for a good while, just like that. I ran my fingers through his hair. It’d been a year since we started dating. We’d both always gone to the same school together, always lived in this town. We hung out with the same friends but he’d never seemed interested in me before and I never thought about him that way. I’d been on a few dates with other guys but never really dated anyone exclusively. Then one day, he met me at my locker, alone. It was odd because usually there was a group waiting there for me. As I made my way to him, he smiled bashfully.

“Hey.”

“Hey,” I had said cheerfully ignorant.

“How was Spanish? I have that next semester.”

“Brutal.”

“I was afraid of that. So, um...there’s this movie playing at the Cineplex, Adam Sandler is in it. Looks pretty good. I was wondering if you wanted to go tonight?”

“Sure. Who else is going?”
“Just you. And me.”

“Oh,” I had said and even I heard the odd note to my voice. He mistook that as reluctance.

“It’s ok if you don’t want to go, I just figured it might be fun. It’s ok,” he had said and started to walk away.

“No, wait. I didn’t say I didn’t want to go.”

“Do you want to?” he’d asked and came to stand closer than he’d ever stood before.

I remembered my pulse had suddenly jumped and I noticed how green his eyes really were for the first time.

“Yeah. I do.”

His smile was genuine and a little surprised.

“Great. I’ll pick you up at five thirty. We can get something to eat first if you want.”