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Devour (Devoured #1)(8) by Shelly Crane

Tate pulled me from the seat out his door once we arrived. He seemed anxious or riled up. Maybe it was the match. He held my hand a little too tightly. I looked at him funny and he smirked and kissed my fingers as we waited for everyone else to order. Tate ordered me an iced coffee and himself a big burger with the works. We sat scattered around two pushed together tables and listened to the country playing on the radio above us screaming some Taylor Swift song.

For some reason my eyes kept drifting to Dee and Eli. He seemed so disinterested so why did he let her touch him and carry on like that? Every time I looked his way, he was already looking at me. You’d think I’d be creeped out or feel weird about it but, it felt almost welcome to me. It was strange why I was so ok with it but I knew I had to let this go...whatever this little attraction to Eli was. So when Tate started touching me, I completely opened myself up to it and tried to feel every sensation it gave me. I wanted to be full of Tate, my boyfriend.

I ran my hand up his thigh after he did the same to me. I played with his fingers as his thumb caressed my wrist. When he leaned over to peck the side of my neck, as he did often, I leaned back to him and kissed his jaw, my hand gripping his arm. He looked at me with a pleased but surprised face. He pulled me to sit in his lap.

“What’s gotten into you?” he whispered amusedly in my ear.

“What? You don’t want me to?”

“Oh, I want you to. You’re just usually not like this.”

“Well, I want to play tonight,” I said and bit my lip. “Is that wrong?”

He grinned and pulled my face to his, his lips were greedy and I tasted alcohol. Someone had brought a flask with them and the guys had spiked their drinks. Great. I didn’t stop though, there was no point. I ran my hands through his hair and let him kiss me. I stopped him once his hand tried to slide too far up my thigh.

“Clara,” he growled quietly in my ear. “You are such a tease.” I looked at him but he was smiling a little. “One of these days...”

He seemed a little more frustrated with the brakes than usual. I wondered about it but let it go.

When the girl brought our food, I cringed, knowing exactly what was coming.

“Hey, Molly. Nice costume. You know it’s not Halloween yet but you get points for showing up early,” Dee sneered and the expected heckling and laughing followed.

Molly was our school Goth. She worked at this burger joint that we loved to come to and Dee and the rest of them always gave her crap every time we came.

“Bite me, Deidre. You couldn’t pull off black anyway.”

“Oh, you’re right about that. I’m not dead.”

“Yet,” Molly said and smiled brightly before bouncing off.

Dee fumed and huffed.

“Eli, did you hear what she said to me?”

“Yep,” he answered easily.

“Well?” she replied indignantly.

“Well?” he said and drug it out to be sarcastic.

“You’re not going to do anything about it? She practically threatened me!” she yelled and put a hand on her chest to barter some sympathy.

“That sounds like a job for a boyfriend to me.”

She scoffed as Mike and Tom laughed. I saw her turn red but then she switched and smiled, albeit fake.

“Ah, is that your way of asking me to go out with you? So sweet,” she said and kissed his cheek from behind, wrapping her arms around his neck.

He didn’t comment and didn’t look at her, only me. I started to wonder why no one noticed that he’d pretty much stared at me all night.

Before Molly returned, Dee orchestrated revenge, as always. She poured her water glass on the floor next to her chair. When Molly came, Dee specifically complained about her burger and asked her to come view the hair in plain sight. When she did, she slipped and fell on her butt, right there in front of everyone, including other customers.

“Oopsy! That’s a Workman’s Comp. claim right there,” Dee said seriously then burst out laughing and the minions followed suit.

“Yeah, Molls,” Mike yelled. “I’d watch it. You’re gonna flatten out that back side even more. We’ll have to change your name to no-butt.”

I stayed quiet as I always did as they cackled like hyenas around me, and so did Eli. Molly got up, red faced and embarrassed and stalked behind the counter. When she came to give us our ticket, Mike asked her how her fall had been. It must have hurt, he said, because she had no padding to break it and then he tried to grab her butt…again. Molly just slammed the ticket on the table and left. They didn’t leave a tip, they never did.

I threw a couple dollars down as I walked out but it wasn’t nearly enough for a group our size.

Tate dropped me off at home and Eli got out as well, saying he could walk, it wasn’t far. Tate kissed me and then saluted Eli.

“Go straight in the house, Clara. It’s late, ok?” Tate ordered.

“Sure.”

“Alright. I’m gonna run Dee home. See you tomorrow, babe.”

“Bye.”

Dee climbed over the seat to sit in the front with Tate as he drove off and I turned to Eli.

“They’re fun, huh?” I said sarcastically, knowing he didn’t really have fun.

“Yeah, a blast,” he said wryly.

“Ok, well-”

“So do you guys always hang out like that? Just sitting around different venues...making fun of people?” he said and I thought I heard a bit of an accusation in there.

“Pretty much. That’s all they ever do. I hate it. I wish I’d never went with them at all once I’m there.”

“Then why go?”

“Something to do? Routine? Bored? That’s all I got. Take your pick.”

“Hmm.”

“So you and Dee?” I asked cautiously.

“Nope.”

I was confused.

“But you let her hang all over you? She kissed you,” I said and groaned inside at sounding jealous even to my ears.

“I was testing...someone. To see if they’d react to another girl showing interest in me.”

That sounded cryptic and loony but it almost made sense.

“Well? What did you find out?”

“Oh, she reacts,” he said wryly, pushing his fingers through his hair.

“Is it how you wanted her to?”

“Not quite. She’s made a habit of making out with her boyfriend more often to ward off the attraction. It’s kind of backfiring actually,” he said with a little smile and crossed his arms over his chest.

My mouth opened but no words came. He was talking about me. How had I not seen that one coming? Oh, I know. Because he was ruggedly handsome and exotic and different and he knew I had a boyfriend.

I just smiled shyly and turned to go.

“Bye, Eli. See you tomorrow.”

“Bye, Clara,” he floated my name on his breath. “Sweet…dreams.”

And sweet dreams was what I had. Even though I wasn’t asleep, when I closed my eyes it was like another world was waiting behind my eyelids. Tonight, the dark boy and I met in the school cafeteria. I should have been scared. The last time we’d met I got a feeling of being terrified but had no reason to be and didn’t understand it. I wasn’t scared now.

I found myself just walking around the dark dreary room, completely pitch black except wide streams of moon and streetlight beaming in. It was funny how our perception of everything changed by just the time of day changing. At night everything seemed so much more mysterious. I was in my sleep clothes this time; a pair of sleep shorts with little penguins on them and a black off the shoulder t-shirt.