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Best in Show

“Please, just come with me tonight. I promise you’ll be home in plenty of time.” His sapphire eyes pleaded with me, begging me to finally give into the intoxicating voice and seductive smile. His hand gently brushed a strand of a curled, hazel spiral out of my mossy eyes. No, the voice in my head was firm, it held its ground, but my voice faltered as his hand stopped on the back of my neck. My breath caught in my throat and I froze where I stood, “You know I can’t,” I stammered, suddenly unaware of the fact of everything else around me, “I don’t sneak out, or break my parents’ rules…” I was cut short by the sensation of his lips on mine.

“Let me know how you feel later. You have my number.” His whisper was rough, with a hint of a threat, a dash of edge, and just enough excitement to leave me tasting desire, mixed with the mint of his kiss. I stood there, immobile, in the vacant student parking lot.
Everyone had left hours ago; I was only there to run on the track after classes were out. Gavin had caught me off guard, lurking near the bleachers. We’d talked before, yes, occasionally exchanged flirts, yes again. But was that really enough to ask me to sneak out with him? Doing God knows what and risking eternal grounding for a guy?
“Gavin!” I hollered after him, broad shoulders turned at the sound of his name, coal black hair, cut short but somewhat shaggy, ruffled as the wind caught it, “See you at midnight.”
I checked the clock every minute or so, but a watched pot never boils, so the time passed as slowly as possible as I waited for midnight, like a dripping faucet you just wait for it to stop. Since it was 11:48 on a Wednesday night everyone had already fallen asleep a while ago, except me. Every sound was cranked up to twelve; my bed squeaking under me, the wind blowing the bush against my window, but the music that always played me to sleep stayed quiet, no matter how many times I assaulted the volume button.
11:57, it was getting closer. The twin bed groaned as I sat up to grab a sweatshirt from my closet. My jeans were ripped and mud-stained, my t-shirt baggy, and tennis shoes faded and worn. Obviously I knew that we weren’t going anywhere decent. At exactly twelve my phone buzzed violently on my pillow, “Hello?”
“Come outside.”
“How?”
“Out your window, don’t worry I’m here and no one is around, you’ll be fine.”
I clicked the off button and cautiously pushed away the curtains. He stood there, old jeans, wrecked sweatshirt with no sign of any kind of logo or name. I threw the jacket that read ‘Jennings’ across the back into the closet where it came from. I stripped off the baggy camp T-shirt with ‘Spencer’ on the chest and traded it for another, significantly tighter, shirt and jacket. Why did everything remotely not appealing have my name slapped across it?
The window slid open easily, like it was slicked just for this. Throwing a leg over the side of my house I quickly ducked under the raised glass and shut it silently as soon as I was out. I should have left it open a crack; it can’t open from the outside. The bushes scraped my jeans but all-in-all, I was pretty quiet.
“Very smooth,” He wasn’t kidding when he said it, “Now just follow me.”
“Where are we going?”
“The more questions you ask the longer this will take.” That was all it took the get me moving. He walked fast, too fast for me. I sauntered behind him, taking in my environment. We left the nice neighborhoods, left behind tall trees, brick mailboxes, civilization, and witnesses. About thirty minutes later we were in the new additions. Wood frames of humble sized houses stood side by side, fences weren’t in place yet and only some where completely finished and only needed to be cleaned out before they were sold. Gavin took my hand, his was warm, and mine was ice.
“Follow me.”
“You tell me that a lot, but why should I?” He stopped on a dime, faced me and pulled my hips towards him, “Because,” his voice the same rough whisper I’d heard earlier that day, “I couldn’t hurt you Spencer. Why don’t you just trust me and let me show you a good time.” It wasn’t a question; it was a statement telling me what to do. I wanted to turn and run, back to home and my warm bed, but I didn’t. I soaked it all in, letting him shower me with attention. His fingers curled through my belt loops, his breath warmed my icy neck, and I was putty in his hands.
I said nothing, just let him lead me like a dog in the show arena, obeying every move its master made. He led me into one of the finished houses, where all they needed to do was clean it out and it was ready to be sold. We went around to the back porch, where he examined the back door carefully before twisting the knob and letting the door creak open. Gavin lead the way inside, hand trailing along the counter tops, until we stood in the living room of the new home. Shag carpets held no furniture, only a little dust or a speck of dirt. He took the leash again, taking me to a spot clear of any kind of filth.
“Sit down.” I did as he said, I found it easier that way. But now that we were here I started to rethink everything. What if we got caught? If my parents woke up? What was he trying to do here? Then it hit me, I was an idiot.
“I need to leave.” I said trying to break free of the leash he had on me, “My mom should be up in a few hours for work.” He’d been sitting but stood up quickly.
“Stay,” he commanded as I started to walk away. I didn’t listen, “Hey! Come back!” He grabbed my hand but I flung him off, stunned by the sudden pain in my wrist. “Get off me!” I screamed at him, surprised at his sudden outburst of violence. We stood, about five feet apart, seeing who would make the first move.
“Sweetheart I’m sorry…” He faked an apologetic voice, he was a bad liar. I stepped back as he stepped forward, we danced like this for a second before he lunged for me. I yelped and ran into the floor to ceiling glass windows behind me. That’s when the alarms went off.
“What were you thinking?!” He screamed at me, nails digging into my skin as he grabbed my forearm. I yanked away, speechless, stunned and now bleeding. Sirens sounded in the distance, but they weren’t too far away. I had to leave, they would kill me if they knew I had snuck out and done something illegal.
I spun in a frantic circle, a dog chasing its tail, looking for a door, any door. To my left was the back door, the same door that got us into this mess. But he was also to my left. I decided to chance it.
I sprinted for the door, using my retired track skills, they were a bit rusty. He threw a toned arm in front of me, blocking my way and hitting me straight in the chest. I collapsed to the floor, heaving hard because of my sudden lack of breath.
“You agreed to come, and you’re the one who tripped the alarm. If I’m getting caught then so are you.” He bent down to talk to me, the threat was there, and so was the edge. But my desire was long gone, replaced with a cold fear that swallowed me inside and out. The sirens were closer, almost at the house, and I had no choice but to try to make a break for the door.
“You’re right,” I whispered breathlessly, “We’ll both get caught.” I reached an arm toward his neck, just like he’d done to me so many times. I leaned toward his demented smile, deceiving eyes and waiting mouth. His eyes were closed and his mouth parted as I threw his head sideways onto the carpet and away from me. He fell, I saw my chance and I took it.
I sprinted out the door as fast as I could, away from him and that house, from the lies I had told and the danger I’d gotten myself into. Out the door and around the back porch, I headed for the only thing that could lead me home, the long stretch of dirt road leading out of the addition.
I saw the lights, they flashed red and blue, heard the sirens, a warning call that I was going to be caught whether I liked it or not. Then there was the scream, deranged as the person making the guttural sound. It came from in the house; he was too late and realized it. He had lost.
I stepped out of the yard, onto the dirt road, ready to run for my life and get home. Another step, all the way onto the road now, when all the sounds and sights went black and silent.





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