Hopelessly Devoted

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Chapter 4

‘Junie, honey, they’re for decorations. They’d whip our asses if we… ’ I kicked myself on asses. Mom would wash my tongue for a year if she heard me say that.

‘But__ but they’re so lovely. Look at that green one’, she gushed.

‘You’re damn right, Junie. But you’re lovelier and so is your sister here’, a baritone voice boomed behind the balloon. Next thing I saw was June being scooped up into the arms of a handsome, correction, gorgeous teen. His smile breathed life into my being. Hell, I almost collapsed as he kissed her cheek with all the love in this fucked up world. Then, he was running his hand through his tousled hair and patting her head before crushing me in a bear hug.

‘Baby, if you’re thinking this much about me, I don’t mind. Heck, I’d love it, huh? ’, he teased. I was still struck by how handsome he looked in the sun. Thanksgiving was well underway but I was sure he was the one thing I was going to bless God for.

‘Tell me your secret, Dan’, I whispered into his neck, inhaling the scent of his cologne. I wanted to die hugging him.

‘You wanna know my secret, baby?’, he whispered back, kissing just above my collarbone. As expected, I shivered right there. In public; in front of June and everybody.

He grinned and released me abruptly. ‘That’s the secret.’

‘Dianne? Are you okay? Dan, is she fine?’, June asked, looking from me to him and from him to me. Suddenly, I had chills down my spine despite the warm weather. June had forgotten about us and was waving her prized possession: that same balloon she had cried about earlier, in the air. Amidst her shrill laughter, the beating of drums on the parade and funfair, I only heard Dan: ’June said your folks invited me to dinner.

Thanksgiving dinner’, I said, dazed. He stood arms akimbo whipping his turkey top so that it hugged his abs. God knew I was never going to stop tripping over Dan.

’So, she’s intending to try out the children’s turkey trot? ’, he asked. I spared a glance at June’s tight fitting tank top over bright orange leggings. The shades were blinding but she’d insisted.

‘She loves running. Besides, if she makes it, we’ll get a frozen turkey for free. ’

‘Is it just me or are you using your sister? ’ He arched his eyebrows, letting a smirk the size of Tennessee spread across his face. It reminded me of jam over bread. I resisted the urge to wipe that grin off his face with my knuckles. As if on cue, he stroked my arm down gently, pinning them to my sides.

‘We could use a run too, you know. Don’t be scared, we won’t run too far. ’, he whispered, staring deep into my eyes, straight at my inner soul. Then, he laughed softly when I was lost in his gaze.

‘If you won’t release me, could I at least have a kiss? ’, he prodded further. I tore my stare from his eyes and stared over his shoulder at the sea of people wearing those turkey outfits that had two crazy eyes printed on them. His breathing was even, unlike mine that was ragged and anxious.

’Don’t pretend you don’t want to kiss me now, Dianne. He snaked his arm over my lower back, down my waist. The tension between us drained out the chatter.

‘Please stop’, I begged. I hated yet loved how his breath fanned my neck, rendering my knees weak.

‘You have two options. One: you run. Two: I fucking kiss you.’ At times like this, I was consumed by loathing for him and his bets. I had no time to make my choice. Any minute from now, he’ll graze those soft, strong lips over earlobe, moaning, ‘I’m crazy about you’, over and again. He’d focus on the spot behind my ear and suck there till I moaned in pleasure.

‘Dianne! Come on!‘, June cried, running up to us. Phew! Salvation! Somehow, I ended up in the ladies’ marathon. As the referee blew his whistle, I took off. The wind rushed past my ears as I raced over the greenery. Just when June yelled, ‘Way to go Dianne!’, I tripped over a stalk and Bam! I fell.

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