The Dare(11)

By: Rachel van Dyken


I closed my eyes and waited for the footsteps to near.

When they got louder, I prayed. I finally understood what prayer was for. It was to ward off Grandmas in catsuits who thought they could rap. It was to save my soul from being possessed by her equally insane whorish grandson, and it was to keep myself from being caught up in the Titus family saga.

For some reason.

Even though I knew I wasn't Grandma Nadine's family.

Dread filled me to my core, suspicion turned into paranoia. I felt it in my body, in my very bones, in my soul if that was possible… I was her next target.

And it wasn't going to end well.





Chapter Five





"Where is he?" The FBI agent sighed heavily. "Just tell us where he is."

Grandma grinned. "I imagine he could be in a great many places."

"Location, ma'am."

"Your ass."

He spit out his coffee again.

Ah, this was turning into a delightful afternoon!

"I'm running out of patience."

"And I'm running out of lipstick. So what else is new? Tell you what," Grandma leaned forward, "I'll make a bet with you."

"I don't gamble, ma'am."

"Well maybe," Grandma tapped her fingernails against the table, "it's time you did."





Beth





Grandma approached, only this time she wasn't wearing the catsuit. Somehow she'd changed into Victoria's Secret sweats and had magically appeared out of thin air.

"Let's go." Grandma grabbed Beth's hand.

"No." Jace stood his ground. "Listen, I appreciate the, uh, help, Grandma, but I'm going to go at it alone, alright? This is my home. I'm not going inside the airport only to be tricked into boarding a plane for Vegas and getting married. I'm not going to be part of your schemes, and I'm sure as hell not going to allow myself to be manipulated. I saw what you did to Jake. Hell, I participated. Not this time, Grandma."

"You're certain?" Grandma asked, a warm smile spreading across her wrinkled but pretty face.

"Yes."

"Fine." Grandma pulled out her cell and texted something then slipped it back into her purse. "Let's get a Starbucks. Beth, how would you like something warm to drink? Grandma will even slip in a bit of the vodka."

Going with Grandma meant getting away from Jace; it also meant drinking at 7:00 a.m. But who was I to judge? I looped my arm in hers and followed her into the airport.

Out of curiosity, and I swear it was nothing more than that, I turned and stole one last glance at my one-night stand also known as Thor or Mr. Senator. He was looking directly at me, a small smile at the corner of his mouth. I wanted to run back. But more than anything, I wanted to remember what it felt like to have his lips on mine, because the memory from high school wasn't enough. He'd been young, and years had a way of doing that to people. Ripping away the memories of a person until all you remember is the slightest of touches and how that one touch changed you forever.

That one touch had destroyed my idea of what a kiss should feel like. It took the movie-star and romance-novel kiss and turned it into something suddenly achievable. In ten minutes, Jace had taken my expectations and put them on a level that no man would ever meet.

He'd made me want to wait for the prince or the white knight. And every year that he'd been a no show, I'd collapsed a little more into myself. Because unlike other women, I knew it was possible. I'd experienced both the save and the kiss that followed, and even though I'd been only eighteen, it had stayed with me.

Hanging by a thread.

I hoped that this would banish the curse he'd put on me since my senior year. See? Look Beth? He's not perfect. If I looked really close I could see a slight limp, and I could have sworn there was a tiny scar by his eyebrow., And let's not forget that he probably has gas problems and halitosis.

I squeezed my eyes shut. I was going to give him a damn incurable disease if it was the last thing I did! He needed to be gone, so I could either move on with my own Prince Charming or adopt Charlie, the calico cat.

If I didn't hurry up and get over him and over the fantasy I'd created, I was going to turn into one of those creepy girls who stalks celebrities and tries on all their clothes and jewelry, convincing themselves that they're in a serious relationship.

I wasn't going to be one of those girls.

I refused to be Warren Bates.

So I kept walking.

And I didn't turn around again.

Not even when my entire body felt like it was shaking from the desire to do so.

My stomach clenched. Was it so wrong to want the fairytale? What was so bad about striving for more? Was I being punished for wanting the knight in shining armor to actually have a soul? Most men I'd met were either so shy they cried when I said hi or so boring that I did formulas in my head. The really good-looking ones? Well, they acted a lot like Char's new husband, Jake. Granted, he'd cured his own whorish nature by falling in love, but still. If the good-looking ones weren't gay, they were total players with no souls and the inability to attach to another human being.

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