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Made of steel (made of s.., p.37
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       Made of Steel (Made of Steel Series Book 1), p.37

           Ivy Smoak
slower 1  faster


  "Hey, babe," Patrick said as Kins sat down next to him. She smiled as he kissed her cheek.

  Definitely smitten. Maybe I could convince her that they were a perfect match.

  Eli smiled at me as I sat down. Just a smile. No apology for last night. No kiss. Our relationship had changed ever since I had revealed too much information about my past. I wished we could go back to that night we went stargazing. There had been so much potential. I really liked him. But he wasn't looking at me the way that Patrick was looking at Kins. He was looking at me like he wanted to take care of me. That's why he made me feel safe. That's why Kins said he was boring and too perfect. There wasn't any sizzle.

  I shook my head. Safe didn't have to mean boring. I just needed him to realize that I could take care of myself. I didn't want a bodyguard. I wanted a relationship. A real one. One where each person gave as much as they got. I had never had that before.

  "What happened?" Eli said as he lightly touched my chin.

  Fire and ice. His touch still excited me. Just like Miles' eyes on me did. Or the vigilante knowing my name. Now I wasn't even sure that any of that was a good thing. I was confused. I wanted more, but none of them could give me that. I could never have a real relationship again, despite what Mr. Crawford said. A foundation built on lies would always crumble. I swallowed hard. "I tripped on the way back from the game. It's nothing."

  "You've been tripping a lot lately." He looked down at my hands. I had taken off the Band-Aids, but the cuts were still visible.

  You've been ditching me a lot lately. I wasn't sure why I couldn't voice my concerns too. But something always held me back. I bit my tongue. I was used to people treating me badly. Maybe Eli wasn't doing it on purpose, but he was doing it. "I'm clumsy. How was boxing practice?" I took a big bite of the salad on my plate.


  Patrick laughed. "Is that what you call getting your ass handed to you? You should see all the bruises he's sporting."

  "Seriously," Kins said. "He's like a punching bag."

  "Were you perves watching me change last night?" Eli said with a laugh.

  "Absolutely not," Kins said and winked at me.

  I laughed. I had no doubt that Kins was watching him change. "You really don't have to take that class, Eli. I don't want you to get hurt."

  He shifted slightly so that his lips were by my ear. "You're worth taking a few punches for, Sadie."

  And just like that, I felt like an asshole. I needed to stop thinking about Miles and the vigilante. Eli was good and sweet. I was making him a villain in my head and I didn't even know why. His reasons for ditching me were sound. Why was I questioning a good thing?

  "They're seriously embarrassing to hang out with." Eli nodded toward Kins and Patrick.

  They had abandoned any idea of eating and were just making out hardcore.

  Eli and I both stifled our laughter. I smiled up at him. Safe was what I needed.

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