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Made of steel (made of s.., p.39
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       Made of Steel (Made of Steel Series Book 1), p.39

           Ivy Smoak
 

  Chapter 30

  Saturday

  I bit the inside of my lip as I stared down at my phone. It shouldn't have been a hard decision. Someone had tried to kill me. Eli didn't seem as trustworthy as I had first made him out to be. I knew someone here from my past. And the vigilante had told me I wasn't safe here. I had to call Mr. Crawford.

  Even though it felt like giving up, I pressed on his name in my phone. I held my breath for five seconds before his voicemail clicked on. Maybe he really was just busy and couldn't come to the phone. But to me, it felt like fate. Mr. Crawford hadn't picked up for a reason. I didn't need him to whisk me away and change my identity again. I could take care of myself.

  Besides, all the bad things here could be easily explained away. The man with a knife was just a normal psycho from the city. Miles believed that I was Sadie, not Summer. The vigilante just meant to go home to my dorm and that it wasn't safe in that dark alleyway. And I felt differently about Eli because I was harboring feelings for Miles. Ugh. I lay back on my bed. Hopefully Mr. Crawford wouldn't call me back. I could fix this by myself.

  My mind seemed to stay fixated on Miles. He had flirted with me. That should have made me feel good, and it did, partially. But it stung too. It meant he had moved on from Summer. Why had I never moved on? I shook my head. The answer was obvious. Miles was the last person who truly knew who I was. I wanted to be that little girl again, full of life and smiles. Don had stolen my identity before I even had to change my name. He had made me a ghost of who I used to be.

  But Miles remembered. He still wrote letters to me. At least, he said he did. Could it have been some kind of miscommunication? Had Don been stealing my letters? I had never told Don about them, but he could have found out. Or maybe Miles had been sending them to the wrong address. Don made a habit of moving a lot. What if Miles was telling the truth? What if he was having one night stands because he couldn't commit to loving anyone else because he was still in love with me?

  I laughed out loud. It sounded like a sad noise in my empty dorm. I sat up. None of that mattered. I couldn't pursue my feelings for Miles. It was too dangerous. Besides, there was one other person who did seem to know me. A chill ran down my spine just thinking about the vigilante. He had called me Sadie. He didn't actually know me. But I knew he was watching me.

  A few days ago I had filled out a contact form on The Night Watch blog. I hadn't heard back. Maybe they'd respond if they knew I had met the vigilante. I leaned over and grabbed my computer off my bed. I pulled up the blog and read the most recent article.

  My heart started to race. It was about me. Well, not really about me, it didn't say my name or anything, but it was about last night. The article talked about how the vigilante had broken his normal routine. He hadn't robbed any robbers. Instead, he had taken down a convicted felon with a lengthy rap sheet. There was a mugshot of the man who had attacked me. The scar under his cold gaze reminded me of the fear in my chest. It reminded me of the death in his eyes. I swallowed hard.

  The question was, how did the author of the article know it was the vigilante who had subdued him? There were no photos this time. No proof that it was the vigilante. It's him. The vigilante was writing the articles. It had to be him. So, why had he broken his usual MO for me? Why was he watching me?

  I read the last line of the article. They always ended the same way. "Someone in this city is watching us." The now familiar chill ran down my spine. It was the same reaction I had to seeing the vigilante in person.

  I clicked on the contact form again. This time I told the author of the blog that I knew why the vigilante had broken his usual MO. And I told them that I had met him. If that didn't get me a response, than nothing would. I pressed the send button and drummed my fingers against my thigh.

  My mind seemed to flood with possibilities. Maybe the vigilante really was Eli. Patrick and Kins had mentioned that he had tons of bruises from his boxing classes. What if it wasn't from boxing? What if it was from fighting bad guys? I typed Eli's name into Google and scrolled through the results. None of them were him. I typed in his name with Facebook after it. The second result was him. He was smiling at the camera with a couple guys next to him. They were clearly laughing about something. Why would someone so carefree suddenly decide to move to the city and rob from the rich? The motivation wasn't there.

  No matter what I did, my mind always seemed to wander back to Miles. Maybe he wasn't stargazing at all. Maybe he was searching the city with his telescope for criminals. It couldn't be him, though. The soccer game was almost over when I left the stadium. It would have been nearly impossible for him to change and find me. And what would be his motivation?

  "Hey," Kins said as she walked into the dorm.

  I looked up from my computer. "Hey. I'm a little surprised to see you. You've been spending most nights at Patrick's."

  She laughed and jumped onto my bed beside me, invading my personal bubble as usual. "I needed some girl time. It's weird, right?"

  "What is? Hanging out with me?

  Kins laughed. "No, I love hanging out with you. That's weird," she said and pointed to my computer screen where Eli's Facebook picture was still on my browser. "He only has like 10 pictures on his Facebook. There's quite a few friends in them, so you'd think he'd be tagged in more."

  "Maybe it's set to private."

  Kins shrugged. "Maybe. Did you know he didn't even accept my friend request? And I'm in his dorm all the time. It's not like we aren't friends. I feel like we're pretty close. Why do you never come over, anyway?"

  "He's never invited me over actually."

  "Huh."

  I bit the inside of my lip. "What does he do while you and Patrick hang out?"

  "Honestly, he's not there very much. But when he is, he watches TV with us or is on his computer. I would have assumed he was on Facebook, but that doesn't seem to be the case."

  Interesting. I wanted to tell Kins about the vigilante. But having a criminal looking out for you didn't exactly seem normal. I was supposed to be blending in. So despite me wanting to confide in her, I bit my tongue.

  "Here, let me show you something." She pulled my computer onto her lap. She logged into her Facebook and pulled up Patrick's page. His profile picture was of the two of them. She was smiling at the camera and he was kissing her on the cheek.

  "That's adorable."

  "It's not adorable. It's all moving too fast. Who makes their profile picture of a girl they just met anyway?"

  "You two seem so happy when you're together."

  "I do like him, don't get me wrong. But I don't want to settle down yet. I'm not an old lady. I want sexy, spicy, raunchy, smoldering hot sex three times a day so that I physically can't move."

  I laughed. "And Patrick can't give that to you?"

  She kicked her feet out in front of her. "I'm still moving and there's only an hour left of Saturday. So no, I guess not."

  I laughed again. "Kins you're being ridiculous.

  "Am I? I don't think so. Because I know who can give me what I want." She typed in Miles Young into the Facebook search bar.

  My heart seemed to drop into my stomach. I didn't want to hear Kins talk about her growing crush on Miles. And I certainly didn't want to hear about her having raunchy sex with him. I didn't want to think about anyone having sex with him.

  "Weird."

  I looked at the Miles Young profile options that had come up. None of them were his, which I already knew. "Miles doesn't have a Facebook profile."

  "No, he does. Something is just wrong with your computer." She handed it back to me and typed in Miles' name on her phone. "See."

  What the hell? I grabbed her phone from her. Miles did have a Facebook account. And there were tons of pictures of him. I scrolled through them slowly. His arm slung around some girl at a party. Him with his soccer jersey on. Him with another girl. And another. And another. He was a player. He probably played girls as well as he played soccer.

  "Sex with him woul
d be mind-blowing, don't you think?"

  I blinked away the tears in my eyes as I started scrolling faster. Him at prom with some girl I didn't recognize. Him with his parents at graduation. I felt like I had missed out on his whole life. All those years that I had held out hope, he truly had forgotten about me. I'm invisible. "He's a pig. There's a different girl in every single one of his pictures."

  "Exactly. Which means he has a lot of experience in bed."

  I shook my head. I loved Miles Young when we were both little. When we shared our first kiss. When we held hands for the first time. When he wrote to me every week after my parents died. I wasn't in love with this version of him. My love had turned into hate over the past few years. And that's where it needed to stay. I hated him. Tears continued to prick at my eyes. Why couldn't my words convince me? Why couldn't these pictures convince me? Why was my heart so fucking stupid?

  "You deserve better than him, Kins."

  She smiled. "Thank you. But there is no one better than him. Every girl on campus loves him as much as me. Except you apparently. Oh my God, let me show you my favorite picture." She grabbed her phone back. A few seconds later she was holding it out for me again.

  Miles had his jersey tossed over one shoulder, baring his perfect six pack. He was tan and muscular and everything you could possible want in a man. His chest glistened with sweat like he had just finished a game and he was pushing his hair off his forehead. If I wasn't trying to hold back tears I'd probably be drooling.

  "Right there," Kins said, pointing to a line sticking out beneath his jersey. "I am dying to know what he has a tattoo of. I can't find a picture of it anywhere."

  I stared at the line that disappeared beneath his jersey onto the left side of his chest. The whole tattoo must be over his heart.

  "One day, I'm going to see that tattoo, I swear." She collapsed backward onto my bed. "I just need one night with him, that's all I'm asking. One night and I can move on. God, it's like an itch that I just can't seem to scratch."

  One night and I can move on. Kins was getting in my head. But I couldn't help but wonder. Would I be able to move on if I had Miles for one night? I had a feeling it would just make me want him even more. I stared at the picture. Maybe I imagined it, but there was one thing every picture seemed to have in common. His smile didn't quite reach his eyes.

 
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