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Made of steel (made of s.., p.41
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       Made of Steel (Made of Steel Series Book 1), p.41

           Ivy Smoak
slower 1  faster

  Chapter 32


  "Don't you already have a computer?" Eli said.

  I shrugged my shoulders as I stared at the price difference between the Dell and HP. I hadn't asked Eli to come with me. I told him I needed to do some shopping and he had insisted on coming with me. It made my stomach feel uneasy. At first, I wanted to tell him about meeting Liza from The Night Watch blog. But I hadn't actually learned much from her besides for the fact that the vigilante and someone else were watching me. I wasn't sure why, but my gut was telling me that other person was Eli. He had been one of the only people that had access to my computer.

  It was Mr. Crawford. It didn't make me feel any better though. There was someone in this city that the vigilante wanted me to get away from. The vigilante had probably seen me with Eli. But he had also probably seen me with Miles. And Kins. I shook away the thought as I glanced over at Eli.

  He smiled. "Seriously, what happened to it? It looked brand new."

  He had studied my computer. I pressed my lips together, trying to think of a good lie. "I dropped it." Technically, it had been dropped. That much was true.

  "And that broke it? It must have been a pretty crappy computer. Do you want me to take a look at it? I might be able to fix it."

  "I already threw it out."

  "You should've at least recycled it," he said with a laugh.

  I shrugged my shoulders. "Either way, which do you think is better?" I gestured at the two computers on display.

  "The processor is a lot faster on that one," Eli said and pointed to the more expensive one. "But if you're just going to be using it for writing research papers and stuff, the basic one is fine."

  "So you know a lot about computers?"

  "A fair amount."

  Hmm. Liza had said that the vigilante wasn't the best hacker. Could it possibly be Eli?

  "What are you looking at?" he said with a smile.

  "Nothing." I realized I had been awkwardly staring at him. I was bordering on the edge of paranoia. Just because the vigilante knew me, it didn't mean I knew him. I stared at the computers again. The more expensive one was a different brand than the one Mr. Crawford had given me. And I did want it for more than just school papers. I wanted to help Liza. I wanted to write for her blog and spread the truth about the vigilante. I wanted to be as close to him as possible.

  "Can I help you two with something?" a sales girl asked.

  "Yes," I said and turned toward her. "I'll take this computer." I gestured to the more expensive one. "And I was hoping you could show me some cell phones too?"

  "Something happened to your cell phone too?" Eli said.

  "Um, no, but I think it's time for an upgrade."

  "You have the iPhone they released less than a month ago. There is nothing better than that."

  He had definitely been paying attention to my devices. "Yeah, maybe. I think I'm just more of an Android girl."

  "Me too," the sales clerk said. "I have the Samsung Galaxy and I love it. It's really easy to use and..."

  "Okay, I'll take that one."

  "Do you have a plan that you want to switch over?"

  There was probably a plan on my current phone. But I didn't want anyone to automatically have access to my new account too. "Nope."

  "Did you want to keep the same number?"

  Liza hadn't said anything about that. I wanted Mr. Crawford to have my number in case he needed to contact me. "Yeah, that would be great."

  "Awesome. I'll ring you up and one of our tech guys will get your phone all set up." She pulled out a key, unlocked the case below the display, and pulled out a box with a picture of the computer on it. We followed her to the check-out and waited while she went to go fetch the phone.

  "Are you sure you want that computer, Sadie? It's awfully expensive. Especially if you're getting a new phone too."

  "Mhm." I hadn't dipped into the account my parents had left me at all. If there was ever a reason to do it, this was it. They would have wanted me to be safe. I just hoped Eli wouldn't keep questioning me about the money. "You know what, you should look into getting a new iPod while we're here."

  Eli looked down at the earbuds sticking out of his pocket. "Oh, no, that's okay. I got it working again actually."

  "That's great. Maybe I should have let you look at my computer." I gave him what I hoped was an innocent smile.

  "We can transfer all your contacts to your new phone, if you don't mind waiting a few minutes," a tech guy said as he opened up the Samsung box.

  "No, that's okay."

  "Are you sure? It will take you awhile to do it yourself. We have a SIM card converter..."

  "I'm positive. But thank you for offering." I didn't want my current SIM card or any other part of my old phone near my new phone. I handed the sales girl my debit card before she even said the price. I didn't really want to know what I had just spent.

  "Okay, just give me a few minutes to get you all set up," the tech guy said. "I'll need to deactivate your current number from your phone." He held out his hand.

  I handed him my phone and closely watched what he did. No parts of my old phone were transferred to the new one. Everything seemed okay.

  "What's going on with you?" Eli whispered in my ear as he wrapped his arm around my waist.

  "What do you mean?" I shifted slightly so that I could look up at him. He really did have kind eyes. He looked concerned about me.

  "You've been acting differently ever since I started those boxing classes."

  "No I haven't."

  He scrunched his face to the side in the way that reminded me so much of Miles. "You have. And I'm really sorry that I've been so busy. Let me take you to dinner tonight to make up for it," he said.

  "I have work."

  "Call in sick."

  "I can't do that. I only just started."

  "Come on, Sadie. Please." He tucked a loose strand of hair behind my ear.

  "If it means I can see your place." I needed to shake this feeling that he was hiding something from me. Seeing his dorm would be a good place to start. Maybe I could even do some light snooping.

  Something seemed to flash across his face. But it was gone before I could register what it was.

  "Yeah, sure. Dinner at my place."

  "We've canceled your current plan but it's always good to double check with them to make sure they don't keep billing you," the tech guy said. "There also might be some fees for terminating your plan early."

  I reluctantly tore my eyes away from Eli. "Thanks for all your help." I grabbed both phones and slid them into my backpack.

  "Did you want to get the extended warranty for either device?" the sales girl asked.

  I shook my head. That would be a waste of money if Liza decided to break this computer too. I was almost positive the warranty didn't cover a device being thrown out a window of a 10 story building. And even if it did, I couldn't exactly ask that question in front of Eli. He'd be suspicious of why I was asking.

  "Then here you go," the sales girl said and handed me my debit card and a bag. "Thanks for shopping with us today." She had a huge smile on her face. I had probably just made her day with those sales commissions.

  "Do you want me to get that?" Eli said and reached for the bag.

  "No, that's okay." I held it close to my side. No one was getting anywhere near my new computer.

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