The footsteps sounded like they were running now, and in a panic, Elizabeth scooped up Eli.
Eli screamed but Elizabeth covered his mouth with her hand.
"Bear with me Eli." she said as she and Clara Rose ran around the school and hid behind some dumpsters.
"Oh my Goodness!" someone shouted.
"L-look at the c-cow."
Elizabeth heard a couple more people walk towards where they were sitting before.
"Disgusting. Someone call… animal control." a man said.
Someone called and said that there was 'a piece of roadkill' by the school.
Then, everyone left. Elizabeth waited another 10 minutes, and the animal control truck showed up.
"Ew. Okay how do we…?" said one of the workers.
"Um…" said the other.
There were shuffling noises as they lifted the cow's body into the truck.
"We should tell the cops about this." suggested the first worker.
"Nah. That means we have to do paperwork." said the other.
"Right." he said.
Then they left.
Elizabeth set Eli down on the ground.
"Sorry that I had to do that." Elizabeth apologized.
"Yeah. I'm good now." he grunted.
Elizabeth stood up.
"Can you stand this time?" she asked gently.
Eli took his time positioning himself on his feet. He slowly extended his legs and stood up, holding onto the dumpster for support.
"Quick, get him!" Elizabeth shouted to Clara Rose.
Clara Rose knew what she meant immediately.
She lifted her hand and froze Eli. They slipped the hood over his face and started to drag him out of the parking lot. Eli seemed lighter when he was frozen, so they carried him and made it look like he was walking. Sort of.
They got a few weird glances on the street but hurried home. They walked in the front door and Elizabeth put Eli on the couch.
Clara Rose unfroze him.
"W-Whoa. That was weird." he said.
He looked up at Clara Rose and Elizabeth.
"You scared me for a second! You were like,
'get him!' and I thought you were serious!" he explained.
Eli was regretted talking so freely. Pain coursed through his veins and he yelled.
"Just rest for now. I'm not letting you go to school tomorrow." Elizabeth said.
"And, I'm calling the principal AND the police."
Eli shuffled into a sitting position.
"Mom, wait. Don't call the police. They'll either ask for a pulse or see my purple skin. It's too risky." he said.
"Besides. I can handle Beef. If he touches me, I won't even flinch. But first, I need to get rid of those rings." Eli groaned.
3 days later, Eli returned to school with a slight limp, gray contacts, and pounds of makeup to cover the purple flesh.
Beef shouted insults at Eli, but he didn't even look back at him.
Eli sat with Clara Rose at lunch again.
"I have a plan." he said.
"Eli, you're going to get hurt again." Clara Rose complained.
"No. It's different. It involves YOU." Eli pointed at Clara Rose.
Eli told her his plan. She was supposed to walk up to Beef and tell him that she didn't like Eli anymore, and that she wanted to be with him.
Then she would ask to borrow his ring. And NEVER give it back.
So, after lunch, Clara Rose saw Beef in the hallway. She walked up and started flirting. She almost puked.
"Hey." she said.
"Hi." he responded with a confused look.
"I don't like Eli anymore." she said.
"Um… That's great. I don't care." he responded flatly.
"He was too much of a loser to be with." Clara Rose added.
"You didn't need to add that!" Eli yelled from behind a garbage can.
"Yeah, I knew he was too much of a gothy-loser to date someone like you." Beef taunted.
Eli looked at his clothes. He cursed at his parents.
"Oh Em Gee!" Clara Rose exclaimed. She pointed at Beef's ring.
"Can I try it on?" she asked sweetly.
Beef took off his ring and handed it to Clara Rose. She tried to put it on but failed. She threw it to the ground very hard.
"Oops, I dropped it." then she stepped on it a couple of times.
Beef frowned and tried to pick up the pieces.
"Sorry. By the way, we can't be together. A sudden rush of love came back to me towards Eli." Clara Rose added.
She quickly walked away. Beef gave a confused look and walked the other way.
She gave a smug smile.
"Nice." Eli said as he stood up.
The two of them headed off to their next class.
Eli limped to his house with Clara Rose after school. They walked in the front door and were greeted by a familiar face.
Scarlet was sitting on the couch.
"Hi, Eli!" she greeted cheerfully.
Eli walked Clara Rose over and sat down.
"Hey Scarlet." he said.
"I didn't know that you would... be here."
Scarlet looked at Clara Rose.
"Who's this?" she asked.
Clara Rose stepped in front of Eli.
"This, is Clara Rose." she answered.
Eli could feel the tension between them.
"Clara Rose? Could you…" Eli thought.
"Um, tell my mother that Scarlet is here?"
"I already know!" his mother shouted from upstairs.
Eli looked at Clara Rose.
"Oh!" she said. "I'll go get some… drinks."
When she left, Eli sat down beside Scarlet.
"Hey. How come you're here?" he asked.
"What? You don't want me here?" she joked.
Eli laughed nervously.
"It's okay Eli, I will leave soon. I just wondered if you wanted to hang out in the forest again." Scarlet offered.
Tonight was the night of Clara Rose's show. Eli promised to go to that.
"Just for a little. Like last time." Scarlet added.
She leaned in for a kiss. Eli backed away.
"I'm sorry, Scarlet. I have a girlfriend." Eli said.
Scarlet looked hurt.
"Oh. Okay." she said. Then she looked up.
"Is it...? she asked as she pointed to the kitchen.
"Well. Okay, I'm gonna go home then. See ya later." Scarlet said.
When the door clicked closed, Clara Rose walked back into the room.
"Who was THAT?" she asked.
"Oh, that's Scarlet. She's just a vampire I know." Eli explained.
"We've been hanging out a lot recently... Nothing is happening between us though."
Clara Rose smiled.
"C'mon." she said. "Let's go to my house and get ready for the show."
Eli waited on the couch in the living room of Clara Rose's house. Clara Rose slowly walked down the stairs in a light-brown sundress, black boots, and her hair was straightened and hung by her shoulders. On her back, she carried her guitar case.
Eli raised his eyebrows.
"Well, well, well. You ARE a girl." he said.
"Shut up." she responded as she slugged him in the arm. She knew it didn't hurt him, but she did it to get her point across.
"I'm so nervous. This is my first show." she said.
"Well," Eli started, "there HAS to be a first. Let's get it over with."
"One question." Clara Rose said.
"You won't... Boo or hiss or spit or anything? Right?" she asked.
Eli rolled his eyes.
"Well, first of all, why would I boo or hiss at you? Second, my saliva would burn through the stage." he said. He spit out of the window and Clara Rose heard a sizzling noise.
"Vampire spit. It's like acid." Eli laughed.
"Oh." Clara Rose said. " I didn't know that."
Then, out the door, Clara Rose and Eli walked/limped to the car.