Hating Arlo #1 ✔️

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Chapter 10

Lily’s POV

It’s been two days since the ‘incident’. In that time, the gap between Arlo and me has only increased. We went from ignoring each other to pretending the other doesn’t exist.

The others are beginning to notice a difference. I mean, it’s hard to ignore the tension between us. They’ve chosen to pretend there’s nothing even though there clearly is. I have caught Talia opening her mouth, wanting to say something a few times now.

I’m currently sat in the library—in the exact same place, I met Talia—catching up on some homework. I don’t notice a body plopping down in the seat next to me until said person clears their throat. Snapping my eyes at the person, I fail to hide the surprise in my eyes when they land on Kacey.

“Hey,” I greet, a little unsurely. She sends me an uneasy smile and tucks a strand of her black hair behind her ear.

“Sorry, am I disturbing you?” She asks me, flicking her eyes between me and the schoolwork in front of me. I shake my head and give her a friendly smile. “Okay, good because I have something to tell you.”

It’s at that moment the doors to the library burst open. My head snaps in the direction of the noise. I nearly gasp when I recognise the man storming over to me with a mixture of anger and worry planted on his handsome face. I nearly marvel at how beautiful he looks right now. But then, like he always does when he’s with me, a scowl forms on his face.

He stops directly in front of me and crosses his arms over his chest aggressively.

“Arlo,” I smoothly say his name, hiding my unease. “What do you want?”

He pinches his lips and exhales tiredly. “I’m here to collect you.”

I nearly flinch at his words. “Excuse me? Did you just say you were here to ’collect’ me?”

He shrugs his shoulders, acting like it’s not a big deal. I’m extremely offended. “Yes, so?”

“I’m not a dog.”

At this, Kacey snorts. After throwing her a curious glance, I turn my attention back to Arlo. For the first time since I met him, I glare at him.

“I don’t care what you think you are.” He says, exasperated. “I just need you to leave.”

What the hell is wrong with this guy?

“Why?”

“Because I said so.” He fires back, rolling his eyes like it’s the most obvious thing in the world.

I nearly snort when I hear his answer. As if, that is a good answer. His word isn’t the law. He’s just some arrogant, yet sexy prick who thinks he can get away with anything.

“I’m not going with you,” I state, with finality, crossing my arms over my chest pointedly.

He purses his lips together, furiously. His eyes harden around the edges and his jaw clenches. I have annoyed him by denying him what he wants.

If only he wanted me.

I seriously need to stop thinking like that. Arlo is bad for me—he doesn’t even like me! How can I like a guy who hates me and treats me like trash? The answer is because I feel something deep for him.

Arlo, despite being an asshole, is a good person at heart. And for some reason, I can see it.

“Let’s go.” He barks. “Now.”

There’s something commanding in his tone that leaves me on edge. I don’t realise I’m standing up, following his order, until I’m stood in front of him.

He leads me out of the library, through the corridors, and outside.

Once outside, I start to tug at his arm. He doesn’t like my resistance and only grips my hand tighter.

“Let go of me you buffoon!” I holler whilst scratching at his hands.

Obviously, Arlo doesn’t. Why does he like to torment me so much? Who knows.

I continue to struggle in his arms, trying to wiggle my poor arm out of his tight grip. Eventually, Arlo realises I’m not going to stop so he lets go.

Scowling, I step back and smooth my wrinkled clothes. Whilst fixing my hair, I catch Arlo staring at me. This is the first time he’s really looking at me. I can’t help but blush at the thought of him liking what he sees.

Then again, I know this won’t last long. He is head over heels in love with Miss Beautiful—also known as my friend, Talia. He might glance at me now but it won’t last long. He doesn’t like me—he hates me.

“What do you want, Arlo?” I ask him once I gain the courage to form a coherent sentence. His burning, intense gaze does wonders to me.

Arlo clears his throat and scratches his head. “I’m here to get to know you.”

I have to do a double-take. “I’m sorry, do I need to rub my ears?”

I don’t know where this is coming from, my attitude towards Arlo is usually contained. But today, it’s out in the open.

Arlo sighs, frustrated. “Don’t be a bitch, ” he scolds, narrowing his eyes. “This is for the project in art, remember?”

Oh right, yeah. I completely forgot about that. Of course, he’s doing this for that, it’s not like he has an actual, genuine interest in me. I’m just plain Jane to him.

“Oh, ” I blink and gaze at him like an idiot. My cheeks turn fifty shades of pink, showing him I really am an idiot. He’s probably lowered his opinion of me now. That is if it’s not already super low. “Sorry.”

He rolls his eyes and mutters something under his breath.

“Why did you move here?” He suddenly blurts out.

I snap my eyes at him, letting him know he has my full attention. For several moments, we just stare at each other. He begins to turn curious when I don’t answer immediately. My automatic defenses come into play, ready to be activated if he gets too close to my secure walls. You see, I have built a wall—figuratively, of course—around my heart to protect myself from the harsh reality that is my parent’s death. I can’t cope with facing the brutal truth. I especially cannot talk about it in front of people. Well, I can but it usually ends with me in floods of tears.

So essentially, I can’t.

“That’s none of your business,” I answer, coldly. My chilly gaze must register to him as a red flag zone because he backs off to my utter relief.

“Okay, okay,” he raises his hands defensively and takes a step back. “No need to bite my head off about it.”

That answer only angers me more. Who does he think he is?! I don’t have to tell him anything—especially not my most private secrets. Nobody here knows about my parents and I’d like to keep it that way. If people found out, they would treat me differently. I’d be a walking charity case.

“Whatever,” I scowl and roughly kick a stone. It bounces on the ground and stops by a large tree. The Frederick Tree. According to the students here, Sir Henry Frederick, a famous poet, and writer who attended this school used to sit under the tree for hours on end and write his stories. The students used to make fun of him—they called him a freak and a loser. Later, they worshipped the very ground he walked on when he became famous.

What really grabbed my attention and caught my interest in his life is that he too lost his parents. But instead of receiving pitiful stares, he got looks of disgust.

The reason I’m thinking about him in this rather inconvenient situation is that I share something that nobody else does with a famous man. Well, a famous man who is also very dead. But nonetheless, it means I don’t have to keep it a complete secret.

His story has also taught me several things about people. Especially the students here.

Arlo follows my line of sight and arches an eyebrow at me. “What’s so significant about that tree?”

I cast him a shocked look. How does he not know that tree? It’s basically the landmark here.

“Have you been living under a rock?” I question him, rhetorically. “That’s the Frederick tree.”

Arlo glances at the large tree and then turns his attention back to me. ”So?”

“So, it’s famous.”

“What’s so famous about it?” He asks me, crossing his arms over his chest. The action causes his muscles to bulge. It momentarily distracts me. I mean, how could it not? This guy has a body fit for a model.

But my time of dreamily thinking about Arlo is cut short by the rational part of me. It reminds me that Arlo is an oblivious asshole.

So I proceed to tell Arlo about Frederick, leaving out the bit about his parent’s tragic death. I don’t want him to see the sadness in my eyes when I speak about it. That will only raise more questions.

“Frederick was never noticed by people. He spent his whole time at this school being bullied or ignored. To escape his loneliness, he would visit this tree and write. He would pour his deepest and darkest thoughts into his notebooks. Eventually, he did get seen but in the wrong way. It was only after his death that people really saw him.” I explain.

Arlo remains silent the entire time, never once interrupting me.

“What did people not see about him?” Arlo queries with furrowed eyebrows. I hate to admit it but he looks very cute when he’s puzzled.

“That he was a lonely man who was always ignored by people.”

Arlo still seems confused but before he can press me on the matter, Talia appears. Instantly. Arlo gives her his focus. My mood deflates. I should be used to it by now. I will never be able to compete against Talia.

A part of me despises her for it. She has two men who adore her. I have no one. Yet, I hate myself for hating her. It’s not her fault, she is completely unaware of Arlo’s feelings for her. Talia isn’t at fault here. Only one man is, Arlo.

“Hey guys,” Talia greets in her usual chirpy tone. I throw her a smile and drop my eyes to the floor. My heart just can’t stand being with both of them together. Images of them together, in bed, come to mind. My heart just can’t deal with it. “Arlo, can I speak to you?” She pauses for a moment; I can feel her eyes now on me. “Alone?”

Arlo doesn’t give a verbal reply but I imagine he nods his head at her. Of course, he would leap at the chance of talking to her. I think, bitterly.

They both walk away, leaving me alone. And then, the Devil in Prada decides to make an appearance.

“Pining over him is pointless,” Trinity comments, her voice dark and sinister. “He will never love you.”

I hate how she is right. He will never want me with Talia in the picture.

It’s strange how I still want Arlo after our argument, after what he’s putting me through. I’m also certain he knows what he’s doing to me.

“Plus, he’s got me. Whenever he needs a break from things, I’m always here for him. I satisfy all of his needs.” She adds, carelessly.

Knowing exactly what she’s insinuating, I start walking away. Of course, she follows me.

“What? Can’t you handle it, Lily?” She taunts. “You’re just as pathetic as your mother.”

I stop at her words and spin around on my heels quickly.

“What did you just say?” I ask her, darkly. My eyes stay rooted on her, pinning her down. She doesn’t appear scared at all. In fact, she seems rather pleased with herself.

Smirking, she takes a step closer to me. “You heard me loud and clear. Your mother knew my mother, unfortunately. I know all about how pathetic your mother was, chasing after a man who would never love her. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

I don’t know what comes over me. Perhaps I finally snap.

Whatever it is, it’s not me.

I lunge at Trinity, a murderous expression on my face. She shrieks and holds her arms up in an ‘X' position to protect herself. However, before I can touch her, strong arms wrap around me and pull me into a hard chest.

Like an animal, I shriek and struggle in the person’s arms. The sparks tell me I’m in Arlo’s arms.

He doesn’t let me go as I throw my arms around wildly and shriek like a banshee. Trinity watches with an amused glint in her eyes, proud. That only increases my rage. First, she talks about my dead mother in disrespect, and then she has the nerve to look happy about it. Oh, how I want to smash her face in.

“Stop,” A husky voice whispers into my ear. Strangely, it calms me down slightly. I stop fighting and stay limp in his arms.

I drag my eyes up to Trinity who’s confident demeanor is now slipping. I have a feeling Arlo is sending her daggers right now which she was not expecting.

“Leave,” He commands, leaving no question to argue.

“But Arlo,” She argues, staring at him in disbelief. “You can’t be serious. You can’t be choosing me over her.”

The way she says ‘her’ as if I am dirt on the ground hurts. A part of me wonders what I ever did to her that made her hate me so much.

“I said leave!” He hollers, angrily. His grip on me tightens. It’s like he is seeking something from me.

Like a dog following orders, she scampers away. As soon as Trinity is gone, I let out a sigh.

“Thank you,” I murmur, suddenly feeling embarrassed by this. Arlo probably thinks I’m weak for not standing up for myself using words. He probably thinks I’m crazy. Perfect.

“You don’t need to thank me, she was being a bitch.” He replies.

"You heard that?" I whisper, quietly. My limp body feels defeated.

"Only the end part," He replies, an edge to his voice.

It’s then that I realise his arms are still around me. My heart is pounding so loudly in my chest, I suspect he can hear it. This moment feels perfect, too perfect. I know it has to end because we are never going to be together. Right now, I’m fantasizing about what can never be. Arlo doesn’t want me. He never will. He will never hold me in his arms like this, he will never whisper kind words into my ears.

He will never be mine.

At this, I awkwardly clear my throat.

“You can let go of me now.” Reluctantly, he does. It’s almost as if he was enjoying it as much as I was. Which is impossible.

“Right, sorry,” He apologises, appearing almost...shy. That can’t be right, Arlo is never like that.

“I should probably...go now,” I tell him, staring down at the ground. After a few seconds, he nods his head. I take that as my cue to leave.

As I walk away, I feel his eyes on me the entire time. He can’t want me, not when he is in love with Talia. I’m being absurd. No matter how much I try to tell myself this, I can’t help but think that maybe I am wrong. Maybe Arlo does want me but he’s struggling to show it.

What do you think? I love writing chapters for this story. This has got to be one of my favourite stories by far.

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