After our encounter, I went straight back to my room. Thoughts of what had just occurred circled my mind, making me wonder what on earth just happened between us.
Arlo has made it perfectly clear on several occasions that he wants nothing to do with me romantically.
“Lily, there you are,” Talia says, waltzing into my room in all her glory. She’s changed out of her uniform now. Instead, she’s wearing dark blue jeans with a fancy-looking belt wrapped around her waist. On the upper half of her body, she’s wearing a fashionable black top that shows some of her cleverage. All in all, she looks pretty. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Arlo told me what happened with Trinity.”
God, I wish he hadn’t.
“Oh,” I blink, remaining still.
She arches an eyebrow at me and places a hand on her hip sassily. “Do you want me to go all King Kong on her?”
My eyes widen in disbelief for a moment. There is no way Talia will do that...for me. Right? We barely know each other, well, not enough to do that. My previous friends barely stuck up from me ever, not that I needed it but still. After the break-up with he-who-shall-not-be-named, they abandoned me. And whilst I doubt Talia is like that, the fear is still there, imprinted in my mind.
“You would really do that for me?” I ask her, voicing my thoughts.
She immediately nods her head. “Of course, I would, you’re my friend.” She says, sincerely. Out of nowhere, I spring on her and give her a bone-crushing hug. Words don’t describe how relieved and thankful I am. I believe she is telling the truth, she didn’t show any signs of dishonesty.
“Thank you,” I whisper so quietly I doubt she heard it. However, she does, somehow.
“Anyways, enough with the sappy stuff, shall we go and get lunch? I’m starving.” She claims, pulling away from me to clutch her stomach. Nodding my head, I follow her out.
We end up passing Trinity as we head to the dining hall, who gives me a death glare. I return it, along with Talia who mutters something indistinctive under the breath.
As soon as we enter, I start searching the room for a certain somebody. What happened earlier might not have been the best thing in the world, but it somehow made me feel a slither of respect for him. Secretly, I hope things change between us. My ultimate wish is for us to become friends. And maybe more.
My hope diminishes slightly when I don’t catch sight of him. Talia, who doesn’t notice a thing, leads me to our usual table. Lowering myself to the seat, I pick up an apple from the fruit bowl in the center of the table. I munch on it as quietly as possible, all the while keeping an eye out for a certain brunette.
I first spot him by the doors. Immediately, I straighten up in my seat, ready to see him. But, it all changes when my eyes float to the blonde-haired girl next to him, hanging off his arm.
It feels as though I am having a heart attack. The blood doesn’t flow to my organs properly; the oxygen doesn’t get to any of the important parts of my body. I freeze in my seat and watch with despair as they approach our table. Now I hope they do not come to our table.
When they get closer and closer, I start to lose hope that it’s the case.
And then to my absolute horror, they sit at our table.
“Hi,” Talia greets them with an uncertain, wobbly smile. She shoots me a ‘WTF’ look, displeased by the scene in front of her. Talia eyes the other girl with a mixture of confusion and hate. For a moment, I wonder if she is jealous too but then Arden approaches our table and her eyes switch. Arden wraps a possessive arm around his girlfriend and leans in for a kiss. From my peripheral vision, I watch Arlo’s reaction. His jaw ticks and his eyes narrow fiercely. The girl notices it too and frowns at him.
“I’m Louise,” The girl introduces once Arden and Talia finish kissing. Arden politely greets her back whilst the rest of us remain silent. She then tries to make conversation with us but fails. What makes it worse is that she is nice. With Trinity, I can almost deal with it because she’s a complete bitch. But Louise is sweet and dare I say it, innocent. She thinks Arlo is genuinely interested in her. And maybe he is since he’s certainly not in me.
Maybe Louise is the type of girl he needs to get over Talia. Someone just as beautiful inside and out. Someone who isn’t damaged.
As I stare at her, I realize how gorgeous she is. I’m nothing compared to her. Arlo is handsome, and everyone knows people date others in the same league as them. I’m at least two leagues down from him. Louise could be a freaking model. They would be a good couple.
Plus, it wouldn’t work between us. All we do is fight. It could just…never be.
You know what they say, opposites attract.
God, I hate my inner voice. I hate it for stating the truth and for showing me I do care. A lot.
Arlo catches my eyes and holds onto them. It’s as if he is searching for something—and when he finds it, he quickly looks away. But not before I see his eyes flash with something. Guilt.
But it’s there only for a millisecond, I might have imagined it. I probably did. What would Arlo Gold have to be guilty about? It’s not like he likes me or anything. He’s made that abundantly clear.
“—We can always go tonight. I hear that’s where everyone else is going.”
“Sure, I like the sound of that. What do you say, Lily?” Talia directs her attention at me. Jolting in my seat in surprise, I drag my eyes around the table at all of the worried faces. “Are you all right? You look a bit pale.”
I can feel his eyes on me, burning into my skull. But I refuse to look at him again, worried I will see more of that guilt. Instead, I focus solely on Talia and plaster a fake smile on my face. The same smile I used when I told my aunt I would be happy to attend boarding school just to please her.
“I’m fine, I didn’t eat much at breakfast, that’s all.” Everyone except Talia buys it. Well, I’m not sure if Arlo does because he’s now frowning at the table. Louise elbows him lightly in the ribs and whispers something into his ear. Her lips brush against his ear and his eyes appear hooded. I clench my hands together and force my eyes to look away. The aching feeling in my chest hurts so much. I can’t stand looking at them together, knowing what Arlo’s intentions are.
“Right,” Talia nods her head, unconvinced. “So, are you in? We’re going to Raymond’s tonight for a get-together.”
“I don’t know,” I reply. “I don’t feel like it tonight. I might catch up on sleep.”
Arden fakes a snore. “Bor-ing.” He claims and rolls his eyes. “Come on Lily, live a little.”
I pinch my lips together and glance at Arlo. He’s now back to staring at me whilst rubbing the girl's arm. She smiles in content as if she belongs there with him.
That could be me.
“Please,” Talia pleads. “I don’t want to face Trinity alone.”
“Trinity’s going?” I all but exclaim. My blood boils at the thought of my roommate, the one who pissed me off. The girl who verbally attacked my parents. My dead parents. “Then I’m definitely not going.”
“Too scared to go, Lily?” This time, it’s Arlo who talks for the first time. He stops rubbing Louise’s arm and pins me with his intense stare. “I thought you wouldn’t let that girl affect you. You sure didn’t want to earlier.”
I narrow my eyes at him, knowing what he’s trying to do. And goddammit, it’s working.
“I’m not scared of her, I could easily beat her in a fistfight,” I claim, cockily. Trinity is all bark, I could easily beat her.
Arlo arches an eyebrow. “Someone is confident.” He states, eyeing me curiously. Something sparks in his eyes. My body heats up at the way he’s devouring me with his eyes. For a moment, I forget about Louise, the girl he has his arm around. I focus on the look in his eyes and the way he makes my body tingle.
“Anyway,” Talia breaks our heated moment. Nobody else seems to have noticed what was going on, except Louise who is now sending me a curious look. “Are you going to come?”
I stare at Arlo’s challenging eyes and blurt out the answer before I can even process it. “Yes.”
Arlo’s lips curl upwards whilst Talia releases a squeal. It’s only after I said my answer that my stomach drops, and my lungs find it harder to breathe. I now must face Trinity again, at a social event, in front of my friends.
“Are you going to kiss me or continue to sit like that?” She asks me, annoyed.
I turn my head to her and examine her. Her arms are crossed over her chest and her hair is now pulled up in a tight ponytail. Her lips are pursed together, indicating she’s mad.
Louise isn’t the type of person who gets mad. She is sweet. That’s why so many wolves wish they were in my position right now. She is hot as hell and mateless. She is the perfect catch for any werewolf.
“Sorry, I had to think about pack business.” I lie smoothly. She eyes me suspiciously but eventually nods her head in understanding.
In truth, I was not thinking about pack business. I was thinking about a certain golden-haired girl who is slowly intruding in all of my thoughts.
“Well?” She pries, lifting an eyebrow. “What’s it going to be?”
When I don’t reply straight away, Louise leaps to her feet and glares at me.
“Are you just using me for a fuck, Arlo?” She shouts, angrily. Her hazel eyes blaze with fury. “Because you know that’s not what I’m after.”
I know what she’s after. She wants what most girls want. They want prince charming to come and swoop them off their feet. They want a guy who will love them forever and be with them forever. They want what I can’t give them.
Sighing, I run a hand down my face. “Louise, please can you not.”
She gasps at my response and sends me an icy glare. “What the hell is wrong with you? You weren't like this last week when I met you.”
Last week. I think about it bitterly. I wish I didn’t view it in that way but she’s making me. It’s all her fault.
“I heard you were easy. The way you spoke to me, I thought I was different.” Louise explains, desperately trying to find something that isn’t there. She is exactly like the rest of the girls. She wants to be that girl that I change for. She wants me to love her. A harsh laugh escapes her lips as she throws her head back. “But, silly me, I misread it once again. Everyone warned me about you, yet I thought I would give you a chance.”
“For fuck's sake, Louise,” I growl, standing up. This speech is beginning to piss me off. This girl is making a big deal out of nothing. We met last week, made out, and talked a bit. I met her, wanting to hook up with her so that I could forget about Lily, but it ended up with me not being able to go all of the way. My wolf adamantly refused to let me. “You were just some girl I thought I could get with. I’m not looking for anything. You were only ever going to be something to take my mind off things.”
Internally, I cringe at my words. I sound like a complete asshole. My mother would slap me on the cheek if she heard me right now.
She would disown you if she knew what you were doing to your mate.
My heart hammers in my chest at the thought. My parents would strip me of my title if they knew. And maybe I do deserve it for hurting Lily, but they just don’t see what I see. Mates aren’t a blessing all of the time, not everyone wants one. Wolves should be given the option of whether they want a mate or not.
Lily doesn’t deserve this. She should have been spared from all of this. Even I admit that she is completely innocent in this.
Maybe in another world, we would have worked. Maybe if I wasn’t this person and if I had never met Talia before, we could have been something.
“Oh my god,” I’m broken out of my train of thoughts by Louise who I forgot was here. She now stares at me with disgust and hate. Pure and simple hate. “Why on earth didn’t I see it before? How could I have been so stupid?”
“What?” I ask her, starting to feel worried about where she is going with this.
She stares directly into my eyes and answers, “That girl—Lily—she is your mate. How could I have not seen it? The way you were looking at her, the way she was looking at us when we were together, it makes sense now.”
My stomach churns at her words. All I can think is she knows. She knows. She’s going to tell someone. My secret is going to be exposed and everything will be ruined.
Right now, I despise the Moon Goddess and Lily. If Lily never came here, I wouldn’t have met her, and everything would have been okay. But no, she just had to come to this school and make my life hell. I can’t do anything without thinking about her. Hell, I can’t sleep with a girl anymore because of her.
“You asshole!” Louise hollers and lunges at me with a murderous expression on her face. “You tried to get with me whilst you had a mate! How could you?!”
I grab onto her arms before she can attack me. With my strength, I manage to stop her arms from flinging around madly.
“Stop,” I command, using my Beta voice. She instantly does, not being able to resist my command. “You will not reveal this knowledge you managed to acquire to anyone,” I demand.
She starts resisting in my arms again. “You are a prick! You selfish prick!”
My anger increases as I listen to her yell profanities at me.
“If you don’t shut up, I will lock you in the dungeons.” I threaten her, meaning every word.
She stops yelling and begins to cry. “That poor girl. You don’t deserve her. She doesn’t deserve to feel this pain.”
I almost double over in surprise. I thought Louise would have been mad that I lied to her. Hell, I was expecting her to be jealous that I have a mate. I didn’t expect this.
“What are you talking about?”
She lifts her watery eyes to me.
“Mates are supposed to be cherished. Once you find your mate, you are supposed to be complete. Yet, you don’t care. Can you not imagine what she must be feeling like? I know if I saw my mate with another girl, pretending I didn’t exist, I would be heartbroken.” She explains, sobbing for Lily.
For the first time in my life, I’m stunned.
My wolf wants me to ask this girl how I can make things right. He wants his mate. It’s natural, it’s in his nature.
But I don’t. I want this girl to stop crying over my mate. I want this nightmare to be over. I want to go back to pining over Talia.
“You are not going to tell anyone about this. You are going to pretend you know nothing.” I order her, my voice hard and strong.
She flinches at my tone and shrinks back. A part of me feels guilty about doing this to her but it’s important she does.
“Do you understand?”
She nods her head, mutely.
“Say it.” I firmly say. “Say you understand.”
She whimpers but says it. As soon as I let go of her, she rips herself out of my hold and runs away. She makes it to the door and then stops. “If you don’t want her, why don’t you reject her? Why don’t you save her from this ongoing pain?”
My wolf snarls in my head. Ignoring him, I remove all emotion from my eyes and tell her to leave.
Once she’s gone, my mind drifts to her question. Rejecting her would make everything simple. No one would have to know. I could say I haven’t found my mate and that I might never find her. Lily could move on and stop wanting me. She could be happy.
But she wouldn’t be happy with me.
I know why I don’t want to reject her. No matter how much I loathe the idea, I know in the deepest parts of me why I won’t. My mind won’t admit it but my heart always will.
Because I don’t want her to move on without me.
I finally got my laptop, which is why I'm updating now. I made this chapter really long because I haven't been updating much recently.
This chapter was quite hard to write because I'm trying to show how conflicted Arlo is. I hope I got that across.
My next update will be next week.