One week later
“Lily get you’re a*s in here right now,” My dear aunt yells at me from the living room. Sighing, I lift myself up from my bed and stumble down the stairs to the living room. Amber is already sat in there, curled up on a sofa in the corner of the room, reading a book. She raises her eyes to me when I enter but quickly looks away when I meet her eyes.
Mable—my aunt—is resting her legs up on the coffee table. Her lips are pressed together tightly, and her beady eyes are narrowed. Her lips turn downwards when I step in.
If there’s one thing I have learnt about my aunt, it’s that she hates company. So, having me and Amber staying here for a week is pure torture for her—and me.
“You said you are going out today,” She states, shifting her gaze to the television in front of her. Hesitantly, I nod my head. “Well then, I want you to take your sister with you. I’m fed up with seeing her down here all the time.”
From my peripheral vision, I notice Amber straightening up in her seat in alarm. We’ve been at my aunt’s house for two days now. We both finished school on Friday and went straight to my aunt’s house. Not going to lie, I was so happy to leave school and Trinity. Especially after I found that photo she had. The picture is now burned in my mind, haunting me in my dreams. Every time I think about it, I choke up.
Since then, Amber has been avoiding me. She must be afraid of spending time with me.
So, I decided to get her out of this situation. It’s the least I can do for her. “Auntie, I’m going out with my friends. I doubt—”
“Silence,” Aunt Mable slices in, coldly. I immediately shut my mouth and back away. “You will do as you are told, Lily. Now get moving.”
Not wanting to p*ss her off anymore, I rush out of the room and get ready. Amber’s soft footsteps pad on the wooden floor behind me, informing me of her presence.
When we make it to the top of the stairs, I stop and spin on my heels to face her. “You know, you can go somewhere else. I won’t tell her.”
Amber nods her head once. “Sure. I’ll get the tube with you to wherever you are going, and I’ll split up with you then. Just text me when you are leaving so I can join you. We don’t want Auntie to become too suspicious.”
For a moment, I’m taken back to the old times when Amber and I would cause mischief together. Melancholy courses through my veins as I think about it. I wish we could go back to those times.
“Okay, I’m going to leave in half an hour,” I tell her, swallowing the painful feelings away.
We both part ways, heading off to our own rooms. Quickly, I hop in the shower that is situated in my personal bathroom.
Today I’m meeting up with my Talia, Arden, Cabe and Arlo. I don’t know what to expect—this is the first time I’m seeing them outside of school. They are coming to me. A part of me is excited to see them and pretend to act normal but another part of me is nervous. Of what? I have no idea.
Ten minutes later, I’m dressed in blue jeans and a off the shoulder top. My wet hair is left loose, hanging down my back. I slip on a few rings and my favourite bracelet. I decide to not put any make-up on, wanting to go natural today.
Checking the clock, I notice I still have ten minutes spare, so I quickly blow dry my hair. A sharp knock sounds ten minutes later, causing me to turn the hairdryer off. After unplugging it, I grab my bag full of things and swing my door open.
Amber stands before me in black denim jeans, a white crop top that shows off her stomach and a black denim jacket. Her hair is tied in a ponytail and her lips glimmer in the light from the lip gloss she’s wearing. She looks a lot like my sister before my parent’s death. However, one look in her eyes confirm things have changed.
“You look good,” I compliment her. She aimlessly shrugs her shoulders and steps back, allowing me to exit my room.
Together, we walk down the stairs. She keeps a noticeable distance from me, to my dismay. Just as we are about to leave, I yell goodbye to Aunt Mable, knowing she won’t return it.
The walk to the tube is short. Thankfully, Aunt Mable bought a house close to the station. We walk in silence, not knowing what to talk about. I hate how awkward it is—things never used to be like this. I want things to go back to how they were.
We get onto the tube, heading to Charing Cross. As usual, the tube is absolutely packed. We barely manage to squeeze into a seat. A few young men eye us, their eyes showing desire and lust. My body physically recoils at the sight of it. Ever since I met Arlo, I can’t look at another guy and feel any sort of desire for them. Having men look at me in that way makes me physically blanch.
Suddenly, my phone buzzes in my pocket, grabbing my attention. Getting the phone out, I see a message on my notifications board.
We’re running a bit late. I’ll message you when we’re close. Still meeting at Trafalgar Square?
I send Talia a quick message, telling her the café I’m currently in with Amber. Surprisingly, none of them has ever been to London before so I thought I would show them around some of the popular places. London is my city—I have lived here my entire life. I know every part of it.
I tell Amber about my friends arriving late and she says she’ll stay with me until they get here. My heart warms at her answer. For the first time in a while, hope begins to grow inside of me. Hope that we can rekindle what we had.
We both order a latte and sit down at a table by the window.
Amber and I both love people watching. We always used to go to café’s all-around London and watch tourists or workers gawke or rush around. We sometimes used to make up stories of their lives.
But now, we both silently watch everyone go about their day, internally coming up with stories.
“You know,” I blurt out, desperately wanting to talk to her about something. “You haven’t told me much about your school. How are things?”
Amber slowly stops drinking and places her mug back on the table. I watch her intensely, trying to figure out what she’s thinking.
“Good,” She replies, simply. I nearly sigh in annoyance at her lack of response. Can’t she see I’m trying to fix our relationship? Can’t she see how much I need her?
“Amber, can’t you see how hard I’m trying?” I ask her, leaning closer into the table. Her eyes widen and plead with me not to go there. Well, too bad Amber, I’m going there. “You’re my sister. We used to tell each other everything but now…you can barely stand the sight of me. We haven’t talked about what happened at all.”
Tears well up in Amber’s eyes. A single tear trails down her cheek. When she notices it, she furiously wipes it away and sniffles.
“Please stop,” She begs me.
“I have to say this, Amber,” I say, firmly. Now that I’ve started, I can’t stop. “Our parents died, and I know you blame me. Hell, I blame me.”
Amber shakes her head, “That’s not—”
“Let me finish,” I interrupt her and take a deep breath. “And I’m so sorry I did what I did that night. But please…you have to forgive me. I can’t keep going on like this. It’s killing me. I miss you so much.”
Amber remains silent for what feels like eternity.
When she finally speaks, it feels as if my heart shatters into a million pieces. “I don’t know how to go back to the way it used to be.”
It’s at that inconvenient moment, the gang arrive.
They all stand there, awkwardly, not wanting to intrude. I catch Arlo’s eyes and see the concern swimming in his hazel orbs. His eyes dart between the two of us, trying to figure out what’s going on.
Talia is the first to break the silence. “I didn’t know you were a twin.”
Her statement knocks Amber out of her mental state. She stands up, abruptly and flashes me a grim smile. “I should go. I’ll see you at the tube?”
Wordlessly, I nod my head and watch her escape. When she’s gone, I slump my shoulders in defeat and drag a hand through my hair.
“Are you okay?” It’s Arlo who asks me this question, surprising the both of us.
Not wanting to cause a scene or have them question me, I force a smile on my face. “Yeah, I am,” I lie, smoothly. I’ve been lying for so long, it comes naturally. “Now let’s go to Trafalgar square.”
“And here’s the houses of Parliament,” I announce, stopping to let them get a good look at it.
Talia’s mouth is wide open in awe, “It’s a lot bigger in real life.”
I nod my head, a small smile playing on my lips. “Yeah. The TV doesn’t do it any justice.”
For the past few hours, we have been wandering around London, hopping on and off the tube. Nobody has mentioned anything about my sister and what they walked in on, which I am very grateful about. However, I have noticed Arlo giving me several longing looks. His concern for me is still shocking. I’m not used to it at all.
“If you want, we can walk along the bridge over to the London Eye? They have nice food stalls there.”
“That sounds like a plan, don’t you think guys?” Talia says, directing her question to the guys. They all grunt in agreement.
I lead them to the bridge, which is full of people. Usually, when you walk along the bridge, you bump into people doing magic tricks or something. Today is no different. Talia stops to watch the magic and of course, Arden immediately comes to a halt as well. Cabe joins them, leaving me a little further ahead with Arlo.
Now that I’m alone, Arlo decides to use the opportunity to ease his curiosity.
“What happened earlier with your sister?” He fires at me, his brown eyes staring deeply into mine. “You two didn’t seem to be on good terms.”
That is one way of putting it.
“That’s because we’re not right now,” I answer truthfully, with a heavy sigh. “We…”
I look down at the ground, not knowing how to tell Arlo. I don’t want to mention my parents, but I still want to tell him that it’s my fault.
I have to think this through carefully.
“Amber and I have gone through some hard times in the past few months and it’s caused a strain on our relationship,” I begin, my voice soft and light when in reality, I’m feeling the complete opposite. “It’s all my fault.”
And that’s when I break down crying. In public. In front of Arlo.
Talk about romantic.
Arlo appears taken aback by my sudden emotional state. His eyes grow large in alarm and his lips open wide in shock.
Sobs begin to rack through my body whilst big, ugly tears stream down my face. Unfortunately, I’m not a cute crier. No, I didn’t inherit those genes. I’m an ugly crier. My face goes splotchy and my eyes are always puffy and red.
Suddenly, large hands rub my arms and pull me into a large, warm body. Sparks ignite on my skin, instantly having an effect on my body. Whilst my mind feels hysterical, my body now feels relaxed. What is Arlo doing to me?
I don’t understand this at all. Does he feel this too?
“Arlo, what are you doing?” Is what I try to say but my face is buried in Arlo’s chest, so it sounds muffled.
Nonetheless, Arlo must not care because he shushes me and runs a hand up and down my back, leaving sparks. For a moment, I let this play out. It’s pure bliss and I never want it to end.
Arlo is holding me. I’m in Arlo’s arms. If I wasn’t so upset, I might start jumping up and down in glee. But this is reality and the only reason Arlo is hugging me is because I’m distraught. I’m losing my sister—my best friend. No boy is going to make that better, no matter who they are.
Eventually—to my dismay—Arlo gently pulls me back to get a good look at my face. His brown eyes assess my red face. Hesitantly, he lifts his hand up to my face and caresses my wet cheek. My eyes flutter closed at the contact as I try to save this to memory.
But as I’ve said before, all good things come to an end.
Talia’s alarmed voice breaks our moment. Arlo leaps backwards as if I burned him and clears his throat. His eyes dart to the floor and remain there.
“Oh my god, Lily! Are you all right?” She yells in worry, resembling a mother who just watched her two-year-old child fall to the floor. Vigorously, I wipe my eyes with my jacket and spin on my heels to face her.
She notices the red, puffy eyes and pink cheeks and gasps. Like a mother tending to her wounded child, she wraps her arms around me in a comforting manner and whispers soothing things into my ear. And despite the fact I feel a little embarrassed by this, I can’t help but love her for being so kind and considerate.
Sure, my friends have now seen me cry and have no idea why, but I don’t care. I’m far past caring right now.
For several minutes, Talia and I remain like this. The guys are further ahead now, giving us some space. I’m grateful for that.
“Does this have anything to do with your sister? You know, the one you never mentioned,” I can’t help but wince at her tone. She’s hurt that I didn’t tell her something like that.
“I’m sorry,” I apologize, sincerely. “I didn’t want you to see me differently.”
She pulls back, allowing me to see her eyes soften.
“I would never,” She promises and crosses her heart. And I believe her. I now know she would never eye me differently. Never treat me differently. “Now, we don’t want to keep the boys waiting too long. God knows what they will get up to.”
She cracks a smile and manoeuvres herself so she can thread her arm through mine. We quickly catch up to them and head over to the London Eye. The rest of the trip runs smoothly, without any hiccups. However, Arlo never glanced at me after our intimate hug. I would try and catch his gaze often, but he refused to look at me. Hell, he refused to acknowledge me.
It began to make me wonder if he did have some sort of feelings for me that he was ignoring. Was I wrong?
Did Arlo like me? Was he just refusing to admit his feelings for whatever reason?
These thoughts continued to plague my mind all day and all night. Even by morning, the next day, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I started to re-evaluate every encounter. Whilst I couldn’t be certain, I believe there might be a chance I was wrong. Arlo Gold might have feelings for me.
Now all I have to do is get him to realize and accept them.
So there's chapter 17. What do you think? I hope you enjoyed this chapter.
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My next update will either be this Thursday or Saturday. Until then, bye!