Hating Arlo #1 ✔️

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Chapter 25

Lily's POV

Two weeks later

The next few weeks fly by as Talia and I prepare for the school dance. With schoolwork, the planning and spending time with the guys, I haven’t had a lot of time to myself. Not that I mind though. Being busy distracts me. I don’t have to think about Trinity and her antics or my sister, Amber.

Speaking of Amber, I heard from my sister in a long time now. Since half term, Amber has been avoiding all of my calls.

For the most part, everything has been going great. Everything except Trinity.

Whilst Trinity has not spoken to me about her promise, I can see the glint in her eyes whenever she glances at me.

My heart seizes every time I pass her in the hallways. She has a negative effect on me that I can’t shake.

Arlo can tell there’s something going on between Trinity and I. He knows Trinity has feelings for him, but he doesn’t know about her hatred towards my family. I don’t want him to know about it—not until I figure some things out myself.

The school dance is tonight and I’m incredibly nervous. I’ve been counting the days but now it’s actually here, I can’t help but feel worried that something will go wrong. For example, what if Arlo doesn’t like my dress? What if he ditches me during the night?

There are so many ‘what ifs’ that refuse to leave my thoughts. They just circle my mind, torturing me.

A sharp knock at the door brings me back to reality. Heading over to the door, I swing it open, not at all surprised Talia is on the other side. She waltzes into my room, carrying her dress and make-up box.

“I’m so excited about this, I can’t wait to get dolled up!” She exclaims as soon as she enters the room. Shutting the door behind me, automatically smiling at her contagious smile. Talia’s eyes roam around the room and stop at Trinity’s side of the room. “Where’s the she-devil?”

I nearly laugh at Talia’s nickname—that just so happens to be my nickname for Trinity.

“She’s getting ready in Jessica’s…no wait, Zoe’s room. I can’t tell them apart,” I admit, sheepishly.

Talia bursts out laughing, “I don’t blame you, I can’t either.”

Laughing with Talia feels so normal. Right now, I feel as if I’m a normal teenager with normal issues. Just for a moment, I forget about the death of my parents, loss of sister and bully. I only think about the dance tonight and my handsome date.

Sure, there’s a hole in my heart where the love of my family should be. Amber should be with us getting ready, laughing along with me. My mom should be gushing over my dress and my dad should be giving Arlo the protective dad speech. But I know that’s not going to happen and it does hurt. But Talia in all her glory helps me forget about it just for a moment.

Talia begins helping me with my make-up starting with my primer and working from there. She tells me I should put on a shimmery gold eye shadow, so I allow her to put it on me. She gently places it on my eyes, all the while mumbling along to the song playing. When she’s done my eye shadow, she puts the rest of the items on.

“You look gorgeous, Lily. Arlo is going to be stunned.” She compliments me when she’s done, stepping back to admire her work.

Blushing at the thought of Arlo’s face when he sees me, I thank her.

We switch places so I can do her make-up. Talia is wearing a long black dress that compliments her body. She orders me to do a smokey look for her eyes, opting for a darker and edgier look. No matter what she wears, Talia will look amazing. She will be the star of the night.

“Arden and I have been having a few issues recently,” Talia suddenly blurts out, causing me to stop dabbing the foundation on her face. The shock on my face must be very apparent because she pinches her lips and averts her eyes. “All couples fight, Lily. Even us.”

Is this girl psychic?

Talia and Arden are the definition of couple goals. I have never seen them argue. They are so in love it actually physically hurts the single people. So, hearing they have been having some trouble is strange.

I know all couples have arguments. Joe and I argued all the time but it’s different. Joe and I clashed all of the time; we were polar opposites. Talia and Arden understand each other, they balance each other out.

“I’m sorry for assuming,” I apologize, embarrassed. I should know that even the perfect couples have issues. “What kind of problems have you been having?”

She sighs and peers up at me through her long lashes. Sadness shines in her eyes, showing how hard this has affected her. I’m shocked I didn’t see it earlier.

“He kept something from me for a long time. Something really important.” She tells me, quietly. “And then, when I did find out about it, he didn’t let me help.”

The air shifts between us. The more she talks, the angrier she gets. The sadness disappears, replaced by rage.

“It makes me so mad. We are supposed to be in this together. We are a team, yet he wants to go solo. Ugh!” She expresses, leaping to her feet. Dumping the make-up sponge on the table, I approach her and place a hand on her shoulder.

Her erratic breathing calms down a little. She drags her eyes up to mine and stares into mine.

“Talia, I think you should be having this conversation with Arden, not me.”

She bites her lip and relaxes her tense muscles. “I know, I know but I feel like he won’t take me seriously. Arden has always seen me as some precious princess who needs to be locked up in a glass box, protected. He doesn’t see me as a strong woman who can take care of herself and others.”

“Arden loves you a lot—men like to think they can control everything. You need to prove to confront him and tell him. Relationships only work if you talk to each other,” I advise, basing my advice on romantic movies. I can’t exactly use my relationship with Joe to help her. “So, before we go to the dance, I want you to talk to Arden. You guys need to be on the same page.”

For the first time since I’ve known Talia, she looks like she’s about to cry. She pulls me in for a hug, somehow knocking the air out of my lungs. However, I don’t have time to mull over how strong she was because Talia sniffles into my shoulder.

Gently pulling away from her, I ask her if she’s alright.

Wiping her nose, she nods her head. “Yeah, I just…I’ve never had a friend like you before. All the girls here are so fake, but you aren’t. Thank you for being there for me. You are one of the only people I can trust.”

My heart warms at her words. “It’s the same for me. Before I came here, I hung around people who I thought were my friends until they ditched me for my ex. I thought I would never find real friends again. With my sister virtually out of my life, I only really have you and the guys. So really, I should be thanking you.

“We’re going to ruin our make-up at this rate. We need to keep it together,” Talia jokes, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. “Come on, you need to finish my make-up.”

I get back to work, applying the foundation and going from there. Our conversation turns to something softer, less heavy. Talia ends up asking me about Arlo and how we are getting on together.

For the past two weeks, Talia has been asking me about Arlo. She asks me what we talk about, how he acts around me and how I feel about it. I always tell her every single thought I have about the situation honestly. It should feel weird talking to Talia about it since Arlo loved Talia but it’s not. Is that normal?

Talia is my best friend and best friends talk about boys.

I tell Talia about how wonderful things have been with Arlo. She smiles the entire time, genuinely happy for me.

“Sh*t, it’s seven o’clock,” Talia exclaims an hour later, glancing at the clock with wide eyes. Her eyes dart back to me, allowing me to see the panic. The boys are coming to pick us up from my room in half an hour. We still have to do our hair and get into our dresses. Talia is convinced we need more time—claiming it takes a while to make my hair ‘perfect’.

“It’s fine, Talia. It won’t take too long.” I try to reassure her calmly. However, Talia is a worrier. She can’t help but panic about things like this. It’s why she’s never late to class. “If you want, you can just curl my hair. It would save time.”

She sends me a glare at my comment.

“I have envisioned what your hair will look like for over a week, Lily. I’m not changing my plan.” She retorts. “Now switch places with me, we need to start now.”

I don’t argue with her—too scared to. She tugs and pulls at my hair, causing me to wince several times. I watch her do it in the mirror with a heavy heart, remembering the times when Amber would be the one doing it. She would purposefully tug at my hair every time I joked about her being bad at hair.

No! Stop thinking sad things. My brain yells at me. I will myself to only think of happy things instead, in fear of ruining my make-up.

This time, we don’t speak. Talia is in her world, focusing solely on my hair. She frizzes my hair out, which somehow works. She also sprays gold glitter into my hair, ignoring my complaints.

When she’s done, I can’t help but glance at my reflection. My fingers inch closer to the mirror, wanting to touch it to make sure it’s real. I’m not overconfident about my appearance but I can’t deny how pretty I look right now. I look like a Hollywood superstar.

Tears well up in my eyes. “Talia…I—this is incredible.” I stammer, trying to put into words how I’m feeling.

“I know you do. Now get into your dress, the boys will be here soon,” She commands, sliding into my seat as soon as I get up. I let Talia do her hair whilst I get changed in the bathroom, being careful of my make-up and hair.

Thoughts of what Arlo will think when he sees me crosses my mind. Will he be stunned? Disappointed? Pleased?

There’s no point thinking like that, I don’t need his thoughts to determine my self-worth.

With that thought in mind, I pose in the mirror, with a smile on my face. Alita was right, the dress is gorgeous on me. I feel like a Hollywood actress, attending the Oscars.

Exiting the bathroom, I catch Talia’s attention. She gasps when she sees me and squeals like a little girl. “Holy hell, Lily, you look smoking.”

I fight the urge to blush at her words.

“You look amazing, too,” I tell her, honestly. And of course, she does. Her hair falls down her exposed back in waves. Her dress fits her perfectly, making her look like a goddess. “Arden is one lucky man.”

Talia flashes me her award-winning smile. “Thanks.”

It is at that precise moment that the boys decide to make their entrance. After knocking at the door, they let themselves in. When my eyes first land on Arlo, a rush of delight courses through my body.

Desire flows through my body at the sight of him in his suit. With his hair slicked back formally and the suit hugging his muscles firmly, he looks hot. My eyes widen in shock and awe.

Arlo’s smirk falls when his eyes zero in on me. His mouth opens widely, and his eyes practically bulge out of its sockets.

Arlo audibly gulps and rubs the back of his neck nervously. “Lily, you—um—you look beautiful.” He manages to stutter out, his eyes never straying away from me.

From my peripheral vision, I notice Arden paying Talia some compliments too. He swoops in and pulls her in for a passionate kiss, mumbling sweet things to her. My heart longs for that—one day I want that to be me and Arlo.

He notices where I’m looking and clears his throat.

I step closer to him, now focused solely on him. Soon, we are inches from each other. Automatically, Arlo’s hand winds around my waist, bringing me to his chest. A soft gasp leaves my lips and my eyes flutter to his eyes. The brown in them flash a different colour, startling me. Before I can ask him what it was, Arlo’s lips are on mine.

As soon as his soft lips touch mine, all thoughts of his gold eyes vanish. I melt into his embrace, relishing in the blissful moment.

A silent moan escapes my mouth at the feeling of his lips moving against mine. I swear, I hear Arlo groan too. That fact makes me feel proud and happy that I can make him feel like that.

Unfortunately, the kiss does not last long. We both pull away from each other, breathless. I look up at Arlo, glad to see the lust in his eyes.

“Alright guys, as lovely as it is to watch you two make out, we need to go,” Talia interrupts our tranquil moment. I step back, all the while smiling like a goofy idiot.

Talia picks up a golden necklace on my table and walks up to me. “This is for you, I thought it would go with the dress.”

Before I can protest about her buying it, Arlo takes the necklace and steps around me so he can put it on me. I hold my breath as his skin brushes against mine. The tingles he sends throughout my body get stronger each day. The whole air crackles around us, electrifying the room.

Arlo’s hand lingers on my skin longer than necessary, wanting to savour the moment.

“It’s perfect,” Talia claims, clapping her hands excitedly. “It’s going to be a great night!”

Excitement courses through my veins. Now that everyone is here, I can’t wait until the party.

Arden nods his head in agreement, resting his hand on Talia’s hip. “It will be love, you planned it after all.”

Talia and Arden make a move to leave, soon followed by me and Arlo. He takes my hand, possessively as we exit the room. We pass a few dressed up students, who all look stunning. They all wave at us; some of them even bow their heads to Talia and Arden. I throw Arlo a puzzled look, but he pretends to have no idea what it’s about. I know that Talia and Arden are popular, but they are not royalty. Now that I think about it, a lot of students tend to do this. They don’t make it as obvious as this, but I have noticed a few things.

The school sports room is on the other side of the building. Thankfully, we can use the hallways to access them.

There is a buzz in the air as we get closer to the hall. The halls get busier with students who are all excited. The floor thumps from the loud music and the scent of sweat and perfume hits my nose. We start walking on the red carpet, heading to the doors which are wide open. A few cameras on the doors flash every thirty seconds, taking photos of everyone who enters.

Inside the room, there are tables to the left and right. All of them have a red tablecloth with a golden ornament. There are a few camera’s as well with Oscar-themed backgrounds to the sides too. One of them has a picture of the Hollywood sign, another has an image of a black limousine and one is of a film set.

The dance floor is less extravagant. There are golden banners hanging from the ceiling; there’s a disco ball at the centre of it. The platform at the front of the room has a red carpet leading up to it. On the stage are a microphone and a table of trophies for the awards. A couple will win best dressed and someone will win most likely to be on stage.

Everything looks amazing. With the budget we had, Talia and I struggled to get a lot of these items. Somehow, we managed to persuade our buyers to reduce the price.

Beside me, Arlo whistles. “You did all of this?”

I nod my head, “Yep. That’s why I was so busy.”

Arlo’s hand leaves mine and instead weaves around my waist. I’m tucked into his side, where I belong. “You and Talia have a real talent for this.”

I shrug my shoulders nonchalantly. “It’s nothing really.”

I wouldn’t say I was talented at things like this. I did enjoy planning this dance, but I can only see this as a hobby.

The DJ suddenly cuts off the previous song and starts to play a more upbeat and modern song. Talia jumps up and down squealing when she hears it and grabs onto my hand. She drags me and Arden to the dance floor. Arlo follows behind us, chuckling at my look of shock.

Talia lets go of me when we reach the dance floor so she can dance with Arden. I start to dance with Arlo, letting myself go.

We laugh at each other’s terrible dance moves without a care in the world. For the first time in a long time, I feel like a real teenager.

I fall in love with this moment right now. I love how free I feel, how happy I am. Right now, nothing can touch me. I am living in the moment, forgetting all of my problems.

If only the rest of the night could be like this… I think in dismay.

Unfortunately, not all wishes come true. This night will be the night that changes everything.

To answer your question, there will be lots of drama in the next few chapters. So buckle up because you're in for a ride!

My next update will either be this Monday or Tuesday. Have a great weekend everyone!

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