Hating Arlo #1 ✔️

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Chapter 26

Lily's POV

By nine o’clock, the dance was in full swing. People were dancing the night away, having so much fun. It was a complete success. I even had a few students come up to me and tell me I did a good job.

At half nine, we were forced to sit down at the tables so the Headteacher could announce the best-dressed award. From my peripheral vision, I noticed Trinity sat at a table close to the front of the room. Her pink dress is short and curvy. It barely covered her a*s and looked too revealing for my liking. Her date didn’t mind though, he couldn’t keep his hands off her. As if sensing my eyes on her, Trinity glances up at me with her dark eyes. She sends me an evil grin, one that has me wanting to cower.

Then she turns back to her boy-toy and whispers something suggestive in his ear.

The feeling of Arlo’s hand brushing against my shoulder has me focusing on our table rather than theirs.

“I hope you are all having a good time,” Mr Jones’—who is our Headteacher—voice filters into the microphone loudly. It’s so loud a few students wince in pain. He steps back and mutters an apology for being too loud. Compared to Deputy Head Elizabeth, Mr Jones is a lot nicer. You can tell he really cares about this school. With Deputy Elizabeth, all I can hear is the boredom in her voice.

A chorus of ‘yeses’ circulates the large room. Talia catches my attention and gives me a thumbs up. I smile back at her, nodding my head. We did a good job.

“Now it’s time to announce the winners of the best-dressed competition,” He speaks a lot quieter this time, much to my relief. A few girls sit up straighter in their seat and force their partners to listen. I notice Trinity lean in closer to the table unconsciously, whilst fixing her perfect hair.

The anticipation in the air was undeniable. The girls who spent hours and hours getting ready waited impatiently for this moment, wanting the title of best dressed. For them, it signified their worth in the social hierarchy. I have never seen the point in worrying about trivial things like that. I mean, who is going to care that you were best dressed at a school dance in ten years’ time? That’s right, no one will.

“Drum roll please, Geoff,” Mr Jones says to the DJ who plays a short drum roll. Mr Jones unwraps the cheap gold envelope slowly, dragging out the time. You could practically hear a pin drop in this silence. “And the winner is Arden Gold and Talia Bloom.”

The sound of people clapping hits my ears. We all rise from our seats and praise the golden couple. Talia acts bashfully, waving off the compliments she gets as nothing major. Arden strolls beside her with an air of ease around him.

As they walk up to the stage together, they look invincible. Even Trinity’s penetrating glare cannot touch them and that’s saying something.

“Congratulations,” Mr Jones says to them, shaking both of their hands.

“Thank you, Mr Jones,” Talia replies. Since she’s close enough to the microphone, her voice is picked up by it. She flashes him that award-winning smile that blows your mind and makes you wish you could pull off a smile like that.

The school photographer—Jacob Stell—speeds over to the front of the stage and takes a picture of the couple with their trophy. Afterwards, they return to our table with big smiles on their faces.

Mr Jones proceeds to read out a few more awards—such as person most likely to be successful, most likely to end up in Hollywood and most likely to be a director. When he’s done, he practically orders us to have fun but not too much fun.

Deputy Head Elizabeth also makes a quick announcement about tryouts for Netball after Christmas. Before she leaves the microphone, she reminds us not to spike the drinks here. If only she knew the football boys have already tampered with it.

The DJ then cranks the music back up, getting all of us to our feet again. We dance for the next half an hour without a care in the world. I have so much fun laughing with my friends and dancing with the boy I like—and possibly love.

At around quarter past ten, Talia grabs onto my arm and yanks me away from Arlo, yelling ‘bathroom’ at me when I send her a questioning look.

The bathroom is packed with girls touching up on their make-up. A few girls loiter around the mirror, chattering about their dates.

“—I know! What an asshole. That Jessica girl is nothing compared to me. I can’t believe he chose her over me.” I overhear one girl complain to the others. Her eyes are red and puffy from crying and her face looks splotchy. She manages to look like a cute crier though—something I am jealous about.

“Boys are mindless dicks. He’s an idiot,” Another girl mutters, aimlessly. Grunts of agreements chorus throughout the group of young girls. When they continue to blabber about how useless boys are, I tune out of their conversation.

Talia and I both hop into a cubicle when two become free and do our business.

I finish just before Talia, so I hang around the mirrors and apply more lip-gloss to my lips. It’s at that moment Trinity decides to bound into the toilets, with an air of confidence around her. Her brown eyes instantly harden and narrow.

I sigh, wishing the ground would swallow me whole right now.

Thankfully, Talia decides to make an appearance as Trinity opens her mouth to speak.

“Oh no, what are you doing here?” Talia groans when she spots Trinity next to me. I stifle a laugh at Trinity’s shocked face. Trinity and Talia don’t like each other but they have never shown their dislike for each other out in the open. So Talia saying something like that is clearly unexpected.

When Trinity regains her composure, she glares at both of us.

“Just because you are some Queen around here doesn’t mean you actually rule the school,” Trinity directs to Talia, with venom. Talia looks unperturbed by Trinity’s comment, as she usually does.

“Trinity, it’s honestly sad that you have to make digs at me like that. I’m sorry it’s come to this,” Talia patronizes, to Trinity’s utter annoyance.

If it was possible, I’m sure Trinity would explode right now.

Instead of dwelling on Talia, Trinity turns her attention to me. The hatred in her eyes is undeniable. Each day it manifests, growing uglier.

“And you,” Trinity spits, angrily. Her stare makes me want to curl up into a ball. “Tonight, I’m going to make you disappear.”

She spins on her heels and saunters off, knocking a group of Year 10’s out of the way.

Talia waves a dismissive hand, pretending to brush away Trinity’s ‘threatening’ presence. “That girl is all bark and no bite. I wouldn’t worry about her.”

Oh, but I do.

Trinity knows about my parents, something I haven’t told anyone else about. She also claims my mother was a monster who destroyed her mother. She knows so much about me it’s worrying.

“Hey, don’t worry. I’ve got your back,” Talia reassures me, sensing my unease.

I force myself to plaster a small smile on my face, even though Trinity’s threat still lingers in my mind. Trinity roughly said the same thing a few weeks ago and now it looks like she plans to make her words ring true.

“We should get back,” I tell Talia, wanting to forget about Trinity’s words for a while.

Talia nods her head and grabs onto my hand again. We exit the bathroom together and barge through the crowds to our table. Arlo and Arden are still sat there, yapping away about something. When we arrive, they stop talking and rise from their seats.

Arlo’s eyes stay trained on me, the concern obvious in his eyes. Somehow, Arlo can detect my distress.

I let go of Talia’s hand and walk over to him. He immediately pulls me into a comforting hug and starts stroking my bare arm.

“What happened?” He whispers into my ear, softly.

Fluttering my eyes closed, I try to formulate a sentence that tells Arlo what about Trinity without mentioning my family. “Trinity has been bothering me for a while, she just got to me today. That’s all.”

Arlo curses something under his breath. And says, “I’m going to kill that girl.”

Oddly, I believe he would. Whilst I don’t like Trinity at all, I am slightly alarmed by how honest Arlo sounded.

“Can we please forget about Trinity? I want to enjoy tonight without any drama,” I plead with him. He doesn’t agree at first but when I give him the puppy dog eyes, he can’t resist. Begrudgingly, Arlo agrees to leave Trinity alone.

Arlo leads me to the dance floor when a slow song comes on and brings me to his chest. I let his musky scent envelop me and relish in this sweet moment together. His head rests against the top of my head as the side of my face is tucked into the crook of his neck. Nothing can ruin this moment right now.

Arlo’s heartbeat is rapid, informing me he is nervous. I nearly smile and tell him how cute it is. Then again, my heart is also racing in my chest—due to my nerves so I really can’t say anything.

“Lily, these past few weeks with you have been amazing,” Arlo blurts out. Lifting my head back, I peer up at him with expectant eyes. “I have loved spending time with you. Over this past month, my feelings for you have really grown. I think I might l—”

Before Arlo can finish, Kacey swoops in and steals me away, claiming she needs to talk to me urgently.

I glance back at Arlo longingly, wishing I could have heard his final words. Why on earth does Kacey have such horrible timing? Couldn’t she see we were having an intimate conversation?

“Kacey, this better be serious.” I hiss to her when she comes to a halt by a wall.

She rolls her brown eyes and flips a strand of her black hair away from her face. Her attire is casual, not fit for a school dance. My guess is that she isn’t here for the dance.

“It’s about that night in the woods,” She declares, firmly.

Flashes of memories flow in my head of that evening in the woods. That was weeks ago now, but I can still remember it clearly. I followed Kacey into the woods and discovered she was an informant for Arlo’s uncle. They talked about Arden needing help from Arlo. Her behaviour was suspicious and left me with so many questions. She refused to tell me what her meeting was about, claiming I would find out soon.

“You said we weren’t supposed to talk about that,” I respond, confused. My eyebrows knit together as I try to piece together why she would talk to me about it, now.

Kacey’s posture is stiff and tense. I didn’t notice it until now. I also notice how her eyes keep darting around the room, anxiously, searching for a threat.

I glance around the room, taking in the dancing students. Nobody appears threatening which makes me even more confused.

“Kacey, why are you so afraid?”

Kacey looks offended by my question. “I’m not afraid…just concerned.”

I arch an eyebrow.

“Look,” She breathes, dragging a hand through her long black hair. “I need your help. Your boyfriend and his brother want to punish me for what happened in the woods. I need you to talk to them and tell them nothing bad happened.”

If I thought I was confused before, I was wrong. I’m completely lost now.

“Did you just say Arlo and Arden want to punish you?” I repeat in disbelief. Giggles escape my lips at the ludicrous accusation. Why on earth would Arlo and Arden want to do that? They are teenage boys, not judges.

Kacey narrows her eyes and shakes her head in irritation. “Lily, I’m being deadly serious. They have a lot of authority here; everyone listens to them. You need to wake up and help me!”

The desperation in her eyes is hard to miss. My laughter begins to falter as I come to the horrible realization that she is being serious. I have never seen Kacey terrified before—and let me tell you now it’s not a good look.

“You’re not joking, are you?” I ask, already knowing the answer.

Kacey’s eyes tell me everything I need to know.

“But…why? What would they do to you? Lock you up? They’re not allowed to do that plus they wouldn’t. They’re not cruel.” I claim, wondering how they would get away with that.

Kacey gives me a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry but they do have the authority and they would. They have to otherwise the pack would be in shambles.”

The more she speaks, the more I question things. Kacey manages to make me question more things—I never find answers with her.

I open my mouth, ready to throw a load of questions at her when Kacey’s face turns pale. She’s staring behind me, watching something horrific unfold.

“What is it?” I ask, slowly following her line of sight.

When I catch sight of what she’s looking at, my heart breaks. It feels like it literally shatters into a million pieces. I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. God, I wish I was dreaming.

My body seems to go into overdrive. I find myself marching over to them with purpose. People part ways for me, somehow knowing I’m not in the mood for their antics. Kacey trails behind me, unsurely.

Talia and Arden appear next to them, uncertain. They both have a mixture of anger and concern on their faces as they glance between them and me. I feel so numb right now.

“Arlo?” I manage to call out. The crack in my voice makes me want to smack myself. I wish he wouldn’t see how weak I felt right now.

Arlo leaps away from her and spins on his heels to face me. The shock on his face is unforgettable but the regret in his eyes will haunt me forever.

“Lily?” He asks, timidly. Then with a firmer voice, he says my name again. “I—I can explain. It’s not what it looks like.”

A humourless laugh comes from me at his cliché line. “It never is, is it?”

He looks tortured right now, unsure of what to do.

“Lily please, it really isn’t. She—”

Once again, Arlo is cut off but this time by the she-devil I caught him with. Trinity.

“Arlo, how many times must I tell you that you’re wasting your breath on this one?” Trinity says to him. The victorious smirk on her face makes me want to hurl at her and hurt her.

Arlo shushes Trinity harshly and glances back at me with pleading eyes. He tries to explain what happened, but Trinity seems to be loving this. Her eyes sparkle with mischief and excitement.

“Did Lily ever tell you about her family?” Trinity suddenly asks the group. Arlo stops speaking and casts Trinity a puzzled look. Even Arden and Talia step closer, wondering where she is going with this.

My heart seizes in my chest and my breathing becomes erratic. I throw Trinity a pleading look, praying she grows a heart and stops talking. Of course, she doesn’t.

“Of course, she didn’t, the guilt is still eating her up.” Trinity continues with a grin.

“Trinity, please,” I beg. I feel Arlo’s eyes on me, curious. The events that just occurred are long forgotten, now Arlo is wondering what I have to hide. I can’t face him now; the humiliation is too much.

“What guilt?” Arden is the one to ask.

If Trinity wasn’t so caught up in her own world, she would have cackled like a witch right now. But alas, she wants this revelation to be big and horrible.

“Well, she obviously feels guilty about killing her parents.”

And that’s when I fall to the floor and cry.

So I said I would update earlier because I couldn't resist. So here you are. And yes, there's still more drama to come!! I hope you enjoyed this chapter. My next update will be on Tuesday.

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