“Lily? What do you want?” Amber asks, confused. She sounds exhausted—which is strange because she is never tired. I wonder if she’s letting her schoolwork pile up.
I miss listening to Amber’s voice. I miss everything about her.
“I…I have a problem,” I stammer, swallowing the lump in my throat.
Amber remains silent as I tell her everything. And I mean everything. She doesn’t interrupt me, and she barely makes a sound.
When I’m done, I exhale loudly and run a tired hand down my face. I feel exhausted, physically and mentally.
“Oh, wow,” Amber eventually says, surprised and uncertain of what to say. The news I just forced on her is something new and unheard of. A part of me feels bad for dragging Amber into this but there is nobody I trust more than my sister.
“I’m sorry I dumped this on you. I just don’t know what to do. I mean, how can I face him again? He’s hurt me so much. I hate him. I really do.” I explain to her, feeling as if I owe her an explanation.
I can imagine Amber waving this off right now, pretending to not mind at all.
“Lily, I think you should leave,” Amber suggests.
For a moment, I don’t say anything. Leave. I have thought about it over the past few hours but every time I come to a decision; I feel as if something is holding me back. Is it Arlo? Are my feelings for him holding me back? Or is it my friends? Will I regret leaving Talia, Arden and Cabe without an explanation?
The answer to the last question is yes. Yes, I will regret it.
“I—I,” I stutter, unsure if I really want to go. Sure, it will solve the problem of never seeing Arlo again, but I hate the thought of running away. I hate being a coward.
“Lily, these people hurt you—they lied to you. Especially Arlo. If you stay, you will only feel worse every time you see him. I know what you’re thinking, and you will not be seen as a coward. You’ll be seen as someone who needed to leave because it hurt too much to be around them.” Amber reasons, trying to reassure me.
Amber’s speech does help me.
I try to imagine staying at this school, with these people. And I honestly can’t see myself around them at school. Even if I was to forgive Talia, Arden and Cabe, I would still never be able to trust them completely. Plus, that feeling of being left out will always be there.
And I can’t face Trinity every single day. That girl is my own personal nightmare for too long. As much as I loathe the knowledge that I will be letting her win, I am comforted by the thought of never seeing her again.
“If I do leave, where will I go though? I can’t just quit school.” I say, voicing my worries.
It appears Amber already thought that through though. “You can move to my school.”
My heart skips a beat at that. If I moved to her school, I could spend more time with Amber and fix our relationship. If I wasn’t certain of moving before, I am now.
“Okay, I’ll give Aunt Mabel a call.” I finally say, agreeing to her answer. I wonder if Amber is happy that I decided to come to her school. I hope she is. I’d like to think she was smiling over the phone right now, glad I accepted. “Are you really okay with me coming to your school though?”
Amber doesn’t answer straight away. She obviously mulls it over, going over all the pros and cons.
“I’d like it if you came and studied here,” Amber answers after a few moments, causing a smile to form on my face. This brings me hope that we can mend our relationship. Perhaps Amber wants to save our relationship too, maybe I was wrong.
“I should probably go, it’s late,” I announce, reluctantly. I’m afraid this is a dream and that when I hang up, the dream will crumble. “I’ll call Aunt Mabel tomorrow morning and see if she can get a transfer done.”
Amber wishes me goodnight and hangs up the phone.
Sighing, I place my phone on my bedside table and pull the duvet over me. I force my eyes closed and try to think peaceful thoughts. Unfortunately, my mind is like a battleground right now. Too many thoughts are whizzing through my head, keeping me awake. No matter how hard I try, Arlo refuses to leave my mind. Doubt begins to manifest in my stomach. Now that a few hours have passed, I’m beginning to regret my decision.
But then that picture of Arlo and Trinity springs to mind. Along with the image of Arlo transforming into a wolf and the fact that he’s my mate. Well, he was my mate.
I spent the rest of the night wide awake, thinking. Trinity doesn’t return, leaving me to believe she’s staying at one of her friend’s dorms.
When it’s an appropriate time to get up, I wash my face and change into a suitable attire.
After changing, I grab onto my phone and find Aunt Mabel’s contact information. Inhaling sharply, I dial her phone and wait for her to pick up. Despite the fact it’s early, I am positive she will be up. Aunt Mabel always gets up early.
It rings and rings and rings.
Just as I’m about to give up, her bored and firm voice answers.
The sound of her voice sends chills down my spine. The coldness in her voice is unnerving. To this day, I have no idea why she is so emotionless. She hates me, my sister and my parents so much. Yet, I have no idea why.
Mom and dad never told me why. They never talked about Aunt Mabel. We only visited her a handful of times when they were alive.
“Hi, Aunt Mabel,” I say into the phone, in a meek and timid voice.
She doesn’t return the greeting. Not that I expected her to.
“What do you want, Lily?” She asks into the phone, sounding bored already.
Inhaling, I try to ignore the hurt I feel from her lack of care. I should be used to it. I’m starting to think Mabel doesn’t have a single compassionate bone in her body. Now that’s just tragic.
“I—I want to ask you for a favour,” I manage to say to her.
I can imagine Mabel arching an eyebrow right now, wondering what on earth I could want. I haven’t asked much from her, in fear of her reaction. So, she must know this is serious.
“Spit it out, girl,” Mabel demands, causing me to jolt physically.
“I—um—I,” I stammer, losing all confidence. Somehow this woman always manages to knock me down a few pegs.
She sighs over the phone, growing impatient.
“Lily, I don’t have all day. If you don’t hurry up and tell me I’m going to hang up.” She threatens.
Panic settles into my body, causing me to quickly blurt out what I want. “I need you to transfer me to Amber’s school ASAP.”
The silence goes on for so long that I begin to think the phone disconnected our call.
“Why do you need to leave?” She asks, trying to sound nonchalant but failing. She can’t hide the interest in her voice.
“I can’t be here anymore. My heart can’t take it,” I explain, cryptically.
Mabel lets out an exhausted breath. She remains quiet for a few moments as she ponders over what to do. I’m surprised she is actually thinking about it. I was prepared to fight her—to beg her to let me leave.
But Aunt Mabel hasn’t forbidden me. She hasn’t started a fight. I’m thankful she isn’t. It means that she must care for me and my sister. She must feel something.
“Lily, it won’t be easy.” She eventually says, to my utter relief. “But I will try my best.”
For the first time ever, I want to hug Aunt Mabel.
She has never been so…nice to me. Even at my parent’s funeral, she wasn’t as nice as this. She basically ignored me and Amber the entire time.
The funeral…no, don’t think about that.
“Thank you, Aunt Mabel. Really, thank you.” I say to her, sincerely, wanting to express my gratefulness.
“I have to go now, Lily. I’ll call you later.” She announces and hangs up.
A smile breaks out onto my face, reflecting my internal feelings. My Aunt is on board with my plan—meaning it's one step closer to Amber.
I send a message to Amber, telling her about my successful talk with Aunt Mabel. She replies instantly, saying she’s glad that Aunt Mabel was willing to make the transfer possible.
“Lily?” Talia’s calls out from the other side of the door, startling me. Snapping my eyes to the closed door, I squeeze my eyes shut and pretend I didn’t hear her. Of course, Talia is stubborn and doesn’t go down without a fight. “Lily, I know you’re in there. I just want to talk.”
Taking in a shuddering breath, I bite my lip nervously and eye the door, praying she won’t break down the door or something.
“Lily open this damn door right now or so help me god, I will break it down,” She warns, to my dismay.
Not wanting to deal with the repercussions of Talia’s actions, I leap to my feet and rush over to the door.
As usual, Talia looks beautiful, even in joggers and a baggy t-shirt. Her hair is not neat like it usually is and there are bags under her eyes. Somehow though, she manages to look amazing. I bet I look dreadful with my tangled hair and splotchy skin.
“Lily,” She breathes in relief. Before I can comprehend what’s happening, her slim but strong arms are wrapped around my body. She holds onto me for dear life as if this is the last time, she will see me. “I’m so sorry, Lily. God, I’m so sorry.”
Talia sobs into my shoulder which shatters my heart. Even though I’m hurt, I still care deeply for her. She’s my best friend. She’s been my rock the past few months.
“I know you probably don’t want to see me. I understand that.” She interrupts me, leaning back so that I can face her. “But I had to see you. I want to say sorry for not telling you. I really wanted to but, how could I? It’s such a big secret, I couldn’t just spring it on you one day. And with Arlo…oh lord, where do I begin with him?”
I completely understand where she is coming from. But I’m still hurt that I didn’t know. I always felt like the odd one out in the group. They tried to make me feel as involved as possible, but that secret did separate us, no matter hard they tried to stop it. I know it’s not Talia’s fault, I just…I can’t let that feeling go.
“Talia, I understand your situation. Sure, I’m hurt but…I know you tell me.”
Talia lowers her gaze and nods her head.
“I don’t want to lose my best friend.” She admits, quietly. “I’ve spent my whole life surrounded by people who want to use me for my popularity. You didn’t. You made me feel like a real person. I felt like I could tell you anything. And…I would have told you one day.”
I’m thrilled she would have trusted me one day. That does mean something.
“Talia, I…I don’t know what to do. I know it’s not your fault and I could see you tried to get me and Arlo together but…”
“But you have this feeling, this strong feeling that won’t disappear. You want to forgive me, but you can’t forget what’s happened, you don’t want to. You’re hurt and lost.” She fills in. “Lily, I think you need to spend some time away from here.”
My eyes widen at her words. “Actually, about that…I have something to tell you.”
Talia cocks her head to one side and stares at me with confusion.
“I called my Aunt and asked for a transfer. My Aunt is currently sorting it out.”
She doesn’t appear shocked or hurt by my confession. She nods her head solemnly and gazes at me with sad eyes. “I think that’s for the best. It will be hard being around Arlo after the rejection.”
My heart aches at the sound of his name.
“What happens after rejection? I spent a lot of the night reading about wolves, but it didn’t mention a lot about rejection.” I ask, desperate to find out more.
Talia blows out a breath and steps away from me. She sits down on my desk chair and drags a hand through her hair. “After rejecting your mate, you feel a hole in your heart. If you’re around them, it can be physically painful. Touching your mate is strange. Some say it feels like your touching something hollow, others say it burns them. It’s rare in our world so I don’t know much about it.”
I process her words, taking it all in.
“So, you knew Arlo loved you?” I have to ask this question. It’s been bugging me for so long.
Talia sighs dejectedly. “Yeah…I’m not oblivious. I just pretended it wasn’t real. Arden knew too…he wasn’t happy with it, but he trusted his brother.”
So, everyone knew. They just ignored it.
“Oh,” I blink.
“But Arlo loves you. I can see it. You should have seen him after you rejected him. He was distraught.” Talia informs me, staring deeply into my eyes. “Lily, you broke him.”
I don’t want to hear this.
“Talia, I don’t want to think about Arlo anymore. I hate him. I really do.”
She doesn’t believe me though. She stares at me in pity like she thinks I haven’t realized something yet. I know what I know, Talia. I hate Arlo and that’s the truth.
It’s at that moment my phone pings, announcing a new message. Strolling over to my bedside table, I pick it up and read the message.
Lily, it’s all sorted. I had to pull a few strings but you’re leaving tomorrow. You start next week.
Talia peers over my shoulder and reads the message. The sadness that surrounds her is hard to miss.
“I’m going to miss you.” She says to me, emotionally.
I give her a sad smile. “I will too.”
She pulls me in for a bone-crushing. I savour this feeling, this moment.
Spending some time away from here will help me figure out things. I’m certain I will keep in contact with Talia, Arden and Cabe. Arlo, on the other hand, now that’s a different story.
When we pull away, Talia wipes her eyes and sniffles. I find my own eyes welling up.
“I’ll help you pack,” She suddenly says and wonders over to my wardrobe. I watch her take out all my clothes whilst thinking about what the future will bring.
I can now fix my relationship with Amber and figure out what I want. I can move on from Arlo and focus on myself.
This is what I want.
And it’s what I need.
Sorry I couldn't update Monday. As usual, I ended up being busy. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this chapter...it took me a while to write it. I found it difficult to express Lily's feelings in this.
My next update will either be this Saturday or Monday.