Waited For You ✔️

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(10) Manipulation

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Celeste's POV

I arrived at school the next day with a limp.

I had spent the entire evening in the hospital, waiting to see the doctor. In the end, mom had to drag one of her colleagues over to check my foot out. Georgia sat with me the entire time, questioning Lazarus’s motives.

Mom dropped her home when I was discharged. She pampered me for the rest of the evening, making my favorite food for tea.

It turned out I had a sprained ankle. Nothing major. I could walk on it as long as I had taken my pain medication.

At school, my cheer friends met me in the school car park. They all wore solemn expressions on their faces, each asking me how I was. It was as if I had died or something.

Georgia barged through the crowd a few seconds later after locking her car and slowly dragged me away from them. She linked her arm with mine and guided me to my locker. Every once in a while, I would wince in pain.

To my utter annoyance, I spotted Raegan leaning against her locker, talking to Marianne and Dexter. They appeared to be having a very serious talk. Marianne shot her an irritated look, her jaw clenched, and her pearly white teeth gritted together.

Raegan, on the other hand, appeared triumphant with whatever she said.

Standing opposite each other, I couldn’t help but count the similarities between them. They both had luscious long white hair and light blue eyes. Their skin was pale, and they had sharp features. Were they related?

Georgia followed my line of sight and glared at Raegan. She had calmed down, but she was still furious with Raegan. She was just biding her time, waiting for the right opportunity to get her back.

“Do you think they’re related?” I asked her, curiously.

She pursed her lips, refusing to look at Raegan. “I think they’re last names end in Miller. Either it’s a big coincidence or they are related. My money is on related. They look like sisters.”

Did that mean Marianne was on Raegan’s side? Did she support her and Lazarus together? Surely, she would if they were sisters.

When I reached my locker, I slumped against the one beside me, temporarily relieving my poor ankle. I had Math first—a lesson I shared with Raegan. I nearly groaned at the thought.

I didn’t want to see her. It was her fault I had injured my ankle.

I entered the classroom with my head hanging low. Raegan waltzed in a few minutes later, a smirk planted on her pretty face. She had the audacity to glance my way and wink.

Fisting my fingers together, I snapped my head in the other direction to her and stared out of the window. Something caught my eye outside, in the football field. A pair of golden eyes were glowing, looking directly at me. I couldn’t see anything else due to them hiding behind a tree. I rubbed my eyes and blinked, only to find they were gone.

Was I imagining things now as well?

Shaking my head, I pursed my lips and waited for my teacher to arrive. As usual, he was late.

He addressed the class with boredom and told us to crack on with the task. Like most of the teachers here, he shuffled over to the desk and plonked down, not paying any attention to us. Instead, he opened a book and started reading.

As expected, everybody started talking to each other.

Sighing, I began working on the problems in the textbook, zoning out of the real world. It was only when I felt somebody move into the empty seat beside me did, I bring myself back to reality.

Peering up through my lashes, my eyes landed on Raegan with disdain. She was the last person I wanted to talk to.

“Hi,” She chirped, pretending to act excited to see me. I knew there was something else lurking behind her sultry eyes. “You’re the cheerleader that fell yesterday, right?”

I stared at her warily. “Yes, I am.”

She feigned sympathy, leaning in closer to me. All I wanted to do was shuffle away from her and her strong perfume scent. It was overbearing.

“How’s your ankle? It was your ankle you hurt right? I didn’t get a good look, I was quite…distracted.” She chose her words carefully, the corners of her lips quirking upwards. If there was one word, I would use to describe this girl, it would be manipulative. I didn’t even know her, and I got a sense of her powers.

I pursed my lips, “Yeah. It’ll be fine though, the doctor said it was just a sprain.”

“Oh, that’s great!” She lied, faking enthusiasm.

A part of me desperately wanted to call her out. But what good would that do? I didn’t want to fight, I hated confrontation. Plus, what about Lazarus? He cared about her, didn’t he? I mean, the moment she arrived, he had been avoiding me, not counting my injury yesterday. They were always together when I saw them, talking intensely.

“Why are you here?” I asked, forcing my tone to remain nonchalant.

She tilted her head to the side, regarding me with a curious expression. “I’m visiting friends and family.”

“So, you know Marianne, Dexter, and Lazarus?” I just had to ask.

She smirked, wickedly. “Yep. Marianne’s my older sister and Lazarus was my boyfriend. We’re on a break but not for long. We always find our way back to each other.”

It was strange the feeling I felt. My heart plummeted to the ground and my stomach churned. Pictures of the two of them together flooded my mind, torturing me.

Of course, they were together.

“So…you’re just visiting?”

I didn’t want this girl sticking around.

She nodded her head, smirking. I had to look away from the dark look in her eyes.

“Wait—why did you kiss Matt if you were trying to get back with Lazarus?” She admitted to kissing him yesterday. I’m sure word traveled around—Lazarus must have found out.

“I had to make him jealous,” She replied, smoothly. Raegan started touching up her hair, making sure there wasn’t a single strand out of place. The action reminded me of Georgia—she always had to look perfect. “He had to want me again.”

It sickened me to hear this. I was attracted to Lazarus and hearing another woman say this made my insides roll around. I wasn’t his though; he wasn’t mine. I had no right to feel like this when Jamie was so interested in me.

Lazarus wasn’t at fault yesterday. I was staring at him. I was the one looking. I had no one to blame but myself.

Raegan was in love with Lazarus. I could see it in her eyes. She was devoted to him. And I imagine he was the same to her too. They were in love.

Sensing the conversation was over, Raegan rose to her feet and sauntered back to her seat, between two guys. She threw me one last glance—a pointed look.

After Math, I had English. I hobbled to my classroom, sticking to the sides of the hallway. The last thing I needed was to crash into someone and worsen my injury.

My head was lowered, my hair creating a curtain around my face. I wasn’t looking where I was going when I bumped into a warm, hard body.

Before I could fall to the ground, they wrapped a thick muscle around my slender waist, preventing me from hitting the ground. I peered up, curious to know who my savior was. My dull blue eyes met emerald green. I gasped in shock, suddenly becoming aware of the sparks igniting my body.

His eyes burned into my face, analyzing my reaction. Concern swirled in those gorgeous eyes.

“Are you okay?” He whispered, huskily. His rich, velvety voice could lull me to sleep. It was so manly and otherworldly.

His minty breath fanned my face. I only realized now he was slightly leaning over me, his arm circled around me in an almost protective manner.

I gulped and pulled myself away with great strength. He didn’t fight back—he simply watched me. To support myself, I rested my hand on the locker beside me.

His eyes darted between the locker and me.

“Are you okay, Celeste?” He repeated, louder this time.

I forced myself to not get lost in his voice. He was not mine.

“Yeah,” I nodded my head shakily. After the painful reminder that he wasn’t interested in me, all I wanted to do was get away from him. The longer I spent with him, the more my feelings grew. He had a way of worming his way into my heart. It was peculiar since we barely spent any time together. “Uh—thanks for catching me.”

His mouth twitched, “I will always catch you, Celeste.”

The intensity in his eyes was too much.

“How’s your ankle?” He questioned, the worry returning. “I wanted to go with you to the hospital yesterday but there wasn’t enough room in the car apparently.”

My heart warmed at the fact. I wanted to curse him for being so thoughtful and caring. No wonder Raegan wanted him back.

“I—it’s alright,” I replied, quietly.

“Can I walk with you to English?”

I forgot he was in my class. I couldn’t say no without being rude. So instead, I bobbed my head up and down, silently informing him I didn’t mind. The corridors were quieter now. Most people were in their next classroom. The bell hadn’t rung yet so I could still make it on time.

Lazarus noticed me struggling to walk and slid his arm around my waist, easing the pressure on my ankle. I gasped but didn’t protest. I found his presence reassuring, even if it was supposed to be forbidden. He was enjoying it too because he grinned at me when I turned to look at him.

When we entered the class, all eyes zoned in on us. Georgia’s narrowed suspiciously whilst Dexter’s brightened in glee. Lazarus escorted me to my desk and slipped into the empty one beside me. I guessed it was his new seat.

The teacher talked for a while about the work we had to do and then allowed us to do the independent work.

Georgia and Ellie were chatting about a new piece of clothing that was released. They were going to go shopping this weekend.

“Are you free this lunchtime?” Lazarus said, snapping me out of my thoughts. Whipping my head in his direction, I didn’t know what to say. Did he want to teach me more of the piano? Could I do that when I knew about Raegan? If she found out, I knew she wouldn’t be impressed.

“I—,”

“Great, I’ll meet you in the music room,” He interrupted me before I could say anything.

So much for staying away from him.

When I turned back around, Georgia was already staring at us with an arched eyebrow. I shrugged my shoulders, attempting to downplay what just happened. I wondered if she could hear us talking. It was quite loud in this classroom.

I kept to myself the rest of the lesson. Lazarus shot me looks every once in a while.

When the bell rang, Marianne and Dexter headed over to us. Dexter was wearing a cheeky grin whilst Marianne had a passive look on her pretty face. Compared to her sister, Marianne was more uptight and serious.

“Hi, Celeste!” Dexter greeted, happily. “I saw your fall yesterday—are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just a sprain, no biggie.” I replied, smiling slightly.

“That’s good. This idiot over here was so worried. He thought they’d have to amputate your leg,” Dexter joked, slapping Lazarus’ broad chest.

Lazarus threw lasers at his friend, “I did not think that.”

Dexter snorted, “Whatever you say.”

Marianne rolled her eyes at the pair and folded her arms over her chest. “I’m surrounded by morons.”

I hid my laugh with a cough.

“Oh, we should ask Celeste if she wants to come to the BBQ Friday night.” Dexter blurted out, bouncing his eyes from Lazarus to me.

Lazarus’ glare hardened. “I was going to ask her that later,” He murmured, angrily.

As if he realized something, Dexter’s eyes widened in regret. His shoulders deflated and an apologetic look flashed on his face.

Lazarus wanted me at the BBQ? It couldn’t be because he liked me. No, he had Raegan.

Nonetheless, things were starting to feel awkward. I needed to intervene now. “I’d love to go.”

Dexter beamed at me. Even Lazarus managed a smile.

“Great! Come by Leah’s house Friday evening at six.”

“I—um—I don’t know where Leah lives,” I stammered.

Dexter ripped a page of his notepad out and scribbled down the address. “Here you are. Shouldn’t be hard to find.”

It wasn’t. It was the street Matt lived in.

“Thanks. I’ll see you guys later.” I told them and walked away, my ankle feeling a bit better after resting it for an hour.

As I left the classroom, I felt eyes scorching into my back. Hesitantly, I glanced over my shoulder and saw Raegan staring at me with her arms crossed over her chest. There was a tick in her jaw and a scary glint in her eyes.

She knew what I agreed to. She wasn’t happy.

Raegan saw me as a threat. She thought I wanted to steal Lazarus from her.

Did I though? Did I want to get in between them?

The answer was instant.

Yes, I did.

Thank you so much for reading! What did you think of this chapter? Raegan is so mean! My next update will be Tuesday. Have a great weekend!

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