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Nervousness bit in me.
I was fluffing my hair out in my room, staring in my full-length mirror anxiously. I had delved into my wardrobe, searching for the perfect outfit for our date. Jamie didn’t tell me where we were going but I had assumed it would be somewhere nice—everyone else thought so.
In the end, I found a knee-length black backless dress. It was pretty but not too glamorous. My make-up was simple—Georgia had ordered me to not go overboard with it. I opted for smokey black eyeshadow and blood-red lipstick.
Jamie messaged me earlier, telling me he would be at mine by seven. He rolled up in his expensive Audi and strolled up my short driveway.
My mother was home today, and she greeted him with a friendly smile. She had always liked Jamie. She used to joke that we would get married one day.
I descended the stairs carefully, listening to my mother and Jamie talk. Hearing my footsteps on the stairs, he peered up and smiled at the sight of me.
“You look beautiful,” He complimented, honestly.
My mother stood to the side and watched us interact with a soft, motherly smile on her aging face.
“Thank you,” I blushed scarlet and tucked some of my hair behind my ear.
“We should go, our reservation is at half seven,” He announced, looping his arm through mine.
“Have fun kids!” My mother yelled, watching us leave with a fond expression.
Jamie led me to his car and opened the door for me. He was such a gentleman. A Queen song was playing through the speakers—Jamie was a big fan of Queen.
We made small talk throughout the car ride. Thankfully, before it got awkward, we arrived at the restaurant on the outskirts of town. It was fairly busy for a weeknight.
A pretty hostess greeted us with a polite smile and led us to the table Jamie booked in the corner. Jamie held out my chair for me and pushed it in.
My eyes scanned the room and my nerves skyrocketed. I had only been to restaurants as fancy as this a few times in my life, with the Stem family. They were extremely wealthy and could afford to dine in luxurious places.
I decided to order something simple that I could pronounce.
“So,” Jamie drawled, “We finish school next year. What are your plans?”
I sipped my diet coke and shrugged my shoulders. In all honesty, I hadn’t really thought about next year. My mom wanted me to go to college, of course. She believed if I didn’t get a college education, I would end up homeless or something.
She was already pressuring me about it. She had planned to go visit several campuses in summer with me. I had no say in the matter.
Sighing, I pinched my lips together, “Mom wants me to go to college and study medicine or something. She wants me to have a ‘stable’ future.”
He cocked his head to the side. It made him look cute. “That’s what your mother wants you to do. What about you, Celeste?”
Nobody had really asked me what I wanted to do. Jamie was considerate like that.
“I don’t know. I honestly have no idea,” I replied, honestly.
Jamie leaned forwards, staring deeply into my eyes.
“I know you respect your mom a lot,” He began, treading carefully. “And I know you want to make her proud, but you are in control of your own life. Do what you want, Celeste.”
My expression softened.
I should have melted at his words and fallen head over heels with him. But I didn’t. I could only think of one green-eyed man who made my heart jump in my chest.
It was nice to know Jamie would support me, no matter what. Knowing he was there for me was enough to give me some courage to defy my mother if need be.
“Thanks, Jamie,” I said, gratefully. “What about you? What are your plans?”
Jamie didn’t hesitate to answer. He was so confident and sure. “I’m going to apply for Stanford college. I want to study business like my father.”
Jamie would do great in any subject. He knew what he wanted. A tinge of jealously hit me at his words—I wish I knew what I wanted. Not knowing where I was going was scary.
“You’ll get in easily,” I told him, honestly.
Our food arrived shortly after. I dug in, moaning in delight at the taste.
“Good?” Jamie questioned, arching a playful eyebrow at me.
I nodded my head, “Oh, definitely.”
As the evening went on, we got more comfortable around each other and started to joke around. All nervousness vanished. However, whilst I could admit I was having a good time, I knew I didn’t view this as a date. It was more like a friendly dinner.
I didn’t know how to break this to Jamie. He was clearly enjoying this a lot too and the way he kept staring at me, with the same look as Lazarus, I knew he saw me as something more than a friend. Did I have the heart to hurt one of my closest friends?
Jamie insisted on paying, even though I was adamant I didn’t want him to. We left just after nine since it was a school night.
The sun was starting to set. The sky was a painting of blue, purple, and orange. It was truly a beautiful sight. Jamie walked beside me, accidentally brushing my hand against his every once in a while.
“I had a good night,” I said, standing outside of his car.
All of a sudden, the familiar feeling of having eyes on me overcame me. They scorched into my body.
I searched the area, from the car park to the forest on the other side of the road. Jamie was staring at me concerned, oblivious to the feeling of being watched.
“Jamie,” I whispered, shuffling closer to him.
He met my eyes, allowing me to see the puzzled look in his eyes. He stepped closer, to my relief.
“What’s wrong?” Jamie asked me, worriedly.
I swallowed nervously and snapped my eyes back to the forest. All of the trees were close together, making it harder to see anything. It would also mean the person hiding in there was safe. My heart was pounding so loud in my chest.
What if it was the scarred man? What if he was back for me again?
He would do anything to get to me. I had seen him fight Wilder, a mere teenager. He didn’t care about the consequences. He would kill Jamie if he needed to.
Fear seized my body at the thought. I would not let him harm Jamie.
Jamie was innocent. He was young and he had his whole life ahead of him. I would fight for Jamie if I had to.
“There’s someone in the woods, watching us,” I revealed, in a hushed tone.
Jamie whipped his head in the direction of the woods, squinting his eyes. Like me, he couldn’t see anything.
“Are you sure, Celeste? I can’t see anybody,” Jamie wondered, dragging his gaze back to me.
I nodded my head frantically. I knew I was right. “I can’t see them, but I can feel their eyes on me. They’re out there, watching.”
He wanted to believe me. I could see the inner turmoil in his eyes. To him, I was probably acting like a crazy, paranoid person. The attacks over the past decade had definitely affected me. I was skittish and skeptical all of the time. I didn’t trust easily.
“How about we go?” Jamie suggested, making a move for the car door.
The next few events occurred so quickly. It was almost like a dream.
A brown-haired wolf leaped out from the trees and charged at us. It roared so loud the stones on the ground vibrated.
I could hear someone screaming loudly. That, someone, was me.
Jamie froze in fear and stared at the wolf with wide eyes. We were both paralyzed with fear.
Our small town didn’t have wolves. I had never seen one before. At least, not in the wild.
Its eyes glistened bright red—a crazy, feral glint in its eyes. It had its eyes zeroed in on us, it’s intention to kill.
For a split second, I was glad it wasn’t the scarred man. But that was short-lived when I realized the wolf was getting closer to us. The road was empty—there was nobody outside to save us.
We were also too far away from the restaurant to run. We would never make it. The only option was to climb into Jamie’s car and drive away.
I was the first to break out of my fearful state. Mustering up as much courage as I had, I grabbed hold of Jamie’s hand and dragged both of us into his car. Jamie came out of his state and pulled himself into the passenger seat whilst I crawled into the driver’s seat.
“Keys,” I demanded, trying to ignore the vicious growls coming from outside.
Jamie slammed the door shut and fished into his jean pocket for the car keys.
I glanced out of the window and saw the wolf was barely ten meters away from us.
“Hurry!” I cried, fearfully.
He handed me his keys and I shoved it into the car. The Audi roared to life and without a second thought, I pressed my foot onto the accelerator. The wolf crashed into the back of his car and collapsed onto the ground.
I released a long breath, relief coursing through me.
“Oh my god,” I murmured, shocked that had just happened. “Oh my god, oh my god.”
I glanced over at Jamie who was trembling. In fact, so was I.
“T—that was crazy,” Jamie stuttered, locking eyes with me.
I shifted gear and pulled my seatbelt over me.
Through the rear-view mirror, I spotted the wolf standing up on his strong legs, glaring at us.
“I thought wolves didn’t live around here,” I wondered, furrowing my eyebrows together. We would know if wolves lived around here.
“They don’t,” He muttered, shakily. “Well, they shouldn’t.”
We were silent for the rest of the journey, both grateful we were still alive.
I drove to my house first. The car rolled to a stop on the driveway. I turned the car off and turned to face him.
His brown eyes swirled with terror.
“I—I want to thank you for tonight,” I told him, truthfully.
The corners of his lips quirked upwards. We were staring into each other’s eyes—to anyone else, this would be the moment we kissed. But for me, this was the moment I realized there was no way I could be with Jamie romantically. I only had one man on my mind.
Jamie didn’t get the memo.
He leaned in closer to me, his breathing hitting my skin. My eyes enlarged and my mind whirled with thoughts. He was going to kiss me!
Because I was so caught up in my head, I didn’t notice how close he was until his lips brushed against mine. That seemed to jolt me out of my head.
I jerked away from him and scrambled out of the car. He blinked, startled and opened his mouth to say something only to close it a second later. He appeared to be so confused and a little bit hurt. I needed to tell him the truth…he needed to know now before he tried to make another move. But once again, I stopped myself.
I imagined Jamie never speaking to me again or worse, him hating me. I didn’t want to lose him.
I had to tell him the truth.
“Jamie…” I paused and swallowed the lump in my throat. Come on girl, you can do this. It’s for the best. “I—I had a wonderful time. I enjoyed your company.”
He smirked, “So did I.”
“Let me finish, please,” I implored, my eyes pleading with his. He saw how important this was and changed his expression to a serious one. “But…I can’t see us as anything but friends.”
A devastated look crossed over his handsome face. My stomach churned at the sight. He flickered his eyes away from mine and cleared his throat.
“Right,” He nodded his head, staring at the dashboard in front of him. “I—uh—I better get home. Goodnight, Celeste.”
And just like that, he slipped into the driver’s seat and drove off, leaving me standing in the middle of the road, watching his car disappear.
It was important I did it, but it hurt to do it. My heart weighed a tonne as images of Jamie’s sad face flashed in my mind.
I should have never listened to Georgia.
I was a horrible person.
So...there we go. I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Thank you so much for reading! I will hopefully post a new chapter soon.