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The next day, I felt better.
Chemistry was my first lesson—a lesson I shared with Marianne and Dexter. They both greeted me with warm smiles.
I sat down at my desk, reminding myself the only way I could get the truth out of them was to get closer to them. I was already friends with them, but they didn’t trust me yet. After yesterday, I had a feeling getting the truth out of them would be difficult.
“Hey,” Marianne smiled, her blue eyes trained on me. “How are you?”
I slid into the seat and released a slow breath. “I’m okay.”
She nodded her head, satisfied.
There was something I wanted to ask her. If I didn’t, I feared it would bug me. Just as I opened my mouth, I was interrupted by the teacher. I waited, silently, with the type of patience few had, for our teacher to set us on our way.
Asking Marianne this was personal. I was worried she would feel offended. Or that she would lash out.
When the teacher finally returned to their desk and started grading papers, I turned to Marianne. Everyone else in the classroom started talking too at a normal level. It made asking her feel easier.
“Marianne,” I started, shuffling in my seat so that I could face her entirely. I knew I had her full, undivided attention. “Can I ask you something? It’s quite…personal.” I choked out.
She cocked her head to the side, confused by what I had said.
“I don’t mind.”
“Why didn’t you back Raegan up yesterday?” I blurted out. “I saw her face as she turned away from you—she was hurt. I—I think she needed you.”
Marianne averted her eyes to the ground in shame. I instantly felt bad about asking her, it wasn’t my place to. I was simply curious.
“I’m so sorry for asking. It really isn’t my place,” I apologized immediately, begging her with my eyes to forgive me. The one time I wanted to be forward and inquisitive was when I was questioning a sibling relationship. A sensitive one.
Marianne pursed her lips, “No it’s okay. Anybody would be curious,” She replied after a moment, swallowing nervously. It was the first time I saw her vulnerable and I didn’t know if I liked it or not. She was always so strong. “Raegan and I have always had a tough relationship. Especially after our mother and brother died. We don’t get along at all.”
I gently placed my hand on hers, a sign of comfort. I knew what it felt like to lose someone close to you. My dad was somebody so special and important to me.
“I’m so sorry,” I murmured. I didn’t know what else to say. Marianne wouldn’t want anyone pitying her, it was the worst feeling in the world. Showing my support was the best I could do.
“It’s okay, it was a long time ago,” She replied, hiding the sadness in her eyes. “Raegan isn’t a good person, I know that. She’s callous, manipulative, and selfish. She had never been there for me so why should I be there for her?”
I wasn’t somebody who could judge their relationship, so I didn’t. It certainly wasn’t my place.
“What about you?” She turned the conversation so that I was on the spot. “Do you have any siblings?”
I shook my head, sadly. “Nope.”
“Ah well, siblings are a gigantic pain anyways. Who needs them?” She waved her hand dismissively. Having a sibling would make my life so much easier. My mom wouldn’t be on my back all of the time. I would have someone to talk to about the scarred man. I wouldn’t feel so alone.
The closest I had to a sister was Georgia. She had been with me through thick and thin. I relied on her so much.
“I love her though,” Marianne muttered a few minutes later, staring into space. I couldn’t tell if she meant for me to hear that. “And I don’t think she knows I do.”
“I’m sure she does,” I reassured, delicately.
In History, I approached Georgia cautiously. After what went down yesterday, I didn’t know what to say. I had never seen her like that before. She had no witty comeback. Nothing. I was worried about her.
She was sat crouched over her phone, a tense expression on her face. I didn’t fail to notice the bags under her eyes or the withdrawn look in her eyes. Raegan really did a number on her. What was she so worried about? Raegan had threatened our friendship, but I didn’t see how she would actually succeed. I wasn’t going anywhere. I wasn’t going to abandon my best friend.
I could see how she was worried about her family. But surely, she knew her family would be okay.
Perhaps it had something to do with Matt. Her feelings for him ran deep. Maybe she was upset about Raegan trying to get with him again.
I should have spoken to her yesterday when she was still in a state of shock. I was too engrossed in my own thoughts to think about her. I overreacted--I could see that now. My priority should have been Georgia. She was the one who had a reason to be affected.
“Georgia,” I called her name, announcing my arrival. Her brown eyes flickered up to mine.
“Hi,” She greeted back, weakly. I lowered myself into the seat next to her and stared at her, long and hard.
“How are you feeling today?” I asked, concerned. Usually, she was the one comforting me. It was strange—having the roles reversed.
She sucked in a breath, “I’m fine, Celeste. You don’t need to worry about me.”
We both knew she hated being comforted. Georgia wanted to be a strong person. She didn’t want to seek help from others.
“But I do,” I insisted. “You’re letting her words get to you. Something that you’ve never let happen before.”
She pursed her lips and turned her head away from me. It hurt. But I knew she was doing it to avoid talking about it. Georgia hated talking about her problems.
“Talk to me, Georgie,” I begged, using her nickname for sentimentality. “I want to help you. Please.”
She didn’t reply. Our teacher appeared and started blabbering on about the second world war.
When History finished, I chased after her, hoping to get an answer out of her somewhere more private. I failed. She disappeared around a busy corridor, unnoticed. It was a first for her. She always attracted attention wherever she went. Today, she didn’t even get a glance. She wanted to blend in.
I spotted Lazarus making his way over to me, his forest green eyes trained on me. An image of him against me flashed in my mind. Was that from the party Friday night? Or was it something I made up?
He stopped in front of me. People passed us to their next lessons, unbothered by us.
“I wanted to talk to you about what Raegan said yesterday,” He said, getting straight to the point. I was grateful. It felt like today revolved around talking to people. First Marianne, then Georgia and now Lazarus.
“Sure. Do you want to tell me here or…?”
He shook his head and grabbed onto my hand. Sparks erupted on my skin at his touch, igniting every element in my body. I was on fire and I loved it.
He dragged me to an empty classroom. Luckily, I had a free period, so I wasn’t going to miss a lesson.
Lazarus shut the door and spun around to face me. The air left my lungs at the sight of him. The sun shone on the left side of his face, making him look ethereal. I was in awe.
Raegan’s words filtered into my mind again. She warned me about discovering their secret. I was so desperate to know what it was. Curiosity could be a dangerous thing. One day, my curiosity would lead me along a dark path.
“I want to tell you about Raegan—the truth,” He mumbled, stepping closer to me. I sat on the edge of the desk and peered up at him intrigued. I wondered if he was going to tell me the big secret. I hoped he was.
It can’t be that easy, A voice whispered into my ear. It was right though; it wasn’t that simple. Nothing ever was that simple.
“The reason she acted…the way she did around you…” He paused, clearing his throat nervously. What was so hard to tell me? “She has an unhealthy obsession with me. And she acts very…territorial of me. I apologize for her bothering you over the past few weeks.”
He put his head down ashamed. I knew Raegan had feelings for Lazarus, but I thought he reciprocated it. Raegan made it seem like he did. Every time I saw them together, they were close. Was Raegan making it look like they were together? Was she trying to ward me off?
“So, y—you never dated?” I questioned, cocking my head to the side.
He rubbed the back of his neck in a nervous manner. It made him look adorable.
“No…we had a different type of relationship.” He explained, cryptically.
It took me a full minute to work out what he meant. When I did, my cheeks reddened, and I snapped my eyes to the ground. “O—oh.”
He exhaled loudly, “I regret it now.”
This conversation was getting uncomfortable. Lazarus confirmed he had sexual relations with Raegan. But it was nothing more, according to him. It wasn’t any of my business to know all of this. I was glad he told me though.
“So…you don’t have feelings for her?” I clarified, biting my lip.
He inched closer to me, close enough for me to smell his cologne. Discreetly—or at least, I thought I was discreet—I inhaled it.
“No,” He denied. His fingers twitched beside him as if he wanted to touch me or something. I longed for him to do it too. But we were both afraid of that. We were being held back by ourselves.
That realization hit me like a truck. Perhaps he did have feelings for me. Perhaps I had misread everything.
“I have never had feelings for her,” He whispered, staring directly into my eyes, forcing me to see his sincerity. I couldn’t look away—I was mesmerized. He had me under a wicked spell, I was at his mercy.
And then, his hands were cupping my face, tenderly. Any control I had—which wasn’t a lot—vanished.
I gazed into those eyes I adored fondly. An emotion I couldn’t decipher was swirling in his eyes. All I knew was that it was intense. I savored this; in fear, I would never experience it again.
“Celeste,” His name rolled off my lips so well. I shivered at the sound of it. He leaned down until his lips hovered over my mouth. I licked my lips in anticipation.
Was he going to kiss me?
“You don’t know how long I’ve waited for you,” He murmured, so quietly I barely heard it. I was so dazed I didn’t analyze what he meant by that. He pressed his lips to my cheek, lightly. I was lost at that. My mind went haywire. He trailed slow kisses from my cheek down the curve of my neck. I tilted my head to give him better access.
“Hmm,” I moaned, fluttering my eyes shut.
Suddenly, Lazarus was ripping himself away from me as if I was poisonous. Startled, I blinked at him and gaped.
He couldn’t meet me in the eye.
“Lazarus…” I called his name, confused and hurt. Why was he suddenly acting like this? I slipped off the desk and approached him. He put a handout, stopping me.
“I—I can’t,” He choked out, “Not yet, at least. It’s not fair on you. You don’t know everything yet—you don’t know anything about me.”
He sounded in so much pain, I wanted to comfort him so badly. But he acted as if my touch burned him. He looked as if he wasn’t worthy of my affection.
“I have to go,” He interrupted in a rush. He sent me one last lingering look before dashing off.
I slumped my shoulders in defeat, staring at the spot he was just in. What on earth just happened? I opened up to him—I made myself completely vulnerable. I had never done that before, not when I had to keep my guard up. And he basically spat it back in my face. Albeit, he wasn’t rude or cruel, he was the opposite. And that’s what made it worse.
What did that kiss mean? Why did it feel so familiar? So right?
Lazarus was confusing me. Again. He was afraid of me discovering the truth, I was certain. Whatever he was hiding, it would destroy everything.
Hi everyone! Thank you for reading! I'm back from my holiday now and ready to write so many chapters! Haha. So now you know more about Raegan and Lazarus. Are you glad Raegan is gone? Or do you want her to make more trouble? Anyways, my next update will be Thursday. Have a good week!