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I returned inside a few minutes later and found Georgia talking to Ellie. They seemed to be having an intense conversation, so I held off from approaching them immediately.
When they parted ways, I followed Ellie to English. I managed to catch up to her and tap her shoulder. She turned her head towards me and threw me a breath-taking smile.
“So, Wilder said he saw you and Lazarus getting…close,” She mentioned, trying and failing to be casual about it. Her excitement was practically bursting out of the seams. the seams.
I looked away, fighting the blush threatening to spread over my cheeks. Of course, Wilder told his girlfriend this. Ellie was probably sharing this information with Georgia who was going to question me the second I was alone.
“You got anything to add?” She queried, arching an eyebrow.
I shook my head, causing my hair to splay around my face.
When my eyes landed on Lazarus in the classroom, my blush deepened. He smiled knowingly and beckoned me over. I could feel Ellie’s questioning eyes scorching into my back.
“What happened, Celeste?” She hissed quietly as I lowered myself into my seat. Lazarus glanced up at us and tried to hide his smirk.
“Don’t worry about it,” I mumbled, hoping Lazarus couldn’t hear it. I didn’t want to talk about it when he was so close. He might hear me.
Ms.Nala waltzed into the classroom a few seconds later, a distressed expression planted on her face. On closer inspection, I realized she had been crying. I wondered if she had another argument with her husband again. She seemed to tell us about her life a lot.
She ordered us to continue with what we were working on last lesson.
Immediately, everyone started talking.
I focused on my work, refusing to let myself get behind in my schoolwork.
My whole body jerked at the sensation of a pencil digging into my side. I shifted my attention to Ellie who was eyeing me in determination.
“What happened?” She mouthed to me, darting her eyes between me and Lazarus. I sneaked a peek at him and was glad to see him working on the task. He seemed completely focused on it.
Releasing a silent breath, I turned back to Ellie.
“We kissed,” I mouthed back, cringing when she gasped loudly.
Lazarus peered up to her, seeming confused. He eventually went back to his work, seeming oblivious to the silent conversation we were having.
Ellie leaned closer, eager to know more. I could only imagine what was running through her head right now. I’m sure she’s glad I found somebody, but I bet she’s also worried about me. Getting into a relationship now, when the scarred man is here, is probably not the best idea.
“Oh my god,” She said quietly, taken aback. Then she ripped a piece of paper out of her notebook and started scribbling something down. I got the note a few seconds later and quickly read it.
I can’t believe you kissed! I didn’t even know something was going on between you two! Why didn’t you tell me?
Even though she wrote the note, I could tell she was hurt. I told Georgia but not her.
I wrote my reply back, taking longer than her.
I’m sorry, I just didn’t know what was going on with us. He’s been very hot and cold with me. But today I kissed him, and he didn’t push me away. He wanted it too, I could feel it. I was scared of your reaction.
She read the note and shot me a sympathetic look.
I’d support you, no matter what. Believe it or not, you deserve happiness. More than anybody else. I wish you’d see it like that.
I was touched by her reply. Ellie was such a kind and generous soul. She saw the best in everyone and always knew what to say. There wasn’t a single bad bone in her body.
Thank you, Ellie. Really.
She sent me another note a minute later.
So, are you two a couple now? Are you officially dating?
I exhaled loudly and bit my lip. I wished we were together officially.
No, I don’t think so. We didn’t talk about it. I was more concerned about what he was hiding from me.
I watched her as she read the letter and frowned when she froze. Did she know something I didn’t?
“What is it?” I whispered.
She shrugged her shoulders, feigning nonchalance. I could see through her false exterior though—she was never very good at lying.
I narrowed my eyes. She was definitely hiding something.
But could she really know Lazarus’s secret? Was that even possible? I mean, she would have had to talk to him to find out. But I had never seen them talk privately. I didn’t even think they were friends.
I sent her a look, showing I didn’t believe her.
She stayed quiet after that. When the lesson finished, she dashed off before I could question her further.
Lazarus sent me a dazzling smile and left. My next lesson was Chemistry. I spotted Dexter and Marianne talking.
I headed over to them and greeted them sweetly. They both looked up at my arrival and smiled brightly. I got the impression they were extremely happy about something.
“What are you guys talking about?” I asked them, lowering myself into the seat beside them. They both shared a look, communicating. I wondered how they could understand each other. They barely seemed to emote any emotions when they did this. It was like they could hear each other’s thoughts.
“Just schoolwork, nothing interesting,” Marianne answered, her mood dampening.
I threw her a dubious look. They were talking in a hushed manner—something they seemed to do a lot. To be quite frank, I was getting fed up with everybody knowing something I didn’t. It seemed even Ellie knew what was going on as well. I promised Lazarus I wouldn’t pry but I hated the feeling of being left out. Everybody knew something I didn’t.
“Okay,” I drawled out, my voice sounding unconvinced. She pinched her pink lips together and brushed a strand of her light hair away.
“So how are you, my sweet munchkin?” Dexter said to me, smiling like a lunatic. He placed an arm around my shoulders and pressed himself closer to me. It was a friendly action.
I smiled slightly, “I’m good. How about you? Did you have too much caffeine or something?”
He shook his head, “No, I’m just super happy.”
My eyebrows knitted together. Sure, Dexter was an energetic person, but this felt different. He called me a munchkin.
He frowned, “Can I not be happy?”
“No, of course, you can,” I quickly replied. I didn’t want him to think I thought he shouldn’t be happy. His energy was so infectious. More people needed to see it. “I just wanted to know why.”
When he stared into my eyes, I felt like he could see right through me.
“It’s just a good day,” He chirped.
I realized I wouldn’t get anything out of him. He wasn’t going to tell me anything.
“Dexter, stop harassing, Celeste otherwise she’ll think you escaped a psychiatric hospital,” Marianne sighed, almost tiredly. I’m sure she had experienced a lot of Dexter’s theatrics.
Dexter rolled his eyes, “My munchkin here knows I’m perfectly sane. Plus, she loves me fawning over her.”
Marianne glanced at me and then turned her blue gaze back to her fellow companion.
“Sure,” She said, sarcastically.
“You love my presence, right?” He directed this at me, his pretty brown eyes searching mine.
I nodded my head. I genuinely did. Dexter was kind to everyone. He was a great friend.
“See?” He turned back to Marianne, rubbing my response in her face with a triumphant expression on his face.
Marianne rolled her eyes again. “She agreed to enjoy your presence, not you babying her.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Ey, it’s basically the same thing. Right?”
“It’s really not but I can’t be bothered to have this argument with you.” Was Marianne’s reply.
Dexter grinned cheekily. He was clearly proud he won that. “Anyways, what is going on in your life, munchkin? What’s with the bodyguard?”
I stiffened and surprisingly, so did Marianne. She shifted closer to me, gauging my answer.
“I—um…” I wanted to tell them about the scarred man but at the same time, I was afraid of their reaction. They must have heard some things—Lazarus had. Yet, they wanted to hear it from me.
Dexter noticed my dilemma and placed his hand over my own. It was an act of comfort. “It’s okay, you don’t have to tell us. I’m assuming it’s for protection.”
Our conservation died down after that. Thankfully, we didn’t have to talk during the lesson. I kept my thoughts to myself.
When the bell rang, we all rose to our feet. All of a sudden, their spines straightened, and their eyes widened. They darted off, leaving me standing by the table, astounded. My eyes caught sight of Dexter’s phone on his chair. It must have fallen out of his pocket.
I pick it up and speed after them. The hallways are crowded with people. I have to barge through them.
Fortunately, they are both tall people. I scanned the hallways and found them walking towards the rear exit—the one leading to the woods.
I picked up my pace. I managed to see them heading towards the woods. I continued to follow them, confused. Why would they go into the woods? We still had lessons.
And then they were running, quickly. I lost sight of them at the edge of the woods. A part of me wanted to turn back and go inside. But…what if they were in trouble?
“Dexter! Marianne!” I yelled, hoping they could hear me.
Letting out a long breath, my eyes drifted to the school longingly. I shouldn’t leave without telling Officer Martinez where I was going. There were two of them, I’m sure they would be fine.
Just as I was spinning on the balls of my heels, I heard a ferocious growl coming from the woods. I stilled and held my breath anxiously. That didn’t sound good.
Against my better judgment, I ran into the woods, searching for danger.
My feet pounded against the forest floor. Twigs snapped and birds above me cawed. A shiver of fear crawled down my spine. Something felt wrong about being here.
I usually avoided the woods at all costs. I never felt safe here.
I found them standing in a small clearing with a lake. Their postures were stiff, and their hands were clenched. Even though I couldn’t see their faces, I knew something was wrong. Instead of making myself visible, I hid behind a large tree. I could watch them from here without attracting their attention.
And that was when I saw the feral wolf. It had matted brown fur and its beady red eyes were on Marianne and Dexter. I recognized the wolf—it was the one that tried to attack Jamie and me when we were on our date. Terror flooded into my bloodstream. My fight or flight kicked in—I desperately wanted to run away. But I couldn’t just leave them. They could get hurt. But at the same time, I was interested in what was happening. I wanted to see what they would do.
That wolf was unpredictable. There wasn’t a shred of anything in it.
It hadn’t noticed me. It was purely focused on my two new friends.
My two friends who were…talking to it.
I didn’t move. My feet wouldn’t let me. I was curious about why they were here. Why did they venture into the woods? Why did they rush in here?
What happened next was unbelievable. It was otherworldly—impossible.
Dexter’s bones started cracking and his body began morphing into something else. My breath hitched as I watched him change into a creature. A monster.
I wanted to scream. I wanted to run away and tell everybody what I just witnessed. I didn’t though. I simply stood behind the tree and watched with bated breath.
Now, stood in Dexter’s place, was a wolf.
The red-eyed wolf lunged at the other one, snarling fiercely. Instead of shrieking in horror, Marianne remained still. She was freaked out at all. That meant she knew about Dexter; it also meant she must be the same as him.
The two wolves fought viciously. I couldn’t watch it, it was horrifying.
I was so entranced, I forgot about the cell phone I was holding. When it started playing a familiar pop song, I whipped my head to look at it.
Leah. It read.
Slowly and painfully, I looked up to find all three of them had stopped doing what they were doing. They had heard the phone. They knew somebody else was here.
Not wanting to be caught, I sprinted away. I was flying through the forest, trekking back to the school.
Tears streamed down my face. All I wanted to do was crawl into my bed and cry. It was how I dealt with shock.
Once I got back to school, I gathered my things from my locker and sped towards the car park.
Officer Martinez was eating a sandwich in his car. He straightened his posture at the sight of my erratic state. He was about to open the car, but I was already around the other side of the car and climbing into the passenger seat.
“Celeste, what’s wrong? Why are you not in your lesson?” He fired questions at me.
I didn’t know what to say. I was still in a state of shock.
“I…I,” I stuttered, zoning in on everything and nothing. “Just drive, please.”
He must have registered I wasn’t in a talking mood because he accelerated the car out of the school car park and took me home.
As soon as I got home, I went straight to my room and collapsed on my bed.
The image of Dexter transforming into a…creature would not leave my head.
So, that was the big secret.
So I don't think I've mentioned this but this book is in two parts. We've just finished part one. Chapter 27 will be part two. The reason I decided to make this book into two parts was so that I could focus on Celeste and Lazarus. You will see that part two is a lot different.
My next update will either be Monday or Tuesday. Have a great weekend!