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Having tea with Lazarus and Leah was interesting. You could tell they loved each other a lot. I was sad to go home but I knew my mom would freak out if I didn’t return for the night. She was on edge right now.
Lazarus walked me home. Not too far behind, Officer Martinez followed in his car. He was obviously wondering who Lazarus was.
He dropped me off at my door, appearing sad to leave me.
“I had a good evening,” I told him, honestly.
Lazarus smiled, showing off his pearly white teeth. I would have to get used to how stunning and perfect he was.
“So, did I,” He murmured, trailing a finger up and down my cheek affectionately. In my peripheral vision, I saw the curtain peek open. My mom was home and she was watching us. Right now, in his presence, I didn’t care. She could stare all she wanted.
I stepped closer to him, seeking his warmth and comfort.
“I have a confession to make,” He blurted out, his breath hitting my face. “When you came to Leah’s house for that BBQ, we kissed. You were so drunk; you didn’t remember it.”
I sucked in a breath as embarrassment washed over me. How could I not remember that?
“Oh my god,” I mumbled, humiliated.
He chuckled at my reaction. “Don’t be embarrassed. At first, I was glad you didn’t remember. This was when I was still conflicted. Now though, I knew you needed to know.”
I nodded my head, thankful he told me.
“I should let you go now,” He said, sounding hesitant. I released a long breath, my heart deflating. I didn’t want him to go.
God, I sounded so clingy.
“I’ll see you at school tomorrow,” I said.
I walked away, taking a deep breath as I stepped back into my house. My mom was waiting by the entrance to the living room, a hysterical expression planted on her face. I knew I was in trouble.
“Hi,” I murmured, avoiding eye contact with her.
She crossed her arms over her chest, calming herself down. I straightened my back and prepared myself for a reprimanding.
“Celeste, where were you?” She questioned, her face hardening. I rarely saw her like this.
“I was at a friend’s house,” I replied.
She arched an eyebrow, “The same friend I saw you with out there? That boy?”
I pursed my lips together and nodded my head. “Yeah.”
“I’ve never seen you with him before,” She continued to interrogate me, acting as if I was a murder suspect.
“He just moved here. His name is Lazarus and he’s a really nice guy.” I said, defensively. I didn’t like her talking about Lazarus in a harsh tone. He didn’t deserve that. Mom didn’t know anything about him. “I went with him because I trust him.”
She squinted her eyes at me. “Why didn’t you tell me you were going out? Why didn’t you tell Officer Martinez? He needs to know where you are going all the time.”
“Lazarus can keep me safe. Trust me.”
She snorted, “What can a teenage boy do against that monster?”
“More than you can comprehend,” I whispered, too quiet for her to hear.
“I saved you some food,” She said as I began to walk up to my room.
“I already ate,” I shouted back, already at the top of the stairs. I could hear her huff and march back into the kitchen.
Our relationship was still rocky. She hadn’t said much about her relationship with the man but I knew sooner or later she would officially introduce him to me. I was not looking forward to that.
Once in my room, I collapsed onto my bed, exhausted. I had homework to complete before I could even think about sleeping. Sighing, I grabbed my English book and started the latest assignment. To help me concentrate, I played classical music.
My phone pinged beside me.
One new message from Georgia.
Inhaling nervously, I opened the message.
So... you and Lazarus are a thing now?
I knew she would ask me at some point. Honestly, I thought she would call me or confront me at school tomorrow.
My fingers hovered over the screen. I had to choose my words carefully.
I guess. Came my simple reply.
She didn’t reply straight away. Perhaps she got distracted and would leave it for the night.
I focused on my English work. I needed to do well on this assignment otherwise I could drop a whole grade. The last thing I needed was my mom on my back about my school work.
Once again, my phone vibrated. Sighing, I opened the message.
Does he make you happy?
For a moment, I thought somebody else was messaging me. Georgia rarely concerned herself with things like this.
Yes. Very happy.
Does he know about him?
I sucked in a breath.
I didn’t receive a message back after that. I finished my essay half an hour later and decided to shower. When I exited my en-suite, I was welcomed by a cold draft. My window was wide open and the curtain was blowing in the light breeze.
A chill traveled down my body.
Something didn’t feel right. I quickly towel dried my hair, shut the window, and hopped into bed, opting to keep the lamp on.
It took me a lot longer to get to sleep. My heart was hammering in my chest.
Eventually, I managed to drift off into a somewhat peaceful sleep.
“Celeste, come on! Look at this dress!” Georgia yelled at me.
We were at the mall, celebrating Ellie’s tenth birthday. We were looking around our favorite shop before we got food. Ellie had invited all of us back to her house afterward for a sleepover. I hadn’t slept around anyone’s house since the day I was nearly kidnapped.
I skipped over to her. Mom had given me thirty dollars. She said it was a treat. She probably gave it to me because of my nightmares. I seemed to get them every night.
They were always the same. The man with the horrid scar would always be there, determined to take me away.
“It’s so pretty! You should get it,” I told Georgia. She always wore the nicest clothes.
Georgia pinched her lips together. “I don’t know...maybe.”
Ellie bounced over to us, with her mom and two of our friends.
“Mom said we can get some food now and come back after,” Ellie told her, flashing us a toothy grin.
We all followed Ellie’s mom to the food court. My stomach growled loudly. Shopping could be so tiring.
Mrs. Style’s ordered our food whilst we found a table. As we were sat, waiting for our food, I felt eyes on me. I shifted in my seat uncomfortably, attempting to ignore it.
I laughed along to a joke Ellie made.
Georgia caught my eye from across the table. Her hazel eyes flashed with concern.
“You okay?” She mouthed.
I nodded my head, giving her the impression I’m fine. It was probably nothing. I was probably being paranoid.
Mrs. Style’s returned a few minutes later, carrying a tray full of food. We all perked up eagerly and devoured the food.
“Mrs. Style’s, can I go to the bathroom?” I asked once I finished the delicious food.
She glanced at where the toilets were warily.
“As long as you take someone with you and don’t wander off anywhere else.” She replied.
“I’ll go with her,” Georgia inputted, already rising to her feet.
We both headed towards the lady’s toilets. Thankfully they weren’t that far away from the food court. Mrs. Style's could see us enter and exit it.
“So, what’s going on? You look sad.” She said when we were outside the toilets.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged my shoulders.
She furrowed her eyebrows together. She could tell there was something up.
I felt on edge. Anxious about something. There was something wrong.
After going to the toilet, I waited for Georgia by the mirrors.
As we left the toilets, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
It all happened so quickly. We were walking back to our table where Mrs. Style’s was watching us. One minute I was walking next to Georgia and the next I was being hoisted into the air and placed onto someone’s broad shoulders. A terrified and shocked scream escaped my lips.
Georgia whirled around and screamed too.
We had caught the attention of most people.
I craned my neck and got a good look at half of my captor’s face. I immediately recognized who it was—I could never forget that scar.
“Let her go!” Mrs. Style’s demanded, jumping to her feet and chasing after us.
Everyone was getting further away. I was violently being jostled about. I knew my chest was going to be bruised.
The scarred man barged past a few people that tried to stop him. People around us screamed frightenedly.
“Help me! Please!” I pleaded, to no one in particular.
Mrs. Style’s ran after us desperately. There was a look of horror on her face.
“Shut up,” The man grunted, annoyed with my continuous yelling.
Tears streamed down my face. What was going to happen to me?
“Somebody stop him!” Mrs. Style’s shrieked. The man winced and faltered.
I maneuvered myself so that I could look at where he was looking. The man had stopped now and was being faced by several armed security guards. I released a sigh of relief.
“Don’t move,” One of them warned, his gun pointed at the scarred man. “Put the girl down and lift your hands in the air.”
My kidnapper didn’t listen to him. Instead, he charged at them, with me still over his shoulder. I screeched, clutching onto his dark coat for dear life.
Everything else was a blur. I could remember being thrown off his shoulder and landing on my front, painfully. Two guards dropped to the floor, unconscious. Somehow, the man managed to beat them and escape. Just before he left, he connected eyes with me and smirked. There was a promise in his eyes. He would be back.
Mrs. Style’s called my mom. She rushed over from the hospital and embraced me in a tight hug.
“Oh, my baby, are you okay?” She cried into my shoulder, her hands shaking.
“I—I,” stuttered, sniffling.
I lost consciousness after that. When I woke, I was told that they couldn’t find the scarred man. Mom became more protective after that and my nightmares got worse.
Breathing heavily, I sat upright and wiped the sweat that had formed on my forehead. I hadn’t thought about that day in a while.
I took a sip of the water beside me.
It was just a memory. You are not there. He is not here.
I eventually manage to feel calmer. I lied back on my bed and stared at the ceiling.
What caught my attention again was a draft. My window was open. I drew my eyebrows together—I closed the window before I went to sleep.
I stumbled out of bed in a rush and peaked out of the window. The dark forest greeted me back. I couldn’t see anything out there but like that time at the mall all those years ago, I felt somebody watching me.
It was him.
He was out there, watching and waiting. I knew I was right.
I stepped back and slammed the window shut, locking it. Taking in slow breaths, I dragged a hand through my damp hair. There was no way I could sleep now. Not with him out there.
I rushed down the stairs and swung the front door open. Parked at the end of my driveway was a police car. Inside, there was an unfamiliar police officer. Not caring about the lack of clothing, I raced down to the car and frantically knocked on the window.
The middle-aged police officer rolled the window down, staring at me with a worried expression on his face.
“Are you all right, doll?” He asked.
I shook my head, crossing my arms over my chest in a defensive manner. “No.”
The officer, Lime—according to the name on the badge—turned the radio off. “What is it, doll?”
“S—somebody is out here,” I stuttered.
“Did you see anyone?” He demanded.
“Then how do you know anyone’s out there?” He questioned, arching a large bushy eyebrow.
“W—well because...my window was closed and when I woke up, it was open again.” I explained, “A —and I can feel his eyes on me.”
To put it mildly, the officer didn’t believe me.
“Listen, kid, go back inside. I’ll do a quick scope of the area,” He advised, appearing bored and unconcerned.
“Get some sleep kid. You have school in the morning,” He interrupted me.
Begrudgingly, I spun around on my heels and marched back into my house. If anything, I felt less safe after telling him.
To help calm me down, I plugged in my headphones and played something calming. Resting back on my bed, I did a breathing exercise.
I managed to calm down.
And when I did fall back to sleep, I dreamt of Lazarus. Dreaming of him made me feel better.
Poor Celeste. The scarred man is taunting her. What do you think of this chapter? Are you ready for more? My next update will be Monday. Have a great weekend!