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I didn’t know where to begin. So many haunting memories flashed in my mind, tormenting me. Lazarus was holding me close to his side. I appreciated him being there for me—I needed him.
Right now, when I was about to wander down the dark path that was my mind, Lazarus was my lifeline. I needed him to help me get through it.
I sucked in a breath and mentally prepared myself to relive those moments again.
“It all started when I was seven. A man with a large scar down his face tried to kidnap me.” I revealed. My voice wavered at the mere mention of him. “Luckily, Georgia’s dad managed to stop him. I didn’t see him again for a few years but I had nightmares about him a lot. I could remember looking into his eyes. They were so dead—lifeless. I had never seen anyone with eyes like that before and I’ve never seen eyes like that since.”
It was taking so much for me to say these things. I never had to explain all of this before, in front of three intimidating looking people.
“I didn’t see him again until I was ten. It was Georgia’s birthday and we were shopping at the mall. I went to the toilet with Georgia and as I was walking back to the lunch hall, I was grabbed. It was him. He was back for me. I thrashed and kicked in his hold, crying my eyes out until I ran out of tears. I tried everything to get away from him but he was too strong. Thankfully, it was a busy day at the mall and they had more security. I got away with a few bruises; he disappeared again.”
Lazarus tightened his hold on me. I could feel the waves of anger rolling off him. He wanted to find this man and hurt him but he also wanted to be there for me.
“The third time I saw him was when I was fourteen. I was starting to think he had left my life for good. Things were looking up. I was at the library—the place Leah worked and was completing some homework. I sensed him before I could see him. Leah saved me that night. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know if I’d still be alive,” I continued. Gratefulness laced my tone. I owe my life to Leah.
They were all absorbed with my story. Sympathy swirled in their eyes. This was what I didn’t want—their pity.
Inhaling shakily, I finished my story. “I last saw him last year. It was winter—I could remember it snowing. School had just finished and I was looking for Jamie. Somehow, he managed to get into school. I ran for my life but he was quick—so quick. He slammed me against the lockers and—” I didn’t even realize it but I was struggling to breathe.
What kept me from having a panic attack was Lazarus. His touch brought comfort.
“You don’t have to keep going,” Marianne said, gently.
I shook my head. “I need to do this.”
I needed to do it for myself and for Lazarus. He had to know how messed up my life was. He had to know what he was getting himself into. Hiding it won’t help him.
“A-and I remember losing consciousness. I think he injected me with something. The last thing I saw was Wilder. He saved me. When I woke up, I was in hospital. Detective Ridley—the person assigned to my case—said the scarred man managed to escape again. Ever since then, I’ve been living on borrowed time, worried he will come any day.”
“And then, when you saw me running down the street the other day, it was because I saw him. And then, the other night, I thought I saw him outside my house. The police didn’t believe me but I was certain he had broken into my room.”
I was crying now. Fat tears streamed down my face. Lazarus hugged me and rested his chin on top of my head. He whispered soothing words, trying to comfort me. Anguish coated his voice.
“I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that,” He murmured. When I pulled away, I noticed the others had walked away slightly to give us some privacy. I couldn’t believe I had finally told him. My secret was out. “If only I had found you sooner, I could have protected you.”
“Don’t blame yourself. It’s not your fault or mine.” I argued, forcing his eyes to connect with mine. “I used to spend hours a day thinking ‘why me? What did I do to deserve this?’ I used to think I had wronged someone awfully or that the universe was up against me. Now I’m starting to realize it’s not my fault. I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t drive someone to do this.”
He looked at me as if I was some kind of a miracle.
“How did I get so lucky? I’ve done some awful sh*t in my time and yet, the Moon Goddess still rewarded me with you. I will forever be in awe of you and your strength. You are the strongest and most resilient person I’ve ever met.” He said softly.
I knew at that moment that I really was in love with Lazarus. Nobody was going to look at me like he did. Nobody else was going to treat me like a queen as he did.
“I love you,” I choked out, emotionally. The amount of love, admiration, and adoration I felt for him was overwhelming.
His eyes softened. “I love you, too.”
He kissed me passionately. I melted in his embrace, kissing him with the same amount of ferocity.
We eventually pulled apart, breathing hard. I sent him a small smile, feeling lighter.
“I won’t let him ever hurt you, I promise,” Lazarus vowed, staring directly into my eyes intensely. I knew he would try his best to keep me safe. I trusted Lazarus with my life.
“So, you say Wilder saved your life as well?” Lazarus asked, quirking an eyebrow. He didn’t know much about Wilder and was probably curious as to how Wilder defeated the man. It made sense with Leah—she was a werewolf.
I nodded my head, “Yeah. I remember him being there and calling the man something. It was an odd name. I had never heard before in that context.”
Lazarus seemed intrigued. “Do you remember what it was?” He pried, intrigued.
My mind transported back to that winter. I was barely conscious by the time Wilder arrived.
All of a sudden, the word popped into my head.
“Did you just say, rogue?” He questioned, in a stiff voice.
He was acting very strange. What did rogue mean? “Yes.”
Lazarus exhaled loudly, drawing the attention of the others. I was beyond confused.
“Why is that a big deal?” I asked, clearly missing the point here.
“It means...the man that’s been after you for ten years is a werewolf,” Lazarus explained, cautiously. He watched my reaction closely, prepared for any type of reaction.
It took my mind a while to catch up with what he said. The scarred man was a werewolf? It made so much sense but at the same time, no sense at all. It explained how he was so fast and strong. How he could evade the authorities. However, it didn’t explain why he went after me. I wasn’t anyone important. I didn’t even know about the supernatural world until a few days ago.
I came back to reality when I heard the others talking around me.
“Is she sure she heard Wilder say rogue?” I heard Layton ask his brother. Lazarus glanced at me and then back to his brother.
Layton seemed troubled too. “Why would a rogue attack a girl for so many years? That’s not like them at all.”
I still had no idea what a rogue actually was. All I knew was that it was a werewolf.
“Uh—what is a rogue?” I directed this question to no one in particular, awkwardly.
Marianne was the one who answered me. “A rogue is a werewolf that isn’t part of the pack. They’re loners. Usually, they are kicked out of their pack because they are too feral. They are extremely dangerous. They hunt anything in their path without any remorse. They don’t stay in the same place for very long.”
Her description of rogues was scary. I already knew the scarred man was extremely dangerous before I found out about his true identity. But now I knew he was something very powerful, I was absolutely petrified.
“Oh,” I blinked, processing it.
“Do you know why this rogue is attacking you?” Dexter queried, in a calm manner.
“No,” I replied, confidently. “I have no clue whatsoever.”
They all seemed disappointed.
“Well, we’ll protect you no matter what,” Dexter told me. It seemed they were all in consensus about that. I didn’t just have Lazarus, I had Marianne, Dexter, and even Layton, the king.
“Thank you. I really appreciate it,” I said, gratefully. “Wait, if Wilder called the scarred man a rogue, that must mean...” I trailed off. My eyes widened in shock. Could it be possible?
Lazarus sighed, “Yeah, he’s a werewolf too. His mate is that blonde girl...Ellie?”
Oh my god. Ellie knew about werewolves this whole time.
“Is—is there a pack in this town then?” I stuttered, wondering if anyone else I knew was a werewolf too.
“A very small pack with about twenty members. I think Wilder, his younger sister, and another girl are the only werewolves at your school.” Lazarus answered.
I released a sigh of relief. I knew Georgia and Jamie weren’t werewolves. I was too close to them for them to hide something like that from me. But I was still stunned with Ellie and Wilder. Ellie, the girl I knew so well was mated to a werewolf. She knew about their existence and managed to keep it from us.
“I think your friends’ family might be involved with the supernatural world though,” Marianne added, uneasily.
I frowned at her, “Which one of my friends?”
“I did some digging into the history of this town and it turns out her family go back hundreds of years. This town had barely had any trouble in those years from a supernatural perspective. Also, their family has a close connection to a very powerful hunters’ family—the Walldorf’s. The Waldorf’s have annihilated many innocent wolves and witches.” She elaborated.
I refused to believe her family were murderers. I assumed hunters were people who killed supernatural creatures because they thought they were evil. “You’re only speculating though. You don’t know for certain. I know Georgia and her family; they aren’t like that.”
Marianne could see I wasn’t going to be swayed easily. I was adamant.
But then I thought about the day I was at her house when I was seven and how Robert Stem managed to stop the scarred man from taking me. The scarred man was a werewolf and Robert Stem must have known that because he managed to stop him.
“Georgia might not know about her family’s heritage but that doesn’t mean her parents are the same. I bet they are very much aware of things. If we asked Wilder, he would probably confirm the story. They must have made a deal with the Stem family.” Came from Layton.
I turned to Lazarus, hoping he could shed some light.
“Just because Georgia’s family might be hunters, it doesn’t mean she’s like them.” Lazarus tried to reassure me.
“I’m not going to believe you until I get hard evidence,” I stuck to my viewpoint.
“I understand that she’s your friend,” Dexter said, respecting my opinion. He looked up at the sky and noticed the sun was starting to set. We must have spent longer here than I had thought. “I think we should start getting back.”
“What are we going to do about the body? We can’t leave her here. We should report it to the police,” I uttered in a wavering voice. I took another look at the bloody corpse attached to the tree and shuddered. She didn’t deserve to be left out here. Her family deserved to know what happened to her.
They all exchanged a look I was familiar with. I guessed they were communicating through their mind link. I had to admit, it hurt being left out.
“It’s quite risky taking her to the police.” Layton eventually said, remorsefully. “We can arrange for a funeral for her and make her parents aware of the situation.”
“What do you mean by we?”
Layton met my eyes, “I have people in my pack who can sort things like this out. They will do the right thing for her.”
“She’s in the right hands, mi amore,” Lazarus mumbled to me, wrapping an arm around my waist.
I nodded my head numbly.
“I’m going to take her back home. She needs rest,” Lazarus told his brother and led me away from them. We took the car back, whilst the others remained at the tree, with the girl. Lazarus said they could get back fine—they would shift. It would be quicker for them anyways.
Lazarus dropped me at my house. It was only when I saw Officer Martinez standing on the porch with his arms crossed and a serious expression on my face did, I realize he had somehow lost us on the way to the woods. Mom came out of the house in floods of tears. She blew her nose with a tissue and gasped when she finally saw me.
She flew down the stairs, breezing past Marco, and launched herself at me.
“Oh god, I thought something bad had happened to you. Thank god you’re okay.” She cried into my shoulder.
I stiffly patted her back, sneaking a glance at Lazarus. His lips were pinched together in an uncomfortable manner.
“Where were you?” She demanded a few minutes later when she calmed down. Officer Marco was staring at me emotionlessly.
Now that she had gotten over the fear, she was furious with me. I knew I was in for a lecture.
“I was with my friends,” I replied.
She squinted her eyes at me, a suspicious look flashing in her orbs. “I called Georgia and she said she hasn’t seen you all day.”
I sighed. She always thought I was with Georgia.
“I wasn’t with Georgia. I was with Lazarus, Dexter, Marianne, and Layton.” I knew she would have no clue who those names were, except Lazarus of course.
“I haven’t even heard of half of those kids, Celeste. You shouldn’t be hanging out with strangers,” She argued, starting to get angry. Her blazing eyes went to Lazarus, who was still standing on the bottom step of the porch. “You can go home now, she’s fine.”
I didn’t like how rude she was to Lazarus. He didn’t deserve it.
Lazarus held in his anger. He pursed his lips and nodded his head. With one last parting look in my direction, he hopped back into the SUV and drove away.
“Inside. Now,” Mom commanded, pointing at the door.
Begrudgingly, I walked into the house. Marco and my mom followed behind me.
I sat on the couch and waited for them to give me a lecture on my safety.
So...there we go. Quite a long chapter. As usual, please like and comment on this chapter. I'd be so grateful if you wrote a review for this story too. My next update will be this Friday. Have a good week