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I was grounded.
In all my years living with my mom, she had never grounded me before. It was that bad. I knew deep down she wanted to punish me for not accepting her boyfriend but it wasn’t going to change my mind about it.
I wasn’t allowed to go out after school—I needed to focus solely on my exams that were coming up. If I failed them, I was in for so much trouble.
I spent the Sunday revising for my math and English exam. Lazarus messaged me throughout the day—Dexter gave him my number—helping me when I was stuck. He called me at nine o’clock when my mom was at work. If she caught me on the phone with him, she would probably take my phone away.
“How are you doing?” He asked me.
“I feel like I’m in prison,” I exaggerated, groaning in dismay.
Lazarus chuckled at my antics, “Oh come on, it can’t be that bad.”
“It is,” I retorted. “I hate revising at home—I prefer going to Winston’s.”
“Well, at least I’ll get to see you tomorrow.” He attempted to cheer me up. “Believe it or not, but real torture is not seeing your beautiful face for a whole twenty-four hours.”
I chuckled and blushed at his comment. The man was too smooth. He could make any girl melt into a puddle.
“If you really are in hell, then I expect you to prove it tomorrow when you see me,” I challenged him.
I bet he was smiling mischievously. “Challenge accepted.”
We talked for a good hour before I started to yawn from exhaustion. Before I ended the call, I asked him the question that had been on my mind the whole day.
“What happened with the girl?”
Lazarus paused and sighed. “She’s currently at the morgue. A few pack members went to her family’s house and told them what happened. A werewolf in the police force knows about her and is conducting a covert investigation.”
My eyebrows lifted in surprise, “There’s a werewolf in the police force?”
Even though I couldn’t see him, I knew he was nodding his head. “Yeah.”
I should have known there would be.
“I should go. I’ll see you tomorrow,” We both exchanged goodbyes and hung up.
I showered, prepared my school bag, and hopped into bed. I fell asleep quickly, too tired to comprehend anything.
Lazarus was waiting by my locker the next morning. He had an award-winning smile plastered on his handsome face. I approached him with a skip to my step.
“Hey,” I greeted, hugging him. When I pulled away, he tipped my head upwards and slowly guided me closer to his face. Our lips connected and a burst of fireworks erupted in my stomach. I placed a hand on his bicep and gripped him tightly, afraid if I didn’t, I would lose him.
He had missed me; he wanted to show it this way.
“I’m guessing that was my surprise,” I mused, smirking at him.
Despite feeling like my world was ending, when I was with Lazarus, I couldn’t focus on the bad. He made me see all of the good.
“I told you I missed you.”
It was at that moment, Georgia walked past, talking to Matt. They were being...civil. Something must have happened over the weekend.
“We should probably go to homeroom,” Lazarus stated, drawing me back to reality. I quickly shoved the books I didn’t need yet into my locker along and followed him to our classroom.
Dexter waved at me from his seat whilst Marianne smiled. I was thankful they weren’t looking at me differently.
Lazarus and I sat together at the back of the classroom. Georgia was in front of us, typing on her phone furiously. She turned around when I was sat down.
“I have so much to tell you, Celeste,” She immediately said, blanking Lazarus. He didn’t seem to mind though; he was too busy twirling my hair around his finger. “Matt invited me round his house on Saturday. He apologized and basically told me he loves me and is afraid I’m going to disappear.”
My eyes widened.
A twinkle was present in her hazel orbs. I could tell she was being honest. “Yeah. He said he wanted to make it up to me and so he asked me to make him a list of all the things I wanted him to do. If he does all of it, he gets to take me on a real date.”
I couldn’t believe Matt would be so romantic.
Georgia and Matt had never been on a real date before. I knew it meant a lot to Georgia, even if she never said it.
“Oh wow,” I blinked. “I know you two have had your ups and downs but I always knew you two were endgame.”
She smiled brightly. I had never seen her so happy before. It was like she was a different person.
“Also...Jamie is dating Sammy.” She added, hesitant to tell me this piece of information as if it would hurt me. Lazarus tightened his hold on my hand, worried about how I would react.
I arched an eyebrow, “What, plain Sammy?”
“Yeah. They’ve been on a few secret dates and seem to have hit it off really well.” She explained, also shocked by this news.
“I’m really happy for him,” I told her, sincerely. Georgia didn’t entirely believe me. After all, I did have a crush on him for years. If only she knew the truth about me and Lazarus. “Really Georgia. He deserves somebody good.”
Her skepticism diminished. She finally shifted her gaze to Lazarus. “So, Lazarus, how was your weekend?”
Lazarus peered up at her through his dark lashes. His forest green eyes were so hypnotic, I wasn’t surprised Georgia was startled for a moment.
“It was okay.” He answered simply.
Georgia smiled in return and swiveled back around. Homeroom flew by, along with the next few lessons. Most of them were spent studying, preparing for my tests. As the hours ticked by, I got more nervous. Recently, my thoughts had been elsewhere. I hadn’t been focusing on school work as much. The last thing I needed was to fail.
At lunch, I ate with the cheerleaders as usual. Dalia was blabbering about Sammy’s relationship with Jamie. They were currently sat in the corner of the cafeteria.
All of a sudden, the attention was drawn to me. Dalia had asked if I was dating Lazarus. When I told her, yes, a few of the girls glared at me. It appeared quite a few of them had a crush on him. I was so close to saying they stood no chance with him. We were soulmates.
Jasmine, a fellow cheerleader who was on her phone, gasped and quickly shoved her phone in our faces. “Look! I can’t believe it!”
It was a news article about the girl we saw in the woods on Saturday. Her family had gone to the press.
I froze in my seat whilst panic spread through my body. At a closer inspection, I caught the headline. A local girl was reported murdered over the weekend. Killer strung her body up on a tree.
I was sickened once again. Images of that poor girl and all of that blood hit me. I could never unsee that. She was dead because of me. All because she looked like me. It was my fault.
“That’s so horrible,” One of the girls commented, sadly.
“She kind of looks like you in this photo, Celeste,” Dalia mused, pointing at a recent photo of the girl. Her blue eyes were bright and happy, and her long brown hair trailed down her back. She looked so beautiful.
I felt sick.
I didn’t know what to do. My eyes scanned the cafeteria for Lazarus or anybody else who knew about what happened on Saturday. I couldn’t see anybody.
Of course, her family had gone to the news. They wanted the word to get out that there was something dangerous in Stowe.
I couldn’t blame her family. It was my fault they were in this predicament.
It was at that moment Ellie came skipping over to us, oblivious to the current situation.
“Hey, guys, how ar—what’s with the gloomy mood? Did someone die?” She joked, having no idea someone did actually die.
Her eyes darted around the table. I swallowed the lump in my throat and replied to her, trying to keep my voice strong.
“We found out a young girl died on Saturday. It’s horrible,” I revealed.
Ellie’s mouth opened in shock and her eyes brimmed with guilt.
“Oh god, I can’t believe I just said that.” She lowered herself into an empty seat slowly, her mind racing.
“Hey, don’t worry about it. You didn’t know,” I reassured her, softly.
“It’s freaky,” Dalia muttered, staring at Jasmine’s phone screen. “She really does look like you.”
“What do you mean? Who does who look like?” Ellie fired questions, puzzled.
“The dead girl looks like Celeste. They look really similar.” She answered, nonchalantly. I hated how she treated this so coldly. A young girl died.
Ellie snatched the phone off Dalia and stared at the screen. She flickered her green eyes to me and then back to the picture. Even she could see the resemblance.
“She looks like a lot of people,” Ellie eventually mumbled, handing the phone back to Jasmine who was reaching for it. “So, is anyone prepared for the maths exam tomorrow?”
I was thankful she changed the subject. Ellie could see how uncomfortable it made me. If only she knew the full story.
A few of the cheerleaders groaned at the thought of doing the exam. Most of them hated maths.
When we were leaving the cafeteria after eating, Ellie grabbed me and pulled me aside. We still had ten minutes until our next lesson.
“Are you okay? I could see how much you didn’t like what they were saying earlier,” She asked, concerned.
I released a long breath, debating whether to tell her the truth. With Georgia, if I told her about the tree, I would have to tell her everything. I couldn’t hold things back, she would know. However, Ellie knows about werewolves, she can help me understand everything.
“Ellie, I have to admit something,” I said, hesitantly. She gestured for me to continue when I paused. I dived into the story, telling her everything. She listened intently, hanging off every word.
When I was done, I waited for her response.
“So, you know about werewolves...” She began, stunned but also relieved. “And you think the scarred man killed the girl because she looks like you?”
“No, I know he killed her,” I corrected her, confidently. “He left a note—a warning. I’m next.”
Ellie’s breath hitched. “Well, sh*t.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
“Lazarus is your mate though?” She queried, still a little unsure. It was a lot to take in.
I hummed in acknowledgment. “Yeah.”
“Then he will guard you with his life. Plus, he’s a prince.” It appeared she knew a few things about the royal family. “I’ve heard stories about the famous prince. I didn’t piece it together until you told me. Wilder and I just thought he was some type of Alpha or something. Anyways, I know he’s incredibly strong. He went crazy about a hundred years ago and killed a whole town, except some guy. It was insane!”
I didn’t really want to hear about all of the dark things Lazarus did. I wanted to hear it from his own mouth when he was ready.
“But then he disappeared off the face of the earth for a while.” She continued. “And it was all because he didn’t find his mate. You.”
Her eyes interlocked with my own.
“I can’t believe you’re his mate. How amazing!” She chirped with glee. “He’s lucky to have you. I hope he knows that.”
My gaze softened. “Thanks, El.”
She smiled fondly at my old nickname for her. I hadn’t used it in a while.
We hugged for a few seconds and then headed towards our lesson together.
Our teacher made us do a practice test, to my dismay. When I came out of the lesson, I knew I needed to catch up on a lot of revision.
My last lesson before cheer practice was English. I was able to go back to the team a few days ago after the school nurse examined my ankle. Everything was good now.
I sat at the back with Lazarus and let him read to me whilst we waited for our teacher.
My mind drifted elsewhere as I listened to Lazarus’ velvety voice read to me. I gazed out of the window, into the woods.
Nothing was out of the ordinary. At least, not at first glance. But when I doubled back and saw a shadowed figure behind a tree, I shivered. He peeked around the corner; his blazing red eyes set on me.
My mouth felt dry. I wanted to grab Lazarus’ attention but all I could manage was a choked noise.
It still drew his attention to me though. He stopped reading and frowned at me, confused.
I shakily raised my hand up and pointed out of the window, to where he was.
But by the time Lazarus looked, he had vanished.
“There’s nothing there, Celeste.” He declared, quietly. “Did—did you see something?”
“Yes,” I nodded my head frantically. “I saw him. He was out there, watching. Waiting for me.”
So...I hope you all had a great week! What do you think of this update? I feel so bad for Celeste. My next update will be on Monday.
P.S. I'm going to be making 2 big announcements today. To find out what they are, head over to my Instagram (lydiarose_61).