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“You want me to go with you on your trip then?” He asked me again, slightly confused. I wanted to smooth the lines between his eyebrows.
“Yes,” I confirmed, wrapping my slender arms around his waist. “Georgia was the one who invited you, Dexter, and Marianne.”
He arched an eyebrow, surprised by this latest piece of news. I’m sure it made him even more puzzled.
“Why would Georgia invite them too?” His tone was filled with suspicion. “She barely knows them. Is she up to something?”
“Lazarus, it’s fine. She knows I’m close with all of you. She just wants me to have a good time with my new friends and boyfriend.” I reassured him, resting my cheek on his warm chest. He still seemed skeptical. “How about we ask them what they want? They don’t have to say yes.”
“I’m sure they will. Plus, I’d like to have them with us. They’d provide more protection for you,” He retorted, breathing in my scent. Ever since I told him about the scarred man, he’s been more protective of me.
“I guess. Just please say you’ll go,” I practically begged him.
His forest green eyes softened. He could not resist me.
“I’ll go but only because I know you’ll miss me too much,” He joked. I smacked him on the arm lightly, earning a chuckle from him. “When did you get so violent, mi amore?”
I jutted my bottom lip out, “Since I met you. You bring out the worse in me.”
I loved seeing this side of him. He always wore a stoic face when I wasn’t around but seeing him so carefree and open around me felt like an honor.
Lazarus narrowed his eyes at me. “I only bring out the best in you. Like you do with me.”
My heart stuttered in my chest. I bet he could hear it. When he said things like that, he evoked so many intense emotions.
“You look a little flushed, mi amore. Are you okay?” He asked, knowing full well I was like that because of him. The corners of his perfect lips quirked upwards. To show my aggravation, I slapped him on the arm again.
“Not funny. I always end up looking like a fool in your presence. You always seem so fine. It’s not fair,” I whined, speaking honestly.
Lazarus placed his large hands on either side of my face. He angled my face upwards so I could stare directly into his eyes as he spoke.
“Celeste, trust me when I say this,” He used my real name—he only used it when he was speaking seriously. “You affect me so much. I can barely think when I'm in your presence. I’m completely consumed by you. I always look for you in a room, I always think about you. You are my entire life.”
I was transfixed with his mouth. He had me hypnotized.
Lazarus must have thought my silence meant I wasn’t entirely convinced so he grabbed one of my hands and placed it on his chest. His thin t-shirt meant I could feel the warmth of his skin and the pounding of his heart.
His heart raced as fast as mine.
Slowly, I lifted my head back up to his in awe. He gazed at me adoringly through his magnetic green eyes.
“You feel that?” He breathed.
I nodded my head.
“You make my heart act like that. It’s all you,” He said, firmly. “You’re not the only one affected in this relationship. I’m just as captivated.”
I smiled brightly. “I’m glad you told me this. I was worried this was one-sided.”
It felt important to tell Lazarus my insecurities. From what I’d seen with Matt and Georgia, hiding your true thoughts and feelings never went well. It was why everything was messy for them.
“Never,” Lazarus promised.
Suddenly, Dexter appeared out of nowhere, with a cheeky grin on his face. He seemed to be in an extra cheerful mood this morning.
“I’ll definitely go.” He blurted out.
I cocked my head to the side confused and glanced at Lazarus. “What?”
“Dexter heard us,” Lazarus sighed, used to this.
“Remember, we have werewolf hearing,” Dexter explained. “I heard everything you said.” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. My cheeks turned crimson red.
“Dexter,” Lazarus growled in warning.
Dexter held his hands up in a surrender motion and backed off. There was a wicked glint in his eyes. He would back off for now but we could expect more teasing soon.
“Alright, I’ll behave. You can tell Georgia we’ll all go with you, Celeste.” Dexter relented, slumping his shoulders. The bell rang, announcing first period. “I should go, I’ll see you guys later?”
We parted ways with Dexter.
“Sometimes, I wonder how I’m friends with him,” Lazarus commented, absentmindedly.
“He’s a good friend, Lazarus. You’re lucky to have him,” I scowled at him. Dexter was a great person—we were all lucky to have him. He was a true, kind soul.
Students around us began filing into their classrooms. I knew I needed to go now otherwise I’d be late.
“I’ll see you at lunch?”
“Yeah,” His eyes told me he didn’t want to leave me. I felt the exact same. “Good luck with your exam.”
I grimaced. “Thanks.”
When it came to the exam, I knew I nailed most of the questions. I walked out of the exam hall with a gigantic smile on my face.
In the cafeteria, the gang was already sat at our usual table. A few of the cheerleaders weren’t there though—I assumed they were revising in the library. I quickly moved to the queue for food and grabbed a sandwich. I wanted a change from my salad.
As I turned around, I bumped into a hard body. Sparks hit me and danced on my skin. I peered up and saw my handsome mate.
“How did it go?” He immediately asked me. Concern was written on his face.
“Great,” I chirped, beaming up at him. His lips stretched into a breath-taking smile.
“Do you want to sit with me? You can get to know my friends more.”
He glanced over at our table, contemplating whether to take me up on that offer.
“Sure,” He eventually replied.
I dragged him over to my table and sat in my usual spot. Lazarus lowered himself into the seat beside me.
They all stopped talking and stared at the two of us. I showed my displeasure by glaring at all of them, coldly.
“What were you guys talking about?” I changed the subject, wanting them to stop staring at Lazarus. He didn’t seem uncomfortable at all, just wary.
“The trip, Ellie was going over the logistics,” Georgia informed me.
“I spoke to Marco this morning, he said he’d be happy to go with us,” I told them. They all blinked at me. “Meaning, I can go.”
I spoke to Marco on the way into school. He seemed cool with going with us—in fact, I think he might be excited about it too. He seemed to be someone who worked too much.
Georgia and Ellie released sighs of relief whilst Matt and Jamie fist-bumped. Wilder sent me a small smile.
“Excellent,” Georgia said. Then she snuck a look at Lazarus and turned back to me. I knew she was silently asking if Lazarus was coming.
“Oh yeah, Lazarus and Dexter are coming too. I’ll ask Marianne when I see her,” I added, leaning into Lazarus. His musky scent filled my nose. I melted into his embrace, wanting to be snuggled against him forever.
“Okay, so that’s eleven people, including myself.” Georgia counted.
“Are you sure you have enough room for everyone?” Jamie wondered, frowning.
Georgia nodded her head, “Yeah, I told you it’s a big place. There’s five bedrooms plus two sofa beds. Most people will have to share but it’s fine.”
We spend the rest of lunch planning the trip.
In Chemistry, I spotted Marianne in the corner of the room, with her body bent over the table. She was concentrated on the piece of paper on the table. I approached her hesitantly.
“Hey,” I greeted her. She snapped her head up in my direction. Wisps of her fair blonde hair fell over her eyes. I noticed there was guilt and sadness swirling in her blue eyes. “You okay?”
She pursed her lips together and faked a smile, “Yeah, I’m fine.”
I slid into the seat next to her and placed my books on the desk. I caught a quick glance at the paper in front of her. It was a well-written letter.
“You know, I have a superpower too. I can tell when people are lying,” I murmured, locking eyes with her.
She pinched her lips together, “It’s nothing important.”
I arched an eyebrow, unconvinced. “It won’t work on me.”
Marianne loosened a breath and rubbed her eyes, tiredly. I only ever saw Marianne troubled when it came to her younger sister—Raegan. Bile rose in my throat at the thought of her.
“Is it something to do with Raegan?” I hated saying her name.
Her eyes darkened at the sound of her name.
“Yeah,” She reluctantly revealed. She flickered her eyes from me towards the letter. “I deleted her number from my phone so she sent me this letter.”
Whilst their relationship wasn’t the best, I could see Marianne cared about her sister a lot.
“She apologized for coming here and trying to come between you and Lazarus. Our dad has completely cut her off from the pack and her trust fund. He’s left her to fend for herself.” She explained. “Ever since she was little, my parents have always treated her differently. They think she’s evil reincarnated. Raegan has despised how they treated her. But this time, it’s different. She’s officially out of the pack.”
A small part of me felt bad for Raegan. She didn’t deserve to leave the pack.
“Why do they think she’s evil?” I queried, puzzled. Raegan had a few bad traits and she was selfish and manipulative but that didn’t mean she was a psychopath. I saw hurt in her eyes when Marianne dismissed her. She felt things like everyone else.
“She’s never been an easy child. She caused a lot of trouble, even from a young age. My parents didn’t tell me everything she did but I knew they were scared of her,” She declared, sadly. “After my brother and mom died, dad changed. He blamed Raegan for what happened because she was there when they died. Raegan struggled to cope.”
“But now, my dad has got her kicked out of the pack. She’s alone in the world, without any support. According to her letter, she’s in Minneapolis, working at a diner.” She finished, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
“Is she scared?”
Marianne shrugged her shoulders. “I’m not sure, I can’t tell from this letter. I think she’s worried but also a bit happy. Our parents have never loved her, not the way they should at least. She’s always felt a burden on her back but now she’s free. She can choose what to do without worrying about our dad.”
It suddenly came to me. “You’re sad because you think she’ll make a better life for herself and forget about you,” I stated, softly.
Marianne didn’t object.
“You’re right—I’m afraid she’ll have a new life without me,” She whispered.
“I don’t think she’ll forget about you,” I said, confidently. “After all, she wrote to you and told you what happened. She wouldn’t do that if she didn’t want to see you again. I think she’s trying to reach out to you.”
Marianne released a shaky breath.
“I see why you were mated with Lazarus,” She blurted out. “You two really are perfect for each other. He’s lucky to have you.”
I shook my head, “I think I’m the lucky one.”
Marianne suppressed a smile.
“Also, did Dexter or Lazarus tell you about Georgia’s lake house?”
Marianne nodded her head, “Yeah, they did. I saw Georgia earlier and told her I would go.”
So, we were all going.
I was happy. This was going to be a good trip.
Unfortunately, the things I’m most happy about never go the way I want. This lakehouse trip would end in disaster.
People would get hurt.
And some people would die.
Well...a bit of foreshadowing there. I do love ending chapters like this. Please vote and comment! My next update will hopefully be Sunday!