You can read ahead on Patreon now. Use this link to find out more: patreon.com/littletroublemaker_
Inside, everyone was huddled around on the sofa, embracing each other. The relief was evident on all of their faces.
To the side, sat on the dining table, was Marco. Dexter was tending to him, carefully. Marco winced every time Dexter washed his cuts. Out of all of us, he seemed to be in the worst shape.
Lazarus once told me that werewolves had faster healing abilities. Wilder would heal quickly—in a few hours—whilst Marco wouldn’t. He was stuck with these injuries for a while.
“I’m so sorry this happened guys,” I apologized, sincerely. None of this would have happened if I wasn’t here. They would still be enjoying their holiday, with no wounds.
They all snapped their heads towards me, even a groaning Wilder. He already looked a bit better. His face was less pale.
“For god’s sake, Celeste. It’s not your fault. You don’t need to keep apologizing!” Georgia nearly shouted, rising from her spot. She chucked the rag she was using to clean the claw marks on Wilder and waved her hands around frantically. “This isn’t your fault. We don’t blame you. You couldn’t have prevented this.”
I didn’t know what to say. My mouth fell open but no words came out.
“Now, instead of making this about you, can you please help somebody?” She instructed, sharply.
Tears welled up in my eyes but I refused to let them fall. In all the years I knew her, she had never spoken to me like that before.
Lazarus was immediately by my side, defending me. “Georgia,” He warned in a dark voice. His eyes were narrowed on her. “I understand you’re stressed and upset but don’t take it out on Celeste. That’s not fair.”
Georgia pinched her lips together and nodded her head.
The atmosphere was now tense. I headed over to the dining table and helped Dexter patch Marco up. Concern swirled in Dexter’s brown eyes.
“Are you still in pain, Marco?” I asked him, worriedly.
Marco shrugged his shoulders, “It only stings now. Your friend here gave me something.” He gestured to Dexter. When he looked at Dexter, his eyes sparked to life.
He was experiencing what I experienced. When I first met Lazarus, I was drawn to him but I was confused as to why. Marco must be feeling the same way. He must be confused with what he’s feeling.
“Do you want to lie down for a bit?” Dexter asked, frowning deeply.
He shook his head, “I can’t. I need to call my superiors and tell them about what happened. They might have to send someone else out here or...” He paused and flickered his eyes up to me.
“Or what?” I pried, nervously.
“Or you’ll have to go home.”
I had a feeling that might happen. It wasn’t safe here now. Marco didn’t know that one of the wolves was the scarred man but he was injured so he couldn’t protect me to the best of his ability anymore. There was no way Detective Ridley would let me stay unguarded. He would probably order me to come home.
A sigh passed through my lips and my shoulders slumped in defeat. “It’s probably for the best anyway. I’m not safe here anymore.”
Lazarus grabbed my hand and squeezed it reassuringly. “I can protect you, mi amore.”
“I know but I don’t want you or anyone else to get hurt because of me.” I countered. “Please let me do this one thing for you guys.”
He pursed his lips together. “Okay.”
I asked Marco where his phone was and grabbed it. Whilst he was on the phone with Detective Ridley, I helped Sammy and Jamie prepare a meal. Jamie was emotionally better now. He was still furious at us for keeping this from him but he was beginning to accept why we kept it a secret. Since we didn’t know Sammy as well, she was just grateful we let her in on the secret.
In the end, we made something easy. Everyone liked Chicken Stroganoff.
As we all sat around the table to eat, minus Marco, Wilder, and Ellie, I told everyone that it was most likely this was my last night here. Most of them looked sad by the news but understood why I had to leave. I was in danger and so were they as long as I stayed here.
We made the most of the meal together. The mood was still somber but we were all cheering up slightly. Matt even managed to crack a smile on all of our faces.
Lazarus and Marianne did the dishes. I helped clear the table with Matt. Georgia had disappeared somewhere.
Ellie came down from her room and took some food up for Wilder. She told us he was improving and that he would be fine tomorrow. He just needed rest.
“I’m going to give this food to Dexter and Marco,” I announced and took the tray full of food. Skilfully, I carried the heavy tray up the stairs.
Dexter hadn’t left Marco’s side. He was fawning over him. I hoped Marco saw why he was doing it.
I stopped outside Dexter’s room and knocked on the door with my free hand. A muffled ‘come in’ was said by an anguished voice.
Marco was lying on Dexter’s double bed, clutching his side. The dried blood was washed off, what remained was the severe cuts. Dexter was sat on the chair beside the bed, holding a glass of water and some painkillers.
They both shifted their gaze to me.
“Hi, I just wanted to bring you guys some food,” I smiled slightly and crept into the room. I placed the tray on the table next to the bed.
Dexter smiled gratefully, “Thanks, Celeste. This looks nice.”
“You’re welcome. You guys must be starving,” I replied and then turned to Marco hesitantly. “What did Detective Ridley say?”
Marco sighed and tried to heave himself up the bed. He winced in pain, causing Dexter to leap to his feet and assist him. I rushed around the other side of the bed and helped Dexter sit Marco up.
Sat upright, Marco turned his attention to me. He pressed his lips together sadly. “He’s coming here to collect you tomorrow morning.”
“Himself?” I arched an eyebrow, shocked.
“Well, then. I better go and pack.” I said, making a move to leave.
“Before you go,” Marco called out. “You should know that he doesn’t know that it was him. He only thinks it was a random pack of wolves. The only reason he’s making you leave is because I told him it wasn’t safe for you here.”
“Wait—what? You know it was him? How?” I fired questions at him, stunned. My eyes darted from him to Dexter.
Marco glanced at Dexter, “He told me everything.”
My eyes widened, “So...”
“I know that he’s a werewolf and is also my mate.” He finished for me. “So yes, I know everything.”
“Cool,” I could only manage to say that.
Thinking back to what he said, I also realized he was trying to admit it was his words that had led Detective Ridley to this decision. If he hadn’t had said those things, I wouldn’t be leaving early.
Marco felt guilty.
“I don’t hate you for telling Detective Ridley the truth. I want to leave,” I reassured him, forcing myself to smile. “Are you coming back with me tomorrow?”
“No, I’m going to stay here a bit longer and recover.”
“Okay, then thank you for what you did, Marco. I really appreciate it,” I thanked him.
“I was only doing my job,” He shrugged his shoulders.
“No,” I denied, firmly. “You were being a good friend.”
A beautiful smile stretched onto his lips. This event made me realize Marco was not my bodyguard, he was my friend. I had come to value him in more ways than one.
Later that night, as I was packing my belongings in my room, Georgia entered my room. I lifted my head up and stopped packing.
“Hey,” She greeted, awkwardly. I hated how things felt between us now. We weren’t the same anymore. She would always be my friend but I don’t think we will be as close anymore. Too much has happened.
“I—I heard you are leaving tomorrow,” She commented.
“Yeah, Marco confirmed it earlier. I’m going early tomorrow apparently.” I informed her. After leaving Marco and Dexter, I received a message from my mother and Detective Ridley, telling me I should be ready by eleven.
“I wanted to apologize for what I said earlier. None of us think that.” She said, regretfully. “I also want to give you this.”
I didn’t notice she had her hand behind her back. She moved her hand and produced a small knife. My immediate reaction was to jolt back.
“Why do you have that?” I exclaimed, staring at her cautiously.
“It’s from my parent’s weaponry room. I want you to have it,” She answered, calmly.
My eyes drifted from the knife to her, “You have a weapons room here?”
She nodded her head, looking as if it was no big deal to her. It put my friendship in retrospect. I didn’t know Georgia as well as I thought I did. I never fully knew her.
Our lives before all of this were different. It always had been.
“That’s beside the point though. I want you to take this knife.” She brought the subject back to the matter at hand.
“You won’t always have somebody there to save you. You might have to do it all yourself,” She replied in a mysterious way.
“You want me to keep it for protection?” I clarified.
“Yes, and I know what you are going to say but hear me out. Usually, there are other people around you to save you but one day, there won’t be and you’ll be alone. That knife could save your life,” She explained, quickly.
I considered what she said and agreed with her. I had been thinking that too.
“You know what, I will take it. You’re right,” I relented, gently taking the knife from her. She seemed pleased with my decision.
“Good. I’ll um—I’ll see you tomorrow then,” She uncomfortably said. I watched her go, sadly.
I finished packing and collapsed onto my bed. Exhaustion hit me full force. My eyes started to flutter closed as my body demanded to have a rest.
Sometime during the night, Lazarus tip-toed in quietly. He slid into our bed and delicately placed his arm over my waist. At that point, I was half-asleep, half-awake.
“Sleep,” He whispered into my ear.
I returned to my peaceful slumber, letting all of my doubts wash away.
My peaceful sleep was disturbed by the sensation of something over my mouth. I snapped my mouth open and saw an unfamiliar dark figure looming over me. When I tried to scream, I couldn’t. A damp cloth was shoved over my mouth and when I inhaled it, I got a taste of chloroform.
Panic flowed into my body.
A harsh voice shushed me. I felt my body slowly lose consciousness. I tried to fight the feeling but it was useless. I had already inhaled the chemical.
I couldn’t feel Lazarus’s warm body beside me. He was gone.
I was all alone. The knife Georgia gave me a few hours ago had vanished from my bedside table. He must have anticipated what I was going to do.
My eyelids started to feel heavy. I couldn’t muster the energy to fight anymore.
The last image I had was of the scarred man standing over me, grinning wickedly.
Well...here we go. I hope you enjoyed this chapter. My next update will be on Friday. Have a great week!