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The next day, I sat in my first lesson, twirling my pen around my fingers. English was my first lesson—the lesson I shared with the three new people. After last night at the diner, I didn’t know how to face them. They had witnessed me zone out and recall one of the darkest memories I had.
I was beyond embarrassed.
Thankfully, I shared this class with Ellie. She greeted me with a flattering smile, her eyes brightening. She didn’t manage to hide the concern in her eyes. Ellie always fawned over me when I experienced flashbacks.
“Hey,” She said, lowly. “How are you feeling?”
I slid into my seat and set my belongings on the small rectangular table. From my peripheral vision, I noticed Lazarus sat in the middle of the room, writing something furiously. He stilled after Ellie spoke. It was as if he was listening to our conversation which wasn’t possible because Ellie said it so quietly and we are quite far away.
Shaking off the thought since it was ridiculous, I answered her question. “I’m okay.”
Ellie arched an eyebrow as if to say, ’I don’t believe you’.
“I’m okay, I promise. You don’t need to worry,” I murmured, softly.
Ellie studied me for a moment and then relented, loosening a breath.
Our teacher strolled in; her thinning grey hair tied in a tight bun. Her spectacles were hanging off the edge of her nose; her beady brown eyes stared at all of us with boredom.
“Open up your books and continue your studying,” She instructed, with one quick glance. Ms. Nala never liked spending a lot of time talking. She would always tell us what to do and then sit in front of her desk and read a book.
Sighing, I flicked through the pages and began making notes from the textbook.
About halfway through the lesson, a note was placed onto my table. Peeking up through my long lashes, I scanned the room in curiosity. Not many people pass me notes.
Hesitantly, I opened the note.
I hope you’re okay after last night.
Do you think we can meet after lunch?
I knew who it was from immediately. Lazarus.
My heart warmed at the thought of him sending notes to me. Cautiously, I flickered my gaze over towards him. He was glancing over his shoulder, staring at me with a soft expression on his face. He stared at me like I was the only person in the world.
Turning away because I felt intimidated by his intense stare, I re-read the note, mentally pondering why he was sending me this.
Bursts of memories hit me like a water truck—memories from Friday night. I could see Lazarus fighting a man with shiny blonde hair. He was making unwanted advances on me and…Lazarus stepped in. He fought the man and called me—
What did he call me?
Ellie peered up at me and frowned at the note. Her expression read: what are you looking at?
I didn’t want to show her. It felt private.
Instead, I shrugged my shoulders, pretending it wasn’t a big deal. In all honesty, it wasn’t a big deal. But to me, it was.
Throughout the rest of the lesson, I kept thinking about the note and what happened Friday night. I never replied to him, not really knowing what to say.
I felt an attraction towards Lazarus, there was no denying it. He made my heart stutter and butterflies erupt in my stomach. But I could sense there was so much more to him. He had a secret, a deep and dark secret that could change so much.
Whatever the secret was, it was something that could change my life. Forever.
The shrilly bell rang, alerting us that the lesson had ended.
I packed my belongings up and rushed out of the classroom, sparing him a quick glance.
I didn’t concentrate very well in my lessons.
At lunch, I sat with the other cheerleaders, picking at my food distractedly. The others chat around me, blissfully unaware of my inner turmoil.
Eventually, Georgia noticed my unease and gave me a perplexed look.
“What’s up with you?” She asked, knitting her eyebrows together. “Is this about yesterday?”
Exhaling, I shook my head. I was over that by now.
Before she could finish, I stood up abruptly. She blinked, startled.
“I have to go,” I announced, randomly and stormed out of the cafeteria. They all watched me exit it, no doubt thinking I’ve finally lost it.
Maybe I had.
The feelings I was experiencing were so out of character and peculiar. I couldn’t make sense of it. Was the connection I felt real? Was it even there? Perhaps Lazarus had seen me staring at him with so much adoration that he decided to tell me he didn’t want to be with me. That could be why he wrote the note. He wanted to tell me gently.
Where was I even going?
It was as if my heart was in control of my body. It was the one pulling me towards something—or someone. Was I trying to find Lazarus?
I ended up in the music corridor. I hadn’t been down there in a while, due to the face I sucked at music. I couldn’t play an instrument to save my life. And don’t even get me started on my singing voice.
Music drifted from the main music room. Slowly, I tip-toed towards the room. Thankfully, the doors were open so I could take a peek.
A mop of dark brown hair caught my attention. I would recognize that hair anywhere.
Hunched over a large black piano with his back to me was Lazarus. He was playing a slow, emotional song. I watched, transfixed with how he elegantly pressed the keys, playing the song professionally. It was so beautiful and entrancing. He had talent. Raw talent.
The song was so sad I felt a tear escape my left eye. I wiped it away before anyone could see my crying.
He played it from the heart.
I had to wonder what pain he must have experienced to play this. It must have been heart-breaking.
He came to a stop and remained frozen. I didn’t move away which I should have done if I didn’t want him to catch me.
“Did you like it?” Lazarus blurted out, directing it at me. He swiveled around in his chair and locked eyes with me.
Stunned, I blinked.
He waited patiently, amusement dancing in those emerald green orbs.
“Y—Yes,” I stammered, pathetically.
“Do you play?” He asked, gesturing at the piano.
I shook my head, frantically. “No,” I forced a laugh, “Music and I don’t get along very well.”
He nodded his head in understanding. “Do you want to hear me play another song?”
I leaped at the opportunity. I most definitely wanted to hear him play more. I also wanted to spend more time with him.
Strolling over to him, I lowered myself into the chair beside him, inches away from him. It was the closest we had been. Electricity flew between us, crackling in the air. My body felt warm and at ease. Even he seemed to relax.
He played another song, a shorter one this time. It didn’t have the same emotional intensity as the first one, but it was still beautiful. I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. Everything he did was graceful and stunning.
When he finished, I relished in his presence. “You play so well. How long have you been playing?”
He smiled at my question, “A long time. My mother taught me.”
I faced him completely and was blown away by how gorgeous he was up close. How could anyone look as good as him?
“So, uh, how are you finding our town so far?” I questioned, tucking a strand of my hair behind my ear. He watched my action, not being able to look away either.
“I think it’s very peaceful. I like how it’s surrounded by woods.” He answered, carefully.
“Yes, it’s lovely. Sometimes I walk through them when I need to clear my head. It’s the one play I feel at ease.” I explained, smiling happily.
His eyes brightened.
“I—I got your note—the one you sent in English,” I changed the subject, for my own benefit. I wanted to know why he had sent it.
The smile on his face vanished. He swallowed nervously and ran a hand through his lovely hair.
“Oh, yeah. I wanted to know if you were okay. You seemed upset at the diner.” He claimed, concern swirling in his eyes.
My heart prospered at the very idea he was worried about me. We barely knew each other yet he cared.
Whilst this was our first conversation, it felt like we knew each other already.
“Yeah, I had a bad memory. That’s all,” I explained, quietly. I didn’t want him to know about the attacks. I didn’t want him to think I was some freak.
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
“No, it’s not your battle to fight,” I smiled, weakly.
He didn’t like that answer but didn’t argue.
My eyes darted to the clock and widened in alarm. I had a lesson in two minutes!
Jumping to my feet, I threw him an apologetic glance. “Sorry, I have to go. Don’t want to be late for my next lesson.”
He rose to his feet too, a lot calmer. “I can teach you.”
I whirled around on the balls of my feet, having no idea what he was talking about.
“What?” I asked, my confusion evident.
He slipped his hands into his jean pockets and stared at me innocently. At this moment, I thought he appeared vulnerable.
“Do you want me to teach you how to play the piano?” He repeated.
Oh…that’s what he meant.
Even though I knew I was awful at music, I wanted to accept it. The reason being that I could spend time with Lazarus.
“That would be nice,” I said before I could back out of it.
I raced to my next lesson; a smile planted on my face the entire time.
Georgia shared this class with me so when she spotted me, she appeared concerned. She arched a delicate eyebrow.
I shook my head, silently telling her I wasn’t going to reveal it—yet.
Thank you so much for reading this chapter! Remember to leave a comment. I will post a new chapter on Tuesday. Until then, have a great weekend!