Chapter 198: Fated Attraction
“Why were you two saying my name so much just now?” Eli asked quietly as he blocked my way to the door.
I furrowed my brow. “We weren’t. What are you talking about?”
Eli shook his head. “I heard you. You kept saying the name ‘Enzo’.”
My eyes widened. His name wasn’t Enzo. It was Eli… Right? For a moment, my heart skipped a beat as I looked up at him, searching his face for some sign that he really was Enzo; but unlike before, his face never shifted or changed. He stayed looking just the same as he was now: an unfamiliar face.
It must have been some sort of sick prank.
“That’s not funny,” I growled. Eli stared at me with wide eyes, but I just pushed past him and through the door, out into the cold night air.
“Wait!” he called, running after me.” I’m serious.”
I scoffed. “Sure you are,” I replied,
holding my arms as I walked briskly through the cold night air. “Did Sadie send you? Is this some sort of prank to get more dirt on me?”
Eli stopped in his tracks, but I kept walking. “No one sent me,” he said quietly. “You just look too familiar to me.”
Now, I was the one who stopped. For what felt like an eternity, I just stood there with my back turned to Eli, my arms folded across my chest as I shivered in the cold. Part of me wanted to turn around and run to him, as
though Enzo would be standing there
when I turned to face him, but I knew
that wasn’t the case. All of this was just some sort of nasty prank; either Selena had sent them both to mess with me, or they had simply heard rumors about my relationship with Enzo and wanted to bully me. Either way, I didn’t want to get involved any longer. If Selena did send them to get under my skin, I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction. 4
So, without another word and without turning around to look at Eli, I began walking again.
By the time I arrived back at home, I ran to my room and ripped off the dress that Eli had given me. Without thinking, I shoved it into a plastic trash bag at the back of my closet, pulled on some pajamas, and promptly threw myself down onto my bed, sobbing into my pillow.
I wasn’t sure how long I laid there, crying inconsolably and soaking my pillow with my tears. At some point, I thought I heard Lori and Jessica come home. They must have heard me crying, because my door quietly clicked open, and the next thing I knew someone was rubbing my back gently while I cried. I wanted to tell them everything, but I just couldn’t. I felt too weak and helpless to even speak. But the way my friends sat with me and gently rubbed my back eventually comforted me, and soon I found myself being lulled into a dreamless sleep.
I must have been asleep for two, maybe three hours. I couldn’t be sure.
But one thing was for certain: when I woke up, I was not in my bed. In fact, I quickly realized from the feel of the freezing cold biting against the side of my face, that I wasn’t even inside.
My eyes shot open. I sat up abruptly, looking around wildly; I was on the forest floor.
I didn’t recall coming out here, but as soon as I got my bearings, I knew where I was. I had come to know it all too well.
The place where I last saw Enzo
stepping through the portal.
A choked, dry sob caught in my throat as I scrambled to my feet. The moon was full and bright, but the forest still felt dark and ominous, and I was all alone out here in my pajamas. My hands and my feet were freezing; when I looked down at them, they were bright red from the cold. I quickly shoved my hands into my armpits and shivered, looking around frantically as though a Crescent, or even Selena, would suddenly burst out of the shadows and attack me.
But the forest was silent, aside from
the lonesome call of an owl. It almost felt as though this location was pulling me to it, and part of me wanted to stay, as though Enzo would suddenly come through a portal and hold me in his arms. But I couldn’t stay here not if I wanted to keep all of my fingers. A light snow had even begun to fall, leaving a light dusting on the crunchy, dry leaves beneath my feet. If I didn’t get home now, I would freeze half to death.
As I began to walk home, new tears began to stream down my cheeks and coat the layer of dried tears that were already caked on my skin. This wasn’t the first time I had somehow managed to sleepwalk out into the middle of the woods and wake up next to the portal, and somehow I knew it wouldn’t be the last. I would have to tell Jessica and Lori to lock me in my room at night, otherwise I really would freeze to death
out here one night. But even then, I
couldn’t deny the strange attraction I had to that spot, and wondered if a locked door would even stop me in my sleep. Maybe I would simply wake up in excruciating pain one night after jumping out my window in my sleep in an attempt to get to the spot.
Suddenly, as I walked, I felt the undeniable feeling of being watched. The hairs on the back of my neck raised, causing me to stop in my tracks and spin around, looking for the source of the feeling.
And there he was.
He was walking away with his hands in his pockets. Sadie was walking a few paces in front of him, gesturing wildly in an angry manner and speaking loudly. Although I couldn’t make out what she was saying from this distance, I somehow knew that she was probably complaining about me. She was probably still fuming about my
purely coincidental dance with Eli.
But Eli wasn’t looking at her. As he walked, he had his head turned over his shoulder, and his eyes were fixed on me.
Neither of us looked away at first. I felt as though our eyes were locked on each other, like they were glued together. And the longer I looked at him, even as he became smaller in the distance, I swore…
I swore that he really did begin to look
But I knew that he wasn’t. It must have been the exhaustion and the effects of being out in the freezing cold causing my brain to feel foggy. I knew I was seeing things; Enzo wasn’t here.
Eli slowly faded away into the distance
with Sadie, and I eventually lost sight
of them. I felt another sob catch in my
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