CHAPTER 4: KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU

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Few days later, I was walking toward my bus stop with Sarah when Laurent Eastwood appeared directly in front of us, making me widen my eyes at him to signal that I did not want Sarah to know about him. He did not seem to get my cue, since he walked to us with a polite smile, wearing the same black jacket and oozing confidence and handsomeness. He usually was more discreet when following me, what did he want now?

''Hi, Jade'', he greeted. ''You must be Sarah, right?'

''Yes, I'm sorry, Jade did not mention you?'' she asked him, giving me a ''you have a lot to tell me later'' look.

I was afraid she would recognize him from that time she saw him by the window, but she seemed clueless, to my relief.

''That's Laurent, he's just...'' I trailed off, trying to find a credible lie. ''My mother's cousin, he moved here recently.''

Laurent frowned at me, probably thinking that my lie was crap, but Sarah bought it.

''Nice to meet you, I didn't know Jade's mom had hot cousins like th-'', Sarah began, but I cut her off with my elbow on her side.

''Um'', Laurent cleared his throat, impressed by Sarah's bluntness. ''Your mother told me to drive you home, we're having a family dinner.''

He was a smooth liar, and I did not know if I should be impressed or worried by that fact. How many lies could he have told me before without me realizing it?

''Oh, I don't want to intrude, but can I take the lift? I really don't feel like an hour-long bus ride...'' Sarah said expressively, making both Laurent and I stare at each other uneasily.

''Yeah, sure'', he said simply, gesturing us to his car, a few meters from us.

Laurent had a black Tesla, which I found exceptionally cool, and we got in, me in the passenger seat and Sarah on the back seat. The situation was peculiar and unexpected, because I did not want to enter Laurent's car, but I had to look like he was more than an acquaintance, so Sarah would not suspect anything. I deeply hoped that he was trustworthy, because I would feel terrible if he harmed Sarah because of me.

''So, where do you come from, Laurent'', Sarah asked with interest. I

knew that tone, because it was the tone she always used when she was crushing on a guy. For some reason, I felt annoyed by the idea of her seducing Laurent.

''I used to live in a small town in the countryside. It's called Frampton, do you know it?'' he answered effortlessly, clearly a better actor than me, who was fidgeting in my seat with stress.

''No, but I guess I should visit, sometimes'', she responded with a smirk. ''Are you in university?''

God, can this be over soon?

''I finished two years ago'', he stated, focusing on the road before us.

Minutes of awkward silence passed by.

''You're quiet, Jade, is everything okay?'' Sarah wondered with concern.

''Yeah, just tired'', I said tightly. ''I work tonight, and I really don't feel like it.''

''Oh, I feel you'', she nodded and began ranting about whether she should quit her job at the restaurant while I gave Laurent the directions to her house.

We soon arrived, and Laurent parked in her entrance. I sighed in relief when she finally left the car and waved goodbye. The minute she was out of sight, I turned to Laurent with questioning eyes.

''Okay, so what is this all about?'' I asked while he backed away and continued driving to an unknown direction.

I was annoyed by his idea of showing himself to Sarah. We were supposed to keep the situation secret, he was even the one who insisted on it.

''I just thought we could hang out a bit to get to know each other better'', he said lowly, making me frown.

''I agreed to letting you follow me, but that doesn't mean we have to be friends'', I retorqued, irritated by the car ride I had to endure and the fact that I lied to my best friend. ''And Sarah should not be mixed in this.''

He was taken aback by my dry tone for a few seconds, before he began speaking again.

''She's something, your friend'', he huffed, back to his closed off attitude, ignoring what I just said. ''I'll buy you a coffee and drive you home after.''

I nodded reluctantly, not in the mood for arguing. I had to be nice to Laurent, if I wanted him to protect me. Ten minutes later, we were sitting in a small café, and I was glad to be in a public place because I still felt vigilant around him. I stared at his face, examining the perfect traits, and wondering how it could be possible for a human to be so attractive. His presence around me was almost to good to be true, why would a man like him waste his time surveying me?

''So, tell me about your family'' he demanded, looking at me curiously.

''Don't you already know everything with all the stalking?'' I asked with a small smile, making him chuckle lowly.

Even his laugh was sexy. What was wrong with me and my dirty thoughts?

''Well, I kind of do'', he admitted. ''But I don't know much about you, what you like, and things like that.''

''I'll tell you if you do too'' I challenged, feeling more relaxed.

''Okay, so I like The Rolling Stones, I love training and playing baseball, I don't really watch TV, but I read a lot. Especially historical books'', he rambled casually, sipping his coffee and glancing at me with piercing silver eyes, expecting me to follow his lead.

I thought for a few seconds about my answer. It was so hard, to describe ourselves. I find that people are often much more clueless about their identity then their entourage.

''The Stones are good, but I prefer Neil Young or Queen'', I started, unsure of what to say. ''I run a lot, it makes me feel strong and carefree. And I watch Netflix shows, when I have time. Like, between semesters.''

We talked for half an hour, and I almost lost track of time while we were arguing over our music tastes. Laurent was shockingly a decent, even cool person, and he was visibly smart, in addition to his mesmerizing looks. After we finished our coffee, he drove me home like he had said, and when I left his car, I felt a twitch in my heart at the idea of hanging out with him again. I went straight to my room, ignoring my mothers, and prepared for work. My job was the last thing I wanted to think about lately, but I could not put my life on hold either because of Thomas. I could not let him have that kind of impact on my life.

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