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“I’m fine, but thank you.” Thia shook her head, offering Ray a small smile that could barely qualify as a smile. She’d been in the same position, staring at nothing ever since.

I followed Ray out, leaving Thia in the bedroom. “Sorry about the door. I’ll take care of that before I go,” I said, picking up the sword and the door knob from the carpet. I’d forgotten how heavy the sword was, Thia must have been really determined to leave if she was able to not only lift it, but swing it hard enough to sever the fucking knob.

Ray crossed her arms under her chest. “What’s your plan with her?”

“Fuck if I know. She wants to go. I told her the MC was out to get her. I showed her the fucking newspaper article. She’s dead one way or the other, but she still wants to go, so who the fuck am I to keep her here?”

“You’re a guy who knows a little bit of what she’s feeling.”

“How do you figure that?

“Oh I don’t know, maybe because she’s been displaced and has nowhere to go. Maybe because she’s had some terrible shit happen to her that she doesn’t want to talk about,” Ray said, cocking an eyebrow at me. “Any of this sound familiar?”

“I didn’t think about it like that,” I said, leaning against the wall, running my hand down my beard.

“You boys never do,” Ray said with a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “Grace is coming by tomorrow, you might want to pop your head in and say hello so you don’t catch hell for it.”

“Fuck. Grace. I haven’t even thought to see how she’s doing.” The small radio looking thing in Ray’s hand started to cry, she held it up and waved it in the air. Grace had been battling cancer, but around the time I’d left she declared she wasn’t ready to die and just like that she suddenly seemed well again.

Stubborn women seemed to be a trend in my life, but I was glad for Grace’s stubbornness, if anyone could go to war with death and come out a winner, it was her.

“Gotta go, but you might want to make a plan when it comes to that girl in that room over there. Either let her go or keep her here, either way, you need to decide what’s going to happen, because none of this is fair to her.” She pushed open the broken door and made her way into the garage. I hit the automatic opener and followed her out. “Take that from someone who knows what that’s all about.” I watched Ray leave, following her with my eyes through the window until she made her way into the house by way of the back steps.

Ray was right. I needed to make a decision, but I couldn’t think of one that would result in her being both safe and gone. I could sneak her out of town and get her somewhere the MC didn’t have reach but if the law caught up to her it didn’t matter where she was, if she ended up in a prison or jail somewhere, she was as good as dead.

Unless…

I dug my phone out of my pocket and as my fingers pushed each number I cringed at what I was about to do. “Bethany Fletcher’s office.”

After my call I found Thia exactly where I left her.

“We couldn’t get down your street,” I started, rounding the bed to stand in front of her. Her gaze shifted to the floor. “Law already had the place roped off and were lifting up the tape to let the coroner’s van through. We put our heads down and kept fucking driving.” I kneeled down in front of her and again tried to get her to look at me, but she turned away, this time crawling up the bed and climbing under the blanket. With her back to me she pulled the blanket up to her chin.

“Leave me alone. I just want to sleep,” she said, her voice flat and empty.

“Fuck this,” I said, pushing off the wall. I wanted to tell her what the fuck happened because I thought she’d want to know. What was I doing? Ray was wrong. I couldn’t relate to the girl in any way, and just because she was stupid enough to believe one of my lies a hundred fucking years ago didn’t mean I owed her shit. I didn’t need to stay to watch some kid turn inward and self-destruct.

Speaking of self-destruction.

I rummaged through my saddle bag on the floor, searching around the internal side pocket until I found exactly what I was looking for. I walked over to the only surface in the room, the little night table Thia was facing.

I didn’t care that she could see what I was about to do.

I didn’t give a shit what she thought about me.

I tapped some powder out onto the wooden table into three jagged lines. I felt Thia’s eyes on me as I snorted all three lines of false happiness up my fucking nose.

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