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Chapter One

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"Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart."

Jòse N. Harris

"Where were you?"

I jump at the question, dropping my phone, keys and handbag onto my apartment floor.

"Jeez, Lucy! You scared me! You could've at least waited until I stepped through the door." I complain whilst bending down to pick up my belongings. When I gather everything I stand up and close the door behind me.

Lucy, my younger but annoyingly protective fourteen-year-old sister simply crosses her slim arms and frowns.

"You didn't answer my question." Her voice is tight, her eyes verging on a downpour of tears.

Dammit, I thought I was getting better at this sneaking out thing.

How did she find out?

My mind is stuck as I try to come up with a believable excuse.

"You're doing it again, aren't you?" Lucy asks with a frustrated sigh.

"Doing what?" I reply innocently, at the same time trying to subtly pull my beige trench coat around my body.

She notices.

Her sea-blue eyes focus on my shuffling hands and the fabric they are clutching. I could practically see her mind go crazy with what secret I was hiding underneath.

"Take off your coat," She orders, confirming my dreaded sucpisions and marches towards me.

I instinctively take a single step backwards, "No!" I warn her.

"Nova, I mean it." She snaps. Honestly, sometimes it felt like she was the older sibling, not I.

"Lucy," I reply, mimicking her patronising tone, "I'm not taking my coat off. I'm tired, I'm cold and I just want to go to bed. So please and this is the last time I'm going to ask politely...back off." I push past her, ignoring her protests and shouts to stop.

"I'm not going to back off!" She yells behind me. I hear her footsteps and feel her hands grab my shoulders before I even have a chance to turn around.

"Take. It. Off." She repeats whilst trying to pull down my coat collar.

"Get off me, you freak!" I shriek, attempting to slap away her whizzing hands.

It doesn't work. Her hands are too fast for me, she grips the front sides of my coat and pulls it down.

"I knew it," she gasps.

I pull my dress down and straighten up. I cross my arms and narrow my eyes, mentally preparing myself for the onslaught that was going to drop any moment.

"I thought you threw that darn dress away!" She replies incredulously, flinging her arms in the air.

I was seriously beginning to believe she was an old woman in a teenagers body.

"And what is wrong with this dress?" I eye up my sleeveless mid-thigh black dress. It was plain with no pretty embellishments or glittery sequins but it hugged my body in all the right places. I thought I looked pretty damn good in it.

"Did you really want me to answer that question? Nova, you promised you wouldn't do it again. Then why?" Lucy asks whilst shaking her head.

"We need the money that's why!" I snap at her, "it's not like I'm doing anything with these men. I'm just-"

"Stealing their money," she cuts in with a sigh, "how is that any better? You're preying on these weak, vulnerable men..."

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