Chapter Sixteen

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Gabriel gave Zoe a satisfied look as he approached her father again. "You might want to move, honey."

Zoe gave him a scathing look and made no move to leave her father's side. "Are you going to make me?"

Those blue eyes sparkled, ignited by her challenge. "Would you like me to?"

Zoe's father's arm tightened around her shoulders. A frown marred his features as he looked up at this man who was supposed to be his brother.

"Zoe," Nate suddenly said, "you probably should move away from him. It's not guaranteed, but there's a chance that things could get...out of hand."

Zoe raised an eyebrow at that. Her father looked from Nate, to Michael, to Gabriel, his eyes flashing. "What the hell does he mean by that?"

"You're about to have several millennia worth of memories shoved back into your head," Gabriel said evenly. "Do you think it's going to be a walk in the park?"

"It's going to be a little overwhelming at first," Raphael said gently. "Your mind may try to fight the onslaught—and your body might follow. You won't want your daughter beside you if that happens." He grimaced. "Trust me."

"Broken jaw," Paris supplied helpfully. "Good thing I can heal, right?"

Zoe's father considered their words for a moment before he gave Zoe's knee a squeeze and released her shoulders. "Go on, Angel. It will be fine."

Zoe wanted to argue, but the faraway look in his eyes stopped the words in her throat. She looked to Gabriel instead and gave him the fiercest look she could muster.

"If you hurt him," she said seriously, "I will break your face."

Gabriel grinned. "I kinda like this little girl."

Zoe gave him the finger before slipping out from beneath her father's blanket.

She stepped around the centre coffee table and sat by Paris instead. The poor boy looked like he could have slept the whole weekend away, but he was forcing himself to stay awake—to be a part of whatever was happening.

He moved his feet to make more room for Zoe on the couch, and his father leaned over to hand her the bottle of water that she still hadn't touched.

"You should drink," Raphael said. When she opened her mouth to protest, he added, "You just escaped a fire—you probably need it."

"You definitely need it," Paris amended. "You're dehydrating. I can sense it."

Zoe took the bottle, but she didn't plan on cracking it open until she knew her father was going to be fine—until Gabriel was done sticking memories in his head.

"How bad is this going to be?" she asked quietly. "Is he even going to remember me when this is all over?"

"Yes," Raphael said with certainty. "He could never forget you. Don't you doubt that for a minute, darlin'."

Zoe didn't know if it was Paris sending out his calming vibes or if it was Raphael himself, but she was comforted by his words. She even went as far as to offer him a small smile.

Raphael returned the gesture. "He might seem a little dazed for a while, but he'll be fine in a few days. Once his mind calms down and everything settles into place. Trust me. You have nothing to worry about."

"Except the devil," Zoe said.

Those blue eyes flashed with a spark of anger. Unconsciously, he shifted closer to his son. "Once we're done, you won't have to worry about him either."

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