Chapter Twenty-Five

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The rest of the night had been chaos.

Celia had been the only one home when they finally made it back, and she had been beside herself. She'd held Nate for so long that Zoe had needed to look away, feeling far too much like an intruder on their moment, and she had gladly stuck to her own father's side in the interim.

Her father had wrapped an arm around her shoulders and not let go for several hours.

His brothers had arrived home one at a time—first Michael, who had held his son for almost as long as his wife had; then Gabriel, with a fire in his eyes that could have rivalled Lucifer's; then Raphael, with Paris hurrying along beside him.

Paris's eyes had swept over Nate, then Zoe, then Zoe's father—assessing every inch of them, searching for anything amiss. He had breathed a deep sigh of relief when he'd seen that none of them were harmed. They had been incredibly lucky; Nate was entirely drained, but it was nothing that a decent day of rest wouldn't be able to fix.

The archangels were pissed.

Zoe was...

Well, she wasn't sure what she was. Confused; hurt. She was still reeling from the fact that Luke Maguire—the man who had done so much for her and her father—had been the devil all along, giving her false visions of her father's death and then trying to kill him for real.

And succeeding in that endeavour.

Her mind had drifted to Matt several times—to the boy who had been her best friend for seven years, who had known her better than she knew herself and had always been able to put a smile on her face. Had any of that been real?

He was missing now.

Zoe knew as much because the police department had called her father to ask him if Zoe was safe, and did he know that there had been an explosion at the Regal? Her father said that he didn't, and was everybody okay? The police department weren't sure. Luke Maguire's Audi was parked behind the café, and there was no sign of him or his son. They were still searching, but they feared the worst.

Zoe didn't know what to think. Should she be worried that her best friend might have been murdered by the devil? Or should she be pissed that this boy had fooled her for years into thinking that he was her friend, while really he had just been spying on her?

Unless they found Matt, there was no way to be sure.

She didn't know if she wanted him found.

Zoe half listened to the adults talk for most of the evening, finding that she had nothing to contribute to their conversation. Nate and Paris were quiet, too. Obviously the incident had shaken them as much as it had her. Lucifer had always just been a name to them, the monster that their fathers talked about but who didn't yet have a face.

Now he was very real—and very dangerous.

And he wanted Zoe.

She kept playing his words over and over in her mind: You are the key to everything. What had he meant by that?

Zoe rubbed her eyes. She didn't want to think about anything anymore.

She had been more than just a little relieved when midnight had rolled around and Celia had ordered them all to get some sleep. There would be time for deciding and arranging things in the morning, she said. Until then, everybody needed to rest.

But Zoe hadn't been able to sleep.

Her father had drifted off sometime around half past one, but Zoe was still staring at the ceiling by a quarter to two. She still wasn't used to the sight of the patterned white plaster; she missed the smooth, unmarked ceiling of her old bedroom.

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