CHAPTER NINETEEN: WHAT WAS LEFT UNSAID

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Sneaking into my room was harder than I thought

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Sneaking into my room was harder than I thought. After watching Hunter close the door of his house behind him, I found no other excuse to delay the inevitable. But even I knew better than to show up in front of my father stinking of subway, sweat, and blood. Which is why I tiptoed my way upstairs as quietly as the groaning stairs allowed me to, finding Emilia's crying comforting for the first time in my life when I realized Dad was trying to get her to sleep in her room.

I let the door close behind me and pressed my back against it. It was hard to think properly with my mind whirling and racing like a never-ending roller coaster, but it was even harder with the steady pulsing coming from the leather bag strapped loosely over my shoulder. I knew the blade was still in there; it felt alive. Like it was waiting for me to wrap my hand around its grip again, feed it another bolt energy once I drove its tip into—

I yanked my mind away from the image of light bursting and heat pouring out of bodies like lit fireworks and shoved the bag away from me. I didn't wait to see where it had landed, making a beeline for the bathroom and shutting the door behind me.

It was hard to take in the face staring back at me when I rose my eyes to the mirror, and I wondered if Hunter had simply been a gentleman enough not to point out how disgusting I actually looked. There was blood staining the right sleeve of my blouse, a ripped hole showing my scratched elbow underneath. When I shrugged it off, I found a pattern of bruises where the doors had met my ribs.

It looked worse than it felt, but that didn't stop me from opening the wall cupboard and swallowing two tablets of Advil. For a moment, the image of Glenda doing the same flashed through my mind. I saw her drowning pill after pill, David Harris' body burning in the back of my eyelids, and then—

I could've sworn the ghost of the Shifter's hands was still there, clinging on to my neck, once I looked back up. There were small specks of red bruising my skin here and there, and I was able to feel his fur brushing against my cheek all over again, the air missing from my lungs...

"Olivia?" Dad's voice rang from outside the bathroom's door. I bit down on my lip not to scream. "I didn't know you were home already. Is everything all right?"

"I'm just going to take a shower, Dad. I'll be downstairs in ten minutes so...so we can talk."

"Well, I'll order some pizza, okay?" he said, and I heard his steps moving away from the door. Then I remembered the bag was somewhere in the room. What if he found it and saw the Reaver Blade inside? What could I possibly tell— "Double cheese and extra pepperoni, exactly the way you liked it when you were a kid."

My heart sunk all the way to my stomach, tears clouding my vision. "That sounds great, Dad."

At least some things haven't changed.

The TV was on once I went back downstairs. It was on the local news channel, and I saw Winona Hawkins, the famous news reporter, who had an incident a couple of weeks ago with a presumably believable picture of her working also as a stripper at some club downtown, reading out loud some facts from the paper she held.

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