CHAPTER 46

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Briana hurdled the table toward me

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Briana hurdled the table toward me. She must have seen my slouch begin before I even realized it. Tom made a move to reach for me, but Briana waved him off.

I grabbed the doorframe before anyone had to steady me. "Married? Did you say married? I-how long-what day is it? How much time did that demon take from me?"

Briana's forehead creased, and she dug into her front pocket. "Honey, it's true. Look." She flipped her phone in my direction. A couple clicks later she activated her photos.

A picture filled the screen. There I stood, facing Tom. A rope fastened our left hands together, and his other hand rested on my chest. I pressed the spot on my chest. My throat closed. Tears stung, but I blinked them back.

The next picture showed us in a tight embrace. He was kissing me. The black ink was there. I flipped to the previous photo, and the ink wasn't there. But in the next photo, the rope lay on the grass at our feet, and there was the black ink. Adams stood off to the side, watching.

I looked at Tom. He wore now what he wore in the picture. "Did this just happen?"

He nodded. "Those pictures are from earlier today, before-" His nostrils flared, and his thumb grazed over the mark circling his ring finger.

I looked at my hand and caressed the mark around mine as well. It felt smooth. For something that had just happened earlier that day, I would have thought it would be sore. Like a normal tattoo.

Then, I turned my focus to Sean, who sat slumped against the kitchen table, next to Adams. He picked at the wooden table in front of him.

"Sean?" I said with a whisper. He'd been my partner for two years. Knew me better than most and has been with TLC the longest besides me. There was no one I trusted more. "Is this true?"

He looked at me with blood-shot eyes and nodded.

"Where's Smith? And the rest of the team? What day is it?" My heart threatened to leap into my throat.

Sean looked at Tom, then me. He drew in a deep breath. Briana's grip around my arm tightened. "Kota. Smith is dead. There's only us left on the team. All the others are dead."

My stomach flopped. It took every ounce of strength I had to stay upright. "Dead?"

"Only Briana, Jordan, Gertrude, Syler, Shelly, Kelsey, me and you-er-and Tom survived."

"Survived what?"

Sean cleared his throat.

"What day is it?" I shouted.

"D. School ended over a month ago," Briana said.

So, three months gone? Just like that? A demon could wipe that from my memory? I mean, I evidently fell in love with Tom and married him-which I would never do so quickly. Oh, and lost half of my team and our leader. How could a demon take those things in a blink of an eye? Was I really that weak-minded?

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