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"We're going to kill you off." Alden wouldn't look at her.

"What?" Her brain flashed back to the time everyone thought she and Dex were dead.

"As far as your family is concerned, yes. You'll be dead."

"No. You can't do that to them. There has to be another option." Sophie tried to steer the conversation so that she could suggest having the forget her.

"It's the only way."

"I refuse to believe that. Can't you make them just forget my existence?" She refuses to break eye contact with Alden.

"It's much more complicated, but it could be done." Alden looked away again. "We could try."

"Thank you." Sophie held her breath to stop her from crying. "Can I say goodbye?"

"The council forbade you from ever going back."

"Please! Do you know what you're asking? I'm just suppose to forget my family? What if someone told you to do that with Fitz and Biana? You'd willing never see them again?" Sophie pleaded. She knew she could get him to say yes.

"You have twenty minutes. You'll need to change. Fitz would take you." Alden sighed, "But I will have to alert the council that you did this."

"Thank you!" She threw her arms around Alden. He froze and tensed up. Perhaps he wasn't used to children he hardly knew hugging him. After a second of consideration, he gave her a small hug back.

Sophie beamed. Everything was still on track! She ran out to go get ready.


"WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?" Her dad shouted as Sophie set foot through the door. His round face—usually so soft—was bent and twisted into hard lines.
Her mom rubbed her temples. "We almost called the police."

Sophie's eyes burned with unshed tears. This was far, far too much for her brain to process, so she did the only thing she could do. She raced across the room, threw her arms around them, and hugged as hard as she could.

"Did something happen, Sophie?" her dad asked after a minute. "Your school called and said you left early." His mind flashed to unspoken horrors.

Sophie cringed away from his thoughts. "Nothing bad happened. It's just been a strange day." She buried her face into her mom's side. "I love you guys."

"We love you too," her mom whispered, totally confused. Her parents thoughts filled with her wonder at when their daughter had become to affectionate. This was the second time she had done this after all.

"What's going on, Soybean?" her dad asked.

"She's just trying to get out of trouble," Amy said, bouncing into the room. She loved watching Sophie get busted.

"Amy, how many times have I told you not to eavesdrop?" her mom asked.

Amy shrugged. "How long is she grounded for?"

"Three months," her dad answered.

Amy shot Sophie a triumphant look.

"It doesn't matter," Sophie said, still hugging her parents. "I'm sorry for worrying you guys. I won't do it again, I promise."

For once she would be able to keep her word.

"Well, maybe two months," her mom decided, rubbing Sophie's back.

Amy pouted and Sophie couldn't help smiling at her pettiness. It didn't matter. They'd forget about this before tomorrow.

She ran over and wrapped Amy up in a hug.

Her parents gasped.

"Ugh, what are you doing?" Amy asked, squirming in Sophie's tight embrace.

Sophie ignored her struggles. "I know we don't always get along, Amy, but you're my sister, and I love you."

Amy jerked away. "Why are you being weird?"

"I'm not being weird. I just wanted to tell you I love you. I love all of you." She turned to her parents, who were watching the strange scene play out between their daughters with their mouths open. "I couldn't have asked for a better family."

"What happened to you?" Amy asked.

"Nothing." She turned away to blink back tears. "I'm going to my room now."

Her dad cleared his throat, coming to his senses. "You're not off the hook yet, Soybean. We still need to talk about what happened today."

"We will," she agreed, desperate to get out of there. Fitz was keeping watch outside, and she had to hurry. "Later."


She raced upstairs to grab her already packed bags. She had a backpack full of her stuff. Surprisingly, even though she knew what was coming back she still wasn't taking a lot.

Next she opened her window and took an old textbook and flung it, aiming for the lower portion of the house. She wanted someone to distract her parents. At least this time she didn't want to drug them.

After losing a shoe, 3 textbooks and an old radio. She could hear her family's confused voices and the sound of footsteps.

"Marty! Come here boy..." She whispered to the gray fur ball. He slinked into her room and she scooped him up. "Sorry boy." She had to move fast before her family lost interest.

She slung her backpack over her shoulder and quietly made her way down the stairs.

Amy giggled. "Aren't you in enough trouble?"

Of course Amy hadn't cared about the noise. Her sister gave her an accusing look.

"It's not what you think."

"Yeah?" Amy's eyebrows shot up. "And what should I think?"

"I'm taking Marty for a walk."

Any doubled over in laughter, "No really. What's with the backpack?"

Sophie reached for the doorknob. "Please, please know that I love you. I have to go now, I'll never forget you."

"Wait!" Amy grabbed her arm, "You can't be serious!"

Sophie set down the disk, holding her breath while her sister collapsed into her arms.

And that was the last time Sophie saw her parents and sister for many years.

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