Chapter Thirty-Two

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I turn to go find Blue, but Catherine's hand around my wrist stops me. I face her and her obvious fake smile as she gently shakes her head.

"I think you should let him blow off some steam. I don't want him to get even more upset with you, it's my fault anyhow. I will apologize to him later. I just wished he knew how much I care for him..." she sighs and drops her hand to wring her own together. They tremble slightly, but she tries to appear calm by running them down the front of her pink floral dress. "While we're waiting for Samuel to get home, I wanted to show you something."

"Okay," I say and follow her up the grand stairs to the second floor. She's wearing hot-pink high heels but walks along the polished marble floors with ease and an aura of elegance that makes me feel like a wonky-legged troll.

I feel so bad that her stepson dislikes her so much. It's obvious that she wants nothing but the best for him. She cares for him as if he's her own, but he's too stubborn and narrow-minded to let her be the support system she desperately wants to be for him.

We end up walking into an empty room, and I'm confused until we walk further into the massive room. The walls are shiny white, and the floors feel soft under my socks; I couldn't resist taking off my shoes even though she didn't complain about us keeping our shoes on the last time we were here. A sparkling chandelier hangs above the high ceiling, and at the back of the mostly empty area is a white backup drop with light fixtures and lamps cluttering the sides of it. There's a wooden stool in front of a small table with a Mac laptop in front of it, and I finally register the framed photos lining the walls. Some are black and white while others are vibrant. Each one is unique and takes my breath away. I walk up to one photo of a mother holding a son, both laughing at the camera, and realize it's her and Theo, and Catherine's name is scrawled under it and all the others.

"You took all of these photos? They are beautiful," I tell her in all honesty. I can't take my eyes off of

"Thank you." I hear the blush in her voice.

"How long have you been doing photography?" I turn to face her. She's bent over the wooden table with the laptop, flipping through a massive black leather binder. I turn my attention back to the photos, doing as much assessing as I can without getting lost in the simple beauty them.

"Since I was fifteen. I was assigned to take photos for my photography class, turned out I had a niche for it." She laughs, and I look over my shoulder. A bubbly smile makes her face glow as she recalls a memory. "I remember feeling bummed about having to go out of my comfort zone to snap a few pictures. I thought the whole thing was dumb and not worth missing cheerleading practices. But I instantly fell in love after the first few pictures I took that didn't look too terrible."

Hearing her tell me this makes me smile.

"I wish I could say I relate, but I fell in love with ballet the second I put on my pointe shoes. My aunt Lyra and I would practice the simple dance any four-year-old would butcher in the living room. And my love for dance grew every year; it kept building and building until it was all I could do. It was kind of borderline obsessive, but it's what made me feel alive, you know?"

I look over my shoulder to find her beaming at me. "Yes, I do know. Come here, I want to show you something." I walk over to her and she gestures to the binder laid open on the table. I look down at gasp. "Is that Yuanyuan Tan?" I ogle back and forth between the photographs of the famous ballet dancer. In one photo she is wearing a lacy dress with a bedazzled bodice and tiara, graceful as ever as she leaps through the air like a butterfly spreading its wings. On the other side of the binder she's less dressed up, wearing a simple lavender leotard and a loose gray skirt, her silky black hair curving around her face, and she's facing the camera.

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