Chapter Thirty-Three

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Being without Luke was like missing a limb. My chest hurt like there was a blade lodged in it, a constant pain in the vicinity of my heart. It felt like I'd ripped my heart out and left it in Luke's care. I wouldn't get it back until we were together again.  

I drifted through the days in a zombie-like trance. I went through the motions my parents expected, continuing my training with Noah, but inside I was screaming Luke's name. I had so much to deal with and no idea where to start. And all the while I was aware of Caleb. Even when he wasn't there it felt like he was watching me, his eyes like ice picks stabbing into my back.  

My nightmares returned with a vengeance. Every time I slept I saw Noah or Caleb hunting Luke down, cornering him, killing him. Every time I woke in a sweat-drenched panic, my throat hoarse from suppressed screams.  

I had given Luke my heart and if anything happened to him, he would take it with him. I couldn't live without a heart. Although Caleb seemed to do just fine without one.  

Riley was a rock during those terrible days. I could cry on her shoulder, pour out my fears, and she'd take it all in stride. But for all her good intentions, all the tubs of ice cream she provided, all the nights she arranged for us to stay in and watch trashy films in an attempt to cheer me up, none of it worked. My world was shattering faster than I could pick up the pieces.  

As far as the people at college knew, I'd broken up with my boyfriend. I kept my head down so I didn't have to see all the looks directed my way, a combination of sympathetic, from people who knew how much it hurt to lose someone, and scornful, from people who thought it was high time I got over it.  

During the brief time Luke and I had been happy together I'd managed to forget how much of an outcast I was at college, how badly I didn't fit in. Luke had made me feel like none of that mattered. He loved me so to hell with what anyone else thought of me. It was harder to maintain that attitude when he wasn't there anymore. It was even harder when I was around Georgia. I'd almost forgotten how much she seemed to hate me.  

The day came when she was more than happy to remind me. We'd been set a small exercise piece in Drama and all the students were paired up. It was just my dumb luck that I wound up with Georgia. Her green eyes narrowed as she looked at me - she wasn't any happier about this than I was.  

I sat in a corner of the room, script in lap, my fingers picking the rough carpet, while Georgia rehearsed lines. My cue was coming up but I couldn't think what I was supposed to say. I wasn't deliberately slacking. I used to love Drama; it was the class that enabled me to be someone I wasn't. But right then all I could think about Luke. Was he okay? Was he trying to keep Samuel from moving? Or had he accepted that that was the best solution for the safety of the clan? Not knowing was driving me crazy. 

Georgia clicked her fingers in front of my face. "Would you get your stupid head in the game?" 

I blinked owlishly at her. "Sorry?" 

She made a noise of disgust in her throat. "How long are you going to mope around like this? It's pathetic." 

I ignored her, focusing my wandering eyes on the script in front of me. I was so dazed I didn't even know which play we were studying. 

"You need to get over it. So you broke up with your stupid boyfriend, who cares? Loads of people get dumped. You're nothing special." 

Anger stirred inside me. "My love life is none of your business." 

She put her hands on her hips, staring smugly down at me. "Newsflash, you don't have a love life. It's over. Finito." 

The words on the page blurred in front of me and I struggled to bring them back into focus. She was just being a bitch because she knew she could get to me.  

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