56 | Faking It

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I ONLY HAD ONE SHOT AT THIS, so I took a short breath and said, "You were always good, but Lily got corrupted and became bad

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I ONLY HAD ONE SHOT AT THIS, so I took a short breath and said, "You were always good, but Lily got corrupted and became bad."

"Very b-bad," Layla stuttered as she trembled, tears forming in her eyes.

"Daddy didn't like that, did he?"

Layla sniffled. "It made daddy angry at her." She shook her head over and over again. "But it wasn't my fault."

I took a deep breath, hoping my next line worked how I wanted it to. "I didn't mean to make daddy angry. I didn't do anything wrong."

Layla squinted at me, the tears making her eyes look softer. "You know what you did to me, Lily. Stop denying it."

It worked. I figured that since the messages she sent to me were addressed to Lily that she must've transferred her guilt about Lily onto me. I must remind her of her sister.

"I didn't do anything," I said.

She turned away from me, panting. "You always deny it. Stop it."

With her back turned, I took that time to try and reach my wrists down to my heels, but I couldn't do it without making noise, which would draw attention. I would have to get my feet free first, then my wrists.

Wiggling my thighs to give the rope some stretch around my ankles, I shuffled my feet, lifting one heel to the bottom of the rope and plastic ties around my ankles. Then, I slowly started to grind the blade into the confinements, feeling it slowly give.

"Tell me what I did," I said, stopping my foot movement when I saw her spin around and face me again.

Her cheeks puffed out, and she thinned her lips. "You tried to poison me — you wanted me dead so that you could steal my light. Daddy told me."

"How did I poison you?"

"You made me snickerdoodles. You knew they were my favorite." Her eyes swam with wetness. "After I ate them, I got really sick. You hurt me, Lily."

"And you killed me in return," I said, guessing.

"No," she said shuddering, almost like the memory was too much for her to bear. "I could never. We went through everything together." Fingers quivering, she kept moving her head from side to side. "Daddy said he'd cleanse you, but I couldn't watch. He said if he did it alone, you'd be back to normal, but I never saw you again. You were gone."

"Because you left me."

"No!" Layla shouted, tears streaking down her jaws. "Daddy said everything would be fine. That you'd come back to us, but you left us."

"Because of you," I said, softly. "I left because of you."

"No. No. No," she said, shaking her head.

"Yes, you left me. You abandoned me," I said, making her burst out into a sob.

I didn't know where her guilt was coming from. From Lily dying? Or was she even dead? Did she just run away? Either way, I had to keep going, pressing her until I could get her defenses down so that she'd trust me.

"I did not," she yelled at me, hands covering her face. "Please stop saying that."

I looked around at everyone else. They were all just watching us. Khan nodded to me to keep on going.

Thinking of the sour patch commercial, I'd been sour, but now I think it was time to be sweet. "It's okay. It's in the past. I'm here now, okay? We can start over."

Face stained with crusty shit tears, she dropped her hands and peeked at me. "S-start over?"

I smiled. "Yeah. Wouldn't daddy want us to be a family again?"

A string of snot trickled down her nose, and she blinked back more tears. "You really want to be a family again? Like before? You forgive me?"

I threw out my tied hands, twinkling my fingers for her to come over. She ambled over and got on her knees and touched my hands. "Yes. It's okay. We're together again. We'll be together from now on, okay?"

Layla let out several shrill sobs, body convulsing. "I'm so sorry. I should've done more."

My fingers petted hers. "It's alright. Really. Let's start over and just be together, okay?"

Her face lit up like a neon light, nodding. "Yes. I'll cleanse us both, and we can be together again."

"Yes, we can descend into paradise together," I said, gripping her fingers.

Layla pulled back and got to her feet. "I'll be back with the hook." Then she ran off.

Hook? She must be doing the next step in the cleansing ritual.

"Girl, what the hell was that?" Yaz asked as I started grinding my heel against the confinements as fast as I could.

"Just creating a distraction." My foot started to cramp, but I kept at it. My life depended on it. Less than a minute later, the heel cut through the rope, but the plastic tie was still there. It slacked a bit around my ankles, so I couldn't directly rub the blade against it anymore.

"Yaz," I whispered, listening for Layla. I heard rustling in her bathroom, but no footsteps. I scooched over to her. "Hold the plastic tie against the heel, so I can cut it off." Getting on my back, I leaned my feet at an angle for her to grab.

Not even hesitating, Yaz reached up and pulled the weak part of the plastic tie to the edge of the blade. With only a few movements of my foot, the plastic snapped and fluttered to the floor. I was free.

"How the fuck did you get your feet free?" Rucker whispered, looking from me back to Layla's bedroom.

"My heels are blades," I said holding up my foot again.

Rucker gave me a satisfied look. "You're one bad bitch."

"Thanks," I said, not knowing what to say. I turned back to Yaz with my left foot in the air. "I need you to take the heel off and hold it out to me so I can get my hands free."

"Don't gotta ask me twice." Yaz basically snatched the heel off my foot, and I got to my knees. With the rope and plastic both against the blade, I hammered my wrists up and down, trying to get the sharp edge to penetrate the tough materials.

"Be careful," Sebastian said, giving me soft eyes.

I nodded and kept moving my wrists up and down. A part of me wanted to squeal when the knife sliced through the rope and plastic, and they both slid to the floor.

"Fuck yes!" Yaz whispered, handing me back my heel. "Me next."

"No. Me," Rucker whispered, eyebrows furrowing. "You'll need my strength to fight her. Plus, we're allies."

Chi hopped up and down. "I'll be your ally if you untie me."

Before I could make a decision, the pitter-patter of happy footsteps echoed through the bathroom, and then Layla towered in the doorway. Eyes darkening, she stared at me, eyes widening when she realized I was free. "What are you doing?"

I literally felt like someone who just got caught cheating. "Ummmm..."

"You won't leave me again. Never." Layla charged at me with a giant hook attached to a chain, screaming all the way.


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