Chapter 17

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"I'm not taking you to see Daniella. Are you insane?" Ryan scoffed, and my eyes fell to the floor.

He had refused, but I wasn't done trying.

"It's perfect, don't you see?" My eyes glowed with barely concealed triumph. "If she sees me and she is terrified, then you can take me to Ireland, and I won't resist. But..." I paused to grin. "When she is just her usual bitchy self, you will be convinced of my innocence."

Ryan rolled his eyes and inhaled deeply. I could only stare as his eyes remained trained on a brick beside my head. He was at least considering it, and that counted for something.

When he removed his hands from either side of my face and brought them to sit on my waist, my breath lodged in my throat. The familiar tingling sensation when we touched flooded through me, but the sweet feeling didn't last for long.

Using his leverage on my waist, Ryan span me around and pinned my hands at the small of my back. Cold plastic slid around my wrists, and a haunting click rattled through the air.

"Don't even think about repeating that performance from earlier," he muttered in my ear. "I'm far stronger than you are. You saw that, didn't you?"

I gulped, and I knew he could hear it.

"You said you weren't convinced, Ryan," I goaded him. "Don't you think your leader would be unimpressed if you revealed all of this to me, brought me to them, and then it turned out I was innocent all along?"

"Even if you are innocent, they'd never know," he replied, tightening my restraints. "So, that argument is stupid."

He was acting like he didn't care, but I knew that he did. Or, at least, I hoped he did.

"But, would you not feel guilty?" I asked, and he span me around to face him. His eyes flickered between my face and the door until a fierce resolve overcame his features, and his lips quirked downward.

"I'd get over it."

He began to tug me forward, toward a rickety staircase in the corner of the room. It didn't look strong enough to hold my weight, let alone his, and I wondered how he intended to get us both up there.

"You're lying," I spat. "I know you don't hate me. You have this look in your eyes all the time like you want to, but you feel sorry for me. I've seen it."

He shoved me, and the movement was so forceful that I nearly tripped and fell. "I could never feel sorry for a murderer," he growled.

"But I'm not a murderer, am I?" I countered. Tears stung the backs of my eyes. "You said it yourself. Auntie Liv and I share a soul, but we are not the same person. That's why this stupid test exists in the first place!"

"But you're capable of it, Olivia," Ryan all-but screamed. His face was flush with anger. "You're incredibly dangerous and entirely capable of killing whoever you choose. It would be reckless of me to let you just go about your life as you please."

"But isn't that why you're here?" I asked. "You're meant to watch me and stop that from happening. I am innocent, and if you let me prove it to you, you can spend the next year sleeping on my bedroom floor for all I care. Just let me prove it."

I sounded pathetic. I knew that. But in this instance, begging was necessary. It was life or death. Literally. I would have sunk to my hands and knees if Ryan wasn't holding me flush against his side.

"When Daniella made fun of me in class, you looked guilty for even bringing up my family situation. When I was crying after the statue unveiling, you looked horrified. You made sure I was okay in the cinema when I looked upset. You care."

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