Chapter 36

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"His own heart beats right into me, and I feel how exhilarated both of us are, the thunder created between us potent enough to make Thor himself look like a plastic action figure."


I knew Lincoln had changed. What I didn't know was how much he actually worked on himself, how much he reflected on who he is and what he went through. This version of him still has me speechless, even though it's been hours since he left.

We had dinner and are now enjoying a hot chocolate, Mom and Dad curled on the two-seater while Grams and I share the large couch, eating a bag of truffle chocolates as she keeps questioning me about Lincoln.

"And he didn't know about you when you were working at the hospital back then?" she asks, plopping another chocolate into her mouth.

"No," I shake my head, "No one did. Well, Pops did. He noticed something was off when I came to visit you after work one day."

She smiles and nods, heaving a sigh when she replies, "Yeah, he did always know what you were thinking, didn't he?"

"He did," I admit. And I can see on both her and Mom's face that the memory of him still hurts sometimes, simply because he's missing in this constellation.

"And why didn't you approach him?" Mom asks, earning an eye-roll from Dad, who probably does not want to hear about this in detail.

"I told you, I was young, he was busy... It wouldn't have worked, anyway."

Dad shoots me a look, one I can't quite interpret, before he says, "How did he lose his parents?"

I sigh, contemplating even answering the question. I don't know how comfortable I am telling them about this without him present.

"They died in a car accident. He feels he's responsible for it."

"Did he drive?" Dad asks, and I instantly shake my head.

"No, it's... It's complicated. I don't want to get into it without him here, to be honest. It's his story to tell."

My father nods his head while Mom sighs, shooting me a sympathetic look. "That must have been so hard on him. Poor boy... Does he have any other family?"

"Not that I know of," I answer, really not feeling like going into this topic anymore.

"No wonder he has so much to work on. This wouldn't be easy for anyone," Grams says with a sad smile which suddenly turns into a frown when she turns to her daughter, "Have you heard from Max?"

The tension is instantly palpable, Mom looks not only livid but also sad as hell when she shakes her head, cuddling closer to Dad when she answers, "No. We had a talk with him after the zoo, but I told him to clear his head before he comes back. I still don't know what the hell he was thinking when he did that..."

"He wanted to protect his sister," Dad says, and all three of us instantly shoot our heads in his direction, my eyes wide when he continues, "Calm down. I'm not saying what he did was right. It was reckless and dumb... I'm just saying I think he had good intentions."

"Now, that's bullshit," Grams says, shaking her head at my father. "He knew what he was doing. The question is, why? Did something else happen that day?"

Dad's eyes instantly meet mine, the question in them making me sigh. God, this is so chaotic...

"We had a fight," I say, turning the attention to me now.

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