LESSON FOR LIFE

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Pain changes people
It makes them trust less
Overthink more
And shut people out.

The next morning's breakfast felt way too awkward and suffocating to me.

I was feeling guilty for what had happened.

I felt guilty for all the families Renie had destroyed.

Way too many. There were way too many of those.

She used to lure husbands, fathers and used to make them cheat on their wives, on their families.

In my town everyone hated me immensely for that. The ones whose fathers had left them due to Renie used to love bullying me.

And I let them.

I let them because I felt that they had the right to hate me, for I was related to someone who had devastated their happy lives.

I still remember the women who had killed herself because she couldn't come to reality with the fact that her husband had cheated on her.

I still remember the looks of hate and disgust I got from everyone after that.

The rest of the week passed with me trying to avoid everyone else. I was feeling too guilty to be able to face any other of the family members, even though what happened wasn't my fault and that they didn't know that I had overheard Damien and Cole's conversation.

Every time I saw them, a pang of guilt hit me.

I thought I was pretty fine at avoiding them without anyone noticing but I was proved wrong as on Sunday morning Elijah stopped me on my way to my room after breakfast.

"Hey Nova, hold up. How are you?" He asked.

"I am fine. Thank you." I replied a bit confused because of the out of nowhere question.

"I-look I-I'll not beat around the bush. Are you avoiding us?"

I was shocked by his sense of observance. I was great at hiding stuff and emotions and was being extra careful here but he somehow still noticed.

Not being able to admit that he was right because it might raise suspicions, I just feigned ignorance.

"No. I am not ignoring anyone. I don't have any reason to." I said, mumbling the last part.

He didn't seem satisfied with my answer but nodded anyways and decided to drop the topic.

"Also, we are hosting a dinner tonight."

"Okay....' I replied, not being sure of what to say and scared of asking questions.

"It's for a very good friend of dad. Childhood friend actually. His son, in turn a good friend of Ace, Charles and me, is also coming along. So umm..you know.....dress accordingly and well I thought it would be good to tell you beforehand so you can prepare yourself. I have noticed that you are not a fan of strangers."

The fact that Elijah thought of my comfort made me feel happy. I was unable to prevent a small genuine smile from creeping onto my face as I nodded.

As I went into my room, I caught a glimpse of Elijah's face. His eyes were widened and he looked shocked. I didn't give it much of a thought as I attributed it to the fact that I rarely show any emotions but today I gave him a smile.

SWAN

I may be many things,
And there are even more that I am not,
But I would never do to you
What you did to me,
And I think that says a lot.

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