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Jack’s letter. Its edges soaked in wet, sticky blood, but open. Waiting to be read.

I had to do it now, or I never would. We couldn’t hide up here forever. They could change their mind about his leaving as quickly as they had the first time.I sat up and wiped the tears off my face, gritting my teeth. Liam pushed himself up so that he was sitting beside me on the edge of the bed, a concerned look on his face. For a moment I was terrified that he knew what I was about to do.

He tilted his head to the side, a small smile turning up the corner of his lips. I tried to smile back, but inside I was breaking apart. What?When they brought us to the camps, they took everything. They stripped away our friends and family, took our clothes, took our future. They only thing we got to keep were our memories, and now I was about to take those from him, too.Close your eyes, I whispered. I’m going to finish the story.

I felt the trickle at the back of my mind and let it turn into a roar. And when I kissed him, when my lips pressed against his one last time, slipping inside of his mind was as easy as taking his hand had been.I felt him jerk back, heard him say my name in alarm, but I didn’t let him get away. I pulled myself from his mind, day by day, piece by piece, memory by memory, until there was nothing of Ruby left to weigh him down or keep him bound to my side. It was a strange unwinding sensation, one I had never felt before, or maybe one I never recognized until that moment.

The problem of Chubs rose in the back of my mind, and I had a split-second to make a decision. If he was alive—and he had to be, there was no alternative for me—the League would bring him in. But if Liam knew that, he’d come back to find a way to get him out, and the deal would be for nothing.

I would take care of Chubs. I would be the one to help him give the League the slip. There was no reason why Liam couldn’t think that his friend had made it home to his parents; no reason he needed another distraction from getting home himself. It was a simple adjustment, a quick patch over an ugly memory.…I can’t help but contemplate what she was thinking when she bought them. I mean, a steamy night at home after James is asleep is one thing—a new outfit always makes that more interesting. But tonight we won’t even be hanging out together. Depending on what condition we’re in when we make it back to the room, we’ll be lucky if we even pass out next to each other.

That one syllable gives her pause. The hand that was applying eyeliner stops and she looks at me. What?I keep shaving. You don’t have any . . . other . . . underwear with you?

Her brow wrinkles. Sure I do. You don’t like these?I rinse my razor in the sink. No . . . they’re fine. I just thought maybe you could wear something different. Something whiter, cotton, more full coverage.

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