The Last Letter from Your Lover A Flame in Byzantium (Atta Olivia Clemens #1)

I was there early, first there, in fact. Then Aidan appeared. He’s friends with the director and has been at a few rehearsals lately. He’s angry at me because he thinks I left him after Sylvie was taken from him. So he called me some nasty shit. I kissed him to shut him up and we ended up fucking. I called it that because there was no other word for it. Afterward, he told me he didn’t know what he’d ever seen in me and I told him I was just scratching a two-year itch.

It’s not about me, I answered, my tone brittle with tension. If being with me— listening to me telling them a story—gives a child some happiness in a time when they are pretty sorely lacking that emotion, then it’s worth any sadness I might feel when I have to say goodbye to them. I gestured to my ridiculous costume. I don’t do this for me. I do it for them. I turned abruptly and strode back toward the common room before my explanation transformed into anger.If I wouldn’t allow Seonaid, my goddamn best friend, to question my motives, I certainly wouldn’t stand for being questioned by Mr. Big Shot.

I collected Sylvie, not wanting her to be punished for my argument with her uncle, even if I wanted to run as far away from him as possible. Instead, I sat in the cafeteria with them both, refusing to look at him, and engaging Sylvie in constant conversation.The whole time, I felt his eyes on me. I hated it.Because once again, he made me feel small.

And this time it was his fault.The kids looked up at me expectantly as I looked back at them with a hollow feeling in my chest. I’d dreaded this moment. For the past week, I’d talked myself into believing this moment wouldn’t happen. Yet here I was, back at the hospital dressed as Peter Pan, and there was a face missing in the small crowd.

Acute disappointment held me frozen in place as I tried to think of what I could’ve said or done to reassure Aidan instead of pissing him off. My only hope was that Sylvie had been enrolled back at school and that was why she wasn’t here.

Her voice drew me out of my stupor, and for the first time, I noted Aly was tucked under a blanket on a chair. Only last week, she’d been sitting on the floor with the other kids, well enough to move around on her own.Well, you were kind enough to offer some insight into Minnie Rowe’s ownership of her parcel, and thanks to you, we were able to get everything sorted. I have in here, he lifted his satchel, copies of the documents that should have been filed with the appropriate agencies, but which had, for reasons beyond her control, not in fact been submitted properly. I’m happy to provide you with copies of—

As he went to open the flap, both of the men outed their guns.That’s enough, the first one said.

Now, gentlemen,—Saxton feigned shock—whyever would you need to defend yourselves as such? My colleague and I have come here on a routine property matter, which actually does not pertain to you or the man you work for—as neither you nor he is in an ownership position relative to the—Shut up. The man nodded to the truck. Get back in that thing and leave.

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