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The look on Rose’s face had screamed that she was hiding something. Hell, she’d practically run away from me. There was something to that. I knew there was…

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When we got home and I saw that Captain’s truck wasn’t in the drive, I knew wouldn’t be long before it would be. I took Franny over to visit with Mrs. Baylor and explained that I would be having company later, making sure that Franny could stay until I came for her.

Mrs. Baylor had looked concerned, but then I was battling anxiety, fear, and uncertainty so fiercely that hiding it was impossible. Getting Franny safely tucked away and dealing alone until Captain showed up was best. I had to come to a decision.

Captain knew something. He was connecting the dots. It was very likely he did recognize me but hated me so badly that he had let me leave. But I knew enough about the man he’d become to now he was going to want more answers. I expected his questions sooner rather than later.

I hadn’t been back at the house for an hour before his truck pulled into the driveway. When I heard the crunch of seashells under the tires. I knew without looking that it was him. I waited at my kitchen table while he made his way to the door.

His footsteps stopped, and he waited a moment before he knocked. This was it. Time for the truth. I’d deal with the consequences and keep Franny as protected as possible.

Standing up,  I took a deep breath and tried to calm my beating heart, then took off my glasses and laid them on the table. There was no point in wearing them now. When I came here, I knew this day would come. I’d prepared for it several times over the past year. But I realized now that you could never truly prepare for something like this.

Our past wasn’t normal, yet neither was the way I loved River Kipling. He’d been my anchor in the storm until I had needed to break free to save him. And I had. Because I’d loved him that much.

As I opened the door, every memory I had of River flooded through me. Every good moment, every life-changing moment, every time he had made me feel safe. I owed it to that boy to answer to this man. I give him the truth. All of it.

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