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Chapter 15 : Loss
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Thank you so much for the lovely reviews, they really do make my day! I want to thank WildFlower specially for her enthusiasm :)
I hope you like this chapter :)
Lots of love, Kate
That Tuesday I woke up to find that winter had decided to come far sooner than I thought necessary. I groaned as I got in the shower, annoyed at the white blanket that covered Hogwarts grounds. The hot water ran over my skin as I recalled the events of the past few days. Charlie had gone into hiding, she had barricaded herself in her room after finding out what she had done and that her actions had caused her break up with Remus and his getting with Lulu. Rhea had decided to officially give Mark a chance, and they were dating. Formal and exclusive, just like Rhea needed. I liked Mark, he treated her like a princess and that was exactly how I wanted a guy to treat her, so I was content. Narcissa Black had not stopped repeating how amazing Lucius Malfoy was, annoying the crap out of everyone. Apparently, he was coming to Hogsmeadge next weekend to see her. Those two deserved each other, I had no doubt. My only concern was the Malfoy’s support to Lord Voldemort. The last thing I needed was Narcissa Black to become a Death Eater; she hated me and I would sure as hell become a target. I would have to watch out for any signs of imminent danger. Besides that, things with James were perfectly normal. Neither of us had mentioned our private encounter and no one had a clue about what had happened on Halloween between us. My concern about whether it would be difficult not to replay the events in my mind had faded, for that I found I was far more preoccupied with my dream about Sirius and what it meant. I did not like the fact that I had felt guilty, even if I really hadn’t.
I sat at the breakfast table and picked a bowl of strawberries. Two minutes later, the Marauders came in and walked in our direction. Rhea was coming with them. It was one of those mornings in which I did not feel like paying attention to the world around me, thus my failing to notice she had not left the room with us.
-“Morning!”- Peter greeted. I raised an eyebrow. Whenever Peter was in such a good mood people worried. It meant prank.
-“What are you guys up to today?”- Lily asked, voicing my thoughts. James sat across me and smiled.
-“It’s snowing, Lily”- he announced. Sirius sat next to Megan. She had gotten tired of me yelling at her for letting him take that seat and now made sure she was always there before he arrived. Good girl.
-“Oh, really? We hadn’t noticed”- I snapped, irritated.
-“I take it you don’t like the snow”- Remus said, chuckling.
-“As a matter of fact, I find it really pretty and nice as long as it is not in the same country I am”- I replied, nonchalantly.
-“Should have thought about that before coming to Scotland, no?”- he joked. I rolled my eyes and did not bother replying.
-“I still don’t understand why you’re in such a good mood just because it’s snowing”- Meg said, confused.
-“Meg! It means that today we will have the first snow fight of the year!”- Rhea exclaimed, excitedly. Oh dear.
-“Rhea, I don’t think Naomi’s very happy with what you just said”- Jo said, looking at me slightly preoccupied. I figured my disgust was pretty obvious.
-“Oh, Naomi, please?”- she begged. I glared at her.
-“You better make sure you don’t bring snow or mud into our room when you come back”- I warned her. She smiled.
-“Oh, don’t worry, I won’t”- she said, smiling. Sirius laughed.
-“Come on, don’t tell me you are not going to go out at all today”- he said, grabbing a plate full of pancakes.
-“And risking being attacked by you? I don’t think so”- Lily replied for me. I looked at her, approvingly.
-“You are so boring”- James complained. I gave him the evil eye. I was about to retort when the owls came in. I was not expecting a letter, so I was surprised when my father’s owl landed before me. I took the letter immediately.
Find a chimney and talk to me, it’s urgent.
-“Are you okay?”- I heard Lily ask me as I stood up. I had no time for her, or anyone. The only time my dad had asked me to flu him was when Death Eaters had broken into our house in London and left a death threat. If he wanted me to contact him in person so badly it meant trouble. A lot of trouble. I made my way to the teachers table as fast as I possibly could and stood before Dumbledore. Thank Merlin this man liked to have his breakfast at the same time everyone else did.
-“Miss Ivy, what can I do for you?”- he asked upon seeing my worried face.
-“Read this, can you help me?”- I handed him the note and waited. He read it.
-“Follow me”- I had no idea if he knew what was going on but the fact that he did not need further explanation made my concern grow. We left the Great Hall together, followed by a sea of whispers. Honestly, I did not care about gossips right now. I would get Jo to do some damage control later. Right now, all I could think about was my father. We arrived at the Gargoyle that guarded his office and he said the password. I was before the fire place in no time. As soon as I said my house’s address, my father’s face showed up.
-“Dad, what’s wrong?”- I asked him, anxiously. Dumbledore’s office’s door opened, but I did not pay attention.
-“I am sorry sweetheart… I have some bad news”- he said. I was relieved to see that he was all right. Whatever it was he had to say, I could take it as long as it wasn’t him who was in danger. I heard Dumbledore whispering to someone behind me.
-“What happened? You know I can take it”- I told my dad. He sighed .
-“Lucinda Hollis, your friend. She’s… she… well, she was murdered”- he informed me. I blinked a couple times, trying to understand what he had just said. When it hit me, I felt like the air had been sucked out of the room. My legs failed me. I would have hit myself pretty hard against the floor if it wasn’t for a pair of strong arms that caught me right in time.
-“But… but… she was here on Friday! She was fine! She was with me, at the party, she was perfectly okay! She… she can’t… why? She’s pure blood, beautiful, wealthy, she’s… why?”- it made no sense to me. My dad took a moment to reply.
-“She went to Malfoy Manor on Sunday. Apparently she got into a nasty argument with Lucius… we believe she threatened him with giving the aurors some valuable information about his family if he did not stop seeing some other girl… the Death Eaters did not take the threat well. She was murdered last night in her apartment”- he explained. I took a long, deep breath and tried to think clearly. I noticed I was kind of awkwardly tangled up in someone else’s arms, since my legs did not seem capable of supporting me yet. I looked up.
-“I’m so sorry Naomi”- Sirius’ soft voice broke through me. I stared into his deep, grey eyes for a full minute and then I did something I hadn’t done since my mom was taken from me. I cried.
-“I need to go back to the apartment to keep searching for evidence but I’ll come to the school tomorrow, honey”- my dad said. I looked at him and nodded. I mean, I was crying but not like normal people do. There were only silent tears falling down my face. I did not sob or make awkward noises. And I did not just lose it. That was so not glamorous.
-“Don’t worry sir; I will take care of her”- Sirius told him. My dad looked at him, slightly surprised.
-“Who are you, boy?”- he asked.
-“He’s Sirius Black”- I replied for him. My dad looked at me. I had stopped crying already.
-“Oh, so you’re the kid who ran away, no?”- he said, smiling at Sirius.
-“Good then. Dumbledore, I would be grateful if you could excuse Naomi from her lessons today and tomorrow; she looks fine but Lucinda was really a close friend of hers”- my dad asked. Dumbledore nodded before replying.
-“Don’t worry, I will excuse her and Mr Black, if he wants”- he said, smiling. I frowned.
-“I don’t need babysitting”- I complained. My dad raised an eyebrow and I saw Sirius’ smirk. Yeah, I was my father’s daughter, no doubt.
-“I’m sure you don’t, but you know you can’t be alone”- he said. I sighed and nodded quickly. I knew what he meant. The psychologist I had seen after my mother’s death had explicitly told us that if anything ever happened to anyone close to me, I had to be accompanied by someone until I came to terms with the loss.
-“Okay, yeah I guess Sirius could keep me annoyed long enough for me to forget about Lulu until you arrive”- this made everyone laugh. I even managed a chuckle.
-“I have to go kid, I will see you tomorrow. I love you”- he said. I half smiled at him and let my defenses down for a moment.
-“I love you, too”- I whispered. I felt Sirius’ grip tense, probably in shock at the fact that I willingly said “I love you” to someone. Well, he was my father, what did he expect?
-“You can stay in the office for a while if you need to”- Dumbledore offered when my dad vanished from the fire place.
-“It’s fine, I know a place where no one will disturb us”- Sirius said. I looked up at him and adjusted myself so that I was more comfortable. Truth be told, I could stand on my own by now but it felt too good to be wrapped in his arms to let go. It felt safe and that was exactly what I needed.
-“Whatever you think it’s best”- he said. We nodded.
-“If you don’t mind, I’ll carry you”- Sirius told me. I looked at him, slightly confused. Then he put his arm below my legs and pulled me up completely, wedding night style. I put my arms around his neck without a word and we left Dumbledore’s office.
-“Where are we going?”- I asked him. Everyone was in class by now so the corridors were deserted.
-“The Room of Requirements, of course”- he replied. I nodded and drifted away in my thoughts as he walked. Lulu was dead. I couldn’t believe it. She was dead because she had fallen in love with the wrong guy. I felt nauseated. Life was unfair. It had no right to do this to me. It had taken my mother, one year of my life, my aunt and now one of the few people I thought of as something more than a minion.
I felt my stomach twitch in pain as I realized that I had been right to keep myself from getting attached to people. If I did not feel anything for anyone, losing them did not turn my world upside down. I had let Lulu come in, but she had barely scratched the surface. My thoughts flew immediately to Rhea and Lily. They were even closer to me than Lulu ever was. What if anything happened to one of them? I jumped off Sirius’ arms, taking him by surprise. He was about to complain but refrained when I used the wall for support and emptied my stomach on the floor.
-“It’s okay, Naomi, it’s okay”- I wanted to yell at him, to tell him to go away. I did not want him to see me like this; I did not want anyone to see me like this ever.
-“Go away”- I growled, trying to steady myself.
-“I will not leave you”- he said, firmly. I glared at him.
-“I said piss off!”- I snarled.
-“No”- I was about to shout at him even louder when another wave of nausea took me by surprise. I vomited again, this time a little more violently. And I felt his hands pulling my hair out of my face and holding me gently, helping me.
-“I don’t want you to see me like this”- I said when I felt strong enough to speak again.
-“I will not tell anyone”- he replied, softly. I looked at him through my watery eyes. I wasn’t crying; the tears were due to my sickness.
-“I don’t ask for help”- I replied, arrogantly. I had no idea how I managed to stay somewhat cold after all the crap I had just been through. I mean, he’d seen my weakness already; there was nothing left to hide. Yet, there I was, refusing to give in to the fact that Sirius Black knew the real Naomi.
-“But you need it”- he said. I looked down.
-“I don’t know what’s happening to me. I had never let my defenses down, not once. Then I come to Hogwarts and start caring about people”- I groaned, taking out my wand and making myself look presentable again.
-“I don’t see why that’s such a bad thing”- he replied, helping me stand. We started walking again.
-“If I don’t care about people, them getting killed doesn’t affect me”- I replied icily. He opened the Room of Requirements and led me in. Then he made me sit on a sofa.
-“What the hell happened to you?”- he asked. I glared at him.
-“What makes you think something happened to me?”- I replied, visibly irritated.
-“You are good, deep inside. What made you turn into Ice Queen?”- he insisted. I rolled my eyes.
-“Look, Sirius, I’m sorry to disappoint you but I am not a good person. I am selfish, mean and cruel. I am calculating and arrogant”- I spat.
-“I know. But you are a good person, too”- he said. That took me by surprise.
-“What do you mean you know?”
-“If it wasn’t a part of you you couldn’t possibly be the Naomi Ivy everyone knows. I am fully aware that you would always choose yourself before anyone else; you hurt people if it’s going to save you and you don’t really think if what you do damages someone else. But you take care of your friends, in your own way”- he explained. I stared at him. I stared at him because there was nothing I could reply to that. This was officially the first time in my life that I was at a loss for words. Not even my father had ever managed such a thing.
-“I… you… If you know all that, why are you still here?”- I asked after a full two minutes. He smiled.
-“Because I am your friend”- he replied.
She was really messed up. I sighed and put a blanket over her. She had fallen asleep about an hour ago, when I had gone to the kitchens to get us some food for dinner. We had spent the day playing explosive snap and chess and, of course, smoking. There hadn’t been much talking after that initial conversation but words were over rated. I knew she was grateful that I was there to keep her distracted. I stared at her perfect face. I would give the world if she could return my feelings. Like I had told her, I knew she was bad but I had seen that she could also be good, in her own way. She was close to her father and to Lucinda by the looks of it. And she had admitted that she cared for some people here at Hogwarts. She had even admitted she cared for me that last Full moon.
I wished she had told me what had happened to her, why she was the way she was. I was sure that if I knew, I would be able to help her. The problem was that she did not want help and did not accept it. I sat on the couch, next to her and sighed. The universe sure was unfair. I had never known what it meant to be in love. I had through the most difficult years of someone’s life, adolescence, without having heart breaks and relationship drama of that sort. I had never felt anything for the girls I dated to the point I had just accepted the fact that I simply was meant to be forever single. And then, the impossible happened. I had fallen for someone, and hard. It was funny, I thought I was the one who couldn’t be tamed yet I was sure that what I felt for Naomi was stronger than what normal people felt for their partners. Maybe that was how it worked. The ones like me, like her, the ones who did not get involved could only love once. The problem was that life was always balanced, so I figured that if we could only love once it had to account for the many times everyone else did. I shut my eyes and took a deep breath. Then I carefully laid next to her, putting my arms securely around her body. The last thing that crossed my mind before I fell asleep was a silent prayer to whoever was up there. That if my theory was right Naomi chose me because, if she fell for someone else, I would be lost forever.
-“Thank you for taking care of her”- Naomi’s father smiled at me. We were back in Dumbledore’s office.
-“You’re welcome”- I did not know what to say. I felt slightly awkward, since this was usually boyfriend’s territory.
-“How are you feeling?”- he asked her. She was sitting on a chair, drinking from a cup of coffee absentmindedly.
-“Do you know who did it?”- she asked.
-“Not yet, we’re working on it”- he replied. Naomi nodded.
-“I want a cigarette”- she said. I chocked. Had she just… hold on. Wow, if I was shocked by the fact that she dared to tell that to her father I was beyond surprised when he took out his own packet and gave one to her.
-“Do you mind?”- Hugh asked Dumbledore.
-“Go ahead, my office can barely count as school ground”- he winked at Naomi and she smiled. Of course, smoking was against the rules.
-“The funeral is this afternoon”- Hugh informed us. Naomi looked at him.
-“Someone has to make sure Lulu’s wearing earrings”- she murmured. We all exchanged looks awkwardly.
-“What?”- I asked.
-“I know she wouldn’t want anyone to see her without earrings on. Someone needs to make sure she’s wearing them before they open the coffin”- she repeated.
-“Ehrm… I will inform her family”- Hugh replied. Naomi nodded.
-“Are you sure you can take it?”- I asked her, coming closer.
-“Come with me”- she whispered. The world stopped spinning that moment. Naomi’s green eyes bored into mine, ice free. She was absolutely defenseless, fragile and she was asking me to save her. And there was nothing I wanted more in the world than to be her savior.
-“Of course”- I told her. She looked at her father again.
-“I think that you should let the students know. After all, she attended Hogwarts and many people here knew her. Some would probably like to come”- she said. Dumbledore nodded in agreement.
-“You are right; I will ask the Head of the Houses to inform everyone. If you excuse me”- he stood up and left the room.
-“Hey, honey, I would like to take you and Sirius for lunch. I think that some fresh air will do you good before we get ready for the funeral”- Hugh said smiling at me. My stomach twitched in nervousness but another glance at Naomi and I knew her father was right. She needed to get out of the school and do something normal or else she’d collapse and never make it to the funeral.
-“Yeah…”- she said, vaguely. I looked at her father.
-“If you feel comfortable with it, of course”- he asked me. I frowned.
-“He’s not my boyfriend, dad”- Naomi informed him. Oh. Fuck.
-“Is he not?”- Hugh looked at me funny.
-“No”- Naomi replied.
-“I thought so”- he said, flatly. I was beyond confused. Even more when Naomi chuckled.
-“You can see it, can’t you?”- she asked.
-“That’s not the question love, the question is can you see it?”- he told her. She looked at him, stretching out her hand. He gave her another cigarette, which she lit before replying.
-“Now, I can”- she said. I felt beyond confused. What the hell were they talking about?
-“So, lunch?”- Hugh asked, looking my way.
-“Ehm… sure, yeah”- I shrugged. Naomi chuckled.
I felt tired and restless but the sorrow was not that overwhelming as we sat at the restaurant table. Dad had taken us to London, since the funeral was going to take place here in a couple hours. We were at one of my favorite Japanese restaurants. Sirius sat next to me, dad across. The waiter came and we ordered drinks. Then I looked at the menu, happy to have something to think about that had nothing to do with the magic world whatsoever.
-“Naomi, what does sashimi mean?”- Sirius asked. I looked up from my menu and couldn’t suppress a chuckle. He was staring at his own, frowning.
-“Let me order for you”- I suggested. He looked at me.
-“And risk getting poisoned?”- he joked. I smirked.
-“I am not planning on getting rid of you… yet”- I said. Dad watched the exchange in amusement. If I was completely honest with myself, I had been afraid of what he would think of Sirius. When he’d gone to his room to get some clothes for the funeral, however, dad had told me how happy he was I had found someone I could let in.
In the end, I did order for Sirius. We were eating in silence, each lost in our own thoughts. I know mine should have been about Lulu but I was overwhelmed by something else. That morning I had woken up in Sirius’ arms. It had felt so damn good I had not waked him up for a full half hour. Then, Dad had read right through me. His voice still played in my mind, “can you see it?”. I had said that I could but if I was honest, I was confused. I had no idea what it was that I felt. The problem was that I had never had a true friend, someone that I could trust and confide in. I mean, I had Lulu and she was great but our talks were about clothes, boys and mainly Queen Bee stuff. Then there were Lily and Rhea, they were friends and they confided in me but I did not confide in them. I trusted them, kind of, but I just did not feel comfortable sharing personal information. And then there was Sirius. He knew more about me than anyone else. We had traded secrets, so I figured I knew a lot about him, too. Not as much as James did, but I wasn’t competing against him so I didn’t care. We could talk, we enjoyed annoying each other and we had even had sex. Did my feelings fit into the best friend category? Were they still not that strong? Were they stronger than they were supposed to be? I had no idea and I had nothing to compare them with. To sum up: I was lost. All I knew was that when he had asked me if I could endure the funeral I had felt the urge to have him stand by me, so I had asked and he had complied. It felt good.
-“So, are you okay?”- Lily asked me as we walked back in Hogwart’s Great Hall.
-“Yeah”- I replied. It was the truth. The Funeral had been beautiful and I had got my chance to say goodbye to Lulu. I guess I had accepted that she wasn’t here anymore and moved on. Or maybe I had just locked all the feelings away, given that I was going back to school and I couldn’t possible let anyone think that I did feel.
-“Are you sure?”- Rhea insisted. I glared at her. They had been really nice by coming to the funeral. All of them: Rhea, Lily, Meg, Jo and the Marauders.
-“This is cold hearted bitch Naomi we’re talking about, of course she is”- I heard Sirius say. I smirked.
-“If you need anything…”- Meg tried. I saw Sirius roll his eyes and had to suppress a chuckle.
-“I need you to shut up”- I replied, icily. Lily sighed.
-“Guess Sirius is right, this is Naomi”- she said. They all shrugged but no one said anything else.
-“So… did you have a snow fight?”- Sirius asked casually, taking attention away from me.
-“Hell, yeah! You missed it! It was so great! Padfoot, I hit Prongs straight in the face”- Rhea replied, excitedly. James groaned.
-“It was absolutely not like that. I was shooting at Moony, she caught me off guard! It was cheating!”- he complained. We all laughed. The Great Hall was half empty, mainly because it was rather late to be having dinner.
-“I don’t cheat!”- Rhea said.
-“You’re a Marauder Rhea, of course you cheat”- Remus joked. I sat next to Lily. Meg hurried to my side but, to everyone’s surprise, Sirius actually RAN and jumped in my direction. Result: he landed on the bench next to me with a little more strength than necessary, causing me to hit Lily. This wouldn’t have been much of a deal if it wasn’t for the fact that Lily was sitting next to James. Inertia, fate, whatever it was, caused Lily to fall all over James. Again, maybe not a big deal, if it wasn’t that James had been sitting on the edge of the bench, thus, they both fell to the floor.
-“Shit”- I heard Sirius mutter. I smirked, but did not take my eyes off them. Lily was blushing. No, that’s an understatement. Her face was crimson.
-“I’m… ehrm… I’m so sorry James… I”- she stuttered. James panicked.
-“No, no, no, I mean, don’t worry; it was not your fault. Are you all right? Did you hurt yourself?”- he tried to stand, to help Lily up I presumed, but she was kind of on top of him so in the end all he managed was to get them both into an even more compromising position.
-“I… yeah, well I’m sorry… I’m okay…”- the situation was hilarious. Until Lewis decided it was the perfect moment to show up.
-“Lily, what the hell are you doing?”- he asked. I glared at him.
-“It… I… ehm… Hi Lewis”- she said, still tangled up in James on the floor.
-“What do you think you’re doing James?”- Lewis said. I swear if looks could kill, poor James would be dead.
-“Lewis, shut it. It was an accident”- Sirius said. He looked at him.
-“I am not talking to you, Sirius”- he spat, visibly irritated. I raised my eyebrow.
-“Lewis, it’s all right… It was an accident… I fell, we fell, I…”- Lily tried but her stuttering and blushing face did not make the situation any better. Lewis looked beyond murderous.
-“Get the fuck up!”- he exclaimed. All right, that was it.
-“You! First of all, do not dare to talk to her like that. Second of all, if she was doing anything inappropriate with James I can assure you it wouldn’t be in the middle of the freaking Great Hall and third of all, piss off before I hex you into the next century!”- I snapped. Everyone went silent. Lewis looked at me as if I had gone absolutely mental but I did not care.
-“I said get lost”- I snarled, drawing my wand out. He look positively scared, which is probably why he turned around and left. I looked at Lily and James, smirking. James’ eyes found mine; of course he knew exactly why I had stood up for them. Not that I would ever admit it to anyone, or myself for that matter.
-“Thanks”- Lily muttered.
-“Meg, Jo, help them get up”- I commanded. They hurried over to them and I turned back to my glass of juice. Rhea was still processing all that had happened in the past two minutes.
-“I thought you liked Lewis”- Remus murmured. I glared at him but did not bother to reply.
-“Why did he get so mad, Lils?”- Rhea asked when she finally sat down again. She looked at her, then at me.
-“I don’t know…”- she replied, vaguely. Liar. Ugh, okay, I wasn’t completely all right yet, I mean, I had buried Lulu two hours ago, thus my instability. I decided it was time to leave, before I made anything I would regret in the morning. Without a word, I stood up and walked away.
-“I think Naomi did care for Lulu”- Rhea murmured.
-“Don’t you ever say that to her”- Sirius warned. That was the last thing I heard before I left the Hall and went straight to the grounds. I needed some running time. Desperately.
I had no idea how it all had happened. It just did not make any sense. A few months ago I was on top of the world; the most feared and loved Queen Bee of all. Now, only four of my former friends were still with me, no one paid any attention to what I did and a Gryffindor had taken my place. It infuriated me to no end. She was not that special. Yes, she was pretty but so was I. She was wealthy, so was I. She was a good student, but so was I. What was the difference? How had she managed to turn everyone against me? I hated to admit it but I knew there was a special aura around her. Something mysterious, enigmatic… like a black hole that just pulls everything towards it. She was magnetic and everyone in Hogwarts felt the need to rotate around her. She had, somehow, become the Sun of this solar system. I loathed her.
I stared at the ceiling of my room. I was spending a lot of time in the loneliness of my bed lately, but it felt good. It had been Lucius who had suggested that I took time to reflect on what I wanted, what I really wanted. I still did not fully understand how one of the most desired bachelors in the Pure Blood circles of society had decided he wanted to date me; but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was slightly confused; I had never really liked anyone besides Remus. I always knew I could not touch him no matter what, so I had never given it much thought. This time, it was different. I was dating a man I did truly and honestly like. How strange. And the best part was that he seemed to really like me as well. He had ditched Lucinda Hollis. He had chosen me. I knew what I really wanted. I wanted to be a Malfoy. I wanted to be part of his family, to give him a family. I could almost see it: us, together, smiling happily with two or three sons. Pure blood, blond and beautiful sons.
I stood up and walked to the window. It was past midnight but I liked the moon. It was distant, cold and gorgeous. I wanted to be like the moon. Maybe that was the reason I stared at her so much. I sat on the window pane and pushed the blinds open. The air was chilly, it had been snowing, but I could stand the cold for a little while. The air smelled of ice and darkness, or peace and quiet night. There was a hint of grass and old stone. It was the smell of winter in Hogwarts and I had to admit that I loved it. Even if I hated Dumbledore and his values and morality and all that crap, I could never deny that Hogwarts was home. I was lost in thought when something caught my eye. There was a wolf or a really big dog… I wasn’t sure. It looked more like a very big cat, actually. Whatever it was, the most beautiful beast I had ever seen was running across the grounds as if his life depended on the race. It was a magnificent creature and, as I watched, I felt happy that I had seen such a sight. That night I dreamt of Lucius and the beautiful animal. I dreamt of our sons and of a happy future with him. But the dream turned into a nightmare as Naomi showed up. When I woke up I knew that if I wanted that future there was but one way to get it. I had to get rid of her
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