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“And now, here we are,” I said, coming to the end of the long story this had turned into. Joseph turned to Roman, a cigarette in his hand, and exhaled smoke in puffs, while I knew that the particular restaurant in the hotel had strict policies against such. Joseph bribed people for stupid things.

“So, you’re telling me that Roman disobeyed my direct orders, shifted in front of a human, chased away her dog, and took her. Then, he brought her to me?” he mumbled. “And he wants my help?”

Roman’s head fell into a bow from his neck. “I’m sorry. But you can punish me later-“

“I intend on it.”

“-For now, though, we need to focus on Ava. She’s scared, and we can’t send her back home with what she saw. It’s not her fault, so don’t put the blame on her,” Roman said.

“I won’t tell anyone if you’d just let me go home,” Ava whispered beside me. I brushed my arm against hers.

“We can’t do that, silly girl. I’m sorry, but you won’t be making it for prom,” Joseph chuckled. Too bad he was the only one laughing. He was just being a cruel *******.

“Joseph, shut up. She’s worried about supplying for her family, not about ******’ prom,” I snapped.

Her cheeks got red. Aw ****. I told everyone, I thought. Mental facepalm.

“I-I d-d-didn’t… If I-” she stuttered next to me.

“No, it’s fine. That was rude of me, little girl.”

Her head snapped up. “My name is Ava, not ‘Little Girl,”‘ she challenged. Little girl- that’s what Joseph used to call Natalie. The thought appeared in my mind before I could think to push it away.


The emotions flooding through my sent chills down my spine. “My name is Ava, not ‘Little Girl,”‘ I had said. I was on my toes, trying to gain as much respect as I could.

First impressions were, after all, the most important- even if I didn’t have any shoes on.

“Of course,” whispered Joseph. “My apologies.” He scratched his stubbly chin, seeming to contemplate what to do with me.

That brought questions to my mind- I mean, what would he do with me? I was a human girl, with no real use. He could kill me off with just a command, as he appeared to be leading the whole place. I blushed, lowering my gaze to the ground. I wouldn’t take it back- I’d appear weak.

“Ava,” Jace whispered next to me, breaking my thoughts. My heart beat grew faster when I heard his voice. He was the only one I’d deemed even the slightest bit trustworthy so far. I raised my eyes to meet his hypnotizing blue ones. He smiled sadly and nodded.

I felt eyes on the back of my head, forcing me to spin around in the somewhat confined space of the bar area in the restaurant.

Roman was looking at me with an odd expression. He seemed happy, surprised, excited, and- something else all at once. I raised an eyebrow, but he simply answered with a smile.

Jace sighed and shook his head. “I’m taking her to my room,” he said.

“Jace, I’ll be up to talk with you and the g- Ava- later,” Joseph said.

He nodded and took my arm. “Let’s go, Ava.”

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