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“You know I always got your back.” Leah looks at me and hesitates before giving me a hug.

“I think we’re taking off as well,” Sophie says, going to pick up her coat. “I’d rather not drive in the rain if we can avoid it.”

“Except you’re not driving,” Nico tells her, and she rolls her eyes before looking between Willow and me. “I expect to see the two of you at dinner sometime soon.”

“I’ll make sure that happens,” I assure her, then watch as she hugs her daughter.

“I love you, sweet girl.”

“Love you, too, Mom,” Willow whispers, then she goes to her dad and falls into his arms. “Love you, Dad. Thank you for coming and helping with everything.”

“Anytime, kid.” Nico kisses the top of her head then meets my gaze. “Take care of my girl.”

“Always.” I tuck Willow into my side then open the door for her mom, dad, and Leah, then wait until they are out and have said goodbye one last time before I close the door behind them.

“Okay, tell me.” Willow twists around to face me.

I run my fingers through my hair. “How about we get a drink.”

“No, I want to know. Just tell me.”

“All right.” I lead her to the couch then pull her down onto my lap. “They found Matthew’s body.” She gasps as her eyes widen. “He shot himself in the head and they believe he did that after killing Carly.”

“Oh my god.”

“I’m sure Miles and Tucker will have more information, but that’s what your dad took me outside to tell me.” I wrap my hand around the side of her neck and run my thumb up and down her pulse.

“I can’t believe this. Why would he do that?”

“I don’t know, Mouse.” I lower my voice. “Maybe something happened between them, and he killed her on accident then couldn’t handle what he did.”

“Maybe.” She closes her eyes. “I know I should feel better, but I don’t.”

“Finding out what happened was never going to cure your hurt, baby; that’s going to take time.”

“You’re right.” She tucks her head under my chin.

I wish I didn’t have to keep giving her news that reopened that wound for her.

“Hopefully this news will give everyone a little closure.”

“Hopefully, baby.” I know that’s what she needs to hear, even if I know that it’s the furthest thing from the truth, because now everyone is just going to be left with a million unanswered questions.

Chapter 20

Willow

“ALL RIGHT, BABY, my plane is boarding. I’ll see you in a few hours,” Clay says through my car speaker system, and I smile at the reminder that he’s on his way home.

It’s been five days since Carly’s memorial and two days since he left to fly to New York for work. I hated that he had to leave, but when he told me that it would be the last trip for at least a couple months, I felt a little better about him going away. Plus, this trip had nothing to do with his past or what happened to Arya, or at least not completely anyway. He and a few donors will be opening a house in Manhattan that will work to help get women off the streets, by getting them into jobs and then eventually their own apartments. And even if I’m sure he’s right about doing some fucked up things, the world could use more people just like him—people that will do whatever is necessary to help others and make sure that harm doesn’t come to those who can’t protect themselves.

“You there, Mouse?” His question drags me out of my thoughts, and I blink at the road and notice that I’ve already reached the bank.

“Yeah, sorry,” I say as I pull into the bank parking lot that is completely empty. Normally, Katy opens and I close, but today she has a dentist appointment so we traded schedules, which worked out perfect, since Clay will be home by the time I get off work. “Love you, I’ll see you at home.”

“Love you, too, Mouse,” he says quietly before he hangs up.

After parking, I get out of my car, taking my purse with me, then go to the trunk to take out the chest that Miles brought to the house a few days ago. Since I haven’t been able to pack it up, I figured that I could do that this morning with stuff from our recycle room then drop it off this afternoon at the mailing center down the street.

Using one hand to hold the trunk, I open the door, then quickly scoot inside so that I can shut off the alarm before it times out. After punching in the code, I go back to lock the front door, since Troy, who should be here to help open, has a key that Katy gave him yesterday.

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