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Heaven Can’t Wait – Chapter 5

<< Chapter Four | Table of Contents | Chapter Six >>


Chapter Five – Finally Got Something Right

Bellamy keeps one eye on the gathering clouds to the west and the other on Alpha Station towering over the trees to the southeast. Still a few miles to go. Anxiety twists his stomach. There’s no shelter between them and Arkadia. Not this time. They left the dropship behind hours ago, and Bellamy’s body aches from carrying his pack and the little girl clinging to his neck. He thinks she understands the urgency because she hasn’t made a peep since the butterflies.

Jogging next to him, Miller is equally quiet. Bellamy’s not sure if it’s from exertion or fear. In the distance, lightning snakes across the sky, thunder rumbling softly behind it. It sounds miles away, but Bellamy knows it’s a false security. The storm is traveling fast, gaining on them every hour. At that speed, it’ll be on us in thirty minutes. Maybe less. His breath catches. We’re not going to make it.

“You should go,” Bellamy tells Miller. “You’ll be able to outrun the storm.”



“I said, ‘no.’ I’m not leaving you. End of discussion.”

As worried as he is about his friend, Bellamy’s kind of relieved. It might get him killed, but Miller’s loyalty means a lot to him, especially after everything that happened with Pike. It gives him hope that maybe he can fix things with the others.

The sky flashes a brilliant white, and this time, the thunder is much louder. Closer. Bellamy knows the moment the storm breaks. The ground shudders with the next boom of thunder. Hundreds of birds screech into the sky, trying futility to escape. He watches in horror as they drop one by one. Shit. We are so screwed.

Miller skids to a halt. Bellamy stops a few feet away, breathing heavy.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“Lose the pack,” Miller says, dropping his bag. He digs through it, pulling out extra ammo which he stuffs in his pockets. Bellamy’s still staring so Miller tugs the pack from his back. “Lighter load means faster running.”

Bellamy moans in relief when the weight of the pack is gone. Miller finds his extra ammo and a knife, stashing them as well. The sky lights up again, nearly blinding them. The girl whimpers into Bellamy’s shoulder—her little hands twisting the fabric of his shirt into knots. He adjusts his hold so he can rub her back. “You’re going to be okay,” he whispers.

“You want me to take her?” Miller asks suddenly. “You’ve been carrying her for hours.”

Bellamy shakes his head. “Let’s just go.” It’s not that he doesn’t trust Miller to carry her. And if he’s honest, it’s not even because he thinks she will freak out if Miller tries to touch her. He just doesn’t want to let her go. He’s committed to getting her back safely. He has to do this. Because your dumbass went and got attached, says that voice. Because I have to do something right to balance out all of the evil. He’s pretty sure the voice scoffs at him.

The screams of hundreds of unseen dying animals encourage them to pick up their speed. Bellamy’s nearly out of breath when they finally stumble out of the forest. The gates to Arkadia stand open—no guards in sight. They’ll all be inside with the storm coming.

The rain starts as they hit the gate. At first, it’s nothing more than little plinks that sizzle in the dirt. But it grows. A drop lands on the back of Bellamy’s neck. He grits his teeth and tucks his jacket around the girl, trying to cover as much of her as he can. The pain doesn’t go away.

Next to him, Miller hisses, smacking at his burning skin.

“Go,” Bellamy yells, giving him a shove forward. This time, Miller doesn’t argue, shooting across the empty yard.

Bellamy’s heart drops when the door to the Ark starts to close. Miller shouts and waves his arms to get their attention. It swings back open, and a startled David Miller steps out. The other guards yell for them to hurry, as if they weren’t already running for their lives. Literally.

The storm finally catches up—the rain falling harder. Every inch of his exposed skin is on fire. He pulls his jacket tighter around the girl, but he can’t protect her completely. She shrieks with each raindrop that burns through the material.

Miller reaches the Ark first, diving in. Bellamy stumbles on the uneven ground, nearly falling. Miller must try to come back out because his father struggles with him. They’re still arguing when Bellamy falls through the door a moment later.

He slides to the floor with a groan. The girl’s screams have subsided to soft sobs. He can’t tell if it’s from exhaustion or if she’s strained her vocal chords. He’s barely aware of the people around him—their shouts drowned out by the pounding of blood in his head. Someone douses him with water, but it does nothing for the pain.

The girl starts crying again. Bellamy has enough strength to wash down her legs where the majority of her burns are.

“What the?” David says, gently removing Bellamy’s jacket. His gasp says it all. “Where did you find her?”

Miller’s lost his jacket, shirt, and pants in his effort to wash away all of the acid. “About twenty miles from here. She almost got eaten by a panther.”


Miller nods.

“Jesus.” David squats down and tries to brush the girl’s hair from her face, but she presses it against Bellamy’s chest, her grip tightening. “Poor thing.”

“What’s going on?” Abby’s voice raises above the others as she pushes through the crowd that’s gathered at the end of the hall. “Did everyone make it inside in time? Nathan, are you alright?”

Miller points at Bellamy. “It’s not me you need to worry about.”

Bellamy looks up at Abby’s shocked face. He must look bad because she hasn’t even noticed the girl. He can tell when she finally does by the double-take. “Oh,” she says, placing a gentle hand on the girl’s back, but she cringes away with a whimper.

He cradles her closer, whispering in her ear to calm her. “You’re going to be okay. Just like I promised.” He rests his head against the cool wall. Finally got something right.

Abby’s face goes into full-on doctor mode. “Get her to Medbay. Now.”

Bellamy doesn’t need to be told twice.

<< Chapter Four | Chapter Six >>


Six Sentences on Sunday

sixsentences~~ Each Sunday, post six sentences from a writing project —published, in progress, for your cat — whatever. ~~

From Heaven Can’t Wait:

“Where’d she go?”

Miller looks up from repacking his bag. “Uh-”

Bellamy rolls his eyes. “You lost her already?”

“I didn’t lose her—she’s probably just hiding.”

The 100 fanfic: Heaven Can’t Wait

The 100 | [PG-13]
heavencantwaitCanon divergent. With the Apocalypse banging at their door, the Arkadians and what’s left of Trikru take refuge in the remains of Alpha Station and hope for the best.

Over 500 souls crammed into a tin can, but there’s only one that has Bellamy wrapped around her little fingers. Written for Camp NaNo: heaven.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – Can’t Save Everyone
Chapter 2 – One Live Saved Is One Life Saved
Chapter 3 – Not Alone Anymore
Chapter 4 – Don’t Get Attached
Chapter 5 – Finally Got Something Right

Six Sentences on Sunday

sixsentences~~ Each Sunday, post six sentences from a writing project —published, in progress, for your cat — whatever. ~~

From chapter 2 of Heaven Can’t Wait (which will hopefully be up soon now that NaNo is over):

Halfway down the ladder, he pauses to laugh at the scene. Miller is standing in the middle of the room, hands on his hips, glaring at the little girl. She’s on one of the lopsided crates, growling and snapping at him—her hair wild and eyes narrowed.

Miller turns his glare on Bellamy. “Shut up and do something with her. She’s evil.”

Heaven Can’t Wait – Chapter 3

<< Chapter Two | Table of Contents | Chapter Four >>



Chapter Three – Not Alone Anymore

What was that?

Bellamy jerks out of the first solid sleep he’s had in weeks. Something woke him, but his foggy brain is struggling to catch up. He blinks bleary eyes around the dark dropship. Miller is curled into a ball on the other side of the room, a bottle of Monty’s moonshine cradled in his arms. Where the heck did he find that? A loud bang from above brings him out of his sleepy stupor. He sits up straight and goes for his gun, heart racing. Then he looks down at his jacket discarded over his legs. The girl.

He grabs a lantern and quickly climbs the ladder, searching the darkness for a small body. “Hey kid,” he calls softly. “Where’d you go?”

Something drops to his left, rolling across the metal deck. He tip-toes towards the noise, not wanting to scare her. The light finally catches on her eyes glowing from a crevice between some crates, an empty tin of food in her dirty hands. Bellamy squats in front of her. “Hey, sweetheart. What are you doing up here alone?”

She cocks her head, wedging herself in tighter. Bellamy eyes the tin. “Guess you’re hungry, huh? Why don’t you come out here, and I’ll see if I can find some food?”

She clutches the tin tighter like she’s afraid he might take it away. He taps his knee then leaves her there. Downstairs, he grabs his pack and jacket. Miller rolls over, the moonshine clattering to the floor. Bellamy picks it up, setting it on the casing to the door lever with a sigh.

Back upstairs, the little girl is gone from her hideout. He sets his stuff down on one of the seats then pulls out a small bag and bottle of water. “Kid? Where’d you go? I’ve got something for you.” A shadow catches his attention as it moves across the wall to his left. He finds the girl under a pile of seats and empty crates. She wraps her arms around her legs and stares up at him through a curtain of stringy hair. She’s so tiny. How has she been surviving? Why hasn’t anyone come for her?

The answer frightens him. Because they’re all dead. And she’s alone. Bellamy sits down on the other side of her “cave” and shakes the bag again. “You hungry? It’s not much, but it’s not bad,” he says, popping a dried berry into his mouth. Her little head raises. She licks her lips as her eyes track him eating another berry. Her stomach growls so loudly, Bellamy can almost feel it himself.

“If you come out, you can have some.” When she still doesn’t move, he eats a few more berries and takes a long sip of water, wiping his mouth with a dramatic flourish and sigh. Then he sets them down. “You know what, I think I forgot something downstairs. I’ll be right back.”

He leaves his stuff and the light, retreating to the other side of the room. It’s only a few seconds before the girl squeezes out from between the seats. She looks around quickly then snatches the bag of fruit. She sniffs several berries before stuffing them in her mouth by the handful. He’s afraid she might choke as she inhales the food but can’t help smiling.

He creeps closer, but she hears him, dropping the food and knocking over the bottle. She looks from the food to her shelter to Bellamy, obviously unsure what to go for. Bellamy’s amusement vanishes. “Hey, it’s okay. I’m not going to hut you.”

Her eyes dart to him for only a second. She grabs the spilled bag of food and darts for the safety her cave. She’s breathing hard when he sits down again, not sure what to do with her. “We just need to get you back to Arkadia. Abby will know what to do,” he tells her even though he knows she doesn’t understand. “You won’t have to be alone anymore.” Because being left behind sucks. I know from experience.

Bellamy scoots back against a crate and crosses his ankles in front of him as he watches the girl eat. When she gets to the bottom of the bag, she tips it up, crumbs falling into her mouth, then starts licking the insides. She must be starving. He wishes he had more food. He did have water, though. He picks up the bottle, getting her attention again, and[-1] takes another slow sip. She stops to watch with her hand over her mouth, fingers sticky with juice. He holds it out to her. “You want some? It’s a little warm.”

She crawls forward and grabs for it from behind her pile of junk, but Bellamy pulls it back. “You’re going to have to come out if you want it.”

She narrows her eyes like she’s considering clawing his eyes out to get to the water. Placing the bottle just outside of her reach, he sits back to wait, eyes closed. He peeks at her when he hears the debris moving. She scrambles over, lunging for the bottle. Except she can’t figure out how to open it.

Bellamy holds back laughter as she gnaws on the lid then bangs it on the ground. Then she completely surprises him by throwing the bottle at his head. He manages to get his arms up in time to block it, but he can’t stop himself from laughing now. “Ow, that hurt. Anyone ever tell you that you have an anger problem?”

Twisting off the cap, he takes a sip before holding it out to her again. She continues to glare, but inches closer, getting more and more angry when he keeps moving it farther away. Finally, she gets up and stomps over, murder in her eyes.

He hands her the bottle, and she guzzles it, water dribbling down her chin. When she’s had her fill, she wipes her mouth and mimics his dramatic sigh. Bellamy laughs. The kid’s a riot. She holds the water bottle out to him, but when he tries to take it back, she jerks it away—a smirk on her face.

“You little snot.” So much like Octavia. Bellamy digs his fingers into her ribs, smiling as she squirms and giggles. Now that she’s more relaxed around him, he carries her over to his bag and wraps his jacket around her. She stands there staring at the sleeves that hang off the ends of her hands all the way to the floor. She flaps her arms, the extra material flying everywhere. It makes her giggle again and Bellamy grins. Giggles might be the best sound in the world. Especially little girl giggles. The weight that’s been pressing on him all week lightens a little.

He shakes his head at the sudden swell of affection then unties his blanket from the pack, spreading it across the floor. As soon as he lies down the girl plops down next to him. With a yawn, she curls up against his chest, thumb in her mouth.

“Guess we’re friends now, huh?”

She just hums. Octavia hummed in her sleep, too. They shared a bed until he was a teen, snuggling under his one blanket. And pressing her freezing feet against my legs just to torture me. He snorts at the happy memory, but it quickly sours as reality settles back in. She can’t even stand to look at me now. It triggers a burning ache in his heart, but he doesn’t blame her. It’s all my fault.

Bellamy tugs the edge of the blanket over the girl and tucks her head under his chin. She lets out a contented sigh as he runs his hand over her matted hair. A moment later, she’s snoring softly—her hot breaths puffing against his neck. He’s surprised at how relaxed he feels in that moment. How can one little girl have that effect on him?

It’s because she reminds you of Octavia, that’s all. Don’t get attached.

He thinks it might be too late.

<< Chapter Two | Chapter Four >>

Six Sentences on Sunday

sixsentences~~ Each Sunday, post six sentences from a writing project —published, in progress, for your cat — whatever. ~~

From an April Camp fanfic:

He looked up, feeling uncomfortable under Kane’s gaze.

“Be careful. And I don’t mean just because Abby might not handle it well if you don’t come back. I want you to be careful. I want you to come back in one piece.”

“Yes, dad,” he muttered.

Heaven Can’t Wait – Chapter 2

<< Chapter One | Table of Contents | Chapter Three >>


Chapter Two – One Life Saved Is One Life Saved

“Would you shut her up,” Miller hisses. “You know these things don’t always hunt alone.”

“I’m trying.” Bellamy pushes back the little girl’s dirty, matted hair—she looks about three-years-old. Her face is caked in mud and tears, but he doesn’t find any obvious signs of injuries. She’s just scared. “It’s going to be okay,” he tells her softly, wiping the tears away with his thumbs. “You’re safe now.” She sniffles, smearing snot across her cheek with the back of her hand. He squeezes her shoulders with a smile. “See? You’re okay. Everything is going to be okay.”

“Keep telling yourself that,” Miller mutters.

Bellamy ignores him. “Do you have a name, sweetheart?” The girl blinks at him through a tangle of wet lashes—her chocolate-brown eyes never leaving his. He tries again in broken Grounder, mispronouncing most of the words and wishing he’d paid more attention. She cocks her head but doesn’t answer. He thinks she understands, though.

“God, your Grounder is terrible. Let’s just go. I don’t want to be out here when this storm breaks. I happen to like my skin on my bones.”

The little girl begins whimpering again as soon as Bellamy stands. Her lip quivers, and after years of dealing with Octavia, he knows she’s on the verge of a full-on tantrum. “It’s okay,” he tells her in what he hopes is a soothing voice. “We’re going to take you somewhere safe.”

“What if she has a family?” Miller asks. “Maybe they’re looking for her.”

Bellamy shoots him a look. “I thought you wanted to go home?”

Miller arches an eyebrow.

“We are not leaving her.”

Miller sighs. “Then just grab her. We don’t have time for this.”

Behind them, the sky lights up, and the thunder that follows rocks the ground. Miller’s right—there’s no time to search for a family. Besides, it doesn’t look like anyone’s taken care of her in a long time. Bellamy lifts her into his arms. She weighs almost nothing like she hasn’t eaten in days. How long has she been out here? Where is her family? How could they just abandon her like this?

He squashes the growing anger and wraps his jacket around her tiny, shivering body. “It’s going to be okay, sweetie. You’re safe now.” He repeats it over and over as they walk until, eventually, her breathing evens out and her body goes limp. Bellamy sighs with relief.

Miller side-eyes him. “You’re like a natural at that.”

“At what?”

“That.” He waves at Bellamy and the girl. “Like kid stuff.”

Bellamy shrugs. “I had Octavia to practice on.”

Miller snorts. “I can’t imagine Octavia ever being that small and helpless.”

Bellamy laughs, too. “Small, yes. Helpless, never.” He runs a hand over the girl’s head then rests it on her back, feeling the rise and fall of her breaths. She does remind him an awful lot of Octavia. Fierce and determined. And brave. Octavia had a strength Bellamy always admired even when they were kids. It was what was going to get her through everything that had happened. Everything he’s done to her. He forces down a sudden lump in his throat. Not the time to think about that.

Thunder booms suddenly, startling the girl. She screams then buries her face in his neck with a muffled sob. Her fingers twist into his hair. He whispers comforting words into her ear as they pick up the pace.

“We’re not going to make it,” Miller says, looking back at the mountains.

Bellamy glances over his shoulder. He can no longer tell where the sky ends and the clouds begin. It’s one giant, roiling mass, crackling with electricity and spitting lightning. Icy fingers of fear wrap around his chest, squeezing out the air. “We need to find cover.”

“The cave?”

Another deafening clap of thunder shakes the ground so hard he can feel it in his bones. The grip around his neck threatens to strangle him. Bellamy checks the storm again—it’s moving fast to the east cutting them off from the hills around Mt. Weather. He shakes his head. “We’ll never make it. The dropship is closer.”

They veer south in a desperate dash to outrun the outer edge of the storm. With every flash of lightning and roar of thunder, the girl squeezes him tighter, yanking his hair. The air is charged, prickling his skin and making every hair on his arms stand up. He pulls the collar of his jacket over the girl’s head, trying to cover as much of her as he can. Then they run. Faster than Bellamy’s ever run before.

“We’re going to cut it close,” Miller says through gasps.

Bellamy’s lungs burn, but he doesn’t slow. He dodges a boulder then hops a log, barely managing to keep his balance when he lands. Ahead, he sees the dropship towering over the trees. Miller hits the ramp as the first raindrops sizzle around them. Shit. Bellamy ducks under some low-hanging branches then dives into the dropship, rolling with the girl.

Miller pulls the lever before Bellamy’s all the way in, closing the door. He leans against the wall with a relieved sigh. “That was close.”

“No kidding.” Bellamy sits up and attempts to pry open the little fingers tangled in his hair, but the girl refuses to let go. He tries to reassure her with circles on her back like his mother used to do. It always worked with Octavia. At the least, her trembling subsides even if she continues to cling to him like velcro.

“What are we going to do with her?” Miller asks after a while.

Bellamy tucks her hair behind her ear. Her face is streaked with tears though she’s no longer crying. That has to be a good sign. “I don’t know. Maybe we can find a grounder family to take her.”

“That’s probably for the best. They’d know how to take care of her a hell of a lot better than us.”

Bellamy snorts. “Was that ever on the table?”

Miller rolls his eyes with a laugh. “You know what I meant.” He throws a spent shell casing at him, but it bounces off of the girl’s back, startling her. Bellamy glares. “Why’d you do that? What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Sorry,” Miller mumbles. He shoves off the wall. “I’m going to go look upstairs.”

Bellamy slides over to the wall, trying to get comfortable. He manages to get the girl to let go of his neck. She curls up in his lap, thumb in her mouth. His eyes drift shut—his breathing matching the slow rise and fall of her chest. Outside, the storm rocks the dropship, throwing gale-force winds and acid rain at the already battered ship. He wonders how much more it can take. “We’ll be safe for now,” he murmurs into the girl’s hair. I hope.

The girl snorts then presses her face into his chest with a sigh. Bellamy smiles, hugging her closer. Maybe some good came of their mission after all. One life saved is one life saved. It’s not enough to balance out the evil he’s done, but it’s a start. It has to be or… Or what? I can’t live with myself? Can’t keep living? He shakes the thought from his head. He’s not quite that pathetic yet.

And it’s too late to atone for your sins after you’re dead.

He lets the girl’s gentle snores lull him to sleep, and for once, he doesn’t dream of the demons chasing him.

<< Chapter One | Chapter Three >>


Six Sentences on Sunday

sixsentences~~ Each Sunday, post six sentences from a writing project —published, in progress, for your cat — whatever. ~~

From a fanfic I’m editing:

“I can’t imagine Octavia ever being that small and helpless.”

Bellamy laughs, too. “Small, yes. Helpless, never.” He runs a hand over the girl’s head then rests it on her back, feeling the rise and fall of her breaths. She does remind him an awful lot of Octavia.

Heaven Can’t Wait – Chapter 1

Table of Contents | Chapter Two >>



Chapter One: Can’t Save Everyone

Thunder cracks in the distance as clouds gather over the mountains. Bellamy pointlessly watches the trees for trouble. The forest is eerily quiet without the familiar sounds of insects and birds. The animals are all gone. The grounders have fled to Arkadia or are trying their luck in Polis, mistakenly thinking their city will protect them. The planet is dying. And there’s nothing we can do about it.

Another rumble of thunder sets him on edge. They’ve been waiting months for the black rain to start. Every dark cloud, every rumble of thunder, every rain shower threatens to be their last. On the horizon, lightning snakes across the sky. Already the air tastes sour. The breeze that should be damp before the storm prickles his skin with static electricity. It won’t be long.

Miller holds up a test tube and shakes it, his expression grim.

“No good?”

He tosses the tube into the woods before wiping his hands on his pants. “Tainted.”

Bellamy sighs. “That’s every stream within five miles. There’s no clean drinking water left. Nothing will survive out here.”

“We can’t save everyone, Bellamy,” Miller murmurs. Lightning flashes, and the thunder that follows is closer. “Let’s get the hell out of here. We’re not going to find anything.”

They start walking at a steady pace, the storm trailing behind them. They spent the last two days going through every grounder village they could find looking for refugees. The grounders that didn’t try to kill them also didn’t want their help. They wouldn’t listen to reason no matter what.

Bellamy hates to think of what will happen to them. But he can’t force them. They pleaded for over an hour at the door of a widow with five children. He could tell she was already getting sick. They begged to take the children, but she refused. The thought coils in his stomach, making him sick.

Next to him, Miller snorts.

“What?” Bellamy asks.

“I just never thought we’d find ourselves back here. You know, locked up in that tin can. After everything.” He shakes his head. “But, hey, Alpha Station. Better than being stuck in Mecha.”

Bellamy chuckles. “Just be glad it wasn’t the Skybox that survived the crash.”

Miller visibly shivers, making Bellamy laugh again. A crack of a branch to their left has them both tensed. It’s getting late, and the storm clouds aren’t helping visibility. Bellamy scans the forest for signs of movement. Just when he thinks it was nothing, there’s a crunch of leaves. Bellamy signals Miller to go around the left while he flanks on the right.

They move silently—in sync after all of these months on the ground—careful not to alert whatever might be hiding. From the scuffling noises, it sounds big. Bigger than a rabbit or fox. Not that they’ve seen many of those around lately. But anything could possibly be food.

Bellamy’s getting closer. He hears a growl from his left and realizes the animal is hunting something else. Two for the price of one. He sets himself up to take out the predator once it’s captured its prey.

Through the brush, Bellamy sees sleek black fur rippling over smooth muscle. One of those panthers then. God, he hates them. They’re fast and savage, and their nails are like razors. Niylah swears Clarke took one down all on her own with only a knife. Clarke will neither deny nor confirm that Wanheda myth. Bellamy’s not sure if he believes it, but it’s Clarke so anything’s possible. He smiles at that thought then curses himself for losing the panther in the trees.

He hunches down, weaving between low branches, searching the surrounding area for a glimpse of black. He hears a whimper from ahead and presses up against a tree. He peers around it. The cat is off to the right—its yellow eyes glowing through some ferns. To his left, the prey.

Bellamy squints in the dim light, trying to make out what kind of animal it is. His eyes widen with a gasp. “No.” He glances back at the cat as it readies to pounce, and without thinking, he moves.

The cat races forward at the same time Bellamy does. He launches himself at the cat’s prey, grabbing it around the waist and rolling. It screams. Something slices into Bellamy’s shoulder, but he doesn’t let go. He curls around the tiny body in his arms as the cat screeches. He can feel its breath on his neck. Jesus.

Then there’s a pop pop pop and a howl.

Feet pound up behind him. “What the hell are you doing?” Miller shouts. “Are you insane?”

Bellamy falls onto his back with a groan as pain shoots through his shoulder. The small girl looks up at them with a quivering lip then starts to wail.


That’s the understatement of the century.

Chapter Two >>

Six Sentences on Sunday

sixsentences~~ Each Sunday, post six sentences from a writing project —published, in progress, for your cat — whatever. ~~

More from my “go back in time to fix a mistake turned Poseidon Adventure.”

God, if she cried again, he’d jump out the nearest airlock. “I don’t know where you were, McKenna. After Octavia was arrested, all of my friends abandoned me. I don’t know what happened to anyone.”

“I abandoned you? I find that hard to believe.”

(McKenna is an original character I made up that has kind of taken over the story.)

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