VictoriousKobo
Author:M.S. Force

“Of course, all of this is speculation on our part.”

 

“No, it makes all kinds of sense. The pills would also explain how he was able to be so… relentless… during the assault.” I look up to see Candace blinking rapidly.

 

“That’s the one thing we were never able to bring ourselves to read about. We couldn’t bear it.”

 

“I’m glad you didn’t. It’s bad enough those images are in my mind. You don’t need them in yours, too.”

 

“I wondered… If you were able, with Flynn…”

 

“Yes, and it was amazing. At least for me.” The question is a reminder of why I left him, and the pain sears through me, hot and sharp.

 

“You don’t think it was for him, too?”

 

I get up from the bed where we’ve been relaxing to walk over to the window. “He said it was.” But how am I to know if he was only saying what he thought I wanted to hear or if he was telling the truth? Everything is in question now.

 

“You don’t believe him?”

 

As much as I want to share the details of what happened between Flynn and me with my sister, I can’t. I have to protect his privacy—and mine. I trust my sister, but I also have to acknowledge I don’t know her very well anymore. I hope that will change, in time, but if she told even one person about Flynn’s sexual preferences… No, I can’t tell her or anyone, as much as I’d love Candace’s take on the situation. I realize she’s waiting for me to reply. “It’s kind of complicated.”

 

“And personal, I’m sure. I don’t mean to pry.”

 

“It’s okay. It’s just tough because of who he is to the rest of the world. I can’t spill my guts as much as I’d like to.”

 

“I understand. Don’t worry.” She sends me a cheeky grin. “As long as I get to meet him someday.”

 

“I hope you’ll get to meet him.” I hope I’ll get to see him again…

 

Candace’s phone rings, and she lets out a squeal that wakes Fluff, who has been lounging on the other bed. “It’s Livvy on FaceTime.” She accepts the call. “You won’t believe who’s here with me.”

 

“Who?”

 

“Natalie.” She turns the phone toward me, and I wave at her. Even though I’ve FaceTimed with both of them in the last few weeks, I still want to weep at the sight of my youngest sister, who is also all grown up and gorgeous at seventeen. She has the dark hair and eyes that come from our father’s side of the family and actually resembles me now that I’ve darkened my hair.

 

“What’re you doing there?”

 

“I came to see Candace, and I hope I’ll see you sometime soon, too.”

 

“Flynn’s assistant called about us coming to LA in the next couple of weeks.”

 

My stomach hurts at the mention of him. “I hope we can make that happen.”

 

“Is he there?” She looks around, hoping for a glimpse of her famous brother-in-law.

 

“No, he couldn’t come, and I couldn’t wait any longer to see Candace. Or you. I hope we can do it soon.”

 

“We will. I have a long weekend in February, if not before. Get this, you guys…” With those four words, it feels like old times. “Mom is dating someone, and he’s actually rather normal. She’s out with him now.”

 

“Mom is dating? Like, a man?” Candace asks.

 

“No, an alien,” Livvy says dryly. “Yes, a man! A guy she works with. She’s talked about him for months, and now they’re going out and stuff.”

 

“This is huge,” Candace says for my benefit. “She hasn’t dated at all since she and Dad split up.”

 

What’s even more important to me is how, after only a few minutes back in the presence of my sisters, I feel like I belong with them again.

 

 

 

 

 

A knock on the door early in the morning sends Fluff into convulsions, reminding me I need to take her outside at some point. The thought of going out into the freezing tundra does not appeal to me. “I’ll get it,” I say to Candace, who hasn’t moved. She was always a heavy sleeper, and we were up half the night talking.

 

Josh is outside the door with a large envelope he hands to me. “This came for you.”

 

I start to ask who knows I’m here, but of course Flynn knows. He’s paying for the security, the hotel, the airplane.

 

“Would you like me to take Fluff out for you?” Josh asks.

 

“Are you sure you don’t mind? That’s not in your job description.”

 

“I don’t mind. I’m going to get coffee anyway.”

 

“How do you feel about getting two extra coffees?”

 

“Happy to do that, too.”

 

I clip Fluff’s leash on to her collar and hand it to him. “Thank you so much.”

 

“No problem. Be back soon.”

 

I bring the envelope to my bed to open it. Using the light from my phone, I find a note from Addie along with an ATM card and an American Express card with “Natalie Godfrey” embossed on it. The note from Addie says, “Flynn wanted you to have these and to use them for anything you need. The ATM code is 0119.” It isn’t lost on me that our wedding date is the PIN code.