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It was out there now. Not only had Lizzie not run, but she’d exploded on Isabel. Saying so many insults that Lily had wanted to say. But things that Isabel would never accept and walk away from. And in the midst of that rant, she’d turned her anger on Lily.

Now Isabel had to know. Lizzie had said ‘our family.’

This burning ball of shame had buried itself in Lily’s stomach since Tina’s death, sending out little molten waves whenever it got too quiet. It receded a little once she had made the decision to kill Isabel, then gotten worse once she’d allied with her. And now Lizzie’s words had just detonated it.

Lily only had the justification of ‘I was biding my time’ and ‘I wanted to live’ and it just seemed so flimsy while staring right at her cousin screaming at her. She looked down. Might have stared down, not meeting Lizzie’s eyes, for a long time if Isabel hadn’t started up.

No. Nonono. Isabel was moving forward, and she was laughing, and talking in words that made no sense. Lily looked up to see Lizzie backing away, and Isabel keeping the space between them. Talking calmly, too calmly.

It was going to happen again.

Lily was just going to let it happen, like she had with Tina.


Not defiant. Too shaky, too soft, to be anything but begging. Might not have even been noticed if Lily hadn’t taken a couple of rushed steps forward and grabbed Isabel’s arm, circling her tiny, stick arms around as tightly as she could and anchoring her useless, tired feet as well as she could in the sand.

“Don’t. Just… please.”
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The Virgin Sea · Shoreline