“How is he?”

“He’s in a dark place and my heart is breaking for him. His entire life, everything he believed, turned out to be a lie. I don’t know how to bring him back from this.” My brother was manipulated into killing our father by our lying, deceitful mother. How do you recover from that?

Roman lays a hand on my shoulder. “We have all been pawns in our parents’ war. I once followed my father blindly and it cost me everything I cared about.”

I step closer to the window and Roman’s hand drops back to his side. “Patricide and seduction are not equal sins.”

“It is not the act which causes remorse and our desire to atone. It’s the devastation and loss we experience when the consequences catch up to us.”

“I disagree. I’ve taken lives. The act of killing is what I regret most.” A regret I will hold in my heart for the rest of my life.

Roman steps closer but he doesn’t touch me again. “You did what you needed to do to help save our race from self-destruction.”

My laugh is bitter. “You mean I thinned the herd, decided who should live and who should die.” My eyes are still on Malik. He has been at the makeshift shooting range all day. I’m surprised he still has ammunition considering how many rounds he has fired at the paper targets.

“Well, aren’t you a bucket of sunshine. Is he still at it?” Brielle’s sudden presence is an odd relief. Her sarcasm is constant, something to cling to when everything else is in constant flux.

“He won’t talk to me.” I turn toward her with pleading eyes. “He may talk to you.”

Brielle’s cheeks flush red. She and Malik are on the precipice of loving each other, but neither knows how to be that vulnerable. I fear they never will work through their issues. A shame because they have would be good together. “I doubt it,” she hedges.

“Will you at least try?” I beg.

After a moment, she nods. “Don’t expect a miracle, though.” She heads for the door.

When Brielle is outside, I leave my position at the window. Whatever may occur between the two of them is not my business. I just hope she can get through to him. Leaving Roman without so much as a see you later, I go in search of the only man who provides solace to my tarnished soul.

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