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Five Months Earlier...
“Okay, take a deep breath. This might irritate your skin a little, but it's normal. You have to be very, very careful.” I looked at Cassius's eyes as he was starting to remove my bandage.
The procedure and the medication took four months. I had eleven operations and three times plastic surgery. Cassius said that my cheekbones were dislocated—the reason why the flesh was always fresh. It got infected because it wasn’t treated immediately. He said I was lucky it did not spread to the other part of my face. I still had more operations to go for my
“Are you ready?”
I nodded. “More than ready…”
Cassius started to carefully undo the bandage. “I was waiting for this moment, buddy. All my life. I waited for this,” he said.
“I know, and I've been such a prick to you,” I admitted.
“Heard something from Oliver? Did you talk to Alayna? Did they know about this day?”
“No. I talked to Oliver, and they seemed fine.”
He stopped. “Are you saying you didn't talk to her?”
“You knew that there's a threat
He sighed sharply. “It was sickening that I have the same blood. Now that they knew about you being here and doing well. Are you going to show yourself? It's Aunt's Agatha’s fortieth birthday next month, and you are clearly invited because grandfather is going as well. There will be a private meeting with the heads of the family. My father is coming. You are the legal head of your family. I heard they were going to talk about grandfather's will.”
“Are you coming?”
“Dad wants me to go. Oliver is flying here next month.”
I smirked. “Of course I’ll come. I couldn't wait to see their faces when they see me. It's funny, it's a masquerade party,” I joked.
“Maybe Alayna’s right after all,” he stated suddenly.
“Right about what?”
She was right that everything was going to change if I took this path, and I was slowly changing. This heavy burden I'd been carrying my whole life. Starting with the justice for my family and the people who wanted me dead wasn't stopping until they take everything from me. They already took my family's life. I won't risk any more lives for me. Not Oliver, not Casey, not Cassius and not Alayna.
“Somewhere safe and a place you can't find. Don't worry, Brandon. I'll bring her back here. She never wanted to leave anyway.”
There was nothing I could do watch Cassius turn his back and head towards the door. My feet failed to make a single move. If only I could send her away back to where she came from, and to when she didn't know any of us. We shouldn't have met in the first place. I put her life in danger because I was weak. Now that I was strong enough to save her, I would do everything to make it right.
All I knew that sending her away was the best decision I could ever do for her, and it was the best for everyone's sake.
“No, no! Please No!”
“Please come back.”
“Don't leave me again.”
“Please come back to me.”
“I'm okay with it. Just come back to me.”
“No. No. I'm not a burden.”
“You said you would come back.”
“Brandon, don't leave.”
“Alayna? I'm here. I'm here.”
“No. You are not.”
“Please don't be like this, Alayna.”
“Brandon, just tell me you won't leave!”
“Alayna, wake up! I'm here. It's Cassius.”