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 inevitably, we must grow

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PostSubject: inevitably, we must grow    Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:28 am



One of the many facts of the universe is that change is inevitable. Nothing will ever stay the same when time is a variable. We grow up, we move on, we become someone different than we used to be. Rowan Davenport knew this. She also knew that sometimes change needed to be hurried along by an impatient hand. She was impatient as they came.

With 7 of the 10 years in the legion under her belt, Rowan was ready to leave. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. It had been on her mind for the past six months, yet this was the first time she had ever acted upon it. Sure, she was supposed to give the legion three more years, yet she figured the legion might be better off without her in it. After all, she was a disgraced ex-centurion with authority issues.

It hadn’t always been like that. She used to be decorated and revered in camp. Then her life had fallen apart to the point where she was on her computer at three am googling whether it was possible to have a midlife crisis at 17. Now the only people she listened to were Sophia and her brother. She regularly skipped drills and prior engagements. She had become someone entirely different.

Now, back to the present. Rowan had woken up at four am and decided that she was done with a life of drills and preparing for fights that would never come. So, she packed a duffel bag with everything she wanted to bring with her, and set off for the camps border in new Rome. This wasn’t entirely a sudden decision. She had already gotten a job in New Rome and found an apartment to lease. She certainly wasn’t going back to her father’s manor where she would be immediately disowned and forced back into the legion. This was her own choice. This was her own life.

So there she stood in front of the gates to New Rome, with an inkling of doubt bubbling up in the back of her head. But things must change, and people must grow, and she was going to cross the border and never look back.


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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:17 pm

Christian being awake at 4:00 in the morning meant that he was up to something he shouldn't be, at least two out of three times. There was the occasional visit to Temple Hill and the occasional early gear check, which apparently Cohort Five was not a fan of. Today was business, which Christian almost never did with other Romans. But with Heath, he could remain anonymous and still get his painkillers when he didn't have time. Of course, it involved sneaking into New Rome in extremely early hours to collect from the dead-drop, but it was worth it. On the way back to camp, Christian spotted a figure, which was unsettling based on the hour.

It was a Davenport, which was a group that he wasn't so fond of, and was fairly certain the feeling mutual. Not because he thought Liam and Rowan Davenport liked him, but because he was certain Cohort Five was so irrelevant to them that they likely didn't even realize him and Corinne existed. If it was Liam Davenport, Christian wouldn't have bothered stopping him to receive a handful of snobby responses about how he 'is an officer of the first Cohort.' This wasn't Liam though, it was Rowan, who Christian hadn't even seen in months. She didn't attend Centurion meetings anymore, which made sense considering her demotion. Her replacement was rusty at best, and as much as Christian didn't like the Virgo family, he shared Sophia's clear sentiments on Rowan's replacement, Davis.

At least the Davenports spoke their minds, even if Christian didn't want to hear a word of it.

He couldn't deny that there was some curiosity brewing. Why was a Davenport breaking ranks? It was like seeing a rare phenomenon, surely ignoring it was the wrong choice. He knew Lauren would tell him to mind his own business and leave things like that alone. But Lennie would encourage him to investigate and do his job. She was holding a dufflebag, which was a shady sign, he supposed.

"It's hours before lights up." Christian approached her, he figured it was worth the conflict. "What are you doing out of your bunk? With a bag?" He asked.
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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:34 pm



Rowan stopped in her tracks, a different voice had overcome her thoughts. She turned her head and in the early morning light she recognized the person who was approaching her. The fact that he was continuing to approach her made her wary, and her hand slowly drifted to the knife strapped to her belt. She knew she shouldn’t have left her bow and arrows back at her cabin, yet maybe she wouldn’t be given trouble.

Six or seven months ago nobody would’ve questioned her walking around at this hour. It took her a second to remember she no longer had rank. She was just another legionnaire. Actually, she wasn’t even a legionnaire anymore either, she was just a person.

“Leaving.” Was all she said, hoping their exchange would be short and she could be on her way. Why was it even his business? “I could ask the same about you. Last I checked, centurions didn’t do rounds.” The last thing she wanted was to get dragged down to the praetors office, but she couldn’t help but mouth off.


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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:17 pm

Christian didn't say anything, not at first. He watched her hand slide down to her knife, and suddenly the whole situation changed from filling curiosity to something that could go wrong. Christian didn't want to keep anything to risk. Gods forbid he get stabbed and the legion has to get involved, he had just stocked up on his stash, and that meant a very bad ending for him. Attacking a senator wouldn't look so bad next to being addicted to narcotics.

"I get it, I'm just a filthy peasant among the men and women who wine and dine with the gods." Christian shot at her in a sarcastic tone. "But we have laws, and I don't think given your track records, that you could get away with stabbing me. Even if I did provoke it, and I don't think the senate would see me asking you what you're doing at this hour as provoking lethal force, you have a record for assault going. Your risk isn't worth your reward here." He wanted to talk her down, change how this could

"Put the knife on the ground. Talk to me. If you do that, I never saw you, you were never here. Can you do that?" He asked of her.
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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:13 pm



Rowan rolled her eyes at his sarcasm. She got it, she was rich and therefore was a snob. It wasn't her money, though, her father had made that perfectly clear. At this point, if he died tomorrow, she stood to inherit nothing. Not unless she "got her act together" and "fixed things".
So far she had done neither. Maybe her life would've been better if her father was one of those dads who rarely talked to their kids and wanted nothing to do with them.

"I only stab people who are threats," Rowan said. Yet she still took her knife off of her belt and threw it on the ground, far out of both of their reaches. She didn't need someone using her own weapon against her. She didn't mention her prior assault. She had intended to put that far behind her, for her own sake as well as others. That situation was different. This was just a nuisance.


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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:23 pm

"Well, I bet I'd seem like more of a threat if I was carrying a weapon on me, wouldn't I?" Christian leveled with her, it was a good point in his opinion. He slung his bag from his shoulder, and tossed it to the ground for good measure, where some brief rattles came out. "There's nothing in there, but if it makes you feel like we're equals, then it's worth it." He shrugged his shoulders. There was no point in being extra diplomatic to someone who learned all the same tactics he did.

"I know I don't have to tell you the kinds of trouble you can get in for being out here. Negligence, desertion, insubordination, you name it, they'll hit you with it just because they can." Christian said. "Even if you aren't scared of the punishment that is going to follow you, what about your people? You had a partner, right? What about everyone who needs you? Isn't that what all of this is about?" He mused to her. It didn't really matter if Rowan left. She wasn't Centurion, and yet, he was arguing with someone to stay.
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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:29 pm



Rowan could only laugh at his one point. "They'll be fine without me, trust me." Sophia was fine without her. She was more of a leader than Rowan ever could be. It was time for her to find her own path, to lead without support. "Besides, I already put in my resignation letter. What are they going to do? Kick me out of the legion again?" There was only one person that needed her right now, and she didn't need to be in the legion to help. In fact, being out of the legion meant she could help her in ways she couldn't before. She wasn't going to say that though. Keeping her out of this was her number one priority.

"Why do you even care?" She felt like it was worth asking. They had never really talked. He was always so preoccupied with his own crew. He couldn't have been that great of a centurion, after all, he managed to miss something big going on in his own cohort. "After all, aren't I just some rich girl who thinks I'm better than everyone else? Why waste your time on me?"


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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:46 pm

"Sure." Christian shrugged. "That is for sure the impression I get of you and your brother. Your Cohorts judge me and my Cohort, so I don't go out of my way to look at you guys in a glorious golden light." He let his feelings come out, without hesitation. Judgement from the Davenports and Virgos, among New Rome's other famous families, didn't bother him. "Feud between wealth classes aside, you're still one of us, whether I like you or hate you. We're stronger with you and you're stronger with us. How I feel about you doesn't change that you're a part of us. Aren't we worth saying 'goodbye' to instead of laughing at the thought?" He said.

"I know you didn't give your resignation letter last night, because I'd know about it now. You didn't want to face Sophia, is my guess, so you left it for her to see when she wakes up. Nothing is set in stone. We can walk back there, and I can get that letter without anyone knowing it ever existed. You can put your bag back and at least do this the right way." He said. "I mean, come on Rowan, how would you have felt if your partner left you?" He finished.

"Look, I know I don't know the full story. No one leaves for no reason." He told her. "But it can't be bad enough to chase you out. It can't be." He finished his speech to her. It wasn't flashy, but it was his duty.
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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:08 pm



"You're right." Rowan turned to him, dropping her bag at her feet. "You don't know the full story. You don't know me. I didn't choose to give up my rank as a centurion, but it was what I had to do. In the end, it was a job. In the end, this" She gestured to the rest of camp, "is just a camp. It's not a life. It's not worth hanging around somewhere I don't want to be. This is my choice. Maybe I'll regret it tomorrow, or a year from now, but it will still be my choice, not anyone else's." Her voice rose louder, and louder, "I'm done with being here and being reminded of every bad decision I've made over the past six months. But I don't regret any of them. Not even trying to stab Nick Waterford while everybody watched. It was my decision and I stand by it. Just like I stand by my decision to leave." She was sick and tired of people making decisions for her. Her dad, the Senate, everyone who thought they had a say in her own life, everyone who had taken her choices away from her. Yes, she was angry. She was pissed. Maybe it was because she had bottled it up inside herself for years.

She sort of felt bad for taking it out on some poor kid who happened to catch her leaving. But it felt cathartic to yell, for the first time in months she felt like she was able to express her feelings. Before that, it was just a constant state of depression and frustration.


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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:04 pm

"I get it." Christian said. "I know the standards, the pushing, the stress. Whatever it is that you're getting away from, finishing, or even starting; you're doing this for yourself." Christian spoke calmly. He didn't imply that she was a selfish person, but he desired to convey to her that this choice wasn't made in the interest of others. "You're doing this for you, and others will pay the price. Maybe you don't deserve to have to pay it for them, but that's what we do. That's who we are." He finished.

"I want you to stay." Christian said, but he knew his words were what they were; some stranger from a different world requesting something she'd decided against days ago. "I want you to stay and be with us, and we can solve this together." He told her, before he stepped back, and grabbed his bag off of the dirt. He stepped aside, leaving her to gather her belongings. "But no matter what you do, you weren't here and I didn't see you." He was pretty sure she would still leave; it took a lot to change a Centurion's mind most times, Christian was all too painfully aware.
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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:32 pm



Rowan listened to him, and for a minute she wasn't so dead set on leaving. Maybe there was another option. Maybe somehow she could make things right again. It didn't mean getting her centurion spot back, there was no way she could reclaim it anyways, but maybe fixing something broken inside of Camp Jupiter. Maybe making the camp safer for others. Maybe helping those who have been hurt. Speaking of which.

"Alyssa Novic. Does the name sound familiar to you?" It should since she was one of his legionnaires. Rowan had met Alyssa eight months ago, before that she had no clue who she was. She wasn't one of the camps rising stars and probably wouldn't make rank, but she was kind and caring and she was still somebody. This camp was always so focused on the lives of those who ran it, sometimes it was easy to overlook a somebody. Maybe if they all, herself included, had noticed some changes, things would be better.


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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:30 pm

Christian had expected for her to walk away, and if she didn't and decided to listen to him, he expected silence. For a moment, there was silence, and then suddenly a name came out of left field. Christian's head tilted, a response came from the girl that Christian wouldn't have guessed in a thousand attempts. He looked over and around him, there was nearly a creeping feeling that snuck up on him as the subject came into place.

"Yeah, she's one of mine and Corinne's." Christian answered, he tried to be patient, but when a subject moved from Cohort 2 to Cohort 5, Christian would always feel the overprotective pull on the conversation. He wanted to let her say what she was going to say, but Christian didn't find it in him to wait. "You don't strike me as the type of person she usually spends time with." He began overthinking things quickly. "Did something happen to her, is she part of why you're leaving?" He asked. A well of worry and concern opened within him. Was it possible one of his people did something bad? Or even worse, something bad happened to them?
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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:58 pm



"You'd be surprised, we're more alike than you think," Rowan said. Its true, in a different world, they probably wouldn't have known each other. Especially with this sort of punk thing Alyssa had going on these days. But Rowan was the one that held the scissors when Alyssa wanted to cut her hair. She had accidentally stained her hands green when Alyssa had bought the box of hair dye. When Rowan was ditching drills, she was with Alyssa, trying to talk her off a cliff. Maybe she was going through her own crisis, but so was Alyssa. It occurred to her that maybe she needed to be there when Alyssa needed help.

Before she could stop herself, she found herself saying, "You said you wanted to solve this." She saw for a moment, an opportunity. The chance to set things right once and for all. Just because nobody was getting hurt now didn't mean it could happen in the future. If she fixed things maybe she would hurt less.


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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:49 pm

The cryptic nature drove Christian crazy. It was something people did that annoyed him in general. But now this girl had dropped a puzzle in front of him, gave him half the pieces, and had essentially told him it might be very important to solve the puzzle. "Yes." Christian replied without hesitancy. "If there's something here to fix, then yeah, I'm in, especially if it involves Alyssa." Christian made his intentions clear. He got a good idea that a lot of things were connected, but it wasn't enough to make any logical guesses.

"But I need to know what 'this' is exactly." Christian leveled with her. "I don't know who's involved, or what's going on. I just saw you coming by, and I-" Christian cut himself off, he was losing sight of what was important. "Rowan." Christian started over. "Is Alyssa okay?" He'd taken a step forward and locked eyes with her. He needed her to understand how important this was to her.
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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:27 pm



"No." Rowan said simply, she ran her hands through her hair. She wasn't sure how much she should even say. Besides, she barely knew Christian. She couldn't even go to her brother or Sophia about this and here she was at 4am about to spill everything to someone she barely knew. But there was a reason why she didn't tell Liam or Sophia, because they'd get too blindsided by the details and miss the big picture. She had done that herself and look where she ended up. She needed someone objective, and although he wasn't perfect he was willing to help.

She looked Christian in the eye and took a breath. "Nick Waterford used to be the second cohort centurion. I was his replacement. He had a habit of doing one on one training with some of his legionnaires at the time, particularly girls who were eager to please. When he became a senator I thought those days were behind him but six months ago I found out he'd been offering to help people with power control." She didn't say anything else. This was the first time she said this stuff out loud. It felt weird to finally say it. This wasn't how she imagined it going at all. She thought she'd feel better after she told someone, but she didn't. She just felt anxiety about what he was going to say and what was going to happen next.


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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:59 pm

Christian's eyes slanted in as he tried to comprehend what he was being told. "What?" He asked, disbelief filled his very being, until every grain of him was filled with it. His emotions quickly changed from disbelief, he didn't even bother wondering if Rowan was lying. All of the pieces lined up perfectly. She attacks Waterford almost the exact time Alyssa starts to change everything about her style. Christian felt guilt and sadness that he nodded it off that it was just a style change out of trends or boredom instead of seeing it for what it was. He wanted to run back to New Rome, to tell her that things could get better.

Another part of him felt rage and anger, as if all the rage in the world had sunken into him alone. He suddenly understood why Rowan tried to kill a senator in broad daylight. He wished she succeeded. He felt the urge and desire to steal Rowan's knife from her, and run to New Rome, finishing the job with the tool it had all started with. But he knew none of these things were plausible. He couldn't violate Alyssa's privacy, not without doing it the right way. And he certainly couldn't kill a senator. Even if he could it wouldn't be right.

It was a dumb effort, and Christian knew it. "No..." He managed to get out. There was nothing in the world he wanted more than to be told it was some twisted joke. But there was no misunderstanding with what Rowan had said. It was crystal clear. "I have to go talk to her, this needs to be fought, Rowan." Amid his mixed up emotions, he knew that Alyssa didn't want to fight it, otherwise she would have, long ago. "Did he threaten her?" He asked.
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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:00 pm



"Calm down," Rowan hissed, "before you go all kamikaze on his ass and assassinate him in his sleep." While it might've solved the problem, she didn't need to go to jail for being an accessory. If she was going to jail it was going to be because she was holding the dagger. Unfortunately, her last attempt to do just that hadn't played out as well as she had hoped. She had to admire his fire though, it was comforting to know that she didn't have to be entirely alone in this. After always expecting to hear the worst, it was nice to have someone on her side. Unfortunately, she knew not everybody was like that.

"First of all, yes, he did threaten her. He threatened me too. If either of us said anything about what he did, he would make sure that nothing happened to him and that we were ruined." That's the word he used, ruined. Not disgraced, not condemned, ruined. The way he said it was like he was talking to his sweetheart. As if he were reciting a love poem written with poison. Just the thought of his voice made her sick to her stomach, like the time he had convinced her to drink so much merlot she had spent the rest of the night in the bathroom. She couldn't stand the taste of wine anymore.

"There's no proof." She said simply, "It's our words against his. No judge will believe us. No jury will convict. Alyssa knows that. Can you imagine it, knowing that he's walking around out there, free to charm and have his way with another innocent girl? That is why you will not corner her, or press her to talk if she doesn't want to. She hasn't lived with it long enough to be able to talk about her experiences freely. She hasn't had years to come to terms with it like-" she cut herself off there before she could add like i did. Instead, she took a breath.

"We have to be delicate. She's come a long way, but she's nowhere near being able to cope with it."


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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:38 pm

"Do you assume everyone is a brute, or is it just us lowly poor folk?" Christian asked her. He felt frustration wash over him like boiling hot water. There was a shameful sense of failure he felt, because no matter what he did from this moment forward, he couldn't save Alyssa from what she had already endured. It was one of the worst feelings Christian had ever felt. But only a split moment after he'd snapped at Rowan he let out a deep sigh and looked up to the former Centurion.

"Look, I'm sorry, I know that wasn't called for. I'm just angry, okay? I can't go back in time and stop it, and I'd give anything to be able to." He told Rowan. "Corinne and I do everything we can for Cohort Five to be like family, and I promise that Alyssa will not be treated with anything but patience, respect, and delicacy." He promised. "But I need you to help me figure this out. Because we need to end this, I know you know that. Every day that passes is bad." Christian told her.

"You said he used to do this before he was a senator." Christian didn't know how to ask about things this dark, it wasn't in his nature, he thought New Rome had been far better. "You said you thought he was finished when he was a senator, and just found out he was at it again." Christian took care to be gentle. He needed to know how deep this was. "Rowan, were you...?"
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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:15 pm



Rowan fell silent, a tightness in her chest growing. An anxiety that she never knew was there. She hated that after all these years he could still make her feel this way. Her face softened from anger to something else. A bitter sadness that she hadn't felt in a long time. She knew she'd have to tell somebody at some point. Her eyes drifted towards the eastern horizon where the light of a new day was slowly building, blanketing the sky in soft hues of pink and blue. How symbolic.

"Yes." She said simply. Her voice was calm, refusing to waver despite the fact that she was on her beams end. She refused to elaborate, she didn't even know if she could. She had spent years trying to forget that time, and now she found it hard to remember it. Though some moments, try as she may, never went away. She didn't want to talk about those.

"I could've stopped it then," She said, "If I had said something. But I didn't. I was afraid if I spoke up it would cost me my centurion spot. I could've prevented all of this from happening. I could've prevented Alyssa from going through what I went through. I am fully aware that part of this is my fault."


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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:58 pm

Christian knew before she spoke that it was the truth, but he hoped so heavily that maybe she would say something that would change reality, that somehow she hadn't fallen victim to it. Christian nearly felt a sense of defeat fall on him like an anvil from a tower. Christian could feel the fire in him begin to lose its embers. Rage and anger wouldn't stop Nick Waterford. "Dammit..." Christian muttered. He had to process it all, and yet it seemed like every moment he took to process it was a moment New Rome had a senator that could be manipulating someone else. A new victim. It needed to end long ago, and every passing moment was a moment long overdue.

"That's bullshit, that even one single atom of any of this is your fault." Christian made his claim firmly and hard. "It isn't your fault, it isn't her fault, it isn't the first victim's fault or the last. It's him, and him alone." He declared. Christian took a deep breath, sitting around and thinking about it wasn't helping anybody. "I need to go talk to Alyssa. I hope you understand that." He was gentle with Rowan. He didn't think she needed it, but she certainly deserved it. "I don't think you should leave us. I want you to stay, and make him watch how much better you are than him. But I get it. It's you choice." He accepted that he couldn't change the past. It was time to focus on what he could change.

"Is there anything you need from me before I go? Anything. You're welcome to come with." He offered.
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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:18 pm



Rowan thought for a moment. After all of this, she had forgotten why she was on this hill in the early hours of the morning. For a second she felt a glimmer of hope. Maybe change was right around the corner, if she just tried again. Now the camp didn't seem so bad.

Rowan looked at Christian. Although she didn't want to put this burden on Alyssa, she knew it was for the right reasons. That also meant she had to be there, to make sure there was a friendly face through all of it. She wanted Alyssa to have the support she never had. She didn't know where she'd be if she had someone by her side back then, but she was sure that it would be somewhere better than she was now. Alyssa was important to her, she didn't want to see her falling into the same place that she had.

"I'll come with you," Rowan said, "but shouldn't we wait till it's not 4 in the morning?"


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PostSubject: Re: inevitably, we must grow    Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:16 pm

Christian shrugged to her question. "No." He answered simply. "We've all had to do early morning surprise drills, she'll be okay." He spoke to her in a matter of fact tone, but took care to take the gravity of the situation as seriously as it deserved to be. "The sooner we do this, the better. And with no one awake to see it happen, there's not even a spec of a chance rumors will spread. We should start this now, so we can end it sooner." Christian gestured his head.

"Let's go." He told her.
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