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that the face you so desperately want to find

is no longer mine.

Oh, your world is so fragile.

All that you love and call your own

is dead and gone,

washed away by the flood.

But you still see the angel

as if she was flesh and blood...

It doesn't mean I'm leaving him, Vikki Meyers told herself again, hoisting the tote bag up on her shoulder more securely as she followed a line of people up the boarding ramp to the plane. She'd never been in an airplane before. No urge compelled her to look back at all she was leaving behind her, yet her chest felt strangely expanded. Until she stowed her bag over the seat, she wasn't aware of holding her breath. In her seat near the window, she exhaled deeply, feeling like it'd been years since the air was so clear and clean. I can breathe again.

How could a person go through five years of her life without knowing she was suffocating? Until yesterday morning, Vikki had never felt such a desperate need to escape everything her life had become. That one phone call hadn't been much different from any other she'd received from her foster sister since Mallory had moved to Los Angeles following high school graduation. Yet that call became all the incentive Vikki had needed to create an elaborate fabrication to convince her fiancé to let her go.

The worst part was facing that yesterday hadn't been the first time she'd lied to Bryan. It was simply the first time she'd done it deliberately. When she thought now of how calculated her plan had been, how persuasively unwavering she'd played the part...She had to wonder if she knew herself any better than Bryan did. She hadn't been his sweet, submissive, loving Vikki yesterday. The independence was inappropriately sensual, and she shivered as breathtaking power rippled beneath her skin.

It doesn't mean I'm leaving him, she repeated firmly again. I'm just...getting my priorities in line. Just visiting my sister indefinitely. Nothing wrong with that.

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