Chapter no 34

The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games, 2)

made it outside to Libby and found Nash already there. “Hey now, darlin’,” he murmured. “Come back inside. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

Libby lifted her head up and looked past him to me. “Sorry, Ave. When I saw her go down, I went on autopilot.” Before our lives had gotten turned upside down, Libby had been an orderly at a nursing home. She grimaced. “This is exactly what Alisa meant when she told me not to cause a scene tonight.”

“She told you what now?” Nash said, his voice low and dangerous. Libby shrugged.

“You had no way of knowing that Rebecca’s mom was going to explode like that,” I told Libby, then I cut a glance toward Nash, who sighed.

“She’s the Laughlins’ daughter. Grew up on the estate. It was before my time—she’s got about fifteen years on Skye. From what I’ve gathered, the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. L and their daughter has always been a bit tense. After they lost Emily…” Nash shook his head. “She blamed my family.”

Both Jameson and Grayson had been there the night Emily died.

“She said all her babies die,” I murmured. Belatedly, I processed the fact that she’d been looking right at Rebecca—her living daughter—when she’d said it.

“Miscarriages.” Nash said quietly. “She and her husband were older when they started trying for kids. Mrs. Laughlin mentioned once that they’d lost multiple babies before they had Emily.”

If I thought about any of this for too long, I was going to start feeling even sorrier for Rebecca Laughlin. “Are you okay?” I asked Libby instead.

She nodded and looked toward Nash. “Could you give us a minute?”

With one last look at my sister, Nash sauntered off, and Libby turned back to me. “Avery, what did you say to Dad earlier?”

I wasn’t going to have this conversation with her. “Nothing.”

“I get it,” Libby told me. “You hate him, and you have every right to.

And, yes, the thing with Skye is kind of weird, but—”

“Weird,” I repeated. “Libby, she tried to have me killed!” It took me a full three seconds to realize what I’d done.

Libby stared at me. “What? When?” Libby knew Skye moved out—but she didn’t know why. “Have you told the police?” she demanded.

“It’s complicated,” I hedged. I was trying to figure out how to explain my promise to Grayson, but Libby didn’t give me more than a second.

“And I’m not,” she said quietly, her chin jutting out. At first, I wasn’t sure what she was saying. “What?”

“I’m not complicated,” Libby clarified. “That’s what you think. It’s what you’ve always thought. I’m too optimistic and too trusting. I never went to college. I don’t think the way you think. I give people too many chances. I’m naive—”

“Where is this coming from?” I asked.

Blue hair fell into Libby’s face as she looked down. “Forget it,” she said. “I signed the emancipation papers. Pretty soon, you officially won’t have to listen to me. Or Dad. Or anyone.” Her voice caught. “That’s what you want, right?”

I hadn’t asked to be emancipated. That was all Alisa, but I recognized that it was probably the right move. “Lib, it’s not like that.” Before I could say anything else, my phone rang.

It was Jameson.

I looked back up from the screen to Libby. “I have to take this,” I told her. “But…”

Libby just shook her head. “You do what you have to do, Ave—and I’ll try not to cause any more scenes.”

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