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Page 1 Prologue Surry County, Virginia I was bored. Kyle Ramsey was kicking the ago of my chair to acquire my attention, but he’d been kicking my ideal friend’s, Dru, chair yesterday and also I didn’t want to upset her. She had a substantial crush on Kyle. Instead, I watched her as she sat beside me illustration a million tiny love hearts in the corner of her notebook as Mr. Evans scribbled an additional equation on the board. I really must have been paying attention because I sucked at math. Mom and also dad wouldn’t be happy through me if I failed a course the first semester right into freshmale year. “Mr. Ramsey, would certainly you care to come up to the board and answer this question, or would certainly you like to remain behind Jocelyn so you deserve to kick her chair some more?” The course tittered and Dru swarm me an accmaking use of look. I grimaced and also shot Mr. Evan’s a pointed glare. “I’ll stay here, if that’s okay, Mr. Evans,” Kyle replied via impudent swagger. I rolled my eyes, refmaking use of to rotate around also though I could feel the heat of his gaze on the earlier of my neck. “That was actually a rhetorical question, Kyle. Get up here. ” A knock at the door put a halt to Kyle’s groan of acquiescence. At the sight of our primary, Ms. Shaw, the totality class grew still. What was the major doing in our class? That might just signal trouble. “Whoa,” Dru muttered under her breath and also I looked at her, frowning. She nodded at the doormethod. “Cops. ” Shocked, I turned to look back at the door as Ms. Shaw murmured somepoint quietly to Mr. Evans, and also certain enough, via the gap in the door, I could see two deputies waiting out in the hall. “Miss Butler. ” Ms. Shaw’s voice snapped my gaze earlier to her in surpincrease. She took a action towards me and I felt my heart leap right into my throat. Her eyes were wary, sympathetic, and also I immediately wanted to back amethod from her and also whatever before it was she was below to tell me. “Can you come via me, please? Grab your things. ” This was typically the component wright here the course would certainly ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ around just how much trouble I was in. But favor me, they sensed that wasn’t what this was around. Whatever news was out in that hall, they weren’t going to tease me about it. “Miss Butler?” I was shaking now from a spike of adrenaline and also I could badepend hear anypoint over the sound of my own blood rushing in my ears. Had somepoint taken place to mom? Or dad? Or my baby sister, Beth? My parents had taken some time off job-related this week together to de-tension from what had been a crazy summer. They were supposed to be taking Beth out now for a picnic. “Joss. ” Dru nudged me, and also as quickly as her elbow touched my arm, I shot ago from the table, my chair screaming across the wooden floor. Without looking at anyone, I fumbled with my bag, swiping whatever off my desk and also right into it. The whispers had actually started hissing around the room favor cold wind through a crack in a windowpane. In spite of not wanting to understand what was ahead of me, I really wanted out of that room. Somejust how remembering exactly how to put one foot in front of the other, I adhered to the major out right into the hall and listened to Mr. Evan’s door snick shut behind me. I didn’t say anypoint. I just looked at Ms. Shaw and then at the two deputies who stared at me via a distant compassion. Standing close to the wall was a womale I hadn’t noticed previously. She looked grave yet calm. Ms. Shaw touched my arm and also I looked dvery own at her hand also relaxing on my sweater. I hadn’t spoken 2 words to the primary prior to, and also currently she was poignant my arm? “Jocelyn… this is Deputy Wilkid and also Michaels. And this is Alicia Nugent from the DSS. ” I looked at her questioningly. Ms. Shaw blanched. “The Department of Social Services. ” Fear gripped a hold of my chest and I fought to breathe. “Jocelyn,” the primary continued. “I am so sorry to need to tell you this… yet your parental fees and sister, Elizabeth, were in a auto accident. ” I waited, feeling my chest tighten. “They were all eliminated instantly, Jocelyn. I’m so sorry. ” The woman from the DSS stepped towards me and also began speaking. I looked at her, yet all I might see were the colors that she was made up of. All I can hear was the muffled sound of her talking, prefer someone was running tap water alongside her. I couldn’t breathe. Panicking, I got to for somepoint, anypoint to help me breathe. I felt hands on me. Calm, murmuring words. Wetness on my cheeks. Salt on my tongue. And my heart… it felt favor it was going to explode it was racing so difficult. I was dying. “Breathe, Jocelyn. ” Those words were sassist in my ear over and also over again until I focused enough to concentprice on simply breathing in and also out. After a while, my pulse slowed and also my lungs opened up up. The spots across my vision began to disappear. “That’s it,” Ms. Shaw was whispering, a warm hand rubbing soopoint circles on my back. “That’s it. ” “We must gain going,” the DSS woman’s voice broke via my fog. “Okay. Jocelyn, are you ready?” Ms. Shaw asked quietly. “They’re dead,” I answered, needing to feel how the words felt. It couldn’t be actual. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. ” Cold sweat burst on my skin, my palms, under my arms, across the nape of my neck. Goosebumps increased up anywhere and I couldn’t sheight shaking. A rush of dizziness swayed me to the left and without warning, vomit surged up from my churning gut. I bent over, losing my breakfast everywhere the DSS lady’s shoes. “She’s in shock. ” Was I? Or was it take a trip sickness? One minute I had actually been sitting back tright here. Tright here, wbelow it was heat and also safe. And in a matter of seconds, in the crunch of metal… … I was somearea else completely. ~1~ Scotland also Eight years later… It was a beautiful day to find a brand-new house. And a new roommate. I stepped out of the damp, old stairwell of my Georgian apartment structure to a stunningly warm day in Edinburgh. I glanced down at the cute, white and green striped denim shorts I’d purchased a few weeks back from Topshop. It had been raining non-stop because then and I’d despaired of ever before acquiring to wear them. But the sunlight was out; peeking over the height of the cornered tower of the Bruntsarea Evangelical Church, burning ameans my melancholy and also offering me earlier a little little bit of hope. For someone that had actually packed up her entire life in the US and taken off for her motherland also as soon as she was only eighteen years old, I wasn’t really great through adjust. Not anymore anyway. I’d obtained offered to my expensive apartment through its never-ending mice difficulty. I missed my finest frifinish, Rhian, that I’d lived via since freshman year at the College of Edinburgh. We’d met in the dorms and hit it off. We were both exceptionally exclusive human being and also were comfortable roughly one an additional for the mere reality that we never before pushed each various other to talk about the past. We’d stuck pretty cshed to each various other freshguy year and decided to gain an apartment (or ‘flat’ as Rhian dubbed it) in second year. Now that we were graduates, Rhian had left for London to begin her PhD and also I was left roommate-much less. The icing on the cake was the loss of my other closest friend right here, James, Rhian’s boyfrifinish. He’d run off to London (a area he detested I could add) to be through her. And the cherry on top? My landlord was gaining a divorce and also essential the apartment ago. I’d spent the last two weeks answering ads from young women searching for a female roommate. It had been a bust so much. One girl didn’t desire to room via an Amerideserve to. Cue my ‘what the fuck?’ face. Three of the apartments were just… nasty. I’m pretty sure one girl was a crack dealer, and also the last girl’s apartment sounded prefer it obtained more usage than a brothel. I was really hoping my appointment today through Ellie Carmichael was going to go my method. It was the a lot of expensive apartment I’d schedubrought about check out and it was on the various other side of the city facility. I was frugal once it pertained to poignant my inheritance, as if that would certainly somehow lessen the bitterness of my ‘good’ fortune. However before, I was obtaining despeprice. If I wanted to be a writer, I essential the best apartment and also the ideal roommate. Living alone of course was an choice. I could afford it. However, the God’s hocolony truth was that I didn’t like the concept of finish solitude. Despite my tendency to save eighty percent of myself to myself, I preferred being surrounded by people. When they talked to me around things I didn’t understand also personally, it allowed me to see things from their allude of check out, and I believed all the ideal writers required a large open scope of perspective. Regardless of not needing to, I functioned at a bar on George Street on Thursday and Friday nights. The old cliché was true: bartenders overhear all the finest stories. I was friends via two of my colleagues, Jo and also Craig, yet we only really ‘hung out’ once we were working. If I wanted a little life approximately me, I required to get a roommate. On the plus, this apartment was mere roads ameans from my job. As I tried to shove down the anxiety of finding a brand-new area, I additionally maintained my eye open up for a cab with its light on. I eyed the ice cream parlor, wishing I had time to sheight and indulge, and nearly missed the cab coming towards me on the opposite side of the street. Throwing my hand also out and also checking my side for traffic, I was gratified that the driver had checked out me and also pulled as much as the curb. I tore throughout the wide road, managing not to obtain squaburned like a green and white bug against some bad person’s windshield, and also rushed towards the cab through a single-minded determicountry to grab the door take care of. Instead of the door manage, I grabbed a hand also. Bemused, I followed the masculine, tan hand also up a long arm to broad shoulders and to a face obscured by the sunlight beaming dvery own behind his head. Tall, over six feet, the male towered above me as most tall civilization did. I was a smallish five foot five. Wondering why this male had his hand on my cab, all I really took in was the suit. A sigh escaped from his shadowed face. “Which way are you headed?” he asked me in a rumbling, gravelly voice. Four years I’d been living here and still a smooth, Scots accent might sfinish a shiver down my spine. And his absolutely did, despite the terse question.
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“Dublin Street,” I answered automatically, hoping I had actually a much longer distance to travel so he’d offer me the cab.