Approaching Phoenix

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Chapter 7

“Michael, please I can’t survive another night of this. I have three choices. Let this rip through me until there is nothing left, have you watch me die in agony at the hands of Marcus, or you can take this all away. That is what I want you to do, and I would rather you take my agony away than die from it. Please Michael if you love me you would take my pain away.” I pleaded with Michael in another endless night of Marcus’ spell tearing apart my body.

“I love you, and I will take the pain away.” Michael placed his lips against my forehead as the torture I had felt for most of the night slowly disappeared, “And it is because I love you that I will not take your life.”

My fingers found their way to Michael’s hair. It felt like silk running through my fingers as I became lost in his green eyes. “Say it again.”

Tears fell from my eyes as I heard his words, “I love you.”

I closed my eyes and asked, “Again.”

“What?” The voice was concerned and unfamiliar.

“Michael?” I was afraid to open my eyes again for fear that he was gone. Slowly everything started coming back, and I wanted nothing more than to find myself back in my dream. My tears of joy from hearing the first time Michael had told me that he loved me turned into tears of sadness knowing that it wasn’t true. He could never love me, and it would cause such pain and fear to look upon him again.

I turned over in the bed refusing to open my eyes to see where I was now. I still couldn’t place a face or name with the voice that I heard, and at this moment I didn’t care to. Their words continued to flow. I wasn’t sure if they were talking to me or someone else, but I didn’t listen. I tried harder to push myself back into the world were Michael and I could love each other.

My attempt worked as I heard his voice, “Her mother swore that Marc was going to take her power. You of all people understand why I won’t let that happen.”

My heart collapsed into my chest when I realized that he was here in the room with me. I turned over again that I was not so near to his voice.

“Mike, he is not after her power, and someone is making sure that neither of you can.” Both Blyth and Michael seemed to ignore the fact that I had finally woken up.

“What are you talking about, making sure that we can’t touch her?” Michael seemed just as confused as I was now.

The room fell silent for only a few moments. I was about to face them to see what was happening, but the fear struck through me of seeing his face that I stayed exactly as I was.

“No.” Michael whispered.

“First I thought it was an attempt against me, but now it is obvious. At least you can ease your mind knowing that Marcus couldn’t take her power as bad as he might have wanted it.” Finally, I might get some answers from Blyth.

“Who did it?”

“The only other person that would know about this would have to come back to the grave, but she did hate,” Blyth’s words separated and disappeared while he thought it seemed. Before he answered he sat down on the edge of the bed. “She would always take away whatever you two fought over.”

“That is impossible.” Michael refused whatever Blyth was trying to tell him, and I was now completely lost in their conversation.

“Hell, there for a day I thought she had come back and possessed her.” Blyth nearly started laughing.

“Sir, you know that the dead don’t come back, and their souls cannot possess anything. You should send her home. She is driving you mad I fear.” Michael’s voice seemed concerned, and I completely understood why if Blyth was thinking that I was possessed by a dead woman.

“I may sound mad, but I have no other explanations other than the fact that she is protecting her from the likes of you two barbarians fighting over her like a piece of meat.” Blyth’s laugh faded into seriousness as he sent his fist plummeting into the bed beside me. My body stiffened from the sudden movement.

Michael’s voice lightened and snickered as he spoke, “Or she sent her here to torture you, and I must say it seems to be working.”

“Who are you talking about?” I finally gathered enough courage to speak out, but I refused to turn over to look at Michael.

“Ah,” Michael started but Blyth cut him off.

“Shut your mouth,” I nearly swung around thinking that Blyth was talking to me, but his tone changed as his voice now directed itself to me, “I got some lunch if you want it.”

The sound of food made my stomach ache. The awful feeling that I had in the diner ate through my stomach so it didn’t take me long to sit up, “Where?”

“Let me get it for you.” The bed let up as Blyth stood. “How are you feeling?”

“Hungry.” My eyes opened finally to find that I was in Blyth’s room again. I wondered how Michael was here on the grounds, but as Blyth held out the bowl of soup for me I realized how. Brown eyes fell into mine and I knew right then that his barrier was down allowing Michael to come through. I know it had to do with whatever Blyth was saying earlier about someone making sure that they couldn’t take my power, but I still didn’t understand it completely yet. “How long have I been out?”

“Near three days now.” Blyth carefully moved my hair from in front of my eyes. “After you are done eating I got some fresh clothes for you in the bathroom.”

“Thank you.”

I lowered my eyes from Blyth hoping to catch a glimpse of Michael, but he was so far behind me that it was useless, “Don’t worry about him. Just eat.”

Suddenly there was a rattling coming from where Michael was sitting. I caught myself before I turned around to see what it was. Blyth held up his hand as he caught a tiny bottle being tossed to him. He handed to me, “These are for the infection. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“What infection?” I stared at the bottle of antibiotics prescribed by Dr. Michael Baine. “What are you talking about?”

“If you would have told me that you were bitten, we could have taken care of it, but I didn’t realize until it had already become infected.” Blyth nodded towards my legs which were covered by a blanket now. “Let’s just hope that these will cure the infection and take away everything radiating through your veins.”

“It…” Michael started.

Blyth held up his hand causing Michael to stop, “Michael, I said shut your mouth.”

Shock poured through me that someone would speak to Michael like that and he obeyed without objection. Around Blyth he seemed to be completely different than I remembered. Blyth had said that Michael respected him because it was deserved. What would cause Michael to obey him like this? “You are just going to let him talk to you like that?”

Silence fell in the room until Blyth started laughing. I looked up at him as he started talking, “He isn’t like you Ash. He knows the limits that he can push, and I am not one of them.”

Blyth was assuming his role as a controlling arrogant superior being again. Quickly the look on his face changed after studying mine. He knew that I wouldn’t stand for it in anyway towards me, and it would seem that I had power over him now. Now respect was demanded in my honor because I was technically more powerful.

“You didn’t lose any of your viciousness while you slept.” Blyth smiled down on me and turned away, “Well, Mike I guess you have permission to speak because I won’t upset her anymore at least not in this state.”

“As I said, are you sure she isn’t here to torture you?” Michael snickered at Blyth having very little control at the moment.

“What would you have me do? She nearly took my head off with a desk, and that was while I had my powers. Now I have nothing to defend myself with if she loses her temper.” I watched Blyth looking at Michael as he spoke walking over to the desk. Once he sat down his smile returned, “Well, I could just stand behind you if things should go awry.”

“Thank you for such kindness, Sir.” Michael’s voice lost its enthusiasm.

I stared at the bowl of soup pushing the hunger from me. “Why do you hate him so? He has shown you nothing but respect. Yet, you allow Marcus teach to here, let alone throw lamps at you.”

“And if you remember correctly it is because of that reason that Marcus is no longer allowed at this school.” Blyth leaned back in his seat kicking his feet up on the corner of his desk. His eyes looked fiercely at Michael, “As for Michael, I don’t hate him. I abhor him for taking away the last person that I could ever care for. A nice clean cut through the heart. Sounds familiar doesn’t it, Ash?”

The bowl shook uncontrollably in my hands. I knew what Michael was, and what he did for a living. I never thought that it would ever touch me in such a way that has now. With the way that Blyth spoke it would seem that he would no doubt seek the same ending that Marcus did only because Michael had done the same to him. I don’t know anyone else who would chose a different path if one was so plainly laid out in front of them like Marcus had done for Blyth to help him with.

Blyth’s hands pulled the bowl out of mine. My hands still trembled as the sickness inside filled me. I swallowed hard to keep everything down, and I pulled my legs up to my chest hoping it would help keep the chill from radiating through me.

“Ash, you need to eat something.” Blyth lifted my chin bringing my eyes into his again. It reminded me of when we were in the diner, but they were now brown containing no magic at all. “Here is some bread.”

I took it trying to remember the piece of apple pie that he had gotten me to eat. Slowly I brought it to my mouth taking the smallest bite that I could.

“What is wrong with her?” Michael asked.

“Keep eating.” Blyth placed his hand on my cheek encouraging me, but his eyes went to Michael behind me as he spoke again, “A little paranoia and a severe upset stomach.”

“Oh, I see. If you knew the side effects why in the world would you smoke around her again?” Michael’s voice somehow seemed to ease the pain in my stomach more than the small pieces of bread.

“Honestly, I didn’t think she would have woken up for at least a day or more. She has more than five months before she turns.” I closed my eyes as Blyth slowly massaged my temples with his finger tips. “She should have never been able to pick up that desk let alone throw it at me.”

“Let me guess, you were smoking then too?” Michael laughed slightly.

“Keep eating,” Blyth urged me, and then turned his attention back to Michael, “No. She did that on her own.”

“You must have really pissed her off then.” Michael didn’t laugh slightly now. He let it out completely.

“Guess I must have,” Blyth pulled his hands from my face, and let his brown eyes dig into mine, “Feel better?”

I nodded. I did feel a lot better now. The pain in my stomach was completely gone, but fearing that Blyth was still trying to help Marcus didn’t go away like I had hoped. “Why is Michael here?”

“Now that is a good question.” Blyth’s attention went to Michael now as he stood up and walked away from me, “Why don’t you answer that one.”

I turned my head slightly careful enough not let my eyes fall on him, but just enough to hear everything that he would say. I heard Blyth’s voice instead of Michael’s though, “You can look at him now without pain. Well, the pain that my spell would have caused.”

I shook my head because it was like Blyth had said, I would still have pain looking at Michael.

“I came here to take you.”

My hands clutched the blanket for fear that Marcus had pushed him further, “Why?”

Michael was quiet for some time until I noticed Blyth nodding, no doubt telling him to answer, “His barrier came down, and I could no longer call you. Knowing that Marc can come and go here as he pleases caused me some concern that something happened to both of you.”

Blyth scoffed, “Did you hear that, he actually doubted me. He thought that Marcus could get past me. In the same sense he doubted you as well. Now Mike, if she openly defies me, why would she fear Marcus?”

Michael grew quiet again as I searched Blyth’s eyes staring at Michael for answers. It was Blyth himself that said that I feared Marcus. I didn’t believe him, but why would he say such things to Michael if he didn’t believe them as well. He was right though, if I didn’t fear him like everyone else, including Michael himself, why would I fear Marcus. I would do more than just throw a desk at Marcus though.

“Michael!” Blyth loud voice cried out causing me to jump and grip the blanket tighter. “What are you doing?”

For fear of what Michael was doing I turned around completely looking upon Michael backed into the corner with his head lowered. I was shocked to find that instead of his beautiful white hair light brown was falling down over his eyes. The sunlight coming through the windows made it shine as though it was gold itself. I watched patiently waiting for him to open his eyes to make sure that they would still be the green emeralds that I remembered. He slowly raised his hand, “Wait. I can feel him.”

“What?” It was Blyth’s voice, but the same question was going through my mind as well.

Michael lifted his eyes quickly, letting me to gaze into dark ambers. After his words opened up into the air I forgot the color of them. “Marcus is here.”

I wasn’t sure where I was going, but with what Michael had just said, I wasn’t staying in the bed. I was going to find someplace to hide. I tossed the blanket off of me as I stood up. Pain shot through my ankle and up my leg causing me to fall quickly onto the floor. It didn’t take me long before I was back up and searching for someplace, anyplace that wasn’t out in the open.

As I collapsed into the smallest corner that I could find, Blyth was in front of me quickly. “Damn you, Michael. What are you thinking?”

“Um,” Michael started but hushed his voice as a knock came on the door.

I wrapped my arms around my legs burying my face in my knees afraid of who might come in. I knew that Blyth was in front of me, but he was completely powerless against whatever power Marcus might have. My heart nearly leaped out of my chest with every beat that it took. I fought back the tears of pain that I knew Marcus wished to inflict upon Michael.

“You calm her down, and get those antibiotics into her system while I figure out what is going on.” I could hear Blyth moving from in front of me. Finally the fear of Marcus that I denied was coursing through me as I reached out grabbing his pant leg. “Ashley let go.”

“Don’t go, please.” My eyes opened to find Blyth staring down on me, “Don’t leave me with him.”

“Ashley, trust me, it will only take a few minutes, not a day. There is no way you could steal his heart in that small amount of time.” Blyth ripped his leg away from me, and quickly walked out the door leaving Michael and I alone. It is the only other thing that I had to fear in this life.

I kept my eyes fastened on the floor when I heard Michael’s footsteps coming closer to me. My heart nearly stopped when I saw his hand holding the bottle of antibiotics in front of my eyes. His words found their way quietly out into the open, “Ash, you need to take these.”

I shook my head and turned my body away from him.

“You need to, Ash.” Michael kept his voice in a whisper as he brought my face around to look at him, “I can’t get you out of here without my powers.”

My eyes fell into his eyes that seemed more red than brown than I had first thought they were. It must have been because of the shadow of his hair that made them seem so dark. I laid my hand on his wrist removing his from my face, “I can’t go with you.”

Michael searched my eyes for the answer to why, but he gave up, “If you won’t come with me, then take them so that Blyth doesn’t become even more infatuated with you as he has done with another before.”

“Infatuated?” I questioned aloud, “Who?”

“Please take them. Two a day, one in the morning, and one at night,” Michael wrapped my fingers around the bottle that he placed in my hand. “Take them, and I will explain when I come back for you.”

Michael backed slowly away from me and stood up. He turned quickly facing the bookshelves. He searched them hastily. I tried to think of what he was looking for, but I remembered looking at the books before. There was nothing truly interesting in any of those books. When his hand reached out and pulled a familiar book that I had forgotten about. The tattered cover and worn binding caused me to remember the date that was inside. Seventeen-twenty. It was not Michael’s because he was still unborn at the time.

‘Put her book down.’ That is what he said to me when I looked at it.

“Whose is that?” I questioned Michael before his eyes looked startled towards the door.

Quickly his eyes found mine, “Someone not so unlike yourself at the moment.”

Before anything else could be done, the door burst open allowing Blyth to walk in freely and demanding attention, “Michael William Baine, you will put that book down now.”

My eyes grew wider with each name that Blyth called out. He was speaking to Michael as though he were a little child in trouble. Michael never responded except turning and running full force towards the window. I watched as he dove through it causing pieces of glass to shatter everywhere. Once he was outside of the window and falling I saw him gain his power quickly leaving before he fell out of sight.

Blyth began cursing Michael’s name, but I ignored him as thought about what Michael had said. I wondered what he meant by whomever wrote that was not so unlike myself, at the moment. At the moment. Did that mean whoever wrote it had power over him and Marcus at one time? Why would Blyth have it though? He kept insisting that he was only a few years older than me, yet he spoke to Michael as if he were a child.

If the woman that they were talking about earlier wrote that book, Blyth was indeed a lot older than he said, but why wouldn’t he just tell me. Michael had said that maybe she sent me here to torture Blyth, but in what way? What frightened me more was how Michael was no more than a servant to Blyth, and never once did he stand up against him. He ran, but never once stood up in his own defense.

All these questions roamed through my mind as I watched Blyth pace rapidly from wall to wall in the room. I thought about questioning him, but he would never give me the answers that I searched for. I could demand them from him, except I didn’t feel that I had the strength inside of me to fight with him at the moment.

Within my grasp I held the answer to my escape, but I didn’t understand how Michael would be able to take me if Blyth was able to control the barrier keeping him out. Then again Michael wasn’t cast out when Blyth stepped out of the room. It was obvious with Michael’s disappearance out the window they just needed to leave the room that I was in. Perhaps Blyth removed the barrier allowing Michael to come to the school.

Slowly I made my way back to the bed opening the bottle of antibiotics. Either way I looked at it I needed to take them. I stared at the pill momentarily then placed it in my mouth swallowing it with some of the cold broth from the soup that I had earlier. It went down hard and nearly made me gag.

Blyth’s footsteps stopped right in front of the bed causing me to look up at him again. Pain and anger were each finding themselves starring straight into me. It didn’t take more than a second before I saw him flying towards me with his hand stretched out ahead of him. I tried to swallow but his hand was gripping so tight around my throat that I could barely breathe.

I didn’t allow whatever he was trying to do frighten me. Instead I faced him with hopes that he would kill me. He brought his other hand up into my sight holding a small knife carefully he placed it just below his other hand around my neck. I searched his eyes for an answer to understand his actions, but real torment shot through his eyes.

“That is an odd feeling,” I cringed when I heard his voice. I tried to remove myself from Blyth’s grip, but when the knife began cutting through my skin I put my hands on his wrists. I wanted him either to kill me, or let me run. When his voice sounded again I squeezed my eyes shut in hopes to never see the evil in the room with me. “Ashley? Blyth what are you doing?”

Blyth pulled his hand holding the knife from my neck, “Take one step closer and her blood will enter yours causing the death that you so dearly wish for.”

“What are you doing to her?” Marcus seemed quite calm for his life being threatened. His voice made my insides turn and practically made my legs give out except Blyth’s hand kept me firmly against the wall. “Blyth what is going on?”

“I may not be able to see the future like you, Marcus, but I understand what is going on.” Having Blyth believe me when I said he could see the future surprised me, but it didn’t help calm me at the moment. “Tell me where Michael is.”

“He has an apartment in the city. I could take you there if you wish, but don’t harm her, please.” Marcus’ words did not shock me. He wouldn’t want me harmed in anyway that would complicate the future that he had planned. “Let her go and I will take you.”

“Blyth,” His name came out in less than a whisper and barely audible. “No.”

Everything in the room fell into an unsteady silence. Still afraid to open my eyes to find the scene in front of me still containing Marcus I kept them tightly shut. Blyth’s grasp never let up so I knew at least he was still in the room, and there were no footsteps from Marcus on the floor. At the moment we were waiting for Blyth’s reaction except we each had separate hopes for his decision.

“Marcus, go wait for me in the yard.” Blyth finally ended the long stillness in the room, “If you come near her again, keep in mind that I will sever your head from your body. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Sir.” His words stopped and were followed by the sound of his boots across the floor. The door creaked quietly as he slowly closed it behind him.

Blyth’s hand released my throat allowing me to finally collapse against the bed. I opened my eyes when I heard the knife land on the floor. It was just a small pocket knife, but my blood covered the blade and part of the handle. I searched for Blyth, but he was gone. I knew I had just seen him standing there, but when my eyes settled on the knife he left.

My head turned quickly when I heard the water running in the bathroom. I thought about getting up to see what he was doing, but instead I just leaned against the bed trying to understand what had caused him to finally decide to kill me or try to. I’m sure that was his plan before Marcus had interrupted him.

“Forgive me, Ash. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” I was taken aback by the calmness in his voice. He knelt down in front of me and the agony that he had inside his eyes seemed to wash away. Attentively he used a small towel to wipe the blood from the cut on my throat. “You still do not fear me, but I understand your fear of them now. It seems now we are in the same situation. Each of our lives now rest in their hands. Unless the infection is removed my fate will be the same as yours.”

“What?”

“Where would Michael go to hide?” Blyth ignored my question with his own. “He took that from me, and I don’t believe he would go back to his apartment the one place where anyone could find him?”

I searched my memories for any place that Michael would go, but the only place was his apartment. Never once did we go anywhere else that he would go to escape anyone. “His apartment is the only place that I know of. What is so important in that book that would cause this much upheaval?”

“Everything,” Blyth’s fingers caressed the side of my face, “What I fear now is Marcus planned for you to see such a fate so that you would be placed within my path. I think his deception goes further than causing Michael pain. He wants to die, and he knows that I am the only one with the power to end their lives, except for you now.”

“No,” I shoved Blyth away from me, “That is what he wanted us to think in the beginning before. He said himself that I was made for him, but in every future I die either by his hand or Michael’s.”

“For what reason would he to have that cat sent here other than to take my power away around you? Until you get that infection out of your system, my life is at stake especially now that Michael has the book.”

“Marcus sent the cat? How?”

Blyth took my hand in his pulling me up off the floor. I followed him over to the windows. “Look. Marcus is there in the yard with his own descendant. She is the one who sent the cat into this room. I saw her with it when Michael told me Marcus was here.”

I looked out into the direction that Blyth pointed finding Marcus in the middle of the yard talking to her, “Kasey, is his descendant?”

“Marcus never told you that he had children?” Blyth pulled me from the window before they saw us looking at them. “I’m not sure how many were his, but if they all were he had six. There was one woman and I believe his intentions were pure, until she married another.”

“He told me about her, but never that he had children.” I remembered the story he had told me. The woman he wanted to marry, but Michael foiled his plans.

Blyth let my hand fall down as he used the towel to carefully pick up the knife on the floor. Wrapping the knife up, he tossed them both into the trash can. “I know that they had seen each other secretly. Each time I waited for her husband to find out, but he either unaware or just ignored that not all of his children looked like him. Kasey is the offspring of such results.”

“So you are older than what you say.” I finally had his own words to prove what he told me was false or not the complete truth. At this point I’m sure that he could be twenty six, but he just left out a digit.

Blyth started chuckling as he pulled me down beside him to sit on the bed, “I guess I let too much slip. But at this point, what does it matter?”

“How old are you then?” I looked down to find Blyth running his finger gently across the top of my hand. I pulled it away quickly and held it on my lap out of reach for him.

“Honestly,” Blyth didn’t understand that pulling my hand away from him meant that I didn’t want him to touch me. He lifted my chin causing me to look into his eyes, and once again he let his touch remain there, “I don’t know, but I remember when the world was flat if that helps indicate on a simple scale. Most of my memories have worn away with time as do all things. I live each day as it comes, never searching for what the future will hold, until you.”

“Until I, what?” I turned and watched as Blyth fell back into the bed.

“Just you.” Blyth rubbed his face not allowing me to see what he was feeling, “Everything about your future screams forbidden, yet here I am. Perhaps I am suicidal as well because if I were smart instead of trying to feed you antibiotics I should be halfway across the world.”

“Why didn’t you just cut my throat when you had the chance? You know I was wishing that you would have gone deeper with the blade.” My eyes left Blyth to look at the window where Marcus was most likely still waiting for him.

“And actually let your blood spill.” Blyth’s hand landed on my shoulder bringing my eyes back to his. “Ashley, I never cut you.”

I ran my fingers over where he had placed the blade at the base of my throat, and it was like he said nothing but smooth skin. “But I…”

Blyth brought up his own hand allowing me to gaze over a small open wound running from his middle of his thumb down to his palm. It was roughly the same as the blade on the knife, “I used the pressure against your throat to cut myself.”

“But why?” As I questioned him I remembered the agony in his eyes as he held me against the wall.

“I needed to keep Marcus at a distance.” Blyth stood up and glanced out the window, “Please enjoy a nice hot shower, and I will have more food sent up while I’m gone.”

“Are you going to get the book now?”

“No,” Blyth chuckled, “I’ll wait until he goes home.”

“Where are you going then?”

“I need to get away from you.”

My eyes followed him to the door. My thoughts went back to Michael’s words, ’So that Blyth doesn’t become even more infatuated with you.’

“Blyth, wait.” I reached out for him as the door started opening afraid that he would slip out without another word, “Why is it that you need to get away from me?”

“I have a very addictive personality, and I need to fill my fix.”

I stared out at the moon falling lower in the sky when Blyth finally came back. I turned my head slightly towards him when the light of his laptop illuminated the room. A gentle tune as if it was from a jewelry box filled the room. An orchestra slowly joined in sending a sense of peace. The worry that I had felt waiting for him to come back was gone almost instantly.

Slowly his fingers ran over something on the desk. I looked closer but just enough to see that he had gotten it back. I couldn’t help but wonder what he had to do in order to have it once again. Maybe Michael had gotten whatever he wanted out of it and just handed it back. Something ate me inside knowing that it was not way it happened. My mind wondered about the suffering that Michael would have gone through to try to keep it.

Everything faded from my mind as I felt Blyth moving the blankets to crawl into the bed as well. I had thought of going back to my room with Kasey, but I felt safer here even if I had to share a bed again. My body stiffened as I felt his hand going around my waist and pulling me closer to his body. I readied myself to hurt him if he tried anything more, but the side of his face rested against mine. I realized then he was only seeking comfort.

Warm tears from his eyes fell on my cheek. My fingers wrapped around his that were holding me close. It kept me from my first initial thought of turning to face him. “Blyth, are you alright?”

“Did you see the snow falling today?” I couldn’t believe that there was a sense of happiness in his voice as he spoke.

I scrunched my nose at the smell of his breath, “You’ve been drinking.”

“As I always do on this day.”

“And what day is it?”

“The day of the first snow.”

“What’s the significance of the first snow?” I pushed for more information hoping that I would get more since he was under the influence, but it didn’t seem to help. When he didn’t answer me I wondered if he had passed out. “Blyth?”

“Yes?”

“Are you alright?”

“I sent the boys home. You don’t need to worry about them.”

“Blyth?” Now I was thoroughly confused.

“Goodnight, I love you.”

I didn’t know who the boys were, but I smiled at the thought that Blyth was happy it seemed. “Goodnight Blyth.”


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