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The Hawthorne Legacy: Chapter 88

You beautiful beaches.” Max was beyond pleased with Xander’s offering —enough so that it took her a moment to shoot me a reproving look. “I feel obliged to warn you, you’re looking a little pale, and the great Dr. Liu is not going to be pleased.”

I took that to mean that my doctor would have been really displeased to know what I’d actually been up to in the last twelve hours. “Thank you.” I waited until Max looked at me before I continued. “For bringing your mom here.”

I knew enough about my best friend to know that it hadn’t been an easy call to make.

“Yeah, well…” Max shrugged. “Thank you. For getting blown up.”

For giving you a reason to call—and giving her a reason to pick up. “Do you think you’ll be headed home soon?”

I didn’t want Max to leave, but at the same time, my best friend had her own life to live, and I couldn’t help thinking that she’d be safer doing that far away from Hawthorne House. Away from me, from the Hawthorne family, from everything I’d inherited along with Tobias Hawthorne’s billions.

Poison tree and all.

When Thea called, I almost didn’t pick up. That was why Xander had given me her number. And yet…

“Hello?” I said darkly.

There was a moment of hesitation, and then: “I did some digging and found out who vandalized your locker. It was a freshman. You want the name?”

Silly me. I’d been expecting an apology. “No.” I was tempted to leave it there, but I couldn’t. “Is Rebecca okay?”

“She’s shaken, but fine.” Thea’s voice was soft, but she spoiled the effect by scoffing audibly. “Fine enough to yell at me for putting you in danger.”

“Yeah, well…” I shrugged, even though Thea couldn’t see me.

“Rebecca’s one to talk.” That I could joke about this was a true testament to how far Rebecca and I had come.

“I had a choice.” Thea’s voice shook. She was diabolical and complicated and about a thousand other things, but she wasn’t evil. She’d been worried about me. “I had to choose her. Can you understand that, Avery?” Thea didn’t wait for my answer. “For me, it’s always going to be Rebecca. She doesn’t believe that, but no matter how long it takes, I’m going to keep choosing her.”

I had never understood what it felt like for one person to be your everything, to look at that person and know. I’d never believed myself capable of that. I hadn’t wanted to be capable of it.

When Thea and I hung up the phone, I went to see Grayson.


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