The blade at Beth’s throat was removed and she was dragged to her feet by her hair, making her cry out with the pain.
“Be gentle with her,” Rosalyn snapped. “Take her straight to the surface and then come straight back. Hurry.”
Beth was pushed out of the room, her blood still slowly trickling from the gash on her neck. She ignored it, glancing back at Robert. This was the last time she would see him. He didn’t smile at her; he didn’t try to tell her it would all be okay because they both knew it would be a lie. It wouldn’t be okay. It never would be.
As a door shut, blocking Robert from her view, tears began to fall instantly. He was gone from her forever. That was it.
She was guided through all the twisting tunnels and corridors they’d come through earlier, drawing many confused gazes. She took no notice of her surroundings, too heartbroken to care.
When she reached the surface, she was pushed and the door slammed shut behind her. She walked forward, feeling numb.
“Beth!” Isabella called, running over, her long coat flapping behind her. “Where’s Robert?”
Those two words, that single question, tipped her over the edge. A sob escaped her lips, as did many more. She didn’t stop them, she didn’t bother to hide the tears that fell one after the other in a perpetual torrent of despair.
“What happened?” Isabella asked.
Knowing she wouldn’t be able to form words, Beth showed Isabella the memory of what had occurred.
“Oh, my God,” Isabella whispered, pulling her into a tight embrace.
Beth heard words exchanged between Isabella and the others, who had rushed over, but they didn’t register in her mind. She tightened her grip on Isabella.
“Let’s get you home,” she whispered.
“I’ll take her,” Lucius said from somewhere.
No one objected as he picked her up. She felt a strap over his shoulder but didn’t ask; she couldn’t. There was a sudden flush of impossible heat and it was gone just as quickly as it had come.
She looked around, seeing her old bedroom, at her parents’ house. Lucius placed her down on the bed, putting a bag on the floor. She vaguely recognised it as the overnight she’d taken to Robert’s when she’d moved in. Her thoughts only led to more tears.
Lucius knelt on the floor beside the bed and took hold of her hand, saying nothing.
As she felt her old bedcovers, which had been changed since last time she was here, she realised the bitter, hard truth.
Robert was gone.