We'd been working on telepathy for maybe half an hour and Zoe was already able to communicate fairly well. I smiled at her occasionally but I was distracted. I was still thinking about Nasya. Zevran had said she loved me, and he was in her coven. I just didn't know.
I was too busy thinking about it to notice Zoe was poking around in my mind. Thankfully, my thoughts remained my own - a skill I'd learnt from years of having Darran and Riley trying to get at my mind.
I also didn't notice what she was doing until it was too late; she was wandering around my memories. She dragged one up and I regretted being so distracted while my mind was open.
In the memory, I was fourteen again. I pushed myself backwards towards the wall. I knew what was happening. In reality, I watched Zoe's face as the memory played in her mind too.
That memory always reminded me of why I ran away. In it, there was sobbing from an unseen source - though I knew it to be Sophie. The younger me looked up at the person lumbering towards me. It was my dad. He was drunk again and it was time for what happened every time he got too drunk.
Zoe flinched as the fist hit me, then again, and again, and again. Eventually, my dad trundled away, leaving me curled up on the floor. A 19 year old Sophie crawled over to me, not wanting to draw Dad's attention back to us. She held me in her arms as I let a silent tear fall. Then she was gone, dragged away. Her screams rang through my ears - in the memory and in real life.
I watched Zoe calmly. Her face was one of absolute horror and shock. She just looked at me, her mouth open slightly. She was looking for something that betrayed how I felt. I closed my mind to her and smiled.
"You're good," I said.
"Did that actually happen?" she murmured.
"Many times for many years." I thought about it and closed my eyes. I sighed and pulled my hands back. "I never went to help her, you know? I never helped my sister. I was too scared. I knew what he was doing to her but I didn't... I didn't stop him. Whenever I fought back, he'd beat me harder and tell me he was going to do it to Mum too. He never did though."
A lone tear fell onto the table. I sighed again and ran my fingers through my hair.
"What happened to Sophie?" Zoe asked quietly.
"When she was 20, she committed suicide." Zoe hadn't expected that. She was stunned and had no idea what to say. "I was only 15 at the time and one of the only people I could actually trust... left me forever."
"I..." was all she could manage for a little while. "I'm so sorry."
I smiled at her. "Well it wasn't your fault, was it?" I said simply.