You will not cry, Jessamine, I tell myself. You will not cry. My legs ache from pedaling as fast as I can, trying to outrun my guilt.

Jessamine!” Isaiah shouts from the front door of his house, right as I reach the street corner. I shouldn't, but I glance behind me before I cross the street. Frustration and anguish are evident on his features, even from here.

I am a horrible, horrible person.

I find none of my usual joy at the library. I don't even want to find a book I might enjoy – I don't deserve it, not at all. So I only grab one random book off the shelf where I usually spend hours flipping through the titles and pick a movie I know Adrienne and Mom will enjoy, though I'll probably hate it.

Luna rings me up at the check out, watching with worry in her eyes. Wisps of white have fallen out of her chignon.

Are you alright, sugarplum?” she asks, pushing my book and movie across the counter and patting my hand. She told me time and time again that I was like the granddaughter she never had. “I don't think I've ever seen you check out only one book.”

I'm not feeling too well,” I say, and it's not really a lie. My head aches more with every passing second. “And I have a lot of school work to do this weekend.”

Luna raises a prim eyebrow at me and purses her lips. I shrink under her gaze, but don't say anything. She softens and sighs. “Well, feel better, Jessamine, sugar. Come by tomorrow if you feel any better. I can help you with your work, if you need.”

Thanks, Luna. I will.” I try to smile, but my face refuses to cooperate.

I just want to go home.

The End

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