Chapter 28

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Blake agreed to meet at my house at six o'clock. That left the whole day for me to replay a worst-case scenario, which went like this: He'd bring a gun and shoot me after revealing that he'd tried to kill Zeke, but I'd grab it from him like I was a CIA agent, and then he'd be the one to stare down its barrel. Jack would be off to the side, begging me to stop as he tried to swipe the gun from my hand. Unable to get a hold of it, he'd get his trusty butcher knife and use it to slice my throat open just as I released a bullet into Blake's head. Both of us would die and Jack would blink out of existence as he howled in existential agony.

End scene. Rinse. Repeat.

As implausible as my scenario was, I let it play over in my mind all morning and into the afternoon. Implausibility was a staple in my life now, so a double murder along with a ghost vanquishing was not off the table. It could happen, or something else terrible would occur instead. Whatever the case, this would not end well, and nothing could convince me otherwise. Nothing could convince me to quit either, because Jack and I had to know the truth. I wasn't sure if that made me brave or stupid. Unwavering determination was a brand-new experience for me.

I sent Kayla a text, giving her the barebones update, including that I needed her to come over at six to shield me from a bloody end or possibly just an uncomfortable conversation. She had to work today and wasn't sure she would get out of there by six, but she'd try.

That would have to be good enough for me.

Next, Jack and I went over how I'd phrase my potentially offensive conversation with Blake. No accusations—that would only shut him down, or worse, make him hostile. Instead, Jack suggested I use his attraction to me to my advantage.

"I'm not Mata Hari, Jack. I'm not going to seduce him into telling me his secrets."

"That's not what I mean. You need to be with him the way you are with me. Warm, genuine, insult free."

"That last one's going to be tough."

"You can do it. Treat him like a confidant, and if you do, he might just be willing to confide."

I sliced the sandwich I was making for my lunch and plopped it onto a plate. "I begrudgingly admit you could be on to something there."

"Of course, I am. He's me, remember? Whatever works on me will work on him."

"Not so sure about that. He's you minus every ounce of sweetness you possess and you're him minus most of the memories that shaped him into a total tool."

He grimaced. "I think the truth is a lot more nuanced than that. We're a blend of lots of qualities and together we make a whole. Plus, I think I know why I'm here."

"Because supposedly I'm a murderess and you've travelled back in time to torment me in revenge for your death, only instead, you forgot your life and fell in love with the person who would eventually end you?"

"Yes!" he answered, shooting up towards the ceiling. "Well, except I think we can both agree we hope you didn't kill me, and I doubt I would ever want to torture you. But the rest—I think that's the truth."

Heart a flutter, I waited until he'd floated down to eye level. "The rest is true? Like... that you fell in love with me?"

He flashed his crooked grin. "I thought it was obvious, no?"

"I mean, I hoped so." My cheeks heated for the millionth time.

"There's my blushing beauty." He swept his hand near my chin. My eyes widened as I felt the lightest of pressure. He stilled, his eyes as large as mine.

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