Damian's Assassin (Chapter One, page 2 of 6)

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She cried again, snuffling and wiping at her nose before she pushed herself off the chair. She concentrated hard on another wilted flower, bringing it back to full bloom.

"Jonny …" she whispered. "I'm so sorry, Jonny!"

It was her fault he was in the hospital. Her stepmother-- Jonny's mother-- had said as much. Bianca cringed as she had earlier that day when her mother and Jonny's mother screamed blame at each other until the nursing staff kicked them out of the room.

She hadn't meant to hurt him. He was annoying, and she wanted him to leave her alone. All he ever wanted to do was play with his stupid baseball, and she'd taken it and thrown it into the forest. He went after it, and she played with her toys all day. He didn't come back, even when it got dark and it was time for them to go inside.

"I can help him," a man said. She jumped. No one had come in through the door she faced. She twisted in her chair to see a man near the dark windows whose eyes were the color of her bright purple Easter dress.

"Are you a doctor?" she asked, wiping her eyes.

"I can make it so he doesn't remember that you did this to him," the stranger said. "But you understand that medical treatment isn't free?"

Her chin trembled as guilt flowed over her and she swallowed hard, nodding.

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