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Episode 1156: Hummingbird Heartbeat

It’s just dinner Avalon told herself as she took a seat at the formal dining room table beside Sebastian.

Dr. Marques entered the room, the first they’d seen of her that night. Katherine went directly into grilling Sebastian about his ongoing therapies and checkups, managing to find fault in each of her esteemed colleagues’ approaches.

Although to Ava’s mind, Sebastian’s progress made it clear Katherine’s assessments were entirely unfair, Ava opted to keep her thoughts inside, eager to stay out of the conversation as much as possible.

If she gave Phillip Marques plenty of space to dominate the evening perhaps he would resist the urge to assert his power any further than strong-arming them into coming over. If Ava cooperated with this charade maybe Mr. Marques wouldn’t blow up her marriage. Maybe spending actual quality time with his son would remind him that revealing something that could hurt Sebastian should be the last thing he’d ever do or threaten to do.

Or maybe she was wishful thinking and this wasn’t just a dinner, this wasn’t just a chance for two negligent parents to catch up with their grown child. Maybe this was Phillip literally setting the table to serve his daughter-in-law her just desserts.

A shiver ran through Ava and it didn’t go unnoticed.

“Avalon, are you feeling okay?” Dr. Marques asked. “You look a little pale and just now it seemed like you caught a sudden chill. I-”

“Katherine,” Mr. Marques said. “You’re meant to be taking the night off from medicine not diagnosing our guests. I’m sure the last thing Ava wants is an excuse to go home early and miss out on a delicious meal.”

He nodded to Ava and she accepted the prompt. She had no choice. “No place I’d rather be,” she said. “Thank you for your concern though Dr. Marques. If I look paler than normal it’s just that I’ve been worn out with everything going on. I feel like I haven’t been able to catch my breath.” That was the truth. Her heart raced every time she thought about the threat hanging over her.

“You’re worn out and struggling through no one’s fault but your own,” Phillip said to her and Avalon thought, this is it, this is the moment he drove a knife into his own son’s heart and for what, who would benefit from that? “You could have left the bookstore the way Justine and I set it up, Ava, profitable, instead you brought more work upon yourself, it’s a trait we share in common, stubbornness.”

Episode 1157: Wouldn't It be Nice

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