I rush in. “Lydia!”

She’s sitting on the bed, crying. I sit beside her and wrap my arms around her.

“Alex…” she chokes through her tears. “You shouldn’t have come…”

“How could I not?” I cradle her gently.

“They could catch you…” she sniffs into the hand-sewn handkerchief I’ve handed to her. “And that could be the end of everything.”

“I know.” I don’t care about the risks. Even though they are severe.

Lydia and I are not supposed to be together.

A girl and a girl.

A Jalankian and a Holtery.

Extra very forbidden.

Punishable by death, or at the very least imprisonment with lots of torture.

But I love her anyway.

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