cks a stray strand of hair behind her ear, revealing a sapphire earring. Seeing Melody wear his gift to her made him feel a swell of pride.

She constantly said she couldn wear such a special pair so casually. At first, he thought she hated it but couldn admit it. Like the duck earrings.

The fact that she knows the truth about their family now puts not only her but her child and partner in danger as well. Melody is gifted with being able to connect dots effortlessly, wherein he would take days to put two and two together.

”Melody, I am not our parents. ” Tristan puts the picture down, his lips in a straight line. Yet he is no different from them. One order and hed shoot without hesitation. Its an unspoken rule within the group to never kill their own, no matter what. But his dear sister is an exception, Melody is family in name only.

”Your parents. We aren blood related. They sent you, didn they? ” Melody narrows her eyes. The lighting of the coffee shop makes her appear more pale than she already is.

”I came here because I wanted to. They know nothing. ” He bites his tongue, fighting the urge to lash out.

Did Melody think he would betray her, just like that? His heart sinks.

A waiter drops by and serves two small plates. Panna cotta with berries on top. Tristan digs in immediately, enjoying himself. It is just a simple mixture of sweetened cream and gelatin, but its his favorite. Melody scoffs and hands him a tissue.

”As messy as always, big brother. ” She comments. He rolls his eyes. Tell him something he doesn know.

While he is still a little angry at his sister, he felt relieved to see her look better. He figures the thought of their parents stresses her out, which can be good for the baby.

Tristan couldn wait to pamper the child. His idea of fun is a far cry from his sisters idea of safety, but she wouldn need to know. From a sweet trip to the mall to an amusement park, hed spend so much time with his nephew.

She takes a few bites out of the dish and pats her lips. Melody looks at her phone and glances at the exit. Oh. Shes leaving already? Without hesitation, he inhales her leftovers. Melody shakes her head in disapproval. What, hed let that go to waste? Come on.

”When aren you hungry? ”

”Hey! The heck is that supposed to mean!? ”

Melody laughs. For a brief moment, they exchange smiles and joke around with one another. Tristan makes the most of it, rescheduling his tears for later.

She glances at the clock.

”I… well see each other again. I promise. ” She said.

Without any hesitation, Tristan slides out of his chair and pulls her in for a hug. Tears slip out and stains her clothes. Melody pats his shoulder and let go. With glassy eyes, she leaves without a word. The sight of her getting smaller and farther away planted a sense of dread in his gut.

She doesn make promises she can keep.

Tristan makes an impatient noise at the back of his throat. Pairs of curious eyes and whispers spreads throughout, but at this point, he didn care. It pleases him to know she can stand her ground now, much different than the helpless little sister of the past. He didn fight the sting behind his eyes, allowing himself to have a moment. He whips out his phone and presses it to his ear.

These bystanders taking pictures of him would be good publicity. Another tab to poke fun at in a few weeks, because people hop from one trend to another. Oh, right.

”Shes gone. ”

Technically it wasn a lie, but not a whole truth either. Looking down at the table, Tristan touches the image of his nephew in the photograph. With Melodys genes, hed grow up to become quite the heartbreaker. Tristan chuckles and places it into his breast pocket. An ice-cold beer would console him, for now.

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