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I did have to make sure she understood something though before we went to sleep last night. I was lodged deep inside of her, my cock straining for release and both of us on the brink of letting go. I was lying on top of her, our chests pressed tight and my hips doing most of the action, which brought our faces very close to each other.

My lips grazed against hers as I rocked against her. “Sela?”


“We’re partners,” I told her quietly. She didn’t respond, but I knew she was listening intently because her eyes opened up and glittered with awareness as they locked onto mine. “We figure things out together, okay?”

“Together,” she affirmed, and that was all I needed to hear. We were right with each other, and while we may be leaving behind an entire life—a complete existence—it was forever tarnished and would be a part of a bittersweet past. Our future is where true happiness lay for both of us.

It was time to start putting our affairs in order.

So today I’m making the most of my time with Caroline and Ally. Sela’s spending the day with her father, because she too knows time is waning.

While Sela chose to go hang out with her dad at their home, I decided to finally put my money to use in an extravagant way. I sent a limousine to pick up Caroline and Ally in Healdsburg, telling Caroline I needed a day to decompress from all that happened and I wanted my sister and my niece to help me do it. She readily agreed, thinking she was helping her big brother out. She had no clue I was saying goodbye.

The limo driver delivered them both to me at the airport and I then shuttled them onto a private jet I’d rented, and we flew to San Diego for the day.

Ally is obsessed with animals of all types. When she first started learning to talk, the words that always came first and easiest were the names of various animals.

Dog, pig, goat. Ask her what does a cow say, and she’d grin and say, “Mooooo.” She also gave an adorable pig snort when prompted. She then got better with speech and left domestic animals behind, focusing on elephant, giraffe, and kangaroo, which were obviously harder to say as they had more syllables. Her love affair with all things furry, scaled, or leathery blossomed into something that you knew would be a lifelong passion. I’m betting she becomes a veterinarian. Or maybe even a wildlife scientist.

Regardless of where my sweet Ally will end up one day, and of which I will never have a clue how she turns out, I’m going to treat her to a day at the San Diego Zoo. I’m going to try to cram a lifetime of memories into a single day.

“Did you know that lemurs have stink fights?” Ally says with confidence as we walk along a shaded path through the lemur exhibit. I have to admit the furry little rodents—or primates as Ally officially explained—were cute as all get out.

“Stink fights?” I ask in disbelief.

“Yeah,” she says as she walks beside me, holding my hand. “They take this stinky stuff from their wrists and then rub it on their tails. Then they wave their tails at each other and whoever is the stinkiest wins.”

I burst out laughing and look over to my sister walking on the other side of Ally. “Where does she get this stuff from?”

“She’s obsessed with these nature shows that Snoop Dogg narrates on YouTube,” she says simply as we walk along.

“Snoop Dogg?” I ask dubiously.

“Weird, I know,” she says. “But they’re hilarious and all the bad words are bleeped out.”

“And why do they have stink fights?” I ask Ally.

She shrugs, which pulls on my hand a little. I tighten my grip because I don’t ever want to let her go. “I don’t know. Snoop Dogg didn’t say, but then I saw another video where—”

And so it continues for the next hour. We walk through the winding paths of the zoo, looking at various animals. I’m partial to the pandas and koalas, animals I know instinctively would appeal to Sela’s soft side. Ally’s favorite are the hippos, and we have to practically peel her away from the underwater viewing area so we can see more of the park before we have to leave.

We eat ice cream and burgers. Look at grizzlies and tigers and bright pink flamingos. Dusty elephants and long-necked giraffes. I take a million pictures of her on my iPhone, knowing it won’t do me any good because my phone won’t be traveling with me. I’ll perhaps print a few, my favorites, but we’ll be traveling light.

We laugh and I give her piggyback rides and as many hugs as I can muster without making her squirm away from me. And when Ally runs ahead to look at the polar bears, I take a moment to start my goodbyes to Caroline.

Looping an arm around her shoulder, she reciprocates with one around my waist. “Thank you for coming to the zoo with me today.”

She squeezes me in response, and because she knows me so well, she says, “What is it you wanted to talk to me about?”

I don’t even bother trying to act surprised or affronted by her assumption. I don’t have time for wasted words.

“There’s no good way out for both Sela and me,” I tell her as I keep my eyes pinned on Ally.

“I know,” she agrees sadly.

“We have to leave,” I tell her, cutting through a huge buildup of reasoning I had planned to offer her.

And all she says is, “I know.”

We’re silent for a bit as we walk along, but there’s no denying the heavy blanket of sadness that covers both of us. My little sister.

The one who I lived for for so many years.

My only true family, and the one who brought the amazing miracle of Ally into our lives.

I’ve had an extraordinary life. Many friends, terrific travels, wealth beyond imagining, and business successes. I had it all, but I won’t miss any of it except for Caroline and Ally. Those two reasons are what had me up the entire night Sela got arrested, struggling with myself over what to do about the situation.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I considered throwing Sela under the bus. It only crossed my mind briefly, and only because Doug had brought it up that day at the police station, but it was an option I’d be stupid not to at least consider. But it felt like a poisonous cancer within me…the thought of losing her…and I immediately quashed it.

It just wasn’t an option.

I also considered confessing myself, calling Sela a deranged girlfriend who came up with a ludicrous lie to protect me. I’d have weight behind my confession, because unlike Sela, I had access to the murder weapon. I could get it, leaving her clothes behind, and offer the cops a deal. I’d confess and give them the murder weapon only if they agreed to drop all charges against Sela.

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