I’m lifting the glass to my lips when I hear the entrance open up again. The reemergence of footsteps sends a jolt through my body and almost sends liquid sputtering out of my mouth. I don’t turn back to confirm Frost’s presence. Don’t need to. Don’t want to.

I wish I could block out the sound of his advancement, my heart jumping with each forward step he takes. Invisible insects crawl across my shoulder blades and down my arms, my limbs trembling, taut links of bundled-up tension. He comes to stand behind me, and all the oxygen in the vicinity seems to disappear instantly. I remain static in the chair, my fingers gripping the glass like an anchor, my eyes locked onto their vise hold, almost certain it’ll crack under my unrelenting grip.

“Stand,” Frost says, the low rumble of his voice piercing through my chest like a sharp object, incapacitating me despite the command.

I blink. Once. Twice. My brain processes the order, but I can’t move my limbs, my legs static, as if they’re cemented in place.

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