The digital dashboard clock digits turn, mocking the passage of time. The radio jock’s cheery voice grates on my nerves as he chatters about the latest Christmas jam in their holiday playlist line up. It’s four days till Christmas but it feels anything but festive. I chance another glance at the passenger side, monitoring Trixie who’s been uncharacteristically quiet for most of the drive. Meanwhile I’m reeling. From the weekend. From what was decided during my absence. But I try my damnedest not to show it, focusing on the road ahead. I turn the volume down, my heart picking up speed as I broach the subject I wish I didn’t have to, but absolutely need to.

“Are you sure?” The weight of those two simple words seems to suck all the oxygen from the car.

Trixie’s small nod is the only movement. “Yeah.”

I swallow hard against the lump forming in my throat. “Look, I know I wasn’t there when I should have been, but…maybe you should give yourself more time?” I plead, desperately grasping at straws. “You don’t have to make a decision right now. Especially not now.”

Guilt stabs my heart as her haunted gaze finally meets mine. I’d called her as soon as I returned from Frost’s mansion, determined to be by her side as soon as possible despite my own discombobulated state. This wasn’t something you discussed over the damn phone. But Trixie had already been for an evaluation. Already made the appointment.

I’d been stunned into silence when she told me, so many conflicting questions and emotions swirling in my mind. But Trixie’s only one eclipsed them all before I could voice them.

“Will you go with me?”

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