In the mutual haze that followed, Rosalia moved closer and put her head on Ilya’s stomach.

It felt nice to have her so close, with her arm draped across her waist, almost natural. She wasn’t sure how much time went by, but eventually the walls started to dance and soon after Rosalia was sitting up and reaching for her palette.

Then she was crying, despite the drug that should have been dulling her senses. To overcome such a strong chemical barrier, the pain would have to have been so deep and so absolute that nothing in the world could heal it. Ilya didn’t know how much her embrace helped, if it did anything at all. Maybe behind those closed eyes Rosalia was thinking about Deron, imagining his arms wrapped around her. It would have been clearer had she said his name. Instead, she sobbed with so much force that it shook her body. Ilya had to reach out and reconcile a portal on the floor so she could bring up some music to drown out the sound. She didn’t want Rosalia’s parents coming to her rescue.

No one was going to comfort her except Ilya.

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