Aspen catches me when I stumble down the hall, unable to see through my tears. "Mer?" he asks softly. "What's wrong?"
"Maxon- he saw us kissing-" I choke out.
Aspen's entire body goes rigid, his face frozen in shock. "What?" he says, sounding strangled.
"Maxon saw us kissing and he has dismissed me to leave. There will be no punishment," I add quickly.
His grip on me loosens in relief. He pulls me tight into a hug, but I shrug him off and head for my room.
My maids are there, cleaning up, and Lucy senses that something is wrong.
"Miss? Is everything alright?" she asks softly.
"The Prince has dismissed me to leave," I say, willing my voice not to crack. "I have come to collect my things."
Anne comes over to me. "No, not you, miss. Not you!"
All three of them hug me, and I lean back and smile. "It's quite alright," I say, and reach for my clothes, but Mary picks them up for me and puts them in a suitcase.
Suddenly, the alarm goes off and I freeze in terror.
"Run," I say, pulling them behind me, and I dash out into the hall. Aspen is standing there, guarding one of the doors.
"Officer Leger," I ask him, "please take my maids to a safe place."
He turns his head to look at me, horror and fear on his face. "I'm sorry, Mer," he says as he clamps his hand over my mouth.
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