By: Jennifer Michael

People like Willy make seeing the good easier.

“Should we say something?” I ask Callen.

He’s been quiet all day, but he clears his throat. “Family isn’t about blood. It’s about being there for the ones you care about. The people who create us, the ones we create—those bonds don’t guarantee love. Willy, I once told you that love wasn’t for me, but that was because I had never felt its power. Thank you for teaching me what love is and for giving me the example I need to love Rylan the way she deserves.”

I wrap my arms around his middle and look up at his face. The ruthless man, the killer, isn’t visible today.

Callen and I haven’t suddenly reformed over the years. We kill over and over again. We continue to play with our victims, and we get each other off on the spilled blood. It’s a life I never imagined, but I wouldn’t change one thing, not even a second.

I’ve gotten to know a man who adores me and always treats me well. Unless a paddle is involved, and I’m asking for it, that is.

Beside Willy’s grave, I only see the man who loved and lost his friend.

I see my best friend. The man I could never envision my life without.

“I love you, Callen.”

“I love you too, Little Bird.” His hold tenderly grips around my neck.

“Thank you, Willy,” I speak softly into Callen’s shirt.

Willy protected my freedom so that I could continue to fly, which I have.

For us, there is no black or white, light or dark, good or evil; there is only us. We’re a chaotic mix of all of it.

“Ready?” Callen asks.


We leave Willy with Louise.

I couldn’t be more grateful for everything he’s done for me, for us.

We pull away from the cemetery, but we’ll never really leave Willy behind.

The End