The Perfect Ruin - Shanora Williams Page 0,2

so much going on mentally. I didn’t know the name before now, and I had no desire to know it. You were assigned to me for therapy and counseling, I wanted to help you, and that was all that mattered to me. During all our sessions, I’m glad you didn’t know who the person was. In cases like this, the unknown is best, and you’ve progressed so much without knowing it.”

Marriott focused on the sheet of paper in her hand again before shifting her eyes to Ivy and saying, “You have a choice today, Ivy. You can read the name on this paper and let it consume you, or you have the option to not read this name, accept what happened all those years ago, and let it go. Realize that all things happen for a reason and that it is okay to forgive and move on with your life.” Marriott was quiet for a beat. “I’m hoping you will take the stepping stones I have given you and create a wonderful future for yourself, knowing this name or not.” Marriott placed the paper on the coffee table between her and Ivy and slid it forward, but Ivy didn’t hesitate a second.

She’d wanted to know who the person was ever since she was fourteen. No need for modesty at this point. She deserved to know—she’d worked hard to know.

Marriott sighed and sat back in her chair, watching Ivy unfold the paper. Her fingers were still trembling.

The person had a name now. Lola Maxwell. She hated Lola with a passion, despite the fact that she didn’t know who she was, where she lived, or even what she looked like.

Ivy wanted to find Lola and confront her—tell her that she was a selfish bitch who’d destroyed everything good in her life, and then she’d move on and build a future. Lola deserved that much—for someone to scream in her face and make her own up to what she did instead of being a coward.

Ivy shot out of her chair with the paper clutched in her hand. “I need to go,” she said in a hurried voice. She walked to the chair and picked up her bag.

“You still have forty-five minutes left, Ivy.” Marriott stood with her. “Don’t you want to complete your session for today? Talk about this?”

“No, I don’t,” Ivy muttered on her way to the door.

“Does knowing the name upset you?”

“Of course, it upsets me, Marriott! Why wouldn’t it?” Ivy snapped. “But look, I’m glad you didn’t keep this information from me. Now I can let it all sink in.”

Ivy turned for the door, but Marriott caught her by the wrist before she could flee. Ivy noticed her fingers were cold and shaking. Her eyes shifted up to Marriott’s, whose were now filled with something Ivy couldn’t quite put her finger on. Worry? Guilt?

“I hope to still see you next Wednesday,” Marriott said with a forced smile. There was no warmth in her smile like usual. It was lukewarm at best.

“Yeah, you will.” And she would. Ivy wanted to find this Lola person, yes, but she also knew she’d need to keep up appearances for a while—prove to Marriott that she could handle the responsibility of knowing the name of the person who’d ruined her life.

Lola Maxwell.

Lola Maxwell.

Lola Maxwell.

The name was running in circles in her mind, taking over every single one of her thoughts.

“Okay, then.” Marriott pushed one of her braids behind her back. “I’ll see you on Wednesday. Call or email me if you need anything, and remember, if there’s ever anything you want to talk about, I’m always here. You can write to me if it’s too much to say and I’ll read it to get an understanding.” She gently squeezed Ivy’s hand. “I’m here for you, Ivy.”

“Okay.” Ivy forced her own smile, pulled her hand out of Marriott’s, and left the office without looking back.

* * *

As soon as Ivy stepped into her apartment, she went for her laptop, booted it up, and did an Internet search for Lola Maxwell.

What did Marriott think? That she was just going to forget about the name as soon as she got home? Of course not! She needed to know who this woman was, and she knew there was only one place she could find her immediately—a place you could find anyone if you looked hard enough. On the Internet.

And, good Lord, this Lola woman was everywhere. She was on every major social media outlet there was. For an evil