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Lex cleared his throat and began. “Thea, it wasn’t just one event that made me leave, but a series of events and it wasn’t only my choice.” He paused and rethought his words. He wouldn’t place any of the blame on Earl. Earl had only ever tried to look out for him. And when he pulled the money out of his account, drove him to the nearest bus stop, and told him to go as far as he could, Earl had been protecting the two people he loved most. So how was he to explain this to her without Thea harboring anger toward Earl?
He tried again. “Remember that night Earl caught you out swimming naked in the lake at midnight?” Hell, he’d never forget it. Moonlight danced across her flawless brown skin, highlighting every burgeoning curve of her body. Lex had nearly died at the sight and it wasn’t just from lust, but fear. Watching Thea grow from an adolescent to the courageous, beautiful woman she’d become had caused a change in him. No longer was Thea a kid with a childhood crush, but she’d become a teenager with dreams and goals he feared couldn’t include some white trash loser from the bowels of Blackwater. It’d been that night Lex knew he would never be able to accept the gift that was her love. And moreover, it was the night Lex realized Thea would thrive—without him.