Even if it didn’t seem like it, Beth was actually naïve as to the ways of the world because she’d grown up protected from a lot of stuff and she’d certainly never come into contact with characters like Alex. If she had even an inkling of the line of work he was in, she’d run away and never look back. I’d tried to do that myself, but it seemed I could never escape, no matter how hard I tried.
I wondered sometimes what it would be like to be part of a normal family, the way Bethany was. It wasn’t because I felt my life was awful or anything. I was just… curious. How would it feel to spend your childhood with other kids, playing in the park, going on vacations? All those things had been denied to me. Ever since they’d first tried to kidnap me, just after I turned five, I’d been under constant surveillance wherever I went. Nikolai even tried to home school me instead of letting me go to an ordinary school, and probably would have had it his way if it hadn’t been for my mother.
To an outsider, my life might have looked perfect. Anything I asked for, I got. Anyone looking a little closer, though, would have seen that a life lived in constant fear wasn’t so great. I’d been locked up in my own gilded cage. It might have been a beautiful cage, but that’s what it was – a cage. However, I didn’t know any different. Without anything to compare it to, I couldn’t judge.