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There was a moment of hesitation in which Joe looked into her eyes, and she looked back without flinching. Many a time, he had been at the same game with her, and she had always crumbled, bowing to his will. Now, he must have realized he was looking into the eyes of a stranger. She was someone he could not recognize, a foreigner inhabiting the body of that old Clairey, the girl he had abused, intimidated, and broken. Clairey decided then and there she would no longer cower before him. It was almost as if she were daring him to strike her in their unspoken exchange.

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