The most ballsy thing I’ve ever done in my entire life was giving Ryann my mother’s ring. I’ve carried it with me for years, and the place it truly belongs is on Ryann’s hand for all to see.
Though, the only person who may actually realize what Ryann is wearing is my grandma, who knew what I was doing, and Pearl. Pearl’s been searching for my mom’s ring for the past fifteen years. Jokes on her, I’ve been carrying it this entire time, and I knew what she was after since she hired Jazz.
My mom never went anywhere without that ring. Although the ring is nothing impressive, the sentimental value was something Mom held near and dear to her heart. It was a gift my grandma and grandpa gave to her for her sixteenth birthday. The stone is her birthstone, a violet-blue tanzanite stone encased in a small golden triangle setting with a small gold band.
Ryann was speechless as she stumbled with the idea of what she was holding between her fingers.
“Thomas, I can’t....I can’t accept this. This belonged to your mom...” She stuttered. Her hands were trembling as she looked at the precious gem between her fingers.
Taking the ring from her, I placed it on her middle finger, stacking it on top of her grandmother’s wedding band, “And belongs with you. If my mom could have met you, she’d automatically fall in love with you. I want you to have this. My mom would want you to have this. And if things don’t work out between us, I’d still want you to wear this ring. I want it to be a reminder of everything you’ve overcome. Everything that you helped me to overcome.”
Her tears fell fast and hard as she looked down at her hand. A small smile graced her lips. When she looked back up, she collided into me, our mouths meeting for a passionate kiss. The rest of the day was spent with our phones off and us laying in bed together. We talked, we laughed, and it took a lot of convincing on her part to try and persuade me Die Hard is a Christmas movie. I’m still not convinced.
Too bad all of our days together couldn’t be like that as we move forward into the new year. The year started off fast and hard with my work schedule. And in return, it is causing late nights at the studio for reshoots, or I’m up late in my office. I know me going to bed late is a problem because Ryann’s nightmares are becoming more frequent and more traumatizing.
Ryann has been seeing her therapist more in hopes that she can sort through the dreams and find some way that does not involve medication to deal with the nightmares. I’m trying to be supportive of Ryann’s wishes, but with each nightmare that I wake her from, the less confidence I have that she’ll be able to manage them without meds. So far, I’ve woken her from three this week alone. Her screams fill the house as she screams out in pure panic and fear. It’s a gut-wrenching sound that transports me back with her.
“I didn’t want to take anymore. I want help. I don’t want to live this way.” She cried.
I held her face between my hands, pushing strands of her hair back. She’s stuck in a basement or wherever hell her mind has her trapped. “Babydoll, what are you talking about? Take more of what?”
“Jamie, I – I didn’t want any more pills....he made me. I want to stop. I want help. Pl-please, help me.” She practically sobbed with broken words.
My heart shattered as I held her to my chest. No one helped her at those parties, and she’s reliving those moments each and every time I’m not here with her.
I’m not sure if Ryann recalls anything that she says when I wake her. It’s like the scene she was fighting against disappears once she realizes where she is. I also haven’t told or talked to Ryann yet either. I can tell that these nightmares are starting to get to her, and I don’t want to add to her stress.
I want Ryann to find the truth that she’s searching for, but I’m worried that it will devastate her once she realizes the truth.
“How have you been doing?” Andrew asks.
We’ve been called to reshoot a damn scene the production team didn’t like during the editing process, once again. I’m highly annoyed. I have other things that I need to do, and talking to Andrew was on that list, but not in the dressing room.
“Okay,” I say as I force myself back out of my memories and into the bland dressing room we’re held up in. “Been keeping myself busy. Still doing boxing and running daily.”
“That’s good. Any urges? You look like you haven’t been getting much sleep.” Well, thanks for the confidence boost, there buddy. What’s next? Gonna tell me that I have bags under my eyes.
“Only when dealing with Pearl or Dax. And Ryann’s nightmares have returned with my work schedule picking up.” I tell him.
He cocks his head to the side with a slight frown on his face, “Well, fire Pearl and Dax. It’s past the first of the year. Didn’t you say your lawyers had caused to fire both? And what are her nightmares about? Has she told you?”
“I’m working on it,” I say with pure annoyance. “But I need proof of the threat. I need proof that Pearl has whatever fucking credible threat she thinks she has over Ryann.” And I’m not sure how I’m supposed to obtain any type of proof like that. I can’t break into her office. My lawyers have already told me I can’t gain evidence by committing a crime. I’m half tempted to just show up unannounced to Pearl’s office and turn the fucker upside down. I’m technically not violating the contract.
“What type of proof are we talking here? Tape recordings of Pearl’s threat? Or actual evidence that she has whatever she’s trying to blackmail Ryann with?”
Shrugging a shoulder, “Tucker said, actual evidence. All the tape recording would prove is hearsay. To void their contracts, we need physical proof.”
“Gotcha, well, that sucks. Let me know if there is anything I can help with. I’m great at picking locks.” And I can’t tell if he’s joking or serious. But with Andrew’s past, I’m likely to believe that he’s picked a lock or two back in his crazy-youthful days. “I also think once they’re gone, it will help with your recovery. I still think you need to go to meetings, and I know a couple of places that cartel to high profile individuals.” He’s been trying to get me to attend meetings since the beginning of my sobriety. He thinks that they’d be good for me. To share. But I don’t want to share in a room full of strangers. I don’t trust easily.
“And I’ll continue to think about it,” When we both know, I won’t.
He gives me a disbelieving look, “Anyway, Ryann. Has she told you what her nightmares are about?”
I study him for a minute, slightly wary of telling him anything that regards Ryann’s private life. But I know Andrew knows more than what he’s sharing. Sighing, “No, not always. Sometimes she’ll still be in a trance-like state where she is awake, but she’s screaming, yelling, or panicking. This latest one, once she came to, she ran to the bathroom and threw up.”
Andrew’s brow furrows with worry, “What? Did you get her knocked up?”
Uh, not funny, and no. We use condoms....well, most of the time and Ryann is on birth control. I’d say we’re pretty well covered.
“Not funny, and I asked her. She wouldn’t talk to me, but whatever her dream was about had her shaking and sobbing. Normally after she breaks whatever trance she’s stuck in, it’s like Ryann forgets why she was screaming or what she was saying. But this last time was different. She remembered; I know she did.”
“Have you tried talking to her since??”
“No, but she’s been seeing her therapist today. She actually wants Ryann to go on medication to help with the dreams, but Ryann doesn’t want to. She’s afraid the memories will become repressed again, and she won’t find whatever truth she’s looking for.” I stare down at my phone. A photo of Ryann and I smiling and laughing hidden away in my photos. Making me wish that I could have it as a wallpaper on my phone. She stole my phone and snapped it Christmas day of us laying in bed together. She looks beautiful as always, and I’m completely mesmerized by her.
I hear Andrew hum causing me to look back at him, “I’m glad that she’s seeking help. Hopefully, she can get to the root cause of her dreams. But don’t let Ryann’s issues hinder your sobriety.”
I eye him, “It won’t. Ryann would push herself away from me if she thought that was a possibility.”
“I know she would. But you’d just chase right after her. You won’t be able to let her go.” He tells me.
And he’s not wrong. I promised Ryann that I’d never let her go, and I’ll hold onto that promise until the day I die.
“No, I’ll never let her go. Not again.”
I don’t think Andrew approved of my statement, but he doesn’t question me any further. Instead, we focus on what will be our ever-so-fun press tour and the rumors about another reshoot for a scene. Both of us hoping and praying that it’s not a scene we’re in. But I have a feeling I know what scene it is. Probably one that I showed up to set drunk. Which means we’ll more than likely have to go to Vancouver. It’s cheaper to refilm there, and they’ve already dismantled most of the set for filming here in the studio. The studio has already moved onto the next big and upcoming motion picture.
As I’m on set, my phone starts to vibrate, and I see Ryann’s name coming up on caller ID.
“Hey, are you okay?” I ask. This morning as we were leaving the house, she was a little despondent. I’m not sure if she ever got back to sleep after waking from her nightmare because she kept tossing and turning in bed.
I can practically hear her force a smile as she starts to talk, “Hey, baby.” She sings softly into the phone, “I wasn’t expecting you to answer. I thought you were on set.”
One of the many things she’s good at, deflecting answers she doesn’t want to answer, “I am. But I’ll always answer for you.”
“Awe, you’re too sweet. You know that, right?”
I feel a smile form in the corner of my mouth, “I know what you’re doing. Babydoll, how was your appointment today?”
She lets out a deep sigh. “Fine. She still recommends medication to help me sleep. But I don’t want any. She also thinks that I need to meet with my family sooner to talk to them. Then maybe my nightmares will go away or at least subside some.”
“You mean to confront Max?” I know the underlining meaning. I don’t think she wants a family meeting when she’s going to be grilling Max.
“Yea,” she whispers into the phone. “I don’t know what to do, Thomas. I’m starting to feel overwhelmed, and in the back of my mind, I have the constant worry that Pearl is up to no good.”
Walking further away from set, I find myself backed into a corner and away from prying ears. I watch crew members bustle around, hurrying to get the scene set. “Babydoll, I promise you, Pearl will not do anything to hurt you. I won’t allow it.”
“You can’t promise that, Thomas. She’s still employed under you, and she’s been quiet for far too long. It’s only a matter of....”
“Whoa,” I interject, “Where is all of this coming from? Ryann, does this have anything to do with the nightmare you had?” The line goes silent, confirming my suspicion. Sighing, I slouch into the wall, “Will you tell me what this one was about? I know you remember, I could tell last night, and I can still hear the pain in your voice today. Something is bothering you, and I need you to know that I’m here for you, no matter what.”
“I don’t want to talk about it on the phone,” She offers up. “Can we talk tonight? Will you be home on time?”
Frowning, I look down at my feet before movement catches my attention as Leisa motions for me to join them on set. I hold a finger up to her, telling her I’ll be another minute, “I don’t know, babydoll. It might be a late night. I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine. We can talk when you get home then.”
“Are you sure? If things run over,” which I’m sure they will, “I can just leave. Be home by eight.”
“Really, Thomas, you’re fine. I’ll talk to you when you get home tonight. No worries. Do you need me to come to the studio or anything? I was thinking of catching a yoga class with Valerie today.”
Running a hand through my hair, something isn’t sitting right with this conversation. I believe Ryann when she tells me that she wants to go off to a yoga class with Val. It’s a new hobby of hers that she picked up in New York. But I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I need to be at her side today and not leave her alone. That I need to keep her safe.
I must be overreacting. Feeding off of Ryann’s emotions and insecurities. She won’t be alone. She’ll be with Val, and I know Ryann will be fine and safe. “Nope, you’re free. On one condition, though.”
I hear her laugh on the other end, and the soft warmth spreading through the phone is a welcoming change from her tone a few seconds ago, “And what is that, Mr. Copeland?”
“That you show me those famous yoga moves,” I nearly growl into the line.
“Oh, Mr. Copeland, you’ve already witnessed them,” her voice is sultry and causing my cock to stir.
She laughs, “But I’ll send a picture if you’d like.”
Smiling to myself, “And please do tell babydoll, how are you going to get said picture?”
“Mr. Copeland, we’re ready to film your scene,” Leisa demands from across the studio. Again I hold a finger up. Which wins me a glare this time, and I’m sure a mental middle finger.
“Why do you think I’m bringing Valerie. Bye Thomas, have fun filming, and do not piss Leisa off.” She warns.
Challenging her threat, “Or what?”
“Or else I’m going to have to come down to the studio and drag you back to your dressing room,” Oh, she’s a massive fucking horny tease today.
“Is that a promise, babydoll?”
She laughs. Her laughter infectious, “Bye, Thomas. I’ll talk to you later.”
Hanging up the phone, I make my way back to set. Leisa glaring at me, “Are we ready now.”
“Yup, let’s get this over with.”
She shakes her head with annoyance, “I live to work around your personal life.”
If only she saw what my personal life is now. Because after this movie, it will not be this glitz and glam shit. I’m moving onto bigger and better things for my life.