“Thomas, I think you need to go back to the hotel and get some kind of sleep. We’ll stay with Ryann.”
Xayla’s been at the hospital for about an hour now and has decided to accompany me to get shit coffee while Val stays in the room and Travis and Jonathan remain on guard. Ryann has been going in and out of sleep since she’s arrived, and I can tell today’s events have taken an exhausting toll on her.
“No, I’m good. I’m not leaving her.”
Xayla brings the coffee cup to her bare lips, which is a rare sight to see, and nearly chokes on the contents.
Laughing, “Ya, it’s shit coffee. Jen will bring the good stuff tomorrow morning.”
“So, you and the sister are good then?” Xayla asks as she tosses her cup straight into the trash.
“I guess. It’s Max I have an issue with.”
“Val texted me and told me he decked you the other day, but you can’t really tell.” She says, taking my chin between her fingers and swiveling my head around to examine it for any damages. “Well, one thing is for sure. He has a pussy ass punch if the bruise is already gone.”
Bringing the cup to my mouth, I blow on the scolding hot liquid before taking a sip, “And you should see his lip from today.”
“Thomas! In a hospital, seriously?” She half-ass scolds, trying to hold back a snicker.
Shrugging, I lead the way back towards Ryann’s room. “Val chucked her shoe at him the other day.”
I swear Xayla goes crossed eye as she busts out laughing. “Oh, she’s been hanging out with me for far too long.”
“Caught Max by surprise. I don’t think he was expecting a shoe to be thrown at him.” It caught a lot of us by surprise.
I’ve never seen Val dislike someone as much as she does Max. I mean, I think the level of contempt she holds towards him out does her hatred against Pearl, which is saying a lot. And honestly, if I had to pick one of them to be on my good side, it would be Pearl. While she’s sneaky as hell and is only looking out for herself, at least, she’s smart about it. Clever and isn’t really willing to risk injury to her cash cow if she can help it. Well, minus fueling an addiction. But Max, he’s a new level of conniving. He put Ryann’s life at risk more than once and watched her spiral when she was crying out for help. He knew what she was subjected to because he helped in handing out that abuse. More than once, he almost killed her.
Just thinking about it makes me want to find a god damn punching bag. Or a damn drink.
Walking back into the room, I find Ryann sitting up and talking with Val. She’s all smiles and laughing this time. Which is a welcome from the last time she woke. Unfortunately, her emotions are kind of all over the place, and I can’t blame her. Her body is out of whack. Her hormones are all over the place from the miscarriage and from the doctors removing her IUD.
Xayla pushes past me as soon as she sees Ryann is awake. “Eek! You’re up!”
“Wait! When did you get here?” Ryann asks, looking slightly confused. “I thought you were in Vancouver.”
I wondered if Ryann realized Xayla was in the room while she was coming in and out of sleep.
Xayla embraces Ryann lightly, “Ehh, I can do what I need to do over the phone or ZOOM. How are you feeling? Val and Thomas have kept me updated here and there.”
“A little sore, but I’m ready to go home. However, we’ll be staying in New York for almost a month. Or until I’m cleared to fly back home.”
Xayla looks at me, slightly surprised, “Well, Thomas left that part out. Do you guys have a place to stay?”
Sitting on the couch, I watch Xayla make herself comfortable at the end of the bed and pulls her legs up under her. “Yea, Alex has offered up his condo,” I answer.
Xayla’s brow furrows. “Alex.....” She says his name slowly as she tries to grasp who I’m talking about. A friend that she’s met once or twice while we were in New York together. “Alexander Morgan? Where is he going?”
“I don’t know. He’s down in Georgia for the foreseeable future.”
Xayla’s mouth moves into a slight Ohh. “Is he finally going after Rosalee?” Val and Ryann look to one another, slightly confused, and the confusion continues to grow with each word Xayla speaks. And I’m not sure why Xayla is even asking me any of these questions because I have no fuckin clue. It’s not like Alex, and I call each other to talk about our feelings or how we fucked up our love life, again.
“Who and who?” Ryann finally asks.
Xayla claps her hands together in excitement like she’s about to recite some recap from a damn soap opera.
“The Morgan name is well known in New York. The family is really into business and owning any and everything they can get their hands on. Well, Alex didn’t want that. So he started his own business with a friend, and they work around the country remolding businesses and building everything from homes to a new self-own business. Thomas had his and his grandparents’ home built by Alex when he was just starting out. Anyway, he met this girl. I think her name is Rosalee.” Xayla looks at me to confirm like I would have a clue. I’ve never met her, and again, Alex doesn’t call me to tell me about his love affairs. It’s almost always ever been about business.
I mean, I know he’s going through his own shit at the moment like I’m going through mine. But we don’t spend hours talking it out because we both know our time is needed elsewhere. Plus, it’s just not what our friendship is about.
“I’m pretty sure her name is Rosalee. I’ve never met her, but I’ve heard she’s stunning. But she just up and left one day and left a heartbreaking note behind for him. It’s really sad. I feel for the guy.”
“And?” Val asks with her mouth slightly open.
Val looks at me.
Again I don’t know his damn love life.
Only to look back to Ryann and back to Xayla. “Seriously? That is all we get. So he fell for a woman who just up and left him and left a heartbreaking note behind? Like, did he go after her?”
I watch Xayla shrug a shoulder as she plucks at the blanket. “No clue. This is all secondhand word from someone named Alice. Not my Alice, of course. God, she wouldn’t be caught dead in a nightclub.”
“And who the hell is Alice?” I ask.
“I assumed a friend.”
Shaking my head, “I don’t know anyone named Alice who ran with Alex, and his circle of friends is small. I don’t even make the cut.”
Xayla’s mouth forms a slight frown. “Oh, then I have no idea. She was at a party I was at, and we just got to talking. Then she got creepy for my liking, and I left her standing at the bar talking with some dude. Never saw her again.” Clapping her hands again, “So, does this mean I finally get to see Alexander’s Condo?”
Rolling my eyes, “I guess.”
Xayla claps her hands together with excitement, forcing me to pinch the bridge of my nose from yelling at her to stop. Her excitement is over the top right now, and I can barely handle it when all I want to do is sleep.
“Honey, why don’t you go back to the hotel and get some sleep.”
Ryann’s voice is soft and sweet. A welcome from the over-exuberance I was forced to listen to three seconds ago, and I just want to curl up next to her and fall asleep. I don’t want to go back to an empty hotel room and sleep alone.
“I’m fine, babydoll. Promise.”
Ryann cocks her head to the side. “No, you’re not. Go and get some sleep. I’ll be fine.”
“Thomas, go and get some sleep. Xayla and I will stay with her. If anything happens, I will call you.” Val attempts to reassure.
“See, I won’t be alone. Xayla and Val are here, and honestly, they’ve been with me through much worst.”
Taking a deep breath in, I get to my feet and sit on the side of the bed and take Ryann’s hand into mine. “Are you sure?”
She smiles, “I am positive. Plus, you can bring me back some clothes. The nurse said that I could change into regular clothes tomorrow. And deodorant. Please, for the love god, bring back deodorant.” I can’t help but laugh out.
“Oh, god. Is that what that smell is?” Xayla smirks.
If Ryann could throw her pillow, I’m sure she would.
“It’s bad, Xayla. I was just allowed to take a damn shower with the help of Thomas the other day.” The comment alone wins a sexual whistle from Xayla. “Ya, no. Not remotely in that way.” Turning her attention back to me. “And the hotel pillow. Can you sneak that out? Because sleeping on this paper-thin thing is killing me.”
Leaning in, I place a kiss to her lips. “Your wish is my command, beautiful.”
“Gag me with a freaking spoon. Seriously, the level of cheesiness is a bit too much.” Xayla gags.
“Ah, I think it’s cute,” Val adds. “Plus, it puts a smile on Ryann’s face.”
I can’t help but mirror the smile on Ryann’s face. A joyous sight that she’s been sharing more and more as the days passed. Ryann is good at concealing her emotions from nearly everyone, but her guard is down with me, and I can read her like a fiddle. The mirage that she attempts to slip into place around others doesn’t work with me. It’s never worked on me.
“Are you sure you’ll be okay?”
Ryann nods her head slowly, “Yes. On one condition, though.”
I arch a quizzical brow. “And what is that?” I watch her line of sight aim for the door and where Travis is standing, and I immediately start to shake my head. “Oh, no. He stays with you. That was the original deal.”
Ryann frowns before pushing her bottom lip out. Oh, she’s feeling spirited. “But I want someone you know and trust to be with you. Plus, Travis could use some sleep, too, and so can Jonathan. So send Heather to stand guard.”
“Not happening, Ryann.” Travis is to be with her at all times if I am not. If I can’t be with her, I want someone guarding her who knows how she thinks. Jonathan nor Heather know how Ryann thinks.
Ryann cocks her head off to the side as her eyes bore into me. “Thomas, this is how this will work. You, Travis, and Jonathan will go back to the hotel. Get some sleep and come back tomorrow. If you don’t leave, I will call the nurse in and have you removed from my room.” I feel my jaw tick with her threat. One that is not empty by any means. “I love you, but you need one good night of sleep. Please, I’m begging you. Get some sleep tonight. Val and Xayla will stay with me. Val knows what to do if I have a nightmare.”
Her nightmares returning while I’m away never occurred to me. They weren’t even a thought until now. The idea of her sleep being turned upside down and torturous is not an encouraging motivator to get me to go back to the hotel room.
“Don’t give me that look,” Ryann warns.
“I’m not giving you a look.” That’s a lie. I know I’m giving her a stern and just do as you’re told look. But as much as I want to win this argument, I can see the pleading behind Ryann’s soft and exhausted hazel eyes. Sighing, “Fine, but only for tonight, and I’m coming back early tomorrow morning.” Ryann beams at me in triumph. “You’re lucky I love you.” I tease as I place another kiss to her lips.
“And I love you. Now, go. Get some sleep, and I’ll see you tomorrow....with breakfast, I hope.”
Shaking my head on a laugh, “Babydoll, I’ll bring you whatever you please.”
Giving Ryann one more kiss, I say my goodnights to Val and Xayla and made them promise that no one is to leave this room or enter. I know visiting hours are over, but every worst-case scenario is currently running through my head. If something goes wrong, I will not be there to stop it or to fix it. Not to mention, I’m taking the only man who I trust to protect Ryann with me and leaving Ryann’s care in Heather’s hands.
Travis has full confidence that Heather does her job better than any man, but Heather being a woman, has nothing to do with my lack of faith. Instead, my lack of confidence comes from knowing I’m not in control. And as I sit in the backseat of the UBER, reality sets in. I’m no longer in the same building as Ryann. My heart is aching, but I can feel the tether between us is stronger than ever.
For one night while I’m away, I know Ryann is safe.