Escaping too You ~book 3

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Chapter eleven

I must have dozed off on the ride to the hotel because the next thing I know, I’m being woken by Travis and the hotel lights are fucking blinding me.

Ohh, wait. It’s the fucking press outside of the damn hotel.

How in the hell did they know I was even leaving the damn hospital. So now, I’m left to wonder if they’re stalking the hospital grounds too. I didn’t see any as I was leaving, and Travis didn’t seem aware of any lingering around. Or at least, he didn’t mention seeing anything suspicious to me.

“Should we go around back? What do you mean they’re around back too? Where is the damn security.” Snapping my attention from the window, I notice Travis is on the phone as he leans into the front seat and signals for Jonathan to lock the doors to the car, but Jonathan is already three steps ahead of him. “No, I don’t need them. I mean, what OTHER reason would I be demanding for your security team. What do you need me to do? Wave a bright yellow banner outside? Yes, get them outside and rope of this madness.”

This may be the first time that I’ve seen Travis this riled up with the press. I mean, I know we’re all on edge, but this is a new level for him.

“Can we not just push our way into the hotel? We’ve done it before.” Stupid question, a fucking moronic question, and I know Travis is mentally kicking my ass for even saying the suggestion.

“Ryann was right to send you back to the hotel to get sleep if you’re suggesting something like that. Unfortunately, we’re gonna have to wait until the hotel security creates a barrier. That or until the police arrive.”

“Oh, yippee. I should have just stayed at the hospital.”

I swear for a brief second, I catch Travis rolling his eyes at me. One of the most unprofessional things I’ve seen him do in the years that he’s worked for me. Wanting to call him out for the act, I’m cut off before the first word ever leaves my mouth as he answers his cell.

“Perfect. Ya, I see it now.” Looking out of Travis’s window, I see the parting of the sea of the press as a barrier of security guards line a small passage to the front of the door. Giving us a small path to make it down to the front entrance. Jonathan swings the door open, allowing Travis and me to get out of the car. And as soon as I step out of the vehicle, flashes erupt all around us, followed by shouting of questions.

“Thomas, how are you feeling?”

“Thomas, are you and Ryann Anderson dating?”

“Thomas? Can you give us an update on your assistant?”

“Thomas, over here. Let your fans know that you’re ok.”

“Are the rumors about you and your assistant true? Is she fueling your addiction to alcohol?”

You know, I’m used to being bombarded by questions from the press. I’m used to having cameras shoved into my face just so the press can make their money shot. I’m used to seeing my name dragged through the press. But what I’m not used to and never will get accustomed to is Ryann’s name slandered in this toxic entertainment world.

Every inch of my body is itching to find the fucker who asked that question. Maybe smash their camera to the pavement. But, if they want a photo-worthy photo, I’ll fucking give them one.

“Keep walking,” Jonathan warns. His warning loud enough for Travis to turn slightly and usher me into the hotel.

As soon as my feet hit the gray marbling floor, I take off for the damn elevator. I need a moment to myself, but I also know where I go; my security is right behind me.

Hitting the button for the damn elevator, I see Travis in the reflection of the chrome-like doors. “I get that you’re tired and want to protect Ryann, but fighting the press is not the answer. Did you really think you’d get vengeance against the asswhipe who asked that question? We’ve discussed this. Ignore them and keep moving.”

“I don’t need a lecture on how this industry works.”

“Then get your head out of your ass before you do something you’ll regret,” Travis warns as his voice comes out in an almost staccato rhythm. “You’re becoming unhinged. First, fighting with Max in the hospital, and now you wanted to take out a paparazzi....”

Turning on Travis, “And you want to fight Max too. Don’t act....”

“I do, but it doesn’t mean that I’m going to lose control during a time that I can’t. So get it together, Thomas, because if you don’t, you’ll be causing more harm than good.” He scolds.

And Jonathan and I are going to have a long chat about ratting me out.

As the elevator door dings and opens, I quickly step on. “You two can take the stairs.”

Hitting the button to the floor Ryann and I were to stay on, I watch Travis cross his arms across his chest and shakes his head in irritation. As the elevator doors close me into the box, I sag into the corner and take deep breaths in and out. With each breath I take, I feel my exhaustion starting to take hold and weigh me down.

The weight of everything officially crashing down around me. For the past week, I’ve been trying to keep my walls up. To be strong for Val and Ryann because I felt like I couldn’t break. Especially once Ryann woke. I could feel her teetering on the brink of crashing and burning. She was scared. She is still scared, and so am I. The car accident is a step back for the both of us, but I know we’ll get through this traumatic struggle and emotional turmoil.

We have to.

Letting out a deep sigh, the elevator dings, and I step off and immediately head towards my room. It feels foreign walking the hotel halls without Ryann, knowing that she’s currently laying in a hospital bed without me. I should have never agreed to leave. Yes, I know Heather is good at her job, and I know Travis gave her strict instructions and orders to follow. So, everything should be alright, right?

Argh, I’m overanalyzing everything. It’s a freakin’ hospital. Their security staff knows what to do if something occurs, and I know Val and Xayla won’t let anything bad happen. Hell, I’m not sure who I’d be more scared of, Heather or Xayla. I mean, even Val has gotten scary a time or two, a side of her I haven’t seen until Ryann came into our lives.

Pulling the keycard from my wallet, I put it up against the sensor and fall into our room. A blast of cool air smacks me in the face as I flip a light switch on. The large room feels empty, so fucking empty and alone. Walking down the short hall, I spill into the tiny living area and see me and Ryann’s suitcases standing next to the couch. They look untouched. It looks like they were personally mailed to the hotel and not in the trunk of a totaled car. Ryann’s wallet is sitting on the coffee table with her phone, which looks shattered and unsavable, along with her laptop. From the state of her phone and the fact I only see Ryann’s wallet, I don’t think her bag made it. Or her teal blanket.

But I notice a tall brown paper gift bag sitting on the couch waiting for me. I have no clue who would leave a gift. I mean, Val is the only one with a key to our room. I had the hotel make her a spare because she and Heather went to the salvage yard to see if she could retrieve any of our belongings. She never said if she had any issues, just that she could get some of our belongings from the car.

Sitting on the couch, I reach for the bag and find a note inside. Pulling the letter out, I find Val’s writing scribbled across the white piece of paper.

Ryann, Thomas,

I’m honestly not sure who will see this first because I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get Thomas to leave the hospital.

Well, they succeeded. If Val left something for us, why didn’t she bring this to the hospital with her?

I’m hoping that Thomas is the one who is reading this first.

Thomas, I want you to know what happened was in no way your fault. You could not have predicted what was to occur during that car ride, and no matter how many times you try and figure out something you could have done differently, the outcome would have been the same. I want you to know that I’m so, so sorry for your and Ryann’s loss. When she texted about sneaking off to do a pregnancy test, I thought she was joking at first, but then her symptoms started to make sense. I was and am so excited for you guys because I know when the right time comes, you’ll be an amazing father, and I know Ryann will be a wonderful mother. Both of you are extremely lucky to have one another in each other’s life. And you, Thomas Copeland, are especially lucky. I hope you know and see that. And I hope you know how much Ryann loves you. She may have been pissed off before the accident, but that would never stop her from loving you.

And I’m so proud of the progress that you’ve taken in getting your life back. Your sobriety. I don’t want this to be a stepping stone for you or Ryann to take backwards. You’ll need to be there for her when she needs you the most. Even if she pushes you away, and she’ll need to be there for you too. Which I know she will be.

And if Ryann is reading this note too. Gurl, I love you so much. You are easily the greatest friend that I’ve ever had, and I’m so grateful that you accepted the job with Thomas. I know that you’ve had your ups and downs with certain people, but your courage and determination are a force to be reckoned with. Don’t you ever forget it, and I know you’ll pull through. This is another low blow that the world has dealt you, but know, you are surrounded by people who love and will do anything for you.

Anyway, enough with the corny shit, I love you two!

Setting the note down on the coffee tablet, I open the bag and find a new overly large teal blanket and a square box with Ryann’s name on it. Opening it up, I see a silver necklace with a small solid silver circle charm with a tiny heart engraved on it with Sloane’s name elegantly written across it. On another little ring is an emerald birthstone encase in a silver border and resting between the two charms are little wings. Picking the piece of jewelry from the box, I hold it in my hand as hot tears fall from my eyes.

Leaning back on the couch, I admire the necklace in my hand, knowing that Ryann will love it. And like the rings that she wears, she’ll never take it off. The brown bag on the couch falls to the ground, and I catch another square box falling across the floor. Val has already done more than enough; she didn’t need to buy any more gifts.

With delicate hands, I place Ryann’s necklace back into its box and reach down for the fallen square box on the floor. Opening the box, I find a bracelet. The bands are thick black leather material braided and come to an end at a silver clasp. The front of the bracelet has a silver nameplate with one lone emerald stone at the end of a name—Sloane’s name written in the same style as Ryann’s necklace.

Fucking hell, my heart contracts as I place the bracelet onto my wrist, and I’m slightly amazed that it fits perfectly against my large wrists. I stare down at my wrist, twisting it, so the metal and emerald stone catches in the light, and I can’t help but smile in appreciation. Val has genuinely outdone herself once again.

Pulling my phone out of my pocket, I make sure the volume is up before laying down on the couch and pulling the teal blanket over me. It may not have been used by Ryann yet, but I swear, I can smell her vanilla floral scent wrapping around me.

Closing my eyes, my thoughts are swimming of Ryann and the friends and family who have been nothing but supportive, and sleep comes easier than I thought. Even with the slew of tasks I need to handle. Right now, I’m taking this time to at least get a couple of hours of undisturbed sleep.

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