“Get him the fuck out of here,” I order Travis and Heather. Max’s voice is nails on a chalkboard, and every time he speaks, Ryann becomes even more unhinged. I become even more unhinged. Where the fuck is Samuel?
“Don’t you touch him,” Raymond barks. “Throwing him out is not the answer.”
This situation isn’t getting contained anytime soon. Keeping hold of Ryann, Samuel appears and manages to assist Heather in keeping a desperate Max caged to a back wall. Keeping the argument restricted to this small little room that we’re now only occupying.
A harsh and unfamiliar laugh rings out, and it takes me a moment to realize it’s coming from Ryann. “Throwing him out is not the answer,” Ryann repeats back to her father.
“Babydoll,” I whisper in hopes of bringing her back to me. But I can feel her anger, and I know there is no coming back. Not until she releases her suppressed rage.
“NO!” She screams. “Throwing him out is the fucking answer. Let me go.” She warns, pulling against my hold. “You’re fucking dead, Max. How could you!?”
Spinning Ryann around, I firmly take hold of her shoulders, and the pain in her eyes is killing me. “Ryann, let’s go home. I don’t want you to do anything you’ll regret.” I also don’t want her to hurt herself either. And murdering Max won’t only send her to jail, but it may send her back to the hospital. My job will be to kill Max. Not Ryann. If he charges me, I’m not responsible for what happens after. Self-defense.
She starts to shake as fat hot tears fall from her eyes. “You know. You know what he did?” She seethes, pointing behind her. “He was there, Thomas. He’s the one who tied me. He made me drink when I didn’t want to....And Benji.....Benji......” Ryann trails off and suddenly turns on her heels. “You.... you told Jamie things he should have never of known. He knew how to control me because of YOU!”
Attempting to reach for her, Ryann is able to dodge my attempts as I watch her take her shoes off. I know what she’s about to do because I know Travis won’t let her get anywhere near Max. Travis immediately intercepts Ryann, but he doesn’t stop the shoes from flying.
Both hitting with a force against the wall next to Max.
“What the hell, Ry,” Max demands. “This is the kind of behavior you learn from Hollywood’s elite. Did Xayla teach you how to throw your shoes?”
“I don’t know. Did you learn to betray your friend by drugging and tying her to a bed from Jamie!?” She spits. Max’s face goes white as I watch Ryann attempt to break free from Travis’s hold. “Why? Why did you do it?”
Max starts shaking his head frantically, “I wasn’t there. The drugs you did has messed with your memory.” Jamie taught Maxwell well as I listen to him discount Ryann. Just like Jamie, Max is attempting to play the fucking victim. The only difference, I’m here.
Wonder if Travis can stop two people from attacking Max. But as I make a b-line for Max, Samuel stops me from my wanted assault.
“Ryann, why are you accusing Max of something he would never do?” Raymond challenges.
“Fuck off,” Ryann screams. “You’ve never believed me. Always believed Jamie. And now you’ll believe Max over me. Do you even know what happened that night? The night mom came out to the hospital? Do you even fucking cared that I almost died?”
Raymond rolls his eyes in exaggeration, “Which time, Ryann? You’ve nearly died now.....three times.”
Scratch that; I’m going to punch Raymond in his fucking pie hole. After today, if he wants to smile, he’ll need dentures.
“Dad, enough,” Jen warns. “You know what time she’s talking about. Benji called the house and told you to come out to the hospital. Mom was the only one to go out because you refused, and I was at a friend’s house and didn’t know until the next day when Max picked me up.”
“Ryann, you don’t have to explain anything to your father,” Betty states evenly. “You need to go outside. The both of you.” The warning in her tone could make any grown man shiver in fear for their life. But neither Max nor Raymond removes themselves from the room. Instead, they seem determined to drag this out painstakingly slow to torture Ryann. Trying to keep her the helpless victim.
But they’re sadly mistaken. Ryann may be a victim, but she’s far from helpless. And now, she has a fucking rottweiler always by her side.
“See, Ry. Jen can back me up. I wasn’t even at that party. Benji called me to tell....”
“You were covered in bruises,” Jen crushes any hope of being Max’s alibi. “When you picked me up the following day, you had a black eye and told me you got into a disagreement with your cousin.”
My head snaps over my shoulder, and Jen immediately shrinks. She knows I know who the cousin is she’s speaking of. And not only am I annoyed that she’s left this information out, but I’m also raging piss and could easily redirect my rage towards her. But addressing her is not on the top of my list.
Ryann screeches out as she nearly jumps over Travis’s shoulder to get to Max. Travis is forced to do some sort of evasive move that requires him to wrap his arms around her belly.
“Fucking liar. You were there,” She cries. “I remember it. All of it. You allowed those people to rape me.” Jen and Betty gasp out hearing their daughter’s accusation. “This whole time, you were working with Jamie. You sold me out. You fucking sold me out.”
Max starts to shake his head, “No, no, no. You don’t understand, Ryann. I didn’t.....”
“Stop lying!” Jen screams. “I found the fucking flash drive. I’m sorry, Ryann. I really am. I thought it would hold old lyrics or something. But when I saw the pictures......I didn’t watch the videos, but I saw your shoes. I bought you those damn shoes, Maxwell.” She says coming for Max, which prompts Heather to hold Jen back, leaving Maxwell for the taking. “I’m the one who turned the flash drive over to Benji.”
Keeping my eyes locked on Maxwell, “Travis, get Ryann out of here. Get her back to the condo.”
“You SOLD ME OUT!” Ryann screams as she fights against Travis’s hold again, but she’s able to break free this time. I watch Ryann run up to Max and slap him across the face before she starts to hit and kick him. And he’s just standing there taking it as she screams out in anguish.
Wrapping my arms around Ryann, I pull her away and manage to spin her around. But Ryann continues to repeat, he sold me out, before she finally collapses into my chest and starts to sob. I manage to push back my anger and wrap Ryann into a protective embrace. Turning to the sound of Travis talking into his mic again, I hear him tell whoever that we’re on the move.
“Ryann, look at me,” she immediately shakes her head, “Babydoll, please, look at me.” Finally, she manages to bring her anguished eyes to mine, and I can see her retreating. She’s ready to hide. “I’m so, so, sorry,” I say, cupping her cheeks. “But I need you to go with Travis. Jonathan and Val are here. They will take you back to the condo. Okay?”
She doesn’t even put up a fight. Telling me she’s done.
Placing a kiss to the top of her head, I hold Ryann close until Heather comes over and wraps an arm around Ryann to guide her out of the restaurant. But not before Ryann’s father reaches for her.
Ryann immediately flinches away from her father’s touch. “Don’t touch me. Just.....don’t. I don’t want anything to do with either one of you. I want you two out of my damn life.”
“Ryann, please let me explain,” Max calls out in desperation. “You’ve distanced yourself from me already. Please don’t make my world crash. I can’t lose you as a friend.”
Heather immediately takes hold of Ryann’s arms as she rushes to attack Max again. “You’re world came crashing down? In case it escaped your goddamn mind, you drugged me, allowed me to get rape.” She yells. “I was also just in a coma and had a miscarriage.” She screams. The room goes into an eerie silence as our grieving secret is exposed. “So, don’t you dare tell me your world is crashing down around you.”
Max’s mouth flops open, “You were.....with who?”
Ryann rolls her shoulders before looking back at me. And I watch her shaky breaths take control of her body. Ryann’s legs are threatening to give as every fucking weight on her shoulders is finally threatening to crush and suffocate her.
“That’s enough. This conversation is done.”
Taking hold of Ryann, she collapses in my arms, and I swiftly pick her up as her arms wrap around my neck, and she starts to sob. Biting my tongues, I follow Heather as she leads the way out of the room. Travis is at my back, leaving Samuel in the room to watch over the Jerry Springer episode that Jerry Springer wouldn’t even want to be a part of.
I catch wide and confused looks from some of the patrons, who don’t seem to have heard or noticed the fight in the next room over. The only people who seem to be aware of what’s going on are the wait staff. And the majority of them look scared and annoyed at the scene.
Walking out onto the sidewalk, I see the black town car with Jonathan and Val standing outside the car waiting for us.
“Oh, my god. What the hell happened?” Val demands the moment she lays eyes on us.
Shaking my head to keep her from asking any more questions, I lower Ryann to the ground and help her get into the car. Placing a kiss to her lips, I rest my forehead to hers, “I love you, babydoll. I’ll be home soon, promise.” She nods her head meekly. Getting out of the car, “Get Ryann home. I’ll be home as soon as I can. There is something I need to deal with.”
“Thomas, tell me what the hell happened.”
I’m raging piss and telling Val will only add fuel to that fire because she’ll want to rush into the restaurant and end anyone who gets into her path. I need her to stay with Ryann. And that will be my job. Not hers.
Jonathan, sensing my urgency, “Val, we need to move. Thomas will explain when he can. Please, don’t argue with me. Ryann needs you.” I can see Val wanting to argue, but she surrenders as she falls into the car, the door slamming behind her.
Watching Heather slide into the driver seat, Jonathan gives me a knowing look. One that screams, do what you gotta do before he piles into the front passenger seat. I can hear Ryann sobbing out as Val holds her. And as the car pulls out into traffic, I can still hear the utter betrayal in her voice, he sold me out.
This ends today.