Escaping too You ~book 3

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Chapter thirty-five

Fucking hell, I really need to start listening to my gut more often. Because of the shit show that occurred at the restaurant, I ended up meeting up with Cam to talk, and he ended up taking me to a meeting. I didn’t have much of an option, and I was exhausted and felt defeated. And at that point, I was done arguing.

Surprisingly, it was exactly what I needed. Ryann was right, and I wished I’d listened to her sooner, but meetings do help. I didn’t share at this one. I just sat in the back row with Cam and watched and listened to everyone who did share. It was a small group, some of the people I knew from events I attended, one was an old co-star that I haven’t seen in years, but everyone was oddly welcoming. The rules and the world of Hollywood were left at the fucking door.

But by the time we arrived back at the condo, it was four in the morning. I lost track of time when I didn’t want to lose track of time. But it happened. Too easily.

After the meeting, we left the old and faded brick building that looked like it used to be a YMCA and went to a local café. I’m not even sure how long I sat down across from Cam with the same cup of coffee in hand talking. Just talking. That is all we did. From every fucking thing that has happened since the car accident to now, I shared with him. The good, the bad, and the fucking ugly.

It also didn’t help the police tracked me down and wanted a damn statement followed by the threat of an arrest. It took Travis a lot of convincing to the officers not to haul my ass down to the station for questioning. But three hours into the interrogation process at the little diner, they got a call that all charges were dropped.

I don’t know-how, and I don’t know why, but I didn’t really care to find out once I realized what time it was. All I could think about was getting back to Ryann. The moment I put her in the car, I wanted to go after her. But I knew.....I knew she’d want me to look after myself. I knew she’d want me to attend a meeting or talk with someone with the thoughts and needs of grabbing a drink running rampant in my head.

When I walked into the condo, every single fucking light was on, and Heather and Jonathan were pacing the open living room. Occasionally, Jonathan would stop at the entryway of the hall and peek down the hallway towards the bedrooms.

I walked past both of them, not interested in exchanging words, and found myself standing in the doorway of our bedroom. Ryann was curled up under the blanket and wearing one of my hoodies pulled up and over her head, fast asleep with Val laying next to her. Like many times before, I’m thankful for the friendship they hold. Val and Ryann’s relationship isn’t only based on friendship but sisterhood too. And I only hope Ryann can see how much love surrounds her.

Instead of waking them, I’ve found myself in the deafening silence of the home office. And with the sun about to break the horizon, I’ve yet to shower or sleep. So instead, I’m sitting in the large office chair, looking out the window and watching what of the sunrise I can see. Yesterday is still hanging heavy over the brand new day, and with Teresa set on arriving anytime....I’m honestly not sure what to expect.

Running a hand through my hair, I hear my phone start to vibrate on the desk next to me. Looking at the screen, I see a familiar name and a call I’ve been waiting for. And as much as I don’t want to answer and talk to anyone other than Ryann, I know if I want to get our lives back onto any path of normalcy, I’m going to have to answer this call.

“This is Thomas.” My tone is vacant of any emotion and filled with the exhaustion I’m feeling.

“Thomas, it’s Alex. Calling to check-in and to give you an update on the plans you sent me. Figured you’d be up.”

Underlining meaning, I saw the media reports of the public fight, and I know you’ve yet to go to bed.

“You saw the reports?”

The line stays silent for a minute before he finally speaks again, “Well, Rose did. She was flipping channels and saw you being escorted to a car. What happened? Are you okay?”

Running a hand through my hair, it feels strange having Alex ask me a fundamental question: Are you okay? We mostly keep to ourselves. Talk when we need to talk and live our lives separately. I honestly don’t remember a time when we’ve held a personal conversation before.

“I will be. What’s up?”

“Erm.....so, I’ve drawn up the sketches for you and Ryann’s home. I did make a few tweaks along the way, and Rose even added some things she thinks Ryann may like. I can email them by the end of the day.”

Staring out of the window, “Send them, and I’ll show Ryann.”

“Ya...ya, I’ll add some of the finishing touches and send them over.” I can hear the lingering in his voice. There is more. So much more.

“What?”

“Erm....listen, Thomas. I know our friendship was built on going out, drinking, and fucking any girl we picked up at the bar. But I want you to know that I’m here if you need someone to talk to.”

Running a hand through my hair again, I don’t know how much more talking I can do with a person other than Ryann.

“Thanks, man.”

“No, I mean it, Thomas. I’m here if you need me....” He trails off and, in the background, I can hear what sounds like a baby crying. His voice drops significantly before speaking to someone in the room with him. “Sorry, honey.” I listen to what sounds like a door gently shutting before I hear the squeak of a chair.

What I’m more puzzled by is the baby crying in the background. “You had a baby?”

Alex chuckles to my astonishment, “Trust me, it was a surprise. Rose and I weren’t trying.” Ya and neither were Ryann and me. “But he’s about four months old.” I can feel the sudden ping in my heart as I look down at my bracelet. “I miss the sleep, but it’s worth it.” I bet it is. “How is everything at the condo? I talked to Valerie last week.”

Chucking back the lump in my throat, “Good, good. Thanks again for letting me rent it from you.”

“No problem. So, I’ll send you over the blueprints for the house that I have drawn up, and I have a team ready to go at your say.”

Thank God, a distracting topic. “Perfect, will you be leading this project?”

“I’ll be making stops two to three times a week. Traveling back and forth for the time being. I can’t leave Rose completely alone with the baby.”

“Oh, ya, of course, I understand. But, if you guys ever want to stay out on the property, the farmhouse will be empty until my grandparents move in. So please, feel free to use it for the weekend, week. However long you’d like. Just let me know, and I’ll make sure everything is turned on and set for you.”

There is a soft knock on the office door before it’s opened, and Heather walks in. A tall older woman, who looks to be in her early fifties, walks in behind her. She’s dress in all black, almost like she’s returned from a funeral, and her long two-toned grey hair is pulled up into a high half ponytail.

“Oh, thanks, man. I’ll let you know for sure, but I’ll send over the blueprints and look forward from hearing from ya. Talk to you later.”

“Bye.”

Hanging up the phone, I set the device, screen down on the desk before getting to my feet. My hand outstretched in preparation for greeting who I’m assuming is Teresa. Instead, I’m met by a forceful smack across my face. The pain vibrating across my cheek and up my nose. My eyes immediately start to water as I take about ten steps back.

Clearly, I’m not in her good graces. And holy fucking shit, she hits like a man.

“Thomas fucking Copeland. I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.” Heather throws me a bag of peas, which were initially for my nose, before the slap. Now, it’s for both.

“Thanks, Heather.” She gives me a thinned smile before looking Teresa up and down with a warning glare.

Heather was the lucky one who drew the short straw to go and pick Teresa up from the airport. After everything that went down, I made Travis take the day off. Whether it be at the apartment or in the security room, I didn’t care. But he has strict instructions not to work. Not even research. Ultimately, he opted to stay within the condo. And I know it’s to stay close to Ryann.

“I’ll be outside of the door if you need me, Mr. Copeland.”

“Thanks, Heather.” Heather closes the door behind her, and I immediately flop down on the small leather couch, resting my head against the back of the cushion and place the bag of peas over my face. I feel Teresa standing near me. It’s almost a chilling feeling, like someone hiding in the woods waiting to strike, to kill you.

“What happened to you?” She suddenly asks.

Removing the bag of peas, an intense pair of blueish/greyish eyes are staring back at me. Ya....just one look at Teresa. I don’t want to spill my past and story with her. All I want to do is put as much distance between us as physically possible.

“Max got a lucky shot in. But he looks worst.”

Placing the bag back on my face, I feel the couch cushion dip beside me, and the bag of peas is removed from my nose. I watch as Teresa sets the bag down on the cushion next to her, and she takes my face with her cold, icy hands. Her fingers slowly start to palpate along the bridge of my nose, causing me to flinch at the tenderness.

“It’s not broken. Just bruised.” She says, handing me the bag of peas back. “Same with your jaw. Bruised. Doesn’t surprise me. Max is a pansy when he fights. You should have seen him when Benji got ahold of him.”

Removing the bag, I eye her, “So, you know what happened that night?”

Her brow shoots up, “No. I don’t. But I have my suspicions. What did Max do now to warrant an ass beating?”

“Attacked me.” Again, Teresa arches a brow. Bringing the icepack from my face, “Fine, Ryann remembers that night.”

“What? Since when?”

“Well, since her sister named dropped Benji. Then everything went to shit with her dad just showing up with Max. Ryann went full throttle on Max before.......” Trailing off, I take a deep breath in and hop over that giant piece of information. Sloane can be discussed when Ryann is ready. “I got her out of the restaurant and went back in to beat the shit out of Max. Aaand, Travis may have punched Raymond.”

Teresa’s eyes are wide. Actually, any wider, I’m worried her eyeballs may pop out of their sockets. “I’m sorry, did you say Raymond? As in Ray? As in Ryann’s father. Here? In New York?”

Before I can even entertain the idea of a shock, Teresa, there is a soft knock on the door as Val walks in. My heart sinking back down, hoping it would be Ryann on the other side. Stopping in her tracks, Val looks Teresa up and down with trepidation.

“And who is this?” She points at Teresa before her mouth flops open in pure shock. “What the hell happened to your face? Did you do this to him? Who the hell are you anyway?” Val’s hands are on my face in an attempt to look me over, but I push her hands away. “Did she slap you? Did you slap him?”

“Val,” I urge her to calm down. “This is Teresa. Teresa, this is Valerie.”

Valerie’s face falls into a frown as she stands tall with her hands planted firmly onto her hips.

Fuck, what the hell is Val going to say now?

Hell, I don’t care.

Pointing a shaky angry finger, “You, you. How in the hell did you allow that friendship to continue?” Val nearly screams. “Or allow her father to treat her the way he does. What happened yesterday was uncalled for and not needed. What Max did.....I’m going to fucking kill him. Something both of you should have done.”

Rolling my eyes, “Ehh, he’s in the hospital.”

“Not good enough.”

Teresa leans towards me, keeping eye contact with Val. “Oh, I like her. I like you. Too bad you weren’t around during Ry’s early years. But I’m happy to see she has a friend like you now.” Teresa says, scooching forward slightly. “And I did try to rid Max out of Ryann’s life. I never trusted him. And as for Ray. I think he really does love Ry, but I don’t think he knows how to show it.”

Rolling my eyes once again, “That’s a fucking understatement.” Putting the bag of peas against my nose again. “Val, where’s Ryann?”

“Erm.....” She trails off, causing me to bolt up, the bag of peas falling from my face. “That’s actually why I came in here.

Oh, God. She ran. “Please tell me she didn’t run.”

Val shakes her head. “No, no, she didn’t run. But she’s not feeling well.”

“What do you mean she’s not feeling well?”

Val starts to twist her hands together, “I mean, she woke up ran into the bathroom, and that is where she’s been. She’s locked herself inside. I can’t get in.”

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