The rest of the day was spent with Betty at her daughter’s bedside and me on the couch as we talked. She knows every single detail....okay, maybe I fudged some things up. But, I mean, a parent isn’t supposed to know every aspect of their child’s love life. Plus, I don’t think Betty knowing that I poured a glass of whisky over her daughter’s head would put me in the winner’s box either.
God, that day was awful. I was beyond drunk, and I’m not sure how I was even functioning or how I can remember the details of that day. But I do. I can recount every single fucking step I took that day. I was pissed. Ryann had taken away all of my car keys, and rightfully so, and I had no clue where to even fucking find them. Then she came sauntering into my house looking every inch of perfection, and I knew she didn’t want me and that I couldn’t touch her. And that seemed to piss me off even more.
So, I did what I did best and acted out. I threw a damn hissy-fit and nearly lost her. Fuck, there have been one too many times that Ryann should have left, but she didn’t. She stayed. Each time I was a fucking prick, sober or drunk, she stayed. Even if she ran away, she ran where I would find her. Ryann knows no matter where she flees to, I will always find her.
And I told Betty that too. No matter where Ryann runs, I will always find her.
When nine in the evening rolled around, I had Travis take Betty back to the hotel to get some rest with the promise that I would keep her updated with any changes. Max and Jen had left after our peaceful meet and greet, and I’m assuming they headed back to the hotel because they never returned.
I don’t know. For all, I know they walked around Manhattan for the sights. But what I do know is that each time Val brings me food worth eating, her pay increases.
Today’s menu was Chinese food.
Val dropped the food off when she returned to the hospital to check in on Ryann before leaving for the night. She had a phone call to return once she returned to her hotel room. Hopefully, it’s about renting a condo during our stay here in New York. And like always, her timing was impeccable because I was talking with Dr. Turner.
As the day progressed, they realized that Ryann was responding quicker than they imagined and have upped her to waking up to any day, to any hour, to any minute. I knew with each hand squeeze that Ryann was still in there and could hear every word that I was speaking. She wants to wake, and when she does, I’ll be sitting next to her bed. God, she looks so tiny and weak laying in the hospital bed, but I know Ryann is far from weak. She is strong. So fucking strong because she’s still here, with me. With everyone who loves her.
Sitting next to Ryann’s bed, I find my eyes getting heavier and heavier, and with the lack of sleep that I’ve gotten the last few nights, I’m not sure how I’m even up and functioning. But I’m afraid to fall asleep. I’m so scared that if I fall asleep, Ryann will wake, and I won’t be there for her when she does. And the last thing I want is for her to be scared, confused, and wanting answers, and I was too busy snoozing to be there for her in a moment she’ll need me the most.
But sleep comes quicker as soon as I lay my head next to Ryann’s hand. My eyes immediately closing, and I’m whisked away into some far-off dream that I want to stay in. Ryann and I are back home in Cali at one of my favorite lookouts as a kid. We’re sitting on a bluff, and she’s resting between my legs with my arms wrapped around her, holding her tightly to me. We’re laughing. We’re talking. We’re planning. Everything from me quitting acting all the way to how many children we want. Ryann is adamant about having one of our own and adopting. An idea I love.
“Babydoll, if we’re going to start a family. I think we should move.” I say against the side of her head. “Get out of the busy California life and maybe someplace quieter.”
I hear her hmm sweetly, “And where would we move to?”
“Back to Tennessee. We could buy land and build a house just for us and our family.” Ryann shifts in my hold as she turns to look at me. Her face alight with surprise. “Are you serious? What about acting? Your career?”
“I’m done with acting, and my current projects I can do from anywhere. Meaning, we could move out to Tennessee.” I say as I pull her closer to me. Ryann lets out her most adorable giggle. A sound that I miss hearing. “I miss hearing you laugh.”
Ryann looks up at me with confusion, “Honey, you just heard me laugh.”
Shaking my head, “I haven’t heard you laugh in almost four days.”
Her small delicate hand comes up to my face before slipping into the top of my hair and begins to twirl the strands between her fingers, “I told you, Thomas, I’m never too far from you. Even now. I’m right beside you. I’m in your arms, and you’re holding me tight.”
“I am now,” I say as I pull her even tighter into me. But Ryann evaporates into thin air, almost like a mist coming off the ocean as the waves crash into the beach.
Scrambling to my feet, I start to search for Ryann, calling out to her frantically, but all I hear is the sound of the waves crashing. “Ryann, please. Don’t leave. Not again. I won’t be able to find you again.”
Her voice is small, weak, and barely audible.
“Ryann!” I scream out. “Please, tell me how to find you. Ryann!”
“Thomas....” Ryann’s voice is carried with the breeze as her vanilla floral scent invades every single pore of my body.
Closing my eyes, I bask in the glow of the sun shining down upon me, and it feels like Ryann’s warmth. Almost as if her arms are wrapped around me or that I’m holding her. The wind tussles my hair the same way Ryann runs her fingers through my hair. A sensation I’ve missed these last four days.
Inhaling the air around me, I feel a sudden calming of relaxation wash over me. Almost like a familiar tether is pulling me towards the gorgeous woman I’m in love with. And as much as I want to stay in this dream, to bask in everything familiar, but when I open my eyes again, I’m met by the hospital bed sheets.
Groaning out my annoyance, I move my arms to rest my head atop them. But as soon as I lift my head from the mattress, I feel something softly fall from the strands of my hair—a hand. My eyes shoot to the hand that was there when I fell asleep, but it’s now resting in the place it fell. Bolting upright, I’m met by red, glossed hazel eyes that are slightly panicked and afraid as she attempts to understand her surroundings.
“Thom.....” Ryann’s voice is raspy and sore.
Pulling myself out of the chair, I nearly knock it backwards as I cup my hands to Ryann’s checks and place my forehead to hers. “Don’t speak, babydoll. I’m here. I told you I wasn’t leaving. I love you so much.” I say as my tears fall freely, and I place a kiss to her forehead.
I feel her hand come up to my face, urging me to look down to her. “I’m...I’m so-so-sorry.”
“Shh, it’s okay. We’re okay.” I say with enough faith and promise. I know she can feel the truth behind my words.
As Ryann wipes away a tear from my cheek, I lean into her touch and close my eyes. Her skin igniting my skin once again, a sensation that I’ve missed. “You’re crying.” She rasps.
I can’t help but laugh because even after waking from a coma, her number one concern is for others. She’s always looking out for the ones she loves. “I’m happy that you’re awake,” I say as I hit the nurse call button. “I’m so happy that you’re awake.”
I watch Ryann’s eyes look around the room as best as they possibly can. Her mind is trying to play catch up from the last memory she has to now, and I can still see the confusion in her eyes. My heart is going into palpation because I don’t want to tell Ryann about the accident or the news the doctor gave me.
“Is...” I watch her struggle to form her words as she swallows past a hard lump in her throat. “Is everyone okay?”
Turning my head at the sound of her hospital door opening, I find the nurse peeking in. Her eyes going wide as she realizes that Ryann is awake. “I’ll call Dr. Turner.” She says before leaving.
“Travis is fine. Just a few bruises.” I watch her eyes roam over my body, and I watch her lips try and work out her next words, “I’m fine.” I tell her. Hoping that was going to be her next line of questioning. “Just a few bruises. But the driver didn’t make it.” I’m not sure how much detail to go into. I saw the accident photos, and I’m not even sure how Ryann survived.
I watch Ryann try to digest the information that I shared with her as she closes her eyes. And for a moment, I think she’s fallen back to sleep until her eyes suddenly spring back open, filled with a worrying glossiness. Ryann runs her hand up and over her face, flinching slightly from the sudden movement and tracing along her suture site on her head before her hand goes down to her belly. I watch her fingers trail against the fabric of her gown as they slowly trace along the staples of her incision site on her abdomen. And as I watch tears start to stream down her face, Ryann’s hand goes flat against her stomach. “Thomas....I, the....” Ryann trails off as her sobs become uncontrollable.
I know what she’s trying to get out. The question she wants to ask, and it’s a question I’m forced to answer. Because I didn’t know Ryann was pregnant until four days ago, and she didn’t know she was pregnant either. Eight weeks. She was eight weeks pregnant, and I had no fucking clue. I ignored the biggest damn clue in front of me, her getting sick.
“I’m sorry, Ryann,” I say softly as I try and stay strong for the both of us, but my tears fall silently as I hold her hand tightly. Shaking my head, “I’m so sorry, but our baby didn’t make it.”
Ryann pulls her lips between her teeth, and I know she’s trying to hold back her sobs. She pulls me down to her, with her one good hand clawing at my neck with a weak strength as she cries into the crook of my neck. I’m left speechless, and with nothing left to say, I cry with her for the loss of our child. We didn’t have any control over the situation, and I broke my promise. Not only wasn’t I able to protect Ryann, but I also couldn’t even protect our unborn child.
A horrific memory that will forever haunt me.
“Mr. Copeland.” I hear a nurse off to my side, forcing me to pull away slightly. It’s the same nurse who came into our room only moments ago, and standing next to her is Dr. Turner.
Looking back to Ryann, I can tell that she’s in no mood to be looked over or talked to, but she also doesn’t have a choice in the matter. Placing a kiss to her lips, “Dr. Turner is going to look you over, okay?” She nods her head weakly.
“Don’t leave,” Ryann gasps between her sobs.
Giving her a tight smile, I reclaim my seat next to her bed and take her hand into mine, “Babydoll, I’ll never leave you. I promise.”