Leaving a stunned Maxwell standing in the middle of the room, I leave with Jonathan trailing behind me. I’ll let him stew and sit on what I said. Maybe even let him become paranoid too. Maybe that paranoia will cause him to flee from New York and exit out of Ryann’s life for good.
Who am I kidding? That would be too damn easy, and nothing in life is ever that easy.
Walking back into Ryann’s room, it’s quiet, and the only sound is the rhythmic beeps coming from the EKG monitor is echoing across the room. Ryann is fast asleep in her bed. My sweatshirt draped over her, and it’s then that I noticed that she put her rings back on her finger.
I asked Val to keep them safe because I didn’t want them to get lost in the hospital, and she must have brought them back today.
Valerie is the first to make eye contact with me and gets up from the couch to guide me out of the room. I want to protest, but I can tell by the concern and determination look behind her blues she has something she wants to say without being in a room full of people. Just as we round the corner of the hall, Max rushes past us with a paper towel pressed to his lip, and I catch the bloody mess I created.
And as Val’s lips create a thin warning line, I know she caught sight of the blood too. “Thomas.”
Shrugging a shoulder, “He had it coming. I only hit him once. What’s going on? Is Ryann okay?”
“Yea, she’s fine. She fell asleep about twenty minutes ago. She was trying to stay awake but couldn’t. Umm....So, Xayla is in town and wants to visit.”
Groaning out, why can’t Xayla ever listen for once. “Why? I told her to wait until Ryann is out of the hospital before coming here.”
Val shrugs her shoulders like this is news to her. She’s not surprised by Xayla’s move, and neither should I. Xayla’s listening skills are about as good as a cat’s. She’ll hear you, stare at you, and do whatever the fucks she wants. “I told her later this evening. I figured Ryann’s family would be out of here by then. And by the look of Max fleeing down the hall, I’m assuming it will be sooner rather than later.”
Rolling my eyes, I cave in with defeat because there’s no point in arguing with Xayla to try and keep her away. “That or he’ll go back to the hotel on his own. As long as he’s not here when Xayla arrives, I think we’ll be fine.” I tell Val as I look around the corner of the hall to see Jen running after her husband.
“Was the little heart to heart really that bad?”
Eyeing Val, “He’s lucky he is still standing. But I don’t want to have this conversation in the hall. I just got myself out of a murderous rage.”
“Fair enough. Ohh, so I put in the order that you requested. It should be finished in two to four weeks. And Alexander texted me. He said that he’s down in Georgia for the foreseeable future and that his condo is yours if you still want it.”
My brow goes into my hairline, “He’s moving down there?”
Val shrugs her shoulders, “I don’t know. He’s your friend. He said that he’d call you once Ryann is out of the hospital. Ohh, and Mauve called. She said that you need to call her back and call her back and give her an update, and if she doesn’t hear from you tonight, then she’s on the next flight out.” Val rushes out before taking a deep breath in.
“Noted,” I say with slight amusement because I know my grandma, and they probably already have their plane tickets if my grandpa wasn’t able to stop her in time. “Anything else?”
Val lets out a deep breath, “Yes. Do you want me to go to Alexander’s and get the condo set up for you and Ryann? He said that there are four bedrooms total and an office. He also said that there is a security room with a bed in it if it’s needed and the condo is practically fully furnished, and you can essentially do whatever you want with it. He won’t attempt to sell it until after you leave. Just asks that you pay the monthly payment.”
Fair. “If he’s given you the code and keys to get in if you don’t mind, that would be awesome. I’d also want you to stay at the condo. So, get whatever you need for your room. And groceries. Just let me know what you’ll need, or you’ll think the condo will need, and I’ll give you my credit card.” Val’s mouth flops open. “What?”
“I’d just assumed that I would go back to Cali.”
“Well...I don’t know. I just figured I would be the third wheel and in the way. I mean, you and Ryann have some healing to do, and I assumed that you two....”
Placing a hand on Val’s shoulder, “And she’s gonna need a friend to lean on, too. I won’t be able to be at the condo 24/7 with Ryann. There are some things on my schedule, as you know, I can’t cancel or rearrange. I have a carpet event with Xayla that I have to attend next weekend. I’m not sure what I’m going to do if Ryann is still in the hospital.”
“You know I’ll stay with her if you need me to,” Val tells me with a small smile. “Okay, I’ll call Alexander tomorrow and let him know. He said that he’ll call the front desk and that they’d have everything for me when I arrive.”
I watch Val chew on her lip for a few seconds before moving onto her cheek. “What?” I ask, already feeling annoyed with what could be her answer.
“Erm....Pearl called me too.” I arch a brow. Waiting for her to continue. “Umm....she claims she wanted to check in on Ryann.”
“And?” I prompt when Val pauses far too long.
“Well, she insulted my press release, and then Jonathan took my phone.” I can feel my brow arch into my hairline with confusion. “Ya, I don’t know why he took my phone, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t in the mood to deal with Pearl. But I would talk with Travis. Jonathan called him soon after he got off the phone with her.”
Rolling my eyes, “That’s just fucking fantastic. I’ll deal with it.”
I watch Val’s shoulder slump forward, “I’m sorry, Thomas. I didn’t want to add more onto your plate.”
Shaking my head, “There’s nothing you can do. I just need to find a way of firing them without paying their salary for the rest of their damn and manipulative lives. Right now, they’re sitting in a paid employment limbo.”
“You still haven’t found a way out?”
Running a hand through my hair, I feel the tether drawing me to Ryann’s room. Telling me that she’s awake. “No, not yet. But do what you gotta do for the condo, and I’ll handle Pearl.” I say as I make my way back towards Ryann’s room.
Both Val and I stop at the sight of Max sulking back into the room. His bloody lip now a fat lip and bruising. I seriously may have broken one of his teeth—hopefully several.
Pushing my way through the door, I find Betty, Jen, and Max sitting on the couch. Max refuses to make any type of eye contact with me as he keeps his glare on the ground in front of him. Ryann is still laying in her bed, rubbing her hand over her face, and I watch her drape her good arm over her eyes, telling me she’s in pain.
Walking over to the bed, I lean over her. “How bad?”
She shakes her head, and I can hear her trying to control her breathing.
“Do you want me to call the nurse?” Again she shakes her head no. “Do you want me to lay with you?” She nods her head this time. “Ok, babydoll. Give me a minute, okay?” Again, she just shakes her head.
Kicking my shoes off, a sign to Travis that Ryann isn’t feeling well, he lets out a slight cough drawing everyone’s but my and Val’s attention to him. “I think everyone should leave at this time. Miss. Anderson and Mr. Copeland need to get some rest.”
I’m waiting for protests to come our way, but instead, I watch Jen hop off the couch and pull Betty and Max to their feet, “He’s right. We’ve been here long enough. We can get something to eat and do some sightseeing.”
Betty places a hand at my arm, giving it a light squeeze. “She’s in pain, isn’t she?” I nod my head as Betty gives me a tight and sad smile. “Take care of her. We’ll be back tomorrow.” I watch everyone, but Val, leave the room and watch her take up residency on the now vacant couch.
Removing my sweatshirt from the bed, I slide in next to Ryann and awkwardly situate myself in a comfortable manner to hold Ryann. She snuggles into me with ease and finds comfort quicker than I do. But watching the pain erase from her face is worth any discomfort that I have to suffer through.
“Thomas?” Ryann whispers.
“Hmm,” I answer as a response.
“I love you.”
My mouth twerks into a slight smile, “I love you. Did you miss me while I was gone?”
“I don’t remember much of the visit with Mom and Jen,” she tells me. But I can tell with the slowness of her words, she’s trying to fight off sleep.
Looking over at Val, she seems unfazed by this admission. “She kept falling in and out of sleep.”
Ah, maybe visiting with her family is a little too much right now. I may have to make an executive decision that will not be favorable with the Anderson clan. “Babydoll, you can go to sleep. I’ll be here when you wake up.”