Brush With Fame

By heatherlloyd1217 All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Mystery

Chapter 5

As soon as Ryan leaves, I call room service to have them bring up a bottle of wine. I allow myself to have a little pity party and then be completely over it. Thank God it does not take room service long to bring up that bottle of wine. I have a couple glasses and feel depressed but do not cry. Why am I not crying? It seems like I cry over everything lately. Am I so emotionally unattached from Craig that I have already accepted divorce is inevitable? Or am I stronger because Ryan is with me, supporting me?

I still cannot believe Craig came out here to be with that bitch. Did he think he could be sneaky enough to be with her out here without me knowing? But he had to have known that I would say something about him not coming back to the room. Or is this his way of telling me about him and Annabelle? Either way, it’s Craig’s bad luck that I met Ryan and there is this media blitz following us around. Now it’s out in the open forcing us to deal with it. And deal with it, I am.

I lay out the facts I have, starting with Craig. I finally have the proof that Craig is cheating on me. There is absolutely no question that our marriage is over. His little act put the nail in the coffin, so to speak. I just have to kick Craig out and get the divorce papers going. Even though Craig is a complete jerk and I am much better off without him, I still am sad to see my marriage ending. Ryan’s observation from earlier was right. I had expected our marriage to last the rest of my life. It is incredibly disappointing that it has not worked out that way.

Nevertheless, it must end. I will never forgive him for cheating on me. I will never forgive him or ever take him back. Even if he begs me now, his cheating will always be in the back of my mind. He is not going to change his behavior for me. That is obvious. Thus, number one on my list is to call my lawyer and have her get the divorce papers started.

Ok. It feels good to make some decisions. Bring on the next one.

Ryan. Sweet, gorgeous, sexy, funny Ryan. What am I going to do about him? There is something special between us. There are definitely some major, spectacular sparks between us. The kiss in the car tonight and here in this room was out of this world. Bu some place in the back of my mind I still wonders if he’s just playing with me; if I am just a distraction while he’s out here in Vegas. I mean really, why would this Hollywood actor be interested in a simpleton like me? I am from the Midwest. I have never been to Los Angeles. I am probably the farthest away from glitz and glamour of his life.

He does seem serious enough about me right now. Even if he isn’t playing with me, I cannot let him become too significant. Friends, yes. He will just have to settle for being friends. He says he will wait. I wonder how long he is willing to wait. I guess I will have to wait and see if he’s true to his word.

Two decisions down.

Lastly, I need to kick Craig out. I can think of two ways to do this. I can go home as scheduled with Craig and deal with kicking him out face-to-face then. Or I can cut my trip short and return home on Friday. Craig will not be home until Saturday, so that will give me time on Friday to get all of Craig’s crap packed up and out of my house. I will see if I can get his friend Marc to take everything for now. That way I will not have to deal with his whining and procrastination with packing his stuff up. Definitely a better idea.

Feeling better having made a few decisions and locking the deadbolt on the door so Craig can’t get in if he tried, I am able to get some sleep.



I wake early and am in a great mood. I feel like a weight has been lifted off me since I made those difficult decisions last night. And I get to spend time with Ryan today.

The first thing I do is call the airline to change my flight. Luckily, there are no issues; I am able to get on an early-bird flight tomorrow morning. Next I call my lawyer and ask her to start the divorce papers, giving her whatever details she asks about. Then I call Taylor.

“What’s wrong?” she answers.

“Nothing’s wrong.”

“It’s pretty early there, isn’t it? You’re sure everything’s ok?” Taylor asks.

“It is early, but everything is great. I took some time last night to think and made a few decisions. I have a favor to ask.”

“Ok. Sure, what do you need? Wait. What decisions did you make?”

Temporarily ignoring Taylor’s question about what decisions, I ask, “Is there any chance you would be able to take the day off tomorrow? I’m hoping you can pick me up from the airport and then…help me pack up Craig’s things from my house.”

“Woo hoo! Of course I will!” she replies without hesitation. “Did something else happen that made you finally decide to kick him out?”

This is why I love Taylor. She back me up one hundred percent.

I tell her about Craig and Annabelle and them talking to the media. I tell her that I finally understand just how much time I’ve wasted on Craig and that I deserve better. She is completely supportive.

“Good. What time is your flight?”

“I arrive in Kansas City tomorrow morning around 10:30.”

“Alright. See you then.”

That is taken care of. Taylor won’t let me back out now. I am sure she will enjoy kicking Craig out. I start getting ready for the day.

A little while later, Sarah calls having gotten an update from Taylor. She wants to make sure I am ok and that I’m sure that I want Craig kicked out and get divorced. I tell her I am one hundred percent sure. She totally agrees after I tell her about Craig and Annabelle. I also fill her in on what has been happening with Ryan. She is excited for me and wishes me good luck with him.

I decide to check if anything more has been reported about me and Ryan, and what Craig talked to them about. I start checking out sites on my iPhone. I am ready for bad press, but to my pleasant surprise, the reports are good. My wish from the day before came true. They make Craig sound like an idiot. He tried to pull the sad story of how I was cheating on him with Ryan. However, Annabelle told another reporter that she and Craig have been seeing each other for about a year.

Ha! Ha! Backfired in your face Craig!

This is awesome and that news just made my day even better.

A little later my dad calls. He says he has been seeing me on these shows and wants to make sure I’m ok. I fill him in on what’s had been happening out here in Las Vegas. He gets so mad at Craig that I have to calm him down. I think he’d like to come out here and kick Craig’s ass. I love my dad. I tell him about my decisions and get his approval. Hearing that I’m in such a good mood, he asks about Ryan. I tell him we are just friends. I explain that Ryan wants more but I have to straighten out my life before I can even think about anything more with Ryan. Dad tells me to think long and hard about what life would be like with a celebrity before I make any rash decisions. I promise him I will, tell him I love him and hang up.

As soon as I hang up the phone, it rings again. I look to see who’s calling and smile as I answer. “Grand Central Station.”

He laughs.

“Good morning, Beautiful. Been a little popular this morning, have you? You didn’t forget about our breakfast date, did you?” Ryan asks.

“No, I didn’t forget about our breakfast date. Yes, I’ve been very busy this morning. I called Taylor this morning to line up a couple things for me. Then Sarah called and my dad. I had to explain things to all of them. And…I’ll explain everything to you when I come up. I’m almost ready.”

“Hurry. I miss you.”

“OK,” I reply with a big dopey grin on my face. He misses me! I am in a considerable amount of trouble. I cannot let myself fall for Ryan. But I know that’s hopeless since I have already started falling for him. Question is just how long it will take for me to fall completely in love with him and will I get hurt?

Twenty minutes later, I knock on Ryan’s door. He opens it immediately. Whoa! Ryan’s wearing jeans and a button up shirt that he has left open, allowing me to see his sculpted chest. OK, I am drooling. I can look at him all day.

He just stands in the doorway, his arm up on the doorjamb, grinning at me.

“Uh… don’t you look sexy this morning?” I say.

“Talking about sexy, look at you! You’re in a good mood today,” he observes. He grabs my hand, pulls me into the suite, gives me a quick kiss and closes the door. “Let’s eat and you can tell me what’s going on.”

“Ok. But could you please button your shirt? I’m having trouble concentrating.”

Ryan laughs. “Oh, you don’t like my chest?” he teases.

I can feel myself turn bright red. “I do. That’s the problem. Just please! Button your shirt.”

Still laughing, he does button his shirt, but only a couple buttons. “Better?” he asks, giving me a peck on my cheek.

Oh, God. I am not sure if that is better or worse. But I nod.

Ryan ordered a bunch of things off the in-room menu. He tells me to take what I want. I grab some fruit and a cinnamon roll and sit next to him at the table.

“Ok. Now tell me what has been going on already this morning,” Ryan demands.

“Well, as you know, I did some major thinking last night and made a few, much overdue decisions. I feel like a weight has been lifted off me. I’m going home tomorrow instead of Saturday…” I smile as I see the disappointment in his face, “after I spend today with you – if you want.”

“Of course I want to spend today with you,” Ryan interrupts. “But you’re going home early,” he pouts.

“I know. Now, let me tell you why. I think you’ll approve. I called the airline first thing this morning to change my flight. Luckily I didn’t have any problems. Then I called my lawyer and told her to start divorce paperwork.”

Ryan nods and smiles.

“After that I called Taylor to see if she could help me tomorrow. She is going to pick me up and we’re going to pack up everything of Craig’s and move it out. I don’t want him in my house anymore. Then Sarah called offering to help tomorrow, too.”

“Wow. You have been busy.”

“That’s not quite all. My dad called after that and I had to explain everything to him. When I finally got off the phone with him, that’s when you called.”

Ryan takes my hand in his.

“I’m proud of you, Olivia. It sounds like you made some excellent decisions. I definitely approve. I just wish I could be there with you when Craig comes back and finds out you moved everything out. I’d rather you didn’t have to deal with him at all.”

“I wish I didn’t have to deal with him anymore either.”

“I’m glad you’re staying today and want to spend the day with me. You could have easily gone back today and had even more time to clean out his things. It makes me feel good – hopeful – about us.”

He watches me intently. He is always trying to figure out my reactions. Maybe I’m easy to read. He keeps saying things that makes me want to believe that he does want to be with me. I guess we will see how things go when I’m back in Kansas City and he’s back in Los Angeles.

“So, what would you like to do today?” he asks.

“Anything; as long as we get to spend it together.”
“Would you like to go shopping or do some gambling? Some pampering? Or you could just hide out here all day with me.”

“Yes, yes, yes and yes!” I reply laughing.

“Ok. Well, we’ve got a busy day ahead of us so we’d better get going.”

While we eat, we talk about Craig’s and Annabelle’s comments to the paparazzi. When we finish, we decide to go shopping first. Since it is still early, Ryan hopes that not too many people will be out to bother us. We go down to my room to grab my jacket. Just as we get off the elevator and walk by the vending machine area, my room door opens. I push Ryan into the vending room and out of sight.

“What are you doing?” Ryan insists.

I silence him by putting my hand over his mouth. I really do not want to deal with Craig and Annabelle now. Peeking out the door, I see them come out of the room and walk right past us. Annabelle is complaining about something in her annoying, nasally voice.

Ryan puts his arms around me and peeks out, too.

At last, I get a good look at Annabelle. She isn’t that cute and is slightly overweight. She’s wearing skin tight jeans and a shirt cut so low that her breasts could fall out at any point. I also notice that she has helped herself to one of my necklaces.

As soon as the elevator doors close on Craig and Annabelle, Ryan comments.

“I don’t get it. He had you. And he gave you up for…for that?”

I am so happy that this is Ryan’s response, I turn around and gave him a big kiss. “Thank you. I appreciate that. I know what I think of her, but I’m personally involved and wouldn’t think much of any girl in that situation.”

Ryan wraps his arms around me and kisses me again.

“Trust me. It’s a night and day difference. I don’t see what the draw is. She’s white trash. And she needs to stop wearing teenagers clothing.”

“That makes me feel so much better. Maybe she’s really good in bed?” I think out loud. “Ryan, I hate to impose on you, but would I be able to take my things up to your suite and spend the night there tonight?”

He gives me a confused look with a slightly devilish grin. “Of course it’s fine. I’d like nothing better than to have you all to myself tonight. But what did I miss?”

“She was wearing my necklace. Who knows what else she’s taken. She’s welcome to my husband – soon to be ex – but that’s it.”

“What a bitch. Let’s get your things and take them up to the suite.”

He takes me hand and we walk to my room.

Nothing else seems to be missing, so I hastily pack my bags, double and triple check to make sure I have everything. We take the bags up to Ryan’s suite and put them in the bedroom. Ryan gives me a quick hug and tells me to take a few minutes to settle myself. He leaves to go out into the other room, quietly closing the door behind him.

With a heavy heart, I sit down on the bed. I flop backwards so I am looking up at the ceiling. I blink back tears. I am NOT going to cry over Craig. He is certainly not worth my tears. I have to be strong.

Of course, it bothers me seeing Craig with Annabelle even after all the shit he has put me through. I keep saying that I am done with him and tell myself that he should not affect me anymore, but he does. I’m so irritated with myself. Why didn’t I confront them in the hallway? I should have the confidence especially with Ryan by my side. But no, I just hide in the vending room. How pathetic. I wonder if I will ever have the courage to stand up for myself.

I take a few deep breaths, put Craig and the bitch out of my mind and check my emotions, then go out to join Ryan. He is standing by the window looking out. When he hears me open the door, he comes right over to me, puts his arms around me.

“Are you ok?”

My arms circle his waist and I lean my head on his shoulder.

“Yes and no. But I’m going to make sure I’m ok from now on. I’m going to try my best to not let it bother me anymore. And I’m going to enjoy this day with you before I leave tomorrow.”

“See? Again, stronger than you think.”

He pulls me back and flashes his beautiful smile at me.

“Alright. Let’s go enjoy our day.”

“Don’t we need Jeremy?” I ask.

“I think we’ll be ok today. It’s early yet.”

We go down to the lobby to leave. As soon as we step out of the elevator, Ryan puts an arm around me and pulls me to his side. I assume it was paparazzi again and I mentally prepare myself for the barrage of questions and flashes from cameras. But I only see a couple of them when I look around. However, what I do see – or I should say who I see - is Craig and Annabelle. We will have to walk right by them to get out to the sidewalk. I feel Ryan’s grip tighten around me.

“It’s ok,” I whisper to him, determined. Here is my chance to stand up. To show them that they don’t bother me.

As we walk closer, Annabelle spots us and nudges Craig. As polite as I can be, I smile.

“Hello Craig, Annabelle. Have a good day. Oh, Annabelle, nice necklace. I have one just like that.” I hear Ryan laugh next to me. Both Craig and Annabelle stare as we walk right on by. I also have the satisfaction of seeing Annabelle turn bright red and hear Craig ask about the necklace.

“I’m so proud of you,” Ryan whispers and gives me a good, long kiss. I hear a couple of clicks from cameras, then we make our way to Ryan’s car. We get in, both of us laughing. “Did you see their faces when you smiled at them? And then the comment about the necklace? That was priceless. I wish I had a camera. That was perfect,” Ryan goes on.

“God, that felt really good. I finally stood up to him.”

“Yes, you did. Showing him that you, seeing the two of them together, does not bother you at all, is the best reaction you could give.” He grins at me. “But this is my day with you and we’re going to enjoy it. No more talking about them.”

“Deal. Are you sure you’re going to be ok walking around the mall?”

I’m not certain that we should go to the mall. Crazy fans could bug us the whole time.

“Yes, it’ll be fine. If it gets out of hand, we’ll leave.”

We are able to get in a couple hours of shopping without too many interruptions. At one point about six or seven people are surrounding him. One woman rudely knocks me out of the way.

“Hey….”

I am about to say something more to her, but she glares with hatred at me and I feel very uneasy. I decide to ignore her and patiently wait until Ryan is done dealing with the crowd. I start getting shoved out of the way as more and more people hear that Ryan Paxton is here at the mall.

A few minutes later, the crowd gets worse. I am being pushed and shoved. I can’t see Ryan anymore. I cannot get out of this crowd of people. I see an opening, but I get shoved the other direction and my chance to escape is gone. I panic.

From out of no where, Ryan grabs my hand and pulls me out of the crowd. Too many people had shown up and are wanting to get to Ryan. Mall security directs us to a restricted area. Another security guard leads us to the parking garage. We quickly get to the car. I am shaking so badly that I can’t get my seatbelt on. Ryan grabs my hands, letting the seat belt go, then wraps his arms around me trying to calm me down.

Tears stream down my cheeks. I bawl into his shirt.

“I’m sorry Olivia,” he whispers. “I’m sorry. You’re ok now. Nothing’s going to happen to you. You’re safe.”

He keeps holding me and runs his hand up and down my back. I’m able to relax a little bit.

“Does that happen a lot?” I ask with a shaky breath.

“Every now and then the crowd will get a little out of hand. This time I think they were pushing trying to get closer to me.”

“There was a blonde that very rudely shoved me out of the way. I was going to say something but when I looked at her, she gave me a crazy look, so I just backed off. She kept shooting me dirty looks while I was waiting. Then I got sucked into the crowd.”

“Are you ok?” Ryan asks after a couple minutes of silence.

I nod and Ryan starts the car and drives back to the Bellagio. After we drop off our shopping bags, we decide to grab some lunch.

We get settled at a table and order. When our waiter leaves, we talk about what happened at the mall. Ryan tells me some other mob-fan stories. I shake my head in disbelief. How can people get so craze over someone?

Ryan takes my hand in his and looks directly into my eyes. Uh, oh. He only studies my face like this when he wants to see my honest reaction.

“Olivia, I don’t want you to freak out about this. Promise me you won’t freak out about this. OK?”

I nod.

“I know you’re not one who wants attention lavished on them. But I have an awards show coming up in a few weeks. I was wondering if you will go with me? I would be honored to have you there with me.”

No way! This is awesome! I am thrilled that Ryan asks me to go. I will get to go to L.A. Spend some more time with Ryan. Get all dressed up. Meet… tons of… other… celebrities. Oh, no. No, no. I can’t go. What if I start acting like an idiot around them. I would embarrass Ryan. He’d probably wish he never asked me to go. Oh god! I am panicking and getting all stressed out just thinking about it. Then there is all the attention we will get. Ton of pictures and questions. If I’m getting this nervous just thinking about it, how will I get through that night? No, I cannot go with him.

“I…I don’t know Ryan” I grasp at whatever excuse comes to mind. “I’ll probably be right in the middle of the divorce then. I’m not sure what will be going on at that time with it. And quite frankly, I think I’ll be a little afraid to leave my house empty. It might be too tempting for Craig to break in if he knows I’m gone.”

“Olivia, stop stressing out over this. I’m sure one of your friends would house sit if you are really worried about Craig doing something. But just think about it, ok? I don’t want an answer right now.”

“Alright. I’ll think about it.”

He lets the subject drop. I sigh quietly, then glance at Ryan to see if he hears me. I don’t want to hurt him by telling him I don’t want to go. But I am sure I will embarrass him. Maybe he won’t bring it up again and I will not have to worry about it. Not likely.

After lunch, we gamble a little right here at the Bellagio. Ryan plays roulette and does well. He tries to teach me how to play craps, but I do not understand everything. I can understand how people get addicted to gambling. It’s so fun when you win and you tell yourself you can win it back when you lose.

Finally, we go back to Ryan’s suite and hang out. Ryan scheduled a massage therapist to come for both of us. The therapist sets up in the bedroom. Since Ryan has a couple phone calls to return, I go first. I find myself in heaven. This is even better than the one I had yesterday. Wow. How can anything feel so good?

When I finish, I go out to get Ryan and then sit down on the couch, turn on the TV and wait for Ryan to be done with his massage. I lay down and rest my head on the arm of the couch. I start thinking again of how lucky I am to have met Ryan.

Something is tickling my face. I raise my hand to brush it away and bump into something solid. My eyes fly open. There is Ryan, squatting down in front of me. His finger moves over my lips and gently pulls down my bottom lip. I cannot breathe. Abruptly his phone rings, breaking the moment and making me jump.

“Olivia, you are so beautiful,” he whispers. He gives me a quick, but intense kiss before answering his phone. However, he stays where he is and keeps his eyes on mine while he takes the call.

My heart is hammering, like it is having a heart attack. I have trouble catching my breath. Finally, Ryan breaks eye contact and he gets up to pace. It takes a while for my heart to calm down. What a way to be woken up! I sit up and think about Ryan, which I am sure is what he wants me to do. He wants me to think about him and want him. Well, he does not have to try so freaking hard. I’m having enough trouble not thinking about him all the time on my own.

After he gets off the phone, Ryan sits down beside me. He turns to look at me. “You know, it’s going to be really difficult for me to let you leave tomorrow. I don’t know when I’ll see you again.”

“I know.” I sigh and reach out to hold both of his hands. “I’ve been thinking of that, too. I’m going to miss you so much. But you can always get a hold of me: cell, email, text, visit…whatever. You’ve become a really good… friend.”

“Just a friend, huh? I guess I’ve got to work on that,” he says, sounding disappointed. He lifts our joined hands and kisses mine.

I give him an apologetic look.

“Friends for now. Although I’ve been telling you everything and am so comfortable with you that you’re more like a best friend. But, you know that before I decide if I can get involved with you, I need to get everything straightened out. I’ve already dragged you into this mess with Craig. I don’t want you to get buried in it, and have you end up hating me for putting you through it.”

“Never!” Ryan replies immediately. “I could never hate you.”

“I don’t know Ryan. I’m so scared of getting attached to you. Maybe you’ll just forget about me when I leave and you’re back to your celebrity life. Then I’m only left with just the memory of these wonderful days with you.”

Ryan shakes his head and starts to say something, but I cut him off.

“I’m just saying I need more time because I have all these doubts. And I’m hoping that I’ll get back my self-confidence once I kick him out.”

“And maybe once you gain your confidence again, you’ll not worry about me being a celebrity.”

“Hum. Maybe.”

Ryan rolls his eyes at me. “Let’s get some food. What sounds good?”

“You know what? A burger and fries sound really good.”

“Are you ok with room service or did you want to go somewhere?”

“Room service.”

“You got it,” he says as he gets up to call in our order.

Once our food arrives, we eat sitting on the couch while watching the entertainment shows. Of course, Ryan and I are still the hot topic. Another picture surfaces where Ryan is kissing my cheek and I am grinning. The host comments on what a cute couple we are. Secretly, I’m thrilled with that comment. But then they talked about how I am married and Ryan is in a love triangle once again and give a recap of his love life over the past year.

“That never happened,” Ryan starts commenting on each one they mention. “They had been hoping Leslie and I would hook up, but we’ve been nothing but friends.”

Leslie Day is Ryan’s costar in Surrender.

“I did go out with Victoria a couple times, but there was no love triangle. Same with Melissa. Nicky? I never dated Nicky. How did they come up with that one? Just because I was in a movie with her?”

I’m amused by his reaction. It seems like he wants to make sure I know the person he really is, not what they are making him out to be.

We finish our food and leave the plates on the coffee table. Ryan leans back, relaxing. As if it is the most natural thing in the world to me, I scoot closer and cuddle against him. His arm automatically circles around me and pulls me even closer. I can feel his heart pounding, it matches mine. He sighs and nuzzles my ear.

“Olivia? This is what I want. This makes me happy- content.”

I inhale sharply and let out a shaky breath. I want it, too. But it also terrifies me so much more than he can know or understand. But I want to be honest with him.

“I know. And I do want this, too.”

“I’ll be waiting for you.”

I melt. “I have no right to ask you wait. You should be out having fun.”

Ryan turns so he is facing me more. He holds onto my shoulder and with his right hand he lifts my face.

“You haven’t asked me to wait. I’m telling you that I’ll wait for you. That’s completely my choice.”

Ryan kisses me long and hard. He breaks the kiss and looks into my eyes.

“Got it?”

I nod.

“Besides, I won’t have to wait too long,” he smirks, his eyes twinkling. He pulls me back to his side, his arm pressing me into him.

Wow. That kiss. I just stop thinking whenever he kisses me. That is not good. Soon my mind starts thinking again and I realize what Ryan just said.

“You don’t think you’ll have to wait long? You are arrogant, aren’t you? Just so you know, you are not as charming as you think you are,” I say, nonchalantly.

I try to sit up and scoot away from him. He just pulls me back to him and circles both arms around me so I can’t go anywhere. We are both giggling and having fun teasing.

“Ha, I am so charming you will not be able to resist me. And if you try, I’ll just talk you into it.”

“Really?” I snort, again sounding blasé.

“Yes, really! Don’t waste your time worrying your pretty head about it. It’s inevitable. People succumb to me all the time” he shrugs. “Now. No more antagonizing me. This is our last night together for a while, I want to enjoy it.”

“I am enjoying it. You’re the one who’s arguing with me.”

“Hush.”

He turns on a movie and we talk a little while watching it.

“Hey, Beautiful. It’s time to wake up,” Ryan whispers and kisses my cheek.

“Hmm. What time is it?”

“4:30 am. I know you need time to get ready.”

“Thanks.”

I don’t know if I was still asleep or what, but I am very confused to my whereabouts.

“Where am I?”

He suddenly turns on the light. I blink against the brightness.

“I carried you into the bedroom after you fell asleep. It was too uncomfortable to sleep on the couch. I knew I’d get you in my bed soon enough,” he teases, grinning at me.

That smile wakes me up, gets my blood pumping.

“Ha. Ha. Thanks for carrying me to the bed,” I say, as I sit up. “Know what? Now I can honestly say that I slept with Ryan Paxton. And not a single person would think that we just slept together.”

“What a little tease you are. I have to keep my eye on you. God, I am really going to miss you.” He yawns and gets up to walk over to my side of the bed. “I’m taking you to the airport myself.”

“Oh Ryan. You don’t have to do that. I can just take a cab. Go back to sleep.”

He pulls me up off the bed. “Hell, no. You will not take a cab, Olivia Sterling. Besides, I’m being greedy. I want all the time I can get with you.” He hugs me.

“Mmm. Ok. I’ll be greedy too and let you take me to the airport.”

I go to take a shower, get ready and pack up all my things. Ryan and I haul my suitcases down to his waiting car. As Ryan drives to the airport, he holds my hand. It is a quiet ride. We both try to talk but neither of us feel like it. I think we are both thinking how long it will be before we see each other again.

We get to the airport and I check in. Ryan goes with me as far as the security check. He cannot go any farther.

“Will you call me when you get in to Kansas City, so I know you got there ok?” He takes me into his arms.

“Of course I will.” I sound so depressed.

“Just think. You won’t have to deal with cameras in your face and questions being thrown at you every time you step out to go somewhere,” he says trying to make me laugh.

I snort out a laugh and put my head on his shoulder.

“I know, Sweetheart. I wish I were going with you. I’m worried about what you’re going to have to face when Craig gets back tomorrow.”

“Don’t worry. I can handle it. You are the one who said I’m stronger than I think.”

“Yes, I said that and it is true. I still wish I wasn’t going to be so far away.”

“Me, too. Your support is already making me stronger. But I have lots of friends back home who will help me with anything I need.”

I hug him tighter. His arms squeeze me securely.

“I’ll miss you so much. You’ve come to mean so much to me. I’m not going to let you go or forget about you,” he says matter-of-factly.

“Good. I’ll hold you to that,” I sniff, with tears in my eyes. I finally let him go.

Ryan takes my face in both of his hands and kisses me. It is one of those kisses that goes on and on. It makes me tingle all over, forget who I am and makes me think of the possibilities if it continues on.

“Wow,” I whisper when Ryan breaks the kiss.

“Yeah, just remember these fireworks,” he whispers back. “I’m going to miss you so much.”

“Me, too.”

“OK. You need to go; time has run out. Good-bye my beautiful girl.”

I just wave because I will start bawling if I say anything. As I walk to security, a few tears slip out. These feelings are silly. I just met Ryan. How can I have such deep feelings for someone a just met? But I am definitely leaving part of my heart behind with him. I am in serious trouble and scared to death.

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