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“I have an early appointment this morning. It won’t take very long; I’ll be in and out.” She informed security.

Lydia advised her security detail of the appointment she had scheduled before she went to work for the day. After their brief conversation, Dr. Ruha Malik insisted she would gladly see Lydia in her office located a short distance from the River Mountain community of northeast Little Rock.

Since Ruha was preparing to take a vacation, she wanted to get Lydia in so she could quickly get the results back to her before leaving for France for a month.

She was dressed and out the door after fending off her horny spouse. As much as she wanted to spend a little more time playing with him before work, Lydia was on a mission. She desperately needed to make it to her appointment since her friend was in high demand and it was nearly impossible to see her on such short notice.

Lydia sat with the doctor and explained it all.

Ruha was visually destroyed by what was disclosed to her. The tears flowing down her face were confirmation that she was indeed disturbed by the information someone she considered to be a sister shared with her. The woman got up for a moment and walked out of her office leaving Lydia to reconsider the visit.

She was collecting her things to leave when the petite beauty with amber eyes returned to the room. Ruha had always insisted her family called her Udāsa nazaras/sad eyes. Even though her eyes were so amazing, Ruha always looked deeply concerned unless she was smiling.

“Where are you going?” Ruha shocked Lydia when she opened the door to find her standing there.

“I figured all of this was a bad idea so...” Lydia’s response was quickly intercepted.

“Have a seat Liddie. You must understand how hard it is for me to hear this. You are my family.” Ruha reasoned with her encouraging her friend to sit down.

“It just makes me feel so ashamed every time I talk about what happened to me.” She stated.

“Why did you stay?” The question was to the point.

“Honestly, I thought if I loved him enough... he might... one day...” She trailed off as the words registered in her mind. As much training as she had received on recognizing the signs of abuse and how to encourage patients to seek help, Lydia knew better.

She knew that it was impossible to change someone who had no desire to change themselves. As a licensed physician, she had a responsibility to look out for her patients. She also had a moral obligation to lead by example. To deduce in her mind that she had failed miserably in leading by example released a fountain of tears she had blocked up long ago.

“As long as I live, please don’t shut me out again. We have been through so much together. I would be so heartbroken if something terrible had happened to you.” Her friend counseled her as the tears continued to trickle down her cheeks. The disturbing information forced from behind her desk once again as Ruha firmly embraced her friend in a smothering bear hug.

“Don’t you dare shut me out like that again,” She cried into Lydia’s shoulder as both of the women held onto one another for a long-overdue crying session.

“I won’t. I promise.” Lydia assured the other doctor.

“You know you have to call him. If he finds out some other way, this will break his heart.” Ruha stated exactly what Lydia hoped she wouldn’t.

“Please, don’t say anything to him yet. I need a little time to figure out how to explain it. I wouldn’t want him to jeopardize his career because of me.”


One of the main reasons she hid what was happening in her life was largely related to the fact that Hyun-woo had originally tried to convince her not to marry Kemi after the two men met one another for the first time.

The young businesspeople blocked out time in their schedules to meet at a local upscale coffee shop shortly after the engagement was announced. Hyun was headed overseas so Lydia was eager to introduce the two people who were closest to her.

After some idle chatter and a few off-color remarks thrown in Lydia’s direction, Hyun-woo insisted her fiance was a bad person because of the way he talked to her. Not long after they sat down for the introduction, the guys nearly came to blows forcing Lydia and Ruha to separate the two.

They tried once more to meet when tempers cooled.

The four young professionals met at an exclusive restaurant that was only open for lunch and dinner to try and smooth things over between the men. The man who was treated like her brother and her future husband seemed to be fine until Kemi mentioned that Lydia needed to eat a salad so she could fit into a nice wedding dress.

“Don’t look at the other side of this menu. I would prefer that you don’t stand before our family and friends looking like you just left the pasture on your way to the wedding.” He snickered to himself as if what he said was appropriate.

Once again, the meeting ended abruptly right after her best friend voiced his opinion.

“You are closer to me like a sister than I am to my own brothers, but I would rather marry you myself than to condone this mess. He doesn’t love you. I don’t know why he accepted your hand, but any fool can see you are an inconvenience to him.” Hyun-woo made it clear that he saw right through Kemi.

“Hyun. I know you mean well, but you can’t talk to or about my fiance like that.” She defended the sorry piece of trash sitting next to her.

“I’m sorry, but I have to go. I cannot in good conscience be a part of this. When he shows you his true colors, and I know he will, I’m always here for you. Just call me.” The man who was once terribly nerdy with the worst case of acne she had ever seen and bucked teeth had changed in every way.

Hyun-woo Kim was no longer the six-foot-tall dorky med student. He had a whole year of medical practice time under his belt. Recently, he had returned from Naval Basic Training. When his friends questioned his choice, he stated it was important for him to build up his endurance and become a more mentally, physically, and spiritually strong man.

After his first year in the Navy, Hyun-woo put on about thirty pounds of muscle and he showed up before his best friends looking like an entire buffet. He wasn’t just a snack. No sir, the lifetime zero had become a full-time hero and it looked like he had encountered a major glow-up along the way. He was so sexy Lydia and Ruha found it hard to approach him without staring him down.

They still managed to get together as much as their careers would allow until the fallout between the guys.

It wasn’t long after that meeting that Kemi made good on Hyun’s promise. One night out of the blue, he attacked her and accused her of cheating.

“I know you’ve been fucking that Korean bastard behind my back,” he screamed as he snatched her from the bed by her hair.

He had left earlier in the day after they discussed that she wanted to wait until they were married to have sex. That night, he insisted she was lying about her virginity. Even after he confirmed she was a virgin, he still proceeded to beat her for embarrassing him in front of her foreign friends.

“You and those dumbasses think y’all are better than me. I know one thing, you won’t see either of those motherfuckers again. If I even suspect you talked to them on the phone, I will break your eardrums so you will never be able to hear either one of them again,” he insisted as he stormed out of the room.


Shortly after the professional women pulled themselves together, they set about the business at hand. It had been a while since she was examined by another professional she held close to her heart. After Dr. Hubert returned, he had much of the same reaction to what Kemi had done to her.

Dr. Hubert became closer than ever. At one time, Lydia informed him that he was like a father figure to her. Once he realized she was being taken advantage of, he really stepped up to provide her constant support in her life.

Lydia knew she was blessed to have such a diversely fortified support system. They rallied to her side and offered the love she had been denied for numerous swaths of years throughout her life.

“Mrs. Thornton, we won’t be able to make that appointment today. Something has occurred which won’t permit it.” Michael responded to her instantly, but she noted that He didn’t sound like himself. The serious tone in his voice helped her understand there must be a major problem.

She grabbed her bag and called her assistant to explain that she would be leaving for the day. Lydia advised the head of her nursing staff to call her afternoon appointments and advise them that they would be seeing Dr. Summa. Once all of her professional responsibilities were covered, she was escorted out through her private exit into a black Escalade.

In her recollection, she remembered times when they were in a hurry to get somewhere, but never once had the chauffeur be guilty of driving the vehicle so fast.

Every element of what was transpiring confirmed that trouble was present and that it most likely was closer than Ryder could comfortably deal with as long as she wasn’t right by his side.

Sitting strapped in her seat, Lydia hadn’t realized she had been holding her breath in anticipation until the tightness in her chest made it impossible for her to continue the way she was. The exact opposite occurred when she realized she was panicking. Her breathing was shallow and rushed. Cold sweat beaded her brow and her heart pounded through her clothes.

As the anxiety attack increased in severity, Lydia found herself praying while trying to redirect her attention. She had to get control of herself. This wasn’t the time to lose control when she hadn’t the slightest idea of what was going on to fall apart in the first place.

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