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Ryan’s POV
2 weeks later

With a flight to Minneapolis scheduled tomorrow, Ella has been studying non-stop to be ahead knowing she’ll focus on helping Maddy with the wedding. She’s also working with my mum to find new furniture and home decor. Mum still hasn’t committed to the house, we’re visiting a few more soon. Something tells me she wants to move but she’s nervous about making a decision. Ella hinted that talking to someone in therapy might be beneficial but I don’t think she’s ready yet.

I walk to Ella’s chair running my hands on her neck with a goal in mind. Surprisingly, we haven’t been making love lately. She’s always tired and stressed out. Her doctor had warned her about a change in her sex drive, to my despair, it seems to be one of the side effects she’s experiencing. “Babe, I want to finish this,” she mumbles. “I want you,” I move to her side, taking her hand leading it to the bulge that’s growing in my pants. She licks her lips, slowly, looking at me through her lashes. There’s a moment of hesitation until she turns around in her chair while sporting a salacious smile. The excitement I felt thinking I had convinced her to let me make love to her vanishes when she offers a blow job instead. I’ll never get over how good her mouth and tongue feel on my cock but I was longing for more. Afraid of upsetting her, I let myself enjoy the pleasure she’s giving me.

“When is our next try?” I ask her a few minutes later. “I’m spending 4 days in Minneapolis and when I get home, we have to try,” she informs me. “I’m looking forward to it already,” I kiss her soft lips. “I’m going to miss you,” a grim look spreads on her face. Her mood change is baffling, we’ve been apart before and she’s going on a short trip, she’s used to it. “Hey, what’s wrong? I’ll miss you but it’ll fly by quickly,” I hold her. “I don’t know, I just feel sad. I love Maddy but I want to stay with you,” she says, tears run down her cheeks. I walk her to the guest bed laying down bringing her small frame on top of mine, her head rests on my chest, her body trembles under my touch. “Why is she so emotional?” I trap her in a bear hug hoping to chase away whatever this is. Her grip on my body is desperate as if she’s scared I’ll disappear if she lets go. I can tell her mind is racing through different thoughts. “I love you, Ella. I’ll be here when you get home,” My words seem to have a calming effect on her finally. “Thank you, I’m sorry. I just…” she murmurs into my chest. “I’m here. Take your time, baby,” I run my hands through her hair. A long time goes by with her holding me until she finally gathers herself up going back to her studies after kissing me. I know she has a lot going on but I hate seeing her so distraught.

Spraying my perfume on Nala, I then put her in Ella’s suitcase. I have a feeling she’ll need comfort during her trip. We haven’t had any “couple sessions” in a while and I think we should probably schedule one once she gets home. Hopefully, her time with Maddy will help distract her. Sending a text to Max, I ask him to keep me updated on Ella’s mood during their stay in Minnesota. I don’t like to go behind her back but I know her tendency to hide when she’s going through something.

A few hours later, I find her crying in the kitchen with broken glass by her feet. “Baby, it’s not a big deal, don’t cry,” I tell her. “I know! I’ll be fine!” she says, her tone laced with anger. She picks up all the pieces before serving us dinner. Her mood lightens up talking about what she has planned during her stay with her friend. She does talk about missing me again though.

The next day
Our morning leading to me dropping her at the airport turned out to be quite a bumpy ride. She went from being grumpy when she woke up, tears showed up when she got in the car until she started cursing the cars around us while being stuck in traffic. Even Cooper and Max seemed surprised by her erratic behavior. I pull her closer when we get there, ready to tell her goodbye. “I’m sorry for being difficult. I’ll miss you,” she wraps her arms around me. “I’ll miss you, baby. Facetime me whenever possible. Enjoy your time and tell Maddy and Sam I can’t wait to see them in Greece!” I lower myself to her level bringing my lips to hers. “I love you!” She gives me one last peck and follows Max inside.

“Is Ella okay?” Cooper asks as he drives me to work. “I don’t know why she’s so temperamental right now. Hopefully, she’ll be able to relax with Maddy and come back feeling better,” I sigh. Cooper rarely asks personal questions and for him to notice a change in her worries me even more. Ella and I’s agreement on keeping her treatment to ourselves also means I can’t even share with Cooper, not that I would tell him everything anyway. The only thing left to do is wait and pray that she’ll come back home in better spirits.

A text from Charlotte informs me she thinks she found the perfect house for us. I set up an appointment for tomorrow morning before work. I never knew finding a place would be so complicated. Thinking we’ll have to go through the same thing once we start looking in Montreal is depressing. Ella has been using her Pinterest again which is helpful for me when it comes to finding something she’ll love. Now if Charlotte could stop showing me houses that don’t fit the vibe, it’d be even better. It’s almost as if Charlotte doesn’t want me to find the perfect place for Ella which is so irritating. I’m giving her a chance until mum finds hers otherwise I’ll look for a new realtor.

“Hey man, want to come over tonight?” I ring my friend Alex. An hour later, he walks through the door with a pizza and beer. Eyeing the beer, I take a deep breath. Most of my friends know about my drinking issues and I’m surprised by his actions. I don’t condone people drinking when we go out or even if they invite me to their house but to bring some here is crossing a line for me. Fuck am I tempted by looking at the bottle! Ella’s face pops on my phone and I quickly pick up. She sounds happy to be with Maddy, I’m relieved to hear her upbeat voice. The temptations fade away but not without me nicely telling Alex never to bring any over again. I expected a friend that’s been part of my life since my childhood to know better, I guess I was wrong.
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