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“I don’t know!” Maddy’s whiny voice says while looking at different color schemes for her wedding. “Maddy! Make up your fucking mind, you’re annoying!” I say in a bitter tone.
“Woah! No need to attack me! You knew I was indecisive when you decided to help me,” she gets defensive. “Yeah, well maybe I shouldn’t help you then,” I sigh, loudly, in exasperation.

My poor friend stares at me, I can see I’ve hurt her with my words. “Fuck! Why am I such a basket case lately?” I wonder to myself. Coming here was supposed to be pleasant, and I wanted to calm her down, but now I’ve made her upset. I reach for her hand on the table.
“I’m really sorry, I shouldn’t have lashed out at you like that. Let’s take a break and do something fun, okay?” I tell her, softly. “It’s okay I know you have a lot going on. Should we watch a crime show?” She graciously accepts my apologies. “Um, no. Sorry, after my real-life experience with Jake, I’ve been avoiding them,” I sigh. “I wasn’t thinking, let’s go to Target. Shopping always helps,” she suggests. “Good idea, let me text Max,” I squeeze her hand in mine.

Maddy was a bit uncomfortable around Max at first but she’s getting better. It seems like not that long ago, I was single and didn’t need a bodyguard. I still don’t think I need one now that Jake is locked up but I guess you can never be too careful. Max always makes sure to give us space while still interacting with us. I truly appreciate his work and dedication.

Max, who lost his charger, leads us to the electronic section for him to get a replacement. I wander through the Blu-Ray section where I find a cover with Ryan’s picture on it. All of a sudden, I feel like I want to crawl into a ball and cry. Emptiness fills my heart knowing he’s so far away in London. Reaching for the blu-Ray, I run my fingers on his face just as Max walks back to me, I’m unable to hide the cover in time. His blue eyes look intently at me without a word. With a sad smile, I put the item back on the shelf and walk away to find Maddy in the next aisle. My guilty conscience from attacking Maddy earlier finally finds some relief when I locate the perfect cards for her to use as wedding invitations.

Max got invited to join us when Sam met with us at a restaurant for dinner. I always feel bad having him on standby not being able to enjoy the food. Some situations require for him to be on alert mode or to give us privacy, tonight is not one of them. He’s shy about it at first, I notice him texting, I suspect he wanted to get the okay from Ryan. My husband has been warming up to Max but what we experienced with Jake did make him overprotective, we’ve been working on it in therapy. “Did you get his blessing?” I tease Max, a nice blush grows on his cheeks. “Sorry, I’m just following protocol,” he explains. Sam jokes around saying he bets Max could take Ryan down to which we both reply that Ryan is getting stronger. Sam’s accent always makes me think of my husband and for the second time today, I want to cry. I guess it had been a while since we had been apart but still, I’m used to it, or I should be. The intensity of my emotions has been overwhelming lately.

Ryan facetime me once I’m settled in bed with Nala. The time zone worked against us though I was glad to hear his voice especially when he told me he loves me. My dreams are clouded with memories of Jake from back when we worked together. The dream turns into a nightmare quickly when Jake enters my office to try and force himself on me. My heart is beating in my chest when I wake up covered in sweats. Breathing in Ryan’s scent on Nala allows me to calm down and go back to sleep after a while.

The next day
“Hey, are you okay? I heard you scream in your sleep,” Sam greets me at their kitchen table.
“You did? I’m sorry! I just had a bad dream,” I’m embarrassed, I didn’t know I had screamed out loud.
“Just wanted to make sure you were doing alright. You’re like a sister to me now,” Sam says, sweetly.
“Thank you, I truly appreciate it.”

Maddy and I spent the day working on her wedding again except this time, I was able to remain calm and patient when she couldn’t make her mind to the type of centerpieces she wanted. I’m so happy for my friend, getting married to the man you love is a great feeling. Sam has been treating her like a queen even moved to Minnesota for her. He owns a clothing company and it was easier for him to relocate to the United States than for her to give up her work.

Emma, Maddy, and I get on a video chat call after dinner. Although our trip to Greece has been planned for a while we still go over details of things we want to do and see. Emma got the okay from her doctor to travel in first class. The idea of spending time with my friends and my husband sounds appealing. Thinking about it reminds me I have to work extra hard on my studies if I want to be ahead before our getaway.

I’m shocked when the clock reads 2 AM after I had decided to study. Sending a good night text to Ryan I then get under the blanket. My phone rings, startling me. “Hello?” I whisper trying not to wake Maddy and Sam up. “Why did you stay up studying that late?” The exasperation is thick in his voice. “I wasn’t looking at the time, I just wanted to make sure I’ll be able to go on our trip without stressing out,” I explain. “Fine but please try to relax and enjoy your stay with Maddy and Sam, I love you, babe,” I hear Cooper in the background, by the sound of it they’re at the gym exercising. After getting me to promise I’ll go to bed as soon as we hang up, he tells me goodbye.
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