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“There you go, do you need anything else?” Max drops my suitcase and turns to me.
“No, thanks,” I avoid looking at him.
“Are you sure? You seem…” he trails off.
“I’m fine! Go do whatever you want with your day,” I growl at him.

Without a word, he exits the apartment leaving feeling terrible for being rude to him. Sending a text to apologize I then let myself crumble to the floor. My brain is trying to understand what the hell happened earlier. I was turned on, looking forward to seeing Ryan, I wanted him and then I felt nothing. My body responded to his sweet touch but my mind took me to a dark place leaving me numb and confused. I knew I had to focus on his pleasure so he wouldn’t notice the change but who am I kidding? He knows me so well I know he picked up on it. “Why?” The one thing that’s always been consistent between us is our sex life. I can’t bear the idea of losing what we have.

Lost in the darkness of the maze in my head, I come back to my senses when I hear my phone ringing. Grace excitedly tells me she made an offer on a house and asks that I come over for her to show me pictures and go over new ideas. Shaking myself off I manage to say I’ll be there shortly. Embarrassed, I text Max to inform him I need to go out.

“I’m really sorry, Max. I truly appreciate you, I just…” I say climbing the SUV. “No need to apologize, Ella. We all have bad days,” he kindly says. We ride to Grace’s house in silence. Mentally preparing myself to put on a fake smile for her sake, I take deep breaths after he parks the car. “Do you need to talk about it?” Max’s eyes are filled with concerns. “I...Um… Shouldn’t confide in you, sorry. But thank you for caring,” A part of me wants to talk to him, he has become a close friend but I can’t share details of Ryan and I’s personal life with him. I’d be crossing a line and I won’t do that to Ryan. “Fair enough, just know I’m here if you ever need me, even if you just need me to sit with you in silence,” He says, softly. Tears are threatening to spill but I hold them in giving him a small nod.

Grace took pictures of every single corner of the new house it seems. Her excitement is contagious pulling a genuine smile out of me. We then go over a theme for the house before looking at each room to see what can be done. She wants to have fresh paint all over, she’s really going for a new start and I can’t say I blame her. Trying to imagine how I’d feel being in her shoes makes me shudder. Losing the one person you love is horrific. She insists I stay over for dinner texting Ryan to inform him to join us as soon as he can.

He walks in about an hour after we’re done having dinner. Sitting in his chair, he pulls me to sit with him. A plate is placed in front of him. “Did you have a nice day?” I move a strand of his hair. “You’re home, my day couldn’t be better,” a grin spreads on his face. I notice Grace’s smile from the corner of my eye. He gobbles his plate asking for a second serving. His arm never leaves my waist even when I hear a notification on his phone.

Exhausted, I climb in bed after changing into my nightclothes right after we get home. He joins me only wearing his grey sweatpants. Resting his head on my chest, he wraps his arm around me. My fingers run through his soft hair. “You need a haircut!” I whisper. “You don’t like my long shaggy hair?” he laughs. “Can’t say it’s my favorite, sorry!” I pull on it. “I have to wait for the movie to wrap and then I’ll get it cut for you,” he lifts his head to kiss me. Tasting him feels so good. But then I get the foreign sensation again, panic takes over me. “What is going on? I want him but…” He can sense something is up. “If you’re tired, you can tell me,” he breaks the kiss. “I want… I’m sorry I’ve had a long day traveling and then helping your mother and,” he cuts me off by kissing my lips, gently. “I love you,” his large frame rolls me with him ending on his back and me on his chest. I feel like my brain is hiding the missing piece of a puzzle preventing me from understanding why I have this unusual feeling. Once I know he’s asleep, I pull up my phone writing an email to my therapist telling her about it. I don’t know how long it’s been since I started writing when he wakes up. “What are you doing?” His voice is sleepy, he rubs his eyes. “Nothing, don’t worry,” I put the phone on the nightstand to cuddle him again. The warmth of his arms around me is comforting, his citrusy scent brings me peace.
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