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The homework I’m trying to complete before our trip is giving me anxiety right now. “You’ve got this, Ella!” I tell myself as I try to shake it off and take it one step at a time. The battery on my headphones beeps telling me it’s dying. Sighing, I remove them and head to the living room to find Ryan’s. I’m halfway there when I realize he’s on the phone, on speaker. “Great! It’s a date then, I’m sure you’ll love it,” Charlotte’s voice says. “Yeah, hopefully. I will see you soon,” he hangs up. “A date? He’ll love it?” Frozen, I stand in the hallway scared he might hear me. He obviously assumed I would be listening to music. My head is spinning as different possibilities run through my mind. “Is he going on a date? With her?” I hear him moving and I quickly tiptoe my way back to my desk. My heart is thrumming against my chest while I sit in the chair. “Should I confront him?” I know I’m going to lose it if something is going on between them. Part of me can’t imagine Ryan cheating but why would she say he’ll love whatever she has planned?

“Babe?” Ryan startles me walking into the room. I briefly look back at him. “Hey, are you okay? You’re looking pale,” he asks, concerned. “Uh...yeah… I’m having my period,” I’m not lying but I’m also not telling the whole truth. He walks to my chair bringing his hands to my neck massaging it. Silent tears roll down my cheeks, I’m overwhelmed by the comforting feeling his hands are providing mixed with the questions clouding my mind. Probably feeling the tremble in my shoulders, he wraps his arms around them nuzzling his face against my cheek. “Talk to me,” he whispers. “I’m...I’ll be fine, just need to get my homework done, sorry,” I take a deep breath trying to pull myself together. “Is it okay if I go run some errands?” he asks. “Su-Sure,” I stutter wondering if he’s telling the truth. “Come here,” he wants me to stand up, I follow his request. Reaching for the back of my thighs, he pulls me up for a tight embrace. The way his arms feel around my body, his cheek on my cheek, his scent floating around; soothes my soul. “I love you, I’ll be back soon,” he brings me back to my chair.

Miraculously, I managed to focus on my task, finishing it quickly. Only one more to go but I can’t shut the voices in my head. They’re fighting with themselves, I can’t see him having an affair but I can’t figure out why she said they had a date. Letting out a scream of frustration, I pull up my phone texting Max, I need to get out of here or I’ll go insane.

I asked to go to a park near our flat where we sit on a bench. Minutes pass by while neither of us says a word. My tall brown-haired bodyguard doesn’t seem to know what’s going on in my brain. Ryan can usually see through me and pick up on my thoughts, a deep bond that we cherish. Max is a good friend but he still hasn’t learned how to handle me when I’m in that state of mind. “Do you know where my husband is right now?” I ask in a small voice. “Running errands with Cooper,” he answers with a poker face on. “Errands… Do you know where he is exactly?” I stare into his eyes. “I don’t know,” his ocean blue eyes look away from mine. “You’re lying!” I’m calling him out. “I’m… Ella, why are you asking?” Max rubs his neck. “Because I heard him talk to Charlotte and now I’m the bad wife wondering if…” I trail off. I’m mad at myself when tears stream down my face, I hate going down that dark path, I’ve worked too hard on kicking my insecurities. “Ella, no! It’s not what you think,” he insists. “So what is it? Why did she talk about a date?” I growl. “I… can’t. Fuck!” Max looks torn, the struggle is clear on his features. “Can you promise me something?” He asks after a minute. I nod before wiping my eyes. “Don’t ask him about it. Trust me it’s not what you think but please be patient,” he begs me. “Patient? Max, you better not be lying to me,” I stare at him again and I can tell he’s being honest. I may have a hard time letting people in but Max’s eyes are like an open book.

I ask him to drive me home after a while. My body is exhausted, between my period messing with my mood and giving me horrible cramps, and my struggle to keep my insecurities buried where they belong, I feel like I’m crumbling. Max has been good to me but I need my husband.
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