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Ryan’s POV

Coming home to an empty flat was surprising, not that Ella isn’t allowed to go out but she usually keeps me informed. I wish I knew why she cried earlier. Whatever was going on must have been bad, her walls were up. Somehow I have a feeling neither her pills nor her period was the cause of her sorrows.

The front door opens just as I’m about to text her. Her eyes are bloodshot red indicating she cried again. Crossing the hallway, I reach for her, after a brief hesitation, she willingly walks into my arms. I can easily tell her mind is tormented. I’ve been very patient with her but I can’t stand to see her like that any longer. It’s slowly destroying me.

“What’s wrong?” I ask. She leads me to the couch where we take a seat. “I’m having a bad day, I’m sorry,” she’s avoiding my eyes. “Fuck, Ella, I can’t do this anymore. I thought it would get better but it’s not… We need to talk,” the words slip out and I know I’m walking into a storm but I’m willing to fight it to get my Ella back. “What? You can’t do this anymore?” Her face pales. “No! I really can’t!” I sigh. “He lied… Are you leaving me?” She asks and I’m shocked. “Wait, who lied?” The detail of what she just said hits me. “Answer me first!” She screams. “I’m not leaving you,” I yell back. Confusion spreads on her beautiful face. I’m as confused as she is. “Ella, fucking talk! Who lied? About what?” Silence. My patience is running thin as my frustration grows, getting the best of me. “I can’t… I heard… a date with…” she can barely make a sentence through her sobs. “A date?” I ask. “Charlotte, she said you had a date and you’d love it,” she hides her face in her hands. “She thinks I’m cheating? What the fuck!” The thought alone makes me sick to my stomach. “How can you even think I’m cheating? I get the word date is misleading but fuck, Ella! Don’t you fucking know how much I love you?” I usually hate seeing her get scared when I scream but her thinking I could even consider being with someone else is totally infuriating. “I didn’t know what to think! I noticed the settings have changed on your phone hiding messages when the screen is locked. Then… I… the word date and saying you’ll love it. We haven’t been…” she rambles before I cut her off. “You think because you’re experiencing bad side effects that I’m going to go fuck someone else?” I feel the bile rise in my throat. “No! Not fuck… I just… I guess I just wondered if you had a date but not sex… Why the fuck did she use that word? What were you going to love? Why are you even seeing her now that your mom found a house? What does she want from you? Why change your settings if you’re not hiding anything? Help me fucking understand!” Her eyes are black. She just went from being upset to being angry, even angrier than I am, shouting in my face. “Because,” I sigh, rubbing my fingers on my eyes. Now I have to come clean, my secret backfired on me. “Babe, I wanted to surprise you and buy a house. She’s been helping me look for one hence the use of “you’ll love it” after the mention of a date which was a fucking rubbish word to use,” I feel better now that she knows, I hated hiding things from her. But then my heart breaks when I see how devastated she looks. For a split second, I see her thinking of running away but she inhales deeply, sitting still. “I don’t deserve you,” she whispers. “Don’t go there! To be fair, I probably would have punched a wall if I had heard a man say that to you. Or I would have found him and beat the shit out of him,” I chuckle. “I feel terrible, I should’ve asked you upfront what the call was about,” she climbs onto my lap. “Yes, but I can’t promise I wouldn’t have tried to avoid answering you in an attempt to keep the surprise. Are you okay with me looking for a house?” I ask her, suddenly worried about her reaction. “I’m overjoyed you tried to surprise me. But just so you know, Charlotte is giving me an Isabelle vibe,” I laugh at her comparison. “I won’t see her without you around from now on.”

Her stomach rumbles and she offers to make something quick for us to eat now that it’s late. A moment later, I sit down in front of a plate of macaroni and cheese. The mood is peaceful again. I can’t ever stay mad at her for too long. She’s the same way with me. She could’ve dumped me for drinking and acting like a wanker. That’s one of the reasons why I love her, no matter how upset she gets, she gives me time to explain. Rainbows have always shown up after every tornado that came at us. The fact that we can go through anything and get out of it quickly without resentment is one of the best things about our relationship. Now I need to figure out the best way to approach her about quitting her treatment. We shouldn’t give up on our goal but the method to get there should be different. I also need to talk to her about Jake but that’s a little more complicated. The outbursts aren’t as frequent now that her therapist follows her daily but they still happen and I can see the exhaustion in her beautiful brown eyes. We’re leaving for our trip tomorrow; I’ll talk to her when we’ll get back.

Packing suitcases is something we can do with our eyes closed now. I notice her putting the most conservative one-piece swimsuit she owns in there. “No bikini?” I ask. She shakes her head saying she didn’t know which one to bring so she settled on the one piece. I also pick up on her concerns about being in a bikini given we haven’t even showered together in so long. “Bring the black one, the one you wore in Mexico,” I’m drooling picturing her in it. The memory is vivid in my mind. “Okay, if you insist.” She has to step closer to reach for it and I can’t stop myself from pulling her to me. My heart is racing when she lets me kiss her lips gently. I know she’s still going through a lot and I don’t want to push my luck but I still wrap her into a tight hug, one that warms my soul.
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