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I was relieved to see my period was done when I woke up. The flight to Greece was uneventful which is always a good thing. The excitement to see my friends is making me giddy, their flights all got there before ours. For some reason, Cooper and Max have been acting as if they’re on high alert but I guess the last time we all traveled together, the Jake episode happened so maybe they’re being extra careful.

The top floor of the hotel has been reserved for us with four different suites for each couple and the bodyguards. There’s even an indoor pool on our level which is great for privacy. Maddy and Sam are the first ones to knock at our door. Ryan is ecstatic to see his old friend, they always sound as if they’re speaking another language with their British slang and inside jokes. Emma and Trevor then join us. Her belly looks adorable in her pink summer dress. I sit here watching all my friends and my husband feeling grateful for them. I haven’t taken the pills in a few days without telling Ryan but it seems like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders already. Now if I could find the spark that will light my hunger again, everything would be perfect. Ryan has been careful not to put me in situations where I’ll get upset from my lack of libido but I’m hoping this trip will change things around again.

Trevor led us to a restaurant right around the corner, a recommendation from the man at the front desk he said. Ryan and I sit together as usual but he makes sure to keep his hands on the table. Maddy goes on about updates on her wedding preparations, I knew all about it but I still chat with her and our friends sharing the excitement. Trevor seems to have recovered really well from his accident, he’s back to the jokester that he’s known for teasing Maddy with details of the bachelor party he’s organizing for Sam. My poor friend’s mouth hangs open when she hears him mention exotic dancers. Of course, Trevor is only joking but the look on her face is priceless. Cooper suddenly stands up and seems to be interested in someone sitting near the bathrooms. “What’s up with him?” I ask Max. “Bodyguard instinct, don’t worry, Ella. We’ve got you,” he smiles. Ryan gives me a soft smile before getting into a conversation with the boys about football.

Later on, Maddy, Emma, and I all gather in Maddy’s suite to catch up while the boys are playing some games. It feels great being alone with my two best friends. We often get to talk on the phone and although I visited them not too long ago, being all together in the same room on vacation is what I needed right now.

“Will you be upset if I ask a question?” Maddy turns to me. “Well, the only way to find out is to ask,” I stick my tongue out. I see her hesitate but she finally speaks. “Are things okay between you and Ryan?” her voice is barely audible. “What? Why?” I’m shocked by her question. “You guys are usually all over each other. But you’ve been avoiding physical contact, no kisses, no hugs, ever since you got here,” she explains. Emma says she noticed as well. We had decided to keep the treatment between us and it saddens me to see them notice a change. Ryan and I need to be able to go back to the way things were. “We, uh, we’re fine. I have to talk to him before I say anything about a personal issue we’ve had for the past few months. But we’re still madly in love. I promise,” I hope to be able to share more soon but out of respect for him, I won’t say anything now. “Fair enough, as long as you guys are doing well it’s all that matters,” Emma hugs me. Trying to move on from the subject, we go down memory lane talking about some of our previous trips, we always seem to enjoy talking about our best moments together. “Can I say something without you judging me?” Emma asks out of the blue. We promise her. “I’m excited about the baby but I worry our friendship will change. I feel horrible saying it out loud but what if I won’t be able to travel with you or see you as often? We already don’t get to see each other as much as I would like to. Will you hang out without me? Will you forget about me?” she rambles on. “Emma! Yes, things will be different, we’ll have to plan around the baby but we’re friends for life. Nothing will break our bound,” Maddy tells her. “Hey, we can hire you a nanny for our trips,” I say half-joking half-serious. “Stop!” Emma giggles. “What? If Ryan can hire me a bodyguard, I can get you a nanny, it’s kind of the same thing right?” we all burst into laughter. Being here with them feels right, I was worried about spoiling the trip with my mood swings but so far so good.

The next day
The sound of notifications blowing my phone wakes me up. Ryan rolls around still sleeping. I quietly walk to the other room where I finally see my Instagram DMS being bombarded with messages saying I’m a bitch for what I did to Ryan. “What the fuck?” I scramble trying to figure out what’s going on until I see the source. Pictures of Max with his arm around me have been uploaded online stating I’m cheating on Ryan. I feel light-headed, my hands are shaking. Tabloids are already publishing articles stating I’m having an affair with my bodyguard. I send a text to Max asking to see him in private. Cooper goes to the gym while I enter their room to talk to my bodyguard.

“Have you seen them?” I ask him. “Seen what?” he’s clueless. I quickly show him the pictures and all the comments and rumors about us. His face pales, he knows Ryan’s wrath is coming for us. “What the fuck do I do?” I’m panicking. “We’ll explain it to him,” he says. He makes it sound so simple but I know he’s as nervous as I am.

Afraid someone will go to Ryan before I do, I text my friends begging them to wait for me to explain the pictures once I talk to Ryan. Max and I then stare at each other wondering what to do next. That’s when a text from Ryan comes on my phone.
-I need to speak with you and Max right fucking now!
“He knows and he wants to see us,” I tell Max looking into his fearful eyes.
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