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1 week later

I woke up to Ryan whispering on the phone next to me, he gave me an apologetic look when he saw I was awake. From what I understand he’s talking to Laura about the movie. Laying on his chest I run my nails along his smooth skin. A smile appears on my lips when I feel his muscles contracting under my touch.

His call is dragging on and I decided to hop in the shower in the meantime. Today should be the day we find out the verdict for Jake. Now that I’m alone under the water I worry about it. “What if they find him not guilty?” He has different charges against him including kidnapping and sexual assault. The past few weeks have been gruesome reliving the details of what he put me through. Experts were able to confirm his phone was the one sending all the threats on social media and through texts. They didn’t have enough evidence on the suspicion of him hacking Ryan’s credit card information, however. The water glides on my back while I stare at the wall lost in my thoughts. There’s a lump in my throat making it difficult for me to swallow, the air having a hard time reaching my lungs. The thought of him being freed is making my pulse race, my ears ringing and before I know it everything goes blank around me.

Ryan is perched over me when I open my eyes, naked on the floor. “An ambulance is on the way,” he says, softly. “No!” I protest in a raspy voice. After making sure I’ll be okay, he goes to fetch me some clothes. I try to reason with him saying we need to go to court soon but he’s not even responding to my pleas simply dressing me up until there’s a knock at the door. Cooper and Max saw the ambulance and rushed to our house coming in with them. Paramedics check on my vitals while the boys stand to the side. Tears stream down my face feeling frustrated that Jake still scares me to the point of fainting.

“Everything seems normal but we always suggest that you come to the hospital for further investigation,” The male paramedic says. “I will be fine,” I tell him. “Stubborn as usual,” Ryan says under his breath.

Soon the four of us are ready to head out after my little incident. My husband barks at Cooper to stop by McDonald’s where he orders 2 breakfast burritos and offers to pay for the bodyguard’s meals. I ask for a chai latte only. A few minutes later, Ryan hands me one of the burritos. “Eat!” his voice is stern, the same controlling tone he used to tell Cooper to stop by the restaurant. “Stop bossing us around!” I yell, startling everyone in the car. “Miss sassy, it might come as a surprise to you but I care, deeply, and I hate seeing you faint on the day we’ll get to hear the verdict. So you better listen to me. Eat. Now!” The tone combined with the way his eyes are burning into mine makes me gulp and eat my food in silence. Max turns up the music, his way of easing the tension around us. I finish my burrito as we arrive at our destination. “Wait,” Ryan tells me and I sit still while he walks around to get my door. “I’m sorry,” my voice is small barely audible as I turn around in my seat to face him. “I know, babe,” his strong arms reach around me and with one touch our argument comes to a resolve. My legs go around his legs pulling him to me with my arms around his neck. Our souls seem to replenish bouncing off each other’s energy. “Let’s go,” he whispers, slowly pulling away.

Mr. Hale meets us in the hallway, a grave look sits on his face as he leads us to a private room instead of the courtroom. He explains that he was told Jake is at the hospital but he doesn’t know what for yet. We sit in silence for what seems like hours before his assistant walks in.

“Mr. Murphy attempted to commit suicide, he’s being treated for his injuries and will have to go through a psychological evaluation before the court can announce the verdict. I’m very sorry Mrs. Faulkner Taylor, you won’t have the answer today,” the blonde girl turns to me. I nod.

Without any other word, I stand up heading for the door. I’m seething, vile thoughts filling my brain drawing a dark picture. Ryan barely has time to thank our lawyer before chasing after me and Max who followed as per protocol. The door flies open when I pull on it allowing me to climb into the car that was still parked in the same spot by the door. Soon Cooper drives off, Ryan’s hand sneaks onto my lap while I sit far away from him.

“What happened?” Max inquires. Both of our bodyguards were on the other side of the door missing the announcement. I stay silent while Ryan gives them the information. Mr. Hale had time to tell him it might take months until we have to go back. “Are we going to the house or…?” Cooper suddenly asks. His eyes are on me but I keep staring out the window. “Yes, you guys can drop us off and do whatever you want with your day,” Ryan says.

Once the car comes to a stop, I turn to him. “Go with them. I need time.” There’s a long pause where I feel him nervous. “I will walk you in,” he negotiates and I nod my acceptance. Giving the boys a brief nod, I follow Ryan all the way inside the house. My effort to be out of reach failed when his long arms bring me back to him. “I’m giving you space because for the first time you asked for it instead of hiding. But if you need me to come back even in two minutes, don’t hesitate. You understand me?” the tone of his voice is serious. I nod. “Say it,” he begs me. “I will,” with that, I owe it to him to hug him making sure to hold the tears in. He would never leave if I was to break down right now. After one last intense look, he exits the house. And then I let myself crumble.
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