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Only a few minutes go by before a notification comes on my phone. My friends knew today was supposed to be the day and Maddy is messaging asking for an update. The tremble in my hands makes it hard for me to reply so I hit the call button instead. Thankfully both of my best friends were available to pick up.

“No Facetime?” Maddy asks right away.
“No,” my voice is hoarse.
“Oh, no, Ella what happened? He didn’t get away with it, did he? Fucking asshole!” Emma is getting angry.
“He fucking tried to kill himself but missed! He should have died! How dare he try to end it but miss? Can’t he ever do anything right? I’m so fucking sick and tired of being afraid. He’s now at the hospital getting care for his wounds as if he deserved to get help. You know he kept on saying he loves me but now I know he fucking hates me. There’s no other explanation for the pain he’s putting me through. What if he doesn’t stay at the hospital and comes for us and …” I trail off, exhausted.
“Do you want me to come to California? When will you get the verdict now?” Maddy asks.
“No, we don’t even know. He has to go through a psych evaluation which could take a long time the lawyer said. I’m guessing Ryan will need to go to work. I’ll resume my studies, hide at the beach house for now,”
“Where is Ryan?” Emma asks probably realizing I’m sitting on the floor still.
“I told him to go spend time with the bodyguards. I didn’t want him to see me like this,” I admit.
“Ella! Ryan is there to help you. Didn’t you say you promised you wouldn’t push him away when you need help? Don’t keep him in the dark. Besides he might need to talk I’m sure the news can’t be easy for him either,” Maddy reminds me. “Ouch!”
“I...Yes but...You’re right, I should get off the phone and ask him to come home,” I sigh.

Wiping my tears away I take a deep breath getting back on my feet to go sit on the lounge chair outside. Then I call him. I worried about interrupting a fun moment although it was a foolish thought considering I pushed him away and Jake added to our misery today. He could never have fun under those circumstances. He’s coming back to me.

Looking at my phone every minute, the time seems to stop while I wait for him. Twenty-two minutes later I hear the door and I race to jump in his arms as soon as he’s inside. He wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction and stumbles back holding me as best as he can. Again time stands still as we hide from the world in each other’s arms. His citrusy scent envelops me like a security blanket, his warm touch rests on my back, his lips are pressed against my neck. “Thank you,” his voice is so faint I barely heard him. “What for?” I pull back so I can see his face. “For calling me. I need you as much as you need me.” His eyes are glossy. I nod as he takes me to bed. It’s only late afternoon but we’re both drained.
Only getting rid of my bra without removing my shirt, I then lay with him. My head rests on his chest, one of my legs on his, my arm around his torso. His right arm lays against my back with his hand cupping my bum, his other arm holds mine on his torso. His heart is beating steadily in his chest bringing me comfort. “Are you okay?” I ask, softly. “Now that I’m holding you, yes.” Soft lips press on my forehead. “I fucking hate him,” he adds and I feel his body tensing up. “Shh, don’t think of him, not when we’re in bed,” my fingertips spell “I love you” on his chest and just like that, the tension goes away.

His phone ringing wakes me up, it’s dark in the room meaning we must have slept for a few hours. Laura is calling to inform him the movie company knows what happened today and they want him to start tomorrow. After a few minutes, he hangs up and tells me he’ll have to work long hours to catch up. I’m still on his chest now running my fingers on his lower abs.
“Are you going to be okay? Max will be here for you of course.”
“Don’t worry about me,” I tell him.
“That wasn’t the question!” His voice raised one octave.
“I will be fine...I promise to tell you if I need you,” I say, slowly. My efforts to keep him close, even when I instinctively want to push him away, have to keep improving. I owe it to him and us as a couple. His hold on my body tightens in response. His stomach grumbles.
“What should I make for you? What time is it?” I ask.
“7 PM let’s order something so you don’t have to cook,” he pulls me out of bed.

Fast food was the best option considering he has to read his script, the director sent information on what scenes he’s hoping to shoot tomorrow. Luckily, it’s an action-filled movie with minimum dialogues. Ryan had been trying to keep reading his lines every day but the trial was clouding his mind. I’m glad when he asks me to help him. I missed seeing him in his element where he’s thriving. He suddenly looks calm even though he’s running around the pool to act the scene.

The anger I felt earlier is still lurking around but having him near is like a shield keeping it far enough for me to be able to smile back when I see his sexy dimples pop on his face as he sits next to me. “Hi,” he moves closer to kiss me. His hand goes from resting on my knee to inching into my shorts but I push him back. “Why not? It’s been a while, even before you damaged my balls,” he bites at the skin on my collarbone. “Period,” I mumble. “You know we could do it in the shower. It wouldn’t bother me,” he suggests, still biting at my skin before sucking to soothe the stinging sensation. For some reason having sex during my period has never sounded tempting to me. I never judged those who do it but I could never be convinced to try. “I can…” I run my hand on his crotch. “How long until you’re done?” he asks. “Two days,” I peck his lips. “Looking forward to it, baby.”
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