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“I know it’s not what you wanted to hear J, but I think getting out of that house is the best thing for her.”

“But Ryan…”

“That’s why I’m saying this.” Kevin said and sighed. “Please don’t take this the wrong way but Ryan kept Sam trapped for years in their home and never allowed her any freedom. I’m not saying that you’re anything like Ryan but keeping her against her will is only going to cause resentment. She’s a big girl AJ, let her make the decisions she wants to and be there to support her.”

AJ took a second to think about what his older brother was saying. He knew he was nothing like Ryan but he could see the similarities in the behaviors Kevin pointed out. Maybe it was time to loosen up.

He thanked Kevin and hung up. After giving himself a few minutes to let the decision sink in, he headed upstairs to talk to Sam.


“How are we going to find her?” the female voice asked quietly.

Ryan was still furious that his access to police assistance was denied and the fact that he could no longer force that tattooed idiot to cooperate. He was desperate to find a way into that house to retrieve his property.

“What if we watched the house constantly?” she said, trying to avoid another beating. “We can take turns, maybe hire someone to help.”

Ryan was about to lose it on her when he stopped to think about it. Keeping watch would provide opportunities for him as well as keep this insufferable, nagging woman at bay. While he’s taking a break, she would be far enough away.

“I don’t want to hire someone, too many questions. You’ll take twelve hours and I’ll take the other twelve.” He pointed his finger at her and glared. “You have the afternoon shift tomorrow and you’d better not screw it up.”


AJ found Sam sitting on one of his easy chairs, staring out at the ocean. He didn’t want to frighten her so he cleared his throat to let her know he was there.

“Can we talk?”

Sam just shrugged her shoulders and continued to watch the waves as they crashed on the beach; whatever he said wasn’t going to change her mind. AJ came around to the front of the chair and knelt down, blocking her view. He wanted her to listen, not ignore him.

“I’m sorry.” he said quietly.

Sam didn’t say anything and it hurt AJ that she was so mad. He knew why she was upset but it didn’t make her silence any easier to take.

“Where do you want to go?”

Sam was caught off guard by his question so she just stared at him, not really understanding why he was asking her that.

“You heard me.” he said with an easy smile. “Where do you want to go?”

Sam threw her arms around his neck. “Anywhere with water and peace for you and me!”


Ryan spent the next morning watching AJ’s every move. He followed him to the dry cleaners, the bank and the supermarket. The annoyance of having to do this nagged even more at him as he watched him schlep in the groceries and pull his truck into the garage. A few minutes later, AJ took his other car out and proceeded to watch and wax it. Leaving it to dry, the younger man made his way back into the house and it became quiet.

The desperate side of Ryan wanted to ignore the idiot, skip following him around and just break into the house but that wasn’t part of the big plan. He could have easily gone in while AJ was gone and grabbed her but it would be much more exciting to watch that dimwit struggle to save her as Ryan reclaimed what was his.

When his companion showed up to take the next shift, he explained, in detail, everything that had happened.

“Keep your eyes open, watch the door and that car. We don’t want to lose him!”


“How are we going to leave?” Sam asked with apprehension; she was starting to second guess herself about whether this was a good idea or not.

AJ told her about the strange car that had been following him and the other one that was now parked near the side of the house.

“Don’t worry. They’ll eventually need a break and that’s when we’ll go.”

He had already planned their escape down to every detail and he explained that he left the other car in the driveway to show that he was at home. Having his truck in the garage made it easy to load their stuff and sneak her into the backseat. He would cover her with a blanket and leave as soon as the mysterious car was gone.


She sat in the car for hours without taking her eyes off the house. Ryan would be furious if she missed anything and she knew what happened when he got angry.

The hours continued by and after the fifth, she had to use a restroom; the two coffees she had were catching up to her. Ryan had instructed her to wear Depends or use a catheter, whatever would prevent her from leaving the car. Normally, that would be something someone would say as a joke but she knew Ryan wasn’t kidding. She tried for a while longer to get her mind off of it but, after another hour, she just couldn’t take anymore. There was a coffee shop up the street and she knew she could get there and back in less than five minutes.

Going as fast as she could, she made it back in four and let out a huge sigh of relief when she saw the car still sitting in the driveway. Her relief, however, would be short lived when Ryan noticed that there were no lights on when he showed up to take over. Concerned with the lack of movement, he crept up to the garage and saw that the truck AJ had been driving earlier was gone.

“Stupid bitch!” he roared as he stormed off to his car and sped back to the hotel.