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“I don’t know what happened between all of you, but Sami was, is, honestly the nicest, most genuine person you will ever meet. She would do anything for anyone and move mountains to help the people she loved. There is not a mean bone in her body and I know she would never hurt anyone.” Sarah said, staunchly defending her friend.

“From the sounds of it, we apparently never really knew her.” Brian said quietly. “What was she like?”

Sarah smiled. “She was incredible. Everything she did was to help someone else or to make their life brighter. She was dedicated to her grandmother and she took time off between high school and college to take care of her. After her grandmother died, she decided to go to school for nursing.”

“She was a nurse?”

Sarah nodded. “Growing up with her brother having all the medical conditions he had, made her want to work in the medical field and after her grandmother passed, she became a nurse right after graduating; I don’t think there was anyone more dedicated to her job than Sam was. She even worked part time for a hospice care center. She loved life and she wanted to make sure that everyone enjoyed it, even if it was for a limited time.” The woman started to get choked up. "She was the type of person who’d get stuck outside in a rainstorm and make something fun out of it.”

“It sounds like you cared about her.”

“I did, my sister and I both did. She became like another sister to us; we could depend on her as much as we could depend on our family.”

“What happened?”

“She met Ryan and everything changed.”


Sam started to doze off, curled up into a ball in the chair; her eyes closed and gentle snoring followed. For a change, thoughts of Ryan and her constant running were replaced with memories she had pushed away when she left. Being with AJ was one of the best times in her life and she couldn’t remember a time when she’d been happier. She would give anything to get those moments back.


“How did she meet Ryan?”

Sarah tensed at the sound of his name. “His father was one of the hospice patients she took care of. Ryan visited his father several times during the time he was sick and took an interest in Sami.”

“It sounds like you didn’t approve.” Nick said.

“I didn’t.”

“Why?” Brian inquired.

“He rubbed me the wrong way. Something was off about him; he seemed to most people to be an upstanding and trustworthy guy. I mean after all, he was an ADA, people are supposed to trust him.”

“But you didn’t?”

“Not at all. He spent too much time chasing Sami and once he caught her, he wasn’t going to let go.” She paused. “Under any circumstances.”

“That sounds pretty ominous.” Howie added.

“It was and unfortunately I was right. Ryan and Sami dated for about six months before he asked her to marry him. She was so happy that she’d found someone and she truly believed that he would love and care for her for the rest of her life. That was the fairytale version that she wanted anyway.”

“But it wasn’t I’m guessing.”

“No, he was controlling before they got married but nothing compared to what he was like once they exchanged their vows. He knew she didn’t have any family to turn to so he decided to push her as far away from us as he could so that she would be totally dependent on him.”

“She had work right?”

“No, he made her quit that with the promise that they were going to have kids. He told her how wonderful she’d be as a mother and that she should really focus on just taking care of the kids.”

“I take it that the kid thing wasn’t ever gonna happen.” Nick stated.

“No way. Ryan was never meant to be a father and it was bad enough that Sami had to live like that. She would have never wished it on a child.”

“Live like what?”

“A human punching bag.”