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Author's Chapter Notes:
I apologize for the long delay in updating and I hope everyone still reading; I would love to know what you think. A big thank you to Sapphire for all her help and reviews!
AJ and Sam returned to real life the next day and, as happy as the trip had made her, she wasn’t looking forward to being stuck in the house again. The time away made it all too clear to her that Ryan was still controlling her life and she was again under his suffocating grasp. Being abused for as long as she had been was incredibly difficult and, even now that she was away from him, it still didn’t make any difference.

AJ had been so supportive but he realized that she was miserable being in the house all the time with no freedom. He wanted to do something to make it easier on her but there was nothing he could think of that wouldn’t put her in danger. Ryan was, by now, well aware of them sneaking away for their trip and risking another trip wasn’t something he was willing to do.

It had been a week since they had been back and Sam was restless. She spent most nights not sleeping but tossing and turning, letting her mind go back to being at the lake; this happened to be one of those nights. AJ had fallen asleep a few hours ago but there she was, wide awake with no hope of going to sleep any time soon. She turned on her side and instead of that helping, she caught sight of the moon illuminating the beach and it was a beautiful sight. Not being able to hold it back any more, she slipped out of bed, threw on a sweatshirt and silently snuck down to the kitchen. After making sure the house alarm was off, she pulled open the back sliders and took in a huge breath of fresh air. She hated sneaking off like this but she just needed a little time to herself.


Ryan was pacing his hotel room floor, getting angrier by the second. That stupid woman had caused him quite a headache when she let that moron escape with his wife. It had made him realize that she was good to have around when he was frustrated but wasn’t worth a damn in any other way. Knowing that she was completely incompetent, he had hired, against his better judgement, a private investigator. This was not someone who had the best record but it was one of the cheaper, and more discrete, ones who he wouldn’t have to justify anything to. So far, he had been unimpressed and was starting to consider finding someone else when he got the phone call. He listened to the information and had barely snapped his cell shut before he was racing to the parking garage.


Sam sat as close to the water as she dared and let the silky sand fall through her fingers. She had missed these smells and feelings for years and was content, for this moment, to sit here and enjoy the view. There was little time to be out here because she wanted to be back in bed before AJ woke up; she didn’t want to cause any panic.

As she sat there longer, an unexpected anger started to rise through her. She was so tired of having to run from Ryan. Before him, her life had been happy even with its ups and downs. Losing her parents, brother and grandparents had an effect of her as it would anyone else but she was trying to use all of that loss to fuel something that would help someone else. Being a nurse did that for her and she loved her job, her co-workers and her patients; she had planned on being a nurse for as long as she could.

She had also dreamed of having a happy marriage and children. Her parents and grandparents had shown her that two people could love each other with complete devotion and spend their lives together in peace and harmony. That was a great lesson for her to learn and she had hoped that she would be able to find that with someone special; unfortunately, she found Ryan first.

Ryan hadn’t started off as awful as he turned out to be but Sam found out later that was just an act. When he came to visit his parents, he was always attentive to them and she thought that it was sweet for a man to treat his parents the way he did. As it turned out, all he wanted to do was to stay in their good graces so that he wouldn’t be written out of the will before they died. His father had once threatened it when he acted out as a young adult so he knew it was a possibility and he couldn’t let that much money slip through his fingers.

She made the mistake of thinking that he cared about her too but that was just the same lie he portrayed to his parents. Sam was just the trophy wife, the one who looked like she was supposed to, did what she was supposed to and was really Ryan’s punching bag. It made her so furious that she had spent years living like that and she got so lost in the resentment that she wasn’t paying any attention to her surroundings.


The information that his investigator called him with was spot on; he found Samantha sitting by herself on the beach. She was still such an idiot and he had to laugh to himself about how easy it would be to get to her. There was no one around and she wasn’t paying any attention to anything. All he’d have to do is silently slip up behind her and grab her; he couldn’t have asked for more.


AJ flipped over onto his other side and reached his arm out so that he could wrap it around Sam. Instead of finding her body, his arm flopped onto the bed and his eyes cracked open. He looked around the bedroom but didn’t see any sign of her. His concern for her was increasing, and although he knew she needed space, he wanted to make sure she was safe. Thinking she was in the bathroom, he flipped back over and noticed that the light was off and the door was open.

Jumping out of bed, he slipped on a pair of sandals and quickly made his way down to the first floor. He remembered he didn’t shut the shades so he made his way to the alarm; the light was blinking that it had been disarmed. The panic rose in him as he searched the first floor and the studio downstairs. Still not finding her, he happened to look outside and saw a figure sitting on the beach near the water. Hoping and praying it was her, he whipped open the slider door and took off as fast as he could.