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Author's Chapter Notes:
I hope you guys are still with me, let me know what you think!
The next few days flew by like nothing and it was almost like there was a blur in Sam’s memory of everything that happened. She had held a memorial service for Ryan and accepted the condolences given to her by all of his “friends”. These people were no more upset than she was to know that Ryan was deceased and some of them were even silently excited because his job had opened up. The men were already putting their names in for his position, lawyers really being no better than vultures when someone passed away. She never wanted to hold a service but the lawyer suggested she just get it over with because his parents would have wanted one; this was the last thing she would ever do for them.

He also helped her with the sale of the house and with the emptying and closing of several bank accounts. She kept enough money to get by on while she decided what she was going to do next; all the money from the sale of the house was being donated to the hospital where she worked. They were building a children’s cancer center and she wanted something good to come out of everything that happened to her; she wanted to give back to people who had given so much to her. All of the items in the house were sold at auction with the money going to the hospital as well.

She had moved into a hotel as soon as everything was completed and she felt like she could finally breathe. Every little piece of her past that had hurt her was finally gone; it was like getting rid of old ghosts. After taking a few days to just rest and decompress, she got dressed and headed over to the hospital. The chief surgeon was an old friend of hers and she wanted to bring the check to him personally; she always wanted some time to explore the place that gave her a life after she’d lost her family. Luckily, she was able to make a last minute appointment and she made sure to dress like the new woman she felt like.

When she arrived at the hospital, she made her way up the familiar main elevator to the third floor where she knew, from her past employment, that chief surgeon’s office was three doors down on the left. She smiled as she past some of the new employees she didn’t remember and then knocked on the partially closed door before poking her head in.


A handsome Latino man stood up from the desk and made his way to the doorway. Enveloping Sam into a deep embrace, Matias Gomes smiled down at her from his six and a half foot height, making her feel like she was a little kid.

“How are you?” he asked after kissing her cheek and getting her settled. “Sandy said you wanted to stop by for a hello and something else but she said it was a surprise.”

Sam had just intended to visit and drop off the check but looking into his warm, brown eyes, she felt the tears she’d been holding in start to leak out, little by little.

“What’s wrong Sam?” He looked down and, for the first time, noticed the cast on her leg. “Are you ok?”

The tears were pouring out at this point and it broke his heart. Seeing a painfully emotional side to Sam that he’d never experienced, he pulled his chair up to hers and held her hand while the whole story just spilled from her. She told him everything that happened before she ran away, while she was on the run and what had happened to finally stop everything. Matias was furious with Ryan and with himself for not seeing how Ryan was forcing her to put distance between her and the people that cared about her.

“If he wasn’t already dead, I’d kill him myself.” Matias responded after a few moments. “I can’t believe you had to live like that.”

“Neither can I.” Sam said quietly and took a second before she continued. “Honestly? I can’t believe I let myself continue to be abused.”

“This is not your fault! Don’t you remember all the times you sat in the ER with the women who were here for domestic abuse treatment? You always made a point to tell them that they did not ask for or deserve the abuse they were getting; that this was never, ever their fault.”

She could actually remember saying that to dozens of women who came to the hospital for treatment and protection. For whatever reason, she just couldn’t take her own advice at the moment.

“Where are you staying? Please tell me it’s not at the house.”

“No, I rented a hotel room for a few days while I figure out what to do.” She wiped her eyes and pulled herself back together. “I really didn’t come here to tell you my horror story.”

“You should have, I would have helped you with some of this stuff.”

“Some of this stuff is actually why I came here to begin with.”

Sam dug around in her purse and pulled out the reason she was there. Not knowing how to explain the money, she just handed Matias the envelope; her face broke out in a smile when she saw the look of disbelief in his eyes as he pulled out the check.

“What is this?”

“It’s a donation to the new center for childhood cancer you’re building.”

“I can’t take this Sam, you need to keep your money.”

“I can’t keep this,” she said, “I have no use for it and it’ll make me happy for something good to come from this whole mess.”

“I don’t even know what to say.”

She smiled and gripped his hand; the grip had everything she wanted to say wrapped up into it.

“Are you sure?”

Standing up, she made her way over to the door, the day had already been taxing enough and her leg was throbbing. All she wanted was to go back to the hotel and lay down.

“Will you at least come over for dinner?”

Thinking about it for a moment, she nodded and headed out of his office. She had planned to visit the ER to say hello but she just couldn’t take any more emotions. Hailing a taxi, she gave him the address of her hotel room and sat back, taking a deep breath in and letting it out, letting everything go.