The time we’ve lost
Can’t get back
The life we had
Won’t be ours again
The following weeks brought forth time in the court room with Devon taking the stand on a couple occasions, saying her side of the story in what happened. It was the worst experience that she could describe, especially watching her families eyes pour on her, some believing her and some shaming her. The worst feeling was having her father in the court room, staring at her, giving her the same look that instilled a fear on her instantly.
She then sat as she watched her father answer in response to the accusations, denying every bit of it. He then reflected each question asked by the prosecuting attorney, answering with his answers. There were some answers that left a bit of hope, while others left questions as to whether he’d be found guilty.
After a time that seemed to last forever, they finally found the end of the trial and were set to hear the verdict that the judge and jury had to offer.
“Before we begin dishing the verdict, the defense brought up a reason to have the case thrown out of court,” the judge starts, causing both Ryan and Devon to sit there with a look of surprise on their faces. “There is a time period that you are allowed to file charges in. These actions happened from the age of 11 to 14 for Ms. Aspray. Given that she is currently 20 years old, that would put the events happening nine to six years ago.”
Devon felt her breath hitch in her throat as she watched the judge shift through a stack of papers, realizing this was something the officer had warned her of when she filed the complaint originally. Perhaps she should’ve said something sooner. Perhaps that would be a regret that she’d carry with her forever.
“On the charges that do not deal with a murder or have sexual actions, the deadline for charges is five years,” the judge continues as Devon instantly looks to the floor, knowing what this means. “As a result, Mr. William Aspray cannot be charged on any of these counts. Therefore, I will have throw the court case out.”
Devon felt the tears trickle down her eyes, knowing that meant everything that she had done over the past couple of months was worth nothing. Her father would continue to walk freely, living the life that he had. Given her mom’s reaction, that would mean continuing to spend time together without any changes. Combined with the heavy negativity from her family, Devon felt she was back on the island that haunted her when she ran away at the age of 14.
“Ms. Aspray, I do believe your account of the events that happened and do sympathize with you,” the judge continued to Devon’s surprise as she glances up. “I can offer counseling programs that will help you in moving forward. Also, to help in preventing future occurrences between yourself and Mr. Aspray, I will be placing a restraining order against him.
“Mr. Aspray, you are not allowed 100 meters within Devon Aspray, or anybody that is close with her. As of right now, for example, that’d include her boyfriend Mr. Ryan Reed. Court adjourned!”
Devon and Ryan then left the court room quietly without a word as Ryan kept her held close, arm wrapped firmly around her. They thanked the lawyer for his work and attempt, in which he simply apologized at the result.
Knowing that she needed to get away from there and not wanting to have her face any of the crazed family, Ryan ushered her outside to the car and helped her in, before driving off.
“I know that you’re disappointed in the outcome,” Ryan starts a couple minutes into the drive as he reaches over and grabs her hand firmly with his. “But, I want you to be proud of yourself. Be proud of yourself for standing up to him and showing him that you weren’t going to accept what he did. Be proud of yourself for how you handled the situation. Be proud that despite the court case falling his way, he knows he isn’t winning you over anymore as you’re starting to face up to what he did.”
Devon could only quietly shake her head in agreement as she let herself come to terms with what was said. She knew Ryan was right in his words, but it didn’t help. It didn’t erase the pain that she felt. It didn’t give her the closure and reasons that she desired. More importantly, she didn’t get to see him pay for what he did.
“Thank you for being there with me the whole way,” she finally breaks her silence as she looks over at him. He then glances over at her with a quick smile before returning his eyes on the road.
“I told you that I’d be with you the whole way, and I meant it,” he replies. “I love you, Devon. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Part of that involves supporting you in everyway that you need to be supported, whether in this situation or other stuff. Just like you support me when I’m racing or help me when I don’t realize that I’ve hit a low.” She smiles as she checks the time.
“That reminds me – we should have lunch soon.” He then smiles, knowing that she was right.
With the trial behind them, the pair headed to the track that weekend for the event at Richmond. Ryan loved short track racing and had some of his best races on the smallest of tracks, even with the Daytona win in his corner. He was set on having a good night of racing to help both of their moods on how things had gone lately.
Though as he headed to his car for the first practice on Thursday, he wasn’t expecting the media swarm that surrounded him, mics pointed in all directions, blubbering questions.
“Is it true that your girlfriend Devon Aspray was abused?” “Is it true that you attended the trial with her?” “Her father was found not guilty. Do you still believe the accusations?”
Known as a calm guy, he was actually set to lash out and tell them all to mind their own business and screw off. However, before he could get the words out, he felt someone break into the circle that surrounded them.
“Ryan will not be answering any of your questions surrounding this legal matter,” Amanda began immediately in a loud enough voice for them all to hear. “Roush Fenway Racing, in conjunction with Ryan, will release a statement following practice with regards to the situation. Beyond the statement, there will be no more questions addressed. Now if you excuse us, I think Ryan has a job to do today. Thank you.”
She then wrapped her arms around Ryan’s shoulders, leading him out of the circle and immediately to his garage stall. The media members followed, though respected the space that Amanda asked for, standing at the barrier to the stall watching closely.
“Thank you Amanda,” he tells her immediately as he looks back at her once they had reached his car.
“It’s just part of my job but you’re welcome,” she replies. “I’ll release a statement from you following practice, confirming that there was a court case and a situation surrounding your girlfriend. I will then state that you’re asking for privacy in the matter as it is a personal situation that you’d like to keep private. Beyond that, there will nothing else said.”
Ryan shook his head, knowing that he had to agree to something being stated. While he wished that things had stayed out of the lime light, he knew that wasn’t possible. When you were a NASCAR driver, there were no secrets – whether about yourself, or those close to you.
Following practice, Amanda released the statement as she said she was going to while Ryan retreated back to the hotel room to catch back up with Devon. He could tell immediately when he walked in the room that she had heard about the media’s questioning, and seen the statement that was released.
“How’d they find out?” She could only say as he sat down beside her.
“Court case files are public unless there’s a public ban,” he starts. “They also saw us leaving together, and put together the pieces.” He then gives her a light kiss on the cheek. “But, you don’t have to worry about it. Amanda has it handled as they aren’t going to say much else and if anyone tries, she’ll cut their hands off.” Devon wished that would give her all the comfort that she needed surrounding the situation. However, it didn’t make the task of heading o the track with him on Friday night any easier.
“Everybody is going to look at me differently when I show up tomorr-”
“Who cares what they have to say, okay? I’ve got you and will protect you from whatever they say or try to do. Just ignore it and remember that you’re there to be with me and focus on that alone. There is nothing else that matters.” He then gives her another light kiss.
“What if your guys think differ-”
“Trust me, the guys won’t think any differently of you. Actually, they were concerned and asked how you were doing and where you were once they heard about things. If anything, I think you’ll be for a couple extra hugs.”
“Just promise me that you’ll save the best hug for me?” She then looks over at him with a smile.
“You don’t have to worry about a thing because you’re the only man that gets this with his hug.” She then leaned closer to him and kissed his lips lightly.
This world will never be
What I expected
The boys had come over for the afternoon, meeting up at Ryan’s motorcoach to play a couple of video games. A couple games, followed by dinner later that evening sounded like a good idea. Shelby and Devon had gone out to grab some food, agreeing to make the boys dinner.
“So, can we trust your ladies to cook?” Chris Buescher asks, jokingly as Ryan shakes his head yes.
“I taught Devon what she knows,” Ryan answers as the boys look over surprised. “What? She said that she didn’t know a lot of dishes, but wanted to learn some things. I agreed to teach her some of my favourite dishes and she’s been catching on pretty good.”
“I heard that Shelby is a great cook,” Elliott Sadler offers and Darrell shakes his head with certainty.
“Are you sure you brag about that to get lucky?” Chris teases as Darrell gives him a smack, causing the others to laugh.
“You can ask Ryan (Blaney),” Darrell tells him. “He will attest to the fact that she can cook. She has made us both some great meals.”
The boys continued playing, till they heard Darrell’s phone go off. Darrell immediately pauses the game, answering the call.
“Hello?” He says, catching the attention of the others. “Shelby?…..Shelby, what’s wrong?…Shelby, take a deep breath and talk to me.” The others look at each other confused, feeling a tinge of worry based on Darrell’s voice. Ryan could only feel his own worry and curiousity grow as Darrell glanced over in his direction, trying to understand what Shelby was telling him. “Okay. I’ll tell him and I’ll see you when you get here…..Okay. Shelby, it’s going to be okay. It’ll work out. Just trust what they’re saying….Okay. I love you. Bye.” Darrell then hangs up as his eyes never leave Ryan.
“What’s going on?” Chris breaks the silence that fills the room as Darrell continues to stare at Ryan, unable to figure out the best way to break the news that Shelby had told him.
“Ryan, I don’t know how to say this….I can’t even believe it myself. Shelby says that some older guy showed up and took Devon.” Ryan immediately begins shaking his head, not wanting to believe it, though immediately knowing who probably did it by the description.
“No…no….no this isn’t happening!” He lets out as Elliott immediately moves over to where Ryan is sitting, wrapping an arm around him to pull the young driver close.
“Shelby wouldn’t lie,” Elliott says quietly. “Listen to me, they’re going to find her and she’s going to be alright. We know who did this. They’ll find her. Everything will be fine…” Elliott then looks over at Darrell, taking a deep breath. The news was hard for all of them to accept, but he knew that more details had to be said. “What did Shelby tell you?” Darrell takes a careful deep breath.
“She said that they headed out of the store that they went to for some clothes shopping and were set to head over to the grocery store,” he starts quietly. “They were in the parking lot and someone came up behind Devon, giving her a shove and pushing her down, knocking her ou-”
“No…no….,” Ryan says as he hears the details as Elliott rubs his back, motioning for Darrell to continue.
“She said that she yelled but there was no one around. She went to go after the guy, and he pushed her back and she fell over. She went to back up and do something, but he shoved Devon into a car and took off with her. She then called the police right away, giving them the details and the license plate number.”
“Did they match that to her father’s license?” Chris wonders and Darrell shakes his head yes, remembering the other details.
“The officer is bringing Shelby back to the motorcoach now,” he starts. “She said they want to speak with Ryan and ask him for anything that he may know. They’re already searching for the vehicle, and checking known addresses for her father.”
“Why did this happen?” Ryan lets out as tears creep down his face, with Elliott continuing to rub his back and keep him calm.
“They’re going to find her and she’s going to be okay,” Elliott tells him once again as Ryan looks up at him.
“You don’t know that for su-”
“You need to believe that in your heart, Ryan. She’s a strong girl. She was able to fight against him before. She was able to do what she needed to do then. She can fight through this and will be okay. You need calm down and believe in your girl.”
“Elliott is right,” Darrell adds. “If she’s anything like you’ve told us, she’s going to be okay and things are going to work out. Just keep your fingers crossed and believe in her.”
“It’s not easy…” Ryan lets out as he takes a couple deep breathes in an effort to calm himself down.
“I know it’s not easy,” Elliott says. “That’s why we’re going to be here by your side the whole way. You’re not going to go through this worrying alone, okay?” He then looks over at Chris. “Darrell is going to want to comfort Shelby. This is going to get out in the medi-”
“I know where you’re going with this,” Chris cuts him off. “I’ll call Jack and then call Amanda.” Elliott shakes his head as he watches Chris walk off.
He knew as soon as the police put out that they were searching for Devon, her father and the vehicle, it’d immediately be connected to Ryan. There would be millions of questions thrown the young man’s direction in the garage area that he didn’t need to be dealing with this at this time. He also knew that Ryan was going to have a hard enough time processing the news and handling it till they found Devon, and that’d mean that probably Trevor or Ricky should run the XFINITY race on Saturday night in his place. Truthfully, this was the least of his worries – but it might as well be taken care of as he was set on taking care of Ryan, while Darrell took care of Shelby when she got there.
He just hoped that things did indeed work out.
Now and again we try
To just stay alive
Devon tried to move her arms – but found her wrists bound with chains to the wall behind her. She then tried to move her legs, but found her ankles had been tied down with chains, as well. No matter how she tried to move, she was unable to move her body.
She could only let out a sigh, as she glanced around at her surroundings. The room was well-lit, and it looked as though all that was in the room was a bed that she currently chained to. She could easily nickname this place the torture chamber and move forward.
She was surprised that she was not in any pain for the time being, besides a bit of headache. She remembered being pushed and seeing the pavement before her eyes, so perhaps that led to the headache. She probably hit the pavement and was knocked out, giving her kidnapper easy leeway to take her away.
Shelby was her concern at that moment, though. Shelby was with her. They had gone shopping together. Where was Shelby? How was Shelby? What happened to Shelby after she was knocked out? She was pretty sure who kidnapped her, and knew that Shelby didn’t deserve to get mixed up with him as it was not her fault at all.
“You’re awake….” She hears and immediately feels her body stiffen at the sound of his voice. It was the voice that had haunted her through her teenage years. It was the voice that belonged to her fath – Winston Aspray.
“Where am I?” She questions, looking around franticly.
“Does that matter right now, dear?” She wanted to spit at him for the dear comment, as there was no relationship of that matter between them.
“Where’s Shelby?” She had to get her concern for her friend out of the way before moving forward.
“I left her in the parking lot all by herself. Don’t worry – I didn’t touch her. She’s perfectly fine. Besides, she wasn’t a bad girl.” Devon had to laugh at the comment. How was she a bad girl? She was doing her own thing with Ryan, not bothering to deal with her parents. She had only told the police the truth. Wasn’t she taught to tell the truth? It wasn’t her fault that they let him go.
“I only told the police the truth, father. Isn’t that what you taught me to do?” She knew that she was in a trap that she couldn’t escape. She was chained down and at his mercy. If this was going to be her lat moments, she might as well aggravate him and have a bit of fun with it.
“But you lied, Devon. You told them that it was abuse.” She could only shake her head at his response.
“Right – because abuse, according to the dictionary, means someone that beats you and hits you, causing you physical harm. Isn’t that what you did?”
“It wasn’t abuse. It was punishment for your bad behavior. You needed to be taught to be a good girl.” She then shakes her head in disbelief. She knew truthfully in her heart that her father was crazy for sure now. How could her mom and family not see that?
“I think you took that a bit too far, if you ask my opinion.” She then glanced around the room. The end seemed near more than he wanted to admit it. However, he had to remain to faithful. If Shelby was alright, she would’ve reported it. Everybody knew that it’d be him that kidnapped her. With that said, there was probably a search going on for her and Winston at this very time. She simply kept her heart committed on the fact that she’d be found soon. “I just can’t wait for you to pay now for what you’ve done. They couldn’t put you away for you, but they can now.”
“Nobody is going to find you now, dear.” She partially believed those words, seeing hope dampen with each second, minute and hour that passed by. She could only guess what time it was.
“So, what are you going to do to me?” If she was going to be stuck there, she might as well learn what he had planned for her, knowing that it wouldn’t be pleasant.
“It’s time for you to learn your lesson, just like you should’ve before.” She watches as he goes over to a table, analyzing his tools of the trade before turning back to her. “Let’s see – you were a bit of a slu-”
“I didn’t sleep with a whole bunch of guys!” She may have played a couple love games and dated about 15-20 guys in the span of three years, but she hadn’t slept with them all. There were only five guys that got that honor before Ryan.
“Sweetheart, I heard about your stories. You had your fair share of men. That’s a naughty girl.” She could only wonder how her father would punish her for that behavior. “Then there was lying to the police and causing them a headache, as well as my stay in jail. Combine that with you running away, and sweetheart, you’re in for a whole hamper of pain.” She could already feel the tears coming to her eyes at the thought of what he could possibly do to her between now and when help arrived.
“Dad, I know that I was wrong. I’m sorry for being a bad girl. Can I make it up to you?” She knew that she had to try the caring card as she was running out of options.
“Good try, sweetheart.” He then walks over, turning a wheel that was down by the bottom of the bed, which made her legs spread out in opposite directions. She felt a scream escape her lips as it felt like her insides tearing, each muscle one by one. “That’s it. Feel the burn. Learn your lesson.”
“I’ve learned my lesson. I promise to be a good little girl.” She was only met with a crimson laugh in response as he walked over to her legs, running his hands up them.
“This is only the start of your lesson, princess.” In one forceful move, he rips her pants, removing them from her body as they fall to her ankles. A bunch of images immediately flash through her mind, panic beginning to set in, as the bottom half of her body is bared with no secrets before him.
“What are you doing?!?!?” He then runs his hand lightly up her leg once again, laughing in the process.
“Teaching you a lesson that you will never forget no matter what happens.” Before she could even say a word, he forced a pair of his fingers through her opening, grabbing her insides and yanking at them, before letting go and moving his fingers in an up and down motion. Screams erupted from her lips, tears fell down her cheeks as she pulled against the restraints, hoping for a miracle release.
“Stop it! Stop it!” He then takes the belt that sat by the edge of the bed, whipping it across, smacking her in the lips. She felt the contact, letting out another scream, as blood began to drip down from her lip.
“No baby girl, I will not stop it. You need this so you know how to be a good girl from now on.” He then removes his fingers from her slit. “It’s okay, though. I can teach you in a better way.”
“No…no….that won’t be necessary…..” He then shakes his head as he reaches down to his feet.
“It is necessary. You’ve been a bad, bad girl Devon.” He then picks up the knife that he had previously placed by his feet, bringing it up to her body. He then pushes the knife into her slit, moving it back and forth as screams once again erupt from her. She couldn’t bare the pain and she could see the blood that was already leaking from her with each motion.
She wanted to give in, simply close her eyes and welcome to the quiet darkness. It seemed so pleasant as she wouldn’t have to experience the pain, or deal with future flashbacks. But she couldn’t let herself give in to what she was doing. She had to bare it all as now, she had to do everything in her power to make it through this, and be alive when help got there.
She just hoped that help arrived soon.
Maybe we’ll turn it all around
‘Cause it’s not too late
Ryan sat in the waiting room at the hospital, tapping his foot against the floor, leaning forward in the seat that he had sat down in an hour earlier. His hands were shaking and he couldn’t help but look towards the doors that he knew led to the one person who filled every bit of concern in his heart.
After running the race that afternoon, he had been informed from Seth that they had found Devon and taken her to the local hospital with injuries. It was from that moment that the worry kicked into overdrive with nerves taking over him, just simply praying that she was alright.
His teammates had been a big help after the race, helping him get out of there quickly and to the hospital. Upon arriving, the nurse had taken them to a private waiting room, only telling them that the doctor would be in with details as soon as possible.
Since then, they had sat in the waiting room, waiting for details on how Devon was doing. Elliott had taken residence beside Ryan rubbing his back, being a shoulder to lean on. Chris had designated himself as the coffee run person, unable to keep himself still.
Darrell and Shelby, meanwhile, sat across from Ryan, quiet as ever in disbelief as to the train of events. Shelby wouldn’t admit it, but she felt regret in what had happened, wishing that she could’ve done something to stop Devon’s father.
“Mr. Reed?” Ryan hears and glances up at the doctor, shaking his head. The doctor sits down beside him, glancing around at the others in the room. “I’m going to have your ask your friends to leav-”
“They can hear what you have to say,” Ryan cuts the doctor off. He wanted his friends to be there with him as he didn’t know if he could handle the news alone. Based on the tone of the doctor’s voice, it wasn’t pretty.
“Given the context of what happened and your girlfriend’s condition, I would advise for them to leave. This right now stems to being a matter that only other-halves and family should hear.” Ryan felt a lump form in his throat, once again saying a prayer to himself that she was okay.
“With all due respect, sir, it’s fine if they hear the details. I can’t handle this by myself. I need my friends here for support.” The doctor then let out a sigh as he opened the folder.
“I understand, sir.” The doctor then looks over his notes, debating where to start.
“Perhaps everybody should leave except one of us,” Elliott suggests, glancing over at the other three in the room. “If the doctor believes the content is too strong, then maybe he is right on something.” He could tell by the doctor’s tone that the next couple of minutes wouldn’t be pretty.
“I can assure you that she’s going to be okay,” the doctor informs the group. “It’s just waiting for everything to heal, and the context of what happened.” Ryan glanced away, taking a deep breath to calm himself down. It was nice to hear that she would be okay. However, the worry wouldn’t leave in hearing the doctor’s words. What had happened?
“Come on guys…” Shelby instructs as she stands up first, reaching out for Darrell and Chris. The pair simply accepted her hands, following her lead to the door. She then glances back as she reaches the door. “You’re the oldest, most mature and have been taking care of him since we found out. If any of us should stay, it’s you.” Elliott shakes his head, understanding and accepting; he then watches the group leave.
“I am going to warn you that there are details in here that are graphic and may be hard to hear from your perspective, Mr. Reed. As you know, Ms. Aspray was kidnapped by her maternal father and put through a ringer of abuse. Now, it’s going to take time for her to heal, but she’s going to be okay.” Ryan shakes his head, accepting, as Elliott rubs his back.
“Just keep telling yourself that she’ll be okay,” Elliott reminds him as Ryan tells himself that a couple of time. “What should we know about her condition, sir?”
“I’m going to start with the worst part and work our way towards the less gruesome,” the doctor advises as Ryan feels his breath hitch in his throat. “During the attack, Mr. Aspray used a knife and penetrated her vagina, as if to what looks like simulate sex but in a violent matter.” Ryan knew what the doctor was saying without details – a form of rape – and he just wanted to go over to the closest garbage can and puke at the thought of that happening.
“Easy Ry….” Elliott felt like throwing up himself, though reminded himself to remain calm and strong for his friend as he sat there by Ryan’s side. He was the only person that could be there for Ryan right now, and knew that his young teammate couldn’t go through this alone.
“The resulting penetration resulted in a loss of blood. The police were able to locate her and have her transported to here without much loss, though. We gave her one blood transfusion upon arrival, for safe measure, but everything looks to be okay moving forward. We also gave her the required stitching, which should heal accordingly and fall out on its own. Now, there is one concern that we have to discuss….”
“Pregnancy…” Ryan said the word before the doctor even began, knowing that any damage down there would obviously affect the chance of a pregnancy in the future. Beyond wanting to simply throw up every bit of what was inside of him, he wanted to punch her father a million times over for what he had done and ruining his daughter’s future. The hesitation in the doctor’s voice told him what was to come without hearing the words.
“There will be a lot of scar tissue left over with the healing,” the doctor explains. “As a result, if she would get pregnant in the future, she may not be able to carry the baby full-term as baby could get implanted in fallopian tube because there was to much scar tissue to find it’s way to the uterus.” Ryan felt his heart break upon hearing the words. In growing closer with her, he had dreams of a possible family together as he always enjoyed spending time with other kids. Now, in the flash of one moment, the dream was shattered.
“Ryan, remember, she’s going to be okay – that’s the main thing,” Elliott reminds him, seeing the heartbreak on Ryan’s face and a couple of stray tears. “Be thankful for that. You can always look into other options when the time comes.” Ryan shakes his head, knowing that his teammate was right. He had heard about surrogates, and there always the possibility of adoption. He was always looking to help others with his story – perhaps this could be another way of helping others, too.
“There is also the possibility of permanent nerve damage to her upper legs and the area. We won’t know for sure till we get her up walking and moving in a couple of days. Along the lines of the lower body and her legs, her leg muscles are extremely sore as her legs were restrained in the air and stretched apart to obviously set up for the vaginal attack.”
“Excuse me….” Ryan says before getting up and moving away from the group over to the small garbage pail, kneeling over and throwing up. Elliott takes a deep breath as he stands up, walking over and rubbing Ryan’s back.
“It’s okay,” Elliott tells him quietly as he pulls him into a hug and rubs his back. “It’s okay. I know it’s hard to hear this and I know it’s hard to realize what she went through. But, be thankful that she’s going to be okay. Be thankful, kiddo.”
“I just can’t believe it….” Elliott shakes his head understanding as he glance back over the doctor.
“Is there a lot more that you have to tell us? I think it’d be best if he got to go see Devon and see how she is.” The doctor glances over his notes, before returning his eyes to the pair of men.
“Just a couple more small details, nothing major,” the doctor tells them as Ryan takes a deep breath. He then grabs a Kleenex, quickly wiping his mouth off and the couple of stray tears. With another deep breath, he returns to his previous seat, ready for the final details. The sooner he got to see Devon, the better. Elliott then rejoins him. “There are marks across her face and chest, as a result of being whipped with a belt. There are also marks on her wrists and ankles due to the restraints. They should heal in due times as there was no bruises that were serious. Beyond that, there’s nothing else that I have to say. Is there any questions?” The pair shake their heads no. “You may go see her then. She’s in the second room on your right.”
“Thank you,” Elliott thanks him as the doctor stands up and heads to the exit.
“If you have any further questions or need to speak with me, just ask for me at the desk.” Elliott shakes his head understanding as the doctor leaves.
“Are you ready to go see her?” Ryan shakes his head yes as he stands up.
“Yeah, I’m ready,” he tells Elliott with a glance his way.
“Okay,” Elliott replies as he stands up with him. “Before we go in there, though, I need you to listen to me.” Ryan then stops and looks back at Elliott. “I want you to know that myself, Chris, Darrell and Shelby will be by both of your sides as you work your through this. You aren’t going to go through this alone. We all have your backs, and are here for support. Don’t be afraid to talk to any of us.” Ryan shakes his head, understanding.
“I appreciate that – a lot. Tha-”
“And I want you to make sure that you take care of yourself. Just because Devon is going through what she’s going through, don’t throw your health aside. Check your levels, keep up on your meals and do what you need to do. Shortly after seeing her, I suggest you check, okay?” Ryan shakes his head yes. “Okay. Let’s go.”
The pair then head out of the small waiting room and walk over to where her door was. Elliott gives Ryan a small motion to go inside, before continuing to walk down the hall and meet up with the rest of the gang. He figured that he’d fill them in with a couple pieces as to what happened while giving Ryan and Devon some time alone.
Chapter 10: First Visit
Ryan takes a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves down as he opens the door. He walks in, slowly shutting it behind him as he takes another deep breath. The doctor said that she was going to be okay. Why was he so worried?
He then moves his feet across the floor slowly, closing the gap between where he stood and her bed. He could see that she was awake, eyes focused on the ceiling above her. He wondered if she had heard him. He wondered if she was ignoring him. He wondered what her first words or reaction to him in the room would be. He didn’t even know what he was going to do himself.
As he reaches the bed, he immediately reaches out, resting his hand on her hand. She then catches his eyes and he sees the tears in them immediately. Without a thought or a moment to spare, he immediately pulls her into a hug and wraps his arm around her. He rubs her back as she buries her head in his neck, letting some of the tears that she had previously held back fall.
“You’re going to be okay,” he tells her. “You’re going to be okay. I’ve got you and I’m not letting you go. Your father also won’t have another opportunity to touch you ever again. You’re going to be okay.” He then gives her a quick kiss on the forehead before allowing her to bury her head back in his neck. “I love you. Nothing will ever change that. You still mean the world to me, Devon.”
The pair remained like that for the next five minutes, unable to move. Ryan didn’t want to let her go as he wanted to show her how much he loved her, and wanted to be there for her. Devon didn’t want to let go as she felt safe in his arms and didn’t want to be lonely again. It also gave her the chance to let everything out that she had been holding in.
Ryan finally let her go as she laid back in the bed and he sat down in the chair that was there. Even though he was no longer holding her in his arms, he kept a firm grasp on her hand, giving her that security that she craved right now.
“How are you?” He finally asks, having wanted to ask since arriving but not wanting to break the initial emotional embrace.
“Really sore,” she answers as she bites her tongue, taking a deep breath. “The doctor said that he was running morphine through the IV but it’d take time to work. My legs are so sore, Ry, I couldn’t even begin to tell you how much they hurt.”
“The main thing is you’re going to be okay. It’ll get better with time.” He then takes his other hand and runs his slowly up and down her legs. At first at the touch, she tensed up – a flashback of how her father started by stroking her legs first – but relaxed in reminding herself that it was Ryan and he would never do that to her. “Does this feel good?”
“Yeah, it does…” She wanted to explain the initial tensing, and perhaps the apprehension for some touches. However, she couldn’t bring herself to spill the details of what had happened. How could she ever talk about that?
“Sssh, it’s okay. You can relax. I’m not going anywhere.” She wanted to believe that and the majority of her heart did. However, the one small detail from the doctor still played tricks on her mind.
“Even if I can’t have your baby?” Ryan felt a sting in his heart in hearing those words. It had stung hearing the words from the doctor that she probably wouldn’t be able to carry a baby full-term due to the damage. It even more stung in hearing the words from her. However, despite that, he felt no urge to run away.
“That doesn’t change a thing, Devon. Nothing will change how I feel about you. I still love you now as much as I love you before. I’m not going anywhere. It just means that we’ll have to look at other options.” Devon shook her head, knowing that he was right.
She never saw herself becoming a mother and having a family of her own – probably due to her own childhood. For her, it was all about just getting away from her parents and trying to find a way to move forward. That was something that she hoped that she could do now as she reminded herself that her father would be locked away for a long time.
Now moving forward, she still wasn’t sure whether she wanted to be a mother. Perhaps there was apprehension due to her childhood and fear of doing something wrong. Perhaps there was apprehension as she still growing comfortable in being in love and having a family of her own. Either way, she knew that wasn’t something that she had to decide in that moment.
For now, all that mattered was that she was going to be okay and she had Ryan by her side to help her each step of the way. Her eyes return back to meet his as a smile forms on her face. No doubt she was in a pain and no doubt the recovery would take time, both physically and mentally. However even with how scared she was in possibly reliving the details in having to tell her story, she felt confident that she was going to get through this.
“Ryan, can I ask you something?” She breaks the silence and he shakes his head yes. “Do I have to tell you what happened?” Ryan heard the quietness and fear in her voice, and hated it. She was always the strong woman in his eyes, there to help him ways and independent with her actions. Now to hear the fear laced in his voice, it didn’t sit easily.
“You don’t have to tell me,” he starts. He was curious as to the details, but didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable as that’d be unfair. He also had to admit that he was scared to hear the details, based on what he knew from the doctor. Could he stomach it? “However, if you ever do want to tell me, I will be right here by your side ready to listen and hear you out. It doesn’t matter to me either way.”
“I love you so much.” He then leans in and lightly kisses her lips with a smile on his face.
“I love you, too. I will always love you.”