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Rated: 18+ · Assignment · Relationship · #2219186
Conflict is brewing between my two characters - Ryan and Arlynn
“My agent has a proposition for me,” Arlynn told Emily when she got to the Studio later that afternoon, “But... I’d have to move back to the city.”

“What’s the proposition?”

With her heart racing, she told her friend the details. Her excitement bubbled up and the two of them laughed at the delightful opportunity. For a moment they both indulged in the fantasy of it becoming a reality.

“But, will you take her up on it?” Emily asked as the two of them fell into serious consideration.

“I will admit, I am tempted, but...” she let her voice trail off as she shook her head. “I told her I would think about it and let her know.”

“What is there to think about?” Emily asked playing devil’s advocate.

“I’m happy here. I don’t really want to go back to the City, but this is a great opportunity. One I’d be a fool to pass it up.”

***

Ryan had heard enough. She’d leave. He expected her too. He’d been fooling himself to think someone of her talent would stay hidden away in the backwoods of nowhere. He shifted back and secretly moved so that they would not see him.

His retreating footsteps rivaling his heart with beats drawn out and heavy. He felt certain anyone standing close to him would be able to hear. Thankfully he was alone. His mind continued down the dark path making him feel at loose ends.

There was no way he wanted to be the reason she’d stay. He’d only be holding her back. But his heart felt heavy. His gut felt as if it had been kicked with an army boot. He fought to drag in air and regain some semblance of control. He would not show weakness, not here on the street dressed in his uniform. Nobody needed to see a police officer looking like they were ready to break down.

He forced a smile on his face and waved over at Mr. Graves at the Drug Store as he headed back to the station. He needed a moment without anyone to witness the pain that was surging through his body. It was like glass shards through his heart. He’d been a fool to let Arlynn in so close, but he had been hopeful. He had resisted at first, but then he hadn’t been able to help himself. Now here he was. In the place he had not wanted to go to. His heart aching at the thought of losing her. Of her leaving and never coming back. Just like Darla, his ex.

Arlynn was nothing like Darla, but his overwhelming feelings of loss seemed to engulf him. Darla’s leaving had been a blow, but in the short time he had known Arlynn, he felt far more connected. She had become an integral part of his life. And losing her would be akin to losing a limb.

He was supposed to meet Arlynn that night. They’d planned on dinner at her place, but he couldn’t face her. Seeing her, only made the hurt worse. He’d have to pull back. Build the walls back up. But right now, he felt far too vulnerable to put himself out there.

When he felt strong enough, he made a quick call to cancel their evening saying he had to work. Hearing her voice drew out his guilt at avoiding her. He was not really lying to her; he had just simply told his boss he was available to work when another officer called in sick. It was something he had done in the past, but it felt dishonest and that rolled his gut. Hearing the disappointment in her voice had almost done him in.

Without another word to anyone, he headed out to the highway to do patrol.


***

Arlynn stood looking down at her phone. Her face marred with concern.

“What’s up?” Emily asked looking over at her.

“Ryan canceled. Said he had to work... they extended his shift.”

“That happens.” Emily said trying to reassure her.

“Yeah, but he sounded off. Not his usual self.” she worried her bottom lip.

“Did you get to tell him about the job?”

“No. I was going to talk to him tonight.” She looked over at her friend and gave a weak smile, “I think I’ve made up my mind.”

“Well, don’t keep me in suspense. What did you decide?” Emily asked moving closer to Arlynn.

“I’m only going to take the job if, and only if, I can work from here. The whole point of coming here was to be able to work from home. Startup my own freelance business. I don’t want to go back to the City. I don’t mind the occasional drop in, but I don’t want to live there, ever again. I love it here.”

And you love Ryan, her little voice told her. Her heart stuttered at that realization. She bit her bottom lip, not wanting to say that aloud, she’d talk to Ryan first. Tell him. Still, her mind ran over the conversation she’d had with him. Why had he seemed so cool towards her? Something was definitely wrong? Worry took hold of her stomach and churned it, twisting it tightly. Feeling light-headed, she fought to pull in deeper breaths. Until she could talk to him, she’d worry about what was wrong. If only she could go talk to him now.

She made her way out to the front of the gallery just in time to see him drive down the road, heading for the highway. She wouldn’t chase him. But she’d certainly find a way to talk to him sooner, rather than later.

Word Count = 943.
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