17: Billecart-Salmon

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'Unconditional love means to love without the condition of receiving loved in return'

Third person's P.O.V

"What the fuck did you do to her?" Kayden demands, letting his temper get the better of him.

"Watch your tone when talking to me boy," Ryan growls in warning, unlike Rachel who is evidently intimidated by the boy half her age.

"I don't give a shi--" He is forced to swallow his words at the mere wave of his oldest brother's hand. That is the kind of power Enrique Ashford wielded.

"Conducted yourself appropriately," he advises the younger Ashford in a definitive tone. "Or leave," he adds. Kayden knows better than to argue with Enrique.

Once done dealing with his impulsive younger sibling, Enrique shifts his impassive gaze to rest on the soon-to-be weds. "Explain." Comes his laconic command.

"I think you too have forgotten who you're talking to, dear boy," Ryan replies with an air of arrogant indifference. Big mistake.

"Have I now?" Enrique frowns feigning ignorance. "If I wasn't angered to this extent by the violence directed towards Olivia, I might have found that amusing," he says ominously.

His mere tone is enough to snap Ryan out of whatever dazed fantasy he's living in and back to reality. A reality where Enrique wielded the power not him. But Ryan isn't a fool, he knows better than to let his emotion on display before them.

"She stepped out of line," he tells him nonchalantly. This only angered the brothers further.

"So you hit her?" Wesley--who was a silent spectator thus far--spoke with disgust evident in his tone and expression.

"She needed to be disciplined," Rachel gathered the nerve to say. "I'm her mother, I know what's best for her," she adds, trying to sound firm. 'Trying' being the operative word.

Kayden scoffs at her pathetic excuse. "What's best for her was being raised with her fami--"

"That's enough from you," Enrique silences him again.

"I'm going to go check on Liv. If I stay here any longer I might just do something you don't entirely approve of," Kayden directs his words toward the oldest. Enrique nod and with one last heated glare at the couple, he leaves the room.

____________________

Oblivious to the heated argument downstairs, Liv resorts to seeking comfort in the only person she has grown to trust. Graham.

Rubbing her stuffy nose, she grabs her phone and hits the video call against his profile thoughtlessly. She didn't need to think before calling him. Ever. That's what made their friendship so precious to her, he was there for her no questions asked and she was there for him likewise.

"Hey Liv, long ti--"

"What's wrong Olive?" His cheerful mood immediately transformed into worry at her disheveled state. The strange childhood nickname managing to brings her some comfort.

"Everything."

"It's going to be fine, eventually," he assures without the slightest clue as to what had caused her state.

But he knows better than to pry an answer out of her. She will tell him when she's ready. She always does.

"You don't know that," she chuckles at his confidence.

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