CHAPTER 28 | ben & jerry's

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  📎A/N  Hello my lovelies .... I hope your week has started out well and you are all safe.  This chapter is a little long, so settle in with some popcorn and soda and get ready for a roller-coaster ride ;-)

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Sydney blankly stared at the door in which Ethan had exited. Her emotions were running the gauntlet and she was trying to ignore the overwhelming grief that came with a sudden loss.

For a few hours, she had managed to suspend the feeling of impending doom. Ethan's presence alone had pushed her dark thoughts into the recess of her mind and allowed her to relish the moment. Fleeting though it was, she had enjoyed how she felt when he was near her. However, the further the evening progressed, the more her defences had broken and she knew he would need to hear the news of her father's arrest from her and not the media. No matter how much it tore her heart out to tell him, it needed to be done.

Sydney understood his reluctance to involve Walter in any possible scandal. In fact, the moment she had mentioned her scheduled visit with his brother, she knew for all their sakes she shouldn't go near him.

Once the news of the arrest hit the street, it would become a feeding frenzy. While she knew she'd existed under the radar for years, she was delusional if she thought that would last. If they looked deep enough, knew the right people, and vested a bit of an effort, it would lead to her.

She also understood the impact to Ethan's career, should it become known that he was associating with a member of the Hutton family. His high profile ensured he lived life under the microscope. It didn't matter who he knew or how much above reproach he was, he would be tainted with her family's scandal.

Sydney turned off the lights and sunk back into her overstuffed couch. She was teetering between grief and anger. This was their death knell. She would never see him again and it tore at her insides making her feel raw and exposed. Despite all that had happened, she couldn't blame him. He needed to protect Walter, and distancing themselves was the only way to do it.

For once, something greater than the anger against her parents consumed her and the tentative hold on her emotions disintegrated. Sydney reached for a pillow and held onto it for dear life as she broke down; the crippling sobs wracked her body, crushing her heart with each laboured breath she took. She had finally found someone who knew who she was and any chance of happiness was once again snatched away from her before she could bask in the feeling. For the smallest window of time, she had allowed herself the fantasy that life could be different.

It wasn't until she was spent that Sydney realised she would have to be the one to break the news to Ivy, Victor and Grace. She curled up on the couch and stared at the darkness that accompanied her mood. Anger at the callous way in which her parents had destroyed the small amount of joy that had managed to seep into her life swelled and overflowed and Sydney continued to lay on the couch, tears flowing as the realised she had never felt so alone.

***

Sydney breathed a sigh of relief when she heard her uncle arrive home. Ivy's face had drained of colour the moment Sydney had broken the news to her and Grace, and her normally unflappable temperament had been shaky, to say the least.

Grace had been trying to get her mother to lie down, but Ivy refused to budge until her husband arrived home with an update. Once she had gotten over the initial shock of her sister's arrest and deportation, Ivy had phoned Victor, who promised to find out more information.

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