Ch. 18 Ready

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Juice held Angela's hand as they drove to the hospital to pick up Evie. Lyla's funeral had been earlier that day. It'd been filled with porn stars and producers who definitely didn't know what appropriate funeral wear was, but it somehow was fitting for Lyla. He had a feeling she would've been happy to see how many people came out to say goodbye. Hell, even Ima was there; she'd cried harder than anyone.

Angela had gone into full mortician mode during the whole funeral. She'd stayed quiet and professional, greeting everyone with a small smile and a nod and making sure everything was running smoothly. Kenny was the same way, more focused on the ceremony itself than who it was for. That was how they were keeping things together. Bottling it all up and working through it. Juice knew it wasn't a healthy way to deal with things, but he didn't know how to change it either. Even Piper looked numb to it all in his Prospect's cut. Juice had heard he'd left it behind at the clubhouse after he'd heard what happened to Lyla. There was still a dirty tire mark going down the back of it from where he'd ridden over it. He wondered what Chibs had said to convince him to put it back on.

Juice heard Angela sniffle and frowned. Just the night before, she'd had a mental breakdown, something he wasn't used to coming from his strong wife. He was grateful she got it out, though; she'd needed the release. Today, she'd seemed better, but he had a feeling it was all an act. She was going to break eventually, and he'd be right there to help piece her back together. "Talk to me," he urged, squeezing her hand.

She shook her head and laughed lightly. "Think I'm losin' it," she admitted, her voice rough. "My head feels like its going to explode."

"Know the feeling," he said, pulling off on a familiar exit, the rental car they had straining a bit as it climbed up the hill to their little spot just outside of Charming.

"This how your head feels all the time?"

Juice shrugged, squeezing her hand tightly before letting go to put the car in park. "Not all the time, just when I'm overwhelmed."

Her dark eyes stared out the windshield for a moment, her jaw clenched tightly. "Sucks."

"Want to talk about it or do you want me to distract you or do you want me to leave?"

Angela's mouth turned up in the smallest hint of a smirk. He knew why too; those were the same questions she always asked him when he was on the brink of a panic attack. Closing her eyes, she tilted her head back and let out a long breath. "All three."

That would be the hormones, he thought with a smirk. Kissing her temple, he got out of the car with a grunt and went to sit on the hood of it. He looked out over the small town of Charming. It had changed a lot since he'd last been there. Charming Heights was now nestled in a valley that had once been wild and covered in trees. If he squinted, he could just make out the Starbucks logo on top of what used to be a quaint little family-run coffee shop.

He heard the car door open and felt the car dip a little as Angela sat down next to him. "I didn't really want you to leave," she said, leaning her head against his shoulder. "That was the one I wanted least."

He chuckled softly, moving his arm around her shoulders and kissing her temple. "Which one do you want the most?"

"Tell me its going to be okay," she asked softly, playing with her rings. "That we're going to get Chloe and Dia and no one else is going to die."

"It's going to be okay. We're going to be okay," he told her, moving his lips against her skin. He didn't want to add on the rest because it was something he couldn't promise even though he desperately wished he could. He turned to look at the view again, playing with her hair lovingly. "View's changed a lot since we were here last," he said, trying to distract her.

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