Chapter 8

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*A/N Hey guys! I think this one's a little bit shorter than normal, I'm not sure yet. Anyway, dedication to... sunkissedholiday because I've dedicated a chapter to nearly all of the people I'm fans of. Hope y'all enjoy this one!* 

James

What he did then was purely instinctual. He slid his arm around her shoulders and gently pulled her closer. She buried her head in his chest and he felt the tears soaking through the material of his shirt.

     “Shh. It’s okay.” He whispered, gently rocking back and forth. “It’s okay, you’re safe here.”

Ruby was breaking down in his arms, she was letting the dam break and he knew it. There was nothing he could do except keep comforting her, soothing her. She was such a strong, independent woman. To see her like that was heartbreaking for him.

He didn’t pretend to understand women. Feelings and tears were like a foreign country to him. At that moment, he didn’t care. All he knew was Ruby, his boss, his friend, needed someone. At that moment, he decided that that someone would be him. He would be a friend to her and get her through the house of horrors she was facing.

Ruby had scared him. The look of sheer terror on her face was horrifying. She’d been eating normally and then suddenly, she’d zoned out. He touched her arm and then she screamed. The scream of pure fear. That had scared him.

She’d probably be scared to go home, he thought. Then an idea hit him like a ton of bricks.

     “You can stay here tonight, if you want. You don’t have to go home.” He felt her nod gently against his chest.

     “Thank you.” She sat up straight, dislodging his arm from her shoulders.

     “Anytime. Rubes-” He started.

     “Don’t say it.”

     “Say what?”

     “That I have to report him. Because I can’t.”

How can she read me so easily?

     “How did you-I don’t even wanna know. Why can’t you report him? That bastard deserves everything he’ll get.”

Ruby murmured something that was so quiet, he didn’t quite catch it.

     “What?”

     “He’ll kill me.” She said, slightly louder.

     “What on earth makes you think that?” He was taken aback.

     “Prison sentences don’t last forever, James. They’re not guaranteed, either. Let’s say I do report it. There’s no guarantee he’ll be sentenced. Let’s say he does get sentenced. It's assault. That's five years, maximum.”

     “Ruby-”

     “There's no certain way that he'll get sent down anyway. For all the jury know, I could be a bitter ex. There's any number of ways I could have got these bruises." She interrupted. He saw the tears welling up in her eyes again. Fear laced her voice. He knew she was serious. “It’s not like I can go into witness protection either.” Her voice sounded thick, James could only guess that it meant tears were imminent.

     “Don’t cry.” He pulled her back in, comforting her once again. He wanted to argue that it's difficult to get bruises obviously caused by fingertips from everyday life, but he decided that it was inappropriate. He didn’t feel the tears soaking through his shirt, so he guessed that she’d stopped herself. He instantly felt guilty. 

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