Chapter 10 (Part 1)

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"

Gather the rose of love whilst yet is time. - Edmund Spenser

A car pulled to a sudden halt as a man jumped out to stop a woman from entering into a cab. He movements were frantic as he shouted waving his hands if only to catch the woman's attention. Eyes turned, lips whispered but there were not that many people around at that hour, otherwise his actions would have caused such a stir and a scene, something that he had not taken time to consider when he stepped out of the car.

"What now Ryan?" the woman said as she cast an irritated look at the man who was still approaching as any hope that she had had of slinking away quietly crashed with every step that he took closer to her.

"Let me take you to wherever you are going..." he said as he came to a stop beside the cab and her.

"And where is that?"

"I have no idea but wherever it is, I will take you..." he said his gaze slowly following hers to the black car that was parked at the end of that block. "I promise, I am not here to stop you." he reassured her, all the while worrying, wondering what that car meant to her.

'You are not?" she gave him a meaningful look.

" No." he assured her once again.

" Fine, let's go and you are carrying that." She said pointing to a suitcase that was yet to lugged into the cab's trunk. "If they are going to spy on me, I might as well give them something to report back."

Ryan gave another puzzled look at the black car trying to figure out what the connection to Katrina was, but he still could not think of anything. In the end, he just picked up her luggage and followed her to his waiting car.

" So, where are we going? " he asked and she handed him a piece of paper. "the church?"

"I do not know what you are talking about but that is the address of my violin instructor." she answered back her voice still aloof as she continued to scan her surroundings. Every once in a while she would stare into the rear view mirrors and at one point, she went as a far as turning her back to look back at where they had just come from.

"Not to pry but, what are you looking for?"

"Just a few gentlemen that my father sent over to spy on me. I thought they would be more subtle but I guess, there is a very huge difference between a bodyguard and a spy."

"wow... And you are cool about that?" Ryan marveled.

"No. But there is really nothing I can do about it. On the plus side, they haven't stopped me yet so... Why worry?" she laughed sarcastically and Ryan could only shoot her a worried look as he marveled at the bravery of this woman that he called his wife. She was not Malisha, but he was starting to appreciate that she was more than the Katrina that he had always thought her to be. Or maybe she still was but he had not taken the time to know her well, to truly appreciate it for the person she really was. He had looked over a lot of things and in his anger and selfishness he had ended up hurting alot of people. Many of those were innocent, but anger and rage had a way of boiling over and blindening to the good that was around them, wreaking a wave of destruction that took down not just the foes but the friends alike. And Katrina had been a friend. Wasn't she the one who had introduced him to Malisha? She had even encouraged him. Were those really the acts of a malicious fiend out to get him, to break him by destroying his life? No, he finally came to a conclusive answer. He had solely wronged her and now owed it to her to make it up to her for the crimes he had committed against her.

"I am sorry." he sighed as he finally found himself saying. For a moment, Katrina stilled shocked at the words that had come out of her husband's mouth. Finally she gathered her wits about her and turned her head to adress him.

"For which of your many crimes Ryan?"

"For not believing you..." he replied softly and even that surprised her greatly. "... for being so stuck up that I could not see that we had somehow been placed in the same boat. I judged you so harshly and for that I am sorry."

"Well... That's a first. What happened to you?"

"It is more like, what is happening to me?" he said as his thoughts went back to that group discussion that they had a few days earlier. "I met this lady and she changed my life."

"Lady?" Katrina raised an eyebrow causing Ryan to stumble as he attempted to explain himself.

"No, no! Not in the way you imagine. It is not how you perceive it. You see, she's older?"

"Older?"

"No, not that way. She works at the church and runs this youth group..." he trailed off as he took in the smile that had now graced Katrina's face as she reveled in his awkwardness.

"I believe I have never seen you care much about what I think of your escapades before... It's kinda cute though, seeing you all so frazzled and on the defensive." she remarked. Despite himself Ryan found himself grinning. It was the first laugh they had had in years and he surely hoped that it would not be the last. Even as they pulled up in front of the church and Katrina pulled out her phone to dial up a number, Ryan's heart filled with hope that he would finally get a chance and if not to win her back, then to play the role of the father that he had failed to be before.

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