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*Author's Note: I hope this chapter makes sense. I wrote it over the course of the past few days, but it's been a super hectic week and I'm beyond exhausted.. but I'm trying to just write and post sans edits and I'll go back and edit later. Anyway.. Enjoy!

Abby glared daggers, the tension between us mounting the longer we stood in the hallway, neither of us speaking a word. I hadn't told her that my plan was to meet privately with Grant. While I hadn't officially arranged anything yet, it had suddenly become my top priority. Something about Colt's words weren't sitting well with me. I knew in my core that this wasn't an empty threat. This was something calculated and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that someone behind the scenes was controlling the puppet strings. Colt was just the fall guy. I had to keep Abby far away from enemy lines until I had full control of the situation. I knew I was out of line, but he made this personal by attacking my family, whether directly or indirectly. Abby may have flat out refused my marriage proposal, but I knew when I asked he properly that she wouldn't say no. Then she'd be mine on paper to defend at all costs. This was not a situation that I was about to let her take control of, and she was going to kill me when I told her exactly that; I just had to do my best to make her understand.

"Roman, please don't be doing what I think you're doing right now. Why was I not informed about this meeting?"

My stunning girl looked exhausted, and worse now, she looked crushed, as if I had betrayed her in some way. One thing I knew about Abby right from the moment that I met her was that she was a fighter and she always defended herself rather than letting others speak for her, and for that, of course I wouldn't fault her. Hell, it was one of the reasons I loved her so fiercely. Her voice was an inspiration and source of empowerment to so many and I knew how many years of blood, sweat and tears she shed to make it so. As a result, America finally caved to progress and elected her as their first female president. Abby was the definition of a game-changer and we all did our best to celebrate that for her and for women everywhere. In my experience, the more I stepped back and gave her freedom with her public, the more she willingly submitted control to me when we were alone. She craved it and got off on the fact, and those moments had become some of the most sensual and erotic moments of my entire life. It was a fair trade in my opinion.

This was a completely different situation. One I was struggling to find as a non-negotiable. Maybe it was because I was so achingly in love with her that I felt as if I couldn't think straight most days, but the thought of anything potentially serious or fatal happening to her had me frozen like a deer in headlights. I needed her to know why I was going to confront Grant face-to-face and why I was going to refuse to let her fight this battle on her own. I needed her to know that I could not and would not live without her. Quickly, I wrapped an arm around her waist and guided her into our downstairs bathroom, locking the door behind us once we were tucked inside. I couldn't keep everyone waiting on me to arrange a meeting with Grant, but I had to tell abby what I was thinking while being mindful and respectful of her position, her political process, and her personal stress and emotions. I held her hands in mine, squeezing gently and rubbing my thumbs over her knuckles, hoping like all hell that she'd see my side with little to no debate.

"I think it would be wise if I sat down with Grant privately in order to get a better grasp of what we're dealing with, and I want to go alone.. as in, without you." As soon as the words left my mouth, she looked as if I ripped her heart clean out. She tried to remove herself from my grasp, but I squeezed tighter, needing to hold onto her for dear life.

"I know how much it means to you to fight your own battles and not be intimidated by anyone, and my god, do I respect and admire you for it, but I won't let you enter the lion's den this time. You hired me because you knew you could trust me to keep you safe and that I had all the capabilities of protecting you, and I need you to let me do that now more than ever. You have my permission to be as angry as you want with me. We'll figure out how to make up later, but my instinct is telling me that we're in more danger than just a deranged post on social media. I'm doing this because I love you and because I respect and appreciate you. Please let me do the job I was hired to do and keep you and my child safe. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if that sick fucker's comments came true. I keep seeing it on replay in my mind and it's tearing me up inside. Please let me do this for you, Abs. For us. Please."

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