The moment her body stopped moving was the moment her breathing returned to normal, but her skin was pale, and her lips were purple from the lack of oxygen.
"Everyone, take a step back," he ordered the staff. He took Callie into his arms and pressed her against his chest, shielding her away from Agatha's body as two paramedics stormed over from the lift. "I'm sorry, love. I didn't know you'd be seeing this."
"I'm okay," she assured him, peeking over his shoulder to catch a glimpse of the body that was hardly moving. "Is that the woman from the bar?"
He nodded, squeezed her body tighter. "Let's go downstairs, grab something to help you relax."
"I have to talk to Clyde," she said, taking his hand in hers as they walked across the elevator landing. "I hate to tell you this, but if you can't fix things with Clyde, I have to choose."
"And who will you choose, love?" he asked almost challengingly.
"I don't know yet," she honestly answered. She stepped onto the lift and stared impassively straight ahead, refusing to meet his gaze. "No matter what my choice is, it'll only hurt us all."
• • • • •
"You can't fall into that bad habit again" Teddie commented as he wiped the inside of a glass cup. "It took me two years to quit the first time, and I still wish I hadn't started again."
Clyde wordlessly offered a cigarette to Teddie and lit it for him.
"You're pissed for no reason," Teddie said, exhaling the smoke.
"Maybe so," was all Clyde said in response.
"He's a good guy to her, and if I were to close my eyes and blindly pick, I bet my life I'd still land a perfect."
Clyde furrowed his brows at this and then shook his head in disbelief. "Choosing blindly is a shit way to choose the man my sister gets to love."
"You're saying your sister doesn't get to love Ryan?"
"I can't stop them even if I wanted to."
"Montgomery," Ryan shouted from across the bar. He spotted him immediately and approached, his face etched with anger. "Stop fucking around. At least pretend you and I can get along because Callie is boarding a plane right now."
Clyde turned to him with wide eyes and dropped his cigarette into his glass. "Why didn't you stop her?"
"Because I'm meeting her in Vegas," he replied, shoving his hands into his pockets. "We're getting married."
"When the fuck did you plan this?"
"Yesterday," he curtly said. "After Agatha was taken to the hospital, she threatened to choose between us."
Ryan could remember their conversation that would always be fresh in his mind.
"I might leave for London," Callie had told him as they stepped off the lift together. He had seen the tears in her eyes, but he couldn't give her an exact comfort.
"That's what you're choosing to do?" He remembered that his voice had cracked a little. He was falling apart.
"I said I don't know yet."
"But you're choosing to run, Callie."
"Then stop me," she nearly screamed. She just couldn't stop sobbing, and that was when he took her into his arms and kissed her so hard on the lips that they both trembled in fear.
"Get on a plane," he had said. "I'll have tickets waiting for you at the airport. You and I are getting married so no matter what happens, we will all be a family."
"This won't solve anything. A family is supposed to love each other."
"And I love you," he told her almost sternly. "I love Clyde like my brother. I'm going to fix this, so please just say you'll do it."
"Marry you in Vegas?"
He nodded. "Clyde will be our witness. That'll prove that this doesn't come between us."
Clyde gaped at Ryan as he unfolded the events for him and scoffed. "You're marrying my sister in Vegas. What makes you think I'll hate you less?"
"She only thinks we're getting married," Ryan exp
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