A/N: Sorry for the long break between postings. All sorts of junk popped up between then and now, but that's no excuse really. Anyways, here is chapter three of "Sing It Out". I've decided not to change the story's title as it fits perfectly for what this fic is all about. For anyone who was wondering, yes the title does come from the Switchfoot song of the same title. Anyways, this chapter isn't as productive as the other two in the way that it's mostly filled with dialogue. The first few chapters are going to move a little slowly and then things are going to pick up really fast. Consider yourself warned. Oh, just to get this out of the way, any translations I include at the bottom of the page are going to be for Welsh and Welsh only. I don't anticipate the use of any other languages from here on out, but I'll let you know if I do. So…without further ado, here is chapter 3 of "Sing It Out". Please feel free to read and review as it is greatly appreciated.

-PQTS


Turn away from yesterday

Tomorrow's in my eyes

Nevermore to be held down by the wings of history

Nevermore to be cast aside

This day is mine

-Killswitch Engage, "This Fire Burns"

Ramona awoke very slowly to the soft sound of Jake's voice. Without opening her eyes, she furrowed her brow in confusion at the sound of his voice; he sounded distant, muffled even, as though he were speaking through a wall. She opened her eyes and let them adjust to the dull darkness of the room before she peered lazily around the room in search of the blonde. Her gaze halted on the cracked door that led to the bathroom. She listened carefully and confirmed that Jake was there speaking quietly to someone.

"No, sir…I understand…Yes…Yes, sir…I understand. Thank you. I'll contact you when I land. Bye." he said. There was a small moment of silence before Jake emerged from the bathroom staring down at his phone with a look of slight irritation. He sighed and looked up, a slow smile coming to his face when he realized that she was awake.

"Good morning." he said politely. Ramona rolled onto her back and rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

"Morning." she croaked out as she ran her hand through her hair. Jake moved further into the room and sat down in the desk chair, tossing his phone aside. He clicked on the desk lamp and filled the room with a soft, white light that caused Ramona to squint her. When her eyes adjusted to the brightness, she noticed that Jake was dressed in a loose fitting black V-neck, a pair of jeans, and a pair of black tennis shoes. His hay-colored hair was gelled up into his usual hair style, so the locks no longer laid across his forehead. He had a large, expensive-looking watch on his left wrist that he glanced at before looking back at her. It must be time for me to get going then, she thought as she tried to rouse herself a little more.

"How'd you sleep?" he asked. Ramona yawned as she pulled herself up into a sitting position.

"I slept fine." she said. She winced a bit at the spark of pain she felt in her muscles but managed to work past it. Jake regarded her with a worried expression.

"Are you okay?" he asked, his tone laced with concern. She smiled weakly at him and nodded.

"Yeah. I'm just really sore." she explained as she began to bend and stretch her limbs. Each motion was quite painful; she nearly hissed at each one, but it made the next movement significantly easier. The bite wound on her chest never ceased to twinge, but she managed to easily ignore it.

"Well…I don't know if you're straightedge like Punk, but I have something you can take for that." he offered. Ramona snapped her head up at him, her jaw involuntarily clenching shut as she began to vigorously shake her head at him.

"No. I'm fine. I don't need to take anything." she said as she threw back the comforter from her form. Jake watched her with a look of confusion, but she ignored him and tried to focus her attention on moving her battered body out of bed. She cautiously swung her legs over the edge of the bed and took a few deep breaths before standing. The pain of such a simple movement made her want to cry out, but she couldn't do that with Jake watching over her. She needed to be strong enough to at least get to the bathroom so Jake wouldn't worry about her anymore than he already had. She bit down on the inside of her cheek as she tried to work past her pain and make her way to the bathroom, but the pain proved to be too much. Her legs gave out beneath her, and she felt herself falling to the carpet beneath her. She closed her eyes and braced herself for impact but was surprised when a pair of strong arms swept her up before she could get too close to the ground. She opened her eyes and looked up at Jake as he carried her bridal-style back to the bed, placing her onto the center of the mattress delicately. He knelt down beside her and looked her over, his eyes shining with worry as he did so.

"I'm giving you something for the pain. Don't move." he said as he stood up and walked back to his suitcase. He rummaged around in it for a moment before pulling out a pill bottle and reading the label on it carefully. Seemingly satisfied with whatever words he'd seen there, he opened the bottle and tapped out a single, white pill. He set the bottle to the side and cracked the oblong pill in half before dispensing one half back into the bottle and closing it. He tossed the rattling container back into his suitcase before reaching back into it and producing an unopened water bottle from its depths. He crossed the room to the bed again and held out the pill and water to her.

"Here," he said as she took both items from him. She looked down at the broken pill in her hand, feeling sick at the sight of it.

"What it is?" she asked in a voice barely louder than a whisper.

"It's half of a Vicodin." he responded. She nodded mutely at him, her mouth feeling so dry that she couldn't bring herself to speak anymore. Instead, she continued to stare down at the pill as she rolled it back and forth along her palm.

She didn't know what to do. She knew that taking the pill would help for the time being, but she didn't know if that was all it would do to her. She hadn't taken any form of medication since she was 18 years old, and for very good reason. Though she'd been clean for about 9 years, she didn't know that she could trust herself to simply take this one half of a very strong pain killer and then move on through her day without wanting more. She swallowed thickly at that thought before looking back up at Jake sadly.

"I can't take this." she said to him. He looked at her in confusion.

"Why not? It's just a Vicodin, I swear. I'm not trying to drug you or anything." he said in a slightly hurt tone. She smiled apologetically at him and shook her head.

"I know that, and I believe you. That's not why I can't take it…it's just me, Jake. I can't trust myself enough to take it." she explained. The look on his face told her that he wasn't understanding what she was trying to say with the way his brows were knitted together. She sighed as she set the pill down and laid the bottle down beside it. She didn't want to have to explain this to someone who was practically a stranger to her, but she had a strong sense that he would try to push her and push her until she relented. She took a deep breath and ran a quick hand through her hair again.

"When I was younger, I had a problem with drugs. I was…an addict, and it wasn't to just one type of drug; it was to almost all of them. It really didn't matter what drug it was, if I got my hands on it, I was going to use it to get high. That includes prescription drugs like Vicodin and Norco." she paused a moment, her eyes drifting down to the half pill down in front of her before coming back up and meeting Jake's again.

"Anyways, when I was 18, I finally got clean, and I haven't taken any sort of drug since then. Me holding that," she said, gesturing to the tablet in front of her. "Is the first time I've even held any sort of medication in about 9 years now." Jake looked at with a blank expression for a moment for nodding his understanding. His expression slowly morphed into one of mild conflict. Ramona questioned him with her eyes and he hesitated before speaking.

"Um, I totally get why you're telling me this, and I commend you for your sobriety; I really do but, u…don't get mad at me for saying this, but I think you should take the pill. You can hardly even walk, Ramona." he said cautiously. Ramona wanted very badly to argue with him, but she couldn't bring herself to do so; she agreed with him, in a way. Her eyes drifted back down to the pill sitting less than five inches in front of her and weighed her options. She could either sit here until she could possibly work her body out enough to move, or she could take the pill and get herself going in less than 30 minutes. She took a deep breath and let out very slowly, having come to a decision. Very slowly, she reached out with both of her hands and took up the pill and water again. She examined the pill one last time before clenching her eyes shut and popping it into her mouth, cracking the seal on the bottle and rinsing the pill down with a quick swig of water. She made sure the pain killer was completely down her throat before letting out a shaky breath and slowly opening her eyes again. Jake was watching her with a curious expression that he suppressed at the sight of her dark eyes. He smile encouragingly at her to which she smiled back, and then looked back down at his watch.

"Now all we need to do is wait for that to kick in." he said. She nodded and closed her eyes again in an attempt to fight down her quickly growing feeling disappointment. It's just once, Mona. You're strong enough to just have one. Very carefully, she pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. She rested her chin on her knees and was content to wait for the pill to kick in, but Jake's fidgeting just in front of her got her attention. She looked at him curiously as he played with the hem of his shirt, his fingers tugging idly at a loose string there. He seemed nervous or bothered by something and that, in turn, made her feel a little nervous as well.

"Is everything all right?" she asked quietly. He looked back up at her and smiled weakly.

"Yeah, I just…I kinda want to talk to you about something." he said quietly. At this, Ramona sat up straight. She let her knees fall away from each other and then crossed her ankles over one another, tucking them up into her.

"Okay. Shoot." she said as she ran an unsure hand through her hair. Jake took a deep breath and turned to face her a bit more before speaking.

"Let me start off by asking you this: have you made any decisions about what you're gonna do from here-on-out?" he asked. Ramona looked down at her hands that she had laced together in her lap. She still had no real idea of what she was going to do. In the moments of silence she'd found before falling asleep the previous night she'd managed to formulate a very small plan. Granted, it wasn't the best of plans, but it bought her just a little bit more time to really think about what she was going to do in the long run.

"Well, once I leave here, I'm gonna find a cheap motel and stay there until I figure out what to do about…everything." she said as she looked back up at the blonde. He nodded slowly, clearly processing what she was telling him.

"So…you don't have any real long term plans then?" Ramona shrugged.

"All I really want to do is make my way back home to Chicago so I can get my things and move on." she explained. "I can figure everything out from there." Again, Jake nodded, but he soon fell silent as he mulled over something in his head. Ramona waited anxiously for him to speak again, wondering just what he could be getting at with this conversation.

"Okay," he finally said. "I have a…proposition of sorts for you, but I just want you to hear me out before you say anything." He looked up at her with a nervous expression that only seemed to worsen as she nodded to him. He took a deep breath before continuing.

"I took a look at the traveling schedule for the Raw roster, and it looks like we'll be flying out towards Illinois towards the end of this month. Actually, I think the closest we get will be Nebraska, but that's close enough." Ramona furrowed her brow in confusion at him, completely not understanding where he was attempting to go with this. Jake held her gaze as he shifted around to face her a bit more.

"What I'm trying to say is that I think you should just stay with me until we get to Nebraska. From there we can fly you out to Chicago, and then you can go home." he said quickly. Ramona stared at him blankly for a while before giving him a look of utter disbelief.

"Are you fucking crazy? There's no way I'm doing that. I can't afford to be on the road. The only way I did before was because Phil took care of everything. Plus, I don't even really know you. Why would I stay with you?" Jake took on a look of slight offense at her words.

"I'm sorry," she said sincerely, feeling bad for having hurt his feelings. "That's not how I meant to say that, but it is what I meant to say. I mean, this is crazy on all accounts, Jake. It's crazy for you to even suggest, and it'd be insane for me to accept. It's just…crazy." repeated. Jake nodded, but shrugged slightly before replying.

"I know that this plan of mine is kinda insane. I get that. I honestly wouldn't go along with it if I was in your position, but you have to think of it this way: you don't have much in the way of a better option here. I mean, I'm offering you a sure fire way home and the time to think out a real plan of action for when you get there. And, for the record, you wouldn't have to pay for anything; I'd cover it all. You wouldn't have anything to worry about except what you're gonna do in the long run." he said. Ramona looked up at him with a skeptical expression.

"I have no way of paying you back for this, Jake. I mean, I have about $700 in the pocket which is not nearly enough to make up for all of this, and then I have me which I'm not offering So…if you're expecting some sort of payment, I have nothing to give you." Jake smiled a little at that and shook his head.

"I'm not asking for anything in return, and I'd never ask for that sort of thing. Just think of it as…a friend helping a friend." he said slowly, as though this was the best way he could word what he wanted to say. Ramona arched a brow at him.

"But…you hardly even know me." she pointed out again. He nodded.

"I know, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to help you. And I know that you probably think that I have some hidden reason to be doing this, but I don't. I swear to you that I don't." he said. Ramona searched his features for any trace of a lie or any sort of malicious intent, but she found nothing there. She sat back a bit as she continued to read him, slightly surprised by what she found. He seemed absolutely sincere about everything he was saying, which confused her; she'd never known anyone that could want to give so much to a perfect stranger. She chose not to dwell on it too much and decided to gain more insight on to just what he was proposing; she wasn't agreeing to it until she knew that it'd work.

"If I agreed to this idea of yours, where would I be staying?" she asked, making sure to phrase her words hypothetically.

"I thought I'd give you the option. I could either book you a separate room or I could book us a room with two beds." he offered. She nodded and thought this through in her head.

"If I stay, I want to share a room with you. It's cheaper than booking two rooms."

"I don't mind either way. I'm not too incredibly worried about how much it'll cost." he said.

"I know, but I am. It would make me feel a lot better if I didn't rack up a huge bill for you." she explained. Jake shrugged.

"If that's how you feel." he said. Ramona nodded before looking at him very seriously; one big question weighed heavily on her mind.

"What about Phil?" she asked. "If he finds me, then this whole plan of yours goes to shit."

"I already thought about that, and I've got it handled. I called Vince this morning and got him to agree to have me booked in another hotel away from the rest of the roster. Oh, and I got him to allow me to travel on a different schedule too. We may end up having to drive between some cities, but it keeps Punk out of your hair."

"How'd you convince Vince to let you do that?" she asked out of genuine curiosity.

"I told him that there was a little bit of bad blood brewing between me and a few of the other wrestlers, and that I needed a little bit of space. I didn't name any names like he wanted, but he gave me the schedule and booking difference after a bit of convincing."

"What about the extra room or double bed situation? I find it really hard to believe that Vince McMahon didn't try to question that." Jake smiled a bit and looked back down at his hands.

"I just said that I had a family member coming from home that'd be staying with me for a bit." he said. Ramona didn't exactly believe that that was all that was said, but she decided to let it go as she fell silent once more.

What Jake was offering her seemed far too good to be true, but all of the facts told her that it was true. Jake seemed so sincere in his offer and, though she hadn't known him for very long at all, she felt like she could trust him in this. He's given me no reason not to, she thought as memories of the previous night flooded her mind. Jake had done everything that he said he would and more, even after she'd been a right bitch to him. He helped her when she needed it the most, and he was offering to do that again; how could she pass that up?

"Okay." she said, interrupting the silence that had grown around them. "I'll stay."

"You sure? I don't want you to feel like you have to." he said. Ramona nodded to him with a small smile.

"I'm sure. I need the help, and you're the only one willing to give it." At that, a large smile erupted across Jake's face. He stood up and glanced at the large watch he wore on his wrist.

"All right. It's almost 6:15 now, so that means we've got a good 4 or so hours before we fly out. I say we wrap it up here, load up the rental, grab something to eat, and then head to the airport." he said. Ramona watched him curiously as he recited his plan to her. When he looked back up at her his smile slipped a bit at her expression, and he looked down at his shoes.

"That is, if you're up to it." he added quietly as he inspected the toes of his shoes. Instead of responding, Ramona began to cautiously unfold her bruised limbs and moved to the edge of the bed. Jake snapped his attention back up to her as she carefully stood up. He reached a hand out and placed it on the dip of her back to spot her in case she fell again. Much to both of their relief, she merely wobbled in place for a moment before standing still and stretching her arms above her head. Jake breathed a sigh a relief and she smiled up at him, happy to finally feel all right without feeling too drugged. Jake smiled back down at her, his cerulean eyes lighting up and smiling as much as the rest of his face. She lowered her gaze briefly so as not to be blinded by the brightness of his smile and turned to fully face him. She flicked her dark eyes back up at him, meeting his blue ones once more, and crossed her arms over her chest before speaking.

"I'm treating for breakfast." she stated. Jake's radiant smile immediately fell into a frown as he opened his mouth to protest. Ramona held a hand up to him, silencing him before he could really speak.

"It's the least I can do, and it would make me happy. Just think of it as a 'thank you for helping me in my time of need' meal." she said. Jake remained silent, but continued to hold a stubborn look on his face as if he meant to argue with her still. Ramona looked up at him with a pleading gaze, pouting slightly.

"Please, Jake?" she asked. Jake rolled his eyes and let out a defeated sigh.

"All right, fine. Just go get ready so we can go." he said as he turned back to his suitcase. Ramona smiled triumphantly and went to her own bag to retrieve her clothes for the day. After carefully selecting an outfit that would cover most of her marred body, she pulled out her hair care products as well as her makeup to cover up what would still be seen of her bruises. It was as she was pulling these items out that a very sudden and random thought hit her, and she turned to Jake again.

"Hey, do you still have that number I asked you to write down last night?" Jake turned his head to look at her and nodded before pointing to a small pad of paper on the desk.

"It's right there. Do you need to use my phone?" he asked. She smiled at him.

"If you wouldn't mind." she replied. Jake turned back to his suitcase with a small smile of his own.

"It's on the desk still. Feel free to use it as long as you'd like." he said. Ramona quietly thanked him as she walked over to the desk and gathered up both the phone and the pad of paper before walking into the bathroom. She took one final glance at Jake before she closed the bathroom door between them. For a couple of moments she didn't move or make any motions to do anything; she simply stood in the darkness of the bathroom taking deep breaths to calm her rapidly rising nerves. When she felt calm again, she blindly reached her right hand out and flipped on the bathroom light. She blinked rapidly as her eyes adjusted before she turned around, pressed her back against the cool wood of the door, and slid down its surface to the floor. Her fingers trembled as she pulled up the digital keypad on Jake's phone and punched in the Floridian cell phone number. Her fingers trembled a bit as she moved the to the 'call' button, so she took another breath and tapped the screen to put the call through. As she lifted the phone up to her ear, she instinctively brought her knees to her chest again and rested her chin on them. The phone rang three times before she heard the distinctive 'click' of the line connecting.

"Hello?"

"Barri? It's me…it's Mona." she responded weakly into the phone.

"Ramona? I've been worried sick about you! Are you all right? Where are you?"

"I'm fine." she replied as she wrapped her free arm around her shins, securing her legs in their upright position.

"Where are you, chwaer fach? Punk said you stepped out last night for a walk and didn't come back. He was worried about you. We all were." Ramona's jaw clenched at this, her eyes slipping closed as she sucked in a deep breath through her nose. Anger flooded through her at Barri's words, at Phil's lie. She wasn't sure what else she had expected; the man hadn't been honest about what he was doing before. Still, it irritated her.

"Well, you don't need to worry about me." she said, opening her eyes again. "I'm somewhere safe."

"But where are you?" he asked again. Ramona chewed nervously at her bottom lip.

"I can't tell you that, brawd mawr." she replied with a sigh.

"Why? Are you certain you're all right? Is someone hurting you?" Ramona hesitated in her response. The conflict she'd felt the previous day rose up within her again at his question. She could tell him what was going without any real guilt now; this much she knew, but she also knew that he'd offer to help her. Even if he offered, she knew she couldn't take him up on it, not until she was ready to face Phil and the wrath she knew would come with him. She wasn't ready for that; not yet, anyways.

"I just can't tell you where I am, Barri. I'm so sorry, but I just…I can't." she said in a firm tone. She spoke quietly and deliberately, hoping that he would understand how important it was that she kept this from him. Barri grew silent for a moment before letting out a tired sigh.

"Ramona, I'm going to ask you something, and you have to answer me in complete honesty, all right?"

"Okay." she said, deciding not to deny him this.

"Rydych yn rhegi?" he asked, his tone a bit desperate. Ramona sighed.

"Ydy. Wyf yn tyngu." she replied. The line fell silent for a moment, the only indication of Barri's presence on the other side being his shallow breathing.

"Did Phil hurt you? " he finally asked. "Is that why you left?" For a moment, absolute dread filled her at his inquiries. Her chest felt tight, and she couldn't quite catch her breath because of it. She closed her eyes for a moment, trying to regain her sense of sanity and began to rationalize with herself. There was no harm in talking to Barri about this now. She wasn't with Phil and he couldn't find her without having to jump through some pretty tight hoops. She knew that Barri wouldn't tell Phil any of this. She could trust the Welshman with anything, she knew this as well. And, after all of the lies she'd spilled when it came to this particular subject, he deserved to know this. I just need to talk to him about this. He deserves to know, she thought.

"Yes." she replied, her eyes sliding open once more. Barri grew silent and remained so for a long while. Her worry began to set in, and she feared that he'd hung up on her.

"Barri?" she called.

"I'm here, chwaer fach. I'm here." he replied. She let out a relieved sigh and slumped a bit more against the door.

"Say something, please. I don't care what you say; just say something. Yell at me, make up some lame excuse about having to go now…just talk to me." she begged.

"Pam na wnaethoch chi ddweud wrthyf beth oedd yn ei wneud i chi, merch melys?" His voice sounded strained, broken even, as though he was pained by her words. Tears welled up in her eyes, but she took a deep breath and fought them down.

"I...I don't know what that means." she admitted.

"Why didn't you tell me what he was doing, Mona?" he asked, this time a bit more composed. Ramona thought carefully about her answer before responding.

"I was scared. I was terrified of the idea of him finding out if I told you."

"But I could have helped you. I would have helped you with this, and you know that. You could have stayed with me or something. The point is, I would have helped."

"You don't understand, Barri. He would have hurt you. Do you even know what he'll do to get me back?" she asked quietly.

"I don't care. I'm a lot bigger and stronger than him."

"Barri...I could not live with myself if he hurt you, even a little bit." she said, her voice cracking from the desperation she felt. The tears she had fought so adamantly before now spilled freely down her cheeks, but she moved quickly to wipe them away. She didn't want to waste anymore tears on this. It's time to be strong now, she thought as she wiped away the last of her tears and waited for Barri to speak again.

"Please don't get upset, chwaer fach." Barri pleaded in a saddened tone. Ramona sniffled one last time as she sat up straight against the door once more.

"I'm not upset. I'm okay. Well, not really, but I will be. I'm just a little emotional right now. You know how us girls can get." she said with a halfhearted laugh. Barri chuckled a bit but stopped abruptly as a flight was announced over the airport's intercom. There was some light shuffling before he spoke again.

"I have to board my flight right now." he stated sadly. Ramona bit her lip again momentarily as sadness bloomed in her chest.

"All right. I'll let you go then."

"Wait. Not just yet. When will I hear from you again?" he asked. Ramona frowned. She really didnt know when she would be able to contact him again, or even if she could. She really couldn't risk Phil finding out about them talking.

"I honestly don't know." she replied.

"I see," he said sadly. "Well, I hope it's soon."

"I hope so too." she replied. They grew quiet agian, neither of them really wanting to hang up. Something inside her wanted to stay on the phone forever; there was something about knowing that Barri was her last connection to Phil that felt unnerving. She wasn't sure that she was ready to completely sever that bond, that tie to the life she had known for almost 10 years now. No. Barri is not a part of that. He's one of the few allies I have left. Barri stays, she thought in a silent promise to both herself and Barri.

"Well, have a safe flight." she said in as close to a cheerful tone as she could manage.

"I will...be safe, chwaer fach."

"I'll try, brawd mawr. Bye." she replied.

"Good bye." Ramona pulled the phone away from her ear and let out a small breath as she ended the call. Without another moment's hesitaion, she lifted herself from the cold tiles of the bathroom floor with the intent of facing the day head on. No more moping, she thought as she turned to open the bathroom. She caught her reflection out of the corner of her eye and halted a moment to examine herself to see what she'd have to deal with today.

The bruising wasn't as bad as she had anticipated, but was still worse than she'd like. The marks along her neck and arms had darkened to an ugly purple color that she knew would be a little difficult to cover up, but she'd done it so many times before that they wouldn't be an insurpassable issue; it would just take some time and attention to detail. As for the yellow-green bruises along her jaw, she could hardly even consider them a blip on the radar of 'problematic injuries'. The bite mark, though was an entirely different issue. There was no way to make up the wound with how raw it still was, so she'd be forced to hide it instead. Luckily for her, she'd grabbed a few t-shirts that would cover up the whole patch of gauze. She leanded in closer to her reflection and slipped the strap of her borrowed wife beater down over her shoulder to observer the bite. it seemed that the bite had opened up again and had bled through a bit overnight; a few red spots shone through the gauze. Very gently her figers pried and tugged at the medical tape Jake had pressed down along the top of her chest until it lifted from her skin. The gauze clung painfully to her wound as she pulled the linen square further down her collarbone, but she mustered through the action without much more than a sharp hiss of pain. When the wound was exposed, she let out a small sigh of relief. It was all ready clotting and closing up despite it's repopening in the night, and there were no visible signs of infection. Another cleaning won't hurt, she thought as she folded the gauze back into place and resecured it to her skin. She drew her attention away from her wounds at that point and nodded to herself in the mirror with a smile, trying her usual 'everything's fine and so am I' face on before running a hand through her bed-head to smooth it. With that, she wrenched open the bathroom door and stepped out into the hotel room once more.

She found Jake sitting quietly at the foot of the bed with his elbows balanced on his knees and his hands folded neatly in front of him. He smiled brightly at her as she approached him to return his phone to him.

"Thank you for letting me use your phone." she said as she handed it to him.

"No problem. You can use it anytime you need to." he assured her. She smiled gratefully at him before walking to her bag to dispense Barri's number into it. She slipped the quarter sheet between the pages of her notebook to keep it secure. When that was done, she tossed the remaining pad of paper back onto the desk and turned to face Jake once more.

"Would you mind if I used your first aid kit again?" Jake shook his head as he stood up and moved to his suitcase.

"Of course not. You can use this anytime you need too. Here," he said as he handed the white kit to her with a sweet smile. She returned his smile and thanked him quietly before she scooped up her things and headed back to the bathroom.

"I'll be ready in about 45 minutes. If I take any longer than that, knock on the door and tell me to haul ass." she stated as she laid her clothes out on the counter

"Take your time, Ramona. We're in no real hurry." he stated. Ramona looked up at him and cracked another smile.

"Call me Mona, please. All my friends do." she said. Jake nodded to her, and she nodded back before closing the door between them again. Standing in front of the mirror again, she assessed herself one last time before setting off on the challenging yet familiar task of looking virtually unabused and presentable for the day.


Almost exactly 45 minutes later Ramona emerged from the bathroom but, this time, she was nearly a completely different person. Her hair was neatly pressed and sculpted into her usual layered bob, though her bangs continued to slide down across her eyes. She donned one of the few t-shirts she liked to wear, a black Metric shirt, and fresh pair of dark-blue skinny jeans and socks. She let out a huff of air and blew her bangs back before moving on to replace all of her things into her bag. When everything was as she left it, she turned to Jake with the first aid kit in hand, but was surprised to find him staring at her with a look of shock. She tried to ignore him and chose to just put the kit back into his suitcase herself, but she could feel his eyes still glued to her. When she turned back to him, she furrowed her brow in confusion at him and shifted uncomfortably beneath his gaze.

"Um...why are you looking at me like that?" she asked. Jake ripped his eyes away from her, a slight blush coming to his cheeks, and shook his head at her.

"It's nothing. It's just that...well, you look normal." he explained, bringing his cornflower eyes up to meet her chocolate ones. Ramona nodded in understanding as she glanced down at her masterfully madeup arms. The blending of products on her arms was flawless; only a trained eye and a harsh critic could tell that she was even wearing makeup.

"Yeah. Well, those bruises were nothing a little stage makeup can't handle." she explained.

"That's amazing." Jake remarked, truly impressed. Ramona looked up at him sadly.

"I've had a lot of practice." she stated. Jake frowned at her, his face etched with a wordless apology and some other emotion that she wasn't really looking for at the moment: pity. She walked over to where her boots lay in a heap besided the foot of the bed and picked them up. She kept her eyes down and away from the blonde as she sat down on the desk chair and shoved her feet down into her boots, taking extra special care to adjust the tops of her boots. When she finished with that, she stood back up and looked at Jake again. He was still regarding her with the same sad look, so she crossed her arms over her chest and quirked a brow at him.

"Is there a reason that you're looking at me like that, or do you think I want your pity right now?" she snapped, her temper flaring and extinguishing almost simultaneously. Jake immediately lowered his eyes and shook his head.

"No. I'm sorry." he said as he lifted his tall frame from the bed. Ramona felt bad for snapping at him and uncrossed her arms with a sigh.

"It's all right. I just don't need you feeling bad for me. I feel bad enough for myself, so I don't really need you to. It'll just make this month or so easier if I'm the only one pitying me." she explained. Jake nodded.

"I understand." he stated as he glanced back up at her.

"Good." she said, her smile slowly returning. "Now, let's eat!"


brawd mawr- big brother

Rydych yn rhegi?- You swear?

Ydy. Wyf yn tyngu.- Yes. I swear.

Pam na wnaethoch chi ddweud wrthyf beth oedd yn ei wneud i chi, merch melys?- Why didn't you tell me what he was doing to you, sweet girl?