Love Conflicted

Hey guys….Only January and I already dropped the ball on my Tues/Thurs schedule. I think I underestimated how much time and thought needed to be put into the end of Love Conflicted. That and the fact that I’ve been easily distracted lately. The internet is a vortex I get lost in.

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Mood.

Anyway, that last part just wasn’t quite ready to post, but it is now! Without further hesitation… Stay Tuned for the exciting conclusion (Part 12) of Love Conflicted

New poster

#dreamcasting

Previously on Love Conflicted…

Read Part 11 HERE

Start from the beginning/Get caught up HERE

new poster illy

#dreamcasting

 

****************

Hauled up in a familiar old abandoned house, Ricky sits working on his computer as he taps into the surveillance system of a nearby bar, Ricky once took Maggie here some time ago back when Maggie thought she couldn’t handle having a life with him.

Ricky: We’re in. We’ve got eyes on the interior, all exits and side streets of the underground operation.

Ian nods as he stands over a small table sifting through some audio equipment.

Lily and Maggie emerge from a smaller room off to the side, both dressed rather promiscuous.

Ricky looks up. Ian’s jaw drops.

Ricky: No. Absolutely not.

Maggie: Ricky, you want this to be believable right?

Ricky: Yea of course, but that doesn’t mean you have to dress like that.

Maggie: (hands on her hips) What kind of girls do you think these guys get walking through their doors? No self-respecting, modestly dressed woman is going to show their face there for a cocaine score. It’s all ladies of the street.

Ian: She’s not wrong.

Ricky glares at Maggie.

Ricky: Baby, I love you. And you can totally dress like that for me another night- preferably away from any other wandering eyes- and I will welcome it, because you look sexy as hell. But I don’t think you realize how bad these guys actually are. I don’t want you near any of them dressed like that. It’s way too vulnerable. They’ll just see you as something to take advantage of.

Maggie: Well how do you know they’re all bad? You and Ian aren’t.

Ian and Ricky exchange looks.

Ricky: Maggie, this isn’t Cobbs version of the CIA we’re trying to bust here. All those people are a lot like us, they’ve been brainwashed into thinking they’re protecting the security of our country. We’re dealing with the real deal guys here. They don’t care. They won’t even blink at the slightest sign of humanity. They’re the cold ones. This drug ring is Cobbs’ most prized possession, this is where the big cash rolls in. We get this stuff on record, the police will have no choice but to arrest him and everyone involved.

Lily: Wait a minute, I thought you already had something major on Cobbs that could put him away? Remind me why you’re allowing both myself and the love of your life to risk our lives and enter the danger zone.

Maggie: Lily…?

Lily: No. Look I’m sorry okay-I don’t mind helping-But I think it deserves some kind of explanation. This whole time everything you’ve done was to protect us from being in danger. And now you are literally putting us right in the middle of it.

Ian: What we have is good. But how we got it- is illegal.

Maggie and Lily exchange glances.

Ricky: I was finally able to hack into a database holding several files regarding legal cases, some date as far back as 20 years ago. A bunch of sealed files of crime cases Cobbs should have done time for. But judges covered up for Cobbs for years, if you throw enough money at people, problems can vanish, like that (he snaps his fingers.) With all the shots against us already, if Ian and I have any chance of actually passing this off as evidence that will hold up in court, we need something current, something concrete.

Ian: Something obtained naturally. If we go to the Cops as is, we’re bound to get arrested for working under Cobbs for all these years.

Lily: It’s still really risky if you ask me.

Ian: We’ll have eyes on you the whole time. You’ll wear wires. We’re right here, if trouble starts, we’ll know. We’ll be in there in seconds.

Lily: And what if we get made, what if these guys sense we’re moles? It takes a second to pull a trigger.

Maggie: Lily?

Ricky: No. She’s right. What the hell was I thinking?

Maggie: Ricky.

Ricky: No. It’s the truth. We need a new plan. Now.

Maggie: Ok… come with me.

Maggie grabs his hand and drags him into the next room.

Ian and Lily exchange glances.

Lily: I’m sorry, I’m not trying to mess with the plan- but it had to be said.

Ian: I get it. It’s a completely valid concern.

Lily: Thank you for understanding.

Ian: You don’t ever have to apologize for who you are. Not with me.

Lily gives him a small smile.

Ian: You know we would never have asked if we thought we couldn’t protect you.

Lily: No I know. But sometimes things don’t always go as planned ya know? Maggie has been through hell, I just want her to be okay.

Ian: We all do. But you’re right. Regardless, I would never let anything happen to either of you. I can have you in and out in a matter of minutes.

*****************

Most of the furniture is all dusty and covered in sheets still. The layer of dust slightly heavier than the last time. The floor creakier, the quiet slightly more eerie. And the dimly lit rooms, seem to be getting darker by the second as the deep night falls upon them.

Ricky: Maggie, baby I’m so sorry. I had no right to ask you to be any part of this.

Maggie: Hey. Stop it. I’m glad that you’re finally keeping me in the loop.

Ricky: But Lily’s right. Everything I’ve done, all the pain I’ve caused, all the days we had to spend a part was because I was trying to keep you safe- keep you away from this world. I never wanted my job to affect you.

Maggie: Hey. (She reaches for him and he pulls away) Hey come here, (pulling him to her) Look at me, I’m fine. Lily’s just being her overprotected self, it’s why we love her.

Ricky: Yea I know. She is right. I’ve got you going into the thick of it. I don’t want you anywhere near this.

Maggie: Ricky you have no other choice. If you and Ian go in there, you’re as good as dead. You know that they’ll recognize you and they’ll know your there to take them down.

Ricky: Better me then you.

Maggie glares at him.

Maggie: Don’t.

Ricky looks at her, his eyes filling.

Ricky: Do you remember when you found out about my job? Do you remember how you looked at me? With disdain. Like you hated me.

Maggie: I was upset and shocked. You had been lying to me for months. It was just a knee jerk reaction.

Ricky: You wouldn’t even let me touch you. You were afraid of me.

Maggie: I was afraid of what could happen if I let myself love you. Because in spite of everything I still did. I still do. (She kisses the corner of his lips.)

Ricky looks at her, he gives in, kissing her for a brief moment.

Ricky: You were right to be afraid of me. I don’t deserve you, I never did.

Ricky pulls away from her, walking off to the side.

*Flashback* (Over a year ago)

Maggie is in a darkened warehouse. She walks through aimlessly. Searching for something. For an answer. She hears angry voices and yelling, she hides behind a few stacks of boxes.

She recognizes one of the male voices.

Maggie peers out and sees Ricky standing there.

Ricky is yelling at a scruffy, dingy dressed, bearded man.

The man holds up his hands.

“Don’t make a move, or I will blow your head off.” Ricky says in crisp cold tone.

Maggie’s eyes widen as she watches in fear. Unknowingly holding her breath.

The man begins to plead with Ricky for his life.

He impulsively reaches for his gun.

Ricky shoots him, point blank, without blinking.

Maggie stands there frozen.          

Ricky there before her, standing over the dead body. Blood seeping into the ground.

Ricky signs. His glare intense. He lowers his gun.

Just then his phone buzzes. Ricky answers, holding the phone to his ear.

“It’s done. Send in the cleanup crew.”

Ricky hangs up the phone. Turning he sees Maggie standing there.

Her face full of fear, her eyes full of tears, her body frozen, yet shaking.

Ricky’s eyes widen as he makes a move toward her.

Maggie steps back, her face growing from confused fear to complete terror.

“Maggie…” he whispers, his heart dropping.

Maggie turns and begins to run.

Ricky holsters his gun and rushes after her.

Maggie makes it to an exit door and bursts through it. Her heart pounding, her breathing sporadic.

Ricky runs through seconds later his eyes searching for her.

“Maggie. Maggie, baby, I can explain.” He walks toward her, reaching for her.

“Don’t touch me!” she screams.

“Maggie, please.”

“Who are you?” she says looking at him with disdain.

“I’m still me.”

“No you’re not. You’re not. The man I fell for was charming, and sweet and had the kindest eyes.”

“Baby I still am that guy. I just have a different job description.”

“Which is what? What possible job could you have that would condone you killing a man in cold blood?”

Ricky looks away.

Maggie’s wheels begin to turn.

“You’re a mobster?” she asks coming to a realization.

Ricky’s eyes fall. He knows he doesn’t want to lie to her any more than he already has, yet he knows he can’t risk telling her the truth just yet. So he just doesn’t answer, and lets her make her own conclusion.

“So what- you just go around killing people, who what- “do you wrong?”

“It’s a little more complicated than that. I don’t exactly make the final call. I have a boss.”

Maggie looks at him. Her hands still trembling.

Ricky notices.

He steps toward her, reaching for her. “You’re shaking…”

He manages to pull her close to him, cupping her face with his hand.

“No,” she pushes him away. “Don’t touch me. I don’t want you touching me ever again!”

Maggie turns as she begins to walk away quickly from him into the night.

Ricky rushes after her.

“Maggie. I know this is a lot to take in. But you just need time to cool down. Then we can talk and try to figure things out.”

“Cool down? I just watched you kill a man. I’m not going to forget that. Everything isn’t going to just be okay. Not after this. If you thought that it would, you must be delusional.”

“Maggie…”

“Don’t. Just don’t.” she says crying “You’re a completely different person to me now.”

Ricky hangs his head, his eyes tearing up.

“I used to feel safe in your arms. And now-” Maggie stops looking around, wrapping her arms around her body, trying to protect herself.

“You don’t have to be afraid of me Maggie. I would never hurt you.”

“How can someone who has held my hand and kissed me and touched me in the most graceful, caring ways, use the same pair of hands to pull the trigger and kill a man without even flinching.”

“I’ve been trained to be a certain way for the job…but that’s not all I am.”

“I don’t care. I don’t want to hear anymore. As far as I’m concerned it’s just another excuse.”

“Maggie please. This can’t be it for us.”

“That poor man. What could he have possibly done, to deserve… that?”

“There are a lot of things you don’t know. It’s complicated.”

“And I don’t wanna know. This relationships over.”

“Maggie…” he grabs her arm.

“Let go of me. Or I will scream and draw attention to the criminal you are.”

Maggie glares at him.

Ricky steps back, her words a blow to his heart.

Maggie still a shaky mess tries to walk away. She gets a few inches away before doubling over and vomiting.

Ricky rushes over, holding her hair back.

“Okay. You’re okay. I think everything has been a bit of a shock to your system.”

Maggie wipes her mouth and stands up, swatting him away.

“I’m going home. Don’t follow me. And do me a favor. Lose my number.”

Ricky looks at her pain etched on his face.

“I know you hate me right now. I get it. But at least let me drop you home. It’s late.”

“So what? All bad guys are the same. You should know that.”

Maggie walks away.

“Take the ride as offered. Or I will throw you over my shoulder and make you take it.”

Maggie stops and looks at him.

“You don’t get to play the over protective boyfriend role right now.”

“Maggie. It’s just a ride home. I promise. I’ll drop you home, and I’ll leave.”

Maggie and Ricky’s eyes lock for a minute. Ricky can almost see a touch of consideration in Maggie’s expression. Maybe all hope wasn’t lost.

Until the exit door opens and Ian stands there.

Ian: Rick. We need you.

Ricky turns.

Ricky: 5 minutes.

Ricky turns back toward Maggie, and she’s gone.

Ricky looks around. He angrily punches the door in.

-End of flashback-

Ricky: I remember feeling like my whole world exploded that night. I really thought I’d never see you again.

Maggie: Well, here I am. And I love you even more than I did back then.

Ricky: Why?

Maggie: What do you mean why?

Ricky: Why do you love me? I mean you said it once before, I’m a criminal…all bad guys are the same.

Maggie glances at him sternly.

Maggie: Come on. I was reacting to seeing my boyfriend kill a man. I didn’t know the full story.

Ricky: Like the full story is any better. Either way you paint it, I still spent my life killing.

Maggie: You thought you were protecting people from the bad guys. And you were, I mean it’s not as if any of the people you had to kill lived an honest life. Especially since they were all involved with Cobbs in some way.

Ricky: You don’t need to justify my actions. I was wrong. It’s okay to admit that. I never had to kill anyone. I made a choice to believe I had to.

Maggie: You didn’t know your boss was a fraud and a sociopath who was brainwashing you.

Ricky looks away.

Maggie: Hey. (She cups his face) You are a good man. With a good heart. You are. If you weren’t we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The real bad guys have no remorse for their actions.

Ricky: When you say it, I actually almost believe it.

Maggie: Believe it, baby.

Ricky: I never did know how you ended up in the warehouse that day?

Maggie: I followed you. I felt like you had been kind mysteriously leaving our dates abruptly and all the calls you’d take outside away from earshot. Initially I kind of thought you were cheating.

Ricky: Are you kidding me? I could never want anyone but you. (He says cupping her face with both of his hands.)

Maggie: I knew something was up with you. I just thought cheating could have been a possibility.

Ricky: Bet you kind of wish that’s all it was, huh? Would have made your life a whole lot easier. I mean sure my character would have been questioned but not so catastrophically. Cheating can’t put you in jail.

Maggie: No. But it would have made me question if you love me. Job or no job. I now know you do.

Ricky: Do you know how much I love you?

Maggie: Yes. (She smiles) Almost as much as I love you.

Ricky: Not possible. (He smiles softly as he pulls her into a kiss.)

*****************

Ian and Lily walk in.

Lily: So. Are we doing this thing?

Ricky: No. We’re not. I am.

Maggie looks at him.

Maggie: Ricky, no.

Ricky: I can’t let you go in there. I won’t. They think I’m dead. We still have a bit of an edge. It’ll be fine. I’ll get in, get what we need, something concrete and physical. And get out.

Ian: Let’s get wired up then.

Ian tosses a mic pack to Ricky as he begins hooking on his own.

Ricky: What are you doing?

Ian: I’m going with you.

Ricky: No you’re not.

Ian looks at him.

Maggie: You’d don’t actually think you’re going in there alone do you?

Ricky: Yes. I am. I won’t put any more people’s lives in danger.

Maggie: Ricky.

Ian: Rick, Dude. Things will go a lot smoother if you let me help you.

Ricky: You’ve helped me enough Ian. I’ve got this one.

Ricky goes to walk toward the exit.

Maggie stops him, by walking in front of his path and placing her hand on his chest.

Maggie: Either you let Ian go with you, or I’m going in.

Ricky: You going in isn’t an option anymore.

Maggie looks at him, turning on her heel, she rushes toward the door.

Ricky and the gang rush after her.

Ricky grabs her back in, closing the door behind her.

Ricky: Are you out of your mind?

Maggie: Are you?

Rick gives her a stern glare.

Maggie: Haven’t you leaned you can’t tell me what to do. Don’t test me Ricky. I am my own person with my own brain. I know what I can and can’t handle.

Ian: Rick, man. Let me just go in with you.

Ricky: Fine. But neither of you leave this house, you hear me? And the minute we leave you lock this door.

Maggie: Deal.

Lily nods.

Ian grabs his coat.

Ricky and Ian head towards the door.

Maggie: Ricky.

Ricky turns.

Maggie’s eyes begin to fill up.

Maggie: In and out. Okay?

Ricky nods, walking swiftly over to her, he grabs her and kisses her.

Ricky: I love you.

Maggie: I love you.

Ian and Lily look on.

Lily’s eyes lock onto his.

Lily: Be safe in there.

Ian: I do owe you a date.

Lily: That’s right.

Ian smiles leaning in, he kisses her cheek.

Ricky and Ian walk toward the door.

Lily: Hey Ricky, I’m sorry for-

Ricky: No. Don’t be. You were right. It’s nice to know that no matter what you’re always looking out for Maggie.

Lily smiles.

Ricky: We’ll be back.

Rick grabs Maggie’s hand and kisses it, before he leaves.

Lily locks the door behind them.

Maggie rushes over to the computer screen to watch the surveillance.

*******************

Ian and Ricky knock on the back door of the bar.

Three quick knocks. Two slow knocks. A secret knock.

The door opens and a dark skinned man stands there.

Man: Can I help you? He barks.

Ricky: Yea we’re looking for Cobbs.

Man: Yea. What you want with him?

Ricky: We heard this is the place to score some prime C.

Man: You have the money.

Ricky pulls a few hundreds from his back pocket and holds them up.

The man takes it with one hand, and in one swift move, he slaps a handcuff on Ricky’s wrist with the other.

Ricky’s face falls.

Man: FBI you’re under arrest.

The man turns Ricky around as he cuffs his other hand behind his back.

Another cop emerges from the door and handcuffs Ian.

As Ricky and Ian exchange nervous glances, they peer into the underground room. It’s under a complete investigation, crawling with police tape and officers logging evidence.

Ricky: Don’t say a word, Ian. I’ll handle this.

Maggie and Lily watch on horrified.

Maggie rushes for the door.

Lily: Stop. You can’t you don’t want to be an accessory, just wait it out. Let’s get out of these trashy clothes and we’ll meet them at the station okay?

Maggie sighs as tears stream down her face.

Lily: Hey. Don’t let your mind run wild just yet. Ok? We’re gonna be ok, I promise you.

Maggie: How do you know that?

Lily: Because we always are.

Lily pulls her into a side hug.

**************

Maggie and Lily rush into the local precinct.

Maggie walks up to the front desk.

Maggie: Excuse me, I’m looking for Ricky Roman.

Lily taps her, as two cops escort Ian and Ricky into the station.

Ricky’s eyes land on Maggie.

Maggie: Ricky! She rushes over to him.

A female desk sergeant stops her.

Desk Sergeant: I’m going to have to ask you to take a seat. He’s got to go through the process.

Maggie: When are visiting hours?

Desk Sergeant: Not until tomorrow morning.

Maggie’s face drops as her tears fall more freely.

Lily reaches for her.

Ricky notices from afar.

Ricky: Baby. Baby. It’s ok.

The officers shove him into an interrogation room. And Ian into a separate one.

Hours go by and Lily and Maggie sit nervously in the waiting area, completely exhausted at this point, and looking for answers.

Maggie gets up and walks over to the front desk.

Maggie: Excuse me, it’s been hours, can you please tell me anything about what’s going on with my boyfriend. What’s he being charged with?

Desk Sergeant: Name?

Maggie: His name is Ricky Roman. I just asked you about him a few minutes ago, are you deaf or just a victim of shitty short term memory?

The woman glares up at her.

Desk Sergeant: Would you like to spend your night in a cell too?

Lily jumps up and rushes over.

Lily: Ok. Alright. That won’t be necessary. It’s just the stress talking, (she says swaying Maggie back over to their seats.)

Maggie: I can’t take not knowing what’s happening?

Lily: Look I understand ok? This sucks from all ends. But you have got to calm down.

Lily and Maggie fall asleep in the chairs.

******************

The next morning a male officer taps Maggie on the shoulder.

Maggie wakes up and nudges Lily awake.

Officer: Are you here for Ricky Roman?

Maggie: Yes.

Officer: You can see him now.

Maggie: Oh thank god.

She stands up in a hurry.

Lily: And Ian- oh my god I don’t even know his last name, (She reflects.)

Ian comes walking out from a nearby back room.

Lily and Maggie’s eyes shoot up.

Maggie: Hey are you okay?

Ian: Yea. Thanks.

Maggie: Where’s Ricky?

Officer: This way ma’am.

Maggie looks on worried as the officer ushers her into the back.

Lily turns to Ian.

Lily: What’s going on?

Ian: They let me go.

Lily: And Ricky?

Ian: He took the blame for everything.

Lily: And you let him?

Ian: I had no choice. He made me promise that if we ever got arrested, that I let him take the wrap, and I keep Maggie safe.

Lily looks on with worried eyes.

Maggie follows the officer to a hall full of cells.

Guys are cat calling as Maggie walks by.

Officer: Enough.

They simmer down.

They reach a cell all the way at the end, sectioned off.

Ricky sits there his head in his hands.

Maggie: Ricky!

Ricky’s head jolts up.

He rushes to the gate.

The officer unlocks the gate and opens it for Maggie to walk in.

Closing it behind them.

Officer: You have 10 minutes.

He walks away.

Maggie: Ricky!

She rushes into his arms.

Ricky: God I am so glad you’re not in that outfit.(he tries to laugh and make light of things) This place is full of slime.

Maggie: Ricky. What’s going on?

Ricky pauses. He cups her face and kisses her for a minute.

Maggie: Talk to me. Please.

Ricky: The FBI has been watching Cobbs for the past few months. They knew what type of operation he’s been running. They know Ian and I worked for him. Cobb’s underground operation was raided minutes before we showed up. All his workers and Cobbs himself are in custody. We got him. He’s going away for a long long time.

Maggie: And what about you? I mean they released Ian, so that means they’ll release you soon too, right?

Ricky: No.

Maggie: What do you mean no?

Ricky: Maggie I’m being charged.

Maggie: With what? You didn’t work for that part of Cobbs’ operation. 

Ricky: Yea but, I was involved in everything else under the sun.

Maggie: Well did you tell them the whole story? Did you tell them everything? Why you did what you did?

Ricky: Somehow they just don’t care. As far as they know I worked for Cobbs for years and I knew all along.

Maggie: But you didn’t.

Ricky shrugs.

Maggie: We can fight this. We’ll get you the best lawyer.

Ricky: It doesn’t matter babe.

Maggie: So what you’re not gonna fight it?

Ricky: I belong in here.

Maggie looks at him in disbelief.

Maggie: How long?

Ricky: 10 to 15. And that’s with a deal for cooperating.

Maggie doubles over as she suddenly feels like she had the air knocked out of her.

Maggie’s tears fall, as Ricky pulls her into him, he looks into her eyes. Wiping away her tears.

Maggie pulls herself together as she tries to think positively.

Maggie: Ok. Ok, I know it’s a long time. But we can make it worth. I can come see you…all the time. And when you get out we can be together.

Ricky smiles, touching her face and staring at her lovingly.

Maggie searches his face for some kind of reassurance.

Ricky’s face frowns.

Maggie: What?

Ricky: Maggie…I love you so much…But-

Maggie: But what- there is no but, you love me, and I love you.

Ricky: Maggie…

Maggie: No. No don’t Maggie me.

Ricky reaches for her.

Maggie: When this is all over with, we can be together. I mean that’s what the whole deal was, wasn’t it? We stay apart while you gather the information you need to get him put away. Am I missing something here? Am I crazy? Or is that not what you told me. What you kept telling me.

Ricky: No, you’re not crazy. That was the initial plan.

Maggie: Ok so what changed?

Ricky: Maggie I love you more than I did yesterday, and more than the day before that, and I can promise you that I will love you even more tomorrow. But this whole thing just made me realize that… maybe… we’re not the best fit. You’re better off without me. And I’m going to prison.

Maggie: So I can wait for you.

Ricky: I don’t want you to. That’s not a life.

Maggie’s eyes gloss over and her stare turns cold.

Maggie: Don’t you dare.

Ricky: Maggie, baby. You need to let me go.

Maggie: You asshole.

Ricky: Baby please-

Maggie: Don’t. You are full of empty promises. You make me wait on you this whole time, when you really didn’t even have any intention of following through. Did you want to get caught? Did you wish for this? Is it some kind of sick version of self-punishment, because you think this is where you deserve to be?

Ricky: Of course I intended to be with you. I never wanted to hurt you, you have to know that. But what kind of man would I be if I didn’t answer for my crimes.

Maggie: Wow you can put on quite a show. Was I part of your cover too? Just the mobster with a heart of gold who falls for the little timid elementary school teacher. Right?

Ricky: Of course not. I have always been honest about how I feel about you.

Maggie: Right, because honesty is your specialty.

Ricky: Maggie.

Maggie: You don’t wanna be with me. Fine. Just own up to it.

Ricky: Maggie. That is not what this is about, and you know it. I love you so much. And I love you enough to let you go.

Maggie: And I just don’t get a say in this? You’re just gonna choose what’s best for me…again?

Ricky: Maggie I can’t gamble with your life again. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if you spent your life waiting on me. You can’t put it on hold because of my stupid mistakes.

Maggie: (tears are rolling down her cheeks as she keeps wiping them away) Fine. But this is it. You don’t get third and fourth chances. Not with me. You’re lucky you got a second. And now that’s all irrelevant. I don’t want you keeping tabs on me, I’m sure you have ways of doing that even though you’re in here. You don’t want this? Fine.Have it your way. Guard, we’re done here, (She says yelling from the cell.)

Ricky: Wait Maggie, will you just let me explain…

Maggie: Guard.

Maggie leaves without another word.

Knowing that he just made the biggest mistake in his life, Ricky sinks to the floor of his cell.

Maggie collapses to the floor in sobs in the waiting room as Lily rushes to her side.

Ian walks over to the side, he makes a call.

*****************

*6 Months Later*

It’s Maggie’s 25th birthday and Lily is throwing her a party. It’s been 6 months since Ricky was arrested.

The party is full of glitter and glam, champagne is being popped and poured. The DJ is alive with energy and the food is circling. People are mingling and the room is in party mode.

Maggie stands admiring her best friend’s handiwork.

lily and maggie bffs

Maggie: Lily this is amazing! Thank you so much.

Lily: Well with all the craziness that has gone down recently, you deserved this.

Maggie smiles and pulls her friend into a hug.

Lily notices Ian walk in with a familiar face. Her eyes widen as she pulls away from her hug with her best friend.

ricky and ian bffs

Maggie notices.

Maggie: What?

Ricky walks up behind her.

Ricky: Hey Maggie. Happy Birthday.

Maggie stills hearing his voice.

Maggie: (turning) What are you doing here?

Ricky: I was invited.

Maggie looks over at a scheming Lily and Ian who watch eagerly.

Maggie gives Lily a death glare.

Lily just holds her hands out with a shrug of her shoulders.

Maggie: Were you now?

Ricky nods.

Maggie: Excuse me, for just a second.

Maggie walks quickly over to Lily.

Ian: Good Luck see ya.

Ian ducks out over to the bar.

Maggie: Are you crazy? You invited Ricky to my birthday party?

Lily: Hey I just did what you couldn’t do. You obviously miss him.

Maggie: That’s not the point.

Lily: Ok so then what is the point, Maggie? Because you are miserable. I know you’ve been trying to hide it but I know you, and it’s killing me to see you this way.

Maggie: (sighs) I love you for caring about me, I do. But I am not the one who ended things Lily. He was. Do you know how difficult it is to look at him, let alone talk to him? And on my birthday of all days. God, I just-

Lily: You ever think that maybe he regrets his decision?

Maggie: If he did, he would have reached out over the past 6 months. It’s not like he was in jail that long, Ian’s lawyer had him out in a matter of days.

Lily: You told him not to reach out.

Maggie: And he listened. If he wanted me, he would have fought for me.

Lily: He’s here, isn’t he?

Maggie: Yea only because you invited him.

Lily: I don’t think I’m the one you should be talking to about this.

Ricky walks up behind Maggie.

Ricky: I think she’s right.

Maggie turns.

Lily: I’m gonna go find my man. Good luck, (she pats Ricky on the shoulder, walking off to where Ian stands by the bar.)

Ricky: Can we talk?

Maggie: (shrugging) I guess so.

Ricky: Maybe we can go somewhere a little more private?

Maggie: You want me to leave my own party? Sure why not. (She walks off into the hallway of the party venue.)

Ricky: I came here, because I needed you to know-

Maggie: Why did you do it? How could you do it? Did you think about it? What it would do to me? Because I have replayed our entire relationship over in my head a thousand times, over the past 6 months, and I still can’t fathom how you could just walk away. I know I couldn’t. But you left me no choice. So I wanna know. Did you think about it? How you just decided for me. You just decided my fate without even asking me. You broke my heart, just because you could.

Ricky: That is not how it happened.

Maggie: No?

Ricky: No.

Maggie: You promised me things Ricky. I waited for you. And then when things got tough you just bailed on me, throwing away everything we built.

Ricky: I can’t even begin to explain how much I regret the way I handled things. It just seems like I keep messing this up.

Maggie: You regret it? You regret it. What about apologizing? What about being sorry for excluding the woman you claim to love from your life? What about that, Ricky?

Ricky: I do love you. And I am sorry about how much I hurt you. But I will not apologize for wanting to protect you. For wanting you to be happy.

Maggie: Oh ok. (she rolls her eyes)

Ricky: Hey. Don’t roll your eyes at me, I’m dead serious right now. I love you, you know I do.

Maggie: Then why?

Ricky: You know why.

Maggie: We talked about babies Ricky, we talked about marriage and being together. You don’t just go from planning forever with someone to saying goodbye. It didn’t have to be all or nothing, you didn’t have to crush my heart the way that you did. There is such a thing as middle ground, communication. But no you took it upon yourself to just end it. Well you got your wish, you can go now.

Ricky: Believe me, letting you go, was the most debilitating thing I have ever experienced. Do you think that I’ve been ok this whole time? I mean you must have some kind of demented image of me in your head, if you think that the pain you felt wasn’t the same I felt.

Maggie: Fine. I get it. We’re good. You can go now.

Ricky: We’re not done.

Maggie: Like hell we are.

Maggie goes to walk away, Ricky grabs her arm.

They both feel that familiar spark.

Maggie: What do you not get? I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to talk to you.

Ricky: There you go lying to yourself again, (He pulls her closer.)

Maggie: Don’t.

Ricky: Don’t what?

Maggie: Don’t try and manipulate me Ricky. That whole flirtation bit where you try to handle me isn’t going to work. We are here because of the choice you made. And I warned you that was your last chance. So let me go.

Ricky sighs and releases her unwillingly.

Maggie sighs of relief and begins to walk away.

Ricky: Maggie…

He rushes over to her, pulling her into a kiss.

Maggie pushes him away angrily.

Maggie: What else do you want?

Ricky: I Want You.

Maggie laughs.

Maggie: You know you keep saying that. But everything you’ve done has proven otherwise. Do you enjoy playing games with me? Because you had me, and then you broke it off, several times actually. Proving to me that you are not in this. I can’t keep doing this with you, I can’t keep putting my heart at risk. Because that to me is worse than any bodily harm your line of work could have possibly caused me. You had me, and you didn’t want me, so you can’t change your mind and expect me to just go along with it. Haven’t you learned by now, that you can’t handle me! I’m not your puppet.

Ricky: I’m not handling you, and I’m sorry if I’ve made you feel like I am trying to. But I have never not wanted to be with you. I was just trying to think of your happiness. I realize that I went about it all wrong and that I should have trusted that we could make it work together and let you decide for yourself. I was stupid, and wrong. I was in a bad head space Maggie. God if I was in my right mind, do you honestly think I could ever let you go. I was so ridden with guilt. I thought you were better off without me. Since I’ve been out I’ve been going to therapy and just trying to be that guy you met at the start of us.

Maggie looks at him.

Maggie: Has therapy been helping you? (She asks curiously folding her arms over her chest)

Ricky: Yea. A lot actually. It made me realize things I couldn’t see clearly before.

Maggie: Like what?

Ricky: That I was suffering from the effects of that type of job, and I wasn’t ready or able to forgive myself, let alone let you love me. But I do want to be with you. And I think you wanna be with me too.

Maggie: Look I’m glad that you’re doing better. But that ship has sailed. We lost a lot of time. Too much.

Ricky: We can get it back.

Maggie looks away.

Ricky: You look beautiful by the way. I mean you’ve definitely changed, but I like the new look.

Maggie: Well tragedy can stir up change.

Ricky: Well it’s certainly working for you, (he looks at her the way he always used to. And Maggie instantly feels her stomach flutter.)

Maggie: Don’t do that.

Ricky: What I can’t compliment you anymore?

Maggie: No. And you can’t look at me like that anymore either.

Ricky: What way am I looking at you? (He says walking closer to her.)

Maggie: Like you-

Ricky: Like I love you?

Maggie: You broke up with me. You don’t want to be with me, the sooner you admit that the sooner you can move on. Why would you even come here?

Ricky: Is that what you really think? That I broke things off because I don’t wanna be with you? Have you not been listening to anything I’ve been saying? I swear sometimes I just think you like to pick a fight. You only choose to hear what you think will help your case. When in reality there is nothing further from the truth.

Maggie: I just think that you don’t know what you want. That maybe I’m just convenient. At first I didn’t think that. I thought you were genuinely worried about me and wanted me to be happy. And I could on some level understand that. Respect you for caring that much. But when you realized that you were in the clear. You didn’t once reach out. You didn’t fight for me at all. And it just made me realize that I had completely deluded myself into thinking that you actually loved me.

Ricky: Ok. I’m going to respectfully ignore the fact that you keep saying things like that. Of course I loved you. I am still so in love with you. Maggie, after everything we have had together, do you honestly think I could walk away from you without feeling like my heart exploded into a million pieces.

Maggie: Well you have a funny way of showing it.

Ricky: I was trying to respect you and give you space. And I had to make sure that everything was fully resolved with me before I came back into your life. I wasn’t going to risk uplifting it again. And… I had to save up.

Maggie: Save up for what?

Ricky: For this.

He takes a ring box from his pocket.

Maggie looks at the box and then locks eyes with Ricky.

Maggie: What is that?

Ricky hands her the small box.

Ricky: Open it and find out.

Maggie: Ricky I-

Ricky: Open it, (he playfully touches her chin.)

Maggie looks at the box, she takes a deep breath and opens it to find a big diamond engagement ring.

Maggie: (gasps) Ok. I can’t breathe.

Ricky: (laughs) Stay with me on this, ok?

Maggie nods, completely baffled.

Ricky smiles taking her left hand and kneeling down on one knee.

Maggie: Oh my god.

Ricky: You wanted forever.

Maggie: Only if you want it too.

Ricky: (rolls his eyes at her) I love you. I don’t like my life without you. It’s unbearable. You mean the world to me, and I know that this hasn’t been easy, and we’ve been on a painful roller coaster for a while. But I have never not for one second, stopped loving you. I love your heart and how you wear it on your sleeve. I love your eyes, how they sparkle and how they can always read me. It’s kind of creepy and crazy. (He laughs) I love your smile, and your creative mind. I love how you come home smelling like Elmer’s glue and covered in paint and glitter. I love that you love kids and that you’re so good with them. I love that you love with your whole body and soul and how you truly listen and take the time to get to know people. I love how having you in my arms every night magically fixes everything. I’ve really missed that. I love how we can sit watching movies for hours in our sweats, eating junk food and then still choose to order Chinese food and you still manage to look flawless.

Maggie is laughing and shaking her head, taking it all in stride.

Ricky: I love how you love.

Maggie is in tears at this point.

Ricky: I know that I hurt you, and you have to understand that it wrecked me to leave you. But I’m back and I want to make you happy, I want to make up for the time that we lost. I want for us to have the future we planned, the future we deserve. And I’m not letting one more day pass by without having you in my life. So if you haven’t completely given up on me yet…I was just wondering if maybe you’d consider, marrying me?

Maggie: (shrugs) Took you long enough.

Ricky laughs.

Ricky: Is that a yes?

Maggie: That’s a yes.

Ricky puts the ring on Maggie’s finger and stands up to meet Maggie for a kiss.

Ricky kisses Maggie and hugs her tightly.

Ricky: Do you like the ring?

Maggie: (looks at it) It’s perfect.

Ricky: I love you so much.

Maggie: I love you.

She cups his face and kisses him.

Ricky: Happy birthday love.

Maggie smiles and kisses him again.

Maggie and Ricky walk back into the hall hand in hand.

Lily and Ian notice.

Lily: Told you it’d work, (she nudges Ian with her hip.)

Ian: Your superpowers scare me.

Lily laughs and kisses him.

Maggie and Ricky walk over to them.

Lily: So…I’m guessing we worked things out?

Maggie: Oh yea, I mean if he ever tries to break up with me again, I will have to kill him. But- (Ricky laughs and wraps his arms around her) I uh I think that we’re good. (She says tucking her hair behind her ear and showing off her ring.)

Lily notices.

Lily: Holy shit! Shut up! (She grabs her best friend’s hand.)

Maggie laughs.

Lily: Oh my GOD! Oh my god! (She shrieks and jumps up and down hugging Maggie.) This ring is gorgeous! Ricky you did good.

Ricky laughs.

Ian: I think what Lily is trying to say is Congratulations you guys.

Ian shakes hands with Ricky.

Ian: Congratulations brother.

Ricky: Couldn’t have gotten here without you. Thanks for having my back and for watching over these lovely ladies, (he says gesturing toward Lily and Maggie as he pulls Maggie into a side hug.)

Ian nods.

Ian: It’s a pleasure. Thank you for having my back.

Ricky nods.

Maggie and Lily are hugging and freaking out.

Ricky: (noticing he leans over to Ian) But…I should probably apologize in advance…

Ian: Why?

Ricky: Because…the pressures on buddy…you’re next.

Ian looks at Ricky, then at Lily as he smiles.

*****************

Maggie turns to Ricky as she smiles, before she kisses him.

Maggie: I guess we have a wedding to plan.

Ricky: I guess we do.

Maggie: Do you want a big wedding or a small wedding?

Ricky: Whatever you want, (he says wrapping his arms around her and kissing her.)

Maggie: You don’t have an opinion? (She smiles up at him.)

Ricky: As long as I have you there, I’m covered. You’re all I want, you’re all I need.

Maggie smiles brightly as she kisses him.

Maggie: But you know after the wedding, our first order of business-

Ricky: Babies. (He says smiling knowingly)

Maggie: Yes. (She says smiling)

Ricky: Hell yes, I don’t care how many times we have to do it. How many days we have to spend in bed.  (he smirks leaning in to kiss her again as she laughs.)

****************

Lily walks over to Ian

Lily: I throw the best birthday parties ever.

Ian: (blurts out) You think you’ll ever marry me?

Lily looks over at him.

Lily: Are you asking me?

Ian: Just inquiring for future reference.

He says staring straight ahead, not making eye contact with her curious eyes.

Lily: Hmm.

Ian’s eyes shift over to her, his lips smirking.

Lily: I kinda love you, you know that.

Ian’s expression stuns.

Ian: Did you just-

Lily: Yup.

Ian: But that’s the first time you’ve ever-

Lily: I know. (She smiles)

Ian turns to her, taking her hands in his.

Ian: I love you too.

Lily: Yea I figured, (she smiles pulling him into a kiss, as Ian laughs against her lips.)

***************

*Flashback* (Over a year ago)

Maggie comes out of the school, her hands full of creative craft supplies.

She begins dropping them one by way, by accident.

Ricky driving on a motorcycle is held at a red light and notices her, his eyes looking her over. He smiles to himself.

“Ugh,” he hears Maggie’s aggravated sigh.

Ricky drives off to the side and parks his bike. He walks over to a very frazzled Maggie.

Kneeling down he helps her pick up a few things.

“Here you go,” he says.

“Thank you so much. Today is just not my day. I’ve been dropping things, spilling things, I am covered in glue and glitter,” she says finally looking up, and locking eyes with the handsome stranger.

An instant spark ignites.

Maggie’s captivated. Ricky is intrigued.

“Do you need a lift somewhere?” he says pointing to his motorcycle.

Maggie notices.

“Oh gosh. (Laughing) I better not. Motorcycles terrify me.”

“Hmm. All the more reason to do it. Who knows you might just enjoy it.”

“I don’t know. We’re strangers,” Maggie says mentally kicking herself for not jumping at the opportunity.

Ricky smirks, thinking for a beat.

“I’m Ricky,” he says extending his hand.

Maggie looks up at him.

“And you are?” Ricky says with a sexy expectant smile.

Maggie’s heart flutters.

“Maggie,” she says shaking his hand.

They lock eyes at the powerful feeling of contact and connection.

“It’s nice to meet you Maggie, see now we’re not strangers anymore.”

Maggie lets out a nervous giggle as she pulls her hand away.

Ricky’s heart skips a beat.

“I’m sorry I just don’t think this is a smart idea…” Maggie says.

“Come on, I don’t bite. Live a little.” Ricky says his eyebrow cocking up as his head jerks over toward his motorcycle.

“Ok. Fine. You’re on. But just to be clear, no tricks ok, it’s my first time on a motorcycle.”

“Don’t worry. I’m a very safe driver, I’ll be gentle.”

Maggie blushes as she laughs.

Ricky smiles flirtatiously as he shows her the path to his bike.

Ricky puts her bags into a back tank, and gets on the bike.

“Hop on,” he says.

“Ok….Uh…” Maggie says nervously looking at the bike.

“Just grab onto my waist and swing your leg over.”

Maggie does so and gets on the bike.

“There you go,” he says with a smile of confidence.

“That wasn’t so bad,” Maggie says laughing.

Ricky gives Maggie a helmet as he puts his on as well.

Maggie wraps her hands around his waist.

Ricky looks down, he smiles.

“You ready?” He asks.

“Yea.”

“Hold on tight Maggie this is gonna be fun.” He says revving his bike, waiting for the light to turn green. As it does he speeds off and Maggie squeals.

-End of flashback-

****************

The DJ starts to play a familiar song.

Maggie and Ricky smile at each other.

Ricky: May I have this dance love?

Maggie takes his hand as they sway in each other’s arms.

Maggie holds him tightly as she looks at her ring, she smiles happily.

Ricky: Thank you.

Maggie pulls away and looks up at him.

Maggie: For what?

Ricky: For walking into my life, at the perfect moment. You changed me for the better. You woke me up.

Maggie: You woke me up too. Besides, the foundation was pretty much intact, I just did a little fine tuning. (She says smiling up at him.)

Ricky: No, it was a lot more than that, so thank you.

Maggie: Thanks for the ride. It’s been a hell of one.

Ricky: Well hold on tight baby, we’ve got a long way to go, (he says smiling down at her, pulling her closer to him.)

Maggie smiles and kisses him.

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-The End-

There you have it, the Love Conflicted journey is over. It’s been fun. I hope those of you who have read along, enjoyed the love story between Ricky and Maggie and Lily and Ian.

Stay Tuned for a Love Conflicted inspired “Soundtrack” & my author’s commentary! COMING SOON!

Thanks for reading!

 *I do not take credit for any images used in my edits, or otherwise.*

-<3-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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