"Are you okay?" asked Nick.
"No. How could Todd do this to me? What did I do to deserve this?" Rae started crying quietly.
Nick went over to her, put his arms around her, and held her while she cried. He knew Rae needed to cry and he let her do just that.
"I loved him. I trusted that he loved me, too."
"He probably does. And it probably scared him. Getting with someone else might have made him feel less like he was losing his independence."
Rae lifted her head from Nick's chest and saw Brian standing in the doorway.
"How do you know?" she asked.
"I was looking in his eyes and the expression in them was sincere."
"I'm just not ready to say I forgive him yet. I love him, he's my best friend, but I'm just not ready to start over again." Rae started crying again and she let Nick hold her. Nick and Brian looked at each other with worried looks. They hadn't known Raelene that long, but they felt like they had to be there for her, like they've known her for years, instead of a couple of days. Kevin, Howie, and AJ walked in. They patted Rae comfortingly on the back.
A few minutes later, Rae started packing her clothes in her bags. She gathered up all her CDs and tapes. Kevin grabbed one of her bags, while AJ grabbed the other. Howie carried her CD/tape player and Brian grabbed the bag containing her shoes. Rae carried the small overnight bag. Nick carried the small bag with the CDs and tapes, and grabbed Rae's hand. They walked out into the living room.
"Where are you going to stay?" Scott asked Rae.
"She's staying with us at me and my cousin's apartment," Brian answered before Rae could say anything.
"I'll call you when I get there. Bye, Scott, Todd." Rae gave Scott her key to the room.
Then they walked out the door.
"I can't believe you let her walk out like that with complete strangers," Todd said, unbelieving.
"It wasn't like I could stop her. She does what she wants to. She always has. You know that," Scott pointed out.
"Yeah, I know. Her brothers sure have taught her not to take crap from anyone." Todd looked sad.
"From what she's told me, so have you. You never thought you'd think of Rae as more than a little sister, did you?"
"I always knew we had a special relationship. We've had this connection since before she was born."
"I know what it's like. You feel this need to protect her from all harm. It was like that when I first met Rae. And I have a feeling those five guys she just left with feel it, too."
"I just hope we can trust them. I care about her a lot and I don't want to lose her." Todd sat down on the couch with a thump.
"I think we can. They came here and stayed with her because in the short time they've known her, they've come to find out they are now like her protectors, even though she doesn't need them."
"Why is that? Every guy that comes to know her ends up being one of her best friends. In turn, they feel like her big brother. There's something about her that draws people in." Todd smiled. "I remember when she was younger. Her brothers always included her in everything they did. Their friends came over and spent so much time around her, THEY felt like her big brother. But they also treated her rough sometimes. They'd all be wrestling on the carpet in the living room. And from that, Rae's learned to hold her own."
"You're telling me. She boxes pretty good, too. Rae went to the gym with me one time and I was watching work on the punching bag. She was real good. She said her brothers would teach her stuff like that." Scott shook his head in amazement.
"All those guys love her." This comment took Scott by surprise.
"I know the younger blond guy, Nick, is really into her. I doubt the rest, though."
"They all do. They just don't know it yet. But I think that Nick is the one who will get her should our relationship continue to disintigrate."
"He probably will." Scott patted Todd on the back in comfort.