Extra exclusive chapter of Declan's POV from "Surrendering" by Ahren Sanders:

9:55 AMAlma Lopez

Warnings before you read this extra chapter from Declan's POV:

Number one- It is full of spoilers for people who have not read Surrendering. This is completely from Declan's POV the morning after Raven leaves for Paris.
Number Two- It is completely unedited
Number Three- the last sentence is a bit of a cliffhanger, but in Chapter 1, there are answers.

I Need Her Back
Knock, knock, knock. Please let them be home. Knock, knock, knock. Still no answer. I turn to walk away right as the door opens behind me.
“Jesus son, do you know what time it is?” James Hayes stands in the doorway in his pajamas with a very unhappy look on his face.
“Yes sir, but I really need to talk to you and Jenna. Maybe Robbie if possible.” I look at my watch and realize it’s not even eight am yet.
“Is everything alright?” His expression softens but he doesn’t invite me in.
“Yes, I mean no. I mean I really want to talk to y’all together. Can I please come in?”
James reluctantly moves to the side and I follow him into the foyer.
“Have a seat in the living room, Declan, I’ll wake Jenna and Robbie and start some coffee.” He leaves me and goes towards his bedroom.
I look around the room and my heart hurts. I spent both wonderful and excruciating times in this very room. I remember Raven and my first Christmas together and laying on the couch kissing after midnight.  All the times we came over here to hang out and enjoy time with her family. Then I remember the almost four days she was missing and I spent listening to James and his team scouring the city trying to find her. I felt just as lost in that time that I feel now. The only difference is I know she is alive and safe. But she is in another fucking country, away from me. She ran from me; from us.
“Declan, honey, is everything alright?” Jenna breaks me out of my thoughts and walks into the room. She looks worried.
“No, I need- “
“What the fuck man, don’t you know what time it is?” Robbie interrupts as he and James join us.
“Robbie! Watch your mouth.” Jenna yells at him.
“Why don’t we all sit down and you can tell us what’s going on.” James motions for us to take a seat.
I sink into the chair closest to me and lower my head. I take a deep breath and look into the three questioning faces staring back at me. “I’m not sure what you know, but I messed up. I need you to tell me where I can find Raven so I can go get her. There’s some things we didn’t get to talk about and I need to straighten them out.”
“What’s there to fucking ‘straighten out’? You hurt my sister again you shithead. Why should we help you with anything?” Robbie shoots back angrily.
“There are things she doesn’t know. Things I planned on talking about when she came to the show yesterday. But she showed up literally two minutes before we went on-stage. Then she bolted. I never saw her again.”
“Well what did you expect? She had a plane to catch. You should have made the time to talk to her.”
“I didn’t know she had a plane to catch! I didn’t know anything until it was too late!” I yell back at him then realize that is not going to help me get the information I need.  “Sorry man, I’m not myself today.”
The room goes silent and I start to get uncomfortable. Jenna looks at James and Robbie before she speaks to me.
“Declan, what do you mean you didn’t know anything? Didn’t Raven tell you about her summer job?”
“Not really, she told me James had a friend that needed some help with a summer project and she started next week. When I didn’t see her for the days I was at Bonnaroo, she told me she was with you. I thought it was odd, but we never got to discuss it. She was there when I left the stage and when I got back from an interview she was gone. My sisters are the ones who told me she was in Paris.”
“Well, that’s certainly a change of events. Raven has always been stubborn, but I thought she would have least told you.” James says.
“That’s why I need to get to her. I need to explain things have changed. I want her with me this summer. Every second of every day.”
“What happened to your precious reputation and fucking rise to fame? Where does my sister fit in now? Is your ego bruised or are you just nervous about her being away?”
“My ego means nothing to me. I feel broken. She is everything to me. This was never about me at all. And now I know I was played. Hell, the whole band was played.”
“What does that even mean?” Robbie asks angrily.
“Well, to make a long story short, I had already decided I would never hide my relationship. Raven is going to be my wife and I am damn proud. I talked to the guys in the band and we agreed to evade any questions about my personal life. I was not going to lie about our engagement. I was also looking into safety for her to join us when she could.”
“Why didn’t you tell Raven? You’ve got to know how your stupid decision cut her deep. She’s broken-hearted.”
“I knew she had accepted a summer position so she couldn’t be with us the whole time but I was going to fly her to wherever we were on the weekends. I couldn’t find her anywhere after the show and she wouldn’t respond to my calls or texts. I was on my way to make sure she knew how sorry I was when my sisters told me she had left. I need to get to her soon and explain how sorry we all are. The guys are torn up about what happened.”
“What happened?” Jenna asks softly. There is sympathy in her voice.
“We found out the Marketing rep from the label we are talking to is an idiot. She was fired for suggesting inappropriate ploys to other clients. As it turns out, Robbie’s old friend Mike Jacobs owns MJ Label. Jay has been working with the label to give us a chance. Mike wasn’t aware of the direction his rep was taking us. Basically we were all played and I can’t lose Raven.
“You’ve got to know this has been killing me for weeks now. Raven told me once she refused to let me put her in front of my band. She made me promise even if we didn’t succeed, I would try. I never wanted her to doubt my love for her. Even after she disappeared for that week in Atlanta…”
“What do you mean disappeared? She went to help Charlie move.” Robbie interrupts me.
“I mean she didn’t tell me she was going. She left. She packed up and took off for a week. Even when she got home, I tried everything to let her know how torn up I was and how much I love her. She was pulling away, but never talked to me. I knew she was hurting and I planned to do whatever it took to make her smile again.”
“Stubborn, stubborn daughter of mine. So you’re telling me you basically pulled your shit together and Raven ran? She never even talked to you about any of this?” James asks me.
“No sir, I can honestly say, if I knew this was her plan, I may have canceled our tour this summer. She would have been mad but I would rather spend the whole summer making it up to her and letting her know how much I love her than spend it apart.”
Jenna gets up and announces she going to get drinks and we all sit in silence. Robbie speaks first.
“Gotta tell you, Declan, I feel for you. I was pissed as hell when I heard what was going on, but now I just feel sorry for you.  My sister has some passive-aggressive tendencies. She should have told you what was going on. But with that being said, I don’t think you should go get her.”
“Who wants coffee?” Jenna comes back with a tray filled with pastries and steaming mugs.
 “Declan, I wasn’t completely sure what all was happening, I only knew Raven was extremely sad. I wanted to call you myself but she talked me out of it. Now I see the situation from a different angle. Even though I have a completely different take on things now, I have to agree with Robbie. You shouldn’t go get her.” James tells me.
“Why not? She’s in another country by herself! She thinks I chose my band over her. And you don’t understand- I need her back.”
“Declan, honey,” Jenna slides next to me, “They’re right. You both need this. You need to go on tour this summer. Raven would be upset if she jeopardized that. I also agree with James and Robbie that Raven should have talked to you, but she’s gone now. This is an amazing opportunity for her. I think you should definitely tell her all this, but do you really want her to give up this chance.  I’m not sure where her head is right now, but I almost think she would turn around and come home.”
I think about what she has said and she’s right. If I ask Raven to come back just to tour with me I am being a selfish prick. “You’re right. But I need to talk to her. Do you know anything about her schedule?”
“You should be able to call her in a few hours. But there’s something else you need to know.” She looks at James and he nods to her. “Raven isn’t alone. Declan, Finn is with her.”
“Excuse me?”
“She didn’t know either. He’s going to work on the same project this summer.”
My heart beats so hard against my chest I wonder if I’m having a heart attack. I drop my head back to my hands to try and calm down. Of course fucking Finn is there. He’s always the one to pick up my fucking mess. But I am relieved she has someone watching out for her.  At least I know he’ll take care of her.
I look up to see Jenna looking at me with sympathy in her eyes. “I’m glad she has someone with her Jenna, I just with it was me.”
We talk for a while longer and I fill them in on my schedule. When I get up to leave, Jenna hugs me and whispers in my ear, “I know your Mother would have been so proud.” I squeeze her tight letting her know how much that means to me.
I feel oddly calm when I get home. It isn’t until hours later that my world stops again. When I open my guitar case, I see it immediately and I don’t stop the tears that fall.

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