Whew! I feel like I’ve been drug through a wringer after just reading this. I think few of us will ever write a story with that much emotion. However, becoming aware of the emotional arc as the story unfolds will help to build tension in both the story and in the reader. I’m a hopeless romantic and feel the good guy should get the girl. While this doesn’t happen in the story, the reader is still rewarded with a satisfying resolution. Rick has transformed himself and found the emotional part of himself that was missing.