Yes, terrible things happen, but sometimes those terrible things-- They save you.

-- Chuck Palahniuk

Thursday, December 20, 2012

21- While We Were Young

{Author's Note: OKAY, so, last time I did flashbacks, some people got confused. So, before I begin i should tell you that this chapter takes place in a series of flashbacks starting when Aria was 8.. The number in brackets like this --> [] Indicate what age the screenshots and story are for. ^_^

With that said, Starting off with some birthdays of course ;)}

Kimaria, YA

Nataleigh, YA

Aria could hear her mothers musical laughter from the other room. She added another block to the tower she and Axil were building, a rough "Abbi, you're so beautiful." Echoing down the hall. 

Axil wrinkled his nose and groaned. "They can be so gross sometimes." 

Aria giggled. She secretly loved when he parents would kiss and cuddle. It showed her what true love was supposed to be. They never even fought. She felt as if her parents lived a fairy tale she one day hoped to have herself.

Aria sighed, even being only 8 she dreamed of being older one day and wearing a white dress, walking down the aisle with the love of her life. She knew who she wanted it to be too, even though he was just a friend. The doorbell rang and Aria rushed to answer it, not wanting her parents' happy moment to be disturbed. 

She swung open the door when she saw who was standing on the other side. 

"Carter! Hi!" 

She hugged him, grinning and noticed his mom standing awkwardly on the other side, gingerly favoring one leg over the other. There was an odd mark peeking out from under one of the lenses of her sunglasses, but Aria couldn't quite tell what it was. 

"My parents are in the dining room Monica!" Aria beamed, grabbing Carter by the hand and leading him into the playroom where Axil still was.

Axil looked at Carter hesitantly. "Where's your dad?" 

Carter's expression darkened. 

"He stayed at home. He doesn't go out much." 

Aria brushed the conversation aside, handing Carter a doll. "You HAVE to play Barbies with me. Axil says he is too old now." She stuck her tongue out at him, giggling. 

Carter's face cracked into a huge smile and he took the doll, sitting down next to her.

 "No problem Ar. Let's do this. "

"Oh my God! Abbi!!!" Jack's pain-stricken cry reverberated off the walls, louder than the kids had ever heard before.

 Aria, Carter and Axil dropped everything they were holding and scampered into the dining room. 

The scene before them would forever be etched in their minds. Jack was holding Abbi, his face colored with grief. Aria couldn't be sure, but her mother didn't seem to be breathing. The last thing Aria remembered was being encased by Carter's arms as her world went black.


Aria shook with sobs, her heart empty. Abbi Rapture had been hospitalized 6 months prior and had finally passed away. 

She was only 29. 

She had had an inoperable brain tumor that had caused her to fall into a coma. Jack had finally, begrudgingly, taken her off of life support. And the kicker, Jack had fallen in love with her Oncologist, Hadley Autumn. She had a daughter Aria's age, Mila. Their birthdays only a few days apart.

Mila was a sweet, beautiful girl with interesting hair like Aria's. 

They had bonded pretty easily. Mila being the sister she had always wanted but never had. As soon as Aria had found out that Abbi's death was imminent, her world slowly crumbled. Carter, Axil and this Mila girl had became her best friends. With her mother's death she felt like she aged prematurely. Feeling as if she was no longer the kid she should be.

Mila and Aria stood in the window, watching Jack and Hadley outside. His body was heaving with sobs and Hadley held him close. Aria wasn't even bitter that her father had fallen in love so quickly. Although he had received dozens of dirty stares from family members at the funeral they had just left. She understood that her mother was gone and her father was hurting. If Hadley made that pain go away then who was she to say anything? 

Besides, Mila was an awesome friend. 

Months passed, Abbi's memory lived on, but Aria was finally moving on with her life. 

Mila's mother and Jack had called Aria to dinner because they had some sort of 'announcement'  to make. She sighed and got dressed hoping to God Hadley wasn't having a baby. 

Mila was waiting right outside Aria's door as she exited. 

"I hope it's not a sibling." Aria whined, taking her hand and heading into the sitting room.

Hadley and Jack sat on the couch, they seemed very nervous. Aria's stomach gurgled. Now she KNEW it had to be a sibling. Great, she thought, I was happy with the ONE I have. She sat next to Axil on the loveseat and Mila sat in the chair, smiling politely. 

"Well, Guys. We have a surprise. And we are hoping you think it's a good one." 

Jack grinned, taking Hadley's hand. 

"We are getting married!" Hadley announced, bursting with excitement. 

Aria relaxed instantly. 

That wasn't bad at all. She was getting a sibling, but it wasn't a baby. Mila she could handle. Mila squealed and jumped up, hugging her mom. Axil sighed, seeming to deflate a little. Aria wondered if that was what he had been thinking too, a baby. Aria winked at him and flashed a smile. He grinned back.

"Does that mean you are moving in?" Aria asked, suddenly worried for the safety of her amazing bedroom. 

Hadley nodded. "I am, and so is Mila. I hope you dont mind turning your playroom into a bedroom for her." 

Mila looked unsure, glancing at Aria. 

"Of course I dont!" She replied, standing and hugging Mila. 

"We're going to be SISTERS!!" She giggled, jumping up and down.

Aria wiped the blush off of her still-round child cheeks. She absolutely hated makeup. But she had worn some for the wedding. She and Mila stood in the media room, still in their bridesmaids dresses. Carter and Axil played some stupid video game and she and Mila were bored to tears.Aria had begun to develop some sort of confusing feeling when Carter was around. She worried about him all the time. Recently he had shown up with a busted lip that he said he got from running into a door.

Yeah right, who runs into doors? 

Besides Aria, of course.

Today at the wedding Monica had been crying in the bathroom when Mila and Aria had entered. They both stopped giggling immediately and went up to her. 

"Monica, what is it?" 

She seemed to gather her composure suddenly and shook her head. 

"Nothing girls, I'm fine, I just cry at weddings." 

Aria knew she was lying. The makeup didn't really cover the bruises. But she hugged her and watched her exit, knowing there was nothing she could do.

As Carter was turning a corner in the game he excitedly put his hand up for a high five from Axil, laughing. As he did so, his arm caught the light, revealing four bruises scattered along his arm in the shape of fingerprints. 

Aria gasped, rushing over to him. 

"Carter, what happened to you?!" She demanded, gently touching his arm. 

He jerked his arm out of her grasp and ripped his sleeve down. 

"Nothing!" He snapped, throwing the controller on the floor. 

"I have to go." He said to Axil, standing and heading to the door. 

"See you guys later."

The three of them watched him leave, worry coloring their expressions. Something was really wrong.

"Why won't you talk to me about what happened?" 

Mila demanded in hushed whispers. They stood outside the school, about to head inside. "Because, Mila. It's not my place to tell you." 

Mila scowled. "You spent the NIGHT at his house, Aria Eden! I want to know details." 

Aria looked at her, disgusted.

 "I'm 13, Mila. I didn't do anything like that." Aria saw Carter over Mila's shoulder, and instantly softened. 

"Hey Carter, How are you feeling?" 

He looked up at her, a huge smile spreading over his face.

 "Aria, Hi. I missed you. Thank you for being there for me last night. Are your parents pissed?" 
Aria shook her head, smiling. "Nope, I told them I was with Willow. They're fine."

 She paused. His eye was still swollen, and it looked like he or his mom had tried to cover some of it with concealer. It did the trick, but barely. She knew the rest of the damage was hidden underneath his clothes. She touched his face, her eyes stinging.

She took his hand and squeezed it tightly. 

"I'm always here for you. And My house is always open." 

Mila stood in the background, not really sure what the hell was going on. But she was always concerned for this Carter guy. She knew he and Aria had been friends since they were toddlers and around each other since they were babies. Monica and Abbi had been friends for years. She knew something was going on in his home life and it scared Aria to the point that she sat up all night, waiting for him to text her. 

The bell rang and Aria looked at the school building sadly. 

"I will see you later Ar. Once again, thank you." 

He withdrew his hand from her grip and headed into the school. 

Mila hugged her close, Aria's eyes full of sadness. 

"I'm scared one day he won't show up for school Mila."

Aria was a legit teenager now.

 And not exactly thrilled about it. She sighed, putting makeup on in the mirror. Something she used to despise but had suddenly grown accustomed to. There was a boy in her class who was always staring at her. It made her nervous. He was adorable, but he made her feel like he wanted to eat her or something. 

And Carter.

 Well... Carter was dating some girl Aria didn't even know named Rebecca. She was beautiful and she and Carter were always together. Aria barely saw him now. He had a new best friend named Justin. They were inseparable as well.  But she saw him enough to notice the bruises and marks that sporadically popped up on his body however. 

It was a subject he avoided talking about whenever they were together.

Ever since that day she had stayed with him, he wouldn't talk about it. 

He would change the subject immediately as soon as Aria started the conversation. Rebecca seemed to make him happy though, and that was all Aria cared about. Besides, they had only been friends. 

She jumped when her phone went off, completely caught off guard.

It was Jayberri, the guy who was always staring at her. 

She had given  him her number last week, but hadn't  been completely sure he would call. 

"Hello?" She answered, her pulse instantly speeding. 

"Hey, Aria. It's Jay. I had a question for you." 

Aria's mouth went dry, nervous.
 "Yeah, what is it?" She managed. 

"I was wondering if you would like to go  out with me? As in, be my girlfriend.. I have liked you for a while, but I have been terrified to ask you." 

Aria smiled. 

"Of course I would, Jay."

"I could knock his teeth in if you want." 

Axil said, working the weights of the machine he was on. 

Aria chuckled. "No, No Ax. It's okay. He'll get what is coming to him someday." 

She put her head in her hands and sighed. 

She had just had her birthday a few days before, almost a young adult now. 

Time seemed to fly so quickly.

 She and Jay had broken up a few weeks before after he had cheated on her with the school slut, Kora Whittfield. On top of that he had came to her house in the middle of the night and basically attacked her. 

The calls had been non stop ever since.

"I think we should be worried about Carter." 

Aria said, pulling her knees to her chest in the chair she was sitting in. 

Axil sat up and wiped sweat off his forehead before moving on to the pull up bar. "You are always worried about him, Aria. You guys have barely talked. Isn't the last time you saw him the night Jayberri came in?" 

Aria nodded. 

"Yeah, but Willow said she keeps seeing him out at bars and stuff. And that even Rebecca doesn't see him anymore."

Axil stopped exercising and looked at her. 

"Let it go, Ar. You guys used to be friends when we were kids but he is older now. It's time to move on." 

Aria's eyes stung a little.

"I just miss him is all." 

Axil went back to pull ups.

 "I know you do." He grunted. 

"But he doesn't feel the same. Or If he does, he doesn't want to bother. He's a guy. Give him space, he has guy friends now."

Aria scowled. 

He surrounded himself with a bunch of uber popular guys like Ethan Mason.  Someone he used to despise which worried Aria even more. 

At least he still hung out with his best friend, Justin Marqee. 

She sighed, standing up and walking around to the back of the chair. 

"I guess you're right Ax. That ship sailed long ago."


"What do you mean he's gone?" 

Aria asked, voice hoarse. 

Her face was a mess, streaked with tears. 

She instantly felt her eyes overfill again. 

"He moved away, to college. Monica's death hit him pretty hard. He didn't want to live with his dad, so he left." 

Carter's grandma, Emily, was distraught, Aria could see it written on her face. 

Monica Simon had committed suicide two weeks prior. 

Carter didn't even tell Aria, she heard it through whispers in the gym across town and on Rebecca's Facebook. She had been beside herself with worry for Carter, eventually mustering up the courage to go to his house and check on him. Only to be greeted with this news.

 Emily looked at her sadly, shutting the door softly as Aria sat on the steps of Carter's childhood house, tears falling silently.

She sincerely hoped he was taking care of himself. Hoped he wasn't drinking himself into oblivion and screwing everything that moved. She really wished he had said goodbye. And she was afraid she would never see him again. They hadn't been close in years, but he was still Carter. 

And she still cared.

She stood up, wiped her tears off with the back of her hand and walked away. 

Obviously she needed to listen to what Axil said all that time ago, and move on. 

Bye Carter, She thought. 

See you someday.

"I guess we're both going our separate ways now." 

Mila said longingly, hugging Aria extremely tight.

 Aria gasped for breath, pushing her playfully off. 

"We're only going to be a couple of hours away from each other." 

Mila frowned. "Riverview and Starlight Shores are 6 hours away from each other." 

Aria smirked. 

"I know, I know. But the way you drive you'll make it in half of that." 

Aria had wrestled Mila into matching-but-different-colors outfits as a goodbye present. In her opinion it didn't kill Mila to be girly sometimes anyway. 

She tugged the hem of her shirt down nervously, glancing at the bright pink car her father had bought her as a going away present. 

"It matches your hair," 

He had said, enveloping her in a giant bear hug. 

Aria blinked away a tear and looked back at Mila. 

"After everything at graduation. And after everything with Jayberri, I want to get as far away from here as possible. And hopefully never come back. You can always come visit me." 

Mila nodded, clutching the keys to her own car, which was a yellow color she detested but didn't have the heart to tell Jack that. 

He had said it matched her hair too, to which she replied quietly over his shoulder at Aria that it most certainly did NOT.

 "I will come over ALL the time." She replied with a smile. 

"I think i am going to go find myself a guy and have some babies while I'm at it." 

Aria laughed. "Maybe i will too." 

She walked over to her car, looking one last time at the gorgeous house she grew up in. 

It was sad to leave it all behind, but she was over this town. She only wished Carter was there to say goodbye. But he had left for college, without so much as a goodbye text. 

Aria waved at Mila and climbed into her car, hitting the accelerator and leaving Hidden Springs far, far behind her.

43 children. 

The number was insane. Aria couldn't believe she was almost halfway there to completing this absurd challenge she had decided to take on. 

She wondered how many babies Danielle had now. 

And if she had reached her halfway point yet. She shook her head, clearing the memories and sadness away. She was determined to go into this meeting with Koby with a clear head. Charmain had said he was ready to take part in her challenge, and Aria was ready to have another baby now that the others had grown so much. The triplets were already children. Time flew faster than Aria had ever imagined.

Finley, teen.

Summer, teen <3

Harper, child.

Pace, child.

Cadence, child.

"Are you ready to do this?"

 She asked him with a smile that couldn't quite make her eyes sparkle. 

Koby nodded at her, taking her hand and leading her into the hospital. She decided to go the donor route since everything that had happened with Ethan.

Officially with child, she headed home. 

With every step her heart ached. She was so close to giving up she could taste it. But she knew she couldn't, she had to finish. As crazy as everyone thought it was this was something she was determined to do. Soon, she confirmed her pregnancy.

And after waiting patiently, she had her beautiful 44th  and 45th children. She even went 3 weeks overdue. 
Tripp <3

Rory <3

She tucked them into bed, heading off to sleep herself, exhausted after a tumultuous labor and delivery. 

As she was about to pull the covers up to her chin, her phone vibrated. She cursed and climbed out of bed, answering it. 

"What is it?" She snapped at the caller, not even bothering to look at the ID. 

"Hey, Aria. it's Carter." 

Aria softened, immediately regretting her angry tone.

"Oh my god, I'm sorry Carter, I am just... tired. What's going on?" 

She heard him chuckle. 

"Well, a friend of mine is having this huge house party in an abandoned house. I remember how much you used to love to party. You think you can get a babysitter for your thousand babies? It's next week." 

Aria scowled at his remark, but ascended. 

"I thought you were all mad at me and stuff?" 

Carter paused

"No, Aria. I'm not mad. I think you could use some.. time off though, are you up for it."

Aria thought for a second, biting her lip. 

"Sure, Carter. I'll be there."

No comments:

Post a Comment