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

-- Chuck Palahniuk

Monday, April 15, 2013

32- Maybe I'm Just Tired

Avocet and Albatross, children

Verreaux, Harlequin and Starling Rapture


"Aria you have to open this door eventually. I know that you're in there. Your fucking car is in the driveway." Carter sighed, knocking again. Aria wiped the tears from her cheeks and continued to stare at the wall. 

"Just open the door, Aria. I'm not here to be the bad guy. I want to talk to you about why you ran off... I won't even bring up what happened at the party." 

Aria looked up at the door, sniffling. She bit her lip and listened as he knocked again, a little harder. 

Carter's sigh was exasperated and he shifted his weight, pressing his forehead to the door. "I just want to talk to you. Will you please answer the door?" 

Aria weighed her options. She had a feeling that if she didn't answer the door, he was never going to go away. She at least owed him an explanation as to why she hadn't been answering his calls. Not that he would give her one if the situation was reversed.

 She put a hand on the floor, boosting herself upwards.

Twisting  her fingers into her hair and pulling slightly, she walked to the door, sliding the dead bolt out of place and pulling it towards her. Carter looked surprised that Aria had even conceded. His eyes traced her face, and his expression instantly became one of concern. 

"You're crying?"

It was more of a statement than a question. Her eyes hurt and her mouth was dry, and Carter's comment annoyed her to the point that she wanted to shut the door in his face. 

She stepped backwards and he entered, his eyes still on her face. 

"Aria why did you leave like you did a few weeks ago? You just sped away. I know Mila was there, and I assumed it was because of that, it's just..." 

He trailed off, and she crossed her arms over her chest. He looked like he wanted to say something different than what followed. 

"You won't return my calls.. My texts. This isn't normal for you. We haven't been this disconnected in months. What did I do?"

Aria looked up in surprise. 

"You can't seriously be asking me that." 

Carter started at her tone, his eyebrows knitting together. 

"I don't get it. You seem so fucking mad at me. I didn't even know that I had done anything. Aria, please, just tell me what the hell is going on. What happened?"

Aria's eyes met with the floor. "I saw you and Mila kissing." She mumbled. 

Carter stared at her. Speechless. He made a string of various noises that were intended to be words, but didn't quite form them. He took a step towards her and she took an equal one backwards. 

"I was NOT kissing Mila."

Aria shook her head. "I know what I saw."

Carter's voice rose slightly in aggravation. 

"No. You saw what you wanted to see. I would never kiss her Aria. I see her like a sister." 

He repeated his step forward, and this time, Aria remained motionless. 

"For God's sake, Aria. She is the one that used to take blackmail pictures of me and threaten to show everyone. I sometimes wonder if she still has them." 

His grin drew a sparkle into his eyes and Aria couldn't help but smile a little. They had been so close growing up. The three of them, and Willow, had been inseparable. 

Aria drew her bottom lip into her mouth and exhaled. 

"You promise Carter? Please, don't lie to me. I deserve to know the truth." 

He nodded, reaching out and pulling her into a hug.

 "I promise. Mila will never be anything more to me than a friend. She is like my sister almost as much as she is yours."

Aria pressed her cheek into Carter's chest and she could hear his heart beating softly beneath the layers of cotton. 

She could remember how many times they had all played house when they were younger. Carter always insisted on being the dad and Aria being the mom. Willow and Mila would pretend to be their kids. It was all so silly now, but back then it was always important that she be the wife. The other two were absolutely not allowed. 

His dad would always come crashing into the house, interrupting everything with drunken blubbering and the three girls would have to go home. 

And Carter... Carter would always show up at school the next day with a new bruise too. Sometimes more than one.


"You might as well stay still, Carter." 

Aria sang, grabbing another dress off the rack and taking Willow's hand and pulling her towards the dressing room. Carter stood against the wall, grumpily holding most of the girls' shopping bags. Mila shrugged apologetically, holding up the one bag she carried. 

"At least this isn't my fault."

Carter huffed, setting the bags on the floor and crossing his arms, making Mila laugh. 

"I don't even know why I am friends with the three of you. I should find some manly friends." 

Mila smirked, looking off toward where Aria and Willow had went. 

"Yeah but if you did that, you couldn't be around Aria all the time." 

Carter's expression changed to one of annoyance. 

"Why do you keep saying that?"

Mila raised an eyebrow knowingly. 

"I see the way you look at her, even if she doesn't." 

Carter rolled his eyes. 

"You're so full of shit, Mila. We're just friends."

Aria reappeared, laughing. She looked at the two of them, her eyes still lit up. 

"What? Who's just your friend?"

Carter looked at Mila quickly and back at Aria. 

"No one."

Aria's forehead wrinkled in confusion, but she brushed it off, turning to Willow. 

"So where next? I think we should look at shoes!" 

Her excitement was contagious and Mila perked up at the mention of shoes. That was something she actually enjoyed shopping for. No frilly, girly dresses in there. 

Carter sighed, forcing a smile. 

"Alright, let's go."

He made to follow them out the door of the store, when his phone went off. He slipped it out of his pocket, glancing at the screen with a sigh, putting it up to his ear. The voice on the other end carried over to where the girls were standing a few feet away it was so loud. 

The apologetic look on Carter's face sent nauseating quivers through Aria's stomach. The fact that he felt like he had to be sorry for his dad being a fucking loser made her heart ache.

She watched him listen, his face going through various stages of irritation and sorrow until finally he mumbled something, hitting the end button and setting the phone on the counter beside him. He looked back over at the three of them and nodded at the exit.

Aria wanted to say something, anything. The look on his face, however, told her that now wasn't the time. She walked over to him, taking his hand in hers and kissed his cheek, smiling weakly. 

"Let's go do something else. Do you want to go for a walk or something? We don't have to keep shopping. You can come to my house."

Carter shook his head. 

"No, It's fine. We can do whatever you want." 

He glanced at his cell phone before pushing it off of the counter into the trash can beside it. Aria didn't say a word, just stared back at the receptacle as he tugged her forward by the hand she forgot she was holding.

Aria blinked the memory away. She had a tendency to purposefully forget those kinds of memories. Especially ones involving Curtis Simon.. And ones that included Carter acting like he cared about her. When he left without saying goodbye, it had killed her. 

Completely vanquished every feeling she had had for him. Made her numb towards their friendship in a way. She pushed all of those memories to the side and pretended none of it ever happened. 

"What's going on Aria? Why do you look so sad? Your expression completely changed in a matter of seconds.." 

Carter's eyes were full of confusion. 

Aria unwound herself from the hug that they had been in and locked her fingers tightly together at her waist. She dropped her eyes to the floor and wondered what she should say.. If she should even bring any of that stuff up. 

"I was.. " 

She looked back at his face, which still held that puzzled look. 

"Thinking about your dad." 

She finished, once again averting her gaze. 

He instantly became blank, just.. empty. 

"What about him?"  He asked, toneless.

"Just a memory of him yelling at you." Aria stated, detailing nothing.

"Which time out of the thousands?" 

His humorless laugh cut through her. She knew she shouldn't have said anything. She could feel her eyes start to sting. Like she didn't cry enough. Carter fumed for a minute and then looked back at her. 

"I try not to think of him. I try not remember a single thing that happened in that house. Except for one."

He looked away, his eyes avoiding her curious gaze. 

"I sometimes wonder if you still remember."

"I will always remember."


Aria slipped out the back door, her ears registering Axil and Mila's shouts from the game room where they had been playing something on the Xbox. She was amazed she made it all the way out without anyone noticing.

She quickly ran down the street, Carter's house in sight in moments. He hadn't answered her texts or calls all day. The panic that she felt was indescribable. 

She approached the back of his house where the tree was that led to his window. She could hear shouting coming from inside and that made the anxious feeling triple. She ascended the tree as quickly as she could, carefully scooting along the branch to his window. Thankfully it was already mostly open. 

She opened it a little more and jumped inside, climbing on his bed. 

The crashes and bangs echoed through the room from the downstairs and Aria pulled her knees to her chest, scooting into a corner of his bed. She wished there was something she could do... She was only 14. What could she do?

Footsteps sounded right outside the door, and Aria worried for the split second before it opened that it would be Curtis. When Carter stepped through the door, Aria exited his bed and threw herself into his arms. 

He looked shocked and there were tears all over his face. He winced as her arms pressed into his chest, but he held her close. A few seconds passed and she quickly pulled away, looking at the damage quickly appearing around his eye. 

Carter pulled the back of his hand under his eyes, vanishing the traces of him crying and looked around his room, finally locking his eyes on the open window. He looked back at Aria in surprise.

"Aria. Did you climb in my window? It's like ten o'clock at night."

Aria nodded, barely forming words through her tears. 

"I was worried about you." 

She choked out, wanting to just hug him. Somehow make it better. In some way. 

Carter looked at her, his eyes so full of sadness it killed her. Someone so young should never know the kind of pain that he did. His world was upside down and so vacant of life that it was written all over everything he did. Aria wanted to save him. To take him away from all of this and make everything right in his existence. 

Fourteen years old. He was only fourteen and he had been through more than a lot of people twice his age.

"Aria.. You shouldn't be here. If he finds out-" 

Aria shook her head vigorously, tears spilling over her cheeks. 

"I'm not leaving. Not tonight."

 She took his hand and pointedly intertwined her fingers with his. 

"You are not going to be alone."

His eyes lit up and he looked at her in wonder. 

"You're such a strange girl Aria. Aren't you afraid of my dad?"

Aria glanced at the door, and back at Carter. 

"I'm more afraid of losing you."

He stared at her for a second, and then he  put a hand on her cheek, leaning forward and pressing his lips softly to hers. He held the kiss for three brief seconds and then pulled away.

"What was that for?" Aria asked, her cheeks pink from crying, and surprise. 

Carter looked at the floor, his green eyes glossy from the tears he had been trying to hold back so hard in front of her. 

"I don't know. It's something that I have wanted to do for a long time." 

He looked back up at her, a smile pulling at the corners of his lips. 

"I've never kissed  anyone before."

Aria's eyes widened and she nodded. 

"Neither have I."


No one knew about that kiss aside from the two of them. Aria had never mentioned it and she doubted that Carter had either. They never kissed again. Not even once. He was her first kiss and it was nothing more than friendship in their entire lives aside from that one moment.

"I think that was the day I decided I would never be good enough for you."

Aria was lost in her thoughts, her stomach knotting repeatedly,  when she heard him say that.

"Wait, what?"

He shook his head. 

"Doesn't matter. I'm going to go home. I'll talk to you later Aria... As long as you start answering your phone."

She couldn't really move. She couldn't formulate an answer appropriate to the situation because her brain was mush. What the fuck was that comment and why had he even said it.. .

Because deep down inside. That was exactly like she had always felt.


[With the storyline in this chapter, I went ahead with a donor pregnancy. ^_^]

Babies 66 and 67

Lilia and Raven Rapture.

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