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

-- Chuck Palahniuk

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

38- Sooner or Later

Anna and Logan, Ya *__*

Angie, Resin and Draco, teens

[My game glitched out and I was unable to get pictures of Darian's triplets as toddlers, =/ So enjoy them as children >.< ]

April, Rhiannon and Wilson

"Just stop fucking talking. It's bad enough that I am responsible for taking you all the way to Sunset Valley, I don't have to pretend to want to talk to you."

Carter's voice echoed through the car in a clipped tone and Aria scowled, leaning against the back of the seat and crossing her arms over her chest.

They were on their way to Brandon's funeral, Aria riding with Carter because, even though he apparently couldn't stand being around her, it was 'safer' that way. It was a 6 hour car trip. BOTH ways.

Aria began to say something else, but Carter purposefully reached over and turned the radio up until her voice was drowned out by some Puddle of Mudd song. 

Aria rolled her eyes, staring out the window at the trees as they passed by. Sunset Valley was getting closer and closer and she just wanted out of this car and as far as possible away from Carter. The distaste in how he felt towards her apparent in every move he made and word that left his mouth.

It was kind of funny how just a few weeks before, she had thought maybe he had feelings for her. That was obviously NOT the case. 

The entrance to the town flew by the window and Aria breathed a sigh of semi-relief. She would be with Ariel in no time. Aside from the fact that this entire occasion wasn't anything near happiness. She found herself wishing for a drink..

Carter pulled up to Ariel's house and Aria opened the door and jumped to the ground before he came to a complete stop. She heard him utter a few curse words behind her and smiled to herself. 


Ariel was covered in mascara and Aria quickly rushed to her side, pulling her into a hug. 

"Thank you two for coming." 

Ariel managed through her tears. Aria smiled weakly and Carter nodded a little, shoving his hands in his pockets. 

"I'm sorry for your loss, Ariel."

He mumbled. He had never been good when it came to these sorts of things. His words folded in on themselves and he kind of just, froze up. Aria used to find it endearing. Now she just found it foolish and annoying.

Aria looked at the screen of her phone and sighed. They needed to head to the funeral home, the service was due to start in half an hour. 

Back in the car with Carter. Yay.

She sighed, tugging on a strand of her hair and biting her lip as she watched Ariel cross the lawn and get into Carter's Hummer. She made to follow her when she heard a voice over her shoulder.

"Hey, you can ride with me if you want to. It doesn't look like you want to be around that guy very much at the moment."

Aria tilted her head at the guy who had spoken. He looked a little familiar. 

The pieces slid into place and she brightened. This had to be Quill, her brother.

"Anything to get some time away from my self-righteous cohort."


Aria leaned against the wall, staring at the floor. She wished she could do something, anything, to make things even a little easier for Ariel. She didn't know how she could manage that. Ariel's pain was enveloping her and it was like a wall of concrete. 

This was completely understandable, but it left Aria feeling ineffectual. 

She hadn't known Brandon well, but Ariel was one of her best friends. Her agony was cutting into Aria like a butcher knife. She watched various people pull Ariel this way and that; Full of apologies and sympathies, full of regret and... bullshit. Most of these people offering their condolences hadn't spoken to Ariel in quite a while.

Aria sighed, irritated,  returning her gaze to the floor. 

She caught herself wondering if Ariel would much rather just be alone.

"Shouldn't you be with your friend, not over here sulking in a corner?"

Aria grimaced, turning around to face Carter.

"I would be, but she seems pretty busy, don't you think?"

She hissed, balling her hands into fists.

He smirked, leaning against the wall next to her.

She inhaled, trying to calm the nerves that suddenly clawed at her. She could smell his cologne faintly and it made her slightly dizzy. She realized after a moment that she had been staring at him.

She looked away quickly, back towards where Ariel had been a few moments before, but now she was gone. She groaned. Part of her wondered why she was even in Sunset Valley for this, Ariel had barely paid her any mind. 

Being moral support was kind of hard when your existence wasn't acknowledged.

"Looks like you're going to have another challenge father soon, you've got him staring at you now too."

The bitterness in Carter's voice annoyed Aria as she followed his gaze to Quill, who was standing across the room. He looked away when Aria noticed him, but not before she saw that Carter was right.

She rolled her eyes, crossing her arms over her chest.

"I am not going to have sex with Ariel's brother at Brandon's funeral." 

She grumbled.

"Why? Nothing else stops you. Not even wedding rings."

Aria narrowed her eyes at him. What he said, as true as it was, it hurt. It was like he would always hold every single stupid choice she made over her head for the rest of her life. 

"Why would you say something like that? Don't you believe that I regret it? Don't you know that I feel stupid?! That I feel like a whore, just like you said I was?"

He shrugged, his expression full of incredulity. 

"I think that what I said that night still holds true. You're always going to be a slut, Aria. It's in your nature."

Aria's mouth dropped open and she reacted without thinking, grabbing the soda someone had set down on the table next to her. She tipped the can upside down and it poured all over the vest of his shirt. 

Crumpling the can, she threw it at his feet.

His eyes went to the can on the ground and then up at her, a bewildered look on his face.

"You're an egotistical fool. You can think you have never done anything wrong in your life Carter, but you have. I'm not perfect, nor will I ever be, But I would never hurt you the way you insist on hurting me. You're no better than I am."

Her voice broke on the last statement and she turned around, not looking at him. She bypassed a few people, finally making her way out the door into the chilled night air.

She took the steps down from the porch, not really sure where the hell she was going to go, but there had to be somewhere. She was annoyed at the sound of her high heels as they clicked against the ground, bitterly wishing she had worn flats.

"Hey, you okay?" 

The voice startled her, and she jumped a little. She turned to face it, realizing that it was Quill. He held up a fifth of a translucent liquid which instantly made her pulse quicken. She had been wanting to drink all night. 

By the look of Quill, he already had a couple of shots in him.

She walked over to him, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. 

"Not really." 

She answered without thinking.

He raised an eyebrow, taking a drink straight from the bottle, which Aria quickly realized was vodka.

"Well, what happened?"

Aria reached a hand out and he handed the bottle to her. She took two quick successive drinks before responding, her eyes blurry and her throat burning.

Aria launched into a minimized version of the fight she just had. Omitting the sleeping with a married man part. She was trying to move on, and part of that meant she didn't want to talk about it.

"Aren't you sick of fighting with this guy? I mean, it kind of seems like after awhile, you would give up and tell him to fuck off."

Aria was surprised. She never even thought about reacting to Carter that way. He had been around for as long as she could remember. Telling him to leave her alone seemed.. unnatural.

"I don't think I could stay away from him." She mumbled absentmindedly.

Quill stared at her for a moment, and then his face lit up.

"Do you wanna go somewhere? Maybe drink some more, get away from your friend? We can just talk."

Aria looked back up at Ariel's house. She thought through the possible consequences, weighing the pros and cons. It wasn't as if Ariel had been acting like she needed her much anyway..  She had barely seen her for more than 5 minutes since she had arrived. 

Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

Then Carter's face entered her mind and she became resolute.

She met eyes with Quill and sent him a small smile.

"Sure, let's go."

"I am such an idiot." 

Aria mumbled, pulling her shoes back on. Quill looked at her curiously. He buttoned the last button on his shirt and pushed his hair out of his eyes. He got out of the bed of the truck and held a hand out to help Aria down after him.

"Well, that wasn't the reaction I was expecting."

Aria laughed weakly, her stomach clenching in a way that was becoming commonplace. She was wracked with guilt and she could practically hear her best friend's reaction now. She just proved him right. As she had been continuing to do. As she would likely KEEP doing. 

Because, as she had just uttered aloud, she was an idiot.

"It's not your fault. I just. Can you take me back? I feel terrible for leaving, and Ariel-"

He cut her off with a chuckle. 

"Ariel will be fine. She has more than enough people there to occupy her time."

Aria wanted to agree. She really did. Except there was this uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach that told her Quill was wrong. She could feel the anxiety nipping at her heels stronger with every second they were gone.

She blinked back the tears that were threatening to appear, looking away down the road they had pulled onto to drink and.. 'talk'. Ha. The full moon hung high and bright in the sky. The chill in the air was slight but it sent chills down her spine as it mixed with the guilty feeling that was increasing in intensity.

His eyes widened when she looked back at him, the feeling eating at her inside written all over her face. 

"Whoa, whoa. Okay. I.. I'm sorry Aria. We can go back. I.."

He opened the door of the truck, holding it while Aria got inside. 

"I'm sorry."

When Aria entered Ariel's house she was surprised to see that hardly anyone was still there. 

Aperille, Danielle and Carter were gathered speaking in a corner, and aside from that, the only person Aria could see was Ariel.

Who, upon noticing Aria's entrance, flipped. 

"Where the hell WERE the two of you?!"

She screeched, her voice ripe with the agony she had been washed in. Aria could feel the dread and contrition slamming into her. She fought to answer, but instead of allowing her to, Ariel threw her hands up in the air, tears pouring over her cheeks.

"Did it occur to either ONE of you that I may have needed you? My boyfriend just died and my brother and BEST friend are nowhere to be found. What the hell were you guys even doing?"

Quill and Aria exchanged a look and said nothing. That gave Ariel the answer she needed.

"You have got to be kidding me. No way. At Brandon's FUNERAL Aria?!"

Aria felt so incredibly small. So completely reviled. She deserved every word, she knew she did. However, instead of facing what she had done, she turned for the door and exited, leaving Ariel drowning in tears behind her.


Carter's voice echoed out behind her, but she kept walking, putting as much distance as fast as she could between herself and Ariel's house.

"I said, " She felt his hand wrap around the top of her arm. "Hey."

He spun her to face him and she stared at the ground, unable to find the conviction to actually look him in the eyes either.

"So, instead of sticking to what you made a big production of trying to prove to me, you sink this low? Aria, I didn't actually think you would do it."

He was condescending and arrogant. 

But he was right.

Which only served to piss Aria off.

"You don't know me anymore, Carter. I am pretty sure you have said that yourself on multiple occasions."

The anger hissed out of her teeth and he scowled, letting her go.

"You have to grow up someday, Aria. You can't feign this ignorant whore act forever."

She put both hands on his chest and shoved him backwards, surprising him enough that he stumbled.

"You're such an ASSHOLE, Carter."

He shook his head, laughing bitterly. 

"No, I'm not. I just want you to fucking see that these things that you're doing are hurting EVERYONE around you. You're pushing everyone away so you can sleep with whoever you want and have all of these goddamn babies that you barely pay attention to."

He took a step closer.

"You're weak, you're selfish and you can't keep acting like you don't notice what you're doing to everyone else. In the end, You're going to be left with no one, and it's your own fucking fault."

Aria could feel a tiny light in her chest extinguish at his words. She crumbled inward, emotionless on the exterior.

"The only thing you care about is yourself. YOU have been selfish from the beginning. The things you say to me, the way you act. You find hurting me amusing and I just. Don't. Get it."

She was trying very hard not to cry, her cheeks burning. She was trying so hard to retain that detached appearance.

"No Aria! You know nothing!! You think you have me pinned and you know what the fuck you're talking about, but you don't." Carter took a step closer to her, and her face paled at the cold look in his eyes.

"Aria, I don't even know why I am friends with you anymore. I keep fighting for you and I don't even know WHY. Because look at how far that has gotten me! Look at who you've become."

His statement echoed through the empty night air.

She intended to respond, but nothing happened. 

He was pulling her thoughts out of her head. He was saying the exact feelings that she had been contemplating for months. He was just putting them in the open, where Aria had been too afraid to have them seen.

He shook his head at her inept attempt at speech and pulled the keys out of his pocket and unlocked the car door, slamming it in her face once he was inside.

He left her standing there, tears finally falling down her cheeks as she broke, and he drove away.

She heard a few footsteps behind her and turned around, expecting to see Quill, but instead, Danielle. She looked at Aria sympathetically, her eyes full of sadness. She put a hand on her hip, leaning her weight into the stance.

"Wasn't he your ride to Riverview?" She asked gently.

Aria nodded, sniffling and dragging the back of her hand under her eyes, smearing her mascara.

Danielle walked over to her, placing a hand on her shoulder. The lights from inside Ariel's house, where Aria had just lost one of her best friends because of another stupid choice, reflected in Danielle's eyes.

"Come on, Aria. Let's get you home."

The hardwood floor was cool beneath Aria's back as she stared at the ceiling. She hadn't slept in days. Part from having brand new triplet babies, Babies 83, 84 and 85, Dante, Kristina and Madeline; and also partly from the guilt that was eating her inside. 

Ariel hadn't spoken to her since she had slept with her brother. Not to mention she was probably very angry that three babies for her challenge came out of the situation. 

She wasn't even going to bother answering the phone that she had thrown somewhere in the living room the night she had returned from the hospital. She had hoped it would eventually die, but apparently the battery lasted longer than any battery in existence. 

The vibration became incessant and unavoidable, so she pushed herself to her feet and searched in the mess of pillows that covered her couch.

A number she didn't recognize had called 59 times. 


She clicked the talk button and sighed, bringing the phone to her ear.

"Aria, I have been trying to call you for three days. Ariel is in the hospital. She tried to kill herself."

Resin, Angie and Draco, YA

"Sooner or Later, you're gonna hate it
Go ahead and throw your life away
Driving me under, leaving me out there
Go ahead and throw your life away"

You can find Ariel's POV 

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