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

-- Chuck Palahniuk

Saturday, June 15, 2013

40-Part Two: Until The Day I Die

“It's shocking the things we call love.” 
― Deb CalettiThe Secret Life of Prince Charming

[Another NSFW warningggg. Again, not bad, but enough :P]
(As always, Carter, thank you. AGAIN. Always. You're so incredibly talented and writing with you blows me away.

With that, -woosh- We begin...)

The plane arrived in Bridgeport and Aria felt a mixture of feelings she couldn't really describe.. She missed Carter more than she could explain. She needed to get away though, clear her head. Every piece of her longed to return to Riverview and to him.. But she had things to figure out before that could happen.

Aperille met her at the airport, instructing Rich to place her bags in the trunk of their SUV. She was all smiles and excitement and it was almost overwhelming. As happy as Aria was to be there, she was also falling apart inside. 

"You ready for two weeks away from that boring little town you call home?"

Aperille asked with a wink.

Aria pulled a perfectly constructed smile onto her lips and nodded. 



Aria was seated on Aperille's chair, her legs crossed, leaning into her hand, mindlessly staring at the tv. 

She couldn't seem to get her head on straight, everything was so confusing and she couldn't make a decision to save her life. The thoughts of Kora spun so quickly into each and every other thing that she felt that she basically felt like an inconsistent chaos.

She heard a noise behind her and she turned quickly, startled from her thoughts. 

Aperille had a look on her face that said something was wrong. She smiled apologetically and approached Aria, taking a seat next to her.


Aria asked, her tone a little sharp. She didn't mean to be biting , but her emotions were all over the place, and it just came out that way.

"Well, Aria... There is this girl... She is posting all over yours and-" 

She looked away, seemingly trying to put the way she was going to tell her this into words.

"She keeps talking about vampires, and mind control and.. making jokes about it."

Aria's stomach dropped. The world sharply revolved and righted itself in a mindnumbing cycle. Her vision went shady and she almost lost it, the hours she spent with Corbin flashing through her mind. She bit the inside of her cheek, the coppery taste of blood hitting her tongue. 

She blinked, looking back up at Aperille from her fixation on the carpeting. 

Her voice was dry and it cracked upon sounding.­

"Who is she?"

Aperille bit her lip.

" Aria, I think this chick is moving in on your territory. I haven't seen so much shameless flirting since Amanda Bynes said she wanted Drake to murder her vagina on Twitter."

She sighed, a slightly amused look in her eyes.

Aria snorted. Aperille always knew how to lighten the mood. Regardless, she pulled out her phone, scrolling through all of the damage. 

Facebook drama. Post after post of bullshit.

This Marie girl just didn't quit...

She didn't even want to get involved. The entire thing was stupid and immature. The situation was completely beneath her.

She settled on a single sentence, something to stop the tidal wave from drowning everything in its reach.

Aria quickly posted her response, trying to stop it before it started. 

Only, everything slowly escalated from there.

Marie blew everything to pieces in under an hour, not only bringing up things she had no way of knowing, but being very open about the fact that she had been with Carter.. She didn't specify in what way.. But all Aria could do was assume.

 And Carter was nowhere to be found. 

Internet drama. Fun. 

But it wasn't like she could take care of any of this in person when he was three hours away, safely nestled into his house. Not paying any of this a bit of attention.

Despite how they had left things, Aria was very disquieted with the fact that he didn't stand up for her. Say something, anything. Especially with the fact that Corbin was brought up.

Where the fuck was he? Was she really that unimportant now that she was gone? Was that how things were going to be?

Did he really find someone else that quickly? Was it that easy to just replace her?

She burrowed herself into the back of the chair, holding in tears.

Always holding in tears..

 It was kind of like the world was slowly closing in. Her heart felt like it was suffocating in that stupid feeling. That same slow, bizarre drown. The fact that this girl knew all of these things about her.. The fact that she would actually put them out there for public knowledge and act like it was okay to drop to such callous levels astounded her.

The buzz of her phone on the seat next to her surprised her. Carter's name popping on the screen only furthered the confusion.

She couldn't help but feel like one of her friends forced him into this

It's not like he wanted to actually speak to her. After the other night, why would he?
She slid her thumb across the screen and the line clicked on.

"What do you want, Carter?" 

She asked with a sigh.

"Just wanted to see what's going on... Lilac texted me saying you were upset. But if you don't wanna talk to me, I get it."

Lilac.. I knew that was the only reason that you're on the other end of this phone call. 

"It's not that i don't want to talk to you.."

Her thoughts shattered, and she couldn't  exactly put her finger on the one that made this so much harder than it should be. He was her best friend, this phone call should have been like the hundreds of others they had had since they had known each other.

But things were different now...

They would probably always be different.

"So you like this Marie girl?"

She stood, making her way towards the bedroom where she had been staying.

He paused, which made Aria wonder exactly where his thoughts went.

"I guess. She was alright. Pretty good at Halo for a chick. But are you talking in middle school vernacular right now? Because I don't 'like like' her, A."

Another invoiced pause.

"Is this about the other night? Because it's not that I didn't want... that."

What isn't obvious is why he just let this girl say whatever she wanted. Let her tear apart the finely threaded walls Aria had so carefully began to build since everything with Corbin happened.

Aria really hoped she was assuming things.. That he didn't see any of  it. That he didn't purposely let her say those things and still act like she was a decent person. That he didn't sit idly by and say nothing when this girl was making rape a joke.

"I'm not 12.. And why would I care if you like her? I am obviously not good enough for you, remember. You pretty much proved that to me."

Her tone ascended into short, clipped speech.

"And I am pretty sure if you wanted to sleep with her, there is nothing I could do about it."

Aria wished she could see his face. Read his reactions.. Look into his eyes and see what was reflected there as she poured how she felt little by little into his ears.


Another aggravating pause.

"Aria, I don't want to sleep with anyone but you. And it's not a question as to whether or not you're good enough for me, A. Because, guess what? You're the only one who is good enough for me. What I can't figure out is why the fuck you can't see that? And why you can't let everyone else because, Aria, there is someone over here who would do anything to love you."

His tone rose a little as he finished.


The inflection in his voice as it rose and fell tried to convince her that he was being honest. That he would never do the things she had well past convinced herself that he would.. He was always the good guy. ALWAYS. 

There was no room for Aria in his collection of perfect things.
And she wanted to believe him. Everything she was made up of, every fiber of her pathetic little being wanted to believe that he meant every single word.
But she didn't. She didn't believe him. She couldn't let herself. 

You're just going to hurt me like everyone else has.

"Then why, why did you walk away? Why did you say no?"

He sighed.

 "You hesitated. And I don't want you to hesitate with me..."

He trailed off and Aria bit her lip, waiting for him to continue.

"I'm sure about you. Just kinda want you to be sure about me too... But you weren't, so. So I respect that."

She hadn't told him why she hesitated. She hadn't breathed one word of what happened with Willow at the spa.. He had no idea that she knew.

Among her many flaws, one has never occurred such as that. She had never sunk to a level that personally hurt him on a much deeper level than just sex. He took someone that had personally destroyed her and put her at a level he refused to let Aria go.

You can't begin to know how that feels. How I feel.

How much it hurt in ways it shouldn't. Because she shouldn't care.
But she did.. 

And I always fucking will.

"I was sure about you Carter.. From the moment you kissed me, I knew. "

She sat on the edge of Wynter's bed, her hand that wasn't containing the phone, pressed against her forehead.

"That was until I found out about Kora."

She let the phone slide from her hand and onto the bed, not bothering to press end. She wondered how long it took the line to disconnect.

"I have absolutely no faith in myself at this point." 

Aria's eyes were glossy, her voice compacted with emotion. Aperille gave her a sympathetic look, placing her hand on Aria's knee. 

"It was just a kiss. All things considered, I think the way you are handling things is admirable. You're in love with him, Aria... Everyone can see it."

Aria sharply inhaled, shaking her head, tears flowing softly into the mess of her hair. 

"No, no I don't Aperille."

Aperille sighed, squeezing her into a hug. 

"You can keep saying that, but I am not stupid. I can see it written all over your face. I mean, Aria, you're crying because you /kissed/ someone else. Do you really think you would care this much if he was just your friend, as you say?"

Aria drew in a shaky breath, her pulse tempering from her chest into her wrists with a bit more force than usual. She felt guilty. 

And the thing about guilt.. Is that it consumes.

It was just one kiss. Nothing more. She went into hanging out with her friend Joshua, planning on just that. Hanging out with a friend. 

Except, Aria was quite the escapist.. With a long time crush. So she kissed him. 

It wasn't a bad kiss. In fact, it was pretty much mindblowing.

But it wasn't Carter. It wasn't the same. He was the only person she truly wanted to connect with on any level of that capacity. 

A week passed. She didn't say a word to Carter. Nothing. Not a text, a message, another phone call. 

Joshua's words echoed through her head, as they had been, on repeat, for days.

"I never said it was easy, just that you need to try. If you're willing to give all this up for him, tell him that part is easy. But if you are trying to see it through and you want him to still be there, then tell him and that's the part that gets hard. You can't ask someone to make that choice with you, but if he's going to be there, then give him the option to be."

She wanted to be done. She was ready to give up, get through this wedding, and her birthday and just go back to Riverview, finish her challenge and move on. She just wanted to be happy. Carter used to be what she thought true happiness was.. Now she wasn't so sure.


Pretty simple, really. Meet, talk, separate. 

It should be an easy enough disconnect. 

It should be effortless to listen to what Carter had to say and then let all of this go. 

It should be.. Right?

Carter was on his way to see her.. Why, she wasn't so sure. All he had said was that he had unfinished business and it needed to be taken care of in person. 

Which could be taken in a lot of ways..

He was staying the night in a hotel and coming to see her the next day.

This was the last time she was letting her walls down.. If he hurt her this time, she was done.

For good...


“The mistakes I've made are dead to me. But I can't take back the things I never did.” 
― Jonathan Safran FoerExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Aria tucked her feet underneath her, pulling the duvet that Aperille had draped over the side of her couch over her legs. It was more of a nervous thing than being cold. Cause it wasn't cold. Not even a little.

But she was shaking.

She still wasn't sure what she expected. What it was that she saw him saying.
But she did expect to let him go. Let him go back to whatever makes him happy. Because she knew, for once, that it wasn't her.

Of that she was sure.

She was still in shock that he was even coming to Bridgeport.

 But that was Carter, always having to prove a point.

She heard a knock on the door and her heart instantly stuttered. Something She was slowly learning to control.

Trying to..

She pulled the door open and the minute her eyes fell on his, she almost lost her resolve.. 

But she knew better.

No matter what my heart tries to say, I have to let you go.


She stepped aside so he could cross the threshold.

Here we go again.

He held his hand out, as if Aria should shake it once he was inside the room. She stared at him, confused, for a second before he pulled her into a hug, an awkward laugh in his resonance.


He paused, looking around. The chloric past hanging in thick waves inside the room. 

"Are you doing any better, A?" 

It's awkward. It shouldn't be awkward.They never officially became lovers. They didn't break up.. They just fought. Like they always did.

It seemed different now, like THEY were different.

She crossed her arms over her chest as he pulled away.

"Depends on your definition of better, Carter."

She looked at his shoes, because it seemed too brazen to actually look into his eyes. Like she would see the disgust.. Or ill-favor there.

"Did you even miss me? Or wonder how I was doing.. I know that phone call sucked, and I'm sorry. But I needed you.."

She instantly regretted saying that..
There I go, letting you in again.


His face pulled downward, a scowl taking the place of his dead-set expression.

"If you need me, why did you let the call drop?"

His question hovered in the air.

"I mean, of course I missed you. I..."

The crease between his brow intensified as he stepped toward her, his hand holding her arm.

"I always miss you."

That stupid phone call had probably replayed in her head a hundred times.. She still wasn't even one hundred percent sure why she hadn't just talked to him the moment she found out.

The thought that she could just pretend it never happened, that she was just as oblivious as she had been before Willow told her.. It was too easy to do that instead.

She wondered how many times they had both chosen that option..

The easy way out.

Which prompted her to think.. Maybe that was what she was attempting to do again.

"I missed you too. I-"

His grip surprised and silenced her simultaneously.

I want you to miss me. I want you to want to be around me. Part of me even wants you to love me.. But I just can't let you.

And she couldn't believe him because every time she did, they fell apart again.
It took her a second to regain her voice.

"I just.. I wish you would stop saying those things. Every single time that you do it hurts more when you turn your back on me."

"Aria," He whispered.

"Aria, I am sorry. I regret making you feel alone. I just want to make you okay. I want you to be..."

A very hesitant pause.

"I want you," He restated, 

"And you hung up, but if you had listened to the rest of my phone call you would know that I want you because I love you..."

He looked into her eyes.

"I love you Aria, and I need to know if you love me too."

Everything she contained listened to his speech and wanted to complain. She wanted to deny that he missed her. She want to tell him that she didn't believe him. That she didn't think he wanted her. That he didn't feel anything at all in the heart for some reason she had convinced herself he didn't have.

She told herself she would push him away. That she would let him go.

You love me..

It took her about three seconds to process it. To run the words through her mind and click them into place like the pieces of a puzzle.

She had been waiting what felt like a millenium to hear him say that.
It pulled her heart to pieces and as much as it hurt, She .. 

I believe you.

"Carter.. I.."

She couldn't think clear enough to respond. Not in a verbal way, so she tried to let her actions speak in a way that her voice could not.

She grabbed his shirt, next to the beat of his heart and pulled him as close as she could, crushing her lips against his.

...Did she love him too?

More than she could ever say. More and more and more each and every second.

She loved him so much she couldn't formulate the goddamn words.

It was okay, he was kissing her back. He knew she loved him. He had to by now. She didn't need to say it because he knew. She just needed to show him..

Show him in a way that didn't require speech. Just breathing and kissing and touching. And heat. So much heat it would burn them both alive..

Something told her this time, he wasn't going to stop her.

The buttons on his shirt released their hold one by one.She thought she broke one, maybe two. But being careful didn't really seem like that's how this should happen. Being careful led to thinking and if she let him think too much he might change his mind.

And I'm not letting that happen. Not again.
As his shirt fell to the floor, it occurred to her that they were still in the middle of the entryway in Aperille's house.

She pulled away a little, her breath uneven and heavy.

"We should.. Bed. Yes?"

He nodded and she pulled him to Wynter's room, where she had been staying the entirety of her time in Bridgeport. He used his shoe to push the door closed, turning back to her, his hands back on her hips, his lips connecting with hers.

Her pulse skyrocketed. It was insane what a simple pair of lips could do. She couldn't remember feeling this way when anyone else had touched her. It was almost like no one ever had. In this moment she wished no one ever had.

No one except him. Over and over again.

The smooth scratch of the denim on her legs and his hands as they rose from her hips back to her shoulders made her mind spin.

She turned around, feeling his fingers dance along her spine, the fabric leaving her skin. His lips pressed to her neck.. 

She wanted him more than she had ever wanted anyone in her life.

She had been waiting for this moment for far longer than she would ever care to admit.

She turned back to his face, catching his bottom lip with her teeth and biting down, just a little, just to test his reaction.

Her hands dropped lower, finding the button of his jeans and pulling it apart, the zipper descending afterwards. 

Maybe I should slow down. Take my time. But what if I do and you slip away?

He stepped toward her until the back of her legs hit the bed frame, and then he leaned into her. 

He slipped his fingers into the lace at her hips, sliding it downward. 

Her eyes were blurry with desire, her throat thick with so many words she wished she could say. It was like it always was with him, he had her so caught up in just the touch of his hand that her body only knew how to react, not her mind.

The words got lost in the flurry of movement and skin next to skin.

She tugged the remainder of what he was wearing onto the floor, putting her hands on his shoulders and pulling him against her. His lips connected with hers and her thoughts diffused. The only thing she saw was him. The only thing she could hear was the beat of his heart she had waited so long to call her own. 

She had never been more in love with him in her life than she was in that moment.

She took a step to the side, settling herself onto the sheets and pulling him with her.
The instant they connected completely, her body exploded with electricity. 

There wasn't a name for how she felt. It was a mixture of a thousand things at once.

Every moment. Every kiss. Every single touch and look and frenzied thought that led up to this sort of infinite finality made every moment of pain more than worth it.

21 years..

The fire from the connection burned straight through her and she felt it threaten to erupt.

Her being was so full of him that she was too far beyond rationalization.

There would never be a feeling that compared.

There never had been.

The moments passed with them wrapped up in each other. Lost. Nothing existed aside from the two of them and every second crawled by in lascivious stretches.

They were complete. This was happiness. 

When they were finished, he pulled away from her, just a little, the simple disconnect was almost like losing a piece of herself. Both of their bodies tired and quivering. She wanted nothing more than to kiss him until she couldn't breathe.

She pressed one last kiss to the side of his lips and pushed a strand of hair out of her eyes.

It was more than she expected it to be. The feeling that took over everything she was. The way that what had just happened had multiplied that feeling, the one she could never choke out and manipulated it until it was undeniable.

That she loved him.

I would give anything to put the entire thing on repeat and relive it every day until the moment I quit breathing.

She took a deep breath and sat up, his body still irrevocably close to hers, a small smile pulling the corners of her lips upwards.


She began, placing her hand on top of his.

She had no idea what to say. The only thing playing through her thoughts was 'what happens next'.

"Aria," He said, leaving the ghost of a kiss on her lips, "I love you."

In the haste of everything that had just happened, she almost completely forgot that he had said that. Her mouth instantly went dry and she had no idea what to say. She wanted to tell him she loved him too, but the words were adrift in her chest as the emotions ate away at the carefully constructed wall she had built between him and the way that she felt about him.

The syllables were on the tip of her tongue.
She searched her mind, making sure.

It's time to let you in. I need to tell you, right now, before it's too late.

She reached up and ran the back of one finger from his cheek to his lips, choosing what she said next from the mess of thoughts clouding her head.

"Carter, I'm sorry. For everything."

Her breath caught and It took her a second to continue. Just a second's pause.
She wanted to cry. She just couldn't seem to say what came next.

Her declaration got lost all over again.


He said, confusion in his speech, pulling away from her body. 

"This was a mistake," 

 He got up, quickly pulling his clothes on from their location on the floor.

He moved away so quickly, she barely had time to blink. She could feel the smallest dregs of disorientation making their way into her system.

It took her a moment to register his words.

Mistake... what?

What the fuck even just happened? The confusion blinded her like a tidal wave. She had no idea what she even said that had him reacting like this.. So quickly, like he hadn't just said he loved her not even five minutes before.

The 'I love you' on her lips disappeared in the wash of chagrin that was now drowning her.

"What are you talking about Carter? What did I do?"

She pulled the sheets from the foot of the bed around her, her heart heavy.
This wasn't what was supposed to happen...

"You can't do this, Aria. Stop playing dumb."

His voice was loud, harsh.


"Stop using p-"

He cut himself off with a sigh. 

The vexation written in his eyes, all over his face as he looked at her, a small growl coming from his throat as he exited the room, slamming the door behind him.

His words were crushing. She legitimately didn't understand. She sincerely had no idea what she had done. 

And he thought she was playing stupid.

Not that she wasn't guilty of it. Not that she hadn't done it innumerable amounts of times. Especially with him. But not right then.

Not right then...

He didn't even bother finishing his sentence. The door slammed behind him and she was speechless, awash in so many emotions that she couldn't open her fucking mouth. Just like always.

For some reason, she felt like she let him down. Like she wasn't good enough somehow. Like whatever just happened was more of a failure than she had thought it would be..
And she was a mistake. He said it.

Just like she had been worried he would feel..

She slid off of the bed and pulled her clothes on as quickly as she could.

She could feel the tears. Taste the coppery bitterness of panic on her tongue.

She pulled the door open, following him, which was different.. he.. it was usually him following her.

"Carter, where are you going?!"

Her voice cracked. She could feel her walls breaking. Her self control and impassive facade fading away..

She approached him, but he wouldn't look at her, his eyes on his own reflection in the window of his Hummer.

"This was over before it started, Aria." 

He hissed, climbing inside. He slammed th
e door, his eyes everywhere but on her.

"I'm done."

The car fought ignition for a moment before coming to life beneath him. 

He recklessly backed out of the driveway, his tires hitting the pavement and screaming away before she could even comprehend what had just happened. 


The word echoed In Aria's head. Sinking into her stomach and pushing its way out of her eyes.

Done.. He was done? 
With her? 

After all of this time, it was over. 


After this?

What had she just done?

You remind me of the times
When I knew who I was (I was)
But still the second hand will catch us
Like it always does

We'll make the same mistakes
I'll take the fall for you
I hope you need this now
Cause I know I still do

Until the day I die (Until the day I die)
I'll spill my heart for you

“The past doesn't exist. There is nothing to be sorry for. Today is when we start to live."

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