I rinsed the remnants of bile from my mouth and fixed eyeliner. The whites of my eyes were still a little red but that couldn’t be helped.
I wanted to head out and forget my life--just sort of walk around listening to my music--but I knew it would bug the crap out of Aerin.
After making sure I looked like I had pulled it together I left the bathroom. Aerin was leaning against the wall by the door with his head leaning back, eyes closed, and hands in his hands in his pockets. I touched his shoulder lightly and felt him twitch under my fingertips. His head lolled to face me—eyes now open—and he tried a smile.
I choked on my attempt.
We didn’t talk as we left the building; there was no reason to. We sat idle in the car for a few seconds as it warmed up.
“Do you not want to do this? Like, go home or something?” Aerin asked.
I shook my head, the choppy layers feeling odd as they shifted. “No. Could we do something fun? I can’t deal with serious right now.
He turned around and started to pull out. “Sure. Do you have something in mind?”
“Well…there’s a winter carnival at the mall. They’re raising money to but presents for the kids at the youth center. It’s supposed to be pretty good.” I smiled at him weakly.
Aerin looked back at me, his blue eyes gleaming. “Sounds good.”
As we drove he reached over and grabbed my hand.
I shivered when we stepped out. It was, like, forty degrees. Nowhere near as cold as a couple days ago but bone chilling non-the-less.
The carnival was set up in a large part of the mall parking lot with some booths set up in the mall itself. Even though it was already dark out the place was packed. It twinkled with life and bright lights, but little machinery. It was too cold in the winter to risk it, so they focused more on displays, games, and merchandise.
I pulled my hood on and shoved my hands deep into my pockets before stiffly trotting over to where Aerin was.
He laughed. “You’re adorable.”
I scowled but it ebbed away into a smile. “Whatever.” I started toward the entrance. Aerin walked beside me, his strides shortened noticeably to match mine. I let out a huff of air and it became visible before me in a white wisp. Aerin laughed again.
“How ever did you know?”
He laughed again before sheepishly asking if I would mind him putting an arm around me.
“Or was that really weird to ask and I just totally blew this?” he tagged on.
I twisted my mouth in mock contemplation to tease him before I shrugged and grabbed his arm, wrapping it around my shoulders. He pulled me closer and his natural male excess of warmth pooled over to me. It made me walk a little odd at firs but my feet adjusted after the first few steps.
Aerin paid the entrance fee for both of us and got ten tickets.
“Where to first?” he took his arm off my shoulders and ventured to lace his fingers in mine.
The touch seems foreign. Not quite foreign, though, because I’d done this with Jayden. He’d hugged me. He’s held my hands. It was like a different breed of intimacy with Aerin. All it did, though, was fill my gut and heart with rocks.
Why was I doing this? I shouldn’t keep pulling Aerin into this. When I first ended it with Jayden I had a feeling that all was going to be fine. But, obviously, it wasn’t.
And Jayden wasn’t threatening my safety this time.
He was promising the compromise of Aerin’s.
|Teddy Geiger||as Aerin Lawson|
|Ed Westwick||as Jayden Droemer|
|Ellen Page||as January Caste|