Chapter 18

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Later that night, Ezra lay in bed, absentmindedly fiddling with the edge of the soft blanket. He stared at the dark ceiling, opening and closing his eyes, taking deep breaths. But whatever he did, he just could not seem to fall asleep.

All he could hear was Aria's haunting voice echoing repeatedly in his ears. "I couldn't ruin your life anymore. Not again."

How could she think that she would be ruining his life by telling him of her cancer? They were married, for the love of God. She knew that she could tell him anything, and yet the fact that she felt like she couldn't meant that he'd done something wrong. But what?

Ezra had been over this many times, mentally reviewing his behavior right before she'd left. Had he noticed anything wrong? Or had he been so observed in the publishing of his novel, that he'd failed to notice the fact that she'd been silently suffering?

How could he have been so selfish? Damnit. She was his wife, the love of his life, the person that he knew above everyone else. And he remembered how truly blindsided he'd been when she'd left.

His shock was a true testament to the fact that he'd been a failure. A failure to his family. And that was truly unforgivable.

He really had hoped that the picnic would give them the chance to finally make up, make things right, but after their talk, everything seemed to stay the way it was. Sure, they were no longer upset with one another, but their feelings, even though it was obvious they still loved each other like crazy, weren't addressed. Neither was the subject of them or what would happen to them. Were they friends? Were they just Olivia's parents? He wanted more than anything for her to come back to the house, and finally get the happily ever after he'd been waiting for, for more than four years.

But he hadn't even gotten the time to protest once Aria finished blaming herself for ruining his life. He didn't get the chance to convince and assure her that she wouldn't have ruined his life, and it was eating him up. He needed her to know that she was, no, she is the most important person, along with Olivia, in his life, and nothing, especially not his stupid novel, would be more important than her.

Ezra sighed, running his hand through his now sweaty hair. He'd already spent four years without her. He couldn't go any longer. He wanted her back in their lives, he needed her. He just hoped that as time went by, it would happen.

Aria took a sip of her warm tea, as she took a seat on her couch.

"So what happened?" Hanna asked.

"We finally talked." Aria told her. "I told him everything, when I was diagnosed, why I left. Everything."

"What'd he say?"

"He was very understanding, of course." Aria said. "But he felt so guilty."

She sighed.

"This is why I didn't want to tell him, I knew he would blame himself." She added. "He told me he could've found a way to prevent it, to make it go away."

"The guilt in his eyes broke my heart." She continued. "And when I told him that the reason I didn't tell him was because I couldn't ruin his life, his whole demeanor changed. I knew he would come up with a thousand reasons to prove me wrong, so I didn't give him the time. I just told him not to say anything, and no matter how hard he was trying to protest, I didn't let him."

Aria sighed.

"I just couldn't make him feel guilty or tell me I was wrong, if it's true. I ruined his life back in High School, telling him about my cancer, would've ruined all his hopes and dreams about his novel. I couldn't do that to him."

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