14.0 Aiden's Art Of Causing Too Much Damage

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Talking to Scarlett is easier than breathing.

She doesn't judge me for my unconventional thoughts and has a subtle way of normalizing even the craziest of things I say. Not only does she makes me feel normal, but she also makes me feel accepted and loved.

Something I haven't felt in a long time.

"I'm at the apartment," I tell her, standing in front of the polished wooden door.

"Are you saying we need to hang up now?" she asks, stifling a yawn.

She's tired, of course, she is, having been on the phone with me for almost the entire five-hour drive from Boston to NYC. The only time she hung up on me was when her mother was calling her. Even then, she returned moments later and told me she was here to stay. Regardless of how many times I insisted on her to take her time, she was clear that she wanted to stay on the phone with me until she was sure I'm safe.

I can't tell her how much I love it.

Chuckling a little and flexing my stiff shoulders, I close my eyes and bow my head.

"I'm afraid so," I say to her. "Pretty sure you need to attend to your life now."

Scarlett hums. "I like this better," she says. "But okay. Text me before you sleep?"

"I will," I promise her, smiling wide. "Maybe we can Skype? I don't think I'll be able to get you off my mind after everything."

Scarlett laughs. "Not much to do except try and sleep then, huh?" she teases. "Don't push your luck."

"Yes, ma'am. Love you."

"Text me."

"I will."

I hang up and bury my phone in my pocket, hoisting my small bag higher over my shoulder before ringing the buzzer-bell. I've asked Sid to give me a duplicate key before, hoping I won't have to bother him every time I need to enter the house. I'd assumed he would see my point after what happened last month. He'd gone out without telling me and I'd sat in my car for three hours before he returned to find me dozing off in my seat. For some reason, he still hasn't given me a key.

Raising my hand a second time, I'm about to ring the bell again when the door swings open. Instead of Sid, though, the person standing before me is the familiar and lingerie-clad Ariel and her curves in all their Victoria Secret glory.

I blink and quickly lower my gaze as she attempts to cover herself up when she sees me.

"Sorry, I thought Sid ..."

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