25.1 Scarlett's Art Of Waiting All Night

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I wait up all night for him. He doesn't come back. 

I give him a while before I start calling, listening to the beep before the call goes to voicemail. He doesn't answer, and after a few tries, his phone is out of reach. I don't know what to think, telling myself the primary reason can be dead battery. At least that's what I hope. 

Still fully dressed, I sit on the living room couch after putting the untouched food in the refrigerator. The quiet apartment shifts closer, suffocating me as the walls loom over me. Even though I am physically exhausted from a busy day's work, my mind remains alert. The evening's events replay over and over in my head, causing my head to ache and the stress to build up even further. 

Light begins to peek in through the cracks in the curtains as night shifts to day and the sun rises outside. It's almost time for me to go to work again, but my body refuses to comply with me when I try to get up. I should sleep, maybe take a bath and change so I feel refreshed. I should stop thinking about Aiden and wherever he might be.

I don't know whether to feel upset with him or simply disappointed that he decided to leave and be alone rather than try to figure out what we should do next. Despite everything that is happening, I've never let the flow of conversation between us break. I'm still trying, hoping we can come to a conclusive solution by working together. Aiden, however, doesn't seem to be interested. 

My ears strain to detect the slightest of sound, my heart awaiting the low click if the lock that will tell me that Aiden has come home. It doesn't come, not a single sound anywhere. Until ... 

The loud banging on the door sounds. 

As if struck by lightning, I jump off the couch and dive toward the door. I grab the door handle and stop. 

"Aiden?" I call through, waiting for his voice to respond to me. 

He hums in answer and I pull open the door to find Aiden standing on the threshold. What surprises me, though, is the unexpected state of his. 

The unsteadiness in his gait and the strong smell of alcohol coming off his clothes cause my eyes to widen as I scan him top to bottom. 

"Aiden?" I repeat, unable to believe my eyes. 

Aiden runs a hand through his messy hair. Standing before me, he refuses to meet my eyes, licking his lips as he pushes past me and into the apartment. My eyes follow his movements, my mind making quick connections. I can't help but wonder why he's knocking and if he lost his keys. Maybe that's why he wasn't answering my calls either. Perhaps he lost his phone or got in trouble. 

"Where have you been?" I ask, closing the door of our apartment and turning to see him walking towards the bedroom. 

Instead of answering, Aiden lets out a sound halfway between a scoff and groan. 

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