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"Once you get older you start to understand
why people drink the night away,
smoke their lungs black,
and throw themselves off buildings."

------

Where the hell is he? I try his phone again but it goes straight to voice mail. I groan in frustration and lean against my car.

I'm currently behind the school near the lake and I told Aaron to meet me here but he's nowhere to be found. I've been waiting for like twenty minutes. As I'm about to call him again I hear a car pull up.

"Finally!" I exclaim as he steps out of his Range Rover and rolls his eyes at me. "Quit being dramatic." He mutters.

I couldn't help but notice how he looks a little tense. I think nothing of it and just shrug it off.

I laugh lightly when his curls bounce on his head as he jogs over to me.

He looks amazing. His eyes have a spark in them that..wasn't there before. And since it's a bit chilly out he's dressed in sweats and a Gucci sweatshirt. Did I mention he looks amazing?

"What took you so long?" I ask and sit on the hood of my car. "I forgot my phone at my apartment so I had to get it. Now tell me what happened back there." He demands. I sigh loudly and just as I'm about to tell him about the blackmailing, I hesitate. Should I tell him?

What if he doesn't care?

He probably sensed my hesitation because his face hardens. "You can trust me Aurora. Is Brenda giving you a hard time?" I scoff loudly.

"She is, but this time I can't do anything about it." I mumble defeatedly and pick at a string on my sweater. "Huh?" His face morphs into one of confusion.

"She has footage of my dad cheating on my mom. And she's blackmailing me. She told me to stay away from you or else she's going to show the media." I mutter annoyed and look up to see him with his eyebrows raised.

"Are you going to?" He asks.

"Am I going to what?"

"Stay away from me." He stuffs his hands in his pocket. I pause for a second and look up at the sky.

Every problem has a solution. I shake my head.

"Good, cause we are going to blackmail her." He smirks slightly. Immediately my mood lifts. This is genius. If we have something hard core enough then we can hold it against her.

"With what?" I lean forwards in interest when he pulls out his phone and starts typing something. I lean in a little when he goes to his recent calls, and the most recent one was ten minutes ago. The caller was his father.

Is that why he was late coming to the lake? He was on the phone with his father. That couldn't have been well, I know Aaron doesn't have the best relationship with his dad.

"Okay so, someone's been having a little rendezvous with Mr. Markus ." He cringes as he reads something off his phone.

"Gross." I gag at the thought of Brenda and Mr.Markus. Alright, I admit Mr.Markus is cute but he's like 35.

"James is handling it."

"Thank you Aaron." I whisper a little too sincerely. His head shoots up and an unknown emotion waves though his eyes. He has a look on his face as if he's just realized something. "Anytime." He mutters and looks as if he's deep in thought.

He looks away from me with a guarded look and I can feel him building up his walls again

"Fuck. Feelings are for the weak." He whispers to himself so quietly I thought I had imagined it. "Feelings do not mean you're weak Aaron." I argue and slightly touch his shoulder.

"Yes it does." He fires back without looking at me. "Shit. I'm just extra baggage Aurora." He mutters tiredly and runs his hand over his face.

"No you're not! Having feelings, or a heart just means you're human. It means you're alive." I throw my hands up in exasperation.

"Well being dead never sounded too bad to me!" He snaps and turns his head to look at me. His eyes changed from being so happy to holding so much intensity and sadness that my heart melts away.

"Look, there's stuff you don't know. And I'd rather keep it that way." He mutters and looks away.

I stare at him blankly for a few seconds to see if he's joking but when he doesn't laugh like he usually does, my heart drops to my toes.

Being dead doesn't sound too bad to him.

"Aaron quit playing." I laugh nervously and slap his shoulder in a playful manner when I'm really on the verge of tears. He doesn't say anything, but continues to stare forward.

"Wait what happened? One minute your fine now your pushing me away!" I shut my eyes and shake my head, I try to remain calm but it's getting hard.

"Like I said, I'm just extra baggage. You can do much better." He mumbles distractedly with a stone cold face.

Who made him like this? Cause they need a good beating.

I'm left speechless. My mouth keeps opening and closing like a fish out of water. "Why would you say that?" I ask softly. "God, Aaron this is bullshit. Did something happen earlier? I saw your father called ten minutes ago."

His eyes snap towards me, immediately they ice over. "Don't start Aurora." He warns. "That is none of your business."

"You can trust me Aaron!" I mock his words from earlier. "Your literally so bipolar, one minute your happy and then your," I make a weird face to show my anger. "Talk to me-,"

"Do you know what it's like to watch your little brother get abused and not be able to do anything about it?" He interrupts in a eerily calm voice that had me terrified. He was looking at me with emotionless, dark eyes.

I pause for a second to make sure I heard right. Abused? Ray? No way. But when his face doesn't change, my face pales drastically. The little boy me and Aaron went to pick up from daycare?

He's got to be joking.

The thought of anyone hurting that little boy is enough to make me faint. What does he mean he can't do anything about it? I can't think straight, this is too much for me.

"What-t? Who-o?" I ask shakily with wide eyes.

"My father." He spits with venom, clenching his fist until his knuckles turned white.

Thanks for reading x

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