This chapter was edited on 2/1/2016 and includes minor alterations. Enjoy!

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Today had been one of the few days where I could watch Lizzie without her trying to get me to play a game with her, or constantly bothering me every ten minutes. Which, of course, gave me an uncomfortable amount of time to think as I waited for Mom or Dad to come home, and then go back to my apartment. Time to think about Chris and Eliot, and seeing them together in person compared to what I knew Eliot had a tendency to do. What did people in that situation even do? How did you get out of it? I didn't know much about it, and I wasn't sure how to help. If help was even wanted. Chris could be stubborn.

The first parent home was Mom, who checked on Lizzie in the living room before she'd gone into the kitchen to start washing dishes. She patted my shoulder on her way passed me, and I waited a couple minutes before I moved to follow her.

"Hey mom?" I said quietly.

"Yes?"

"What do you do if a friend who isn't in a good relationship?"

Mom paused, turning to me with a frown. "Well, what kind of relationship are we talking about?"

"Just in general. Abusive, hypothetically speaking." I mumbled back. She hummed quietly to that, sighing as she started filling the sink with water and dishes.

"I'm not really sure. I've never had friends with bad relationships. But if I did, then I guess I'd try to tell them to get help."

I crossed my arms over my chest. "Can't they just like, break up with the person?"

"It's not always that easy hun," she said, then turned to me, leaning on the counter. "Sometimes the other person doesn't understand that you really don't want to be with them. In some cases, people have died because the person they were seeing couldn't handle that they didn't want to be together anymore."

I raised an eyebrow at that. Died? Well isn't that lovely.

"So, the other person dies?"

"Not always. But it can happen, yes."

I sighed, looking down to my feet. "Alright. Thanks for the help. I think."

She chuckled quietly. "I try. The best thing that you can do is just show the person that you're there for them."

Well, I could do that. Sort of. Really the ideal solution would be getting Chris away from Eliot, but that probably wouldn't happen easily. So, the next best thing was moral support I guess.

"Okay. I've gotta get going now. Linsey's coming by later to pick up the rest of her stuff."

"Thank God." Mom mumbled. I snorted, smiling a little as I headed for the door.

"Goodbye mother."

***

"All I'm saying is that you should get back on your feet instead of going out to bars every night!"

"Hey! It's not every night!"

Linsey put her hands on her hips as she raised an eyebrow, obviously not believing me. I really couldn't be mad at her for that, because, more often than not I was at a bar. It just wasn't every single night. Only most of them. Every time she came over to get the rest of her things though, there was a similar argument about how I needed to move on and stop "wallowing", as she put it.

"I'm not at a bar right now, am I?"

"Only because you're helping me. You need to move on, Arden."

I dropped the box I was carrying to her car, turning to her. "Well I'm sorry Linsey, it takes a little bit of time to get over your girlfriend fucking another guy on your own bed."

"You're still on that? It was over a month ago!"

"Oh wow, thirty fucking days."

Linsey groaned loudly, picking up the box I put down and heading to her car again. "I don't see what the big deal is. People cheat all the time," she said, making me snort.

"That doesn't make it okay."

"Still," she mumbled, putting the box in the now-full trunk, slamming the lid shut and turning to me. "Arden, you know I love you. It's just, not really the same type of love anymore. You're more like a brother to me. Not really someone I want to have sex with."

"A relationship is more than sex, Jesus, is that all you care about anymore? You know, I don't remember when you turned into such a bitch."

She glared back, putting her hands on her hips again. "Sex is not all I care about. But if I'm dating someone, I'd like to be able to sleep with them without feeling like I'm sleeping with someone who's practically family."

"So what, we're too close? That's why you cheated?"

"It's difficult to explain," she sighed, leaning back against the trunk. I shook my head, putting my hands in my pockets.

"So what was it then? You just, stopped loving me?"

Linsey frowned, thinking over her answer for a second. "Not exactly. It's just that. Things were too unstable, you know? When we first got together, then it was all sex, and sneaking out in the middle of the night to go skinny dipping, and trying to make sure my mom didn't find out. We were young, and it was fun. But then we got older, and you didn't, you didn't change at all in college. You were still impulsive, and you still don't have a job, and I just. I want to settle down. I want to start planning out my life—I want a family, Arden. Just, not with you."

I stared back as she paused for a second, looking anywhere but at me before going over and getting into the car. I watched as she drove off, until she disappeared from sight, and then made my way back up to the apartment, replaying the conversation in my head. I wasn't impulsive. Okay, yes I was, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. And finding a job is hard, the economy sucks, of course it's gonna take me a little bit.

Putting the whole thing from my mind, at least temporarily, I grabbed my keys and locked the door behind me, heading out. If I was gonna sit there wallowing, I might as well do it drunk.

***

"I just. I mean. What a bitch."

I was at the bar again. Drunk off my ass. I wasn't even talking to Chris, it was Mike who was working that night. But I didn't care, because he kept bringing me drinks and didn't interrupt.

"How are you just gonna. Gonna tell someone that. What a bitch. I-I mean, she was the first girl I was really in love with! And she just. Bitch."

Mike sighed, taking the beer bottle from me. "I think you've had enough, kid."

I nodded, but it made the room spin horribly so I quickly stopped for fear of vomiting all over the counter. "Yeah."

"You need a cab?"

I thought it over for a second before snorting, shaking my head. "Nope. I can walk to where I'm goin'."

I heard Mike sigh as I slid off the bar stool, holding on to the counter for a second as I regained my balance. "Just don't do anything stupid," he mumbled.

Like going to the guy's apartment that I've slept with twice, totally unannounced? No, that's not stupid at all.

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