039; real life

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"I changed my mind," Emily decides, watching carefully for Awsten's reaction. "I wanna go for a drive instead of a walk."

"Do you think I'm stupid? I'm not getting in your car," he quickly rejects the idea, glaring at her. "We can walk."

"I think it'd be stupid if you said no," she replies simply, giving a shrug. She pauses, laughing quietly at the look he gives her. "You can drive," she allows, "and we'll take your car. If you don't want to go where we're going, you can turn around and drive us right back here."

"Tell me where you want to go," Awsten requests hesitantly, knowing that refusing isn't really an option here. She says they can come back if he's not okay with where they're going but he knows she doesn't really mean that. When they get wherever she's got in mind, she'll just threaten him again so he'll agree to stay. And he'll probably do it to avoid the consequences that come with saying no. It's an old habit, avoiding making any arguments and just doing what she says so there's no pain to face.

"I'll give you directions while you drive," Emily tells him, already walking towards his car. After a moment, he follows and unlocks it so they can get in. "Cute car seats," she compliments, glancing into the backseat from her spot on the passenger seat. "Does Thea have a set in her car too?"

"Shut up," he mumbles, immediately growing defensive. "The car seats? Thea? None of your business. Anything about Thea and the twins is off limits to you. Got it?"

"Setting rules now, are you?" Emily asks mockingly, sounding amused as Awsten starts the car. "Don't forget who's in charge here. Especially after you willingly came to see me despite that restraining order. That basically makes that thing worthless, huh? You lost your firepower, babe, but I still have mine, that nice little threat you sent. You don't make the rules here, Aws."

Awsten's hands tighten their grip on the steering wheel. There's tense silence for a moment before he speaks.

"Which way do I turn when I pull out of the parking lot?" his tone empty and short.

"Make a left," Emily instructs, not bothered by his stiffness.

Other than Emily giving directions, the drive is quiet. They come to a stop in the parking lot of the apartment building Awsten lived in before he moved to the building with security. The apartment Emily showed up at. His first safe place in LA that he left after it stopped feeling safe.

"What are we doing here?" he asks quietly, staring straight ahead. He receives no answer, which only sets him more on edge. "What the fuck are we doing here, Emily? Fucking answer me! What are we doing here?"

"Let's go inside," Emily says instead of answering.

"No. No," he refuses, shaking his head and blinking back tears. "No! Fuck you! You...why are you doing this? Why can't you just leave me alone? Move on! I don't want you, I don't want this. I don't want you in my life."

"Just come inside," she responds quietly, much calmer than he is. "We can talk there."

She gets out of the car and closes the door and waits outside for him. He stays put, resting his forehead against the steering wheel as a few tears drip down. He gives himself only a moment before sitting back up and wiping at his eyes. He sniffles a bit before unbuckling his seatbelt and getting out. He closes the door gently behind him and Emily smiles at him and he feels the sudden urge to vomit. It's an all too familiar smile. The smile she smiled on the day they first met and all the times she charmed him into believing she loved him. It's a lovely smile on the surface and the sight of it makes him feel sick because he knows all that hides beneath it.

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