Rating: PG. No swearing, no sex, no violence. The only shocking thing is that they're on a party and drinking. How irresponsible. Am planning on making this R in the future, though.
Summary: Ham and Bella, now what you'd call best friends, leave a party and talk. Drunk as they are, things are not the way they used to be. Set after the YA episodes, in December.
Author's Note: This sucks. Not as much as I thought it would, but… it's not as good as I wanted it to be. It all seemed so much lovelier in my head. Too much talking, not enough action. Am not good with conversations. Is also totally out of character, I'd think. Feels more like an original fiction with characters who happen to share some similarities with the YA characters. I apologize. Also, I shamelessly stole the idea of Will, Sean and Scout falling for Bella from various fanfics, such as Nicky's. I appreciate any comments. Anything, really. I don't care if it's 'Don't ever write anything again', 'I had to throw up after the first sentence' or 'You will go to hell for breaking Jake and Ham up'. Anything is welcome.
Part 1 – No Love Interest
The music coming from the speakers was loud, loud enough to make her feel as if she was alone in the room when she closed her eyes. She wasn't, of course, she'd seen them all around – her friends, her "potential love interests", as her sister liked to put it.
She opened her eyes again and caught Sean's stare across the room. He smiled and looked back at his friends standing with him, probably hoping that she wouldn't know he'd been staring at her all the time. Like they always did.
She glanced through the room, looking into faces she knew from school, people she talked to, friends, but not seeing the one face she had been waiting for for the last minutes, here, leaning against the cold wall next to the kitchen door.
As if on cue, he appeared next to her and leaned against the doorframe, smiling. He took the empty beer bottle from her hand, placed it on the floor and helped her into her coat.
"Thanks, Hamilton," she said. He smiled again and leaned in so that she could hear him better.
"Ready to go?" Bella nodded and together they made their way through the crowd. Bella said her goodbyes to girls she knew from school and as she did, Hamilton spotted Will and Scout standing on the other side of the room, talking. He called out their names and waved at them when they looked over, indicating that he was going to go now. They smiled and then quickly looked away as Bella appeared next to him, trying to see at whom he was waving. She looked to the ground for one second until Hamilton took her hand and led her out of the room.
When they excited the house, they realized just how cold it was in comparison to the sticky warmth inside.
"Come on, let's go. I wouldn't want to stay out here longer than necessary." Hamilton descended the stairs, Bella followed close behind.
"You didn't have to leave with me, you know?" she said after they'd walked a while, her voice only a whisper.
"I have curfew."
"Will and Scout are still there." Hamilton looked over at her and grinned.
"Do you think I'd let a lady walk home alone at this time? Who knows what could happen to you."
"I can take care of myself." He looked away again. Bella thought she saw a glimpse of disappointment in his eyes.
"I talked to Will and Scout for a while tonight. They're really trying to back off," Hamilton broke the silence surrounding them. "You really should talk to them more often. After all, you're still friends. You wouldn't want to destroy that, would you?"
"I can't," she started, shaking her head, "I just can't. Whenever I talk to them, it seems as if they're just waiting for a sign from me that will tell them which one I'll choose. They don't realize that I won't choose any of them. They just have to move on." Hamilton didn't reply and they walked on in silence until they saw the gas station ahead of them. They reached the door and Hamilton turned to look at Bella one last time, a smile on his lips.
"Goodnight, I guess…" With that, he turned to leave until he heard Bella's voice beside him.
"Come on, I'll give you a ride." She made her way over to her truck, expecting Hamilton to follow. When he didn't, she turned around.
"You can't be expecting me to let you walk to Rawley when it's freezing. Now come on." Hamilton walked towards her, slowly, starting to protest.
"You really don't have to, Bella. It's late and I'm sure you're tired, so…" He trailed of as she got into the car and looked at him expectantly through the side window. He hesitated shortly but then got into the car.
"Thanks, Bella." She looked over at him and smiled, then she started the engine.
"How come you never drove me home during summer…," he continued.
"It was still warm, so you could easily have walked home back then."
"…and even if I couldn't, I always had a ride present." He shifted and turned his head to stare out of the window. Bella didn't speak for a while, wondering what she could say and hoping that she hadn't said the wrong things as the words escaped her lips.
"How is she?"
"How would I know?" He laughed, bitterly. "Last I heard her mom had shipped her off to California. But that was weeks ago." His expression was pained, showing how heartbroken he really was.
"Maybe she's just busy trying to get settled there," she said trying to comfort him, knowing that it wasn't the case. His voice was sad, bitter and almost a little mocking as he spoke again after a few seconds.
"I guess we just weren't meant to be."
"You know that's not true." The uncertainty in her voice showed that she wasn't that sure herself anymore, even though she knew how in love they had been.
"It feels like we both didn't try hard enough, both didn't put enough effort in this relationship to make it work. We both gave up the second we found out she wouldn't be coming back." There was no response from Bella and they continued their ride to Rawley in silence. Minutes later, they stopped in front of Rawley Academy that lay in complete darkness.
"We're here," Bella stated, simply to say anything. Her tone was lighter and she hoped the emotions of just a few minutes ago had passed. It seemed as if they had, as Hamilton leaned over and pressed his lips to her forehead, like he sometimes did. This time was different, though, the touch of his lips staying just a second too long. Perhaps it was because she had been drinking, but Bella couldn't help wondering what it would be like to kiss those lips. She closed her eyes. The touch of his lips left but he still kept his right hand on her cheek, a soft warmth against her skin. As the hand left, she slowly followed the touch, not wanting it to end.
She liked him. More than Scout who was too clingy and couldn't move on even though almost half a year had passed. More than Sean who thought that he had the right to know about everything in her life. More than Will because there was no lifelong friendship she could destroy.
Destroy? With what?
Her eyes snapped open and she quickly pulled away from his touch. He was looking at her, his eyes posing questions she couldn't answer, wasn't ready to answer. She looked away, her eyes staring into the darkness ahead of her. The door opened and he got out of the car. His voice, barely a whisper, broke the silence between them and she couldn't help but look in his direction. Something in his eyes had changed.
"Thanks for the ride, Bella. Goodnight." He shut the door and ascended the steps leading to the entrance of the Academy. "Goodnight, " Bella whispered, her eyes following him as she wondered how things had gotten this complicated.
End. For now.