AN: I'm not exactly sure about this one. I have the whole thing written already, so I'll update with new posts roughly everday, but I guess I'm just not feeling like this turned out how I wanted it. Sorry to those who think making Aiden an ass is a cop-out, but well, I did, and I will kind of deal with it later. Let me know what you think of this story, I completely understand if you think it sucks, because I kind of do, but I am probably my own worst critic. So anyway, here's the story, read, review, enjoy hopefully.

-The Ring In Return-

Nearly three months ago my life took a completely different turn than I ever thought it would. On my prom night, I was shot. I lived, obviously, but I don't think I'll ever be the same girl I once was. Since then, my parents have gotten a divorce, my brothers moved in with my mother, and I have been spending the summer before senior year in Ohio, away from all of the madness.

In a week I'll be going back. I don't know how I feel about that. The first two months here, at my grandmother's in rural Ohio, I spent mostly in the house watching bad TV, willing the pain in my shoulder to go away. These past few weeks, I've been slowly going out, showing up at random parties, occasionally drinking away my misery, always refusing any advances from the hicks out here. Right now, I don't want to be with anyone, I just want to be left alone, just me and my bullet hole to keep me company. But I have to go back, and after all of this time, I still don't know what to do when I head back to my life.

Ring! Ring!

I find my phone on the floor, it's my dad. He calls every other day to check up on me. I miss him, and I know he must be lonely, all alone in our house, but I can't bring myself to head back any earlier.

"Hey Dad."

"How are you Spencer? Excited about coming back this weekend?"

"Sure, sure, can't wait."

Yes, there's sarcasm in my voice, but not so much that my dad picks up on it, he knows how I feel about coming home, he understands.

"So how was your week Dad, anything interesting happen?"

"No, nothing much really. You know she stopped by again yesterday, she still calls twice a week too."

That would be Ashley he's talking about. Oh Ashley, where to begin with you? Let me see…how about with the fact that it took her a whole week before she finally came to see me in the hospital. Yeah, I was pissed to say the least. I was angry and hurt, convinced I had lost her. I knew she didn't get hurt in the shooting, I was the only one out of our dysfunctional circle of friends that was wounded. Glen, Clay, Chelsea, Madison, Aiden, Kyla, Ashley – all fine. They had some scratches between them, but that was it, I was the only one shot somehow. Odd, I know considering most of us, at least Ashley, Aiden, Kyla and I were all standing relatively close. But no, Aiden, being the man that he so wishes he was, stepped in front of Ashley and pulled her and effectively Kyla along with him since she was so close by, to the ground.

Me on the other hand, I was a few feet away. So by the time I realized what was going on, it was all over with, and I was on the ground with blood oozing out of my shoulder. Funny thing is, I didn't even cry, I didn't make one noise, I just sat up, and stared at my shoulder. I barely reacted at all, shock I guess. By the time the others realized I was hit, they came rushing over to me. Well, Ashley did, and then Glen and Clay, followed by Chelsea. I guess that must have been when I passed out from blood loss, because the next thing I remember was being rushed into surgery, bullet lodged into my shoulder.

A week later, she showed up, I was sure she was going to tell me she wanted to be with Aiden. But she didn't, she didn't say much at first. I couldn't really look at her, everything hurt too much. She knew what I was thinking and then she spoke, told me how she felt.

"I don't love him Spencer, not like I love you. And now, I don't even know if I ever want to see him again, for being such an ass. I don't know why I didn't just tell you right then that it was you I love, that it could never be anyone else. But for some reason I didn't want to hurt his feelings, he was my friend, and I wanted to let him down gently, but I didn't know how, not in that moment. And then all hell broke lose, and the next thing I know, I look over at you, sitting up, staring at your shoulder. You were shot."

I didn't look at her the entire time she was talking. I just sat there and listened as I looked out the window, silent tears rolling down my cheeks.

"You were shot, and I ran over to you, and I was yelling for you to say something, anything, but you just looked at me, and then passed out, blood still seeping from your shoulder. I stayed with you, putting pressure on your wound while your brothers called 911 and paced frantically praying you were okay. We all went to the hospital with you, and then you went into surgery and I just waited, for hours. A doctor came out and told you're parents you would be okay. We were all so grateful. You're dad told us all to go home, that he would call when you woke up and let us know when we could come visit. It took me this long to get here because it took Kyla this long to convince me that I wasn't going to lose you."

Kyla had come to visit a few times while I was still in the hospital. She told me she had found Ashley standing in the spot where she scattered her dad's ashes overlooking the strip in a daze, the day after the prom. Kyla took her home, tried to convince Ashley that I wasn't going to die, and a week later she got her to come out of her room, to go to the hospital.

"I get that you might not want to talk to me let alone see me right now. I am the one responsible for you doubting how I feel about you. So unless you tell me otherwise, I'll leave. I'll give you as much space as you need. But just know this Spencer; I love you, more than anything in this world. And nothing could ever change that; I will never stop loving you. I love you Spence, with all my heart, nothing will ever change that."

And she left, because I let her, because I didn't want her stay. I didn't know what to say to her, I didn't know how to react. But she called everyday to make sure I was okay, she made sure whoever came to see me let me know that she still loved me, well most of the people that came anyway. Kyla stopped by a few times, as much concerned about Ashley as she was me, but I didn't know what to say, to anyone, so I just didn't. I barely spoke.

"She still calls me every night too, Dad. I know she's worried, but I just can't talk to her yet."

"I know how she feels Spence, and I'm pretty sure I know how you feel, but tell me anyway."

"God, I don't even know. I do know that I love her, that will never change. But I don't know if that's enough. But tell her that dad, tell her that I love her, and it's just going to take me some time to be able to talk to her, I don't know why, but I just need some time."

"Okay Spence. It's getting late, I'll let you go, I'm glad you're coming home soon."

"Me too Dad, good night."

She does call me every night. I never answer though; she leaves a message on my cell every time. Sometimes she has more to say than other times, but really, she says the same thing each day. She tells me that she loves me, she always will, and that she'd wait forever for me if she had to. And I know she means it, I know she would wait, because I know how much she loves me. I just don't know what to do with that though. This is the new me, I feel like I don't know a damn thing anymore.

But I knew all of that already, I knew that Ashley really loved me. But how did I know? Because we all eventually found out how big of an ass Aiden really is. He came to see me in the hospital a few days after Ashley finally stopped by. He actually hit on me.

"What do you want Aiden, you of all people should know I am not your biggest fan at the moment."

"I know, but I just figured, since Ashley rejected me, and you apparently rejected her too, I wanted to know if you wanted hang out sometime. Grab a burger, maybe take in a make out session at the movies?"

"What the hell Aiden!? Are you insane? One, I'm gay, two, never, three, what the fuck about Ashley!?"

"Chill, I'm over her, everyone could use a little Aiden."

"My God you have got to be the biggest ass on the planet! Just get the hell out; I don't ever want to see you again!"

So now I have less than a week until I have to face everything again. I've stopped drinking, it does nothing for me anymore. But at least the pain in my shoulder has lessened, it's merely a dull ache now, I still can't use it as well as my other one yet, but I'm getting there. Sometimes I don't know what I was thinking when I told my dad I wanted to spend the summer in Ohio, away from everything and everyone. It is so damn boring here. But then I remember what I'm heading back to, the issues I left unresolved, and the love I don't know if I can ever go back to. I'll just have to see when I get there.