He was stood at the edge of Bushwell Plaza, mercifully staring down at the lights hundreds of feet beneath him. The darkness held such a hold over his mind, constricted and twisted its way around ever thought he had, and there seemed no way out. Carly was a solitary light in the black expanse, fighting valiantly against the unending force of evil.
He clung desperately onto her hand, held so tightly that he was sure to reduce the bone into shattered fragments and dust, and yet she did not falter. A grim determination to pull him from this deep cavernous emotional pit that was nothing short of despair. An eternal fall to the fires below.
As he stood there the lights became the fires of hell, and his rigid stance was held by thoughts of Carly, but the serpent dangled such a delicious apple in front of him. Eat, my friend, and your eyes will be opened. Jump.
She was dead, his friend and colleague, again. He couldn't even bring himself to think of her name, months after the events at Ridgeway High, the crushing knowledge ripping at him even with a sense of deranged personality to it. Nothing anyway said or did could help with her departure, nothing could surmount to the immensity her death felt to him.
The first time had been hard, the feeling of responsibility of her death, and when he had discovered her state of living, he had been filled with joy. And then within no time at all she was almost killed in a terror threat, and then ended her own life. He knew, with complete clarity, that he was losing it, and that somewhere in that lost part he wondered if this was fate finally catching up with him.
So many near-misses, would he get another? He had been hit by a car, beaten up, stabbed, shot, kidnapped, thrown off of Bushwell, had nearly burned alive as Bushwell collapsed, and had narrowly escaped a burning car with Griffin. No one should live through that, and yet he had.
So what if he jumped?
"I've never worried so much about someone." Carly spoke to her brother and sister-in-law.
"He's gone through a lot, he just needs time." Spencer replied.
Sasha rose to her feet and pulled Carly into a tight hug, attempted to give her some comfort and solace even though she was deeply concerned herself. She had been incredibly close to Aaron since they'd met, helped in part due to their kidnapping all those years ago. He was a brother to her.
"Where is he?"
"The roof, it's been hours."
"Go to him, be there for him."
Sasha had a plan, but was not convinced Carly would agree with her method, and so she ushered her out of the apartment with a jacket.
Clark Alexander Benson. That child had been the start of it, the true end of his long-term relationship with Samantha Puckett, a woman he had given his life to. He had risked his life for her time after time, and she had thrown him away as though it was nothing. With him. Fredward Benson. His best friend. They had destroyed his life, destroyed Carly's life, lies and deception spiralling to a head.
He had accepted it and moved on, but his state of mind and the birth of their child had seen an end to the civility he felt in his mind, mostly. His friendship with Freddie and Sam had been the best of his life, and in a way he owed them greatly for his relationship with Carly. But there was that niggling voice in his mind that screamed at them.
He heard footsteps behind him and turned slowly, seeing his beautiful girlfriend staring with a look of fear across her face. He smiled warmly at her, jumping down from the ledge he had been standing on, and crossed the short distance to hold her tightly. Aaron Renelle was deeply in love with Carly Shay, and no quantity of the debilitating darkness could take that away.
"Don't do that, you terrify me."
"I'm sorry Carls, I really am. It's peaceful up here, the view."
They stood there alone, the two of them, holding each other tightly and swaying as if to a beat that wasn't there, each completely lost in the other. They kissed, Renelle and Shay, bringing together the memories and lives of two families joined as one through love. The kiss held a passion, a knowledge, a promise.
And so they did not hear or notice the sounds of people walking onto the roof, gathering behind where they were standing. Spencer, Sasha, and Ashley Shay. Freddie, Sam, and Clark Benson. Gibby and Melanie Gibson. Ruby Renelle and Griffin. And Jared Chambers.
Sasha cleared her throat loudly and the couple turned to see the small gathering before them. Aaron felt a strong pang of emotion flow through him, a welcome chemical occurrence he had grown out of touch with. He arms tightened around Carly and he found a smile creeping its way onto his face once more.
As he stood there, Carly in his arms, with all of his friends and family before him, it was as though the dark expanse of clouds finally opened, and a beam of pure, intense light shone directly down upon him. Through the best and worst parts of his life, these people were there for him, and that comforting thought lead him into the next chapter of his life.
The greatest chapter, without any shadow of a doubt.
It had struck me that I left this story unfinished, about 9 months ago. And so here it is, a fitting ending that ties up a few loose ends.
This was not the intended ending for this story, but after 163 chapters I feel as though it had run its course and so I am closing this chapter of my own life. iNewbie has not just been a story for me, it has been a part of my life particularly in 2009-2012 (Yes it's been that long), when I was having a tough time. All of the characters became deeply personal, particularly Renelle and Felicity.
The true ending of this story involves Aaron and Carly moving to another city and starting again. They marry, and decide that they want to and are ready to have children together. However, they find out Carly has been rendered unable due to a gunshot wound (Chapter 73 – I have had it planned well in advance). She is devastated and drives to Seattle, convinced that Aaron will not stay with her. He finds her note and pulls strings to get a flight back to Seattle. He beats her there and awaits her arrival in her old room with a baby 'mobile'. He tells her that he will always love her regardless of whether or not they can have biological children. They adopt twins, Alicia and Emily, and they raise their family back in Seattle.
I want to thank each and every one of you for reading this story. I want you to know every review and every private message has been gratefully and thankfully received, and I will always remember the support that has been given.
Once again, an honorary mention to Jackyboy-08, who helped motivate me many times!
Thank you everyone, and goodbye!