Okay so I really have no defense for why I haven't been updating this story. I haven't had any ailments or misfortunes (unless you count Chemistry and Calculus, which I do) but I really should've updated sooner. Life keeps getting in the way, but I haven't abandoned this story and I already know how I want it to end, so don't worry I'll eventually finish it :)

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this chapter and find it worth the wait!

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With that, Gar set off to find Rachel, he needed to talk to her.

Chapter 12

Gar bounded up the stairs, determined to get some answers from Rachel. For some reason, Roy hitting on her irked him. He always knew that Roy could be selfish, but they were friends. How could he do that?

No, how could she do that?

Gar refused to listen to the nagging voice in his head that kept repeating Roy's words maliciously.

'She deserves better...'

Gar closed his eyes for a moment, trying to regain his composure. It wasn't she who deserved better, she was a bitch, right? Gar had been the victim from the beginning. He was the one who deserved better. And yet Roy's parting remarks were burned into his mind.

Standing at the landing of the stairs, lost in thought, Gar barely noticed Tara approach.

"Are you feeling okay? You look like you're going to be sick," she commented, concern in her emerald eyes.

Gar looked at her, really looked at her. Sure she was pretty, everyone knew that. Awhile ago, Gar had considered her the pinnacle of beauty and for the longest time after their break up couldn't move on. No one held her beauty or shared his interests like she had.

And yet, looking at her now, she was still undeniably attracive, but Gar found her lacking...something. What it was he really couldn't explain. Sure she had all of the pretty features that she'd had before- the large smile, the deep emerald eyes, the long golden hair, and an aura of happiness about her- and yet, she seemed oddly two-dimensional to him now. She had lost some of her beauty somehow. Gar shook his head, he was really overthinking this.

"Uhh, yeah, I'm fine. Just a bit frustrated, I guess," he replied good naturedly, wanting to escape from this bland conversation and confront Rachel.

"Is there anything I can do to help?"

Gar smiled. Tara had always been kind and good-natured like that.

"Nah, don't worry about it," responded Gar, running a hand through his somewhat disheveled hair.

"You sure?" she pressed.

Gar thought momentarily about his problems with Roy. He needed Roy gone or otherwise occupied this week. Then an idea struck him, he could enlist Tara's help in this endeavor.

"Well, I just got into it with Roy and he's going to be staying here the rest of the week," began Gar, "Would you mind kind of keeping him busy or encouraging him to leave. You know my mom wouldn't tolerate me asking, but I'd really appreciate your help with this."

Tara smiled her megawatt smile, "Sure, no problem. I'll try to get him to leave first. And if he's being annoying, I'll help out, no problem.

After a brief pause, Tara finally tenderly asked, "What was the fight about?"

"He's just being a complete jerk," explained Gar with a heavy sigh.

Tara gingerly hugged Gar, "Hey, you don't have to talk about it if you don't want to. Just know I'm always here."

Gar hugged her back, remaining in the embrace for awhile. A smile creeped onto his face, he had really forgotten how good it felt being with Tara. She really did understand him and care about him. Part of him knew that getting back with Tara would be the best option, it was obvious that Rachel hated him.

'No, I need that promotion' Gar thought to himself, before detangling himself from Tara's arms. He needed to remain focused. After he got his promotion, he and Rachel could always divorce and then he could allow himself to entertain the idea of getting back together with Tara.

"Uh, thanks," Gar commented awkardly.

"Sure, but you owe me!" she replied, laughing.

"Wait, what? What do I owe you?" asked Gar, ignoring the flirtiness in her voice.

"I haven't decided yet, I'll let you know when I do," she said, grinning.

"What you can't just have anything."

"Do you want my help or not?"

"Okay, fine. But please don't make it anything too embarrassing," mentioned Gar.

"Oh, I'm definitely not going to waste this on something stupid like that," she explained before heading downstairs. Gar gulped, almost regretting his decision. Almost. Pushing that encounter into the recesses of his mind, Gar turned to the guest bedroom's wooden door, bracing himself for what was to come. He opened the door, ready to launch into his angry monologue, only to find no one there.

'Where is she?' he wondered.

Rachel smiled to herself, she had played her cards just right. She just hoped that Roy would get the hint to back off.

Inadvertently, Rachel found her thoughts wandering to Gar and Tara. They seemed so, well, perfect for eachother. Tara was bubbly and helpful and gorgeous. Rachel was just some bitter girl, torn apart and mangled by life. She wasn't perfect, not even close.

Rachel sighed, examining her appearance in the foggy mirror. She was nowhere near as gorgeous as Tara, either. Her eyes only reflected sadness and pain. She only looked awkward when she tried to smile, almost as if she was grimacing in pain. Rachel sighed, 'If it wasn't for the fact that you blackmailed him, he wouldn't be here at all. He doesn't like me.'

Rachel sighed, deciding to stop her mental pity party and instead get ready for the day. Rachel looked around only to discover the fact that she hadn't brought her clothes with her into the bathroom. Rachel cursed her hungover seld, before bracing herself for the coldness of the room.

Rachel opened the door only to see Gar, his back to her thankfully, before giving out a small 'eep' and slamming the door.

Gar wheeled around and noticed the light on in the bathroom. So she had been in the bathroom, but how was it that she hadn't heard him?

"Hey can you go so I can get dressed?" came the muffled voice from the bathroom.

"Sorry, but I am not going back downstairs. Besides, I need to talk to you. I'll turn around while you get dressed, or something," replied Gar.

Rachel groaned inwardly, she was rather hoping to avoid talking to Gar.

"Fine," she agreed in her usual monotone voice, no reason to let him know she was dreading the conversation.

Rachel knew from countless business deals that it was never good to let the other party know you were desperate or that they had the upper hand. It was all about bluffing. In fact, Rachel's business mantra was 'fake it until you make it.'

The same held true now, she was going to act nonchalant about whatever he said. She refused to let him know that he affected her at all. That wouldn't be good. At all.

Cautiously, Rachel emerged from the bathroom, tightly clutching onto her towel. Despite the fact that Gar's back was to her, she would take no chances. Finally, Rachel located the black dress she had packed for that day, but decided against wearing it. She had, after all, wasted half of the day away. No need to waste one of her dressier outfits when she was hungover and not going to need it.

Rachel sighed and pulled out the dark boot cut jeans she'd packed and a plain, black v-neck long sleeved shirt and changed.

"Okay, you can turn around now," she informed him.

Gar turned and found his breath taken away. Sure she wasn't all dressed up, in fact, this was the first time that he hadn't seen her dressed up in a suit or a dress. But it was then that Gar noticed why he no longer considered Tara as beautiful. Tara lacked the depth and the beauty that Rachel did. Gar shook his head, he wasn't going to let his mind wander there. Especially since this was pretty much a business deal, he needed to keep his distance from Rachel.

Still, he couldn't help but like Rachel in her everyday attire. It made her seem more, well, approachable. Certainly not like the bitch that he'd grown accostomed to seeing her as.

After a few seconds of Gar staring, Rachel asked "What?"

"Huh?" was Gar's smart reply.

"What? You're staring. Do I have something on my face?" asked Rachel, before disappearing into the bathroom.

Gar smirked, who knew Rachel could be so vain.

Upon exiting the bathroom, Rachel saw Gar's smirk.

"I am not vain, I'm here to meet your parents and I would like to look my best, thank-you very much," she explained.

Gar laughed, "Sure, okay."

Rachel huffed, not bothering to insist that her explanation was true. Because, well, it wasn't. But still, no need to let him know that.

"Well, what did you want to talk about?" Rachel asked.

Gar was ready to launch into his angry speech that he had planned on his trip up to the room. He was going to tell her how it was unacceptable that she'd tell Roy about the deal, how she needed to be more careful and not get drunk, how she'd made a fool of herself in front of his whole family. However, looking at her, Gar opted for a different approach, maybe if he showed interest, she wouldn't be so abrasive.

"Well, earlier, Roy said-" began Gar before Rachel interrupted.

"I know what he said, but I don't remember even talking to him about anything. I swear," defended Rachel, eager to close this topic of conversation.

"No, I understand that," remarked Gar.


"I was just thinking, how he called you Raven, that there are still things that I guess I don't know about you," he explained, "and with the interview coming up next week, I figured we ought to spend some time every day getting to know each other better."

Rachel raised a brow at him and smirked, "There was something about me you didn't know. Looks like you've been slacking."

It took Gar a brief moment to realize that she was, in fact, kidding. He laughed.

"I guess, that could be okay. But right now I'm going to go make myself a nice warm cup of tea," informed Rachel, before taking her leave.

It was only after she left that Gar realized two things. One, she understood him better than he'd thought. His mind flashed back to when she dashed into the bathroom, looking for an imperfection that she thought existed. And when she came out of the bathroom, she knew what he had been thinking and had given an explanation before he made a comment.

And two, this was the first time that he had ever heard Rachel make a joke. Ever. She was always completely serious.

Could it be that maybe she was more human than he gave her credit for?

And then it hit him, he had just asked to know more about her. He really was awful at just keeping things business like. After all, he already could answer all of the questions in the book, right? He didn't need to delve any deeper, and yet he wanted to know more about her. Gar groaned, around Rachel his plans just went to shit.

Gar shook his head, this was shaping up to be an odd week, that was definitely certain.

Okay, so I know this is a bit shorter than other chapters, by about 1,000 words, but I have midterms tomorrow and throughout next week. I definitely plan to write more this weekend, but for the time being, most of my chapters will probably be shorter since I have to moderate the time I spend writing. Still, I hope you all liked it!

I had also planned to get a bit farther, but I promise next chapter is when things will start happening (and then I'll be able to use the awesome information you gave me, TitanNegro). This was more of a transitional chapter to show that 1. Roy is somewhat taken care of for the time being and 2. Gar is shifting his perspective on Rachel and 3. Gar and Rachel are growing a bit closer. Hope those things were clear.

Please review if you have the chance! I'll try to get another 2,000 word chapter up by Sunday/Monday, hopefully focused a bit more on Rachel's views toward Garfield, with a bit more action sprinkled in :)

Once again, please please review! :D