Right, well, here goes nothing... New to PLL fanfiction but I'm on my way to getting hooked. I'm actually in the midst of writing the sixth chapter of an Ezria story but haven't started uploading yet. Let me know what you think and maybe I will..
This is dedicated to Miriam. She knows why.
I don't own PLL.
"I've been walking around your block for the past two hours trying to talk myself out of what I'm about to tell you." Ezra's heart broke a little as he watched Aria take in a shaky breath, her eyes glistening with tears. "Because I know if I do," she continued, "There's a chance that you'll never look at me the same way again."
Her voice broke and Ezra watched helplessly as she began to tremble. He took an unsure step forward, not knowing if she wanted him anywhere near her.
"Aria..." he whispered, at a loss of what he should do. What could possibly be so bad that she was literally frightened to talk about?
She exhaled deeply at the sound of her name being spoken so softly, like only a lover could, and the tears spilled over, racing each other down her pale-white cheeks.
Ezra rushed forward to embrace her, tucking her head under his chin as she sobbed into his chest. She was really beginning to scare him. Had she cheated on him? Was she sick? Has she told someone about them? All these questions were racing through his mind and all he could do was clutch her shaking body to his.
"Shh, Aria, please, stop crying," he murmured into her hair.
"I'm sorry, Ezra," she sniffled, pulling back and looking up at him through puffy eyes, "I love you, you know that, right?"
Ezra nodded and stroked her hair soothingly. It physically hurt to see her so upset.
"I love you, too," he said, feeling that she needed to hear him say it.
"Yeah, I know, which is why I need to tell you this." Her voice still shook with tears but he could tell that he had reassured her somewhat.
She took a step back from him, grabbing his hand and entwining their fingers.
"Do you want a glass of water?" He asked, leading her to the couch.
"No. Thank you, but I better just tell you now before I can talk myself out of it again."
Ezra nodded but stayed silent, giving her time to compose herself. She sat down, pulling on their still connected hands so that he was sitting across from her.
Aria breathed in and out a few times before looking up from their hands and meeting Ezra's worried, blue eyes. She didn't know what she'd do if he ever stopped looking at her that was, with those eyes so full of emotion.
"Last summer..." she began, she hesitated as memories came flooding back to her and dropped her gaze.
"Aria, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to," Ezra said, gripping her hands tightly in her own.
"No, I want to," she replied, "I don't want to lie to you anymore. I can't."
"Aria?" Ezra was more worried than he remembered being before when it came to his relationship with Aria- and that was saying something.
"Last summer," Aria began again, taking a deep breath, "Before Allison went missing, we were all at her house and –" She began to cry softly again, "We were... we were all in her room and...and..." As Aria descended into a fresh round of sobs Ezra pulled her to him, wrapping a protective arm around her and waiting patiently for her to continue.
"Allison, she said that she saw Toby Cavanaugh outside the window. She was so convinced that she was watching us. She said that we needed to teach him a lesson." Aria paused again, impatiently wiping away the tears that were starting to fall once more.
Ezra stroked her hair softly, he knew how hard this was for her and it only made him love her more.
"We tried to tell her to call the police but once Allison made her mind up there was no changing it. She – she said it was a stink bomb."
Ezra's hand froze in Aria's hair. He had a feeling he knew what she was going to say next.
"Aria, are you saying...?" He trailed off.
"The fire in Jenna's garage... It wasn't Toby's fault, it was ours."
Ezra didn't say anything at first and Aria felt like her heart was going to beat out of her chest. She waited on bated breath for him to pull back and send her away.
"No," he said eventually.
"No?" Aria pulled her head away from his chest to look at him. She fixed her gaze on his mouth, unable to look at his eyes out of fear of what she might see in them. Or worse, what she might not.
"No, it wasn't your fault," he clarified.
"But we set fire to the barn. You said it yourself, how does a family get over something like that? Jenna is blind because of what my friends and I did."
"Jenna is blind because of what Allison did, not what you did," he told her, grabbing her chin and forcing her to meet his gaze.
"But I should have stopped her." How could he be so kind? How could he forgive her when just twenty four hours ago he was telling her how horrific the whole thing was? He should be disgusted with her. He should send her away. She looked away from his eyes, terrified that he would realise that he couldn't love her.
"Aria, you can't blame yourself for something you friends did. Yes, what happened to Jenna was awful, but it was Allison who set fire to the garage, not you." He wiped away the tear tracks on her cheeks, smiling softly at her.
Aria leant her head against his chest once more, feeling him rest his atop hers. She wanted to stay here forever.
"I try not to look back," she said softly, "But if I could change one thing about my life it would be that night."
She sniffed and Ezra could tell that she still blamed herself. He didn't think that she would ever stop; all he could do was reassure her that nothing had changed.
He lifted his head from hers.
"Hey," he whispered. Aria lifted her head from his chest, preparing herself for the worst.
"I love you," he told her, his voice dripping with emotion, "And nothing you just said changes that."
He watched as Aria searched his eyes for something and he held her gaze steadily, not wanting her to doubt his feelings. She seemed to find what she was looking for because she spoke a second later.
"Thank you for looking at me tonight the same way you did yesterday."
Ezra kissed her forehead gently, his thoughts consumed with love for this woman. He let her cry into his chest as they sat there in their cocoon of warmth and affection, safe from the harsh and judgemental world outside of apartment 3B.
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