Please give reviews. I appreciate all the support and this has been one of the best fics Ive posted and it was fun writing it. I am just going to say it is complete but don't rule out the option of me continuing on. Thank you so much.
AND HERRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEE IT IS!
Somewhere in time, she started to change. Instead of this independent, punk rock tom girl she became a girl who falls in love and would do anything for him. She growls to herself as she watches soaps on her TV in the dark. Stupid boys and their charm. Why did he have to make her fall in love? She could have been perfectly happy with the life she picked out when she was six. To grow up not accepting society's rules, rebel and after high school leave the east coast. But that boy had to screw it up by constantly making his way into her heart. Stupid Mason.
Sighing loudly, Alex looks around the room in boredom. With Harper gone, she has no one to talk to. Maybe she should call… no. What is she thinking? He would get the satisfaction of knowing she misses him. She refuses to admit that she misses him. She is now an independent woman making her way to freedom. He won't get to know that this road she is choosing can be a lonely one. Why does she care so much what he thinks? Alex feels her heart tug a little at the thought of him. With his hair all ruffled up and his voice getting higher when he is angry. She lets out a little chuckle at all her memories of making him mad.
Suddenly she feels this strange emotion wash over her. She clutches her chest as it feels like it is collapsing on her. What is this? Why does her whole being feel so hurt? She sits down and finally let's herself think about herself. The realization dawns on her and it surprises her. She feels her stomach clench up with guilt. She feels the guilt in her heart and it makes her sick to her stomach. She let him down somehow by giving up. She allowed herself to try to let go of their close relationship.
Standing up in a haste, Alex decides to stop all this thinking and do something. She has always been good at just doing what she knows to be right. So why is her idea of going to see him make her feel tense and even more guilty? Shaking it off, she quickly murmurs a chant with her wand waving in her hand and is teleported to his room.
It was like the room was filled with a suffocating silence. Alex glanced at his bed and noticed he wasn't there or at his desk. Why he isn't at his desk like he always is? She begins to rush for the door but is stopped by the sight before her. He is resting there, on the door, in a slump. His face looks red for some reason and his clothes are all disheveled. Her eyes scan his face, looking at all his imperfections that he rarely shows. He doesn't understand that she wants to know that he is flawed too. She is so tempted to reach out and touch his cheek. It looks so soft and yet rough at the same time. Her insecurities get the best of her and she resists. She feels like she should freeze this moment in time forever. He looks so peaceful. She just doesn't know that he is constantly fighting his inner demons.
A thought comes to her mind that makes her blush. She wonders what he is dreaming about that made him have a smile tug at his lips. Somewhere deep inside of her, Alex secretly hopes that she was the cause of his happiness. That is all she ever wanted… in a weird and twisted way. All the insults she flings at him is supposed to make the times where she doesn't seem happy and precious. But Alex's warm feeling inside soon fades when she begins to experience the guilt all over again. It gnaws at her heart. Why should she be so selfish and want her to be his happiness when she chose to leave him. She has let it slip and it scares her to death that she can't get back their close relationship.
In a bold move, she gathers the courage to approach him. All the guilt, the sadness, the fear vanish. It is replaced by a overwhelming feeling of respect and love. Love? What does that word mean for her? She can't complete thought because everything in her brain pauses to see his face contort into one of emptiness. Like something he had was lost. It was absolutely heartbreaking.
Alex is startled by him bolting up as she hears the sound of brass against skull. She immediately flinches and backs away from him. She can't help it as she stifles a chuckle from hearing him cuss under his breath. Unable to take it anymore, Alex speaks up.
"I didn't know Justin could use cuss words. I thought that it was inappropriate." She giggles at him. She is slightly concerned when he snaps his head up towards her in a quick jerk. Something changes in his eyes. His mesmerizing grey eyes turn darker than she has seen them. Then it is gone as quick as it appeared and Justin soon puts up his mask.
"Alex. What are you doing here?" His voice cracks slightly. She can tell he is fighting for his front that he is trying to hold. She lets him have whatever he is hiding… for now.
"Well I could ask you the same question. Why were you sleeping by the door?" She throws back. She wants this. She wants the banter and the light insults that add to their relationship. She notices that he gets a little insecure before rebuffing his façade.
"Wait… how did you know that I was sleeping?" He examines her closely and she can't help but blush at his grey-green gaze looking her up and down carefully. "How long were you there before I woke up?" He growls at her. Alex feels the mood begin to dive slowly into one of anger and … something that she can't place but she doesn't like it. She sees him push himself off the floor and dash around the room, searching for something she might have done.
"I didn't do anything to your precious doll collection." Alex tries to lighten the mood of Justin once more but it doesn't work. She decides to smirk and act like she did when they were living together. Why break something that isn't broken?
"For the last time, it is an action figure collection!" His anger escalates and she feels that underlying issue she saw him trying to cover up is doing this to him. And she thinks it has something to do with her. Alex doesn't know whether to be flattered or scared. She lets herself fall onto his bed. She wills herself not to glance at him when he sits down beside her, carefully lowering his body.
"I am sorry." He admits and Alex nearly gets whiplash from the speed she turned her head to look at him by. She then noticed something. For some reason, Justin wasn't the same. It was almost like he had given up too but on purpose… like he couldn't handle fighting with her anymore. He doesn't have that sparkle in his eye that always catches her attention when she sees him.
That is when it hits her. She has always liked their old relationship of witty banter but if that could ever change, she has kind of wanted more. She wants to rely on him, let him see who she really is and in return he lets her see him for the guy he is; an honest, down to earth, sweet, caring guy that needs a reminder of that once in a while. She wants to be the girl who does that.
"What?" He snaps her. Alex turns away for a moment and composes herself. She can't get caught studying Justin's face…
"You have changed." She quietly says. She looks back at him in a new way. She finally notices the deep lines in his face and each twitch that gives away his uneasy attitude. He closes his eyes and nods gently. For once she knows that this Justin isn't the Justin she saw sleeping with the perfect face. No. This Justin was plagued by something he can't control and it has aged him just by thinking about it for a minute. Her heart is suddenly overcome with sadness.
"Yeah." His voice cracks again and she sees him let go. He lets her see the pain and the anguish that he is feeling. It scares her to see him that way. He glances at her and smirks. She is taken back that he would do that in a time like this. "You are worried about me?" She just stares at her hands, unwilling to watch the several emotions in his eyes that she knows will be there… about her.
"Oh wow the independent Alex is actually concerned about her family. What happened?" His sarcasm is evident in his tone. She looks up right away as the guilt rushes back. He knows. It feels like she is going to be swallowed by the emptiness. She tries to keep the tears at bay as she stares into his eyes. His eyes flash anger and she becomes confused. Why is the anger directed at her?
"Justin. What happened to you?" She whispers to him. He blinks for a moment. She gasps slightly as she sees all the true pain and hurt that he has been hiding when he glances down at his feet.
"You." It feels like all the wind has been knocked out of her when he mutters that in his ridiculously low and grovel voice. Alex can't help but feel betrayed somehow but deep down she knows that she always knew that someday, she would break him. But she had hoped that it was impossible.
"Justin!" Alex can hear her voice become brimmed with a desperate sound. Her eyes sting as tears finally break. They run down her cheeks as she continues to pry. It's like she can't stop even though she greatly wants to. "What did I do?"
His eye flick towards her as he examines her. It's like he asking her if she really hasn't noticed. She feels her breathing become shallower as his anger shows more and more. For a moment, she tenses and lets the fear paralyze her. She isn't afraid of him but it's frightening to see him so livid and dark. She sees him observe her fear as he stops pacing and his eyes go wide. He thinks he scared her.
Alex's chest becomes tightened with pity and sadness and a strange sensation that she doesn't recognize as Justin lets out a guttural, animalistic cry that sends shivers down her arms. She wants to reach out and comfort him when he roughly drags his hands over his face. Her temptation is too strong as she stands up and makes her way over to him. Her eyes gently gaze upon his flawed face as she rests her hand on his shoulder. At the sensation of her hand on his shoulder, he jerks it away suddenly. Justin takes a deep breath and turns right around to stare into her eyes. She can't help but be acutely aware of the close proximity of their situation as she feels his chest radiates heat. She spots a flash of hesitancy before it is replaced by determination.
"I am done being your toy that you can manipulate anytime you want." Alex can't form a reply. How do you say that you don't try to control someone when you know you do? For some reason, she can't find it in her to lie to Justin. It would just break their relationship more and her heart breaks at the thought of them drifting apart even more.
"I didn't mean to hurt you." Her voice sounds small as it quavers compared to his. Alex glances down in shame. Justin takes a step back from her and immediately she misses the heat and comfort he gave her. Justin lets out a cruel chuckle that makes her tremble. It is like he found her being sorry… funny. She doesn't like this nasty side of Justin. Did she really do this to him?
"You didn't. You broke me." He sort of smiles at her as if the irony is funny before his grey eyes bore into hers as he studies her face. She feels cornered. What becomes worse is knowing that she did that to him so the guilt returns and eats at her.
"You don't understand Alex. I keep giving you every little part of me that I have and every time you crush it. So now, I have part of me left that I can recognize from the heap that you left me in." He gazes at her like she never understood what it felt like to be walked over. Maybe that was true but that doesn't mean she doesn't care about him. She cares. Maybe a little too much.
"I'm sorry Justin. I didn't mean to." She can't even register that she is saying that. Her mind has gone numb from all the emotions that confront her. She isn't good at saying sorry. Justin should know that when she actually says it that she means it with all of her heart. She glances pleadingly at Justin to stop this rampage but her efforts go ignored by the furious man.
"That is just the thing. You don't ever know what you do to me!" Justin finally yells out. Alex is startled by the outburst. It wasn't unexpected…well in normal circumstances. It would be expected to have yelling but not from him. Justin never yells at her unless she has purposely prodded him to do so. She hesitantly backs up, wanting distance from the turmoil that he is in and when her feet hit the bed, she lets it knock her down. She sees him register that he has scared her and closes his eyes. She can't decide what scared her the most, Justin yelling and being so angry at her or the thought that he is trying to restrain something that he is desperately fighting against. What that something is, she can't begin to imagine.
"I'm sorry." He whispers to her as his eyes look over her. What alarms her is that he is afraid of himself. His eyes reveal the fear, the guilt, the uncontrollable anger and something else. Her heart skips a beat when his grey-ish green eyes meet hers and for a moment, it feels like none of this happened. He blinks and snaps himself out of her trance. He turns around and heads for the door. This leaves Alex even more confused. They possibly had a moment of… understanding and then he decides to leave? Throwing caution to the wind, she rushes over and wraps her arms around Justin to stop him from leaving. She doesn't want him to ever leave her. She feels his muscles tense when she gingerly rests her head on his back. This is one of the crappiest, one sided hugs she has ever had and it makes her feel empty. There is no warmth encompassing her. No protection of his strong arms that flex with each movement he makes against her.
After a minute of holding out, hoping that he would return the hug, Alex begins to let go of him. In more ways than the literal one. But as her arms begin to release him, he turns around and wraps her up with his arms. For some reason, she can feel the bitter sweetness of this. It is like he has given up and just accepted something horrible. She shakes it off and tries to enjoy the hug. Justin's head lowers and perches over her shoulder as her head is tucked into his chest. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. She counts his heart beats. Her eyes flutter shut as his body heat gives her an uncontrollable urge to just stay like this and fall asleep. She hopes this moment will never end. She doesn't want to go back to cruel reality where her dreams will never happen.
"I am so sorry Justin." Alex lets out the quiet confession. She can't help the tears from escaping. She feels them wet the shirt she is clinging to on Justin. Justin shushes her calmly, like someone trying to comfort a crying child, and rests his head on hers. She swears that he sneaked in a kiss to her temple. It still is tingling from the sensation. In a dozy state, Alex registers the song playing in the back ground. Without knowing it, Justin has started to make her sway with him. Her eyes blink open for a moment with a lot of will power to do so. She evaluates the situation. His head is on hers. Hers is against his chest. Her arm is snaked over his shoulder, pulling him closer to her and the other hand is holding his by their side. Her heart quickens when his arm around her drops from her shoulders to her waist. So basically they are dancing. Or a very intimate hug and she is cherishing every moment of it. The only thing that would make it better was if he…
Her thoughts are interrupted by Justin tensing up for a second when the song ends. She thanks the intrusion because she doesn't have the stomach to wonder where her brain was going with that thought. It is becoming dangerous territory, the line she and Justin just were dancing. Alex lets her mood slowly grow sadder as reality comes back. With the song over, they have no reason to be in each others arms like this and Justin knows this too. Her heart breaks at the thought of going back to the guilty conscious that plagued her to begin with.
Alex reluctantly pushes Justin away. She knows that she does it for him but why does it have to hurt her so much? Blushing slightly when he lets out a sigh of almost regret or sadness, she suddenly finds her new nail polish the most interesting thing in the room. Shivers run down her spine when she looks up and sees his grey eyes staring at her. For a moment, he seems surprised at something then it disappears. His eyes seem dull and reveal an overwhelmed man who has given up. She carefully grabs his hand while keeping steady eye contact with him. She leads them to his bed where she sits down and begins to pull him to sit beside her when his eyes grow darker and clearer than they were before and he yanks his hand away.
"Okay now it is my turn to be pissed. Why are you so cold and so angry? I get it. I tease and use you too much. But what else is making you this way?" Alex is irked and annoyed that she cannot understand why he has a stick up his ass. Why can't he let himself trust her or something? What the hell is fighting against internally that he has to make himself fight her too? Honestly she wants to yell her lungs out at his stubbornness and make him tell her but her conscious, if that is what they call the Justin like voice in everyone's head, won't let her. Justin must have a mini Justin inside of him three times the moral compass than the rest of us. She lets a smile grace her features before returning to one of anger and determination. He has to know she is not going to give up on this.
Her hazel eyes look into his but the grey orbs are staring at his hands. Her attention flashes to his hands which seem smooth and soft before revisiting his face. Once again, Alex notices the fine detail of the creases in his face from worry lines. She waits patiently for Justin to explain.
"Remember when we had to do the wizard competition in Puerto Rico?" Alex feels all the wind become knocked out of her. The room shrinks in size and suddenly she can't get enough air to fill her lungs. The well practiced mask of indifference slips off her face. It is like an unspoken understanding between her and Justin that they never speak of Puerto Rico but he broke it. She notices Justin observe her reaction carefully and deciding if he should continue.
"Yeah." Her voice betrays any front of determination and confidence she had left. All that remains is the scared girl who almost lost everyone she loved in the forest. She felt so vulnerable and she promised herself that she would never feel that way again. That is really why she wanted to get away from her family so quickly. It would lessen the pain if something happened that she couldn't control.
"Damn it." Justin's voice cracks again and he looks up at the ceiling as if to try to push the tears back in with the help of trusty old gravity. It doesn't work. Alex's breathing becomes shallower when she feels her own tears begin to form. This is a very touchy subject for both of them and for him to bring it up, the point he is aiming at must be very important. He shoves his hands in his pockets and turns away for a second. She knows that he is losing control of his composure and he hates that. She doesn't know why he has to have some kind of barrier between them.
Alex hears Justin let out a shaky breath before turning back to her. Her eyes scan his for traces of something… anything to let her know what is going on. "Remember when I forgot who you were?"
"Yeah…" Her mind goes numb. Her whole body cuts itself off from the sensation of reliving that horrible moment of fear that she felt when he forgot her. At this time, her chest is heaving up and down, trying to grasp the air that she thinks isn't there. The fear causes her to feel alone. So alone that she can't even bear the thought of Justin being two feet away. On an impulse, Alex pulls Justin towards her. She can't get closer to him as she practically jumps on his lap once he sits down on the bed. The Justin in her head restrains her from doing so and she settles with leaning on his chest and his arm protectively around her waist.
Finally able to calm her ragged breathing, she gathers the courage to look up at him. With his eyes closed with a certain amount of force, Justin manages to continue.
"Even though I didn't know who you were, I promised you that I would never leave you. I knew that you were someone who I wanted to protect and I will always keep that promise." Alex quirks her head slightly to left as she thinks about this new information. She never really thought about how scared and confused Justin was when he couldn't remember a girl in front of him bawling her eyes out. But at the thought of Justin instinctively protecting her warms her heart. Somewhere deep inside of her, in a place she has never looked or thought about, is the hope that he wanted something else too… maybe he wanted to protect her because he needed her.
She can't feel her hands but she senses the wet trail that her tears has left on her face. Finally after letting that sentence hang in the air, Justin opens his eyes. Alex can't help but smile when his grey eyes become soft and gentle again, like the regular Justin she used to know who was a know it all. She watches him carefully. Her breath hitches when his soft hands carefully wipes away a tear that has strayed. She is tempted to grab hold of his hand and never let go but she resists.
Justin's voice reaches a low and hoarse tone that sends tingles down her spine. "But you left me. I never really knew how much I wanted you around until you left. You are always leaving me but I can never leave you." His words take her breath away and not in a sappy romantic way. She never realized how she is constantly leaving him on his own and how he is always there for her when she returns anyway. The guilt hits her again and leaves a bitter taste in her mouth as she thinks about her leaving for a new apartment. Justin's hand snaps her out of her thoughts when it barely grazes her cheek. Her eyes shoot up to stare into his.
"So I will always be here for you when you need someone to clean up the messes. But when you leave me, I have to slowly pick up the pieces of me that you are constantly breaking." Alex's heart breaks into a million pieces. All the anger, the anguish and the pain he has been experiencing is because of her leaving him. She watches tentatively as Justin's eyes shut softly and he take a deep inhale and exhale. It is almost like a weight is lifted off his shoulders. She lets out a shaky breath. So once again, Justin will have to fix what she is broken but this time… she will help him, one way or another.
At first it was difficult to write emotionally for Alex because she was just a physical character who inspired emotions in Justin but I finally got what her character was feeling. WHAT DID YOU THINK? Is it as good as the last chapter?