Disclaimer: I do not own Pretty Little Liars, I'm just having some fun
A/N: Hey, so really have recently got into the show… and love Ezra and Aria so much I just can't wait… so I figured I'd write a kind of parallel to what's going on starting the day after their kiss in the rain (2x17)… be sure to tell me how you like it :)
After the Rainfall
For the first time in weeks, I woke up with a smile on my face – and immediately masked it over with false pain. I felt like people would pick up on my happiness, and clearly my family was trying to forbid that, so I stepped up my acting game. I would tell everyone, and that really did mean everyone, that Ezra stood me up. No one could know, I was taking no chances this time. If this was going to work, the next year and a half were going to be nuts, but I would do it – for Ezra. This was going to require that – at least for a little while longer – I had to act as miserable as possible, even with my kiss with Ezra in the rain playing over and over in my head.
"What's up?" Mom asked as I appeared in the kitchen for breakfast, "You seemed a little happier last night. I thought you were starting to feel a little better."
"You don't want to hear it," I sat at the table with a bowl of cereal.
"Of course I do," She replied, "Despite what you may think, I do care."
"Fine. I miss Ezra," I said simply, "And before you get mad – you have to understand he was more than just a guy to me. He was my best friend – someone I could talk to about anything. I love him, and to go from sophisticated poetry writing man to a high school boy is not going to be easy."
"I know," I cut her off, "But – it's just not the same."
"Time for school," Dad came in, purposefully interrupting me, "Do you want to drive her, or should I?"
"I think she can handle driving herself," Mom replied and I gave her a surprised look as she handed me the keys –dad left the kitchen without a word.
"Seriously?" I verified as I took the keys from her.
"I know Ezra meant a lot to you," She sighed, "And I appreciate your trying to recover—why don't we have a girls night tonight? When I get home from work? We'll send Mike and your dad out somewhere."
"Thanks, mom. I'd like that. But, I love Ezra – even if we're not together," I told her, "I don't know that I'll ever not…"
"Well maybe later on – but for now you should focus on being a teenager," Mom said, "But I wouldn't on him waiting for you."
Oh, I think he would.
My blood was boiling. I knew she was only trying to help, be encouraging, and make me feel better. However, the part about being a teenager – it killed me – it made me want to go at something with a baseball bat. What teenage years was she referencing? I understood it, she wanted me to have a normal adolescence – but it was a little late for that. My adolescence was murdered with Alison, ruined when dad made me keep his affair from mom, soiled with having to deal with Mike's issues, and haunted by A. Yeah, being with Ezra – who made me feel beautiful, loved, safe, and cared for – was what was going to destroy my adolescence.
"Aria," I was halfway down the hall to my locker by the time I came out of my internal rant – Hanna was waiting for me.
"Hey," I said casually as I opened my locker, trying not to make eye contact – worried my miserable façade would dissolve.
"So how'd it go last night?" I was rifling through the piles of books in my locker.
"He didn't show up," I was sure she knew it was a lie.
"Are you ok?"
"No," I answered, "But I will be. I'm more angry than anything else."
"It doesn't make sense," She said as we started walking to class, "He was willing to stand in front of your parents and tell them he was in love with you…"
"Yeah, well maybe he decided I just wasn't worth it."
"Don't be stupid Aria," Hanna rolled her eyes, "He loves you, way too much. He's probably doing some weird heroic thing."
I just kept my mouth shut. I was glad that I had good friends, because if Ezra really hadn't shown up – Hanna's words might have helped. Or at least the fact that she was trying to make me feel better would have slightly lightened my day. We very quickly made plans for lunch, and then headed off to our respective rooms for first period. At lunch, I would figure out how to borrow someone's phone and call Ezra. See if I could sneak off to see him before I went home. Mom wouldn't be home until seven, and dad even later. Mike had a detention, mom had to pick him up before she came home.
"Over here, Aria," Hanna called as I carried my tray aimlessly through the cafeteria.
"Hey guys," I said gloomily as I set my tray down – sitting between Spencer and Emily.
"Ok," Hanna said cheerfully, "You two need to chin up."
"Chin up?" Spencer asked and I just looked at her like she was nuts.
"Yeah, there's not much to chin up about," I commented and Emily gave us a sympathetic smile.
"Oh, c'mon guys," Emily said, "Leave 'em alone."
"Hey," I said, pretending to check my phone in my purse, "My phone's dead. Can I borrow someone's? I have to call Mike, ask him when I have to pick him up."
"Here, use mine," Emily handed hers over.
I took it over to the side of the room where I would have a little privacy. I dialed Ezra's number as quickly as possible and then looked out the window as it rang.
"Hello?" He answered, and I had to be very careful not to smile.
"Hey," I said, "Are you going to be at your apartment this afternoon?"
"Should I be?"
"I have about four hours after school."
"Letting up on house arrest?"
"A little," I replied, I felt bad – mom was trusting me here, but there was no reason to let it stop me.
"I'll be there," He chuckled, and I could see his smile.
"Damn," I mumbled and he chuckled.
"You're so damn sexy," I said softly and he chuckled.
"Just wait until you're here - in my arms."
"I miss you so much."
"You just saw me last night."
"Barely," I said, as I saw Hanna looking over concernedly - asking Mike for a time didn't take this long, "Hey, I have to go - but you'll be there, right?"
"Yes," His answer was instant, "I love you, Aria."
"I love you," I replied, hanging up – and quickly deleting the call from the history – then calling Mike.
"Hello?" A completely bewildered Mike answered the phone.
"It's Aria," I told him, "My phone died – I just wanted to make sure you were doing ok today."
"Thanks?" He replied, "Why do you sound so-"
"I was trying to be peppy."
"Don't," He said simply, "I know you're... upset. About everything that happened with Mr. Fitz. I'm sorry I reacted like that, too."
"It's ok, Mike," I wasn't even sure if I was lying or not, "I have to go, I'll talk to you later tonight, ok?"
I still wasn't at all happy with him for hitting Ezra, but honestly it probably would have been him or dad. I hung up and then made my way back to the lunch table. I handed back Emily's phone to her and the rest of the day seemed to drag on from there. Maybe it was just because I knew I was finally going to be able to see Ezra after school, or maybe it was just World History class was just that boring. I stooped to doodling in my notes while the teacher talked, and made sure I was ready to bolt as soon as the last bell sounded.
I went out to the parking lot, avoiding any normal routes where I might see anyone I knew. I got into my car and drove off before anyone could say anything to me. I parked the car in the bushes, as per usual, behind Ezra's apartment building. I looked around, probably more than I should have before I bolted inside. I went up the stairs up to his door in a normal fashion, as to not alarm or alert his neighbors. I knocked on his door and it swung open just about immediately. I stepped inside and right into Ezra's arms – the door closing behind me.
"Mmm," He smiled as I looked up at him, "I never thought I'd see you in here again."
"I would have found a way," I told him, leaning up and stealing a quick kiss he was only too willing to give away, "The only way you wouldn't have was if you didn't want to."
"Well that's just stupid," He chuckled as he leaned in and kissed me again.
"Hey," I allowed him to lead me to the couch, "You weren't answering my calls – I didn't know what to..."
"Ok," He stopped me, wrapping me up in his arms, "I promise I'll never do that to you again."
"Thank you," I said, fully aware he was teasing me.
"But even if I was, you should know by now that I love you more than anything in the world," He replied, and I smiled, "Movie?"
"I think I'm signed up for at least two with mom when I get home."
He nodded understandingly.
"Well, in that case," He started, as he kissed the top of my head.
"If you could just hold me?" I suggested, "That'd be really nice. I've missed it."
After a little while we just started talking to each other, about nothing – for hours. I missed it, I had missed him – far too much for me to even try to communicate. Then, lying there in his arms spooning on his couch, it was like heaven. Or at least that was the only thing I could compare it to. It had been like having been stuck in purgatory, not sure which way I was in favor of then finally crossing into the pearly gates. To know that Ezra and I were not giving up, and we weren't going to let anything get in our way any more. He was mine, and I was his – that was just the way it was, and the way it was going to be.
Four hours passed much too quickly, but we made a plan to meet up two days later. I would "go out" with Holden and he'd pick me up near the movie theater. I gave him one last kiss goodbye and headed out towards home. It was going to turn out perfectly, I would be home just in time for the car to cool down before mom got home. I had to calm down as I walked into the empty house.
I was, for once, absolutely ecstatic that no one was home. I turned up the music and danced around, then calmed down just enough so that my miserable facade could return. I settled down and threw a few bags of popcorn into the microwave – this as a car pulled into the driveway. I took a deep breath, it had to be mom.
"Aria?" It was dad.
I was confused, he wasn't supposed to be home yet.
"What're you doing here?"
"Get your coat."
"Dad.." I started as he threw it at me, "Is everything ok?"
"No," He said, "We're going to the hospital – your brother and mother were in a car accident."
"What?" I asked, "Mike? I thought you were picking him up."
"I was supposed to," He replied, backing the car out of the driveway.
I was quiet the rest of the way to the hospital – except for the quick text I sent to Spencer. It explained what was happening and where I was headed. I told her to tell the others, and I didn't know any of the details but if she could be prepared to come meet me at the hospital. There was a reason I didn't know any of the details: I was afraid to ask. It clearly wasn't a fender-bender, but I was afraid to ask just how bad it was. Luckily, dad didn't seem to feel the need to tell me.
I wasn't sure whether it was encouraging or not that he took the time to pick an actual legitimate parking space. I figured it was a neutral action, seeing as he then left the car door open as he headed for the emergency entrance. I shut it, then ran after him. We got in there and Mike was sitting in a bed in the hallway. He was all scraped up, bits of glass in his hair and his arms had what looked like road rash all over them. Other than that, he looked good. He was awake, alert, and was holding his arm weird.
"Dad, Aria," He said.
"What's the matter with your arm?"
"Doc said it's broken," He replied, "Do you know anything about mom?"
"I'm going to check on that now," Dad said as he walked away.
"What happened?" I asked him as soon as dad was gone.
"Mom and I were driving home when some psychopath came out of no where," He said, "We had just barely left the school parking lot, I don't even know if mom got her seat belt on. I can't remember a thing. They told me they had to take mom straight into surgery when I woke up."
"How hard did they hit you guys?"
"I don't know," He replied, "Pretty hard – the cops said they took off."
"Then who called it in?"
"A passerby," Mike said it simply, but motioned over towards the waiting room.
I followed his head nod to see a slightly frazzled looking Ezra. My Ezra. He was chewing on his fingernail nervously, and looking around – like he was waiting for someone to start screaming at him. He ran his hands through his hair a few times and checked his watch.
"Seriously?" I asked Mike, and he nodded.
"He pulled me out of the car," said Mike, "It was leaking something...Go ahead. Go talk to him, I'll explain to dad, It'll be ok."
"I don't think it will," I said and Mike shrugged.
"He asked me earlier if he should go before you guys got here," Mike looked at me seriously, "He seemed really worried about mom, and I told him to stick around. There's no reason to make him go – he may just have saved our lives."
"I don't think he wants to talk to me," I replied, trying to continue the facade of me not seeing him since he was at the house.
"Better you than dad," He pointed out and I nodded, took a piece of glass out of his hair and headed towards Ezra.
"Aria," He sounded almost out of breath as I walked over to him – he got up and gave me a huge hug.
"Did you see my mom before she went into surgery?"
"Yeah," He said, and by his tone I knew it wasn't good, "I went out to get dinner and just happened to see the accident. Have the doctors told you anything?"
"No. We just here – saw Mike in the hall but all he could remember was him coming around and the doctors telling him mom was in surgery."
"Oh," He sat back down and guided me into the seat next to him.
"Aria," He said my name carefully, "Your mom smashed her head on the windshield. She was alive when we got to the hospital, but she was in really bad shape. Saying, incoherent things, and telling me that you loved me, and how could I not care. Things like that. She said something – it doesn't matter. They took her right into surgery while I sat with Mike. They told Mike that she might not make it – but he was out of it. They have him on all sorts of pain meds for his arm. When he came back around I just told him she was in surgery."
"Ok," I took a deep breath, and exhaled, "Thank you, for staying to talk to me. You should go though – before dad sees you. I'll call you and tell you how she's doing."
"Aria, I'm not going anywhere," He told me, "Especially not now – unless your dad decides he wants to call the cops and get a restraining order – I'm here."
"All that won't be necessary," I heard dad's voice before I looked up and saw him, "I'm thinking thanks are in order here."
"Not at all needed," Ezra swallowed nervously.
"They took Mike for an X-ray," He said, "And your mother's stable in surgery. Ezra – from what Mike told me you saw the whole thing?"
"Yeah, I was headed to go get some dinner..."
Dad was being nice, and Ezra just started talking – taking advantage of the moment.
"I was going to find some dinner when I passed the high school," He started, "I saw a car coming out of the parking lot, but there was someone driving the wrong way on the street. They smashed right into the driver's side and the car almost tipped over. They took off and I ran over to the car, which is when I realized who it was. Mike was concious but groggy and not quite sure where he was, he had smashed his arm against the door on impact. Ella was unconcious, slumped over the steering wheel, bleeding from her forehead. I checked her pulse, and made sure she was breathing. I called the ambulance, and then smelled gas leaking out of the car. I told Mike to get out of the car, and lifted Ella, very carefully and laid her on the grass a ways away from the car. Mike passed out and I woke him up, told him to keep his eyes open – he has a concussion – and helped him out and brought him over to where Ella was. Ella looked – terrible so I had Mike stare at the sky. Then the ambulances got there."
"Ella hit her head? On the Windshield." Dad clarified and Ezra nodded.
"Her head was bleeding, the windshield was starred," Ezra said and Dad nodded, "I'm so sorry, Mr. Montgomery."
"Relax, not your fault," He said, "You did what you could. Thanks for, taking care of Mike."
Ezra nodded silently, and I wanted to put my hand on his arm – but didn't want to push it. I leaned back, I wanted to be in Ezra's arms, I wanted him to be able to comfort me. I took a deep breath and Ezra just looked at me, and I knew that he knew exactly what I was thinking.
"Well, I just wanted to thank you for sticking around for Mike," Dad said briskly, "But this is really a family affair. You should go get something to eat. I'll let you know how Ella is tomorrow?"
"Well, I'd like to stick around for – everyone – that's ok," Ezra tried.
"Ezra, I don't know how much contact you've had with Aria the past couple weeks – but she's moved on," Dad very quietly, and Ezra raised his eyebrows, "She's seeing someone else – and I've called him so he can come and stay with us."
"Holden," Dad looked at me like I was crazy, "He's on his way. It probably wouldn't be the best idea if Ezra was still here when he got here..."
"Aria!" Spencer just about shouted as she walked into the waiting room, "Ez- Mr. Fitz, what're you doing here?"
She looked like she was about to stab him with a pitch fork.
"I guess I'm going," Ezra said, getting up – acting very wounded – I'd have to call him later.
"Yeah," Spencer was furious, "I think that's an excellent idea."
"Spencer..." I tried to calm her as Ezra gave a little wave.
"Let me know how Ella is..." He said just as he left.