A/N: Ok, so here's some cute Ezria before a slightly more action packed chapter. Sorry for the wait…Hope you all like it [Very short, apologies… but I've got to get the ball rolling on this story sooner rather than later.]

Chapter Fifteen:


I was lying, exhausted on my bed later on in the afternoon. Mike was in his room studying, and dad was passed out in his own bed. I was really getting sick of it, the whole routine. Mike, I loved taking care of, but dad? He was the one supposed to be taking care of us, right? I rolled up my shirt a little ways to see the bruise, it was almost worse than the day before. I had my journal next to me, but all I could summon the energy to do was just stare up at my ceiling. I rolled my shirt back down and then continued to just stare at the ceiling while I placed my journal back on my table.

"Good evening," I heard a few minutes later and looked over at the door.

Ezra was standing in the doorway, leaning there in a white button up and jeans. I could see the beginnings of his chest and the way he was leaning there, I wanted to pounce on him. I wanted him in my arms, and I wanted him to hold me.

"Hey, babe," I rolled over onto my side to get a better angle on him.

"Have I mentioned how much I love you at all lately?" He replied as he walked slowly towards the bed.

"How long were you standing there?"

"About ten minutes," He replied, kneeling by my bed and leaning in to kiss me softly, "I was admiring you for a while."

"Where is everyone?"

"Don't worry about it. Your dad's sleeping, your brother's working on homework down in the kitchen," He told me, kissing me softly – then tucked a lock of my hair behind my ear, "You are so beautiful."

"What has gotten into you?" I asked, rolling back over slightly to go back to lying on my back.

"I miss you," I replied, crawling up next to me in bed and draping an arm over my stomach, "I miss spending actual time with you – I just miss you."

"Miss me?"

"The way we were," He mentioned as he allowed me to roll over onto my side so that I was facing him, "Before the accident and everything sort of disintegrated."

"Babe, I'm exhausted," I admitted, letting my forehead fall onto his chest.

"I know," He kissed the top of my head.

"I'm sorry for snapping at you, last night," I told him, "It really wasn't your fault that they didn't listen to me, and as long as it was there I guess I didn't have a right to tell you whether or not you could watch it. I just felt overwhelmed, and ganged up on. Everyone else wanted to see, and I just don't. Nothing in me even wants to know who was driving, because it doesn't matter who was driving, you understand that, right?"

"I do," He replied, kissing my forehead, "Let's get off this subject, shall we? How was your day today?"

"Pretty relaxed comparatively," I replied, "Woke up, woke Mike up, made breakfast, brought Mike to practice, went and visited with Jason, picked Mike up from practice, brought Mike to Lunch with Grandma, brought Mike to the therapist, came home started dinner, went and got Mike from the therapist, got home and dad was here and you weren't. I figured you didn't want to see me…."

"My mom called, she was near town for some function this afternoon," He replied, rubbing my back softly, "It wasn't that I didn't want to see you, I just had to go meet up with her for a few minutes. Then I figured by the time I got back your dad'd be passed out and Mike'd be off doing his own thing…"

"Aria?" Mike was in the doorway, and I popped up behind Ezra to see him.

"What's up?"

"Is it ok if I spend the night at Kevin's?" He asked and I nodded.

"Sure, is he coming to pick you up, or do you need a ride?"

"His mom offered, but I'd rather not…"

"Say no more," Ezra hopped up and grabbed his car keys from his pocket, "Where're we going?"

"I've got it, Ez," I attempted to get off the bed but he stopped me.

"I can run him over to his friend's," Ezra told me, shrugging, "Weren't you just complaining that you were exhausted, take a nap – when I get back we'll watch a movie or something."

I took Ezra's advice, the second they had walked out of my room I was completely passed out, I'm sure drooling, on top of my bed. I assumed. When he got back, I really wanted to watch something with him, but I could barely lift my head, never mind stand up and move downstairs to the couch. He very kindly lay with me on the bed at least until I fell back to sleep, but when I woke up in the morning, he wasn't there. It was kind of sad, actually, not that I had really expected him to risk spending the whole night; it just would have been nice to have a warm body lying next to me when I woke up.

I took a deep breath and started getting ready for the day slowly. Kevin's mom will have driven Mike to lacrosse with Kevin, which meant I had the morning off. Ezra had long since picked dad up. I hoped he hadn't gone home for only a few hours just to come back – maybe he spent the night on the couch or something. I went and took a nice long hot shower, then went out to the car.

I thought for a second about going to visit one of my friends, Hanna, or Spencer, or Emily – but I really just didn't want to see them. They wouldn't understand the way Ezra seemed to that I didn't want to know. Jason, was an option but I had just seen him the day before. I decided, once I was already pulling out of the driveway that I would go visit Ezra at work – bring him lunch.

"Hey, babe," I said happily as I walked into his office carrying take out from his favorite Thai restaurant.

"Thai?" He asked as I sat down on his desk, setting the bag in front of him, "This is a surprise."

"I got your favorites," I told him, caressing the side of his face playfully.

"Thanks," He smiled, leaning in and kissing me softly, "You're feeling better this morning then?"

"Well I didn't have to drive Mike to practice," I said, "I had a little more time. Then I didn't want to just stay home all alone – so I came to visit you."

"Well you're definitely welcome whenever you want," He replied, leaning in and kissing me again, placing his hands on my thighs.

"Oh, I'm sorry – am I interrupting?" A voice that I had become all to familiar with in my nightmares came from the door.

I looked around to see Jackie coming in, carrying a stack of papers.

"What's up?" Ezra asked, looking over – he had a look on his face like he was surprised she had shown her face – but I couldn't quite place if this was happy or sad or angry.

"Just thought I'd bring these by for you to look over," she said, swinging her hips like she was a human swing set as she walked over, put them on his desk and made a show of leaving as well.

"What was that?" I asked him as he very smoothly made the transition to the bag of takeout.

"Nothing, we have to work on a committee together," He replied, "I think she's over it, really."

"Yeah, and she just had to bring it to you ten seconds after I got here?"


"Ezra, I told you," I said, "I don't like her handing around. It makes me uncomfortable."

"So we're going to have this fight again?" He asked, "I don't wanna have this fight again."

"Well neither do I," I could feel my temper about to blow off the handle, "I don't know why you keep bringing her back into our lives."

"Because she's a friend."

"Who adores you! Who's in love with you! " I felt myself falling apart, and I didn't even care, "It's like you don't even care about who you're dragging into our lives."

"Aria," He looked so hurt that I immediately felt bad about what I had said, "I am in love with you, it doesn't matter-"

"It matters to me," I replied and he took a deep breath.

"Aria, relax," He attempted to be soothing, "The whole thing has me in the same room with her for all of an hour a week. With like three other professors. Also, I don't know why she came in just now – you're probably right – but what does it matter? I still have to look over these, and I don't wanna have this fight again."

"Neither do I," I pouted as he pulled me off of the desk and into his lap.

"Let's not then," He replied as he kissed the side of my head, "It's not worth it. Rumors are that she'll be gone at the end of the year anyways."

"She is?"

He nodded.

"Good," I said matter-o-factly and he chuckled, "What?"

"Nothing," He smiled as he opened up the take out box, "You're just very cute. You want some, right? You're sharing with me?"

"I have to go get Mike," I leaned in and kissed the side of his head, "But, I'll see you later at home, right?"

"Of course," He replied.

"I'm going to heat up Spencer's mom's casserole for dinner."

"Which is?"

"Broccoli and chicken alfredo."