So I love these two, so much! I shipped them from the moment in the pilot where they bumped into each other, so I'm so glad that they finally started having scenes! And the fact that Juliette was going to tell Avery she loved him last episode, ahhh. This was on my mind and I had to get it down. Please read and review, let me know if you liked it!
Her eyes were still burning with humiliation.
She should have expected that going to Avery's apartment was going to be a mistake. Of course Scarlett was there. Why didn't she think of that? At least she hadn't finished her sentence, at least she hadn't told him…
She cut her train of thought off, not even wanting to think the word. That stupid four-letter word that was sharp like broken glass. How many times did she have to get burned before she could stop that word from infiltrating her life? She even told Avery once that she didn't believe in it. And there she was, the ultimate hypocrite, showing up at his door like a giddy teenager expected him to sweep her up and carry her off into the sunset or something.
Even thinking about it was so painfully embarrassing.
She should have known better. This wasn't a damn fairytale. The way she ran up to his door, her heart beating fast. When he opened the door, she should have realized he looked shocked that she was there. She let her heart take over in that moment, not her mind. Her mind would have realized that this was real life, where people were liars, cheats, and where she had to look out for herself. That's why Avery was with Scarlett right now and she was home setting a record for most whiskey drank alone by a pathetic country star. This was the stuff people wrote songs about. The amber liquid offered her solace in her quiet house.
She gripped her glass tighter. It was her fault, at the end of the day. Why had she opened herself up to him? He was the first person that truly cared about her, showing her that she was worth something. Not worth money, not worth fame, but had worth as a human being. People looked at her and saw a stuck up bitch. Not Avery. He never made her feel less, never judged her. In his eyes, she was a person capable of doing good. He held her hand during her mother's funeral, he made her laugh during rehearsals when he knew she was nervous, and he knew exactly what she was thinking and was two steps ahead to ensure that she wouldn't do something stupid.
She remembered one time on the tour bus, he turned on the television and they watched this cheesy romantic comedy where the guy stood outside the girl's window and sang her a song that he wrote. She wrote lyrics while he fiddled around with the strings on his guitar, interjecting comments about the movie here and there. She remembered thinking that she would give anything to stop time and live in that moment. Is that what love was supposed to look like? She had loved Sean, she loved Dante, she even thought for a brief moment she had loved Deacon and Charlie. But she had never wanted to live in a moment like she had on that damn tour bus with him.
In many ways, he controlled her. He forced her to be a better person, because she couldn't handle the disappointment in his eyes. She wanted to make him proud. She wanted to be a person worthy of his approval and attention. The gravity of how much power he had over her hit her like a wave, as she gripped her glass of whiskey tighter.
She turned on the television to the entertainment channel and saw her face on the screen. Juliette Barnes: Homewrecker? The title flashed, large and red. Like a bloodstain that couldn't be washed away. Normally, she would have changed it, but her eyes stayed glued to the words as if they were the last words she would ever see. This is how the world would always see her, and maybe this is who she truly was. She was the person who just jumped from mistake to mistake. She was her mother's daughter, and that was that.
All of the sudden she heard her door creak open. She instinctively lunged forward to grab her phone from the glass table, but lost her balance, slamming her head against the glass table and falling forward on to the floor. Before she could even process what had just happened, two arms were on her waist, pulling her back up on to the couch.
"Jesus Juliette, I thought you said you could hold your liquor."
She pulled back from his touch, edging farther on the couch from where he was sitting. "How the hell did you get into my house Avery?"
He kinked an eyebrow. "First off, I knocked. But then I found out your door was unlocked, so I let myself in. You really should lock your door, what if I had been someone actually dangerous?"
"First off," she spun her finger at him, sarcastically mimicking his speech, "I don't think you can just let yourself into my house. Second off, it's my damn house I can lock or unlock any door I please thank you very much." She grabbed her glass, taking a quick swig. "Besides, I was busy watching the most fascinating news." She gestured to the television, seeing pictures of her avoiding the paparazzi's harassment this morning on the screen. "Oh how the mighty have fallen huh?"
The playfulness in his face dropped. "Come on, turn that off. You don't need that." He went to grab the remote but she clumsily grabbed it just a bit faster.
"Don't you dare turn it off." She snapped. "You think you know everything about me don't you? You don't know a damn thing about what I need."
His eyes flashed. She saw him get up towards the television, unplugging the entire cable, leaning against the wall waiting for her response. Her blood boiled as the image from the screen disappeared.
"What the fuck is your problem?" She screamed, standing up shakily.
"My problem is you are drunk and acting like a child." He snapped back.
"Since when are you my goddamn keeper Barkley?" She sneered. "This is my house. That is my television. You cannot just come in here and pretend like you can fix everything. Besides, shouldn't you be home with Scarlett right now?" She bit her tongue, tasting blood.
"She left a little while ago. A little bit after you came over." After you almost told me you loved me. The words hung between them, unsaid but palpable. He knew. She made it damn clear what she was going to say.
"So what are you here for, sex?" She spit out like fire.
He looked at her incredulously. "What?"
"You wouldn't be the first." She ignored his question, continuing. "Is there something that she isn't doing for you that you think you can get from me?"
"Seriously though, stepping out of bed with one girl and going to another didn't seem like your style." She stepped towards him until they were nose to nose. By the way he flinched a little she knew he could feel her hot breath on his cheeks, permeated with whiskey. "But I shouldn't be surprised. You're turning out to be just like everyone else." She finished the last swig in her glass, dropping the empty glass carelessly on the floor, hearing it shatter. In a second, she pressed him hard against the wall with her hands, sliding them town his torso to his belt buckle.
As she started to kneel, she felt his arms move her upright, pushing her away from him. Wordlessly, he buckled his belt again.
She cackled a little, forcing the air out of her lung. "What? Too virtuous for that?" She stepped back, pulling off her shirt and throwing it on the floor.
Still not saying a word, he bent down and picked up her shirt off the floor, handing it to her without even making eye contact.
"What, you can't even look at me?" She sneered. No response from him still, and no eye contact either. "Are you turning me down right now?" Still no response. Her eyes shone a little as she moved a few steps back from him, letting him readjust his position, still leaned against wall. "Am I that repulsive to you?"
Still no response. Why the hell was he being so quiet? Why wasn't he saying anything? Why wouldn't he even look at her? The more questions that ran through her head, the angrier she got until she couldn't hold back any longer. "You know what, there are a million other guys right now who would be happy to take your place!" Her voice cracked a bit before she recovered. "Guys that have ten times the money and fame you do!" She wanted to hurt him, stab at what he knew his insecurities were. "So why don't you go back home and live in Scarlett's shadow until she decides she wants that other ex-boyfriend back?"
He looked pale, and she knew she had hit all the right spots. He may know her, but she knew him as well. She knew what would hit him right in the gut. He breathed deeply. "Why do you think that way about yourself?" He finally lifted his eyes to look at her.
She paused. "What do you mean?"
"Why do you think this" he gestured between them, "is the only way people want you?"
"No, I won't. You think that you..."
"You have absolutely no idea what its like to be me!" She screamed. She didn't care if TMZ heard her at this point. "Our lives were completely different Avery. I bet your first kiss was Scarlett. Do you know who my first kiss was? One of my mother's creepy boyfriends, who felt me up every night before he went to bed." She could still feel that creep's lips on her and his hand on the curve of her thigh.
She was broken beyond repair. Nothing would ever change that, especially not Avery Barkley.
"I'm not the girl people want as their girlfriend Avery." She pulled her shirt back over her head. She told Deacon once that she wished she could be the girl worth choosing. But she wasn't. And she would be damned if she was in another situation that would confirm that again.
"You don't need to do this." He stepped closer to her, "You don't have to let other people define you this way." He grabbed both of her arms, forcing her to look at him. "You don't have to define yourself that way."
"It's not hard for them to see me that way. It's what I am." She quickly jerked away. "Nobody in my life has cared about me enough to want to stay." Not Sean, not Deacon, not even her own goddamn mother.
"I care. I'm not going anywhere." He said firmly. If she closed her eyes, she might even let her heart believe it.
"You wasting your time, and I don't believe you." She scoffed. "You aren't the first person to promise it to me. You won't be the last."
"Try me." He met her eye for eye.
She looked away. "I want you to leave."
"Come on Juliette,"
"Please, leave. If you aren't here to have sex with me, I see no purpose in you being here right now." She walked her way to the door, opening it wide. "Hopefully you'll get tagged by some paparazzi, at least then people can think I'm sleeping with you. It may get people off my back on this whole affair thing and make this visit worth my time."
Instead of being offended, he smirked a little at her comment, which angered her more. "You know, you and I, we are a lot more similar than you think Juliette. Making comments like 'this doesn't mean anything' even though I know it does."
It was like he had slapped her in the face. Even though I know it does. A further reminder that she had handed him all her power by coming to his door by basically telling him she was in love with him.
He read her mind as usual, and his smirk dropped off his face. "I didn't mean it like that."
"Sure." She gave a tight smile, pushing the door open wider. He needed to leave before she said something stupid or he confirmed what she already knew.
He walked toward the door, stopping in front of her. "So, I came over to talk about what you were going to tell me. Before," he paused for a second before continuing, "Before Scarlett came out."
"It was a mistake. You're with Scarlett, I get it." At the end of the day, Avery was a good guy. He wasn't going to leave his high school sweetheart for trailer trash like her. It didn't matter how much fame or money she had, or how many CMAs she won. No matter how hard she tried to fit in with the upstanding people, her ugly tendencies always came through. How could she be with someone like Avery?
She look up at him and saw it. The look. He was looking at her like she was a wounded puppy dog, in need of rescue. He wasn't going to say he loved her. He was going to come up with an excuse. Here was her heart, rearing its ugly head again, putting all these expectations on a moment that would never go her way.
Before he could talk, she interjected. "I want us to forget any of this every happened. Can we please just do that?"
"You know you mean a lot to me, right?" He tilted his head, looking at her softly.
It wasn't enough. It was never enough. She was never the girl worth choosing.