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 Chances (Ariel)

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PostSubject: Chances (Ariel)   Sat Dec 26, 2015 12:55 am

"Okay, so, when we get there, you better have my back," Hunter said, hopping into the driver's seat of his truck and closing the door behind him. "And none of this I want to wait in the car because it's cold shit, you hear me? Because I'll know you're bluffing, because you never minded the cold in Netherlands." His hand found the shifter, and he hesitated for a moment before finally putting his truck into drive, pulling out of the place he'd been parked on the road. "And listen, if you think she's angry, or upset or anything, play it up a little, yeah?" When there was no response, Hunter glanced over at the passenger seat so see his dog Rex staring back at him with a bored look on his face. "Don't give me that look," Hunter warned, turning his eyes back to the road, trying his best to ignore the fact that he was having an actual conversation right now - with his dog. Because that would imply that he was possibly, maybe, ever so slightly nervous about the outcome of this trip. And Hunter VanDerberg did not get nervous. About anything. And especially not over a girl.

But this wasn't just a girl. This was Ariel. Ariel, who he hadn't seen for weeks. Since she'd admitted that she had feelings for him. Ariel, who deserved so much more than an apology from him. He could've apparated there, but Hunter hated apparating, and Ariel didn't exactly live far. Besides, if he'd apparated, he couldn't have taken Rex. And as much as Hunter didn't want to admit that his stomach was twisting into an unfamiliar ball of nerves at the idea of seeing her, he knew that he'd brought Rex not only as backup, but as a form of moral support. Was she this afraid to tell him? This afraid of what he'd think of her for it? Not that Hunter was afraid, of course not. Just - No, fuck it, he was definitely nervous. Because never before had anyone's opinion of him mattered this much. Not to mention, his own feelings weren't exactly sorted out entirely - but they were sorted out enough. Enough to know that pushing Ariel away this time had been a mistake. Enough to know that he wanted this. Just - not enough to be sure that it was a good idea. But Ariel had been honest with him - he was only just realizing now how brave that had been of her. He owed her as much. Because she was right - this wasn't his decision to make. Not entirely. Even if she'd changed her mind - even if she hadn't, he owed it to her to let her in. She deserved to know the truth, and she deserved to have a say in whatever came of it. Not to mention that, despite all of this, if anyone would be able to help him figure out what he was feeling, it was Ariel.

The drive was too short, and too soon Hunter was stepping up to Ariel's apartment door, Rex tagging along at his heels. He hadn't even told her that he was coming - maybe he should have. Maybe he should just text her. Maybe, he should just go home, and Ariel would be none the wiser. What if they were eating dinner? He didn't want to interrupt them. Holy fuck, this was ridiculous. It was just Ariel, why the hell was he so hesitant? He vaguely acknowledged Rex sitting down at his heel, and he felt his jaw relax slightly as the dog leaned against his leg. Lifting his hand, he rapped sharply on the door before he could chicken out, and then instantly wished he hadn't. But it was already done. Too quickly, someone came to the door. And Hunter had no idea who he hoped it was. But he thankfully didn't have long to think about it, because the door opened. And it was Darcy. Not really meaning to, Hunter breathed a sigh of relief. He smiled at her, glad that it wasn't their mom, who was almost disturbingly attractive. "Hey Darcy," he said lightly "Is Ariel home? I was hoping to steal her for a few hours." Apparently, Ariel was home, because Darcy greeted him with a smile and went off to get her. Hunter wondered how much Ariel had told her sister about what had happened.

The time between when Darcy left and Ariel turned up felt like it stretched on for ages. When he heard footsteps coming to the door, and he looked up. He wasn't sure what he'd expected to happen when Ariel came, now that he'd admitted to himself how he felt about her. He'd expected her presence to make him more uneasy, if anything. There was also a part of him that was worried that her Veela magic would hit him full force when she turned up. But when Ariel stepped through the doorway, none of that happened. He released a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding and actually felt himself relax. That unnameable emotion that had chased him here filled him again - but this time, the urgency was gone. It was almost like the sense of relief that washed over you when you were fighting sleep for hours and finally, inevitably, decided to give in.

Because that's what he was doing - he could already feel it. He was giving in. He took a breath and wondered why he'd ever thought he had a chance of holding his own in the first place. "Hey," he said hesitantly, the right side of his mouth lifting a bit. "I know I probably should've texted you to say I was coming - I hope I didn't interrupt your dinner or anything. Well, actually, that's a lie, I don't really care if I did," he added as an afterthought. His words were a bit more rushed than normal, but at least he sounded like himself. That was something. "I owe you a tour of my apartment," he said finally, inclining his head toward where his truck was sitting. "But you're stuck with the middle - Rex has been my best friend longer than you, and he likes the window seat," Hunter said. To Rex's credit, the dog had leapt to his feet and bounded to greet Ariel the moment she'd turned up. He was good for that. "He's a bit spoiled, honestly, but he's good company - just wait till you meet Alaska. She's a piece of work."

Before she could even have a chance to say no, and only so she wouldn't have a chance to say no, he turned on his heel and started back toward the truck. Rex looked at Ariel for a moment before trotting off after Hunter. "Come on, it's freezing!" he called over his shoulder. Because acting like things were completely normal was obviously the best way to cover up the fact that Hunter was somewhat lacking the confidence he was supposed to always have. Besides, he wanted things to feel normal between them again. And he was sure that Ariel did, too. Yes, they had a shit ton to talk about. But it wasn't anything that they could sort out on Ariel's doorstep. He opened the passenger door of his truck to let Rex jump in, and then went around to open his own, holding it open for Ariel to slide in before him. If she followed him. If she didn't hate his guts, for abandoning her. Don't be a stranger. But he had been. Again.

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PostSubject: Re: Chances (Ariel)   Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:15 pm

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When Darcy left the room, Ariel turned to her mother with a smile; Mary’s change of character (or, rather, return to character) had brought something exceptional back into her life, something she’d almost forgotten; safety. And not the safe that most people felt when they were around people they trusted, but the kind of safety you can only feel when you’re around your parent. For some reason, it gave Ariel a hope that things would turn out okay. If Hunter needed time before he’d manage to speak to her again, that was okay. For some reason, it was bearable, because Ariel knew he would eventually talk to her. And Ariel would be there when he did. As nothing but a friend, if that was what he wanted. Ariel would be anything for Hunter, as long as she was in his life. And now it was okay if she had to wait to return to his life. It really was. Because of her mother. «She’s taking an awful long time,» Mary suddenly said, and Ariel laughed. «Maybe it’s Colton White,» Ariel suggested in a smug voice. Mary laughed. «Yes, m- wait, who?» she asked surprised, «Colton White? The Quidditch player?» Ariel nodded slowly, meaningfully. But then Darcy was back.

And her face was a tad more serious than Ariel would’ve liked, even if there was a ghost of a smile on her lips. She was looking at Ariel. For a heartbeat, Ariel couldn’t understand why, but then she felt something cold rushing through her. «Hunter?» she asked, her voice barely a whisper. Darcy nodded, a sisterly understanding in the way she did it, almost as if she’d hugged Ariel to make her feel more comfortable. Ariel blinked a couple of times. «Hunter? VanDerberg, right?» Mary asked, trying to understand what was going on, «Since when did my daughters have men in their lives?» Ariel could hear that she was joking, but she’d otherwise tuned her mother out. She had not expected that her wait would be this short. So he was standing outside the door right now. Wanting to talk to her. What did she say? Feeling slightly panicked (which was the reason for the cold rush), she couldn’t do anything for a moment. Darcy’s hand was suddenly on her shoulder and she smiled comfortingly down at her. Ariel sighed. «He said he wanted to steal you for a couple of hours,» Darcy added softly. A couple of hours. Mary scoffed, which made both sisters look at their mother, who shrugged innocently. «What? We only just got her back from Hogwarts!» she said indignantly. Darcy laughed. «Oh, this is so much more complicated than that, mum,» she said.

Ariel finally stood up and gave a small smile at Mary. «I’ll tell you all about it when I get back,» she said softly. Mary nodded to that. Darcy smiled and sat back down again. Ariel walked out of the living-room towards the door. She stopped for a moment, and took a deep breath. What was he going to say to her? And would it really last for two hours? She was obviously going somewhere, she had a feeling they wouldn’t be talking together for two hours on her threshold. So where were they going? Would she need her packed down warm jacket? She could see her suitcase from here. If she walked a tad bit further, she’d see the front door. She could feel the cold air simmering into the apartment. She finally let go of her breath and started walking to the front door, where she could now see Hunter, but her attention was quickly diverted to the dog sitting by his leg that suddenly rose and trotted inside, greeting her. Ariel smiled and crouched down, petting the dog as Hunter started speaking. His voice hit her like a bullet and her eyes left the dog -Rex- and met his. She saw that he was smiling a bit. And he sounded pretty calm, very much like himself. But he was speaking a bit rushed. That very slight change was the only thing that let her know that he didn’t feel as at ease as he looked like he did.

«I know you don’t, but you didn’t interrupt,» Ariel quickly said, not wanting him to think that he was bothering. She might be a bit uncertain about what he wanted to tell her, about what she would say to him, but Hunter could never be a bother to her. She loved him far too much for that, and this time, it wasn’t only in the romantic sense. She looked back at Rex as he stuck his snout under her chin and giggled, scratching his neck. And then she looked quickly up at him again. The apartment. That’s true, she had yet to see it. She felt a happy smile spread and a sense of curiosity; she really did wonder what kind of a place Hunter lived at. She frowned a bit. «The mid- right! The truck,» she said, interrupting herself, «You drove here then,» she stated, for no apparent reason. She smiled as he mentioned Alaska. Really, Hunter was turning into a catlady, except he was guy and it was dogs. Ariel stood up as Hunter turned around and walked to the truck. Ariel blinked, noticing that Rex hung back for a moment before trotting after Hunter. Ariel sighed. Wasn’t he even going to ask her? She supposed he didn’t really have to. But she didn’t start putting on her shoes before he finally exclaimed that it was freezing. Ariel shook her head and grabbed a random jacket that she didn’t even know was hers, and then left the house, shutting the door behind her.

She reached the truck and gave Hunter an even look, not to tell him she was angry, because she wasn’t, but actually the opposite. It was just to tell him that whatever he’d decided on, she’d be fine with it. And she would. Unless he’d decided to stay out of her life. She would murder him before she let that happen. And the likelihood that Ariel Wilde would murder anyone, let alone Hunter, was pretty damned slim. She scooted in and looked for a moment at Rex, who looked right back at her. She turned to look at Hunter as he sat in and closed the door. For a moment, she wondered if she ought to say something, but the silence -though perhaps a tad tenser than normal- was not uncomfortable. She looked out on the road as they started driving and absentmindedly petted Rex. «How have you been?» she asked, glimpsing over at him. She couldn’t look at him long, though, he was too close for that. She was actually painfully aware of how close he was, but she tried to ignore it, which -admittedly- she found pretty hard. For a moment, she wondered if she’d be able to do as she had planned; to be fine with Hunter’s decision. If, now that she knew, it was so hard to be around him. She wasn’t sitting smushed between Hunter and Rex, there was distance on both sides, but the tiny, small gap between her and Hunter that was the only thing stopping her from actually touching him seemed to be laughing in her face. She had a feeling that this was much worse than if she’d actually been smushed between them. Even worse, the gap was so small, she could feel the heat radiating from him, the heat she’d always been so used to. Two months ago, neither she nor Hunter would think twice about it if she’d leaned down on his shoulder. Now, to her, that seemed completely impossible, and that thought alone seemed to choke her up, but she quickly regained her control. It’d simply caught her off guard.

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PostSubject: Re: Chances (Ariel)   Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:39 pm

Hunter knew that he had always been particularly attuned to Ariel, in the sense that he oriented himself around her when she was with him. He reacted to her before she herself knew what she was thinking or feeling, like it was some innate part of him that he couldn’t ignore, even if he tried. How had it taken him until now to realize that he wasn’t the only one – that Ariel did it, too. There was nothing different about the way her eyes turned toward him when he spoke. But, for the first time, he was almost painfully aware of the way it reminded him of himself. The way her attention was drawn to him, as though whatever he was going to say was the most important thing in the world, even before he’d said it. It was almost ironic, how similarly he reacted when she answered him. When Ariel met his eyes, he knew that it wasn’t new. He’d just never been paying attention. Apparently, neither had she. But Hunter was pretty sure that nothing had ever been so painfully obvious before, and he suddenly couldn’t understand how they had both been so blind. Ariel’s uncertainty was tangible from the moment she stepped to the door, but at least she didn’t seem upset. It wasn’t that he thought she’d be angry with him, but the smile that spread across her face when he told her where they were going was more than he could’ve hoped for. ”It was a little cold to walk,” he replied a little sarcastically, but he was relieved at how easily his amusement crept into his voice. ”And you know I hate apparating.” Ariel’s exasperation brought a slight grin to Hunter’s lips as he turned away from her, because it meant that she was feeling a bit more at ease. He turned back to wait for her when he reached his truck.

Hunter would be lying to say that he wasn’t a little uncertain of what Ariel’s being a Veela would mean. He tried to reason with himself that it hadn’t affected him in years. Why would it now? But the truth was that he’d just never let it affect him. The idea that she would ever actually want him to stop looking the other way would have been ludicrous.  But wasn’t that exactly what she wanted? Hopefully, because he was looking now. Hunter had always been drawn to Ariel, but never like this. When he was younger, he’d always thought that Darcy was the most attractive person he’d ever met. But as his eyes followed Ariel while she made her way toward him, he wondered when her softer, subtler features had become preferable to him. Ariel would never take being called pretty as a compliment, but it suddenly became immensely obvious that she could be standing in a crowd full of Veelas and Hunter would still pick her out. Because the moment she reached him, how hard it all hit him had nothing to do with the fact that she was a Veela. It was just her.

The look she gave him – the way he knew exactly what it meant. He hadn’t been sure before, but in one look she told him that she hadn’t changed her mind. Hunter never would have thought that his resolve would be tested by Ariel Wilde in the middle of the street in front of her house, but here he was using all of his self control not to push her up against his truck and kiss her. Because it really could be that simple, and he’d never wanted to do anything so badly in his life. But Ariel deserved more from him than some cheap make out session against the side of his truck. She deserved an apology, and an explanation, and a chance to change her mind after she’d heard both. And after all that, if she wanted a cheap make out session, she could have one. But for now, he let her pass. The silence that followed wasn’t a bad thing, because Hunter had a lot to say, with no idea how to say it. His eyes followed the road in front of him while he turned everything over in his head, until Ariel finally spoke up. ”Good. Busy,” he replied quickly, though there were about a dozen other answers that would have been more honest. He pulled his eyes away from the road to look over at her, but she’d already looked back down.

Hunter frowned. She was uncomfortable again, and it felt wrong. For a moment, he hesitated, wondering if he should or if it would make things worse for her. But in the end, he reached over and slid his fingers through Ariel’s, hoping to do away with the barrier between them. It was strange, the mix of novelty and familiarity that came along with it. Her hand fit into his like it always did. But he’d never been so aware before of how soft her skin was, or the warmth that spread over the back of his hand as he rested it on her leg. Almost instantly, he changed the subject, to keep her from thinking too much into it. ”This was Jack’s truck,” he told her, glancing over at her again. ”The ministry helped me bring it here from Netherlands – Mum said I should clean it out, but I kept it the way he left it.” His eyes drifted to the air freshener hanging from the mirror. It had long since lost it’s scent. ”Though, there was a pretty ancient sandwich in the back that I eventually had to throw away.” Hunter wasn’t sure whether reaching his apartment made him feel better or worse, but either way it wasn’t long before he was parking again. He let his hand slide from Ariel’s and hopped out of the truck. ”I hope you weren’t expecting a mansion,” Hunter joked as he unlocked the door and pushed it open. ”Behave,” he warned Alaska the moment he was inside. To her credit, the wolf gazed at Ariel warily, but sat down and didn’t move. Turning to look at Ariel, who was coming through the door, he grinned and spread his arms. ”Well, this is it. All three rooms of it. Worth the wait?”  Pointing toward the two back doors, he rattled off what was what. ”Bedroom, room with all my potions shit, and living room slash dining room slash kitchen.” The room they were standing in functioned as all three, with just a countertop dividing the kitchen from the rest. The table was still littered with everything he’d been studying. Hunter absentmindedly crossed into the kitchen and opened the fridge, pulling out a couple bottles of butterbeer.

”Unless you’d rather firewhiskey,” he told her with a grin, returning and handing her one. Turning and leaning back against the living room side of the counter, he let his gaze hang on Ariel a bit longer than usual, and he felt his grin faltering. Because all of a sudden, he realized just how badly he’d failed her since September. He’d always wanted to be someone that she could depend on, and somewhere along the way he’d lost her in his mind. Treated her like some acquaintance that didn’t really matter – let her think she didn’t matter. It was why he’d brought her here anyway – why put it off. So with a sigh, he broached the subject. ”We’ve had a rough couple months, huh?” he asked, his voice a bit deeper than normal. He hesitated for a bit longer than he should have before continuing. ”Look, Ariel, I owe you an apology. And not one of my normal ones that are usually over nothing. I mean a real one.” Hopefully, she’d get the picture that she couldn’t just blow this one off. ”The other week – when you – I mean, I – “ Holy fuck, this was bullshit. Hunter didn’t stutter. Stopping to take a breath, he started again a bit more coherently. ”I shouldn’t have reacted like that. And I shouldn’t have waited until now to see you, and I’m sorry.”  

That would’ve been a good stopping point, but after another moment of hesitation he couldn’t help but ask the next thing on his mind. ”Why do you trust me so much?” It wasn’t that Hunter was untrustworthy. He could keep a secret, it wasn’t as though he’d never help someone out, or sell someone out or anything. But Ariel was the only one who had ever trusted him inherently – to be a good person, do the right thing. She trusted him with her. He knew that he didn’t have to explain what he meant - she always understood him.  But he couldn’t help now that he’d started. ”I mean, do you really think I won’t hurt you? I have before – hell, I’ve been hurting you for weeks,” he pointed out. ”Do you really think I won’t do it again?” He wasn’t sure why he was starting here. He hadn’t admitted to anything, he’d hardly given her anything to read into. Maybe there was a part of him that knew he’d never feel good enough for her if they didn’t get past this first. Because if she wasn’t sure of it, he would never be. And in a way, he could feel that he'd already accepted her response, no matter what it was. This was a matter of steeling his resolve or breaking it. Because if there was even the slightest possibility that he could lose her, he wouldn't chance it. Not in a million years.

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PostSubject: Re: Chances (Ariel)   Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:19 pm

There was something in the look Hunter gave her when she walked into the truck. She couldn’t place her finger on it; she’d never seen that look before. She’d seen all sorts of emotions in Hunter’s eyes and it wasn’t hard for her to read them, not after so many years of friendship. But this emotion she hadn’t seen before. Hunter’s short reply made Ariel blink, but she kept looking out at the road. She noticed in the crook of her eyes that he did look over at her, but even though -normally- she’d simply look back at him, it froze her and she knew she couldn’t look over at him without blushing. So the hard part wasn’t being around him, the hard part was relaxing around him, and trying to swallow back the emotions she felt. It shouldn’t be this hard though. She managed a small sound of understanding after his two short and up-to-interpretation words. He’d been good. And busy. To think that those were the only two words she’d get from him. For a moment she wished she’d decided against coming. Yes, she wanted to see his apartment, and for all the right reasons, but she’d imagined he’d be his normal self. She’d taken that for granted. If there was something Hunter was really good at, it was to not stress out about something, but there he was, seemingly just as, for lack of a better word, uncomfortable as she was. She’d really hoped he’d be the one to break the tension. The idea that she might be expecting too much of him struck her; she had admitted her feelings to him, and she was sure that if it was the other way around, she wouldn’t really know how to treat him. Maybe he was trying out new things, ways in which he should talk to her. That would explain the light mood he’d been in when he was at her door compared to the short replies she received now.

But she was wrong. Of course she was. Because Hunter was set on breaking the tension, even though by doing so, he made it so much worse for a fraction of a second. The emotions that ran through her - the shock - when his hand grabbed hers and laced his fingers with hers were enough to make Ariel feel as if she’d never move around ever again. She felt like a freaking mountain. But then he spoke, and all the tension and all her thoughts instantly went out the window as her sole focus became that of looking around the truck, her expressions suddenly solemn and appreciative. She didn’t quite know what to say, but that was okay. The feel of the truck was so comfortable, though. It was like a wonderful display of affection, especially since he’d not changed anything. She had to snort at the mention of a decaying sandwich, though. “I’m sure Jack wouldn’t mind you throwing that away,” she said softly, yet lightly. She took another look around, her eyes resting a moment on the air freshener. She wondered what it’d smelt like. She came to a sound conclusion, thinking about the comfort of the truck, and the things in it. She shrugged, unknowingly squeezing his hand in the process. “It fits you,” she said smilingly, honestly.

Before she knew it, they’d pulled to a stop, and Hunter had let go of her hand, and gotten out of the truck. Ariel followed quickly and shut the door after Rex had jumped out too. The dog trotted after Hunter and it was such a cute image that Ariel had to stop herself from making a snarky comment. Not that Hunter would have minded, but Ariel didn’t want to make this all easier just yet. So she shook her head at the mention of a mansion and walked in behind Hunter, taking in her surroundings. First off, she saw what had to be Alaska, a beautiful big dog. Then she looked around at the apartment and she grinned at Hunter. “It’s perfect! Look at this!” she said, turning around in the room that was everything. She couldn’t help her grin widening as he turned around with butterbeer. Leaning against the wall on the opposite side of him, she pulled a face at the mention of fire whiskey. “I think I’ve gotten a complete distaste of that nasty concoction since the first time I tried it,” she said, thinking about the Shrieking Shack. How people enjoyed fire whiskey she’d probably never know.

She watched as Hunter’s face changed into something serious, and Ariel knew what would happen next. She let her own face fall accordingly, and she looked at Alaska and to Rex, before turning her eyes back to Hunter. The bandaid was coming off. And Ariel was glad; she didn’t like tiptoeing around on shards of glass where every step could hurt her. She nodded slowly. “You could say that again,” she said softly, taking a sip from the bottle. She didn’t know why, but she felt her defences coming up, something that was so unusual whenever she was around Hunter. But she supposed that was just what had become of them since her seventh year started; she suddenly had to guard herself so she wouldn’t get hurt. Not that she’d noticed that herself, before the halloween ball. Now she knew, and now all her defences came to her rescue. It was stupid, because she knew Hunter didn’t want to hurt her. She didn’t want to speak just yet. She knew he’d have more to say. When he started to say it, though, Ariel almost wanted to cry out in frustration, but she let him go on. A real apology? What even was a real apology? If the situation had been different, Ariel might’ve laughed at the way he tried to explain. Hunter wasn’t exactly known for not managing to say what he wanted. But here he was, stuttering. It did -however awful it was to admit it to herself- make her feel a bit better. But she kept her mouth shut; she knew he really needed her to listen to him this time.

For a moment, she thought he might be done speaking, and she started forming words in her head that she could share with him, but just as she was about to say something - she had even opened her mouth - Hunter asked her why she trusted him. The question caught her completely off guard. Why she trusted him? Because she knew him. Because she knew he never wanted to hurt her. Because he was who he was, and she would never want him to be anyone else. Do you really think I won’t hurt you? Of course she didn’t think he wouldn’t hurt her. He already had, just as he’d stated. She’d probably hurt him. She already was. Putting him on a pedestal, thinking he was the greatest person she knew, letting him think he’d let her down. He was beating himself up because Ariel was what he deemed good. And she was, she always had been. But it didn’t make her flawless, and it certainly didn’t make her fragile. And with that, her defences let go of her. Ariel calmly pushed off the wall and put the bottle down on the kitchen counter before she walked over to Hunter, taking his hand in hers. “It’s not about trusting you, Hunter,” she said softly, “That’s what you don’t understand.” She didn’t know how to explain it. So she smiled and decided to answer his question even though it wasn’t the answer he was looking for. “I trust you because you have always been and will always be the person I know. And it’s not about having uncharacteristically high thoughts of you. It’s not. It’s just that I do know you.” He’d better not dare to contradict her on that. She’d flip.

Now to try to explain how it wasn’t about whether or not she trusted him. Maybe it was about that for him, but if he was so scared of hurting her, it was her reason that should matter, wasn’t it? Or was that selfish of her? “Look, I know that it’s important to you to keep me out of harm’s way. I do, but that doesn’t give you the right to decide what I should do. And I’m not saying that you won’t hurt me. I’m just saying that is my risk to take, and I’m okay with that, because I know you never wanted to intentionally hurt me. It’s not like you could ever loose me,” Ariel said with a light smile. And then she realised what she was even talking about, and her breath caught in her throat. She hadn’t even given it a moments thought that Hunter was even thinking about considering her as something more than a friend. But there he was, asking her questions that, as a friend, he’d never had the need to ask her before. What was this? Ariel was officially confused, and she felt her defences coming back up again. Was he really doing what she thought he was? Or was that just wishful thinking? “Hunter, why am I here?” she asked him cautiously, torn between dreading the answer and longing to know what it was.

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PostSubject: Re: Chances (Ariel)   Sun May 01, 2016 1:12 pm

He hated it - the way Ariel's eyes became guarded when he brought it up. They'd never been like this before, and for a moment Hunter wondered if this was a bad idea after all. Maybe pretending like it had never happened would be the right thing to do. Maybe it was what Ariel wanted. The only problem was, after all this, he wasn't so sure that he could do that. Only after he'd finished talking did she seem to relax a bit and came closer to him. He released a breath when he felt her hand on his, and lowered his gaze for a moment while she spoke. "So you're saying that it's because even if I'm a giant ass half of the time, at least you'd expected it of me?" he replied, risking a hint of sarcasm. He glanced up at her as she kept talking, but kept his expression impassive. Because she was talking as though she already knew what he was trying to do, and so far what she'd said hadn't entirely convinced him that it was even the right decision. It wasn't until her last sentence that she really gave him the answer that he'd been waiting to hear - so clearly that he wondered if he'd asked it aloud. It’s not like you could ever loose me.


Hunter stared at her for a moment, trying to decide where to even go from here. All of a sudden, forming a coherent thought seemed impossible - not a problem that he typically had. But there were so many things that he needed to say to her, and he had no idea which he needed to say first, and trying to put it all together in his head wasn't that easy with Ariel standing right there. And she didn't even realize that she was making it hard for him to think straight. So, when her question cut into his thoughts, he answered without really meaning them to. "Because I miss you," he blurted out, before realizing that it was probably not a bad place to start. And now that he'd started, he felt like holding back all the things in his head would be bordering on painful. He gently pulled his hand from Ariel's, because the contact was making it harder to think. "And because we need to talk and - or, I guess, because I need to say something." Ariel had done her talking already. It was his turn to do his. Taking a step back from her, he sighed and ran a hand through his hair before letting the words fall out of his mouth, because he had a feeling that once he'd started he wouldn't be able to stop until he was finished.


"Look, I know you already know, but I don't think I've ever said any of it out loud, and God knows, Ariel, that you deserve to hear somebody say it to you." He took another breath, a strange mix of emotions running through him as he spoke. He wasn't sure if he wanted to stand still, or pace, or just skip all of the words and get to the point. Was this what nerves - these kind of nerves - felt like? If so, no wonder he'd never fallen in love with anybody before. Looking at Ariel made it harder, so he kept glancing away. "You need to know that - that I've never cared about anybody as much as you. Ever. That I think that you deserve every bit of good in the world and then some. And that I don't even know where I'd be without you." With another sigh, he realized that standing still wasn't an option anymore. He almost wanted to laugh as he started pacing a bit, because hadn't Ariel done the same thing? But instead, he kept talking. He could almost kick himself for how fast the words began to tumble out, because Ariel would see right through him. "When you told me how you felt, I'll be honest, I didn't even think about it. The obvious answer was no, because how could that ever be a good idea? There are so many ways that it could go wrong. And I mean, come on Ariel, it's so typical of you to just not even care about all of the ways something could be bad, and only see the good. It's what you always do, and when you get like that with something there's no telling you that it isn't smart!"


Well fuck. That made it sound like he was blaming everything on her. Which really wasn't what he was trying to do. Making a frustrated sound somewhere in his throat, he continued. "The thing is, I've been going crazy since then, because I didn't expect to – Holy fuck, Ariel, no matter what I do now, I can’t get what you said out of my head. I- I just - " Holy fuck, Hunter was pretty sure if he stuttered one more time, he'd just turn around and walk right out of the door.  Taking a breath, he tried to slow his thoughts, and his voice, before continuing. Was he even making any sense at this point? Probably not. Trying to swallow the anxious feeling rising in his chest, he stopped pacing and faced her. "Look, what I have with you - I've never had it with anyone else. And I'd never want it with anyone else. And I would never risk losing it. I just - I never really stopped to think about what that meant." Hunter felt a jolt of nerves race through him as his next sentence started to form. Taking another few steps closer to her felt strangely like invading her personal space, even though it was ridiculous to think so, because he and Ariel didn't have personal space. But as he drew closer to her, to the point of having to look down at her to meet her eyes, he felt oddly concerned that she wouldn't want him there. "I know that I said you deserve to be with someone who loves you back, but the truth is - "


He'd hugged Ariel a million times, but for some reason, resting his hands on her waist felt like the most daunting move ever. And, as they settled there, he worried over her reaction because at this point he was making himself extremely clear. "Ariel, the truth is that there isn't anybody out there who could love you more than me. And I don't want anyone else to." The moment the words had left his mouth, he released a breath and felt his nerves ease considerably. Raising a hand from Ariel's waist to her neck felt a little less uncomfortable, though as his fingers brushed her skin there, he was all too aware of the fact that he'd never touched her like this before. He was also all too aware as he met her eyes that he'd never wanted to kiss somebody so badly before. And now there was no hiding the meaning behind his intensity from her. Taking in a breath, the hand on her waist pulled her closer to him, and he pressed his forehead against hers - but refrained from going any further. This wasn't something he was willing to do lightly - it could change everything. "Are you sure this is what you want?" he asked, his voice deep. He could feel his breath reflect back onto his own chin, taunting him with how close he was. "You can still change your mind." After a moment, he added, "But only for about ten more seconds, because I mean, come on, I'm only human." He felt a slight grin play onto his lips, and it felt good to feel his confidence come back to him. But he was sure his anxiety wouldn't fade entirely until she'd answered him.

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PostSubject: Re: Chances (Ariel)   Sat May 28, 2016 11:34 pm

The sarcasm coming from Hunter’s voice was enough to make her want to laugh loudly, but she kept her face calm. “Yes,” she deadpanned, and then smiled, shaking her head. “No, I’m just saying that you’ll always be worth it.” She really hoped he could understand, that it wasn’t impossible for him. But standing there, looking at him, she wondered if he ever would. Yes, she put him on a pedestal, but so did he. At least she knew she was doing it, at least she knew he could fail. But Hunter seemed to genuinely believe that nothing Ariel could ever do would be wrong. And that was so frustrating to her. All her life, she’d been a troublemaker, even if it was all done in good spirits. She was always the one people would expect the worst from. Yet when she was around Hunter, she’d always be the goody-two-shoes in his eyes, because she couldn’t do wrong. She briefly wondered if he’d ever thought that he was doing the same to her that he thought she did to him. And when she thought about it, his sarcastic question rang true in her mind. She did expect him to be a bit of an ass. And she was okay with that, because he was Hunter, and she didn’t love him in spite of his attitude, she loved him because of it. Well, partly.

But she could feel her palms sweating, she could feel her heart racing. Why was she there? His eyes didn’t betray emotions other than something resembling nervousness. Which was weird; she’d never really seen Hunter nervous. Not like this. And in the brief moment of silence, Ariel felt her hopes rise. And she cursed herself for it, but she couldn’t help it. What if things were working out the way she wanted them to? It would be all too amazing. It was unbelievable. So she tried discarding the thought. And then Hunter spoke up, and she felt her heart thud uncomfortably. Because he missed her. Of course. She’d missed him too. She should’ve known he wanted her friendship back. She certainly wanted his. It just wasn’t what she’d wanted to hear. And she knew she’d been stupid for thinking he’d want something more now. But the disappointment was still sore when he started speaking again. Needed to talk. Him needing to say something. It didn’t help. It was true, of course. But it didn’t hurt any less, on the contrary, when he pulled his hand from hers. How could she have been so stupid as to think he would be proclaiming his love for her? His discomfort was probably caused by her and she was just making it worse! He probably wanted to explain to her why she should be grateful that he didn’t think of her in the way she thought of him. Damn, sometimes Hunter could be so blind. But at that moment, she’d do anything for them to be normal again.

So she listened obediently, silently. Letting him tell her how much she was worth in his own words, to make her feel better about herself. The fact that he was pitying her almost made her interrupt him, but she held her tongue. But she didn’t feel better. She deserved to know though, apparently. So she ought to listen to him; maybe he’d make sense. Maybe their friendship would return. At this thought, all the others seemed unimportant. Because she did want that, more than anything. Well, almost anything. And even though what Hunter was saying wasn’t exactly what she wanted it to be, it did feel good to hear it. She had to smile slightly as he told her he’d never cared about anyone more than her. Hunter would never know how true those were of her own feelings toward him. And then he was moving around, pacing. Hunter didn’t normally pace. He had to be so stressed. Ariel didn’t know how to make him feel comfortable anymore, and she hated that she’d driven him to this. But she couldn’t help him feel like he wasn’t hurting her, that she was okay, and deep down she knew that was because he was hurting her, and she wasn’t okay. Not that she’d ever admit it to him. She was completely taken aback though, when he stopped trying to comfort her and made it sound as if everything was her fault. A crease deepened in her forehead; she couldn’t control that anymore than he could control the weather! But the frustrated sound coming from him made her realise that he wasn’t blaming her. His stutter made it clearer.

And with that, the next sentence came out of his mouth, a stutter again there. And that was the point that Ariel realised she had never been more wrong in her life. His previous words ran through her mind again, and it all clicked. She was pretty sure her cheeks were reddening, but she didn’t care. She just completely refocused on him when he stopped pacing and hung on to every word he said. What it meant? Ariel hadn’t thought about that before Hunter had left her social circle and her everyday life. She couldn’t blame him for not having noticed. It had taken her years to see. And then he was walking closer towards her. Ariel had never thought she’d need to remind herself to breathe. Even in her worst and best parts of life, it had always been a part of her reflexes. But not at that moment. At that moment, she didn’t just have to remind herself, she had to force herself to breathe. It was almost impossible. As if Hunter had stepped into a zone that had never existed before and limited her access to oxygen. She had to look up, she had to crane her neck to look him in the eyes. She’d never felt such fear in her life. Though, later, looking back in retrospect, it had probably been adrenaline. And when his hands placed themselves on her waist, she felt like a deer in headlights. She’d never felt so self-conscious before. But the thing she thought was fear was subdued as a roar unlike anything sounded in her ears. She was sure that her hair was putting Goldilocks to shame. She didn’t know if it was joy or victory or pure and utter bliss that was the most resident feeling, she just knew that a mixture of all those three and a hint of fear was making her feel more alive than she ever had.

He loved her. He loved her. Hunter loved Ariel. She felt his breath on her face after he’d said the words, once again making her very aware of how close he actually was, and when his hand left her waist and settled on her neck, she had to refrain from closing her eyes. His eyes held emotions she’d never seen before, emotions she was completely overwhelmed by seeing, emotions her own eyes were mirroring. And then he was pulling her closer, his head bending down lower. She was sure he’d kiss her, but when he stopped with his forehead on hers, she had to draw a breath, she had to close her eyes. She heard his question, she heard him say she could change her mind. But what really registered was the time limit. The time limit told her everything she needed to know. It told her the same thing that she hoped Hunter would read from her having to close her eyes, to take a moment to just be. To just, feel. His presence was too much, but not enough. And it felt so great. It wasn’t a hardship for her to lift her own hands, one of them placing itself on his side, her hand closing around his shirt, the other softly placing itself on his chest. She could feel the thumping of his heart, she could feel her own. She slowly opened her eyes, looking into his. She wasn’t sure if she could even speak, but Ariel wasn’t known for giving up without trying. “I’ve never been more certain of anything in my life,” she whispered, not giving a shit about how cliché it might be, cause it had never been more true. Then she tilted her head slightly, and kissed him.

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