A/N: Due to copying from microsoft word, the formatting seems to be a bit off. I greatly appreciate understanding and fiercely apologize.


Griffin leaned in closer, and my senses tingled as the scent of his cologne burned my nostrils. I resisted the urge to reach forward and put a hand on the side of his face, to kiss him, even.

            “Okay, reincarnation?” He asked.

            “Totally fake,” I replied instantly. “If I’d already been through life before, wouldn’t it just keep getting easier?”

            Griffin laughed a little- a beautiful sound- but shook his head. “Not necessarily. I think that the more we invent to simplify our lives, the harder we make them.”

            I considered this for a second. Griffin’s views on life and how the world worked were so different, so open-minded. Like he took a ton of other opinions and twisted them all together into one warped philosophy. And in a way, it all made sense, too.

            “I suppose you don’t believe in fate, either,” he accused.

            I knit my brows. “What, like two people being meant to find each other?”

            Griffin nodded slowly. His eyes always seemed so much greener when he was focused on something he felt passionate about. I wondered if they got that way when he thought about me.

            I simply shrugged, but really, it did seem somewhat likely. Was it really coincidence that had brought Griffin and I together? Or was this his so-called fate?

            Either way, it felt way too right to be ignored.

            Griffin was gazing at me in an expectant way, as though he was waiting for me to say something to him. I thought of the previous day, when he’d told me that he already knew. But already knew what, that was the real question.

            I bit my bottom lip. “Hypothetically,” I began, hoping that this would at least make it a little less awkward, “say this girl really liked this guy, but she had no idea if he felt the same about her, and she was way too scared to ask him. How would she go about finding out how he felt?”

            As soon as I was done with this embarrassing outburst, I turned my head away so that he couldn’t see me blushing, and I wouldn’t have to see his expression, whatever it may have been.

            But when Griffin didn’t answer, I turned my face back towards him. And when I did, he leaned forward and kissed me gently on the lips. My eyes went wide in surprise, but after the initial shock wore off, I allowed myself to kiss him back.  He cupped my face in his hands and held me in place as I tangled my hands in his hair. Every inch of my body felt renewed and alive and utterly, utterly blissful.

            When we finally broke apart, a smile broke out across both of our faces. “Hypothetically, they would probably do that,” Griffin responded.


            Griffin and I carried on as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Sure, my heart beat a little faster each time I saw him, my stomach twisted a little more, but other than that, it remained the same.

            I was sure that my mom and Mark noticed something was different about me, since they claimed I “floated through the house on my own imaginary cloud” and other equally ridiculous things.

            “It must be a boy,” Mark said one night when, miraculously, we were all home for dinner. “Little Arielle’s in love.”

            I ignored them for the most part, though, thinking, as usual, only of Griffin. There was something about him, some secret that I was dying to uncover.

            And there was another mystery that I needed to solve as well. A new figure had made themselves pretty much permanent in my nightmares. And I hadn’t the slightest idea who they were. I was convinced that it was a man, but that was the extent of my knowledge. I didn’t exactly see too clearly in my dreams- nothing more than lights and shadows, echoes of passed sounds, flickers of nonsensical images.  

            I spent the next couple of nights sitting alone on my balcony, just thinking about nothing- well, that and Griffin. I hadn’t attempted to climb out my bathroom window again, but my bedroom one served me just fine.

            Surprisingly, I found it easier to focus my thoughts in the dull roar of New York’s nightlife than in the silence of my room. My lips still tingled whenever I thought about the kiss Griffin and I had shared. I was sure that to him it was just another meaningless exchange between us, but to me it was so, so much more.

I was totally, utterly infatuated. It was unhealthy; that was the only way to describe it.

            But I needed him.

            I’d never needed anything before. Not a mother to love me, or a father to discipline me, or anyone else. I’d learned at a young age to become self-sufficient. I’d taught myself the thing’s I’d need to get through life.

            I’d never wanted anything either. But here was Griffin, this beautiful, perfect, mysterious boy with a million secrets hidden behind his gaze and etched into his skin. I wanted to unravel them all. I wanted to know every part of him inside and out.

            And that scared me more than anything else.


            Time moved slowly for me over the course of the following weeks. Each and every second I had, I relived the kiss Arielle and I had shared. It had been incredible, to say the least.

            I tried to continue on as though nothing had changed, when in reality, my entire world was spinning out of control.

            I could not handle this right now. I was still too raw from everything I’d gone through in the last few months. I couldn’t take anymore pain. Upon coming here, I’d promised myself that I couldn’t be allowed to get close to anyone, not ever again. It would only hurt me again- or worse: them.  

            But in my mind I knew that my heart had already decided.



            The tip of my charcoal had been pressed against the blank cardstock for who knew how long, but behind my closed eyes I could see nothing but dancing flames licking at the early morning sky.

            My fault. It was all my fault.

            I willed the agonizing memories away, trying to allow something more peaceful to take their places, but it was too late. They were all I could focus on.

            I heard the echoing screams, almost as if they were real. It hurt as if they were real.

            Grinding my teeth, I forced my eyes to open. With heavy, labored breathing I looked around my room, reminding myself that this was reality, not those painful moments from my past.

            Absently, I turned my inner wrist upward, traced over the scars there with my forefinger, the only indication left of how I’d tried to destroy myself. All the burns I’d inflicted had faded way, healed with time. Now all that was left were these damn scars, letting everyone see that I was a monster. That I was a reckless, dangerous monster, who would bring destruction to everything they touched. Would the pain never cease?

I laughed to myself, and the sound was cynical. Nothing ever healed, not fully. Just because it couldn’t be seen didn’t mean the bruise wasn’t there.

            It had been three months since my parent’s death. Wouldn’t this ever fade, even a little?

            I thought of Cordelia, in her room down the hall. She loved me; I knew she did. She had been my savior, the one who had convinced me that nothing good could possibly come from my masochism, from my self-destruction.

            But sitting here alone in the twilight shadows cast about the room, it was so easy to imagine letting go. It wouldn’t be hard, and it couldn’t possible hurt worse than anything else I was going through.

            And yet…

            And yet I felt this tugging at my heartstrings, heard a voice in my head telling me that this wasn’t only about me anymore. That there was someone who needed me too. Who needed their own savior.

            With a silent groan, I dropped my spinning head onto my drawing table. When had everything become so complex?

            No, life had always been difficult. If life was easy, then what would be the point?

            Lifting my head slowly, I retrieved my charcoal and began to draw.    

The End

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