A/N: So this is Chapter 2: Lips Are Quivering of Beautiful Lies. This chapter was ridonculously hard to write - I think I have about seven versions of it. Please heed my warning from the first chapter in regards to swearing.
I never knew that this chasm could become deeper. I always thought that the moment I tried to end it all everything would be better. I would be able to smile in my final emotions. I would be able to classify those emotions that dwelled deep within my soul. I thought it would change everything for the better, in actuality it made things worse. It has been six months since that cold January day when I tried to make it better – how presumptive of me. I spent three months in a sterile, drab hospital room watching nurses shuffle in and out of my life. I saw my brother everyday and everyday I saw the circles under his eyes grow and darken. This was the aftermath. Not the happiness or loss of burden I anticipated, instead I am faced with the ever pressing weight of my parent's and brother's lives. I have created this weight that is bearing down on their shoulders, they are Atlas and I am the world. For all of Erik's support, I only saw my parents four times. They called once a week, their voices disconnected and quick – the pain hurts them more then anyone else. My brother were there for me, waiting in the wings to pick up any pieces that feel off in the reconstruction, but that was it. My parents were to wrapped up in their own horror at what I had done to pay me much mind and my friends, when I was feeling nice enough to classify them as such, let go of me as if I was infected with anthrax. There were no cards, gifts, flowers, letters or phone calls; silence followed me. To them I was broken, damaged and infectious – to them I was a disease that could be caught. To them, I was a nobody. No longer was I their fearless leader, the leader who stormed the parties and moved with unmatched grace. The last three months I have spent in therapy for those issues, the ones where I took on any persona I needed to survive. I believe that may be why the betrayal hurts more than almost anything else. I was robotic and empty, granted, but foolishly I believe they cared for me to some degree. To some degree I thought they had souls, that they would repay me for my kindness. Instead, I was forgotten and cut down. My attempt had been dubbed an 'accident' by the school board and the intelligent ones published stories of social pressures, the stupid ones spread gossip about how I was pregnant. Erik loved that rumour. In essence, I was forgotten so when my mother suggested a move, not only across town but to another province, I jumped at the chance. If memory serves I packed some boxes that day.
My reminiscing was interrupted by the sound of the garage door closing, my new room being right above the garage had a few drawbacks. We had moved within a week of me finishing therapy and while it was a large, comfortable house it was not yet a home. I shook my head distractedly as I heard my brother bang through the side door, his worn Converse squeaking on the hardwood floor. I let my finger trace the long, angry scar on my left arm out of habit, the jagged skin becoming a comforting feeling. It anchored me, pulling me taut to the ground beneath me. I let my eyelids drift closed as I continued to trace the ugly flesh, missing the for once gentle footsteps of my brother as he pushed open my bedroom door and sunk down beside me. It wasn't until another set of fingers joined my own that I realized he was there and I quiet yelp erupted from between my cracked lips as my eyelids flew open. He was grinning at me, his smile lopsided and contained. We were identical this way – we would never hug or show affection but we knew it was there.
"How you doing?"
His hazel eyes were so like mine, matching in almost every tone and position, but for some reason his were more captivating – deeper if you will. I restlessly chewed my bottom lip between my teeth in an attempt to avoid the question that was asked of me every hour.
"I don't know"
He was the one person I never lied to, the one person who knew everything about me. It wasn't my parents or the countless psychologists, not the doctors or the nurses – it was just him. I closed my eyes in a defeated gesture and lowered my head, not wanting to look at his sad face. Before I took my life into my hands he had been a happy guy, all smiles and laughs. Now, he was empty and guarded; sibling love had a way of doing that.
"Ari, you have to let it go eventually. No one blames you for the fact we are moving, I certainly don't"
He may know me better than anyone else but he still doesn't know all of me. I wasn't upset about the move, in fact I embraced it! No, I was upset that I had placed this burden on my family. I was still here, they now just had to put up with hiding what I had done.
"No Erik, that's not it. Now you have to hide what I've done, you have to live with what I've done. Why couldn't you have stayed outside? Why couldn't you not have come in?"
I knew it was a low blow but I also knew it was true. If he had let me bleed out I would have taken all the stress from them. They wouldn't have had to mention me, their disappointment of a daughter and sister. It would have been a win-win.
"Are you shitting me? You really think that you DYING would have been a better solution? Mom and Dad wouldn't have been able to function, I wouldn't be able to function. You hold this god damn family together! Whether you like it or not we are carrying this burden with you, and it doesn't bother us. Stop being so fucking stubborn and realize we love you"
A sob worked it's way into my throat and I choked on it slightly, coughing as I felt the tears begin to slide down my face. The pads of my fingers traced the intricate cover of one of my novels as I looked into Erik's angry eyes. They held so many emotions, all swirling in the multicoloured depths. Pain, anger, love, and frustration all greeted me with such force that I sucked in a breath. I didn't deserve this.
"I tried to get away Erik but I am so tired of running. I don't want to be cruel, I don't want to be fake. I don't want to mess around with guys or get smashed every weekend. I don't want to date someone for status. I just…I just want to be me. Is that to much to ask?"
I was openly sobbing now, leaning into his shoulder as I steered the conversation around my attempted suicide. What I had said was true, I was tired of pretending. Pretending to be happy, pretending to be stupid – pretending to be someone I'm not. I just wanted it to end. His big hand rubbed up and down my back as he looked down at me, his auburn hair falling in front of his eyes. Automatically I pushed it off his face, not even realizing the fact that I hadn't done that in over a year. Surprise flashed over his face before a warm smile broke out – this was the brother I had missed. He knew I had issues with affection, as did he. We didn't hug, kiss, or show blatant affection to anyone so my little display of leaning into him and pushing his hair out of the way was huge for us. We were only ourselves with eachother.
"No one is expecting you to be anyone anymore. You are free of those gossiping, cheating, lying, manipulative bitches. You can be whoever you want to be – personally I vote for you. You don't get it Ari, you're gorgeous, smart, funny, witty, sarcastic, and kind but you always hid those traits underneath layers of fakeness. I didn't know who you were. You were bitchy, domineering and catty; I missed you. And as much as your 'accident'"
I scoffed at that, we both knew why it had been dubbed as such. The school and my parents had wanted to save face. He rolled his eyes at me but continued, albeit with a small tremor of laughter in his voice.
"As I was saying, as much as your 'accident' was terrifying and if you ever do it again I will ensure I never forgive you, it was almost a blessing in disguise. I got my sister back"
I flashed a watery smile at him and snuggled closer into his shoulder, only allowing my face it leave his shirt to speak. He smelt comforting to me, like soap and cologne – a good cologne. It was a smell I loved and knew so well.
"I don't know how to be myself though, I've spent so long pretending I don't know where to start. I look in the mirror and I see the same person I was six months ago, only this time I have scars covering my arms."
I could feel him tense at the mention of my scars, he still didn't like to talk about the reminder even if he would talk about the event. I think it had something to do with the fact that it was his blade, I don't know if he would ever forgive me for that.
"Well, I don't know how to help you break out but I can suggest one thing. Why don't you change your appearance a little bit, I know you've wanted to cut your hair and streak it for a while now. Go out and get some new clothes, I'll go with you, and be who you know you are on the inside"
"Okay Dr. Phil, I'll be true to my heart!"
My voice was patronizing and he shoved me off of him softly before pulling me back, he obviously missed being able to hold his baby sister; what a difference a year makes. We both sat in silence for a while, me staring at the ceiling of my room and Erik staring at the hall bathroom through the open door. I knew it still bugged him to go in there, regardless of the fact that it was a new house – I wonder if he would ever be able to close his eyes without seeing my crimson blood spilled across the white tiles.
"Do you think they'll ever forgive me?"
My voice was barely a whisper, in fact I wasn't even sure he had heard me. However, I felt him let out a long sigh and tighten his arms around my middle protectively.
"I don't know. Right now they are pretty shaken up and are taking any chance they can to get out of the house. You have to understand that when I called them that night they thought you were dead. They've always been distant but I think it hurts them to look at you, to see what has been partially their fault"
The anger and venom in his voice was obvious as he spat out that last sentence, obviously the relationship between my brother and parents had deteriorated even more while I had been in the hospital. They had never been close, my brother blaming them for the reason why I was who I used to be – a domineering bitch – and they blamed him for me as well saying that he didn't look out for me enough. To me, it was no ones fault but my own.
"Take it easy on them Erik, they love you more then you know but they're scared"
"You're defending them? After what they did?"
His tone was incredulous and I gave him a small smile to calm him down.
"It's not like they shipped me off to an asylum, they sent me to a psychologist"
"Who gave you fucking anti-depressents! Don't you think it's a little late for that Dr. I-Have-Seventeen-Degrees-So-I'm-Better-Then-You? They made you numb Ari! I stole them because it was like talking to the old you, there was no emotion!"
He was getting riled now and I placed a hand on his arm while trying to contain my laughter.
"It was a preventative measure, just in case I tried again"
I realize the moment the words left my mouth that it was the wrong thing to say. With startling quickness Erik spun me around so I was inches from his face, his eyes boring into mine with an intensity that made me shiver.
"Promise me. Promise me right now. Promise me you will never try this again. Promise me that if you have an issue you will talk to me. And promise me…promise me that you will never leave me"
His words jarred something deep within me and I bit my lip to keep from sobbing, the remnants of my earlier crying fit still present on my cheeks. With a shaky nod he crushed me to him, hugging me so strongly to himself I thought I heard my ribs protesting. Slowly, and with a shaky breath he released me but not before kissing my forehead in a brotherly gesture of affection.
"I love you Arianna O'Connor. Don't you dare forget that."
"And for some reason I love you Erik O'Connor. I won't forget that."
There was a tone of finality to my last suggestion and he nodded slowly. This was an end to an era but I had a tingling sensation in the back of my skull that told me that the next one was going to be the stuff of legends.
A/N 2: Always 2! Anyways, this is just to ask you to please review - I love constructive criticism as well as just general comments. Thank you to those few who reviewed last chapter, if it wasn't so late where I am I would go and find out the usernames. So, thank you and I promise to put usernames in the next chapter. Also, next chapter is when school begins...DRAMMMMAAAAAA.