A/N: I'm writing this to say that this story was SUPPOSED to be a oneshot. But SOMEBODY told me it HAD to be a story! Lol. So I shall type til my fingers fall off! Just for him. Lol. ;)

I paced back and forth across the small space, wanting to rip the hair from my head. He said it so casually, with a cold, calculating grin on his face. At first I thought he was kidding. Surely he didn't mean it...? Whether he meant it or not was yet to be seen, however the words were still there. Unfeeling. Ruthless. They beat at my mind like bats, too painful to be anything beautiful like birds or butterflies.

"I need to work, though, to save up money so I can move out of here. By myself."

He claimed last night he didn't need me. Said he didn't need anyone and didn't want me to try for him. Yet he responded to my touch. Leaned into my caress before pushing me away. Held my eyes in a gentle entrapmnet before biting off some scathing remark or narrowing them into a glare. I had allowed myself to believe that he cared for me, that somewhere behind all his pain, his hurt, his mistrust of women in general, he wanted me around.

I was beginning to think that I was lying to myself.

The night before had felt so right. I didn't know how else to explain it. Just freakily and utterly right. The way he leaned into me despite himself, the way he had responded to my touch, to my advances. He seemed like he had wanted me to do it. Was it all a lie? Was there something I was missing? I silently regarded the night before, looking for any evidence that he had not enjoyed it. Hadn't wanted it.

FLASHBACK

I climbed on top of him, straddling his hips in the darkness. He had half his face covered with the pillow, his eyes shielded from my sight.

"What are you doing?" The tone was harsh, accusitory. I flinched slightly, closing my eyes against a new wave of fresh tears.

"Proving that I need you. You said you doubted me." I answered softly, squeezing his waist with my legs lightly. He scoffed.

"Proving that you need me?" I nodded, knowing he could feel it.

"Yes. I have no idea how to reach you...I have to try somehow..." He made a 'hmph' sound under his breath, so I continued, "Justin told me to try it this way." Justin, his father, whom I was very confused about indeed, told me that seduction might get me through to Arthur. Arthur was so closed off, so reclusive, maybe it would take the heat of passion to get through to him. So I was going to try it.

"I love you." I whispered, kissing his neck softly. "I need you." I lowered myself, so that I could rub against him. We left our clothes on for this; I didn't want to push him to hard into it.

I ground myself against him slowly, moving as lightly as I could forward and back. And again. And again. Finally, after about the 5th try, I got somewhere. He responded. My breathing caught as his hips collided with mine. I thought I saw him frown, like he didn't mean to do that, but I couldn't be sure. I moved once more; he moved with me. Soon we were drawing pleasure from one another faster, our hips smacking together almost roughly as we pushed each other closer to climax.

"Arthur. Ooh, Arthur I need you. I need you, baby, please don't stop. Yes. Yes, ooh, Arthur. Arthur." I moaned to him over and over, clinging to him with my hands and my hips, needing him more than anything. He never answered, never said a word. I knew he wasn't much of a talker, so it didn't bother me that much. I took that moment to study him. He was looking away half the time, despite his face being under the pillow, and his hands were planted firmly behind his head. I reached down while I moved with him to touch him, rub his chest, his arms. He didn't flinch. I kept trying, repeating my words as I clung to him, touching him where ever I could reach. I needed him. Surely he could see that...

I'm still unaware which one of us decided to do it first, but we began to move faster, grinding together more, eliciting more strangled cries from my throat.

"Ooh, Arthur! God, please! You feel so good, please don't stop! Oh! Oh! OH!" Without a sound, he came, but it was different than normal. For starters, normally he made noise here; if no where else in our love making, he made noise right before orgasm. That was one of the ways he showed it was good. That I was worth his time. And secondly, he usually grasped my hips with both hands, pushing me close to him, clinging to me like I was a life preserver. This time was different.

1. He had remained silent.

2. His hands were on my stomach, pushing slightly, but not as forcefully as normal when he came.

I came with him, calling out his name as loud as I could without waking his mother in the next room. In a daze, I crawled off of him, laying next to him, my hand resting on his arm. He pulled his head out from under the pillow and turned to look at me, a cold stare in his eyes.

"If you wanted sex, all you had to do was say something." he said in a frosty tone. I felt like crying; that had hurt.

"I was only trying to prove to you I meant it." I told him sadly. "I wasn't just trying to get off."

"Whatever." he answered, folding his arms up over his head. I pulled my pillow down by his chest, cuddling up to him and wrapping my arm around him. He let me, I assumed because he was asleep.

When I woke up he was facing the wall and didn't want me to touch him all over again.

END FLASHBACK

I was so stupid. He had been giving EVIDENT signs that it wasn't working. That my efforts weren't in the right direction. It was so clear I felt myself about to puke. He was going to leave me. He didn't want to give me a chance. I began to shake and suddenly the room got very hot. I was going to be sick. I rushed to the bathroom, barely making it to the toilet in time before I reched. The vomit burned my throat, making the bruising ache even more evident. The bruising that my neck had endured wasn't visible, thank goodness, but it was still there, it still hurt. And the puke made sure I remembered. Once I had gotten rid of my breakfast, I sat on the bathroom floor for a little while to breathe and think.

What if I proved myself worthy to care for him?

Would he stay with me then?

I became hopeful. I had told him I would take care of the bug problem in the apartment. Maybe that would be a good place to start. With newfound determination, I flushed the toilet and trotted into the kitchen, swiftly removing all the food from the shelves. I sprayed the bug repellent, which said it needed to sit for 5-15 minutes. While I waited I thought for a bit. How else could I prove I loved him and wanted to take care of him? I did the dishes while I thought. He had been coughing an awful lot lately...Then the lightbulb went off. Dust! There was dust all over the apartment! I finished the dishes and began dusting, cleaning out the airfilters, and picking up a little. He came home shortly after. I looked at him and smiled. He raised his eyebrows, the look not exactly hostile, but less than friendly.

"What are you doing?" I explained about everything, from the bugs to the dust. I left out the earlier parts of the morning; I decided he didn't need to know. One more thing to trap in my bottle, right? He nodded, seeming slightly impressed. Granted, it was very slight, but it counted I decided.

"That actually makes sense." he said after my explanation. He gave me a little half grin, which I took to be a thank you. I smiled back brightly. This was nice, this side of him. The half grins he gave me, the charming way his eyes lit up, the almost peaceful air about him. It was nice. It was was calming.

I wished it was real.

I had seen enough of Arthur to know that this was his mask in place. He didn't wanna get hurt, but he didn't wanna fight either. So he settled into pretend peace. It was too sticky sweet, to eerily calm, too close to perfection to be real. I wished he didn't feel like he had to hide. I wished he'd put the mask down for real, even it it was just for a little while. I wished I wasn't the only one that could see it.

I thought about the day before, after his mother had left. Thought about the look in his eyes, the intensity in his gaze. It was haunting.

FLASHBACK

"Anything?" he asked once more, pressing the knife to my jawline. "This is anything, right?"

"Yes." I winced, clinging to his shirt. I forced myself to keep my eyes open, reminding myself despite the fear that I trusted him.

"Are you sure?" he taunted, pressing harder. I closed my eyes for a moment, snapping them back open with a choked squeak.

"Yes."

"Are you fucking sure?!" he was shouting now, pushing hard enough that I knew if I tried jerking away now, I'd slit my own throat. I whimpered, fear leaking out over my words for the first time.

"Yes, yes, I'm sure!" I shouted back in a panic, clinging harder to him, borrowing his support even if he wasn't willing to give it. I realized it was selfish a second before he noticed.

"Clinging to me won't save you. You know that, right?" The tone in his voice had changed drastically. It was more gentle, almost calm. As if he wasn't holding a knife to me. I nodded, hissing in pain when I felt the knife dig just a fraction deeper.

"Yes." I said quietly, forcing myself to meet his gaze. He looked like he didn't understand. I didn't know whether he was confused by my actions, or if he was wondering whta had made him decide to do this in the first place. I never did figure out; in half a second it was back in check, and the crazed smile was back, plastered firmly to his lips. He pressed even harder still with the knife, but just for a moment before pulling it away. I sighed softly, staring in his eyes as he put it back on the other side, pressing it once more into my jaw. I tried not to flinch. He applied pressure for a little while, then stopped, running the dull side of the blade down my face.

"Why is this ok with you?" he asked quietly, suddenly thoughtful. "Why do you keep trying to get me to trust you?"

"Because," I answered, jumping when the cold metal touched my skin once more. "I think you need a family."

"I need no one." I smiled fondly at him, trying to show him with my eyes that I accepted him.

"Everyone needs a family, Arthur." I whispered gently.

END FLASHBACK

"Everyone needs a family." I said again in my head. "He just needs a lot of tender loving care. That wall he keeps around himself is probably made of thick steel. It's going to be hard to pick through it."

I nodded to myself, cleaning and spending the rest of the evening talking to Arthur about absolutely nothing important. I never realized before how important talking about nothing really was. How much it meant, how much of a connection it established. I promised myself I'd talk to him about nothing more often. We talked and laughed and joked for the rest of the evening. His mother came home from work, and even she was having fun with us. It felt so peaceful and so right; now that I look back on it, I can see the tension that I had missed the first time. See that it was perfect. Too perfect.

See that his mask was up and holding strong.

Before I knew it, it was time for bed. I was in the silly mind set that the night before had actually done something, that we were finally able to take a few steps forward. Even just a step, that's all I was looking for. I should have known that it would take a lot more than one night before even half a step was plausable.

Arthur laid down first, bidding his mother goodnight and rolling over to face the wall; his favorite position as of late. I nodded once to his mom as she left the room, turning out the light before she went. I sat down on the bed, almost afraid. Would he be angry? Would he let me touch him? I remembered the good mood he'd seemingly been in all day and smiled. Of course it would be ok; I had no reason to doubt, right? I laid down, snuggling under the blanket for a moment before rolling over to face Arthur. I took a minute to just look at him. The way his hair was tousled slightly from his activities throughout the day, the way his shoulders rose and fell with his breathing, the way there was muscle visible in both his bicep and his back, despite him being completely relaxed. I reached out slowly, touching my fingers lightly to his shoulder. Suddenly, everything changed. Arthur tensed up, the muscle in his back rippling, an animalistic growl tearing from his lips. I gasped, jerking my hand away as he rolled over just enough to shoot me a death glare that actually made my blood run cold.

"Don't touch me." he hissed, narrowing his eyes before he rolled back over to face the wall.

His mask was back full force.

NOTE: So, this is the revised version of chapter two. I decided there needed to be more detail. Well...a friend of mine decided it for me. Lol. Let me know what you think, guys! Your opinion counts!

SF