Stylish Nights With Gibsons
Chapter One: Overture
There was the old legend about the eagle, that when it reaches a certain age, their instincts guide them to seclusion. Once safe, they pluck out their own feathers, shed their beak and talons. They then wait for their renewal. Haden's father always said they pulled out their own talons and then broke their beaks against a rock. The whole process would be painful and almost sacrificial.
He told him this story while growing up and even though it sounded scary back then that such a gracious bird could cause so much pain for itself, Haden was fascinated by it all. Still now, he thought about that myth. It held more meaning than just a painful story, but he always thought it was a lesson of pain and gain, a story about knowing oneself so well and doing anything to be better.
His father always said that if one wasn't feeling themselves or if they were doing things that they wouldn't normally do, it was best to break away from everything for a while, enter seclusion and pull out their feathers and maybe even break their own beak. Maybe Haden took this story too much to heart, but he was still waiting for the moment that he would renew himself.
To Haden, letting something go was one of the hardest things to do. Even when he knew he needed to. Finding the courage and by-stepping the hurt of doing that was the hardest part. He thought his eagle would rather have someone rip out its own feathers than rip it out himself.
However, like an eagle and a predator, he never gave up the hunt either.
"Can I join you?"
Her. Ariadne. He knew the exact moment he fell for her. They were twelve when she stormed into his room, her honey-colored curls bouncing against her shoulders. As a child, she always looked like an angel to him.
"Haden," she had said in a tone she always used when she demanded something, "you have to help me. I want to be smarter than prettier."
"What happened?" he had asked her, furrowing his eyebrows.
She had sat down on his bed, crossing her legs and picked on his bedspread. She glanced at the book in his hands and pouted. "Everyone keeps saying how pretty I am. But with you, it's always 'Aw, he's so clever!' I don't want to be like the girls at school, Haden. I want to be smart."
At that moment, he could only stare at her. He loved her realization and even more so as he grew up. She didn't know back then that just by wanting to be smart she was already smart and had always been. Ariadne always had a quick wit about her. She could figure out people's intentions instantly and what made them crawl.
"I understand why you're always here," she said now, falling down on his bed. "Your room is always so quiet."
He looked at her from his desk. Her eyes were closed, her head to the side. Having her around was always like having his heart ripped out. Maybe it would have been different if his parents hadn't adopted her from Alice all those years ago. It would also have been different if she hadn't been in love with Keiran. It would have been different if he could just let her go and face reality. The reality that he understood so well, he knew that Ariadne would never end up with him. Haden wasn't even sure where it would begin before it even ended.
"What happened now?"
"Keiran is being an asshole," she said. "I thought I would hide out here. He knows you well enough to know not to barge in here."
He chuckled. "And so do you."
"I'm not going to bother you!" she exclaimed, sitting up. "I promise. Read on."
There was something about unrequited love that made one behave embarrassedly stupid. Maybe Ariadne was the reason why he had shut himself off for so long. His mother always said that love was a heroic thing, at least, the ones that were fought for. He didn't believe much in that.
He was about to turn to her and ask her how long she planned on hiding out in his room when the door opened and Keiran came in, glaring at her before crashing down on the bed next to her.
"You're a bitch, you know that?" he told her and then turned to his cousin. "Ready for tonight?"
They both shared the same green eyes that they had inherited from their mothers. If one looked closer, however, they would see Keiran's had a bit of gold in it and Haden's were just a solid green. The similarities ended there. While having blond hair, Keiran's were brown and he was more tanned. Kalista usually said that Haden brooded while Keiran looked like he could always spin the next joke.
"Ready as ever," he answered, giving him a smirk.
Their band was a torment for Haden at times. While he believed in his cousin, Haden struggled to want the crowd, the harsh lights, the all-nighters. Ariadne and her fame did not stir envy in him and it was the last year where Haden could put the band as something fun that he did with his cousin. Keiran would want to try and make it big come to the end of the school year. Perhaps he would move to New York with Ariadne. And Haden was looking too much forward to be his own person, where he wasn't determined by his cousin's dreams or by Ariadne's lack of love towards him. He wasn't sure where he would go, but it would be somewhere perhaps that they wouldn't follow him there.
. . .
Keiran looked at his band for a minute. Haden was quietly tuning his guitar; Cody, Trent, and Eli were joking about something that he had missed. He wondered then if they would ever make it. Every night they played it seemed like routine. He knew he couldn't do anything about his band at the moment except practice and play at the same bar that they had for years. But soon, he would like to take them big. He had already started writing new songs; something he knew Haden wouldn't appreciate as they normally wrote songs together. But Keiran knew Haden enough to know that his cousin would go to an ivy league.
The scent of summer and peaches wrapped around him before her arms did. Keiran placed a hand over her arm and tilted his head up, his lips meeting hers. When she deepened it, he pulled her to sit on his lap.
"What will I get if I do really, really well tonight?" he asked, nuzzling her neck.
"How about a day we don't fight?" she asked, her fingernails tugging at his hair.
Keiran pulled away slightly. "I don't it like it either, Ari."
She pouted and he bit her lip. She smiled at him and just like that, Keiran's anger at her vanished and was replaced with a warmth that filled his chest. He didn't need words from her; that smile told him everything.
Keiran could never tell himself apart from Ariadne. They had been together for so long that he couldn't even remember how it started. One day they were kids, the next they were figuring out what kisses were. They had always been similar—their personalities intertwined until it became one. And possibly that was the source of most of their arguments. Ariadne never liked anything too easy and if they were not trying to get under each other's skin, they fell into a comfort that became even more threatening then their arguments.
"Well, I know what I would like to do to you tonight," he whispered, pushing her hair off her neck.
"Then you better play my song," she said.
He almost asked the guys to leave the room when she straddled him and gave him a fiery kiss, her sex pressed against his and all that separated him from her were flimsy fabrics that he could easily take off.
"Ariadne, let's go," his sister called somewhere behind them. "I don't want to stand there on my own."
Ariadne didn't even hesitate when she stood up and smirked at Keiran. He clenched his jaw, being on the brink of a hard-on. He ran a hand through his hair and looked behind him as the girls left. Kalista's long blond hair swishing as she walked away and Ariadne's curls bouncing.
Even though it was the four of them, Keiran and Ariadne had a bond that the Haden and Kalista probably didn't understand. Keiran's father had left when he was only one and Kalista nothing more than an unknown cell that would only make herself known two months later when it would be too late.
Ariadne's mother had been a groupie, to the band of Ariadne's father. It had been a deadly type of love, filled with drugs and careless actions. After Alice managed to remove herself from the drugs enough to have Ariadne, she left the baby to Beatrice, who had been her best friend at the time. Years later she returned, a newfound hatred for Ariadne's father, who never found out she existed and whom Alice refused to give information about.
While Kalista didn't have a father, she had Keiran. And he always made sure that his sister was taken care of. Whereas Ariadne and Keiran knew about being unloved and unwanted. Perhaps that was what had brought them together.
. . .
There was something about being left behind that didn't sit well with Kalista. Being the youngest, even if it was only for nearly two years, meant that she had to watch people leave and wait until it was her turn. It had happened with her father, then her cousin, Seth, and now she was going to watch Keiran, Haden and Ariadne leave once the school year was over.
"I hate it that it's your last year here!" she exclaimed, staring at the stage. "What am I supposed to do next year when you guys are gone?"
"Finish so we can all be together again," Ariadne answered simply, placing an arm around her. She was too beautiful sometimes and Kalista could see how she had the two boys that meant everything to them swooning after her. "Don't worry about it, Kali, it's only a year and I doubt the boys will go ahead into college before trying out the band thing."
"Haden will," she said, looking around for them.
The bar owner was already introducing the band up on the stage, and as the crowd moved closer, fists raised, the girls found a stool at the bar to watch from.
"It'll be a waste if Keiran drags Haden with him to try out the band thing," Ariadne said. "Haden has too much potential to lose it all for a phase."
"They might get a record deal?" Kalista offered. She knew they had what it took, but she could see why Ariadne hated it.
"That doesn't mean they can't choose something else to do," Ariadne pointed out rather dryly.
Kalista shut her mouth and not only because the boys finally appeared, but because she knew better than to press the band matter with Ariadne. Having a father that dwelled in the scene possibly made her worry for Keiran and Haden. It was also no secret among them that Ariadne was only a model to please Alice, but the fame took its toll on her.
"How about we go out for late night treat?" Haden asked her, his arms draped around her as they left the bar. Keiran and Ariadne were ahead of them, their bodies so tangled that she couldn't really tell their legs apart.
"No, I'm really tired," she said, feeling the air tense around them immediately. Haden's arm tightened around her.
It had been strange how leukemia couldn't just affect the blood cells and the body. It had also affected people around Kalista. They had discovered she had it when she was twelve. Everyone twisted sideways to be there for her. In return, she had tried to fight hard for them.
She was one of the lucky ones, though. They had found out about it in its early stage so she had gotten treatment and a marrowbone transplant. Keiran was the one who had the hardest time to cope with it, but he was the one who provided the transplant in the first place. He had never really left her side since.
It had been a while since she had last had a treatment. Things were looking up, but whenever she as much as sneezed, she had the three of them stare at her like she was about to break. Haden was her favorite; he usually pursed his lips and took her home.
On the way home, she rested her head on Ariadne's shoulder, enjoying her hand untangling in her hair. Even if it was just the four of them, they were enough for each other. Kalista knew each well enough that meeting new people seemed futile and she would just compare them.
She knew each expression and how Haden really hurt seeing Ariadne and Keiran together, but he would never say anything because he was more afraid of hurting either one. Keiran had a cold and hard exterior, but he had always been the first one to jump in and save the day. And Ariadne, who was confused and innocent in her own way, loved a boy that would never love her as much as did the other one.
They were raised together and that was probably how they would end up in life: always together. Or at least, Kalista hoped so. Even being what they were, they were free in their own little group. They didn't need anyone else. It was the reason why she would have a hard time adapting to school once they were gone.
"You know, I will really miss you guys," she said, raising her head up a little.
Keiran glanced at her from the shotgun seat. "We're family, Kali. It's not our last year together or a goodbye. Now stop being depressed about it."
She glanced at Ariadne, her beautiful honey eyes meeting her brown ones. Her hair tumbled down in curls of the same honey shade as of her eyes. "Ari isn't."
"We'll get married and then she'll be," her brother pointed out.
"Is that a proposal?" she asked.
"You know it, baby," he said, turning around to wink at her.
It was like they were woven together since they realized what love was. One couldn't even imagine Keiran without Ariadne or Ariadne without Keiran. Somehow, though, there was a third thread in there somewhere. Kalista would always be holding her breath, waiting for Haden to break or break through. She didn't know what that would do to Keiran's heart.
"Straight to bed, okay?" Keiran said when they were parked in front of their house.
On the weekends, Keiran usually slept over at their Uncle James's house. Kalista usually did, as well, but their mother usually felt more comfortable having her at home. Kalista didn't mind the preoccupation that followed her now. It was better than the distance in everyone's eyes when she found out she had leukemia.
. . .
To Ariadne, the world was fighting to be something original. That concept was long gone. Everyone was a sum of what they knew, who they knew, and things that happened to them. Magazines considered her beautiful, but was she? What was beautiful and what wasn't? It was all ideas that people of a higher position in society created. And to be someone slowly growing famous, she didn't care much about any of it.
She hated that Keiran wanted to go forward with the band. She didn't want them to be exposed to that scene and she didn't want them to be like her father. Especially since Haden could do so much better. He had taken after his parents and had an eye for physics and literature. She knew he would study engineering if he could.
"Bea?" Ariadne asked as she entered her room and found her godmother, sitting in the middle of her floor, surrounded by her photographs.
Taking photographs was what Ariadne wanted to do best. She wasn't very keen on being behind the camera, but the one directing it and she didn't like taking pictures of girls all styled up. She liked the raw things, the moments that no one was supposed to see.
"Oh, hi," she said, blinking the amazing green eyes that Haden had inherited. "I'm making a scrapbook of you four."
Ariadne smiled at the last comment. They had always been classified as 'you four' or 'those four'. It sounded like they were always up to no good, which in a sense was true.
"Take whatever you like," she said, sitting on the edge of the bed. "There aren't many as kids, though."
"How were they?" Beatrice asked, admiring a picture of Keiran. If there was one woman Ariadne looked up to, it was Beatrice. She always saw too much than was needed with them, but that was a given since she had practically raised all four of them.
"They were good, as always," Ariadne said, looking down at her small handbag. She wished Beatrice sided with her on the band thing, but Beatrice only reinforced morality, which at the end of the day meant no drugs.
"This scrapbook thing has taken over my week. You should see the pictures of when you guys were babies. You shared a crib with Haden sometimes. You two were the cutest things."
She had heard that a billion times, but she always smiled at it. Haden was still the only person that she ran to when she couldn't sleep.
After talking to Beatrice and taking a shower, Ariadne went to Keiran's room, which was really a guest room, but since he was there more than not, it was more his room that he lent out to other people when they visited. They had rules about being in each other's room late at night, but no one followed that anymore. After catching her out of bed so many times, James and Beatrice had let Ariadne go. She assumed they couldn't expect much from teenagers who were in love and had been together for years. They had certainly gone a bit slack now that they were nearly eighteen.
Keiran was sitting on his bed, his guitar resting on his thigh as he let his fingers strum.
"I'm not your dad, Ari," he always told her, but she would never get used to or like the idea of him holding a guitar.
"Come here," he ordered upon seeing her0.
She smiled softly as he extended his hand to her, setting the guitar aside. Moments like these were supposed to be rare. They were together every second of every day. Touching wasn't supposed to be so necessary, but it was for them.
She kneeled between his legs, brushing his wet hair away from his face as she leaned down to kiss him. She loved his lips and how they shaped hers around them. Ariadne's heart pounded in her ears as he caressed her skin, touching every curve as he pulled her closer to him.
He fell back on the bed, pulling her with him, hiking her leg up over his hip. He groaned low in his throat, pulling away momentarily so she could catch her breath.
"Remember earlier tonight?" he said.
"Be more specific?" she said, biting his chin, nuzzling his stubbles with her nose. He was so warm.
"About marrying you," he said. "I was thinking that we should."
She sat up fast, looking into his eyes that looked more hazel at this time of the night. "We're seventeen, Keiran," she pointed out.
"I don't think anyone would disapprove," he said. "Besides, we don't know where we're gonna end up at the end of the school year, but I want to be with you, whatever happens. And you'll be eighteen next month. "
His smile was contagious and maddening. "Baby, you can't be serious."
"I am," he laughed, kissing her nose. "Are you saying no?"
"I don't think you know that word when it comes to me."
"Good," he said. "Consider yourself my fiancée from now on."
"You're crazy," she said, her laugh finally bubbling up to the surface. She didn't know if she could take him seriously, knowing him, he probably was. He flipped her over before she had too much time to think, his lips capturing hers in a deep kiss as he pushed her shirt up.
"Door," she moaned as he tugged at her shorts. He bit her lip in aggravation before standing up and closing it.
Sometimes Ariadne had insomnia. No matter how long her day had been, she could never lie her head down on her pillow and sleep right away. Her thoughts invaded her mind and at night, they seemed worse. She was my worst enemy when she couldn't sleep. Not even Keiran's arms comforted her.
She left him sleeping, his naked chest rising and falling gracefully, his head turned a bit to the side. He looked so much like a kid then. It seemed even comical that he had asked her to marry him, but her heart ached at how hard it beat for him.
She put on his sweatshirt and walked out the room quietly. Stopping by her room she grabbed her camera and made her way outside.
The Di Novis had an amazing backyard. Most of her photographs had taken place there. She lied down on the grass, the small lake just a few feet away as she took shots of the sky. The stars looked like someone had sprinkled glitter all over. After a few takes, she closed her eyes, enjoying the fresh air.
She was so afraid when it was this quiet. It made the world too big and her world too tiny. It made everything possible and far and close. It was suffocating, yet liberating.
. . .
Haden was almost drifting into sleep when she opened the door to his room and slipped in. He was used to this and had already gotten used to leaving a space for her on his bed. This time, though, he clenched his jaw as she pulled the blankets away and crawled in, smelling of Keiran and of the night air.
"Ari, you do have your own bed," he said, turning on his back and throwing an arm over his eyes. He never complained about her sleeping with him, only when he knew that she had been with Keiran before.
He could feel her breath on his skin and her gaze on him. Then he felt her hand on his arm, pulling it away from his face.
"Aren't you afraid, Haden?" she asked.
"Of what?" he asked her, reading a darkness in her features that he didn't like at all.
"Losing all of this," she said.
He sighed, pulling her close to him and tucking her head under his chin. She was so vulnerable at night. She had gone to therapies for it, but the more they tried to pry about her feelings, the more she backed away from it and the more she thought about it. He had stayed up with her on countless of nights, trying to distract her. She didn't like the pills they had prescribed either.
"You're not going to lose anything, Ari," he reassured her. "People move on, but you don't have to lose them."
She nodded and he kissed her forehead. When he pulled away he was surprised that she touched his lips with her fingertips. The honey in her eyes was practically melted as she met his green ones.
"It hurts you, doesn't it?" she said. "Seeing me with him?"
He dropped her like she was hot coal.
"Haden," she said, her tone pleading as he turned away. "Kiss me."
"When I kiss you," he said fervently, "you won't be smelling of him, Ariadne. It won't be in the middle of the night where no one can see us and it'll be like it never happened in the morning. When I kiss you, you'll deserve it."
And she looked beautiful then, which made him even angrier. Her curls were messy and her pouty lips seemed to swell under his eyes as tears dropped to her cheeks.
"You know I would never deny you," she said, sitting up on his bed and causing him to stand up, giving her his back as he ran a hand over his face. She had no idea how hard this was. "I could never do that."
"And I could never betray him," Haden said. "Or share you."
"You think he cares?" she asked, her voice hitching up. "You know he doesn't care."
"Yes, but I care," he told her. They stared at each other for a moment. She was about to cry and he felt like every inch of him was being tightened, like a rope wounding around him.
"Come here." It was lower than he meant to, but she blinked and pushed the covers off.
Once she was standing in front of him, he placed his hands on her neck, dipping his head to touch his lip to her jaw and then lower. She grabbed his arms, digging her nails in as her breath hitched. Tense with want, he nuzzled the place behind her ear, where she smelled like herself—peaches and summer—and he scraped his teeth against her skin.
His name rolled off her tongue like he always imagined it would. Breathless and begging, lost in what her body was telling her. Hearing it, he dropped his hands to her lower back, pushing her shirt up as one dipped inside her cotton shorts. He cupped her bottom, pressing his hips to hers. For a moment Haden thought he lost himself as he kissed her clavicles, but then her hands started moving to his hair and he raised his head to look at her.
Ariadne was flushed, her eyes so bright she could burn him with them and her lips were parted and inviting, making Keiran not even part of the equation.
"You forget I know you, Ari," Haden told her, his voice hoarse, but hard. "I know every sensitive spot on your body. You shouldn't think, for one moment, that I would be okay with just a few minutes, maybe a night. You confuse me with him, and I want you, but I won't have someone so selfish and so naïve. And you would always go back to him, wouldn't you?"
She stepped back, her hands slipping back beside her. If Haden chose, to be honest, he missed her warmth.
"Go to bed," he told her before he could pull her in again. "And I mean your own bed."
A muscle in her jaw jumped, but she complied quietly. Haden couldn't tell if the blush on her cheeks was what she thought would happen or of embarrassment. He watched her go and once he was alone in the quietness of his room, he sat down on his bed, trying to concentrate on anything but the scent and taste of her skin on his tongue.
Author's Note: I hope you enjoy. This story is completed, but I'm editing before posting every chapter and also looked for feedback. Expect daily updates, if not every other day. Review, please! I would love to know you and your thoughts!