I Know You're There: Malevolent Innocence

*Conclusion to the I Know You're There trilogy* Reuben's dead. Never to return. Tori doesn't grieve, she gets on with her life. In fact, her and Damien's wedding is coming up. Sure, she loves him, but not like she loved Reuben. Everything's fine; absolutely fine. Despite the fact she cries herself to sleep, and prays for Reuben to come back every moment, everything's fine. What am I saying? It's Tori Hills, nothing's going to be fine, especially when she's about to devote her life to the wrong guy. 'I swear, if mine and Reuben's love was fire, we'd be nothing, but ash.'


5. 'Hey, sweetheart, what's the problem?'

Sobbing my heart out, I felt the coldness of the dew intertwined grass seeping through my shorts. I had no strength to stand, so I may as well have continued kneeling there. Other people in the cemetery didn't help me, they all know they can't. They're there for the same reason, because they lost a loved one, and you can't help someone going through that. They understand that. They understand me.

Why Reuben? Why not me? As far back as you want to go, this is all my fault. The actual day, it was my fault because I made him want to leave. Back to the day Reuben became a demon, my fault, because he gave me his heart. If I didn't have that abnormal heart murmur, he wouldn't have had to give it to me. Even further back, he was my Guardian Angel, if I wasn't so death-prone, I wouldn't have needed an Angel. No matter what, it's my fault. It's my fault that he's dead, instead of enjoying his time on earth. Everything was my fault.

My throat began closing up, so much phlegm building up from crying. Knowing I had limited time, I wiped the tears away from eyes, so I could see. They still stained my cheeks, but I could make out the cold stone. Weakly, I leant forward, and arranged the flowers accordingly. It was always the same flowers, blue and black, for his eyes. 

"I'm so sorry," I choked out, standing up.

As always, I sat back down again, my back against the back of his gravestone. It felt like that time when we were tied up in Damien's lounge, as they tried to kidnap all three of us. It was the first time I'd seen him, after finding out his true identity  and I tried to hate him. Despite everything, he made me run, as he helped Damien. But before, when we were still tied up, and he tried to apologise, we sat like this, back to back. Just another faded memory.

"Please forgive me," I whispered, unable to form any louder words.

Covering my eyes with my fringe, I took a couple deep breaths. I could do this. I had done so for the past five years, I could do it again.

"Just one more chance," I begged, hiding my face in my hands, "I won't let you down again..."

Desperately, I tried to come up with a reason for him to come back. For the past five years, I'd returned unsuccessful, no reason for him to return, and put his life back in my hands. Sure, I had reasons, but none of them were good enough. They all sounded pathetically weak, something you'd say to a five year old to pick his toys up. This was a lot more, I was asking Reuben to resurrect himself.

But today, just this once, I had a reason. After all, it was the last time I would ever visit him. I was marrying Damien, and I could not come back to Reuben after that. That would be discriminating, to come back after devoting my life to another man. So, for the last time, I was there, to be with Reuben, and I had a reason for him to come back to me.

Shaking, I hauled myself to my feet, trailing my fingers over the top of the gravestone. It was cool under my touch, and very smooth from weathering. Slowly, I walked around to the front, and traced his name. I had one more chance to get him back. On the surface, everyone knew he couldn't hear me, that there was no chance, but deep down, I knew he could.

"Come back to me, because..." I trailed off, my vision blurring over again, "Because I love you..." I'd almost finished my reason, as my voice hitched, "Not him."

Without saying goodbye, that would make everything final, I wandered in the opposite direction. I had to drag out the walk home, otherwise Damien would be able to tell I'd been crying. He couldn't see me like that. 

Still crying, I walked down the road, which was practically deserted. Every few minutes, one car would zip past, totally ignoring me. That was fine, though, I wasn't in the mood to be noticed. It's a shame someone did.

A silver car pulled over, the window already wound down, "Hey, you okay?" the guy inside asked.

"I'm fine, leave me alone," I muttered, and quickly walked away.

First off, I wasn't going to talk to anyone about my heartache. Second, I wasn't going to talk to a random stranger in an expensive car, about my heartache. Sadly, I heard the engine cut off, the guy get out, followed by the beeping of a car locking. He can't just park his car there!? Wait... Was he some creepy stalker, out to kidnap me? Well, ever since Reuben died, I did get Damien to teach me how to fight. It's surprising, how good I was.

"Hey, sweetheart, what's the problem?" he asked, easily matching my pace.

Angrily, I snapped my arm back, ready to swing a punch. As I brought it forward, he grabbed my wrist, and I got a look of him. His hair was light brown, with bangs, languidly flicked across his forehead. Stubble gave him a strong masculinity, for such a young man, possibly my age. His bottom lip was full, and his teeth were damn perfect. He was pretty tall, about the same height as Damien, which was five foot, nine inches. Through his plain white tee, I could see a lot of muscle, but it was covered by his grey blazer, and slacks. I was tempted to ask him if he was either Chace Crawford's identical twin, or a male model.

"Let go," I hissed through gritted teeth.

His bright blue eyes glistened, and I gasped. Holy crap - he's an Angel.

"Listen, pretty boy, I've got enough Angel's in my life, so move along," I spat, yanking my wrist, out of his vice like grip.

"Ah, you're familiar with the concept," he grimaced, walking along beside me.

"What part of move along, do you not get?" I sarcastically asked, glaring up at him.

"So, who do you know? I might know them. We could hang out, or something," he rambled, totally ignoring my remark.

"Pretty boy, I think you're forgetting your car," I chimed, jabbing my thumb over my shoulder.

"Ah well, I still have a few points before prison, sweetheart" he lightly laughed, and my lord, it was a perfect laugh.

What is it about Angel's, that makes them so perfect? Seriously, every one of them I've met has been one hundred per cent perfect, not a flaw within them. 

"And what makes you think, that I, want to talk to you, pretty boy?" I add on, quickening my pace.

"The fact that you call me pretty boy - it's obvious that you think I'm attractive," he added a flirty wink, before he continued, "And you look like you could use someone to talk to right now," he turned all sweet, and I could have passed out right there.

"Okay, just to let you know, I'm... happily... engaged," my voice hitched on 'happily' but I spat it out, "And I don't want to be involved with any more of your kind," I waved my hand dismissively, expecting him to leave me be. 

"Why not? Who do you know?" he chirpily asked, practically bouncing along, beside me.

"What's it to you!?" I squeaked, pondering over how he could just be so, I don't know, happy?

"Because my Angel-best-friend, whatever you want to call it, just moved away on an assignment, and I have another assignment here, so I want to get to know the people," he grinned, sweeping his arms out.

"What's your assignment?" I casually asked, trying to draw the subject away from me.

"I can't tell you, unless you tell me who you know," he put on a fake pout, folding his arms.

I rolled my eyes, and just told him, "Well, there's Reuben Dane, you've probably heard of him..." I grimaced, clamping down on my tongue, "And there's Damien Hunter, the one I'm engaged to," I added on.

"Seriously? You're Tori Hills!? Oh God, why me!?" he threw his head back, looking like he wanted to die right there. 

Frowning, I patiently waited for him to get over his escapade. Slightly offended, yes. Intrigued, more so. Wanting to run back to Reuben, positively. 

"Wow, thanks," I muttered, getting ready to storm off in a flurry of anger.

"You're welcome," the smile came back on his face, as he joined in with my sarcasm, "Reuben asked me to keep an eye on Damien, and make sure he stays away from you," he admitted.

Seriously? Reuben would have asked him five years ago, "Did you get lost, or something? That was five years ago, pretty boy."

"Yeah, yeah, I know, sweetheart. I'm a top Guardian Angel, like Reuben is... was... and I have a very long waiting list," he shrugged dismissively, as I watched in bewilderment.

I didn't care about the 'top' Guardian Angel, or that he was assigned to me. I cared that Reuben didn't want Damien anywhere near me. Oh my God, what had I done!?

Suddenly, I bolted forwards, making a beeline for home. I had to call of the wedding, I couldn't do it.

"Tori! Hold up!" the guy called after me, his swift pace soon catching up to me,"I'm here to stop the wedding, you don't need to worry about a thing," he told me, grabbing my arm.

"Yeah? What are you going to do pretty boy? Kidnap me?" I sarcastically hissed, panicking.

"That's plan B," he joked, releasing the tension.

My shoulders sagged, and I slumped to the floor. I didn't care if I was on the side of the road, I was exhausted all over again. Why was I doing this to myself? I had this guy, he'd sort everything out, right?

"I'm Drake, by the way," he sat beside me, offering me his hand in greeting.

"Tori," I replied, even though he knew my name.

"Well, Reuben told me to do whatever it takes to stop you from being Tori Hunter, and trust me, I'm not afraid of anything," he confidently told me, "Well, I'm afraid of Reuben..." he teased.

"Oh, come on, Reuben's the sweetest thing in the world, how could you be scared of him!?" I laughed, elbowing him in the ribs.

"Yeah, he's sweet to you! The first time we met, he was so scary that I had to cut the meeting short," he admitted, a smile playing with the corners of his lips.

I laughed, imagining Reuben being intimidating. When he beat up Daniel, he was scary as hell, but he was protecting me. I couldn't imagine him just being scary, as a first impression. In fact, the thought was humorous.

"But Reuben's a good guy," Drake nodded sadly, biting his bottom lip.

I nodded in agreement, and slipped into thinking. What did this mean? I didn't know. But, Reuben, thank you so much for sending him.

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