Moving On

Ariel Miller lost both the love of her life and their child in a horrific crash in 2010. 3 years have passed since then, and she moves from her one room apartment in Sydney - the city that holds too many memories - to a condo on Dublin Street, Edinburgh. Now at 24 years old, she finds herself falling deeper and deeper into the pain of remembering those she lost that day... She also finds herself having a dangerous attraction to the handsome man that lives across the hall.

At 28 years old Hugh Evans (AKA Hunter) finds himself tired of dating women who only want his money. He soon finds himself enchanted by the polite graces of the new woman across the hall. He is astounded by her beauty and modesty, but also her ability to ignore his advances towards her. Always up for the challenge he decides to break down the barriers she has set up and really try to get to know her.

A story of healing, forgiving and learning how to love again...

Warning: Mature Audiences (Ages 16+)


10. Acceptance

Mere days had passed since dinner with Hunter, but for some reason I still couldn't take my mind off him. Gone, were the days of stressing over my loyalty to Heath. I'd somehow managed to instantly go from trying not to think about him due to Heath, to not wanting to not think about him. The thing was, in actual fact, Hunter was a perfect gentlemen. He'd let me cry out all my emotions, and tell him more about my life with Heath. He was the first person I'd opened up to in a long time... Which was surprising since what I'd spilled was a lot more than what I'd ever told Lucille. And she'd been my counselor. I felt incredibly selfish, yet I knew from the way his eyes looked into mine that he understood. He cared. Maybe it was my insecurities in the past that nobody knew what it felt like. How I felt. But looking into his dark, brown, nearly black eyes, something told me he understood more than I knew. The thought scared me.

"You didn't...!" Diana gasped, over the phone.

"I did," I groaned, feeling like an idiot.

"But you said: 'he looked like he understood'. That means there's hope." Diana decided. Sitting back into the comfort of the plush, over-sized pillows that filled up more of the lounge than I did, I brought my knees up beside me. Looking down at the anklet I'd slipped on, I sighed.

"That's what I thought. He hasn't called, turned up at the door, he gave me back the key to the pool, but I don't think..." I began to explain,

"That's it." Diana interrupted, polite as ever.

"What is?" I asked, suddenly tired. I was wishing - as I did, every now and then - that I had a sliver of Diana's positiveness.

"You don't think. That, and I'm coming over." she decided. I sat up straighter, legs sliding back off the couch, feet on the floor.

"Now?" I asked, suddenly hearing the muffled, yet undoubtedly massive amount of noise in the background. Noise I'd somehow missed.

"Yeah, I'm actually at the airport. It was meant to be a surprise, especially since I got one of those fancy new phones where they can block out the background noise..." Diana began rattling off. I looked around at my messy condo.

"You could have given me notice, but I'm excited!" I exclaimed, stifling a squeal of excitement. So primary school, I know, but I couldn't help it. I'd been deprived of Diana for a long time.

"I'm hopping on the plane now, so I'll need to shut off the mobile. Three things you can do for me before I come is: stop walking back, and forth outside Hunter's door,"

"Hey! How did you know..." I cut in, blushing instantly.

"Secondly, buy yourself some killer heels, and thirdly stock up your liquor cabinet." she instructed.

"I thought it was full..." I said, brow furrowing as I distinctly remembered having a crate of wines shipped over, also prior to my arrival.

"Yeah, that crate took a detour to my place. Anyways gotta go!" Diana said hurriedly, quickly smacking two loud air-kisses before she hung up. I set my phone down on the lounge room table, and looked around at my condo which needed cleaning, before glancing down at my crumpled, flannel pajamas.

"Maybe the condo isn't the only thing I need to clean..." I thought.


*          *          *          *          *

Stacking in the rest of the wine bottles, I pushed a hand through my hair, a yawn escaping my lips as I leaned against the kitchen counter. Shutting the door to the in-built wine cellar, I looked around satisfied at the result of my cleaning skills. The floor-boards were shining brilliantly, still slightly wet from mopping, the pillows in the lounge area, and the furniture were arranged once more to sit in an array of artistic perfection. Glancing at the shopping bags, yet to be unpacked, I bit my lower lip, excited with my purchases. Tip-toeing over to the island bench, I snagged them off the bench with an outstretched arm before hopping to the bedroom. My feet meeting the carpet, I began to walk quickly before jumping to sit on the bed tipping out my purchases at the same time.


The black, 6-inch, stilettos I purchased were the first things I set neatly down on the ground. Slipping my bare feet into them, I stood up loving the feel of the heel hugging my foot to perfection. The suede heels had been a steal at one of the local stores, the shining gold of it's insole making them perfect (if I said so myself.) Turning in the mirror, I smiled, happy with them, before going back to the bed, and sitting down on the edge as I reached for the second item I'd purchased. My eyes were locked on the floor-length, dress I'd purchased. If it had been purely black I would have put it back, but the lilac, and violet flowers that seemed to shift in, and out of the black made me think a print like this would have never looked good on anything else. The chiffon fabric sparkled gently in the dim light as I picked it up holding it before me by the hanger. The clear beads cascaded from the fitted neckline downwards in incomplete shapes of the flowers, artistically misplaced upon the see-through chiffon. It was perfect. Though I had no idea when I'd wear it, the dress was something new, and totally different from what I'd worn in a long time. Not usually going for things as the strapless number, the last time I could remember wearing something as beautifully crafted was at my wedding.


- 20th December 2008 -

"I don't think I can do this." I sobbed, my face wet with tears as I forced myself to steal a glance at my reflection once more. The floor-length, wedding gown was something I had only ever dreamed of.

"Your dress is gorgeous. Your gorgeous honey, don't get upset okay? We need your face dry for makeup." my neighbour, and childhood friend Rose told me gently, her brow furrowing as she studied the makeup pallets before her.

"I seriously don't though. What if... What if I walk down there and his not there?" I asked, my voice heightening. The thought frightened me so much as my imagination began to run wild at the thought. I brought my hands to my cheeks the crying stopping momentarily as my heart seemed to stop at the thought.

"Oh god..." I wailed, as Felicity (Rose's sister) came in holding the veil. At 7 months pregnant the woman was a walking figure of beauty. Her blonde hair was swept up in a French-twist, the cream dress she wore falling elegantly over her baby-bump as she set one hand on her hip, her other free hand holding the veil safely out of the way.

"Now, why are you being so silly Ariel? Stop that slobbering, and wipe your face on that towel over there." she ordered so sharply, I was stunned into silence. Realizing she was right, I reached out to the towel she'd directed me to, and began to ceremoniously wipe my face with it.


Putting down the towel, I only had a moment to myself before the pregnant bridesmaid had reached over, grasped my shoulder, and slammed me down into an awaiting seat.

"Now let Rose do your makeup we're already 3 minutes late." she snapped, her voice hushed. I did just that. Sitting perfectly still, the only thing I could seem to control was the shaking of my hands as I clasped them tightly on my lap. Having organized a white-tent to be set up at the beginning of the wedding aisle, reminded me that the guests could have heard all my crying and wailing if it weren't for the orchestra booming their classical mush on the other side of the tent flap.

"Okay your done!" Rose announced, finishing with a flourish of her brush as she waved it through the air, like some kind of fairy god-mother. Standing up from the seat I turned to glance once more into the mirror before freezing.

"Holy mother of..." I thought, as I stared at my wide blue eyes. My strawberry blonde hair had somehow begun to look even more red than it did during the Summer, as it was swept up in some arrangement of a gorgeous twist. Long beautiful tendrils escaping down my back. My hand lifted to gently touch the small, David Austin roses that had somehow been pinned to line the crown of my head. The softest of pink, they highlighted the same pink that donned my cheeks, my eyelids a mixture of cream, and gold, the lashes so long they looked almost as long as Rose's own ridiculously long ones.

"Down the aisle we go now." Rose whispered patting my shoulder gently. Taking one last glance at the princess-like wedding dress I wore, I turned watching as the petal layers of the chiffon flew gently up in the air, before falling slowly back down as if the dress were a rose bud.

"Beautiful." Felicity beamed gently as she held out her hand ready to part the curtains.

"Oh!" she gasped, quickly remembering the veil. I went, and stood beside the closed flaps, as she pinned it around my crown. Glancing in the mirror it looked to be falling elegantly from the crown of roses I had on my head. A look I'd chosen myself.

"Your ready." she whispered, then parted the curtains.


Stepping out onto the petal covered grass, my lashes lowered to watch my feet. My hand felt empty until Rose, ceremoniously, shoved my bouquet in my hands. Clasping onto the rose ensemble, I held them in a vice grip as my eyes lifted to lock onto Heath's. My heart stopped for a moment at the picturesque sight before me. Heath stood at the alter, his hands behind his back as he stood ramrod straight. The suit he wore seeming to fit him better than anything I'd ever bought him before. His hair was slicked back, the usual waves tamed to perfection. His face emphasized, each detail becoming clearer as I took the first step closer. My dad appeared by my side, and offering his arm, I took it, slipping my hand into the crook of his elbow, as we began the descent down the aisle


*          *          *          *          *

Thinking back to it made my eyes blur with tears at the memory of how happy I'd been walking down that aisle. Heath being the only person I could see. I remembered feeling so young, and inexperienced. Now, after his death, I mourned the loss of that youth, and innocence. The day Heath's presence left the Earth. My tears seemed to disappear without even having to shed a tear. For the first time I didn't miss those memories, being in those moments... Acceptance, according to Doctor Clovers was,

"The ability to receive a gift or offer... In your case Ariel, only you can grant yourself the gift of forgiveness." She'd said. It was the final step to letting go. Feeling that piece of Heath I'd held tight to for the last 3 years finally leave me, I started to cry. Not only because I'd lost Heath those years ago, but somehow I'd finally accepted that I'd lost my devotion to the man I had been sure was the love of my life. I found that though I'd dreamt of him endlessly, remembered him helplessly, and tried to hang on to him determinedly... I didn't love Heath anymore. I loved his memory.


"Mourning the loss of a person is one thing... Mourning the loss of piece of yourself is another." my father used to say after my mother had passed on. Wiping my eyes as I stood up, and hung the beautiful dress before me onto a rack, I walked slowly over to the wardrobe hanging it up before turning to the last, and final bag.

"Needing to find that 'something' once again, is even harder." my fathers words rang through my ears as I pulled out the black, lace bra, and panties that I'd have to convince Diana were mine. If she found out I'd thrown most of her 'gifts' away without replacing at least one of them, she'd have my head.


The doorbell rang, and I turned. Walking to the door, I only just realized I was still wearing the 6-inch stilettos as I opened the door to a messy-haired Hunter. His work tie was crooked, and I found myself admiring how good he looked in a suit before he coughed uncomfortably. Meeting his eyes with his, I gave him a hesitant smile.

"Can I help you?" I asked cautiously, pretending not to know that he'd been avoiding me the last few days. He sighed.

"Look, I'm sorry for avoiding you lately, I felt like you may need space..." he began. I blinked in surprise.

"I'm sorry. What?" I asked, interrupting him - unintentionally of course. He sighed frustratedly, running a hand through his already messed up hair, causing the dark strands to stick out in an array of different directions.

"After telling me..." he continued, seeming nervous.

"He was worried about me." the thought, caused me to smile gently. I bit my lower lip trying not to blush at how cute this made him seem.

"I'm sorry, I'm making you nervous aren't I. I picked up on that, you know, the biting the lip thing," Hunter blurted out. I watch his face, a myriad of emotions flitting over his face so quickly: confusion, nervousness, bashfulness... I started to giggle causing the emotions to stop before he set his dark, gaze on me seeming unsure before I gave him a re-assuring smile.

"And here I thought you were avoiding me because I was terrible first date." I joked. A slow, sexy smile spreading across his lips as he chuckled with obvious relief.

"Well, then. Don't I seem to be the rather 'inexperienced' one here." he mused, eyes twinkling with amusement.


Suddenly noticing the laptop case he had beside the closed door of his condo, I raised an eyebrow.

"Locked out?" I asked, looking up to meet his gaze. His neck flushed an adorable shade of red, as he reached up to scratch the back of his head.

"Uh, yeah. That's why I kind of stopped by. Any chance you still got that spare key?" he asked, curiously. I nodded smiling,

"Sure, come on in. I'll just go get it." I said, turning, and heading to the bedroom. Happy to see the floors dry, I hummed to myself walking into the open door of my bedroom, and heading over to my bedside table opened the top draw, and began to riffle through it's contents.

"So, work been going well for you?" I asked, over my shoulder finally finding it. Picking up the small, gold key, I turned around. Fixated on straightening the ribbon I'd tied to the end of it, I stopped when I found Hunter's feet standing right inside the door of my bedroom. Looking up, I smile handing him the key.

"Perhaps he didn't hear me." I thought.

"Work?" I asked again as he took it.

"Uh, y-yeah it's good." he said, his gaze seeming fixated on something over my shoulder. Glancing over my shoulder wondering what had caught his attention, I was distracted by the noise of his footsteps quickly retreating back towards the front door. Rushing after him, I made it to the doorway in time to see him picking up his laptop case.

"I'll drop the key off when I find mine. Thanks, again." he said, glancing awkwardly over his shoulder.


Watching as he stiffly opened up the door to his condo, and walk in, before closing the door behind him, I stood there dumb-founded wondering what on Earth had caused the change in atmosphere. Closing the door, I turned before walking back to the bedroom, my eyes flitting around the room wondering what he'd been looking at. They then locked onto my bed. There, on top was the black, lace lingerie I'd laid out. I felt my face go red, as I sunk to my knees my hands moving to cover my mouth, as I gaped in disbelief.

"Oh no." I whispered, wondering what on Earth he could have possibly thought. Only for a few seconds though, before I burst out into a fit of laughter.

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