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+)

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8. Confiding

I watched as Edna fiddled nervously with the buttons of her light green cardigan, Johnny shuffling his feet. If I was blind, I probably would have thought the restaurant was making them nervous. Only thing was... I wasn't. Blind, that is. Giovanni's was a homely, family run restaurant that had built it's reputation for the best Italian food over 5 generations. The current head chef, and owner Giovanni (the fifth) personally greeted every single one of his customers before they entered the place. That being the main reason behind people being allowed in hourly.

"Probably the upcoming conversation..." I thought, knowing if I'd been in their situation I'd feel the same.

"Ariel, my princess! You're back, and you've brought friends!" Giovanni gushed, walking around his little pedestal to embrace me in a bone-crushing hug before smiling, and nodding politely to Edna, and Johnny, who looked slightly shocked. Completely understandable, though, when you considered the fact the man was standing at 6'5".

"Off you go to the table next to the window. Enjoy your meal." he chuckled gently, cupping my shoulder, as I turned towards Edna, and Johnny before gesturing to the aisle. They walked slowly down the aisle. Turning to give Giovanni a small smile, my heart ached slightly at the glassy glaze that had taken over his eyes for a single moment, before he blinked away his tears.

"Go have fun. My dear." he said gently, leaning down to gently kiss my cheek.

 

Smiling, and blushing at the stares that then followed me, I followed Edna and Johnny down the aisle. Allowing my eyes to drift over to them, I couldn't help but notice how nervous they looked sitting at the table, examining their menus.

"So you know the owner personally?" Edna asked, her voice sounding curious. Not sure how to answer, I turned to her with a gentle smile.

"Something like that... It's a long story." I admitted. Glancing at Johnny, I watched him look around, taking in the restaurant - utterly fascinated. I smiled, recognizing the shine in his eyes, as his eyes drank in the traditional Italian decorations, before turning to my menu.

"So... What are you hungry for?" I asked absentmindedly, my own decision caught between two difficult choices...

"Pasta with olives... or pasta with anchovies?" I wondered,

"Do pros and cons even exist for these options?"

"I think I'm having the pasta with olives," I announced, setting down my menu. Looking to Edna and Johnny, I watched as Edna set her menu down before taking Johnny's.

"We'll have spaghetti Bologna." Edna said, her smile less strained than it had been earlier.

 

"So how's things been living with your nan, Johnny? Are you liking it?" I asked, catching Johnny's attention. He turned to face me, hunching slightly as he glanced nervously at Edna. She smiled leaning closer to him, I could almost see her hand squeeze his reassuringly. He turned to face me. His face pulled into a slightly resigned expression. A whole lot more guarded than it had been when he'd been examining the restaurant, that was for sure, but I could only try.

"It's been nice..." he said, glancing once more at Edna, who turned to cast me an apologetic smile. One, I returned with a smile of understanding.

"Have you had a swim in Hunter's pool yet?" I asked, raising a curious eyebrow. His eyes almost immediately widened with excitement,

"Hunter has a pool!?" he just-about shouted. Edna shushed him, as I lifted my hand to stifle a giggle. Ignoring those around us titter with annoyance, I leant closer to Johnny.

"Super-big pool. It takes up nearly the whole living room." I whispered, my eyes widening as I nodded pointedly. He nodded, big-eyed.

"Do you reckon he'd let me swim in it?" he whispered back, his excitement barely contained.

"Johnny!" Edna scolded him. I cast her an amused smile,

"You'll never know till you ask." I replied. Sitting back as our dishes were served...

 

"So what have you been doing lately? You've fitted in the area well, I see," Edna mused gently, across her face a lovely genuine smile. I nodded.

"At first, it was tough, adjusting and all..." I said, my thoughts drifting back to the issues I'd faced over the last few weeks.

"Missing those from home?" Edna stated, rather than asked. Her tone showed she'd automatically presumed she understood. I felt terrible, knowing she didn't.

"Some-what," I mumbled, taking a bite of my pasta. Sighing, my eyes moved across the room, taking in our surroundings. A sharp scraping of a fork, caused me to drop my own. My hands flew to cover my ears, my eyes turned to lock on Johnny, as Edna slapped his hand.

"Stop that." she snapped, glancing apologetically at me. Lowering my hands, I gave her a small smile before turning back to my food.

"So how have you fitted into your nan's place, Johnny?" I asked, my eyes turning to his. His face immediately went red, before he glanced at Edna. My eyes flitted to their arms disappearing beneath the table, they were holding hands.

"It's okay... It's a lot different from home in Ohio," he mumbled. I glanced at Edna, her eyes still locked on Johnny. Beneath the free wisps of hair that framed her face, her eyes stared at Johnny... Filled with sorrow. She turned, her mouth opening slightly, as she took a small breath,

"You don't have to talk about it, if you don't want to..." I interrupted her, my voice firm yet soft. The smile that crossed her lips, caused my heart to ache for her as she shook her head.

"You've been such a kind friend Ariel, it's not meant to be a secret," she said softly,

"My daughter-in-law, Johnny's mother... S-she died in a car accident".

 

"Nana!" Johnny whispered. Our eyes returned to him. Johnny. The small boy who'd lost a mother... My heart ached for him, and my eyes welled up.

"How long ago?" I asked gently, turning my eyes back to Edna's. They shone with the same glisten of moisture as mine held.

"A few months ago," she whispered.

"What?" my surprisingly, high-pitched voice caused heads to turn. Immediately leaning forward, I ignored the stares, slightly embarrassed yet not enough to turn away from Edna's steady gaze.

"You didn't know?" I asked. Her small nod, enough to confirm: I was right.

"My son didn't want..." she continued,

"Dad, just didn't want to worry you!" Johnny cut in, wrenching his hand out of Edna's. Getting up from his seat, he took off.

"Johnny!" Edna shouted, taking off after him. Glancing frantically around, my eyes locked on Giovanni's who's eyes, seeing his head move into a nod of understanding, I took after my two lunch guests. My eyes snapping to the entrance, I took off as fast as possible after Edna, and Johnny, only able to see Edna's greying hair as she escaped my eyesight, turning left out of the restaurant...

 

*          *          *          *          *

 

Walking back towards the condo, my feet ached, the low heels I'd chosen for the lunch held in my right hand, as I swung them by my side. Saying I'd gone around the surrounding blocks once would be an understatement...

"It's been..." I thought to myself, checking my watch,

"3 hours since they ran out." I sighed. Looking up at the glass doors, I felt that sense of dread I'd built up over the last few hours settle in ever deeper inside my stomach. Unlocking it, I pushed the door open to see Edna's door open. Eyes widening, a flutter of panic over-took me as I went straight to the door, and looked inside. Edna sat in her lounge room on a floral-print couch, a box of tissues on her right, and a book open on her lap. Tears ran down her face.

"Are you okay?" I asked, from the doorway, causing her to look up instantly. She gave me a small smile before waving me in.

"I'm alright. I'm sorry we all kind of ran out on lunch today," she apologized. Smiling gently, I shrugged.

"It happens. You've both been through a lot..."

"But you've been through a lot too. It must be hard for you..." Edna said gently. I froze. Feeling the blood drain from my face. I took a step back blinking quite a few times, letting the shock sink in.

"You know?" my accusing whisper sparked tears in my eyes. She shook her head. No.

"Of course not. I've sensed it Ariel. Your a lovely, young woman, and when you talk your eyes express a lot of emotion..." Edna began. A single tear spilled down my cheek.

"What happened to you?" she asked, closing the book before setting it aside. Getting up, Edna took two tissues, and handed them to me before brushing a gentle hand over my cheek. I closed my eyes, feeling the linger of her fingertips as they trailed down my cheek, before they left my skin. Opening my eyes, I looked back up at her, and gave a small sad smile.

"Three years ago, my husband and our unborn child died in a car incident."

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