Broken

Fixing a broken friendship is proven to be a lot more difficult when your friend is the one who needs fixing.

WARNING: may include swearing and mature topics.

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9. Chapter Seven •Aaron•

As much as I feel guilty for shutting Audrey out, I knew it was for the better. Might as well keep her from getting her hopes up when they'll just be crushed sooner or later.

I stalk back toward the direction of the staircase when my dad crosses my path.

"Why did Audrey leave so soon?" He asks.

I shrug not wanting to admit that I basically drove her out.

The front door swings open to reveal my mom with a hopeful look on her face. "Aaron I just saw Audrey on the driveway, on my way up. Were you two hanging out?"

With both my parents eyes boring into my soul I know there is no shrugging my way out of this. "No, she came to see if I wanted to come to the bookstore but I'm not in the mood."

My dad frowns and my mom lets out a sigh.

"Hun I'm worried about you. You should be out with friends doing teenager stuff." She says lightly tapping my cheek.

"I don't want to see you mopping anymore Aaron. Its time to stop drowning yourself in sorrow. Do you see us dragging ourselves around, shutting the world out?" My dad says, his voice hard.

"Thomas." My mom warns, but he continues .

"Its time to stop feeling sorry for yourself, we all went through same thing as you." He says before disappearing to his study where he will no doubt throw himself into his work.

"Your father is right to a certain degree Aaron. You should be out living your life. Promise me you'll try to break out of this funk." My mom says softly as she puts a gentle hand on my arm.

"I will, I promise." I say with a sad smile as we lock eyes.

"You know she'd want you to be happy."

I immediately break our gaze and frown.

•••

I'm already off to a good start keeping my promise I sarcastically think to myself, as I lay on my bed hoping for a good nap that I desperately need.

Sleep beacons me and eventually my mind wonders into the dark abyss of nothingness.

Blood. So much blood.

My breathing is laboured and my chest feels constricted.

The puddle of blood keeps expanding, more and more. It surrounds me, creeping up my arms and legs. Covering my pale skin with the sickly thick red substance.

My breathing becomes more shallow, as panic fills my veins.

Tears streak down my face.

I'm helplessly useless. I'm not in control.

The tears mix with the blood. Blood I know I can't put back as it runs cold, desperately in need of human warmth.

A pair of blue eyes starkly contrast against the sea of red.

My eyes shoot open as I gasp for breath.

My heart is thumping against my chest as the nightmare slips away from my subconscious.

I put my face in my hands and roughly rub the tears from my cheeks.

I grab my phone from the bedside table, opening an old group chat that hasn't been used in months.

I stare at it blankly, thinking about my promise to my mom.

I start to type out a message but think better of it. I'm not ready to open that part of my past yet, especially after how much convincing it took to get some space.

I shut off the phone at the same time my stomach growls. I groggily make my way downstairs and hear a conversation coming from the kitchen. I enter before recognizing one of the voices.

"Aaron, good you're awake. Your dinner is on the counter, it should still be warm." My mom says over her shoulder.

Seated in front of her at the table sits Audrey with a hesitant smile.

As an afterthought my mom adds, "Also I invited Audrey over because I felt bad that you kicked her out."

"Technically I didn't kick her out, she left on her own." I say busying myself with taking off the saran wrap that covered my plate of spaghetti.

"I'll be in the living room if you need me." My mom says giving me a pointed look on her way out.

"I need you to stop meddling in my life." I mutter into a glass of water.

"I tried to refuse but your mom is pretty persuasive." Audrey says while I take a seat at the table.

"Yeah if by persuasive you mean guilt tripping then yeah it's her specialty."

"I wouldn't call it guilt tripping."

"She pulled the 'Aaron needs a friend to help him through this rough time' card did she not?" I say staring hard at the plate in front of me.

Audrey's silence was answer enough.

"It's nice to know that she at least kept her promise not to give you the details of my 'rough time'."

"You know you can still tell me anything right, like old times? I hate being out of the loop. I want to help." Audrey says with concern laced in her voice.

I sigh heavily.

"Well I guess it's pretty clear you don't want that, but can you at least stop pushing me away?"

"Audrey I don't think you get it, the less people in my life the better." I say warily.

"And why is that?" She prodded.

I take a second to debate what I should say and settle on the truth, "I just can't be around happy people. I feel like my presence sucks the life out of them, especially when they know what happened. So I choose to keep my distance."

"Well I for one think that's stupid." She says looking at me disapprovingly.

"Still opinionated and stubborn I see." I shoot back.

"I'm not giving up on you. Moving away didn't stop me and whatever is going on with you won't either. Nothing has changed the fact that you're my best friend."

My eyes snap up to meet hers. "Audrey it's been three years, people change. I'm telling you for your own good that it's better to just give up. I'm not the happy, energetic boy you left behind. He's gone." With that I shove my chair back and discard my empty plate in the sink.

"I don't believe that. He's just hiding somewhere." She says quietly.

I grip the edge of the sink in annoyance. I hear the scrap of a chair as she gets up.

Her voice is low behind me, "Aaron everyone's worried about you-"

"You think I don't already know that-"

"Your eyes are rimed red and have black circles around them, not to mention your flushed face-"

"I didn't ask you to come to my house and point out everything wrong with me thank you very much." I say through clenched teeth, my knuckles turning white.

"That's not what I'm trying to do, I...just-I've never seen you like this and it hurts me that I can't do anything about it."

Well get used to it. Is what I want to say, but I can't bring myself to do it. Audrey doesn't deserve to be treated like that.

I turn around to face her. Her eyes are wrinkled with worry lines and mouth is in a small frown.

"Please Audrey you have to understand I just want to be left alone-"

"Oh good you two are chatting, I knew you'd talk to Audrey!" My mom says coming back into the kitchen with a smile on her face.

Awesome she's happy, too bad she's got the wrong idea...

"Did you have another nightmare hun? Is that what you two are talking about? It's good that you are finally telling someone what they are about." She says probably thinking that Audrey and I have magically picked up where we left off three years ago.

Stunned I stand there with my mouth slightly a gape.

"We were actually talking about going to see a movie, that outdoor one, it's been some time since I've been to one." Audrey says quickly.

My eyes feel as though they are bulging out of my head.

My mom's smile only gets bigger, which hurts me because I want her to be happy, but how long can I keep this up?

It dawns on me that it's only a matter a time before Audrey finds out, I won't be able to keep it from her. Avoiding her won't keep my mom smiling...I have a promise I have to try and keep.

So much for being left alone.

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