Chapter 8 : Broken Angel
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Time has a funny way of playing tricks with our minds, and for Aria, it seemed to trickle by. The distant ticking of the cheap clock sitting upon her bookcase seemed to sooth her, in some strange way. It signalled to her that life went on and that she was still alive.
Never before had she ever been so confused. She had promised to give Albus 48 hours, but what for? Was it for him to figure out how to make their affair last a little longer? Was it all a part of his sick game?
Glancing at the clock, she noted that it was well past two in the afternoon. She had spent her morning thinking, torturing her own brain with her own insecure thoughts. She slowly grew frustrated at her situation, and the path she had let herself spiral down. She knew she was better than all of this, but somehow did not know how she could move on from him. She needed him, he was her addiction and without her fix, she knew she would be lost.
Through her studies, she had spent time with those suffering from addictions and she could clearly recognize the signs. The emotional mood swings, the changes in energy levels, the depressive states she felt, the plethora of secrets, and the cravings. To Aria, the craving was the worst, the raw desire to just give in and lose yourself in the addiction.
When you lose someone, your thoughts always seem to come back to what you could have done differently. Was there a moment in time when you could have changed things? Can one action cause this domino effect? The emotional beatings take a toll upon your fragile mind, until finally you see past the darkness. Then hope hits, and you wonder if you truly lost them. Maybe you can change and they will come back to you.
The turn of events over the past week seemed to shock Aria, as she relived each moment repeatedly in her head. She tried to put herself in Albus’ shoes, but that did nothing but further confuse her. How could anyone with a heart, put good people through such turmoil?
A pecking at her window alerted her to an owls’ presence. Slowly, she managed to clamber over to the window and unlock the hatch. The tawny owl let out a ‘hoot’ as it perched itself upon the back of her couch.
Reaching toward the majestic bird, she took hold of the piece of parchment he was carrying. She was confused to as to who would write her. She tried to recall if any of her friends owed her a letter, but it was more likely to be quite the opposite. Between work and Albus, she had not had much time for correspondence. It was highly unlikely that Claire had sent her anything, for she would normally just apparate over.
Opening it up, she was shocked to see the familiar messy scrawl of Albus. Anger flooded through her. She knew what it would contain, more of his lies and empty promises. Without a second thought, she burned the letter. It felt satisfying to say the least.
She knew she needed to find courage to work her way through and past this mess. She needed somebody to talk to, to help her work through all the events of the past few months. There was only one person she knew who would understand.
Composing herself, she made her way into her bedroom to change and do away with the dark mascara lines she undoubtedly had running down her face. Settling on a simple black summer dress, she gathered her purse and a sweater.
Thinking hard about her destination, she felt her feet leave the ground and her stomach enter her chest.
A cool breeze swept across Aria, swaying her long hair back and forth. The end of summer was quickly approaching, the little bit of humidity seeming to disappear slowly. The leaves upon the tall trees that surrounded her were on the brink of changing colours. Soon, magical kids from all over would be conversing on that red engine that would take them off into a land of wonder and adventure.
To Aria it felt like a lifetime ago. Here she was in the mess in which she called her life. Looking back to the time she first stepped foot on the train to Hogwarts, she had had this blissful ignorance. She had believed that one day she would find her prince charming and that they would have their very own happily ever after.
Aria’s simple black shoes crossed the short distance to her final destination. Side stepping small holes in the ground and patches of mud, she followed the gravel path. Her eyes scanned the familiar names carved upon the pieces of marble and granite. Some looked as if they had weathered for centuries, while others looked new and well cared for.
Finally, she came across the one that read ‘Michael Davis – Loving son, father and friend.’ Collapsing to the ground in front of it, she simply sat and stared for what felt like hours, until she felt like she could finally talk.
All her life Aria had had one man that she could always rely on, her father. He was a strong man who had somehow managed to raise a little girl on his own, never wavering and never failing. Sure like any parent, he was not perfect, but he tried. Aria’s mother had passed away when she was only two years old, and it had devastated her father. But he was strong and managed to put his little girl first.
Aria grew up as daddy’s little girl and because of that, she hadn’t developed much of a fashion sense until she went away to Hogwarts. She would live with t-shirts and jeans. Still to this day that was what made her feel most comfortable, but these days she mainly lived in her uniform or in her pyjamas.
Looking towards the cloudy sky, she hugged her arms close to her body.
“Hey dad” she began, as she turned her gaze down to the grass below the tombstone, “I think somewhere along the line I’ve lost my way. I know you always taught me how to be strong and the importance of morals, but it seems now that I’ve just made a huge mess out of everything.”
Somewhere along the line she had wandered off the path, and was now lost and alone. While she was surrounded by a small group of good friends, she felt so lonely. It seemed that something major was missing from her life. She had hoped that Albus would help fill that gaping hole within her, but now it seemed that he was causing the whole to widen even more so.
“I’ve made so big mistakes in my life, ones that would make you so disappointed in me daddy. I’ve tried to hold back my feelings, I’ve tried to sever all ties with him, but for some reason I just seem to keep going back. And now, he is engaged. Even after he promised me that we would be together, he goes and proposes to her.”
The tears once again began to make their way down her reddened cheeks. She could taste the salt upon her lips, but she did not bother to wipe them away. She knew that it was therapeutic for her to just let them fall, for that meant that she was not burying her emotions.
“I need you daddy, I really need your help. All my life, you were the one thing that I could always count on. You were my rock, my own knight in shining armour. You saved me so many times over and over again without me ever truly realizing. But now you’re gone, and I don’t know how I’m supposed to go on.”
Sniffling, she brought up a piece of tissue paper to her face. Her mascara had run, and she knew that she looked like a complete mess, but she did not care. She actually found it quite fitting that she looked as much of a mess as she felt.
“I miss you so much that it hurts. I know you would tell me to move on, that while you’ve made some mistakes in the past, only you can help yourself. It’s just so hard. I wish you were here.”
Raking her hands through her long hair, Aria tried to collect herself. Though she knew it was good for her, she still felt like a complete wreck. She prayed that no one was in the general vicinity, for surely they would think she was a mad woman.
She could lie and say that she had accepted her father’s death, but she could not really fool anybody. It had shaped every second of her life. She could recall her desire to help him through the illness that took his life, and her desperation to search for a cure. An injury to the brain, that had dominoed his health and sent him on a downward spiral. It could be for that reason, that she felt such a strong connection with her patient Hunter. Both were victims of brain injury, and both were severely impacted by it. With all the magic that healers possessed, the brain was still something that they did not have a road map for. Sure, they were better off than muggles, but in the end, they were not gods.
At first, it was just a few slurred or mix matched words, then it grew to be a swelling of the brain. After that, her father had fallen into a comatose state. For months, she watched as her father’s state deteriorated, until one day he was just gone. The strongest man she ever knew was gone and just like that she was alone in the world. Sure, she had distant relatives, but she really did not know them.
Something soothing came from talking to her father, even though she knew he would never be able to reply. It was in a way therapeutic, and a comfort she so desperately needed. The memory of the man seemed to do more for Aria then even she knew.
A cool breeze swayed through the trees all around, taking Aria’s long blonde hair and whipping it back and forth across her tear stained face. Time passed slowly, as she simply sat there and allowed herself to take in and feel the breeze. Change seemed to be taking place, not only with the season around, but within Aria.
Not many people knew the true story of the Davis family, but it was one filled with darkness, hardships and heartbreak. Albus was one of the few people in Aria’s life that truly knew the whole story, and it was what appeared to have ‘tainted’ her for him. It was sad that his insecurities had made it so impossible for them to have a future. It was clear to her now, that Albus would never be hers.
“I’ve made such a mess of everything, but it’s time that I change now. I know I have to change. I cannot play this part anymore; I know I am not this battered and broken shell of a person. I used to be so strong, why did it have to change? Look at me now; I cannot even step foot into our old home. When did I become so fragile? What would you think if you saw me now?”
More time seemed to trickle by as she just sat there, pondering to herself. She could feel the cool damn ground beneath her, but it did not bother her. It was just another reassurance to her that life went on.
“You look like you could use a friend” came a deep voice from beside her.
Jumping from her position, Aria quickly swiped the tears that had only just begun drying from her face. She knew it was pointless, but she was not one to ever really show weakness in front of people. Looking to her right, she was shocked to see the tall frame of James Potter standing beside her. His eyes were trained towards the grave before him, a frown upon his handsome face.
No words seemed to form in her mouth, so instead she just nodded. She wasn’t even sure if he had seen the silent gesture, but it was like they did not need the words. There was a soothing quality to James, something she could not really understand. Maybe it was because they had similar personalities, or maybe it was because they were both equally as broken.
Minutes passed, though to Aria it seemed like hours. Neither had spoken a word in that time. Finally something within her seemed to click, self-realization was a wonderful thing.
“Thank you” she spoke softly.
She watched as he took his turn in nodding towards her.
Aria found strength within her, and it was like she needed to talk to James. She felt the desire to explain things to him, and to get it off her chest.
“She was the love of his life” she began, while turning her attention to the grave beside. Across it were the words ‘Charlotte Davis – Loving mother and wife’, the words slightly fading. “It broke his heart when she was died.”
“He always seemed so happy,” spoke James for the first time in almost an hour.
“He was brave for me, but when he thought I wasn’t looking some of his walls came crumbling down. There was a deep sadness within him, ever since that day.”
“Do you mind if I asked what happened?” James began, the words causing Aria to cease breathing. “Mum and Dad just said that she had passed away, but they never would say, no matter how hard Albus and I tried.”
“uhh” spluttered out Aria, her tongue tied.
“Oh shit” he rushed out, “forget I even asked. Mum always said I needed a filter over my mouth because I just go on and on without thinking sometimes. Seriously, I’m a jerk forget I even asked.”
Internally, Aria smiled at the flustered James Potter before her, a sight she never imagined even existed. He was always the calm and collected person, with the wild side to him. She realized that his ears were getting redder and redder by the second, her lack of response clearly embarrassing him even further.
“It’s alright, James” she began, “I’ve never really told anyone what happened. I don’t know that I’m ready to.”
A shocked look covered James’ face, as he turned to look intently at Aria. His eyes seemed to penetrate her, desperately seeking information that was safely guarded behind by the walls she had long ago constructed in her mind. He looked as if he wanted to say something, but instead settled for a simple nod of his head.
Aria couldn’t help but really take in James: his appearance, his posture, his attire, everything. Dark circles appeared below his hazel eyes and as the wind pushed past them, she almost swore she smelt a faint trace of alcohol. No longer was he the care free warm-hearted spirit, like the boy she knew growing up. Somewhere along the line James lost himself. Between the pressure of being a Potter and the accident, James had become a broken shell of a man.
She watched him as he slowly turned, and stumbled over his feet. It was clear to her now that he had been drinking; a dangerous sign for it was still mid-afternoon. Running to catch him before he fell, she managed to catch his elbow right in the face. A horrible pain ignited her upon her cheek, as she quickly pressed her fingers against it.
“Shit” she swore, as she bent over, clutching her face.
“Bloody hell” she heard him scream from his position on the ground, followed by his scurrying to get up and calling her name.
“Aria, shit I’m so sorry” he spoke frantically, “Are you ok? Let me see!”
She felt her eyes begin to tear up from the pain, as she looked up so see two very concerned hazel eyes scanning her face. Lightly grasping the back of her head, he pulled her closer to him.
Their proximity seemed to overwhelm Aria, and suddenly she felt like a teenager. She was nervous and a little confused by the whole situation. Not to mention, her face hurt like hell. She stood there stunned as his thumb began to move and softly brush against her cheek.
Here they were, two very emotionally damaged people trying to find comfort within each other. Something felt a little too intimate about the situation and her mind began to tell her to run, but his eyes seemed to glue her right to the spot.
Flinching, Aria pulled slowly back without breaking eye contact, but was soon pulled back in as James roughly drew her into his lips. Pain lit up across her mouth, as the contact was a little too forceful, but as quickly as it had come, it was gone for the only thing she could focus on was how well their lips worked in tandem.
A/N: Sorry for the wait guys! I hope you liked this chapter and the ending of it. There will be some more James and Aria in the next chapter. Let me know what you thought in a review. I 'd love to hear from you guys!
I'd like to dedicate this chapter to Prea who really helped me figure things out with it.
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