Previously on Move– Read Chapter 15 HERE
Catch up from the beginning HERE
Aria shuts the radio off as she begins to roll up the cord and gather her stuff from another dance practice session.
She catches his reflection in the mirror standing behind her.
“Hi,” he says his voice low.
“This is a closed practice.” she says continuing to pack up her stuff.
“Aria, I know that I handled things poorly the other night,” he says walking closer toward her.
“That’s an understatement,” she says grabbing her stuff and walking past him towards the door.
“Aria, please. I’m utterly gutted.”
“Who talks like this?” she says swinging around.
He looks at her confused.
“Just say what you actually mean.” she says rolling her eyes.
“I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I should have fought for you sooner, harder. I should have told my mother off on a greater scale. I mean if it makes you feel any better I haven’t spoken to her in days. Which if you recall is quite unheard of.”
“Yea she only calls every hour,” Aria says rolling her eyes yet again.
“Aria I’m so sorry. I really want this to work between us. I don’t want society to get in the way of that. I like you… so much. It’s actually quite overwhelming how quickly I’ve fallen for you.” he says, his eyes locking onto hers. Aria’s stomach flips as the hardened exterior around her heart begins to melt in his presence.
“Why?” she says trying to remain guarded, “Why me?”
“Well, I imagine it’s because you are quite staggering, love. I didn’t stand a chance,” he says his voice perfectly raspy and a small smirk at the corner of his lips.
“I’ve seen you in action, it’s not like you don’t have vast opportunities to be with tons of women.”
“Aria, you are nothing like any of the women I’ve dated in the past.”
“Gee thanks,” she says in a huff, her eyes rolling.
“Oh gosh, no, no, I mean that in a good way. I seem to be already mucking this up,” he says, a look of defeat spreading across his face.
Aria softens, “Aren’t you used to rejection? I mean you are a businessman.”
“Well no, actually, quite frankly I usually get what I’m after,” he says coughing nervously as he loosens his tie. His sleeves already rolled up as he holds his jacket at his side. Aria’s eyes take notice. Damn he’s sexy, she thinks.
“Hmm, it’s interesting really,” she says walking out the door, leaving him confused.
He rushes after her.
“Was that the end of our conversation?” he says as she walks to the street, holding her hand up to hail a cab.
Aria laughs, “…it’s interesting how when it comes to business and what you feel you HAVE to do, you’ll fight for it. You’ll make sure you get what you want. Or at least what your mom makes you think you want. But when it’s something personal, something that you want for yourself, you cower.”
Liam looks at her, taken back by her honesty. A blow to his ego and to his heart.
A cab halts nearby.
“That’s my ride. What? You didn’t actually think I’d make this easy on you. Did you?” she smirks, “besides it’s just an observation, from a little commoner like me. Now, this conversation is over.” she says getting into the cab.
As it drives away Aria feels vindicated for a brief moment, but then the ache sets in. Deeper than the night of the fundraiser. Why is it that she can stand the hurt when someone hurts her but when she’s the one hurting someone, the weight in her heart is even more overwhelming. Damn her empathetic nature.
Aria sits on a bench in the ladies locker room, surrounded by her girl gang and overall support system.
“Was I too hard on him? I mean it’s not like we’ve been dating for years and years and he’s wronged me so many times. This was his first offense.”
“I mean I think you were spot on, you don’t need him.” Yolanda says taking a sip from her water bottle.
“No she doesn’t. But the question is…do you want him? Because there’s a difference,” Allie says imparting her relationship wisdom.
All the women look at Aria. Watching. Waiting.
“I do. Damn it! I still do. I can’t shake it. Walking away from him in that moment was seriously one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. And then I could tell he was really hurt by what I said. It was like I sucker punched him with my words,” Aria says covering her face.
“Well I say good for him. He needed to hear that.” Molly says nodding her head as Yolanda taps her water bottle into hers in the form of a cheers agreement.
“Lay, what do you think?” Aria asks, her head spinning.
Layla looks around nervously. “Oh am I like the tie breaker here? I really don’t like holding that much power.”
“Lay, come on, I really need to know what you think. You were there the night of the ball. What do you think? Do you think he’s worth a second glance?”
“I mean, he IS insanely hot…”
They all laugh as Yolanda frowns, rolling her eyes.
“Yea she is right, you should at least hit that before quitting it,” Allie says laughing as Aria gasps. “Oh please don’t act like you haven’t already thought about it, you just told us how you nearly did it at a public party with nearly 300 people including his mother in attendance,” Allie says laughing.
All the girls clap in fits of laughter, “True,” Aria says smirking.
“Look I can’t tell you what to do. Because you can get hurt either way, and I hate the idea of that. But I will say, he did look like he was genuinely a mess when you walked away from him that night. I realize this isn’t an easy situation, you’re from two different worlds. But it’s not impossible. Maybe you can at least hear him out. No witty comebacks, just listen. And if he doesn’t make one last, solid case, then walk away for good. You don’t wanna sit here, night after night wondering, what if.” Layla says.
All the girls except Yolanda kind of nod in agreement.
“You are way beyond your years girl,” Aria says smiling as she drapes an arm around her younger cousin’s shoulders.
“Oh, but yes please do have sex. Because he is one fine man.” Layla says smiling, as the girls all cheer and yell in praise.
Yolanda walks out of the room.
“I got her.” Aria says looking at a worried Layla as she turns rushing after Yolanda.
“Yoyo, come on we’re all adults here,” she calls as she follows her out of the gym and onto the sidewalk.
“You just don’t get it,” Yolanda says turning toward her, her eyes filling with tears.
“I suppose I don’t,” Aria says becoming instantly worried, “Yoyo what’s going on with you?”
“I’m sorry, this is my shit, I don’t wanna drag you into it,” she says wiping her tears in frustration.
“Yolanda, we’re family. Your shit is my shit. Besides you’re allowed to have your moments, you can’t be strong every second of every day. It’s ok to feel sad.”
“I’m so sorry. I’ve been so judgey and so controlling. And it’s only because I’ve been where you are. And it didn’t end well for me.”
“What do you mean?”
“A few years ago, when I was still in nursing school, I fell in love with this guy. He was gorgeous and wealthy and he and I were really hot and heavy for months. But he would always make excuses to not hang out in public, or make excuses to not introduce me to his family. At first it was cute, he would say things like, “Let’s stay in, I just want you all to myself.” And it didn’t really phase me for a while, because I loved him. When we were alone, it was like, I was his whole world. And things got really heated one night and we had sex.”
Aria’s eyes widen.
“The next morning I woke up and he was gone. I tried calling, texting, he never responded. He ignored me at school, like I didn’t even exist. It was like he got what he wanted and that was it. And it hurt like hell. I just couldn’t understand, how someone could lie like that. Just make you feel like they cared so much, and then boom, nothing. Like I meant nothing. And that was my first time.” she says wiping the tears falling away.
“Oh Yolanda. I’m so sorry. I never knew.” She says pulling her into a hug.
“I know you didn’t. I didn’t want you to. I just kept living in this vicious thought cycle of what did I do? Why didn’t he want me? Why wasn’t I good enough? And then finally one day, I overheard him talking to a group of his guy friends in the school cafeteria, and I remember hearing someone ask “whatever happened to that Latina chick, you banged,” and he responded, “she was fun, hot as hell, but come on bro, I can’t bring her home. She’d never fit in.” I give him credit, his response could have been much more revolting, but to demean me to a fun, hot, Latina chick he once banged. I just, couldn’t have it. So I walked over and gave him a swift knee to the nuts,” Yolanda says as Aria burst out laughing.
“Oh my god, Yes! That’s amazing. What did he say?” Aria says through her laugh.
“He couldn’t say much,” Yolanda laughs, “But I just looked at him and said, “that was for…well let’s be honest, you know what that was for. But in case you and your homies here are too slow, that’s a proper hello from a Latina chick. Have a nice day, boys.”
“Oh my god, I love you. That’s amazing. I really wish I could have been there to see that.”
Yolanda laughs. “I felt really good after that. But that doesn’t mean that my self-esteem didn’t take a major hit.”
“Of course, I mean I can only imagine. But that’s a reflection of him, not you. You’re amazing.”
“Oh I know that.” Yolanda says nodding.
Aria laughs pulling her into a hug.
“So did you ever hear from him again?”
“I did. He came to my dorm that night and apologized and told me it wasn’t personal. That it’s his family who puts this crazy social status pressure on him and how he did really like me but he didn’t know how to handle that, and blah, blah, blah.”
“Wow, so what’d you do?”
“I told him, that I didn’t believe him, and that I was over it. That wasn’t entirely true, but I just couldn’t trust him, not after that. If you love someone, I mean really love someone you would want to shout it to the world. And you wouldn’t let anyone keep you from doing so. And I know your situation is entirely different. And I’ve been projecting my fears onto you. And I am sorry for that. I just never want you to hurt the way I did. And when you met Liam… I don’t know… it just started to feel all too familiar.”
“Yoyo, I’m so sorry I’ve been so insensitive.”
“Hey you didn’t know. I’m sorry I lied to you. I know I put on this virginal act and now it seems like I’m a total hypocrite. I mean granted I haven’t been with anyone since, but still.”
“No. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to go there with someone, after having someone do what he did to you. But just because one guy did that, doesn’t mean they all will.”
“I know. I guess I’m just scared.”
“You? Scared? You’re a warrior. The bravest person I know. Look what you do for a living.”
Yolanda laughs, as she wipes more tears from her cheeks.
“There is this one guy…” she says.
“It’s Dr. Greene isn’t it?”
“Yes!” Yolanda says squeezing her eyes closed tightly.
“Ah! I knew it! I know sex eyes when I see them.”
“We haven’t had sex obviously…”
“Yea but have you thought about it?” Aria says smirking at her cousin.
Yolanda looks away as a crimson flush creeps onto her cheeks.
Aria gasps as she playfully hits her cousin’s shoulder.
“Atta girl,” she says smiling.
“Hey, a girl can day dream. But the truth is we haven’t even really gone out. He just has hinted several times that he’d like to take me out. But he is my boss, and with that comes an entire slew of ethics. He’s my superior so it really isn’t allowed.”
“Do you want to go out with him?” Aria asks her curiosity at its peak.
“Yes. God yes. Have you seen him? He’s gorgeous and he’s incredibly smart. He’s an amazing doctor and he is so sweet. I get butterflies just thinking about him. But it would be very complicated and we’d have to sneak around. And I just can’t do that again.”
“You know, sneaking around forbidden territory could be extremely sexy and fun, and damn it, girl you deserve to have some hot, sexy, fun.”
Yolanda covers her mouth, “Aria!” she says laughing.
“What, you are a young woman with needs, there’s no shame in admitting it.”
Yolanda and Aria laugh and wrap each other in a bear hug.
“I think I need to see Liam, I just need to know if what I felt was real. If what he felt was real. If nothing else, I need closure.”
“Ok, well then that’s what you should do. Just….please be careful and when in doubt-“
“Knee to the nuts.” Aria says nodding as Yolanda nods laughing.
TO BE CONTINUED…
*I do not take credit for the images used in my edits or otherwise.*