Falling
Destiny, Roses & Romance
Part II: Chapter 34

Alison nodded absently at her friend as she continued to talk about a topic that didn’t even begin to gain her interest. Her eyes raised when she heard the other woman’s voice pause, taking this as her cue she nodded again. “Uh huh,” she prodded, dutifully. Her eyes strayed back to the cold slice of pizza in her lap when Livvie continued though. She picked it up, trying to ignore the lurch her stomach did at the thought of food, she took a tiny bite.

It took a moment to work up the courage to break into her story about nothing that she knew Alison wasn’t listening to. But watching her for however long it was that she had been here was enough to scare her into speaking her mind. “Ally, if you don’t want it, I’ll find you something else, but you need to eat real food,” Livvie stated again, trying not to let her concern reach her voice.

Her stomach did a cartwheel and the pretty little knot it was tied up in pulled just a little tighter. “This is great,” she said, forcing a none too convincing smile and taking another bite. Alison sent up a silent prayer that she’d be able to keep it down.

“I know that you’re depressed, Ally, but you have to eat.”

“I have eaten,” she insisted again. “I totally pigged out on chocolate chip cookie dough.” She paused for a second before letting out a bark of nearly bitter laughter. “I guess that doesn’t make you think I’m any less depressed does it?”

Livvie simply looked at her for a moment, sadness and what could almost be described as pity etched across her face. “Ally, you need to get real food in your stomach, not just chocolate chip cookies. I can go get you a burger if you want, I can run to Kelly’s really quick and get you some chili, or I can have something else delivered. Anything you want! But you need something not sweet to eat.”

Once again, Alison nodded in defeat and forced herself to take another bite. She didn’t cringe as she chewed it slowly, though it was a battle not to, she just grabbed her glass of milk to help her swallow it down. “Thank you for caring,” she whispered after a moment, her eyes never leaving the plate in her lap. “I mean… I could understand if you just left after I started throwing things…”

“Please,” she scoffed, trying to give her a reassuring smile and finding herself a little too afraid for her friend to manage. It probably didn’t matter anyway since Alison hadn’t met her eyes since they’d cleaned up the glass from the broken plate. “You stuck by me when I’d been brainwashed into thinking I was in love with a vampire. I’d say I’ve got to be a much better friend than I have been before we’re even.”

“Livvie-”

“No, no! Really, Alison. You’ve been the best friend I could ever ask for. And believe me I’ve felt like breaking things before. I’m going to be here for you whether you like it or not. Just like you were for me, alright?” Automatically, she reached out to lay a comforting hand on the shoulder of her friend, but she found herself hesitating when she realized that Alison probably didn’t want her touching her. “Will you let me be your friend, Ally?” she asked, finally setting her hand down on her shoulder for just a moment and then pulling it away. “Please?”

“It… Livvie, you are my friend. You’re my best friend. But right now… I just… I really need to be alone,” she admitted softly, still not raising her eyes from her lap. “This isn’t easy, you know? And I just… I can’t try and be ok yet, Livvie.”

“If I’m your best friend then why is it Rafe that you call when you need someone to talk to? Ally, it’s ok, I understand that I was a really bad friend to you before, and Rafe…”

“Has been amazing,” Alison supplied with watery eyes and a shaky smile when the other woman’s words trailed off. “He’s held me while I cried and just let me feel how I wanted or needed or did feel. Livvie, it has nothing to do with you, ok? I just… I love him. And I ran to him, and I called him, and I will keep on finding any excuse I can to spend as much time with him as I can. Please… Please don’t make me apologize for it. I love him.”

“I know,” she whispered, nodding in understanding. “I just… I want to try and be as good of a friend to you as you’ve been to me in the past, because I haven’t before. Alright? I’m not asking you to apologize for anything, sweetie. And I know that you don’t believe me right now, but, Ally, the last thing that you need is to be alone.”

Her quiet, bitter laughter filtered through the air as she closed her eyes against another flood of tears. “Please,” she whispered thickly after a moment. “Please stop telling me what I need, because what I need is for Rafe to come back right now and just hold me, Livvie. That’s the only thing I need right now. I… I need to have him here so I can at least try and get used to the idea of him being gone before he really goes.”

Livvie watched her friend with nothing but concern as she sat the plate and nearly untouched slice of pizza on the floor and hugged a throw pillow to her chest as she tucked her feet underneath her. “You said he promised you that he would be back. So he will,” she said, her voice sounding much more certain than she felt. “He’ll be back soon.”

“I know,” Alison sighed shakily. “I know that he’ll be back. I just don’t know when. And I don’t know how to deal with the idea of ever letting him out of my site again. It’s not fair. I… I shouldn’t have to do this. I can’t. I can’t do this.” Shaking her head, she ran her hand through her hair and stood. “Livvie… Please, I need to be alone right now.”

She was pacing from the end of the sofa to the front door to the kitchen counter and back again. And Livvie managed to situate herself so that she could keep a watchful eye on her friend as she covered the area of the apartment. “It’s ok to be upset, Alison.”

“No, it isn’t. It is not ok to be upset. If I’m upset when he gets back, he’ll feel bad. I don’t want Rafe to feel bad about this, Livvie, because it’s not his fault. I just… I need to find a way to get rid of all these feelings so that… So that when Rafe gets back I can pretend today never happened and he didn’t tell me he loves me and would love to call me his wife and wants us to have tons of children together. I need to be able to pretend like I’m ok with the fact that I blurted out a proposal only to be turned down. And I have to be able to pretend that my heart wasn’t just shattered into a million pieces. I knew he was leaving, Livvie. I knew it would hurt to fall for him, and I told him as much. But I didn’t know… I need to be able to pretend I’m fine when he gets back. I need to not be on the verge of either grabbing a hold of him and never letting go or breaking down into tears.”

“Ally,” she whispered hesitantly. “How well does Rafe know you?”

The blond paused near the end of the sofa, looking at her friend in mild confusion for her interruption of her rant. “What do you mean how well does Rafe know me?”

“I mean, how well does he know you? Well enough to fall in love with you obviously.” Livvie paused and cleared her throat. Her eyes darted to the door with the sudden hope that a certain tall, blond and gorgeous angel would walk through it. Deflated when he didn’t show after a moment, she realized that she was going to have to be the one to explain her reasoning. “You run to him when you’re upset, Ally. Does Rafe know you well enough to see when you’re upset without you telling him? Does he know you well enough to see through an act – no matter how good it may be – of you being fine?”

Damn. Tears stung her eyes again, and she was powerless to fight against the first bunch that fell while she was wallowing in disappointment. With her mind obviously somewhere else, she managed to flop down on the other end of the sofa and pull her knees to her chest as she hugged the same throw pillow as before. “Of course he does, Livvie,” she whispered, her voice ragged with emotion. “Of course he does, but… I still… I need to at least try and be ok when he gets back. For my own sanity, I need to at be ok by then.”

“Ally, you aren’t going to be ok if you try and pretend that it’s alright when it isn’t.” Shifting to be closer, she reached out to put her hand on Alison’s shoulder only to have it shrugged off. “I know,” she sighed, pushing aside the hurt feelings at her friend’s rejection of the comfort she was trying to offer. “I know that you don’t think you can deal with all of these emotions right now and survive it, Alison, but you are so much stronger than you know. You can do this, Ally, you’ll make it through everything. But you have to deal with it. You can’t just pretend you aren’t hurting and hope that it will go away.”

“I-I can’t, Livvie, I can’t. I…”

“Ally,” Livvie sighed, grabbing her hands before she could object. She held onto her friend tightly, not letting her pull away. “Look at me, Ally. You can do this. You can. I know it as well as I know anything. It’s not going to be easy, but you have to deal with what you’re feeling before you can start to feel better. I… Trust me, Ally. You need to deal with it. If you want to break down then break down, if you want to scream and throw things then do it. If you want to cry, Ally, it’s ok. I’ll be here.”

“I don’t want you here, Livvie,” she snapped, trying to fight against the tears in her eyes. “I don’t want to deal with it, I don’t want to feel it, and I don’t want to cry anymore. I… I feel like I’m falling apart.”

“Then fall apart, Alison! You… Ally, you’re an open book, you can’t hide your feelings, and you can’t hide from your feelings. If you feel like you need to fall apart then fall apart.” Livvie stood, giving her friend a hug. “Ally,” she whispered, ignoring the tears both were so close to shedding. “If it makes you feel any better, I bet you that Rafe will be here to help you pick up the pieces when you’re ready.”

“Livvie… Please, please don’t take this personally.” Alison took a deep breath, and let it out shakily. “You’re my best friend, ok? And I love you. But get out.”

“Ally-”

“I mean it, Livvie.”

Sighing, she straightened. “I know.” Livvie shook her head sadly. “I wasn’t going to argue… We set you up this afternoon, and I’m starting to feel really sorry about doing that.”

“Don’t, Livvie. Please.” She turned her face and met the eyes of her friend for the first time in hours. “We knew it was a set up. Rafe knew what you were doing when you dragged him here. We aren’t sorry, and you shouldn’t be either. At least… Now I know how he feels about me. And how I feel about him. I needed that, Livvie. But what I need right now…”

“Is to be alone,” she finished with her. “I know, you don’t want me here when you fall to pieces. I get it.” Again, Livvie sighed. Her hand rested briefly on the other woman’s shoulder before she pulled it away once more. “We had it planned that Val was going to stay at our place tonight.”

“Thank you… for being my friend and understanding this.” Alison laughed lightly, but the sound was tainted with bitterness and tears. “Even if I don’t. I know this isn’t why you had that plan, but I think that I really need some time alone.”

“It’s alright, Ally. I’ve been where you are. Just… You know that you’ve got tons of people ready, willing and able to pick you up and put you back together again, right?”

“Yeah,” she nodded. “I know. Thank you.”

“Rafe is probably in the front of the line. Right where you’d want your very own angel to be, I think.” Walking over and grabbing her coat, Livvie slipped it on. “I want you to promise to call me if you don’t feel like staying here all by yourself. I can sleep in Val’s room, if you just need another person around because the silence is driving you crazy. I’m just a phone call away if you need anything. Promise me that you’ll call if you do?”

“I promise.”

“Any time! If you need a friend at four in the morning you pick up that phone and you call me. Got it?”

“Got it.”

With her purse in hand, Livvie looked at the door and then back at her friend with worry in her eyes. “You’re sure?”

“I’m sure.”

“Ok. I’m going then. And if I see Rafe I’ll beat some sense into him and then send him your way, alright?”

Her laughter this time didn’t hold the bitterness, but it was still shaky with tears. “Alright. And thank you. For everything, Livvie. I know that lately I’ve been going to Rafe when I have problems and everything, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t still my friend. That doesn’t mean I’m not glad that I still have you in my life, you know.”

“Oh, Ally, you’re always going to have me in your life. Like it or not. That’s what friends are for.” Giving her friend another quick hug, Livvie started toward the door once more. “I’ll call you tomorrow. If you don’t call me first. See you!”

“See you,” she muttered to the shutting door. A trembling sigh passed her lips, half relief and half disappointment. Turning her head, Alison sought out the time. “Seven hours and twenty minutes,” she whispered into the empty room. “Right, I had Livvie leave so I could sit here and talk to myself.”

Rolling her eyes at herself, she stood on shaking knees and made her way to her dresser. Pulling out her pajama bottoms, she purposely avoided the mirror, knowing that seeing herself would only do her harm. She could only guess how she looked—half crazed, eyes puffy, red and swollen. It was probably a good thing Rafe wasn’t here, she thought with a sigh as she changed out of her jeans.

Rafe would be worried, she decided. Actually, Rafe was probably worried right now anyway. Livvie made a lot of sense, and she knew she couldn’t handle that right now any more than she could handle the sound of his name hours earlier. He’d know, no matter how well she acted fine, he’d know the minute he laid eyes on her or heard her voice that she was no where near alright.

And she had no idea how to get back there.

Alison sighed again as she walked over to lock the door. She paused for just a moment before turning off the TV and turning on the radio. With a disgusted look, she left it on Christmas carols and hoped that the cheer would spread into her. She did a quick survey of the once spotless apartment and thought about picking up her plate and cleaning the kitchen but decided against it.

She made her way back to the bed slowly, accepting her inevitable fate of having to one day stop. Sliding in, she pulled the covers up to her chin and closed her eyes tightly. She tried in vain to push aside all thought of him, but it really wasn’t going to happen. She had to think about him. A hint of a sad smile pulled at the corners of her mouth. There were worse fates in the world, she decided.

She'd just think of him and not the situation they were in, she decided absently. She could concentrate on his eyes, or his smile, or the way he looked at her. Alison sighed contently, opening her eyes to stare at the ceiling with an odd half smile. She loved the way he looked at her. He could make her feel so special just by giving her that look. And he definitely had one hell of a smile.

Laughing softly, she turned her head toward the door when she heard a knock. Before her mind had even registered what the sound was her feet were on the floor carrying her over there. Learning her lesson from before, she pushed away the hope and bit her tongue to keep from calling out his name.

Alison ran a hand through her hair before opening the door with an easy smile. Catching site of the person doing the knocking, her smile dropped before coming back forced. "Can I help you?"

"I think we need to talk," he mumbled, nodding his head slightly and keeping his eyes cast downward. "Are you busy?"

"Not right now, no. But-"

"It will only take a minute," he interrupted. "Please, Ally?"

Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath, hoping that the air would give her strength to get through this. "Whatever. Just make it quick, Jamal."


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