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 in the end everything collides, aurackson (and heidi ???)
NAHNIE J. STRIDER
 Posted: Jul 20 2015, 11:47 PM
Quote



my songs know what you did
in the dark

When Nahnie Strider was sporting one of her own flower crowns, you know things were probably not good.

She had left her phone in what's-his-face's room, and when she finally realized and went back to get it, the fucking idiot had stepped on it and broke it. Luckily he was one of those rich snobby guys and he offered to buy her a new phone in exchange for her number. Whatever, it was worth it, since her phone was broken anyway. She took the cash and left without another word, laughing because she had written down Carley McIntyre's number.

Nahnie didn't have the time or the patience to deal with getting a new fucking phone right that minute, so she decided to check social media on her computer. Lo and behold, her internet was busted, or some shit, because nothing was loading and she sat there trying to relieve her frustration with the little dinosaur game before she realized that she needed something better to do.

Flower crowns and shooshpapping it was, and she was off to the mall, wearing one she made while contemplating murder or maybe just a punch in the face to that guy because she knew absolutely nothing that had happened the night before, and knowing her luck, it was probably something huge.

The trip to the flower shop was familiar, and a blur, and she was walking into it, smelling the flowers and stretching a bit, tense and kinda irritated, she walked up to the counter and rang the bell. Instantly, she felt something off, but she needed more information before she could determine what the fuck it was.

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aurora m. rigby
 Posted: Nov 14 2015, 12:02 AM
Quote


Aurora needed a flower crown and some shooshpapping from her moirail.

Unfortunately, she was at work.

With Jackson.

It had literally only been a few hours since what had happened this morning. It hadn’t been enough time for her to sort through her emotions and thoughts. It hadn’t been enough time to pull herself together and force a smile for the customers. It hadn’t been enough time and she was drowning.

Even if she hadn’t been at work, Nahnie wasn’t answering her phone. Aurora had been calling and texting since the minute Jackson left her dorm, and Nahnie hadn’t answered a single one of them. Aurora had even gone so far as to Facebook and Tweet at her. Nothing. How could Nahnie just drop off the face of the Earth when Aurora needed her most?! She guessed it had something to do with her spectacular job of failing and losing all of her friends lately. Every day in New York was another day she wished she was back home. It was getting so bad at this point, she wasn’t sure how much longer she would be able to handle it. What had she been thinking this morning about not running away from her problems? Yeah. Right.

Of course, she and Jackson had gone to work together, as they always did when their shifts coincided, but it had been the most awkward and quiet drive of her life. She’d sat there, eyes unfocused, as she picked at the clear polish on her nails, trying to find words. Literally anything would have been enough for her, but she hadn’t spoken. At all. She figured dying would have been better than sitting in absolute silence when she normally had so many things to say to her best friend. Were they even that anymore? She almost hoped not, just for his sake. And for Grace’s, honestly, because Grace deserved so much better than everything she was probably going through because of Aurora.

The bell ringing sliced through the tension that had been hovering over her since she left school that morning. Leaving the bouquet of flowers she had absentmindedly been playing with, Aurora headed to the front of the store, and put on her best smile. Except it was Nahnie at the counter and her façade broke. “Nahnie,” she said, feeling a weight fall onto her shoulders. She wanted to tell her but she was at work and Jackson was at work, too, and she… Deep breaths. “It’s not often you wear one of your own crowns, what’s up?” Wow, yeah, that was… that was something. Wasn’t there some saying about leaving your problems at the door? Maybe Nahnie wouldn’t mind waiting around until Aurora’s break, and then she could tell all over Starbucks, or something.

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JACKSON E. HOROWITZ
 Posted: Nov 14 2015, 01:04 AM
Quote


No one wants you when you have no heart &
I'm sitting pretty in my brand new scars

Jackson really fucked it up this time. Literally.

No, okay, this was not the time for jokes. It was time for work and that meant avoiding all his problems, which was definitely what he would be doing anyway. But in any case. He felt a strange sense of zen along with his hangover, actually, but that was probably because every muscle in his body was exhausted from the panic attack he had just a few hours ago.

He didn't even regret sleeping with Aurora. Nooo way. Not even a little bit. He just... he still felt guilty about it? He shouldn't have felt guilty about it. They were two consenting adults pretty much, though they were both pretty wasted, and it's not like she was just some random stranger, but that probably made everything worse, though it shouldn't have been an issue at all because he and Grace weren't dating anymore, and just -

Work, avoiding problems, right.

He had probably adjusted the same floral arrangements about twenty times, because they were back a little farther behind the counter, right next to the door to the back, and he had no idea what he was trying to do. What could he say? "Hey, Aura, sorry for freaking out on you this morning, I was just feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt about fucking you." Ha, no. That was not something that he was going to say, not even remotely. One, it was pretty fucking rude. Two, since when did Jackson talk about any negative feelings he had at all out loud? Three, it didn't even come close to what had actually happened, what he was actually feeling.

He felt pretty uncomfortable already, and then who walked in? Aurora's best friend, or 'moirail', or whatever, who just so happened to be Nahnie Strider. He didn't even notice she was there until Aurora spoke to her, so she probably saw the way he kept looking at Aurora, and just...

Nope, he was outta here. There was probably something in the back for him to do. Orders to process. Shipments to schedule. Other manager stuff, in his office, not here, no, bye.

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NAHNIE J. STRIDER
 Posted: Nov 14 2015, 01:18 AM
Quote



my songs know what you did
in the dark

Nahnie definitely did notice the way Jackson kept looking at Aurora. Something he did all the time, the obvious motherfucker, but this was different. It was another clue for her to add to the "what the fuck is going on here???" mystery she was trying to solve. She kept her eyes on him until Aurora turned around to help her and instantly she fucking knew. Mystery solved.

Her jaw almost dropped to the floor. how... how could the universe fucking betray her like this? She was pretty positive Aurora probably texted her or something, since Nahnie was presently her fucking moirail, and she instantly just wanted to fucking punch someone. Maybe she would punch Jackson. No, she needed more details first. Then she could punch him.

"My fucking phone got wasted by a fuckboy. I'm pretty pissed about it." She shrugged it off though, exhaling heavily through her nose and trying to be zen. However, she knew that something was up with Aurora, so she took the flower crown off of her head and placed it on Aurora's, not even caring that she already had a bow on. "Goes with your outfit better," she said as she spotted Jackson going to the back, watching and waiting to hear a door close.

As soon as she did, she leaned in close to Aurora, grabbing her hands. "Oh my god, what happened last night?? What the fuck???" It's not like Nahnie, God, and everyone at Baum didn't see it coming, but there was something more to it that she couldn't just fill in. "Are you okay?" she added, wanting to make sure it was clear that she cared about Aurora and not about whatever the fuck happened that led to Aurora and Jackson fucking the night previous.

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aurora m. rigby
 Posted: Nov 15 2015, 01:00 AM
Quote


Aurora was apparently the only one who didn’t notice the way Jackson kept looking at her. Then again, she had been avoiding even glancing his way just in case her emotionally exhausted self decided to lose whatever composure she had left the second she made eye contact with him. She had even been so careful as to not bump into him while killing time in the shop. It wasn’t exactly a lot of space and even now, with him in the corner closest to the door leading to the back, she felt uneasy. It wasn’t fair to him, honestly, but she just couldn’t quite breathe and she knew it would only be worse if she had to directly interact with him at some point today. Yikes.

β€œOh God, I’m sorry,” Aurora said sincerely, frowning. She understood now why Nahnie would be wearing one of her own flower crowns. Not only was she without a phone, she had apparently had to deal with a fuckboy at some point this morning or last night. Normally, Nahnie was perfectly capable of teaching them a lesson, but it looked like she was a little worse for wear today. Aurora wished she could take that Starbucks break right now and buy Nahnie all the pastries, but she knew it wasn’t likely. β€œDo you want to go shopping for a new one when I get off later?” That was exactly what Aurora needed, anyway; to spend some extra time venting about what had happened last night, things that couldn’t be said over coffee.

β€œOh! Uhm!” Aurora appreciated the offer but she definitely felt bad about it. β€œNahnie, no, really, you don’t have to…” Actually, okay, yeah, the flower crown was already making her feel better, and she decided maybe it wouldn’t be too awful an idea to keep it for a little while. She took her bow out and tucked it into some drawer, adjusting the crown, and trying to soak up all the weirdly magical properties it had. Aurora didn’t realize Jackson had left until Nahnie was closer and holding her hands. Aurora glanced back towards the door and when she looked back at Nahnie, her shoulders had slumped, and she looked positively worn out.

Aurora squeezed Nahnie’s hands and nodded, saying β€œyes, yeah, I’m okay” but she was shaking her head immediately after. β€œNo, I’m sorry, that’s not true.” She took a deep breath, hoping her hands weren’t trembling as badly as it felt like they were. β€œThere was… uhm. I checked my ex’s social media. And then got drunk at a party. Because I’m stupid. Ohmygod, Nahine, what is wrong with me?!” Aurora was thankfully so focused on her breathing that she managed to keep the tears at bay for the time being. β€œAnd then I kissed Jackson and gave the rumor mill a photo worthy of β€˜most likely to ruin couple most likely to get married’ in the yearbook.”

Breathing. In. Out. Right. Okay. She was stringing words together too quickly and she wasn’t even sure at this point if Nahnie could understand her. β€œAnd I’m sure you know what happened next because I saw the look on your face when I turned around, and also social media I mean Jesus Christ, ohmygod, Nahnie,” Aurora definitely couldn’t keep it together much longer so she tried to remind herself that she was wearing the flower crown and that she wasn’t allowed to cry with it on. And she was also at work and she was kind of required to keep it together. Keep it together, Aurora.

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NAHNIE J. STRIDER
 Posted: Nov 15 2015, 01:45 AM
Quote



my songs know what you did
in the dark

"S'cool. Filed it under 'shit happens'." Nahnie really wasn't mad about the phone, she was mad about the principle. Also she wasn't even mad, just irritable. Woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Whatever. Been a shitty morning, she could handle it. Aurora had bigger issues that needed Nahnie's attention as moirail. "Dude, sounds great. I definitely got him to give me money for one, so." Being a good fuck really had its perks sometimes. Nahnie wondered if Jackson would let Aurora get off early today. Early as in right fucking now. Nah, maybe in a little while. Aurora needed consoling first.

Looking at her pointedly, knowing that Aurora knew that she was gonna fuckin do it anyway, Nahnie was happy to give up her flower crown to a best friend in need. Plus, she pretty much did have to, it was her job. The change in Aurora as soon as she noticed Whorowitz was out of the room concerned Nahnie, but she'd wait until she got more info before she kicked down the door. Patience, Nahnie, be patient for once ever.

"Sure you are." It wasn't a necessary comment, but what was Nahnie Strider without her snark? "You're not stupid. It happens to the best of us." Well, the best of us that had exes that they cared about. Nahnie didn't fall into that category, but she sure as hell had gotten drunk for stupid reasons in the past. Mostly anger. Nahnie drinking when she was angry usually resulted in a brawl or angry sex but whatever, not about Nahnie, about Aurora. Folding her arms and looking at Aurora sternly, she look offended for about two seconds. "You know as well as I do that I would never let that shit go down." She hadn't even seen the photo yet anyway, and even if she had, there was no way she would clear it.

Realizing she needed to chill, she relaxed and held Aurora's hands again. "Breathe, it's alright." Nahnie nodded along, trying to be sympathetic. It was pretty easy. "I haven't been on social media yet because no phone and my internet was being shitty, but I can tell by the atmosphere." Squeezing Aurora's hands and nodding to where Jackson was, she looked there and then right into Aurora's eyes. "Do you need me to talk to him?" Chilling, don't be too hostile. "I can be gentle," she assured, knowing how pacifistic Aurora was as opposed to Nahnie's spitfire attitude.

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aurora m. rigby
 Posted: Nov 15 2015, 02:24 AM
Quote


Aurora admired Nahnie’s levels of chill. Like, she would be pretty livid herself if something like that happened. Then again, she had a lot of photos on her phone, ones she still had to put onto her computer, and email to her mom. Lots of really fun and cute candids of her fun and cute friends that she would never be able to capture again, and okay wow, just thinking about losing her phone was giving her some sort of anxiety. God forbid something ever happen to it. Right, okay, not important. Her phone was nice and safe in the drawer under the register. Aurora smiled and it didn’t feel quite as forced as any of the other ones had today. “Nice.

Nahnie’s usual snark was pretty relieving, actually. It made things feel a little more normal and like her world wasn’t falling to pieces around her. Aurora still felt pretty stupid but she took Nahnie’s reassurance to heart and tried not to think about it. Thinking about Carson would pretty much be the cherry on top of her awful day and she knew things just would not get any better if she let herself get to that point. “I should’ve found you last night, I don’t know what I was thinking.” Add another item to her list of reasons she was stupid: getting drunk at a party instead of finding Nahnie or Aracelli.

When she grinned again, it was with relief. Obviously, she knew Nahnie would never let something like that fly, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t go up on social media without some caption akin to that. Or probably something that wasn’t nearly as clever. Ugh, she at least hoped the hashtags on the photos would be witty. That was the least this school could do for her. “Thanks,” she said, realizing she hadn’t expressed her gratitude yet, and feeling guilty for it, “for everything.

Aurora felt better with Nahnie holding onto her hands; it somehow kept her grounded and calm. She was pretty sure it was one of the reasons she hadn’t dissolved into a sniffling mess just yet. Taking Nahnie’s advice, Aurora continued to pay attention to her breathing, counting each time she kept the air in her lungs, relishing in the feeling of satisfaction each full breath brought with it. “Awkward,” Aurora muttered, laughing, though there wasn’t any humor to it. “Can’t wait for the customer complaints to roll in.

Making eye contact with Nahnie was easy but answering her question was not. Aurora hesitated, trying to weigh the pros and cons. Even that was difficult to do. It was really straightforward: did she want Nahnie to talk to Jackson or not? Yes, because Aurora knew Jackson wasn’t going to say anything unless prompted to. No, because Aurora wasn’t sure if she wanted him to say anything to her about the whole thing. Her mind had apparently already made itself up because she was closing her eyes and nodding, “yeah. Actually. That would be… if you don’t mind?

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NAHNIE J. STRIDER
 Posted: Nov 15 2015, 03:07 AM
Quote



my songs know what you did
in the dark

"Girl, you're fine. I was with that fuckboy most of the night anyway. It was probably better you didn't find me." That would of been pretty awkward. Not that she wouldn't have left right then and right there to help Aurora deal with whatever was going on, it just would have been pretty weird depending on when she hypothetically found them.

Nahnie was glad she grinned because she was honestly afraid she spooked her with her offense. No assholes would ever use the yearbook for their own personal revenge. Only Nahnie was allowed to do that, and she only did it on very subtle levels. Like making sure she put just one unflattering picture of Carley in there every year on some random page. But there was no way anything more than that would happen on her watch. "No problem, babe. It's what I'm here for."

Her breathing calmed and Nahnie smiled at her, reassuring and gentle. Wearing that flower crown must have unlocked some new zen mode in Nahnie or something, but it didn't last long before she was frowning loudly, fire in her eyes. "Fuck those customers," she said, daring any customer who would complain about ethereal wood nymph princess Aurora to fuck with angry firebreathing guard dragon Nahnie.

Nahnie definitely understood Aurora's hesitation, considering her history with being "gentle" was pretty much nonexistant. But she eventually agreed, and she gave her usual toothy, wicked grin before taking a deep breath and smiling like a normal person. "Of course not. I got this, babe, don't you worry." Gentle, Nahnie, be gentle. Walking behind the counter as if she owned the place, which is pretty much how she walked anywhere, she reached the door to Jackson's office where he was holed up, sulking probably. Knocking on the door with the fury of about ten dragons, she yelled "Jackson, open the fu-" before she remembered she was trying to be gentle, right, fuck. Clearing her throat, she knocked in a much more chill way, saying "Jackson, can I talk to you for a second?" Yeah, she could handle this.

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JACKSON E. HOROWITZ
 Posted: Nov 15 2015, 04:12 AM
Quote


No one wants you when you have no heart &
I'm sitting pretty in my brand new scars

Work had never been more interesting. Never in his life had Jackson been more willing to fill out spreadsheets, email and call suppliers, and make up schedules in his entire life. At one point he considered just dropping out of high school and managing full time because this was so much fun. He ignored the security cameras that couldn't be turned off (seriously? just steal the flowers, they were probably going to die before they could sell them anyway), focusing on his work and nothing else.

That is, until he caught a flash of someone walking toward his office on the screen out of the corner of his eye.

At first he thought it was Aura, but no, it was just Nahnie. He breathed a premature sigh of relief before he realized that holy shit, Nahnie Strider was coming to his office. His whole life flashed before his eyes and he looked at the door, wishing to God he had locked it (something he really had not had much luck with today). This felt just like Five Nights at Freddy's. The fear was real and he braced himself for her entrance.

However, instead of just barging in like he expected her to, she banged on the door, a viable second option for Nahnie. But then suddenly, it lightened up, and Jackson wondered if it was some sort of calm before the storm thing. "Uh, come in," he called, voice shaky and not really excited to have this conversation. Knowing Nahnie, she definitely knew what happened and came to tear Jackson a new one for all the same reasons he blamed himself.

Opening the door, he saw Nahnie take a few deep breaths, as if she were trying to remain calm, and Jackson wondered who the fuck this was. Sitting in the seat in front of him, Nahnie clasped her hands together and rested her arms on his desk, and Jackson backed up a bit. It was clear who was the boss in this room at the moment. Jackson tried to keep it cool, but she could smell fear probably.

"Okay, I'm gonna make this pretty clear, in the gentlest way possible." Was this the Nahnie Strider he knew and avoided? "You need to fucking stop being a little bitch, jesus fucking christ-" Nahnie stopped abruptly, taking the bouquet shaped stress ball sitting on Jackson's desk and squeezing it, taking deep breaths. "Sorry. I promised I would be gentle. But anyway." She looked as if she were trying to figure out a way to say what she needed to say without blowing up. "Okay, I get your whole 'avoid problems until they go away' bit. Really I do. I mean, I usually deal with my fucking problems right then and there, but to each their own." Her nostrils were flaring and Jackson was pretty sure she was going to explode.

"Look, I know what you're going to say. Or I mean, I know what this is about, and I really don't care if you say it gently or not. Lay it on me. I deserve it." Jackson shrugged, hoping Aurora wasn't standing outside the door. He didn't want to ruin another part of her life and have her and Nahnie fight or something, but what was another fuck-up on the pile of mistakes Jackson Horowitz has made at other people's expense.

Nahnie let out an exasperated sigh, then promptly threw the bouquet stress ball at Jackson. It his his arm and it hurt, but not really that bad, and he did deserve it. "I don't!!! Fucking!!! Wanna hear your self-pity shit. Oh my god. Your fucking best friend is out there wondering what the fuck she did wrong and you're sitting here pouting and blaming yourself and not doing fucking anything to fix it, God, I just-" She paused for a second, holding out her hand, and Jackson handed her the stress bouquet, which he was pretty sure was going to get torn to shreds and - yep, ripped in half. They had a hole box of them in the back, so he wasn't too worried about it. "Fuck, fucking FUCK. Jackson Horowitz, I get that you're hurting because of your girl, but she is not your girl anymore. Let it the fuck go. Move the fuck on. Stop hurting Aurora because you can't get a grip on your goddamn feelings, fuck."

Jackson just nodded along. He knew all of this already, these were the things he had been screaming at himself when he wasn't distracting himself with work. But, of course, hearing it from someone else felt very different, and he realized he was blinking away tears. "What do I do?" he asked, barely above a whisper.

Nahnie looked guilty for once, and she relaxed, setting the two halves of the stress ball on the desk and reaching forward to pat his shoulder. "Just talk to her, dude, tell her how you feel. She'll understand better than anyone, you know she will. I haven't known her for as long as you have, but I know that much." Nahnie grabbed his chin and forced him to look at her in the eye. "You've made mistakes, it's cool. Everyone does. Nobody's perfect. Cue that fucking Hannah Montana song. You're not a bad guy, but you have to deal with it. You can't just bottle that shit up, dude. Talk to someone about it. And by someone, in this case, I mean Aurora, just so she can understand what the fuck is going on here with you."

Jackson wondered how much Nahnie really knew about their whole situation. It didn't feel like she was talking very long with Aurora, but Nahnie had gathered quite a bit of information. Nodding at her, he stood up, legs a little wobbly, and Nahnie stood up with him to support him. "Pull yourself together, babe." Wow, Jackson felt like he was officially one of Nahnie's Precious Cinnamon Rolls™ with the whole 'babe' thing, which was pretty reassuring that Nahnie wasn't going to kill him, today at least.

"I got this," he said, full of uncertainty, but not letting that stop him.

"Need me to mediate?" she asked, though it was clear that she was not necessarily feeling that based on her tone. It was personal, of course, but it would be nice to have someone there to help him feel less anxious. But maybe... Nahnie wasn't the right person for that position, so he shook his head.

They stepped out of his office, and Nahnie went to go look at some arrangements while Jackson went directly to Aurora, breathing in deep. "Aurora, I-" he gulped, realizing that this was probably not a good place. There were a few customers other than Nahnie in the shop, though they seemed to be just casually looking around, he didn't want to have a discussion right there. "Can I talk to you in my office?" Trying to make it sound like a professional issue, as if.

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aurora m. rigby
 Posted: Nov 18 2015, 01:37 AM
Quote


Aurora wanted to counter with but if I had gotten a hold of you, you’d have your phone still, and I wouldn’t feel like the worst person in the universe, and things would probably be okay and so many other things, but she knew better than to get into it, especially since there were customers trickling in and out of the shop. Aurora wasn’t even sure what time it was, her day had felt so long already, but it must’ve been that time of day where the business of the store picked up. What bad timing. Go figure. Aurora told herself to start putting herself back together again. She’d been okay before Nahnie arrived but she could feel herself slipping. She was pretty sure the mall wasn’t even close to closing which meant she still had a lot of customers between her and crying the moment she got to her dorm.

Honestly, what would Aurora do without Nahnie? She hugged her pretty much immediately after she said ‘it’s what I’m here for,’ holding onto her really tight and wishing she didn’t have to let go. She had to pretty quickly, though, because she was at work, and there were customers, and they were sure to have questions any moment now. Aurora looked a little startled at Nahnie’s outburst and she glanced around to make sure none of the said customers had heard. Aurora appreciated the concern, obviously, so she smiled, but it felt forced, and it didn’t reach her eyes. “You’re the best.” Aurora was only a little worried about having Nahnie talk to Jackson when it wasn’t Nahnie’s problem to worry about; Aurora didn’t think she would’ve been able to handle it yet, anyway.

Nahnie affectionately calling her ‘babe’ made her feel better every time and Aurora tried to hold onto the feeling as Nahnie headed behind the counter and through the Employees Only door. She looked so much like she owned the place that Aurora knew she wouldn’t have to worry about any prying customers. Unfortunately, the first thing she heard was Nahnie shouting. Aurora cringed, moving towards the door as well, before hesitating. When she found she couldn’t hear anything else, Aurora stepped back, and out onto the floor. Customers. Sales. Flowers. Right. Aurora lost track of how long Nahnie was in Jackson’s office for. It was easy to. She got a lot of questions about the flower crown she was wearing and Aurora felt bad every time she had to tell them no, they didn’t sell them. It wasn’t a bad idea, though…

Before Aurora could even think up a way to make it work, Nahnie and Jackson returned: Nahnie to a display of arrangements, Jackson right to her. Aurora felt she was going to pass out. Unable to say anything, Aurora just nodded, and followed him to the back, and into the office. She wished she had worn a sweater, or that she had at least brought one with her to put on. She needed the extra sensation of security it would have provided but as it were, she was left to sit in the chair Nahnie had previously occupied, feeling small. Aurora knew she had to look withdrawn, with her arms crossed her over her chest, and she felt even worse about it. She didn’t want to be, didn’t want those walls up, but she couldn’t help it. This almost seemed just like the day at the train station all over again. Like the alleyway with Carson.

Aurora stayed still and quiet, waiting for Jackson to start.

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JACKSON E. HOROWITZ
 Posted: Nov 18 2015, 02:24 AM
Quote


No one wants you when you have no heart &
I'm sitting pretty in my brand new scars

Honestly, Jackson wished he could close the store for the day and deal with this. Which was saying something, because Jackson never dealt with anything, but once he decided to actually do it, it felt strange to have to do it in his office. Do it as in, have this conversation. Not the other thing that Jackson definitely never thought about, not even once. Nope.

That was not was this was about.

Well, it kind of was, but... Shut up, Jackson. Getcha head in the game. This was a serious situation, which required absolute sensitivity and care. Something Jackson wasn't used to at all, but had to master it in the next few minutes or however long it took to get all of his feelings out.

It was going pretty badly already. Aurora was sitting where Nahnie sat and Jackson at his usual place, and he felt like he was about to fire her or something. "No, fuck this," he muttered under his breath, wheeling his chair around his desk to where she was and sitting right next to her, prompting her to turn towards him. Well, shit, he already looked pretty ridiculous rolling his chair towards her, and he felt like he needed a shower, and this was just not going well at all.

No, no chickening out this time. Not a chance. Suck it up and be a man about this. Or just... someone who could explain his feelings about this. "Okay, so you know as well as I do that I absolutely suck at explaining my feelings." Suck??? Was he thirteen again? He wished he was. Things were simpler back then. "So this is gonna be really... this... I'm trying, okay. It might not make sense but here I go."

Clearing his throat, he opened his mouth as if to speak, then suddenly half-rested, half-slammed his head on the desk, using his forearm as a pillow. "Fuck, why is this so difficult," he lamented, groaning. Sitting up, taking a deep breath, he spun around in his chair once to clear his mind (spoiler alert: it didn't work) and pretty much just had a fit right there next to Aurora before pulling it together.

"Aurora, I... I still have feelings for Grace." Wow, GREAT way to start off. "But I... I have feelings for you, too. It's kind of fucked up actually, but since when is everything I come in contact with not fucked up?" Sighing, he pressed on, wanting desperately to run out of the room, but that didn't work so well last time. "Anyway, I just... this morning I felt... just..." He still didn't know how to explain it. Words weren't coming to him. "I just felt terrible, disgusting. I felt like I was using you to get over Grace, and I don't think that's really how it was, but some part of me feels like that might be a thing, and I just -" Taking a deep breath, he took a few moments to calm down before continuing because his head felt like it was spinning again. He took her hand on instinct, clinging to her for support as usual. He was selfish. "I don't know what to do here. I don't know anything apparently."

Squeezing her hand, he looked at her with puppy eyes, unintentionally of course. He really wasn't the manipulative fuckboy he thought he was, but that was irrelevant. "Aurora, I'm sorry. I just feel really lost here and I'm sorry I dragged you into it, and I'm sorry I ever left you without saying goodbye, and I'm starting to be sorry I ever left Fairfield." He didn't really mean that, not all the way. New York City was rude and expensive and had this kind of gross smell in the air he couldn't get away from, but being here was one of the best experiences of his life. He met so many people. Dan, Mikey, Andie, Ozzie, Stella, Sienna... Grace. Even though he had fucked everything up on that front, he was still grateful that he had met Grace, and that her kindness and compassion reminded him so much of Aurora that it made New York City feel like home to him.

Maybe that should of told him right away. Good things never lasted in his life. He always fucked it up and left it a mess and never fixed it properly. The roof of the house was pretty much symbolic of that. A thirteen year old inexperienced non-carpenter maybe didn't have a chance to fix a roof properly, but he could have at least made it not leak.

"I'm so sorry..." he whispered, leaning down to rest his forehead on their interlocked hands, wondering if she would ever forgive him, or if he would ever forgive himself.

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aurora m. rigby
 Posted: Nov 20 2015, 06:06 AM
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Aurora had been expecting the worse. Aurora had been expecting I left you in Fairfield for a reason, I hate you, you’ve ruined everything, I never want to see you again. Aurora had been expecting this to be the end of one of her most important friendships. Aurora had been expecting the worse so maybe that was why everything Jackson said didn’t hurt as much as it should have.

In fact, the sigh of relief that escaped her was probably very poorly timed.

Aurora broke down what had just happened to give herself time to think through her words. Jackson had wheeled his chair from the other side of the desk to next to her so she had had no other choice but to pivot and face him. That had been fine. She felt better sitting like this, closer to him. He did suck at explaining his feelings. He was absolutely awful at it but for as long as he had been her best friend, she knew this. It wasn’t a surprise. She had cringed a little when he gently slammed his head against the desk and she had had to suppress Mom Friend mode because now definitely wasn’t the time for it. Then he had spun in his chair and she had to suppress the laugh threatening to spill from her lips. He sucked at explaining things but he apparently also sucked at even getting started.

The first part of his rant was I still have feelings for Grace, and it had, honestly, hurt. But it hadn’t been what she thought it would be and so it hadn’t hurt as bad as it could have. Of course he still had feelings for Grace. That was… so obvious. Aurora would hope he still did. If he hadn’t, she would have sent herself home immediately. That day. She would have put as much distance between herself and Jackson as she could so that he could be happy with Grace, because that was what they both deserved. I have feelings for you, too. That had made her heart skip a beat. She didn’t know what to say to that. Aurora had feelings for Jackson, of course she did, but on what level? Had she come to terms with what she felt for him? Apparently not.

At the reminder of what had happened that morning, and subsequently the night before, Aurora felt a little sick. It wasn’t like she had forgotten but it was definitely not anything she wanted to think about again. Ever. I felt like I was using you. What? What?? The sickness increased and Aurora wanted to grab him by the shoulders and look him in the eye and reassure him that it would never be like that, that she would never see it as that, that even if it was like that, she wouldn’t care. That was probably something to think about, a facet of herself that needed looking into, but she couldn’t worry about it now. Aurora squeezed his hand harder than probably necessary but she hoped it would help to keep him grounded, help him finish what he was trying to get at.

Aurora was shaking her head before he even ended. She wrapped her other hand around their entwined ones, wanting to speak right that second, but knowing better than to interrupt. With the last apology, Aurora leaned forward and pressed a kiss to the top of his head. The poorly timed sigh of relief followed after and she started slowly even though she knew exactly what she was going to say. “Jackson, I love you so much, and I hope you know that. Whether you felt like you were using me or not, I want you to know that I never saw it like that, and even if it was intentional, you are my best friend, and… and it sounds wrong and it probably is, but I would do anything for you and if it came to that, then fine. It is what it is. I don’t care.

Aurora took a moment to blink back the tears forming in her eyes. “You didn’t drag me into anything. I’m the idiot that moved out here without talking to you. I’m the one that sat on that stupid bench with you,” the breathy laugh wasn’t intentional but she couldn’t believe all this bullshit had started because of a bench. “You explained the goodbye. I understand now. It’s fine. I’m over it. Don’t be sorry you left Fairfield. You just made the right decision in getting out while you had the chance. I’m glad you did. I’m so happy you’re happy here and I’m sorry that I came out here and ruined everything.” Her own words echoing the ones she thought she’d hear from him reminded her of how this was so much better than what she feared it was going to be.

I… I thought you were… going to be so angry with me. I thought this… I thought maybe you wouldn’t want anything to do with me, anymore. It’s what I would have deserved for destroying everything you built out here. It’s what I thought happened this morning, that you had come to that realization, and I was terrified. I’m so selfish, Jackson, and I’m so sorry.” She stopped there, horrified now that she had put it into his head, that he would see yes, she was the reason everything had gone wrong for him, and that yes, he wanted her out of his life. She stared down at the flower print on her dress, refusing to look up.

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JACKSON E. HOROWITZ
 Posted: Nov 20 2015, 01:02 PM
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No one wants you when you have no heart &
I'm sitting pretty in my brand new scars

Jackson expected her to yell, to cry, to slap him, to leave, walk right back out of his life. He did not expect the kiss on his head, or the sigh of relief, and he looked up at her, puzzle, but also relieved. That relief was short-lived though, when he realized what she was saying. He didn't like it. Aurora shouldn't have to do that, no way. She was too trusting, too forgiving, and now he really didn't trust himself. He'd have to make sure he wasn't doing anything to hurt her because he knew she wouldn't tell him. He wanted to tell her that she shouldn't, but he didn't want to interrupt her. It was her turn to speak.

However, he couldn't help but shake his head at what she said next. She hadn't ruined anything by coming out here. In fact, he knew very well that he would have fucked up everything with Grace sooner or later, especially after she had told him about the cancer. Jackson always managed to find a way to distract himself from a.k.a. fuck up anything serious in his life. Aurora just so happened to show up right before Grace told him she was sick, so off to her he went. It was a lot more complicated and a lot less shallow than that, but Jackson didn't see it that way.

Opening his mouth, he couldn't believe what she was saying. Jackson would never even consider being angry with Aurora. None of this was her fault. It was his. She wasn't the one who was using her best friend. She wasn't the one who was basically cheating, since she wasn't the one in a relationship. Taking her face in his hands, he gently pulled her chin up so he could look in her eyes. "Aurora Rigby, listen to me. I will never not want anything to do with you. Even when I left all those years ago, I just thought it would be easier if you didn't... if we didn't... I didn't want to hurt you, so I ignored the problem, which probably made it worse." Not surprising. "I'm not angry with you, and I'd have no right to be, because I'm making my own decisions, even if they are shitty ones. You don't deserve to be abandoned. Actually, you deserve a much better best friend than I am." He laughed, trying to make light of things as usualy. "You're my best friend and I love you and you are the least selfish person I know. I'm the selfish one. I'm sorry."

With that, he pulled her into a hug, holding her close, trying his best not to cry because he felt like it. Nahnie was right, and he was thankful for whatever brought her into the flower shop today. If he hadn't talked to her, she would have been left with the thought that he didn't want anything to do with her, and that this was her fault. He felt even guiltier somehow, knowing that Aurora blamed herself so easily, when it was his fault.

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aurora m. rigby
 Posted: Jan 5 2016, 07:34 AM
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His reactions during her turn to speak made her want to talk all the more. He didn't seem like he agreed with what she had to say and she wanted to insist, to tell him that this was her fault. That he did deserve better and that his life would be so much easier if she hadn't slotted herself back into it. As it were, she kept her head lowered once she had finished, having successfully scared herself from looking into his emerald eyes, so certain that she would find nothing but hatred in them, after realizing how much a burden she was to him. So when he took her face in his hands, she flinched, bringing her own hands up to take hold of his wrists. Aurora held on perhaps a little too tightly and braced herself for his next words. It was a relief on its own that the expression on his face seemed far from what she had been expecting. Expectations versus reality had never felt so true to her than in this moment.

She hated herself for not believing a word he was saying. His tone was sincere. Everything about him was sincere: eyes, body language, words. It just seemed so... impossible, though. "How can you be so sure?" she asked, voice wavering, and the tears spilled over whether she wanted them to or not. Somewhere, in the very bottom of her heart, she knew, there was no doubt in her mind, that there would be a day where Jackson wanted nothing to do with her. It seemed inevitable, somehow, and it made it all the more difficult to stop crying. As he continued, he became harder to hear, as her pounding heart seemed to be the only sound that her ears cared about. What if he hadn't ignored the problem? What if she hadn't gone to bid him farewell? What would her life be now?

God damn it, he was so honest, and she couldn't understand it. Wrists still held tight in her fingers, Aurora pulled his hands away from her face so she could wipe her tears away. He had every right to be angry with her and Aurora somehow felt the need to ruin this moment, to make him angry with her somehow, so he would realize, so that he could finally be free of her. His laughter felt wrong and out of place and she hiccuped, tears starting anew, and when he pulled her into a hug, she selfishly allowed it, needing nothing more in that moment than to be in his arms. What had he just said about her not being selfish? "Jackson, no," she whimpered, voice cracking, palms pressed to her face, wishing she could return the embrace, but trying uselessly still to dry her eyes. "You don't understand."

Aurora didn't even think she understood. Her thoughts were all mixed up and she couldn't figure out what to say, so she just sat still, keeping her fingertips against her eyelids, waiting until she could bring herself to stop crying.

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JACKSON E. HOROWITZ
 Posted: Jun 24 2016, 08:27 AM
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"What?" he asked incredulously, unable to believe that she could think that way about herself. "Aura, how could I not be sure?" he asked, the laughter coming again as he pulled her into that hug, and she was crying, and he was crying, and he was pretty sure there was something he needed to say, something else, but hell if he knew what it was, so he just... you know... started saying whatever. "You're a godsend, honestly. If I didn't know better, I'd say you were an angel." Funny, because he'd say the same about Grace. Looks like he had a type, people who would unconditionally care for his selfish ass no matter how badly he fucked up.

He held her close, wanting her to stop crying, wanting to stop crying himself for ten minutes lately, and he didn't pull away when she spoke, knowing she needed to be reassured that he was there for her more than he needed to look her in the eye. "What don't I understand? You're literally the best friend an asshole like me could ask for. I don't know how you can't see that. You put everyone else before yourself, and I'm the jerk who lets you do that." Yep, type confirmed. Maybe she had one too, and that's why she had been with Carson.

She needed to not have a type for her own good. Jackson needed to not have a type for everyone's else's.

He held her there and let her cry, let her do whatever she wanted to do, for what seemed like forever, before he heard an urgent knocking at the door. Whatever it was, it could wait a few more minutes. It was probably Nahnie, anyway, coming to rub it in his face that she was right. Well, apparently, that was urgent, because the door swung open and hit the stopper on the wall with a considerable amount of force.
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