You can't appreciate real love 'till you've been burned.. Pete/OC - one-shot
She wanted to drown the hurt, the anger, the pain. Maybe she'd get so drunk tonight she'd never even remember him. Never remember any of the memories they had shared. Two drinks down, she still wasn't drunk enough to forget the way his hair fell over his eyes, his kind dark eyes, the ones that had bored into her soul so many times. The ones she thought had been only for her.
She downed the rest of her drink and glanced forlornly into the bottom of her glass. Another, she thought. The bartender headed her way and asked her if she wanted another. She just nodded.
"Girly girly, you're at your best when you're sober," the bartender said, a look of what could've been sympathy lingering on his face. It wasn't real sympathy she knew. It was as fake as the smile she had flashed him when she first entered and the even faker ID.
"No, no. Just one more," she slurred. Her request was filled and soon that one more turned into four. Soon enough she was letting herself be lead towards the door by yet another meaningless stranger. Just another faceless man who she would try and fill the void with. Pretend it to be him.
They got back to her place. Clothes littered the floor. Their alcohol-stained breath coming out shakily. It was all over just as suddenly as it had begun. Maybe for that one moment did she feel alright. That one moment when she was imagining it to be him laying on top of her in the dark. Wishing that it really would be.
She woke in the morning to find only one lot of clothing now on the floor - her own. She knew he'd find the door in the morning, after all he'd found her bed so easily in the dark. They were all the same. She'd always be alone in the morning, wishing for only one person.
She pulled the bedclothes tighter around herself when the doorbell to her apartment rang. Looking through the peephole, her breath caught in her throat. She had expected anyone but him. It was true he was who she wanted to see, but he was never who she'd expected. Never.
Slowly she unlocked the door and opened it. There he stood, one hand tucked tightly into the pocket of his hoodie and the other one running through his dark hair. He still looked the same as she'd ever remembered, just more tired and worn.
"Layla" He greeted softly. Every time he spoke her name shivers still overtook her.
"Pete" She returned, trying to keep her voice steady.
He glanced warily at the sheet that adorned her body. Maybe she'd moved on, he thought. It sure looked like it.
"Come in." Layla gestured into her apartment, inviting Pete to enter.
Pete stepped over the threshold and into her apartment. It looked almost the same as it had when he had left. She closed the door behind him.
"Uh, I'll just go and put something on. Make yourself comfortable." She said, walking past him, her hand brushing softly against his as she passed.
She disappeared into her bedroom and closed the door. How could she be so casual about this? Speak so casually to him? 'Make yourself comfortable' she had said, did she really want him to get 'comfortable' here, after all the time she had spent wanting to see him again it always came back to the same old thing. He'd left her. Even worse, he'd left her for someone else.
As soon as she closed the door to her bedroom Pete wandered into her lounge room. The first thing that caught his eye was the photographs on her mantle; there was one's of her and her brother when they were younger, her parents, Layla and her friends on what looked like New Years, and then his glance stopped at the last photo. It was one of Layla and him. It had always been her favourite photo of them, his too. He had still kept his copy after everything and he was surprised that her copy of the photograph was still on her mantle.
He slowly took the photo off the mantle and ran his fingers along the frame. They had looked so happy. Layla had looked so much happier then she did now, he realised. Her eyes had been bright, almost as bright as her smile.
He heard a door open and fumbled to put the photo frame back in it's resting place. He turned around and saw Layla standing there, she had put on a tee-shirt and jeans. Her hair was now tied back into a ponytail.
"I see you still have this photograph." Pete said, nodding towards the photo he had just placed back on the mantle.
"I do." Layla said quietly.
"I still have my copy too." Pete said trying to meet her eyes, but her gaze was directed to the floor.
"Really?" She looked up. She seemed surprised that he had kept it. Almost as surprised as Pete had been when he saw she kept hers.
Had Pete really kept his photo? Or was he just saying that. He'd just said so many things before that Layla didn't know what to believe.
"Layla, I'm so sorry."
As soon as he said that Layla felt her body shake involuntarily. If he had known how long she'd waited to hear that. If he'd known how long she'd waited to see him again. If he'd just known. Now that he'd said it, she was uncertain if she had ever wanted those words to reach her ears.
"No" Layla said shakily, wrapping her arms tightly around herself in a comforting gesture. Not that it was doing much good.
All those nights at the bar had come and gone, as had the nights with the strangers she had wished to be him but now he was here, in her home, apologising. Was it what she wanted? Did it change anything or did it really matter at all? He'd left her so long ago, it felt. Now he was back. It didn't feel right to her, even though that's what she had wished for since the first days of his leaving.
No? No to what? Pete thought. He could see Layla wasn't the same as she had been. Had he done that to her? If he had he didn't think he could ever be sorry enough in his entire lifetime to make up for hurting her so bad.
He stepped towards her, touching her gently on the arm. "I really am sorry." He said quietly. "I was so, so stupid."
She shrugged his hand away. "You're not sorry." She was really just trying to convince herself, so she wouldn't be set up for a fall.
"I am, Layla!" Pete said. "I can't sleep, I can't eat, I can't live. Without you." He grabbed her by the shoulders. "I was so fucking stupid to get drunk that night and sleep with her. She meant nothing, I swear. She wasn't you. She never could've been. There's been no one else, Layla because everytime I meet someone my thoughts always come back to you. I need you, Layla. If you don't want me back, I'll understand but I needed to try because the past month has been hell without you." He released her shoulders from his grip and took a step back.
"Pete, you don't know how long I've waited for you to come here and say that. I don't know if I can forgive you though. Of all the nights I've tried to drink away the memories of you, and then sleep with some random guy just so I could pretend it was you all over again, I still don't know if I can trust you again. I want to, oh god, do I want to but.." she stopped and let out a sigh. "I still don't know if I can."
So that's what had been going on, Pete thought. That's why her apartment smelt of sex and booze. Oh god what had he done? How bad had he fucked this whole thing up? But she said she wanted to forgive him, that had to count for something. She still wanted him, that much was clear. He was willing to give her time, as much as she needed.
"I promise I won't hurt you again." Pete said.
He promised, Layla thought. Even when he had cheated every promise he'd ever made to her, he'd kept true to.
Layla wrapped her arms back around herself and Pete found himself wishing it could be his arms around her, like it had been before, but he knew even if she had agreed to give him a second chance it wouldn't be like it had been before.
"Okay." She finally whispered. "I'll give you a second chance. I love you that much."
I love you that much, Pete noticed that she had said love, not loved.
"Oh, Layla." Pete whispered, finally wrapping his arms around her. She didn't push him away this time. It felt nice to have his arms around her again. To feel his touch. To smell his scent and feel his warm breath in her hair. "I'll never hurt you again, I swear."
It had taken him a mistake to realise how much he needed the one thing he'd lost.
You don't know what you've got until you say goodbye
[A/N] A fic spawned from listening to The Fourth Drink Instinct by Cute Is What We Aim For. You'll probably notice that the start of this fic includes a lot of lines from the song. If you haven't heard the song by CIWWAF then you should take a listen.
Please R&R. Always appreciated.