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What If I Told You

Guest Cerise

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Story Title: What If I Told You

Type of story: Short/Medium Fic

Main Characters: Multi cast, especially Aden, Belle, Geoff, Melody, Geoff

BTTB rating: T

Genre: No specific/general

Does story include spoilers: Yes

Any warnings: L SC

Summary: Sequel to Unfulfilled Dreams, follows on directly from the last chapter.

I had planned to post a short fic before this but an urge to write this got in the way. So the short fic will come after this, and then I might take a break from writing. *cough* Yeah right. This is a sequel to my previous fic, you must have read that or else you'll be confused as hell. The first part of this chapter is a flash back which continues on from CH14 of UD. Then it skips forward five months, but there will be flashbacks throughout the next few chapters.

Chapter One - First we'll Hang Up, then we shall Drink Up

"What tests, Melody?" Mrs. Jones' voice grew louder as her daughter remained silent. "Are you sick? Whats happened?"

But Melody whimpered and withdrew the phone from her ear, and hung up. She couldn't go through with it. Although her mother had to find out sometime... this wasn't the right moment. Besides, she could get rid of the problem easily. She'd already committed one sin, one more wouldn't hurt. That way no one would ever have to know...


"Annie, why the hell are you acting so weird? What's gotten into you? Just tell me what the problem is." Geoff groaned. But his sister didn't respond with more than a cough and words that Geoff could not understand.

"Are you sick? Do you need the doctor?" he persisted, now growing worried. It wasn't like Annie to not talk to him.

But a familiar beeping sound came, and he sighed.


"What's not working out?" Aden's voice came from the other end if the line. "Belle, whats up?"

"It's just..." she bit her lip. "Look, what happened in Chicago last week... I just... Look, I just never expected it to happen but I'm not sure if we should progress... whatever we have... What I'm trying to say is...."

"Whatever Belle, I'll spare you the trouble of saying the sentence. I already know what your trying to say." he laughed haughtily.

"Hold on, don't hang..." but it was too late.

"... up." she smirked.

Five Months Later

"What a complicated six months." Belle laughed. "To think where we were back then. And now look at us. I'm a depressed slut and your on the verge of becoming one of us too, Mel. Be careful, if you weren't preggers with some randomers child, you'd be where I am right now. Here, have some." she tossed a fat bottle of champagne into her friends arms, giggling foolishly.

"Your right Belle, I am pregnant." Melody glared. "And you are so not my friend right now. Lay of the alcohol, you know it's not right. Hell, it's not even frikken legal."

"So let me get this straight... you still follow the belief that drinking is wrong and yet you've come to terms that swearing and sex before marriage aren't sins. Nice work. Come ooon, it'll be legal for me in a few hours."

"Well, I'll just tactfully change the subject..."

"Does Geoff know the kid isn't his?" Belle questioned, ignoring Melody. "Does he even know your pregnant, more to the point, about to give birth any second?"

"It's hardly any second when I'm only seven months along."

"Meh, two seconds, two months, no big diff." Belle shrugged, tugging the champagne bottle off Melody and taking a swig. "Good thing Martha and Jack invited us to the after party, otherwise my cravings for alcohol would have had to... well, go without it. And they wouldn't like that... hey, Mel, I always meant to ask you this. Why did you keep the thing? Why didn't you just do what I did?"

"If your referring to my child, because I wanted to and abortion is a sin. And what do you mean do what you did? You weren't pregnant."

"Riight. I meant to say what I would have done. Sorryyyy."

Melody sighed and grabbed the bottle as she spotted Martha, hiding it behind her back.

"You guys alright?" she asked, smiling.

"Yeahh, we're greaat... How's it feel to be married? A bore I bet."

"You've been drinking, haven't you?" Martha deduced from Belle's tone of voice.

"Me? No, no, not me. Ask boozy over here! She's the one with the champagne! It's her! She's drinking! She's underage! ARREST HER!!"

Melody quickly handed the bottle to Martha, who raised her eyebrows and walked off, obviously tipping off the waiters telling them not to serve the drunken brunette girl.

Belle groaned and slumped down onto the floor. "So, seriously, you talked to Geoff lately?"

"You talked to Aden?" she shot back.

"Nup." she replied, shaking her head. "Don't want to. Don't care."

"No." Melody confessed. "He doesn't even know I'm pregnant. But it's not his, so why should I bother telling him? Anyway, he's got bigger problems to deal with."

"Wish we knew what the bigger problems were."

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Yep, I made her change her mind. I'm not sure Melody would have been able to go through with it, and I'm sure her Mother was in a bit of a crisis too. Either way she told her to do she would be telling her to sin :o:P

Chapter Two - Because she never cared

"I think I'm hungover." Belle groaned, opening her eyes, but closing them again as the blinds on the windows were pulled up sharply, allowing light to enter Melody's bedroom. "Hey, are you trying to blind me or something woman?"

"I am way too pregnant to be looking after you and hiding you in my mothers house. You need to wake up and get out of here. I'm serious, Belle. Mum will be home any second now."

"This is ridiculous!" the brunette moaned sleepily. "It's seven in the morning and your kicking me out? Hello, Irene's at home. She is gonna kill me."

"I'm sure she already knows what a fool of yourself you made at the party. At least she wasn't there to see it. But Martha probably told her. I mean, I thought you'd get away with passing your drunkenness off as a little tipsy, but when you started singing 'How much is that doggie in the window' during the toasts I think you blew it. Sorry to disappoint you. And you took my bed last night, you bit..." but the blond bit her lip. It wasn't like her to say things like that. "You female puppy."

"Takes one to know one. Hey, Melly, are you coming on the year twelve trip next weekend? It'll be fun. We're going to a ski resort."

Melody raised her eyebrows, almost laughing at her oblivious friend. "Look, how many times do I have to tell you? No, I'm Pregnant. Skiing, and seven months of pregnancy don't mix."

"Relax, you could always go snowboarding! Or do that thing when you lie on your stomach and go down the mountain."

"Could you be any more stupid?" she laughed, walking over to her desk where her mobile phone lay, vibrating. She'd just received a text message. "It's from Geoff." she said, taken aback. "It says hey look i really need to talk to you and belle can you meet me down at the beach now and please hurry my bus leaves soon i just really have something to say."

"But you can't go, he'll know your pregnant! To a... gay guy."

"He wasn't homosexual."

"Oh, really." Belle snorted.

"Well, maybe a bit." the other smiled weakly. "But I just can't show up. Just tell him I have the flu, and you'll pass the message on."

Twenty minutes later

Although she would have preferred Melody came with her, after all she couldn't hide this fact from Geoff forever, Belle agreed she'd go down by herself and call her when she got back home. The beach seemed deserted once she got down there, until she spotted a figure. Instantly, Belle knew it was Geoff.

"Hey." she said, slowly making her way down to where he was standing. "Melody couldn't come. Pregnant. Very very contagious...." Oh sh!t, she thought. She had meant to say flu.

"Pregnant?" Geoff jumped about a mile.

"No, no, not pregnant... flu! That's what I meant to say! Flu! She has the flu! It'll be over in about two months..." Oh crap. She shouldn't have said anything. "So, anyway... what... what do you want to talk about?"

"It's about Annie." he ventured. "I mean, I just thought you should know... she... oh, Belle, this is just really hard to say. I've had five months to deal with it. And after the whole Chicago ordeal we went through... it just doesn't seem fair." he gulped. "Look, I just had to tell you in person. She has cancer."

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  • 4 weeks later...

Indeed, I am! :D This chapter is very short and kind of gives you cancer information, it doesn't really progress he story a lot, but I'm writing the fourth as we speak.

Chapter Three - Home/Life

"No details. No comments. Belle, are you sure he didn't say anything else? He can't have just told you something like that and... and not tell you more! Are you sure he just walked off? He can't have!"

Melody paced around her room in a distraught manor, clutching the phone tight to her ear. This wasn't right. "Belle, say something!" she persisted. But all she could hear was unsteady breathing from the other end of the line.

"He said it with no emotion. All he told me is that it was Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia or something... he didn't even seem upset. I just... Mel, this isn't right. Oh god, you shouldn't have to deal with this. You can't be stressing... but you two are so close... it just wouldn't seem right not to tell you! I haven't told anyone else yet... Geoff didn't ask me to keep it quiet but he didn't say the opposite either. Mel, what should I do? Should I let her tell everyone when she comes back, if she comes back... or... do I tell Irene? What do I... what do I say? Oh Melody, your the sensible one!"

But she didn't process most of what Belle was saying. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She knew this was bad. She wasn't dumb.

"Mel, I have to get to work. Irene's calling me." her friend said frantically before hanging up. Melody sighed, replacing the phone beside her lamp on the nightstand and retreating back to her computer, but now she clicked away from a site that was meant to be helping her with her school assignment and typed in The National Cancer Institute website.

... Acute Leukemia - The blood cells are very abnormal. They cannot carry out their normal work. The number of abnormal cells increases rapidly. Acute leukemia worsens quickly... Leukemia that affects lymphoid cells is called lymphoblastic leukemia... Symptoms... Common symptoms of leukemia may include fevers or nightsweats... frequent infections... headaches... feeling weak or tired... Bleeding and bruising easily (bleeding gums, purplish patches in the skin, or tiny red spots under the skin)... pain in bones or joints... weight-loss... In acute leukemia, symptoms appear and get worse quickly. People with this disease go to their doctor because they feel sick. Other symptoms of acute leukemia are vomiting, confusion, loss of muscle control, and seizures...



A few hours later, Melody was awoken from her trance by the sound of her mother calling her. She quickly looked at the clock - 14:57. It must be lunch time. With difficulty, she heaved herself up from the chair and, feeling very stiff, made her way into the kitchen.

"You look awfully pale. Are you okay? It's not the baby, is it?" Christine Jones peered at her daughter worriedly.

"No, I just... I'm just a bit in shock, that's all." she replied weekly. "But nothing to worry about, I'm sure."

Still looking suspicious, Christine shrugged and handed her the house phone. "It's Belle. She says it's urgent. I'm always telling that girl not to ring during lunchtime. You need to eat well when your pregnant you know. When I was having your sister... oh there she is, I keep telling her not to run off... I didn't eat as well as I did when I had you and it didn't do me a lot of good. Mind you... getting pregnant at seventeen isn't exactly something I'd class as good any way you put it."

But Melody wasn't even listening, she just grabbed the phone of her Mum and took the plate which contained a Chicken Salad and a fat white ham-and-cheese roll plus a packet of Cheese and Onion crisps and retreated into her room, not without seeing her mother shake her head in dismay.

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Thanks, everybody! :D This Chapter is mostly focused on Annie when she found out about her ALL (first part) and the second is more focused on Belle. For reference, the chapter starts after Annie has been told.

Chapter Four - A Message

"Annie, you must understand that this is not a death sentence. There is always the option of treatment, which I as your doctor must recommend. I've spoken to your brother about this..."

"You talked to Geoff about this before me."

The dry voice of the fourteen year old brunette shocked the doctor. She had barely said anything in the past two hours. She eyes were drawn and blank, her lips chapped, face pale.

"Don't I have the right to find out, first? What if I didn't want Geoff to know about my results? What if I wanted to keep this all to myself and pretend it didn't exist? What if it just went away by itself?" Annie waited a few moments for her doctors response, but none followed. She shook her head disbelievingly. "You have nothing to say. How typical. You think I'm childi-"

"Annie. I don't think your childish, but your certainly thinking that way. This is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. It's Cancer. This is serious. I explained this to you before.." realising he had adopted a tone a little on the temperamental side, he sighed and put on a more comforting expression. "Look, I know this is scary. And I know it's not fair. I will do everything I can. Do you want to hear about possible treatments? Or should I talk to your brother about them? maybe he can -"

"No. Tell me now."

The doctor nodded understandingly. "Very well then. First of all let me explain about chemo for ALL. Then I'll talk to you about another option which is a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. There is also radiation therapy and biological therapy to consider. Let me begin by saying that People with acute leukemia need to be treated right away..."


Belle lay flat on her back on the floor of her room, hands behind her head, yawning heavily. This was an odd position of comfort but was nevertheless one for her. It was... calming. It took her mind off things, like Annie, and Melody and Geoff and Aden...

She had know idea how Aden's name popped into her head. She hadn't thought about him for months. Well, perhaps weeks. Days. Hours?

Anyway. She hadn't thought about him for a while. In comparison to how much she usually thought of him and her decision. Her stupid, retarded, crazy decision after freaking out after spending one night together in Chicago...

Belle suddenly noticed her phone which was in reaching distance... maybe she could...

No. He wouldn't want to talk to her.

And yet...

"Oh, sod it." she thought aloud, making a determined reach for the mobile and punching in Aden's number, without thinking about it.

"Hey, Aden, listen, don't hang up on me." she said desperately. "I really want to talk to you."

"Belle?" he asked in surprise. "What the..."

"Look, I know I was unreasonable and I was a complete dickhead, and I shouldn't have freaked out like that, I was just scared and it was just so unreal, but that night felt so different and I was scared because of that. It's just whenever I slept with anyone else it didn't feel like that. I felt something more and I was really scared and oh god I'm rambling and repeating myself. I really need to shut up, you probably don't want to talk to me. I've been a complete whore. I'm so sorry, you've probably moved on by now anyway I just... I..."

"Belle, will you just slow down? First of all... I agree. You were pretty unreasonable. Just because you felt something more for me you break up? Doesn't sound very logical. Second of all, I wouldn't move on in five months. Not from someone like you."

"Really? I mean... what do you mean, someone like me..."

"God, do I have to make this anymore obvious?" he sighed in exasperation. "Look, just.... meet me. At The Den. In half an hour. Okay? Please."

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  • 2 weeks later...

I fancy going on an Update drive :P

Chapter 5

Belle was late. She knew she was as she rushed out of Melody's room, and slammed the front door shut. She didn't have to go see her friend before she went to the Diner, strictly speaking, but she needed advice. But Melody didn't have very much to say. She was engrossed in the internet, looking up information about ALL, which Belle couldn't understand. It would just worry her even more. She just chose to believe what Geoff said, that she'd have surgery and then therapy and then it'd be gone. It was the safer option.

Aden was probably gone already. She was half an hour late. God, what was she like? She should just turn back and go straight home, curl up on the sofa, put the television on and stuff herself with crisps and chocolate and drink a big bottle of coke. Belle sighed over this heavenly sounding picture. Stuff Aden, she didn't need to see him.

Of course she did.

Besides, they were out of coke. So there was really only one thing she could do.


Belle pushed the large trolley through the automatic doors of the supermarket. She wasn't going to let an empty bottle of Coca Cola get her down and ruin her lazy day (Aden-free day). With a determined push she wheeled the trolley over to the drink section, where she yanked open the fridge and threw in several bottles of Coke, Seven Up, Dr. Pepper and Fanta, and then made her way to the forbidden section. The candy aisle.


"Annie, your brother has informed me about your decision to have RIT (Remission Induction Therapy) and the to have PRT (Post-Remission Therapy). As you know, RIT is the first phase of treatment. Its purpose is to kill the leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow and this puts the cancer into remission. RMT is the second phase of treatment. It begins once the leukemia is in remission. The purpose of post-remission therapy is to kill any remaining leukemia cells that may not be active but could begin to regrow and cause a relapse. We will start RIT as soon as possible." Doctor Greene explained to his patient calmly. "Are there any questions you may have before I book you in?"

Annie nodded slowly. "Yes." she said tiredly. "What are the odds that I'm going to... die?"

"There's a good chance we can kill most leukemia cells and get you into remission..." he said carefully. "But Annie..."


"Look... I don't want to upset you but... 75% says that you..." the doctor trailed off. "I have to be honest with my patients. You have a 25% chance of surviving, and if we act now..."

The brunette's eyes filled with tears. Twenty-Five Percent. She was more likely to die than to live? "Are these the odds that I have if I did the therapy?" she struggled to speak. There was so much she wanted to do in life...

"Yes, Annie."

"What are the odds if I don't?"

He hesitated. "They are the same."

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Chapter 6

"Annie, you are having the therapy!" Geoff exclaimed, banging the door shut behind him, glaring sternly at his sister. "It's your best chance!"

"No, it's not! It's the same odds. It doesn't make a difference. I want to do things before I die! I want to see places... meet people... have experiences! If I die, there's a reason. God has a plan. And he has a plan for me. If I am to die, so be it!"

"And what about me?"

"Oh what, you have leukemia too? It's not all about you Geoffrey. Your just so selfish!" Annie was getting furious now. Didn't he see whether she had the threapy or not, there was always a Seventy Five percent she'd die? It didn't make any difference!

"Please, think about it." Geoff begged. "I only want the ebst for you. You'd have the best chance..."

"No, I wouldn't! Geoff, get it into your head! I have the same chance of surviving if I don't have the therapy!"


"Who dares call me while I'm having my stress free evening." Belle growled as she picked up the house phone that had been ringing for the past five minutes.

"Belle?! Why didn't you show up?!" Aden asked, frustrated.

"Well, I had to see Melodie first, and then I was late so I kind of..." she tried to find the right word but her mind went blank.

"...chickened?" he tried.

"Yes! Good word. I chickened out and thought I'd go home and drink coke and stuff. But then I remembered that I'd finished it all, so I decided there was only one thing to do..."

"Come and see me, but I was gone?" Aden guessed.

"No, actually, go to the Supermarket." Belle couldn't help giggeling. "And then there was a huge Traffic Jam and more hold ups and when I got home One Tree Hill was repeating, so I watched that. And THEN I was going to call you..."

"No way, I didn't know they were running repeats!" he said, shocked. "Why didn't anybody tell me? What Season?"

"Three, and it was Episode 309, 'How A Resurrection Really Feels', and I love that episode... Anyway... so when that ended, I put the rest of the Season on reminder, and then the phone rang and I talked to Melody for a while, and then she came over and we talked about Annie and then we watched a DVD..."

Aden laughed down the phone. "Why did you talk about Annie? About the whole Chicago ordeal, you mean?"

Oh crap, he didn't know. "Er, yeah. That. So then Mel left and then I watched Friends and then you called! And now we're having a conversation like we used to have. It feels good."

"Yeah. It does."

"Oh, my mobile's ringing. I'll call you back." she hung up and then picked up her mobile. "Hello?"

"Belle, this is Christine Jones. I... Melody wanted me to call you." she swallowed hard. "She's in hospital. She wants you to come. She's...."

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Chapter 7

Belle pushed past several nurses and doctors (and plant pots, which fell to the floor in a crash, but she blamed the security guard for that), and ran through the doubly doors into the waiting area. Melody's Mum sat there anxoiusly.

"Oh Belle." she said gratefully. "I'm so scared! They won't tell me anything. They just... took her away. Didn't say anything except that..."

"What happened?" the teenager replied anxiously.

"She... she wasn't feeling well, and then she got stomach pains, and then... there was all this blood and she collapsed..." Christine Jones now started sobbing. "I was so dissappointed in her about this baby, but now that she's... it's just..." she stood up as she saw a nurse approaching her. "Dr. Armstrong, Where's my daughter?"

Rachel looked slightly worried, and Belle didn't like this expression one bit.

"She miscarried for many reasons, Christine, one of them being stress. This late on in the pregnancy, it's uncommon... do you have any knowledge of her drinking? Or... taking drugs?"

"My daughter would never take drugs!" Christine exclaimed, appalled. "What's wrong?"

Rachel hesitated for a second. "Well... we found a significant amount of alcohol and drugs in her system, which is why she collapsed..."

The look of shock and anger on Mrs. Jones's face made Belle back away from her slightly, but she carried the same expression. Melody? Alcohol? Drugs? "What kind of drugs?" she said carefully.

"We found a mixture of several pain killers and other medications, and it looks like she took ecstasy and injected herself wi..."

Christine stopped Rachel in mid sentance. Fury, outrage, and upset swelled up in her, emotions she'd been holding on to for such a long time. "NO! YOU CAN'T TELL ME MY DAUGHTER IS A DRUGGIE! There's a mistake! There's got to be..."

"Doctor Armstrong!" a nurse called from the room where Melody was supposedly in. "We're losing her!"

Five Hours Later

"Belle!" Aden exclaimed, rushing over to the brunette girl who was sitting on a plastic chair, sobbing. "What... whats..." he sat down beside her and leaned forwards. "What's happened? Where's Melody? Is she okay?"

"Aden... she's... I don't... She... I can't." Belle swallowed, sobbing harder. "Aden... just... stay here with me. Please. Will you?"

Aden nodded silently. "Of course I will." he said after a while.

Short Chapter, but there you go. Cliffhanger-ish ending :D

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Chapter 8

A couple of hours later

"This is screwed up." Aden said for the fifth time. "This can't be happening!"

"Aden, I know. It must be tough... You and Melody... Were you close, ever?" Rachel asked him, sympathetically.

He considered for a moment. "Well... we... were friends, I guess, until me and Belle broke up and Geoff moved away. Then we didn't really have much of a reason to hang out, I mean she was Belle's best friend and I didn't speak to her for five months... but... I just wish." he chocked on his own words. "I'll go see how Belle's doing. She was takingthe news not so badly, but... I think the message hasn't got through yet. She told me about Annie and Geoff but she just stared at the wall in front of her..."

"Denial is common. I'll go check how Mrs. Jones is doing. You check on Belle. Maybe you want to call Geoff, wasn't he close to Melody too?"

"Yeah, I'll call Bible Boy." he said half heartedly.


"Hey, Geoff, it's Aden... look, you might want to make your way up to Summer Bay. There's something... something's happened, mate. You might want to bring Annie too, unless she's too emotional. I'm sorry to hear about the leukemia stuff...Bye" he left the pretty lame message on Geoff's voicemail and then turned back to Belle.

"Hey, how are you? Do you want me to take you home? Irene called your cell earlier, but you were sleeping so I picked it up. She's waiting at home for you."

"Yeah." Belle said with difficulty. "Please. But... what about..."

"You just need the rest. You can't stay here." he said, putting his arm around her.

Belle looked at him, questioningly. "What if Melody wakes up?"

Aden was caught off guard. She looked genuinely confused. As if her best friend hadn't died, just went to sleep. That she was going to wake up. But she wasn't. Even he was finding it hard to believe.... He lifted her out of the seat she had been sitting in for hours, and supported her in her movement out of the hospital.


Belle lay snuggled under her covers, the dim light of teh mood creaping through her blinds. She couldn't sleep. She just looked at Aden who was sitting by her desk staring into the back yard of her house.


"Yeah?" he replied instantly at the sound of her voice.

"Aden... I missed you." she said quietly. "I missed you so much after I broke up with you. I... I turned to drinking... drinking my sorrows away... and then... I started taking drugs. I got them off a friend of a friend at school." Aden looked at her, but no expression of shock befell his face. He just listened. "And when I was left with hardly anything... I justthought I'd forgotten how much I took. But that's where Melody must of got it from. I killed her." Belle sobbed hard. "Aden, it's all my fault."

"Hey." he siad, rushing over to her. "No, nothing is your fault. Melody would have got them from somewhere else. Belle, it's not your fault. You had no control over this."

She nodded, but not very convincingly. "So... when I called you and we arranged out meeting, you wanted to tell me something. What was it?"

"This isn't the right time."

"Why not?"

"Because, I'd imagined it differently." he sighed. "Belle, I just wanted to let you know I wanted to get back together. I missed you too, so much but I was hurt but it didn't stop me from loving you, it didn't stop those feelings..."

"Well, that's one way of putting it." Belle agreed.

"Oh shiit." he said guiltily.

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Chapter 9

"This is just... such a...shock." Geoff whispered, wiping his eyes for the what seemed hundredth time. "How... how is Belle doing?" he asked tentatively.

Aden shook his head, sighing as he thought of her up in the room she'd spent the past few days in, not speaking much except in her sleep. Aden tried to ignore what she said while she was knocked out, but it made him so worried. It seemed like she was talking to someone... talking to Melody. Seeing her in her sleep. She, well, they, talked about what it was like (whatever was meant by that), but it always seemed like Belle was left clueless. 'They' talked about life, and often he overheard 'them' talk about... him. Aden usually went to the bathroom or for something to eat at that time because he didn't want to intrude on her opinions, but earlier that morning, he couldn't resist hearing what she had to say.

"I know I should just tell him how I really feel but it's so hard. I love him so much but I don't want to get so attached, just to lose him. Except, I already am. This is the first time I've ever felt like this about anybody. How did you feel about Geoff? Did you love him as much as I love Aden? Do you miss him? Will Geoff see you when he passes? Is there a heaven?"

Aden had just wanted to wake her up and tell her how he felt, tell her all the things he meant to say, should have said. But he kept silent. He dropped hints, but no hints were strong enough for Belle to pick up on.

However, in answer to Geoff's question, Aden had no idea what to say. Geoff seemed to understand this, and instead asked the other question that had been burning upon his lips.

"How do you feel about her?"

Aden sighed again, pulling his hand through his hair as he tried to search for words perfect enough to describe the overwhelming feeling, the twist in his stomach, the instant smile on his face and light in his eyes when he saw her, when her name was even mentioned. No words in his limited vocabulary seemed to fit the description. The word love had been tossed around so much it lost it's meaning, but he meant it sincerely and honestly as he repeated the three words that played in his head over and over again to him.

"I Love Her."

The words came out, easily, and Aden saw clearly for the first time what he wanted, longed for, yearned for. Geoff seemed to understand, he smiled weakly.

"You should tell her that."

Aden raised his eyebrows. "Do you really think it's the best time? Her friend died last week! Your friend died last week! My friend died last week." he sniffed. "I've been trying to stay strong, for Belle but... the fact that Melody... that she's gone. After everything! Now that I think back to it, it seems so insignificant in comparison to what has happened. The Assignment, Chicago... they're all just distant memories, overpowered by the recent events that have shaken us all, changed us all. You know Belle hasn't been to school for five months! Neither have you, or... Annie." he said guiltily. "We're not going to survive the HSC, mate. We can't. Not with this on our shoulders."

Geoff knew he was right.

"So, what do we do?"

"We drop out, calm down over the holidays... maybe go away somewhere. It will do us all good. Annie too! And then we'll... see. What happens." Aden couldn't bring himself to think of repeating. Another year, another disaster.

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Chapter 10

"Hey." Aden whispered as he shut the bedroom door behind him. "Are you awake?"

Belle nodded, sitting up slightly as she heard his voice. "Just about. Is Geoff downstairs? Did you tell him? How did he take it?" her voice was small, barely audible. She moved across the bed to make room for Aden to sit down.

"He... he was in complete shock. Not that anything else was to be expected." he said carefully, putting his arm around Belle who was shaking heavily, like she had for the past week. "Geoff's gone back to the city now. To tell Annie. He said that they'd move home, stay in a hotel or something..."

"What? Why can't they stay here?" she asked, confused. "This is their home. With me and Irene. And you, judging by the amount of time you've spent here." she added. "I really appreciate it, Aden, but if you'd rather not... it's really not necessary..."

"Hey, I want to be here with you. I missed you, Belle. I really did, and the truth is every minute without you was a living hell. I'm trying to make up our lost time, be it as friends or... something more."

"Do you want us to be something more?" she asked quietly. Aden looked her right in the eye and carefully stroked her cheek with the back of his hand.

"You know I do."

Belle nodded, but was unsure. She knew she was a mess and that she was the type of mess that could not be cleaned up in a flash, and she was afraid that Aden might not want her after discovering the things she'd done during the past five months. If only she hadn't broken up with him in the first place, Melody would be alive... there would be no pain. It was the stupidest decision she had ever made, and although she shouldn't be blaming herself, she couldn't help it for it was true.

"Not really, Aden. Do you? do you really want me? I'm a mess. I'm probably not good for you. I..."

"Belle, I love the sound of your voice and everything, but for once could you please shut up?" he waited until her mouth was completely shut and he was sure she was listening. "Belle, I don't care whether your an emotional wreck or not, I don't care if you have any problems, I don't care whether you think I'm not good for you or not. Nothing of that matters. You are good for me, for one. You make me the happy, oblivious, blissed out kind of guy, and the way you make me feel all the time just goes to show that it doesn't matter what you or I might be going through. Belle, I love you. I love you so much and it doesn't matter what happens, do you honestly think we wouldn't get through it? Because we will. And if your worried about losing me..." he paused to study the expression on her face. She was smiling sadly, her eyes locked in his. "... I'm not going anywhere. I don't plan to and I'm not going to."

Belle raised her eyebrows and widened her smile a little. "And your the one telling me to shut up?"

Aden sighed melodramatically, and then grinned. "I guess I love you would have done it?" he leaned in and pressed his warm lips against her ice cold ones. He didn't pull away for a long time, and when he did he continued stroking her cheek, affectionately.

"I'd forgotten how good that felt." Belle confessed, snuggling into his chest.

"Me too. Let's hope we never have to forget it again."

"We won't. Nothing's going to change now." she sighed happily.


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