Just Friends


aaron_icon.gif gillian2_icon.gif

Scene Title Just Friends
Synopsis Aaron and Gillian declare that they are just friends, despite what happened between Aaron and Stef.
Date November 3, 2009

Aaron and Peyton's Apartment — Upper West Side

The good thing about having a copy of the keys, getting in means no knocking. It's late, nearly curfew hours by the time she opens the door, glancing around the front and seeing no one about. Soft steps take her to the kitchen, where she checks the fridge for a bottle of water and then walks down the hall. The room that once belonged to Peyton's parents is supposed to be hers, but she rarely used it. It's not the room she's approaching.

Unlike the front door, this one she knocks on, gently, before reaching down to open the door and peek inside. "Aaron? You awake?"

It's a courteous question to ask, all things considered. At first, Aaron thinks it's Stef, which makes his heart race ever-so-slightly for two reasons: The first being that it means she's still alive, and the second being related to their previous entanglement. However, to his knowledge, Stef couldn't get into the apartment at this hour without knocking, and since he's still awake and has been for as many hours as he can remember, that means … Gillian? He goes from — well, he's not entirely sure what he was feeling at the prospect of Stef coming into his room — to concerned and worried. Does she know?

Aaron just has his lamp on, so he prays the lighting is dim enough to mask how red he thinks his face is from how hard he's blushing. "Yeah," comes his reply, despite part of him telling him to pretend to be sleeping. Cause she'd totally believe he fell asleep on his own, or with a light on. Granted, he has started to startle awake without being entirely sure when he dozed off, but that's beside the point.

"What's up?" He slides out from under his covers. He's just wearing a pair of plain grey sweats and a black t-shirt, which is pretty much what he always wears to bed, especially now that it's starting to cool off. Despite the climate control of the apartment, windows tend to radiate a bit of cold— even if it's actually the heat radiating out.

"I need to talk to you about Stef," Gillian says, getting that out quickly, then realizing a second later how dire it sounded with her raspy voice. In many ways this conversation isn't one she's looking forward to at all, or she would have had it days ago, but she quickly closes the door to the bedroom and adds on, "She's still alive. Got a disposable phone that I can give you the number for, if you don't already have it. She's made it into November, so maybe Edward Ray isn't as good at this shit as he thought he was… But— um… I went and met with her a couple days ago and…"

How does someone say this exactly. "I know she slept with you."

She slept with him, he slept with her. Even he's not entirely sure who instigated that particular event, but he definitely remembers crying afterwards. Did she mention that, too? He blushes more, and the embarrassment completely overrules the relief upon hearing that Stef might indeed live. Hell, he's not even sure he heard right for all he can hear his heart pounding in his ears. Of course, that news certainly doesn't help his confusion any. In the end, he goes defensive— something he seems really good at doing lately. "And?"

"You were being kinda obvious about it anyway," Gillian says, frowning a bit at the defensiveness that gets tossed at her, even if— well she understands it. "I knew she would throw herself at you, but I didn't…" She shakes her head, knowing no good will come of this. It isn't why she came, anyway. Not here to fight. "You're blushing and all… nervous and stuff. I just— hope this didn't mess shit up too much." She's the one who looks away this time, toward the floor. "Between us."

So long as she doesn't mind the fact that he totally knows what she looks like naked…. There's no way he's saying that out loud, but the red ears say it all. Why does life have to be so complicated? Aaron lies back down. Even though she's looking away, he can't face her anymore, especially since he's starting to tear up again. Just one day he would like to go without shedding a single tear. "I'm sorry," he says, as though it's all his fault. "I shouldn't have— I should have been with you instead." Even though Stef was almost sure to never see another birthday.

"Whoa, I wouldn't say that. If you had to have sex with one of us, I'm glad it was her," Gillian says, hands going up again, as she moves away from the door. That might have come out a little on the harsh side, though the tone isn't mean. More… "I spent my birthday at the Lighthouse. I know you don't like Staten, so it's not a big deal that we weren't together, but— I'm really glad we weren't together like that. Not that you're not good looking or attractive or… any of that. It would just have made things more… difficult."

And Aaron blushes even more. "That's not … what I meant." Because he's totally crushing on Peyton. Not that he doesn't have feelings for Gillian and/or Stef— why do there have to be two of them?! "More difficult than they already are? Totally get that." He lies there staring at the ceiling in the dim lighting his lamp provides. "I meant just, you know. It was your birthday. I should have been there with you, even on Staten Island." And he'll probably keep saying that, because he totally feels guilty that he didn't even say 'happy birthday' in person. Just a short voice mail. Totally not fair to her. A terrible thing to do to a friend. "Just to celebrate it with you," he adds to once again reaffirm that he does not mean to have sex. Because sex totally complicates things. There are things he could say in response to her comments about him being good looking and attractive, but just thinking of them makes him blush. His face feels so warm to him he feels he might combust soon.

"It's fine," Gillian says, moving the rest of the way to the bed and sitting down on the end of it with her bottle of water. She's not carrying her usual carrier bags, or her jacket, but that just means she likely dropped them off in another part of the apartment to keep from carrying them around. "I had a fun birthday. I didn't need more people there— and you're here for me when it's not my birthday." She takes a drink from her bottled water and shifts to look at him again. "It looks like you need the water more than me. Your face is on fire."

Aaron actually groans at that remark, because he was trying so hard to not think about the fact that he's blushing. He's having a hard enough time not blushing — something he's totally failing at — and she draws attention to it. He bursts into tears. "I'm sorry, I just, I don't now what to do anymore. I just keep screwing things up." At least he tries to be quiet about the crying. He can't remember if Peyton's home or not, and the last thing he wants to do is wake her up. Unfortunately, trying to be quiet amounts to panic attack-like gasping for breath.

"If we weren't on your bed, I'd be splashing your face with water right now," Gillian says, standing up to put the bottle on the nightstand MINUS COASTER and sit down right next to him, wrapping her arms around him and pulling him close against her shoulder. "Stop apologizing. I didn't come here to make you apologize. And I already smacked Stef for putting you in that position. I'm not going to slap you."

Being pulled up from his supine position and into Gillian's arms is soothing enough for Aaron to quiet down. "I'm sorry," he says. Again. "I have like, no fucking control of my emotions right now." He finally wraps his own arms around Gillian and holds onto her, trying to calm down so he doesn't start crying again. He still feels guilty because he knows he invited Stef to a hotel room intent on giving her a birthday to remember, and although he has a hard time admitting it to himself, the sex kind of was his idea, even if it was inspired by Stef's previous visit. He takes a deep breath and rests his head on Gillian's shoulder, although he eventually jerks a bit, stopping himself from dozing off. With a swallow, he lets go and hopes she'll get the clue that she can let go of him, or lay him down. He doesn't really have a preference.

At least he's stopped blushing.

Letting him lay down seems to have been the clue she takes, but Gillian doesn't make him lay down alone, either. She flops back next to him on the bed, facing the ceiling. "You're going through a lot. Last year I was kinda the same, getting fucked up left and right by… things. I'm surprised I came out of it as well as I did." She keeps her eyes up at the ceiling, not closing them, but moves a hand over to take his. "I just don't… want to fuck this up. What we have here. What— what we have means too much to me to fuck it up like that." With, well, fucking.

Aaron takes the proffered hand and holds onto it. He's clearly having another one of his moments, because he holds it like if he were to let go, the world would end or something equally tragic. He tears right back up when Gillian tells him their friendship means so much to her, and he nuzzles closer and wraps his arms around her, trying very desperately not to cry again, even if they'd be happy tears this time. "You mean so much to me. I don't ever want to lose you," he whispers.

"Well I can't promise you won't ever lose me," Gillian says, but she moves her arm around him to hold him closer. "I definitely don't want to fuck this up, though. I need you as a friend, not a lover. Especially considering my track record with men that I sleep with who actually mean something to me…" She hesitates and glances back up at the ceiling, frowning a little. "I hope the whole 'just friends' isn't like a kiss of death for you."

Sadly, he knows that it's impossible to never lose someone. He knows all too well, but Gillian thankfully manages to distract him away from that line of thinking as she goes on. Aaron gives just a slight chuckle at the mention of her poor track record with men, thinking of the few things she's mentioned. Somehow, he's managed to slide down on the bed so that his head is lower than hers, and he has to look up to her. He slinks up the bed just a bit so they're more level, and gently nudges her head to the side to face him. Then he gives her a quick kiss on the lips. "Just friends," he says. "I promise. Besides, I've already seen you naked."

"Well that's not fair," Gillian says with a push at the side of his head, digging fingers into his hair. It's playful and light, but she doesn't seem insulted by the light peck. "But don't you dare start stripping or I'll hit you." That's when her hand drops away. "Stef said she gave you her journals. Any chance I can read them after we get some sleep?" Fully dressed friends sleep, at least. Actually almost family-ish, but… that's how things are.

Aaron gives a light chuckle as she ruffles his hair. "Yeah, sure. I've got them buried somewhere in here. I can't quite remember where though…" Because his memory is getting spotty. "Shouldn't take too long to find them, though. I totally don't have a lot of stuff, I'm sure you've noticed." They're probably in his backpack. With a bit of effort, he gets himself under the covers, and he lies on his back looking up at the ceiling. He's blushing again. "Do you have something…. I saw my therapist the other day— well, last Wednesday. We're trying to work on my sleeping, and she suggested I get something from you to act as a talisman, or something. Try and make it so I can actually sleep regularly."

"A talisman," Gillian looks over at him for a long moment. "I got some stuff, but— we could go get you a tattoo or something. That's kinda one of my things." There's a grin, as if she knows deep down that won't really help him all that much. The talismans she has from previous… circumstances are almost all tattoos. Whether broken or not. Once upon a time they were memories. She's not got them fixed yet, maybe never will, but… "I'll see if I can find something in my bag later. That won't hurt as much to get."

She definitely read him well on the tattoo thing as she proposes finding something else that is less painful. "Yeah," Aaron says, "I totally don't do tattoos. Though you certainly have some nice ones. The tiger's awesome. Dragon's cool too, though I have no idea what that triangular one is or why you have a biohazard symbol on you…" Yes, he's seen all the tattoos. "And of course, there's the treble clef, too. Totally more my thing." He looks thoughtful for a moment before he reaches into his nightstand and brings up a gold chain cuff bracelet. "I got this from Stef. Thus far, I've had zero luck."

"The biohazard was one of those deterrents. In case I got rufied or passed out at a party. Some guys might give a second thought about sticking their dick in places that might have diseases," Gillian says, rather bluntly as she reaches over to look at the cuff bracelet. She doesn't explain the reasoning behind the others that remain, though part of them don't remain at all, really. Not that her reasoning for that would always work, but— that's the real reason why. "It's a nice bracelet. Something I'd totally buy. Sold most my jewelry to get money when I went missing a year ago, though. I'll find something."

"Sounds like a smart deterrent," Aaron says as he watches Gillian examine the bracelet. He takes it back and sets it on the nightstand, and then turns off his lamp. He curls up next to Gillian, wrapping his arms back around her. "I'm glad you're here."

"Maybe I should buy you a teddy bear— or a stuffed tiger," Gillian says, touching his arm as she lets her eyes drift close. "Might help you sleep better sometimes." It's a softened tone, showing that she's already getting lazy. There's some shifting and shoes hit the floor as she toes them off at the heel.


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