Chapter 36

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Ariana's POV:

I woke up with the familiar chatter coming from downstairs. Except, this time, there was another familiar voice. I jolted awake at the sound and sprinted downstairs. I made my way to the living room and the sight before me had me surprised; Xavier, Alex and Austin laughing together.

"Austin!" I yelled excitedly as I jumped on his back. "You're back!"  Tears of happiness pricked my eyes at the sight of my brother-my only family left- in front of me.

Austin stood up and wrapped his long arms around me, pulling me to his chest and kissing the crown of my head.

"I missed you, Munchkin."

"I missed you too! I thought you said you weren't going to be here for another two weeks," I bemused.

"Well, surprise surprise" He chuckled and led me to the couch. I could feel someone's intense gaze and I didn't need to look up to know who it was. Thinking about the events from last night made me blush and I looked down. I was still not sure how Xavier carried me to my room without waking me up.

"Good morning," Alex winked. I smiled at him and muttered a muffled good morning. I was still wrapped in Austin's arms, with my head on his chest as he leaned back on the couch. I sneaked a peek on Xavier and saw his hands clenched into fists.

Xavier sat opposite of me, with Alex on his left. Xavier got up and turned to leave when Austin spoke up

"Time to go back home, Princess." He smiled down at me. Xavier's step halted and he turned around so fast I wouldn't be surprised if he got whiplash.

"You're leaving?" His eyes darkened as he stared at me. He was angry. No, he was furious.

"It's time I come back. I'd rather go to a college here than leave Ari again. She needs me. I need her with me." Austin said before I could speak anything.

Xavier started breathing hard before storming out of the room. Alex stood, probably to go after him before I interrupted.

"I'll go." I muttered as I moved away from Austin. Alex passed me a small smile before sitting back down. I knew where Xavier would be. Or at least I hoped he would be there.

I made my way to the gym in the basement. I could hear the sounds of pantings and smashing. Before me stood a shirtless Xavier as he punched the punching bag with all of his force, his jaw clenched and a very dark look on his face. My breath hitched as I stared at him punch the bag mercilessly. Without gloves.

I gasped. His knuckles were bleeding. I rushed towards him

"Stop! You're hurting yourself!" I yelled.

"Why do you care?" He snapped, not moving away.

"I-just please. Stop. You are going to get hurt. Please," I pleaded as tears streamed down my face. The sight was horrible. This got him to stop. He looked down at me and his eyes visibly softened. "W-where is the first-aid kit?"

He pointed to the left corner where a small cupboard was placed. Opening the cupboard, I took the kit and made my way back to Xavier, his eyes following my every movement. I took his fist in my hand and rubbed the pad of my thumb gently on his knuckles. My tears resurfaced looking at his bloody hand.

"This might sting a bit," I muttered as I gently wiped away the blood with alcohol. He sat on a wooden table with me standing between his legs.

"You are leaving me." It was a statement. I looked up and realised just how vulnerable he looked. So broken.

"I have to." My voice was barely above a whisper

"You don't have to! You don't fucking have to do anything you don't want to. Just say no. Say no, baby." I could see him pleading with his eyes. Pleading for me to not go.

"I'm not leaving you! I am just moving back to my house. The house where I belong!"

"You belong here; with me!" He said in a loud voice.

"You're over-reacting, Xav. I am not leaving the country. We know this was inevitable. I had to move back some day."

"But that day didn't have to be today!" He ran a hand through his hair, hissing as the freshly treated wound made contact with his hair. I took his calloused hands in my small ones and looked at him.

"Nothing will change. You can visit anytime you want." I said slowly as if talking to a child.

His arms snaked around my waist, pulling me closer than we already were and putting his head on my shoulder. He hugged me tightly as I ran my hands through his hair. He moaned, his whole body vibrating whilst he leaned into me more.

"Xavier," I whispered.

"Shh. Let me." He shushed me. I closed my eyes, hugging him to my chest.


Austin loaded the last suitcase in the truck before shutting it.

"Ready to go?" I nodded. I looked around, my eyes searching for a certain someone who was nowhere to be found. After our moment, he just left and it's been a few hours since I last him. We had become close and I was over the cloud knowing the fact that Xavier liked me. I regret not telling him about my feelings.

I will tell him how I feel. Soon. I thought to myself.

Alex smiled at me before pulling me into a tight hug. "I will miss having your annoying butt around the house." He kissed the top of my head before pulling away.

"Aww Alex-bear, don't go all softy on me now, you big doofus." I teased while flicking his nose.

Austin wrapped his arm around me and led me to the car after I bid goodbye to Alex. My eyes still  searched for Xavier.

I looked back from the window, seeing Alex wave as we pulled away from the driveway. My eyes darted to Xavier's room window and my breath hitched as I saw him stand there with a hard look on his face. I quickly turned away and looked at Austin who was busy on his phone.


"Freshen up, I'll make something for us." Austin said when we arrived. He had given a day off to the maids, claiming that he wanted to spend some time alone with me and catch up.

I entered my room and inhaled deeply. I had missed my room. No matter where you are in the world, the peace you get when you're in your room, can't be compared. Memories of my parents in my room brought tears to my eyes.

I sighed before wiping away the tears.

After changing into comfortable clothes, I made my way downstairs. Austin was in kitchen making God knows what.

The sudden ringing of his phone startled me.

"Can you check it for me, Ari? I'm busy." Austin yelled from the kitchen. I rolled my eyes and picked up his phone. It was an unknown number. I shrugged and swiped to the right, placing the phone to my ear.



"D-dad?" I choked.



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