By Katrina Aurellano
Aria was looking into the mirror, slowly combing her hair, counting each brush stroke, aiming to do a hundred as her mother always taught her from when she was little. She imagined the stories she would tell her if she were only there to see how she’d grown. Aria’s parents died when she was only a young girl, they were in a car accident which unfortunately only Aria survived. She missed her mother and father every day but never let the sadness get to her or keep her from living life. She sat at her dresser where a mirror stood, it was well lit and clean as a whistle. Her phone sat in front of her, receiving many little glances from her, awaiting the message of her boyfriend Liam. Aria lived, breathed and functioned around her relationship. She never goes a day without seeing Liam, and when she does, it’s as if she were a drug addict going through withdrawal, shaking and gasping for air. Her phone lit up and she jumped at the sight of it. Sleep could wait, so could everything else in the world, as long as she had him by her side. Liam’s message read “Hey babe, what are you up to? Thinking of me I hope.” Aria bit her upper lip, thinking of a flirty and witty come back. She responded “That’s all I ever do, you know that, Babe. You are my everything.” She laid flat on her bed, clutching her cell phone in her soft but sweaty palms, as she waited for Liam’s response. Her eyes almost instantly closed against her will as she fell fast asleep with the intention of dreaming about the boy she so dearly loved.
A daily routine was met by Aria every morning, which would not start unless she sent Liam a text message greeting him a wonderful morning, as if they weren’t going to see each other an hour later in the halls of their university. Liam was in his fourth year in college as a business major and Aria was merely a freshman studying organizational communication. They’d been together for about 7 months and they both felt that they would soon get married, have 3 children, be successful and live in a fancy home.
Friday and Saturday are the days of the week that Aria looked forward to the most. It was the only time where she and Liam literally spent 24 hours together. It would start off on Friday night where she would sneak out of her house and wait for Liam to pick her up at the corner of the street where she lived. With her sleepover gear ready in her big bag, she anticipated Liam’s red sedan to come roaring down the street. On the dot, Liam arrived and Aria hopped in the front seat and gave Liam a big, passionate kiss. They took that time to catch up on stories about their week and just be in each other’s arms. As they lay down on Liam’s bed with arms around each other, Aria would take a few minutes admiring the face of the boy she so deeply loved. She would gently run her fingers across his chest and trace his every outline and drift off to sleep.
The next day came; they awake late in the afternoon because of exhaustion from talking and making love until the wee hours of the morning. They pranced around Liam’s home in their underwear as they prepare their very late breakfast. They rummaged through the cupboard and drawers and took everything in sight in order to create a huge feast for the two of them. This was what Liam enjoyed the most whenever Aria came over, just being around her doing normal activities. Having her around made him feel calm and in a sense sane from all the commotion going on with his family. They would always have the whole house to themselves because it was only he and his dad that were left living together. His mother started a new life with some Russian man and her new family. His only sibling, his older brother Ben who he admired most, also abandoned him and moved out just to get away from their out of control, drunkard father. It was times like this Liam treasure the most, and it was also these times where they were most tamed because when the night falls their demeanors would change.
The couple enjoys the night life, parties and raves are where they let loose and also where bad things mostly happened. Before Liam met Aria, he was a regular douche bag who didn’t care about anything or anyone. The last time he had been in a relationship longer that one night was when he was in high school. During that time, he had everything going for him, perfect family, good grades and his girlfriend, Sam. Up until his mother decide to leave and his father developed a drinking problem. Soon then, in a matter of days, everyone he cared about disappeared. His brother moved as far away as he could to rid himself of the verbal and emotional abuse their father drowned them in each day and his girlfriend decided to sleep with his best friend, Damian. Since then, he was used to his life alone, going from bar to bar and sleeping with random girls just to feel something. He managed to put himself back together when he met Aria. A lot seemed to have changed, but it also didn’t seem so much that way. He was still his reckless self, only now he had her no matter what.
Saturday night and Aria gets dolled up to go over to a small gathering at one of their common friend’s house. They sat in a circle in a tiny room on the newly shampooed carpet at their friend Anna’s house. In the middle of that circle was a bottle of alcohol and lines of cocaine waiting to be inhaled plus a bag of marijuana and pipes to match. Everyone was half present and enjoying the rush they felt. Anna looked around the room and asked “Hey guys, where the hell did Liam and Aria go again?” their friend Pedro said “They’re probably somewhere in your house making out”, followed by laughter. A thumping sound distracts them all which came from the bathroom just outside the room they were in. Liam came out and straightened his wrinkled shirt and fixed his hair. Aria came out immediately after him and adjusted her skirt with her cheeks visibly flushed. They sat back down with the rest of them and pretend like nothing had happened. They continued to drink and smoke weed and as the night progressed, tension started building up between Aria and Liam. An argument soon arose and the two step out from the house. Aria paced down the street and Liam chased after her. “Aria, wait! Why the fuck are you making this such a big deal? She’s just some girl I met in class, we only texted a couple of times!” Aria stopped abruptly and blood starts to rush to her face with rage. She turns around and throws a punch at Liam’s chest.
“You’re a fucking liar! Everyone knows Bella is the biggest slut on campus. I’m not stupid, Liam. How long have you been hooking up with her, huh?”
“What the hell? I don’t even hang out with her. I only see her in class, that’s it.” “I can’t listen to this anymore, take me home.”
Aria walks over to Liam’s car and sits in the front seat and starts to cry. Liam sits next to her slams the door shut, puts the keys in the ignition and speeds off like a mad man. Aria breaks the silence
“You know what, I don’t care. You’ll regret this Liam, I can just as easily cheat back. God knows you deserve it.”
Liam steps on the gas harder and says,
“Are you fucking threatening me?”
“Maybe I am, you piece of shit.”
Liam stops the car at a dark corner and grabs Aria by the hair and puts her face up to his, “You slut! Don’t you know who you’re talking to?” He slams her head against the car window and Aria cries hysterically. She was so much in shock that she feared for her life, there wasn’t a single thought in her head that made sense. Liam still had the common sense to drive her home but he never said a word as he went over the speed limit. His face full of rage, Aria kept still and prayed silently in her head.
Aria did not get a wink of sleep that night. She kept thinking to herself and created excuses in her head to make it seem that Liam was still her soul mate. Despite what happened that night, Aria went over to Liam’s house with the hopes of starting over and forgetting about that horrible night. Liam, laced with guilt, apologized and hoped for the better. They went on for the next few days as if nothing had happened and continued to be together. Things felt wrong for both of them, although Liam considered that night a wakeup call, Aria held a huge grudge against Liam which slowly killed him inside. Every little mistake he would make, Aria managed to circle the argument back to what she called “The night you tried to kill me.” Liam grew tired and resentful at the thought of having to hear her punish him every day. Aria on the other hand was coming unhinged, dreaming of ways to hurt Liam back just to feel that she too had a hold on him. She feared the day she’d lose control of her anger for despite everything, she loved him and wanted him all to herself.
A couple of months passed and things were never the same again. A sinking feeling took over Aria as she rushed out of the apartment building she had followed Liam to. Sick to her stomach, she held back her tears and fought the urge to collapse on the pavement right at that very second. She threw her body against the wall and started whispering under her breath,
“No, It can’t be. I don’t know what to do, someone please tell me what to do...”
She pulled herself together and managed to get into her car and drove home safely. The pacing began immediately upon her setting foot in her room, it was already 3 o’clock in the morning and she had no plan of sleeping. She thought of all possible explanations for what she had seen. The sound of her ring tone broke the deafening silence of that night. It was as if the world stood still. She read a message from Liam asking her to meet him in the park a few blocks away from her home. She walked over to her mirror, sat down and stared at her reflection with rage and disappointment. With streaks of mascara mixed with tears all around her eyes and cheeks, she picked up her brush and ran it through her hair a few times. She took a piece of tissue paper and wiped away all trace of sadness from her face. She continued to stare and finally forced herself to give out a big smile.
The air that night was especially cold, her finger tips and lips were an uneasy purple, pink color. She started to tremble but was not sure if it was because of the cold or the fear of what was to come next. The park was dead silent and empty, the howls of the wind competed with the crickets which roamed the park at night. A tap on her back made her heart start to rise. She turned around and there was Liam, and from the look on his face, he did not come bearing good news. Liam doesn’t waste any time, he took her hand and swept his other hand gently on her face.
“I want you to think about how much I love you, don’t let go of that thought. Promise me.” Aria looks into his eyes with an eerie and blank stare across her face.
“I don’t want to lie to you anymore.” Aria interrupts him.
“I know about her. But its okay, we don’t have to do this. I forgive you. Just please, don’t leave me.”
The shame on Liam’s face is uncanny; his lips quivered and he looked away from Aria’s eyes. “But I’ve fallen in love with her.”
“No, you haven’t, you love me and I love you! No one will ever love you like I do!” Aria begins to be hysterical and Liam takes every frail blow from her without complaint. She falls into his arms and he holds her just as tight as he always would. Liam whispers into her ears,
“I love you, I really do, but I’m just not IN love with you anymore.” Aria lets go from the embrace and says
“No, you don’t mean that. Tomorrow will be just like any other day. I’ll see you in school, we’ll have lunch together and you’ll kiss me like you did the first time. I’m not going anywhere Liam. That I promise you.”
A few hours later and the sun began to rise, Aria was distraught. She waited at the corner near Liam’s dormitory and followed him as he made his way to his class. She would send him messages as if nothing happened, expressing how truly thankful she is to have him. Liam, feeling too distracted to go to his other classes, decided to go back to his dormitory in the hopes of getting more sleep and to escape the emotional stress of the situation he was in. He opened the door and is thankful at the sight of his bed, just the way he left it. The door slams behind him, and Aria speaks, “If I can’t love you, no one will.”
The next day the police investigated a crime scene. Liam’s cold, lifeless body was on the floor of his dormitory in a pool of his own blood and three stab wounds to his back. Aria is taken into custody by the police and she confessed to her crime of passion. A blank expression filled her face every day, it seems as if no drop of remorse was present I her body. With her eyes glassy and her face uneasy, she said “He tried to kill me first.”