I should have said it.

I should have looked her right in the eye when I had the chance, and told her how I felt. Told her everything. Told her that I loved her son, and that I thought that she had no right to demand anything of me, of anyone. I should have told her I didn't give a flying flip what she said, I was going to see him anyway, because I love him and I thought he needed someone to take care of him. Like she should have. I should have told her to shut up, told her that it was not any of her concern, that she should leave the parenting to his real parents. You know, the ones that raised him?

I should have said anything. Except what I did....

FLASHBACK

"You hurt his feelings, and right now, I don't care how or why it happened. I don't want you near him. Right now. If at all." the cold voice of the woman he called his mom said, glaring at the floor. She couldn't even look at me while she said it.

"Ok." I found myself saying softly. Holding in all the emotion in my voice. Holding in everything. "I understand." That one wasn't a lie. I DID understand....I merely didn't understand it from her.

She was never there for him. She left him. She was the reason he was so turned around in himself; she was the reason he didn't trust women. She lied to him, and left him. And was JUST NOW starting to 'care'. I didn't buy it, but everyone else seemed to be giving her the benefit of the doubt, so I was going to go along with it.

"The fact remains that you hurt him. You were the spark that caused him to snap." she continued. Her glare was now snapped up at the wall. Still not looking at me. "The point I'm trying to make is I don't want you near him. You hurt him. I liked you well enough before, but I don't think I do now. I think the only reason you're here is because Amber thought it would be funny for you to meet my son. But I don't want you near him." She was repeating herself; she had nothing more to say. She was trying to get it to sink in. Just like my bastard of a father used to. I fought all urges to glare at her, to snap that she knew NOTHING about why I was there. That my best friend had nothing what-so-ever to do with it, and that her son had asked for me to be there. I wanted to scream it at her, to tell her that she was just a bitch who in a few weeks would forget she even had children. If everything was ok in a few weeks, then everything that had to do with her kids would be forgotten. Instead I nodded, bringing my eyes to look at the side of her head, since she couldn't seem to look at me.

"I understand." I told her gently. "I'd feel the same way if the roles were reversed." That was also not a lie. I hated her for hurting not just Arthur, but all her kids. She was more interested in being somewhere else than home with her family. It made me sick. She nodded, and that was the end of the conversation. I felt the tears pricking my eyes, felt myself begin to lose it, begin to cry like I did when I found out Arthur was in the hospital to begin with. But I wouldn't give her the satisfaction. Instead I laid down on the bed out of her sight, clinging to what little pride I had left, and lost myself in what I should've done.

END FLASHBACK

That same spot on the bed is where I was. Huddled against the wall, waiting for the guilt and the pain to suffocate me. My life was over. I was trying to build the perfect fairy tale. My best friend was getting married, my mother figure in my life had a great marriage, and her sister was beginning to find her true love with a man she'd lost her heart to a long time ago.

Everything was falling in place.

For everyone, it seemed, but me.

Arthur was a scarred man. He had been inhaled by the world's harshest tornado at a young age, beaten around by it for years, and then left for dead. He had lost all trust in women, believing they all would leave him one day. Like she did. So, now, he was gone. He was gone, he didn't want me to be there for him, and I was banned from being in the same room with him by his 'mom'.

My life had hit an all time low.

I remembered the pain in his eyes right after his snap. His wild, indecisive look. The desire that was there. The desire to be understood. To be wanted despite the side of him that wanted to hurt me. I watched it flash in his eyes right before he hid it away from the world. I knew she missed it. THAT made me angrier than the fact that he hid it.

FLASHBACK

"How do you like this side of me, Maria?" my name was spit at me from his lips as Arthur placed the choke chain around my neck, tightening it to the point that I saw stars. I kept my breathing even. We were in the dark of the bathroom, his mother on the other side of the door demanding that he not hurt me, with the lights out. I wished I could see his face. Wished I could look him in the eyes as I spoke to him.

"I don't mind it too much." I answered, keeping my voice soft and gentle as I fought another wave of dizziness. I knew what the cause was, and I wasn't about to succumb to it. I didn't care that I hadn't drank enough water; Arthur needed me.

"You don't mind it?" he repeated, the smirk evident in his voice. He pulled the chain painfully from my neck and quickly tossed it out the door at his mom, telling her to shut up before he shut the door again. He picked up a longer one and slowly fixed it to where he could fasten it around my neck, using the rest of the chain as a leash. "Do you mind now?" he asked, pulling it tight.

I could see now. I looked up at him, trying as hard as I could to keep the softness in my eyes, too. I knew getting mad wouldn't help anything, and fighting him would only make it hurt worse, for both of us. Besides, he was hurting so much. If my pain could heal just a little of that hurt, it was worth it.

"No." I whispered softly, looking him in the eyes with a small smile. "I don't mind." Confusion flickered across his face for the briefest instant before his mother was once again, banging on the door.

"Arthur, please come out of there." she begged for the 5th time. Arthur looked at me and grinned. It was a wild, feral grin, that you'd expect to see on a jaguar.

"Ok." he said, more to himself than her. "We'll come out of the bathroom." He dragged me by that make-shift leash past his mother to the living room, where he stopped me in front of the window, closing the blinds before facing me. He twirled the chain, nearly smacking me in the face with every swing. I reached up to grab it, trying to get him to stop. He jerked the chain, making the collar tighten. I flinched, but didn't cry out. I remembered what I had promised myself and clenched my teeth. It was worth it.

"Do you like this side of me? Huh?" he asked his mother, who had wandered after us sometime during our exchange. "Does this half of me make you love me only half as much?" I didn't see her reaction, but I know she said nothing. That pissed me off, but I held it in, too. Just like I would everything else later. "I'm not a great person. I don't mind being an ok person. But I am far from a great person. And it's about time you people saw that." I was shaking my head before his speech had ended. He turned his icy glare to me.

"What?" he snapped.

"My opinion of you will not change." I told him quietly, smiling fondly at him. "No matter what you do." Shock registered in his eyes for half a milisecond before he jerked the chain agian. And again. And again. I felt it pinch my skin and did cry out, but I wouldn't cry.

"Cry, damn you." he bit out angrily. "Why won't you cry?" I winced as I felt the jerk of the chain three more times before he let me answer.

"I trust you, Arthur." I told him softly. "Do whatever you need to do; my opinion will not change. And I will not cry." He glared, then grinned again. That feral wolf-like grin that sent chills up my spine. I could see the hurt underneath it. See he was suffering. Why didn't his mother say something? He led me to the kitchen, grabbing one of the kitchen knifes and holding it to my throat. I flinched, wide-eyed, but then I caught the look in his eyes.

Confusion, triumph, anger, and something else. Something I didn't know if he was meaning to show.

Heartbreak.

With a determined deep breath which brought on another wave of nausea and dizziness, I held still while he placed the blade to my neck once more.

"Does this count as anything? Huh? Is this one of those anything's that I can do?" I closed my eyes; hearing him talk about himself like that was painful to me. "Still think I'm a good person?" I felt my eyes snap open. I made eye contact with him, smiling admiringly at him, as best as I could.

"Yes. I do." I could see that it pleased him, even as he covered it up with the anger. Despite his growing frustration and pain, I could see that this was what he wanted. He desired understanding. He wanted to be told that this side of him was ok. That he was still loved and cared for despite this. Somewhere in his head, I knew that's what he needed.

"You." he told his mother. "Out." She opened her mouth to protest, to try and keep me from getting hurt. I interrupted.

"Whatever he needs to do is fine, hon." I said as softly and gently as I knew how. "I trust him." I didn't miss the 'you're dumb' stare, but I think Arthur did. He smirked at his mother.

"You heard her. Out." She grumbled and took her time in gathering her things before grabbing her keys and walking out the door.

She never did answer his question....

END FLASHBACK

I glared at the wall, trying to burn a hole through it. He was gone. The man that I loved was gone. And what could I do? Nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing. I didn't want to exist anymore. I wanted to scream and then sleep forever. That way I could at least see him in my dreams.

"What are you doing?" A voice said by my ear. I jumped, scrambling to sit up on the bed and turning to stare wide eyed at the man that had startled me out of my memories.

Arthur was kneeling beside me, his eyes soft despite the hardened smirk that graced his lips. I stared in shock; he was the last person I expected to see. I struggled to put my eyeballs back in my head as I stuttered out,

"I-I-I thought you were in the hospital." Arthur nodded.

"Yes." he answered with a grin that was warmer than his voice was. "I have friends in high places." I felt myself losing the battle with my emotions, losing control of the tears. I didn't care if he saw me cry, he was alive! I threw my arms around his neck and cried, the relief making me feel weak in the knees. He was alive. Arthur stiffened but didn't pull away. He didn't hug me back, but at least he didn't pull away.

"Why are you clinging to me and crying?" he asked, a gentle undertone in his biting voice. I shrugged.

"Because I missed you. Because I'm sorry. Because I'm stupid." I sobbed, strugging not to laugh at how silly I sounded. Arthur didn't even bother trying to hide it; he chuckled.

"I...Don't believe you." He answered, pulling out of my arms and flopping down on the bed. For the first time all day I wanted to punch him in the gut and scream at him. But I controlled myself, folding my hands in front of me.

"Why not?"

"All women are liars." he answered with a shrug. "Why would you be any different?" Urge to beat up the sexy man....rising....I took a deep breath, mad at myself more than him for wanting to hit him. I swallowed thickly before answering,

"Because I have never lied to you...and because your father trusts me."

"I don't trust him." he answered with another shrug. He wasn't looking at me. I assumed he was fibbing, but I didn't dare call him on it. Instead I decided to do something that his dad had told me to do a while ago, before I began my wallowing in self pity. I sat up a little straighter, trying as hard as I could to make eye contact with him.

"I love you." I said honestly, suddenly. He shot me a doubtful, but startled look. "I need you. I want you and miss you. You're so amazing and so wonderful. I wanna be there for you, to take care of you, to hold you and fix you breakfast and lunch and just....everything. I love you...." He stared at me, his wide eyes a mixture of confusion, hurt, pain, and hope. He wanted it to be true. He scowled at me, trying to keep the hope from spreading any furthur.

"Prove it." I frowned for half a second, not totally sure how to approach him. So, without thinking too seriously about what I was doing, I leaned forwrad and covered his lips with mine.

Our first kiss.

His lips were soft and warm, and molded together with mine perfectly. I kissed him gently, trying to pour all my love and adoration for this man into that one connection. He froze, startled, then kissed me back, pulling me close and wrapping his arms around me. I tangled my fingers in his hair, needing him closer, always and forever closer.

I have kissed many men in my life, for many reasons. And let me tell you, not ONE of those kisses felt anywhere CLOSE to as right as this one did. It felt like I had found the place I belonged. The place that was made for me. The place I was born to be. Here. In Arthur's arms, snuggled tight against him, killing his fears and insecurities the best way I knew how.

With love.

I broke the kiss and held him close. His breath fell on my neck as he nuzzled close to me, silent but forceful sobs wracking his body. He whispered something unintelligible into my hair, but I knew what he said.

"I was never mad at you, sweetheart." I whispered with a smile. "There's nothing to forgive." Right then, I didn't care that his mother had told us to stay away from each other. I didn't care that I had ignored my true feelings to pacify her. I didn't care that my heart had been broken by my thoughts for who knows how long.

I didn't even care that she had been watching the whole exchange from the doorway with an incredibly pissed off glare on her face.

All I cared about was Arthur would always have someone to love him for the rest of his life.

No matter what happened.

NOTE: I wanted to get this out. That's all this is. It's a oneshot, cause I have enough story ideas rolling around in my head. Lol. Tell me what you think?

SF