Aila was shocked when she heard ringing coming from his pocket. Liam pulled out his phone, his eyes on hers, and showed her the screen. 'Aila', it read. She snapped her phone shut.
"What's going on?"
"I lied to you, Aila. When I told you my name. I said it was Finn. I was… hurting. Do you remember when we first met? I told you I was a monster. That I'd done something terrible. That something was because of Finn. I used to be friends with him. I used to follow him around like a goddamn dog. I did whatever he asked. And… I ended up hurting someone who never deserved it. I told you my name was Finn as a reminder to myself. Because that's who I almost became."
"It was you all along," Aila said faintly. She looked at him with new eyes. She could see it now. How he'd been so protective. How he was just as kind as her Finn. How, even now, there was undisguised pain in his features.
"But how could you? How could you think for a second that he was me? How did you not know right away that I would never treat you that way?" Liam sounded angry now that he knew she would listen to him.
"I'm sorry." And she was. "I hated seeing him, being around him. Having him touch me. But I thought he wouldn't do that unless he knew me. I thought he wouldn't treat a stranger that way. Forgive me."
"Do you know how much that hurt, seeing you go along with him? Not knowing how to explain to you who I was?"
"I'm sorry," Aila repeated in a whisper. Liam looked at her again, and looked hard. He could tell she meant it. Her eyes were begging him to understand. Liam crossed over to where she still sat on the floor and took her hand, pulling her up.
"I know." Liam slowly wrapped his arms around her and hugged her close to him. He could feel her heart beating, could feel her fingers clinging to the fabric of his sweater. She probably needed this as much as he did.
Last night, he'd come so close to letting Finn get to her. It would have been all his fault. He should have told her sooner. If anything had happened… he never would have forgiven himself. But he didn't want to bring that up now. It would be best for them both if they just moved on. If they put this behind them and never looked back.
So instead of apologizing, Liam would act on the second need that was pressing at him in the back of his mind.
He looked her dead in the eye and slowly, so slowly, leaned in and kissed her. It was heartbreakingly tender and gentle. Nothing at all like Finn's kisses. When he pulled away he said, "I've wanted to do that for the longest time," and Aila felt her heart knitting back together.
She'd thought she lost him, lost her Finn. "I can't believe I thought for a second that you could be so…" Liam felt Aila shudder and held her closer to him.
"That doesn't matter now."
Aila could feel the intensity of this moment humming in the air around them. It was getting to be too much for her. Her head was whirling. So she decided to lighten the mood. "You know, this isn't how I pictured us meeting."
Liam gave her a funny look. "We met last week."
Aila just grinned and shook her head. "No. I didn't know you then."
"And you do now?"
"Yes, I do," Aila said primly. "And I hope you realize that I won't be very easy to get rid of. You're stuck with me." Contrary to her words, Aila let go and crossed the room, grabbing her purse.
"What are you doing?"
"We," Aila corrected, "Are going out for ice cream to celebrate."
"Cheers," Liam grinned, taking her hand and leading her out the door.
Yeah, I know it's short, but I hope you enjoyed anyways.
That, my friends, is the end.
Thank you for every comment, every read. They all mean so much to me.