..........I can't help but feel that something's off..........

-

A week later I stood on the front porch I had passed over more than I would have liked in my lifetime.

As great as I had been feeling so far today; Harry made me breakfast in bed, along with some other stuff, and I had finished off an important article that I was thinking I could use to apply for the magazine 'Florence'.

Still, I don't feel like entering through that door. Because if I do, I know of two things could happen:

One, I'll run into Annabelle and we'll have an argument that'll put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day.

Or two, I'll run into no one, instead only being greeted by a nasty silence throughout the house that'll only put me in an edgy, almost frightened, mood.

Choice three, is the most tempting: Leave. I can't though, I have to make sure Adele's getting looked after in one way or another. She's only eleven after all, and leading a very different life to mine when I was her age.

When I was eleven I was playing murder in the dark with Alesha and Aubrey every night. Alesha and I would always gang up on Aubrey because she was the youngest out of us three.

During the day we would mostly fight over whose turn it was to play with Annabelle. She may not know it, but Annabelle was the second most fought after baby; Adele was the first.

I find it hard to believe now, that once we were all friends. People change I guess. One by one we fell apart to lead our separate lives alone. Aubrey and I thankfully pulled through. I don't know what I'd do if her cheery-self was no longer around.

Except Adele. Somehow we all moved apart; except Adele. Maybe it had something to do with her being the youngest by a significant amount. Maybe it's because she's too young to have a dramatic life that turns people away, or you against people, like the rest of us have.

But yes, Adele's life is very different from mine. She spends most of her time… I don't know actually. She always seems to be in a different room doing a different thing every time I come by.

And even though I don't know how she seems to manage it, with no friends at home, no one at home; period, she always has a happy nature about her.

I once recall her smiling as she came into the dining room where Alesha, Annabelle and I were arguing and she walked right by us without a single glance. The funny thing was that all three of us instantly stopped shouting to watch her pass, and then walked away.

Maybe that's why we all get along with Adele; with her comes peace and blissful silence.

Once I had finally gathered the courage to open the front door, I am not met with complete silence as I expected. Nor am I met with raised voices. This is a first.

Instead; loud ugly beats of music are coming from Annabelle's room upstairs. Rock music by the sounds of it. I hate rock music, it always seems so violent. Violence, in case you haven't heard, never solves anything.

Annoyed, but still remembering to skip the creaking step, I walk up and bang on Annabelle's door, hoping she'll hear me above the monstrous music.

She does, and swings the door open all the while shouting out, "What!"

Upon seeing that it's me, I can tell she badly wants to slam the door back into my face. She must've learnt something from the argument that followed from last time she tried that with me though, because instead of going through with that urge, she heaves a heavy sigh, one loud enough that it can be heard over the music, rolls her eyes and goes to turn the music off, leaving the door wide open.

I feel honoured I assure you.

"What are you here to argue about this time Arianne?" She asks dryly.

Her tone creates a fire in me, "There you go again, always making assumptions. Always thinking you're so smartest because you know exactly what's going to happen. What makes you think I've here to argue with you huh?"

In my defence, she act's like a teenager so why can't I? Besides the fact that she actually is one and I'm not.

Annabelle just smirks horribly in reply, "The irony of that is actually quite hilarious. Anything else you want to not-argue about?"

"Yes," I answer before continuing; she asked didn't she? "That music is awful. It's loud, and awful, and ugly and rock-y. I don't like it. It's going to corrupt you and you're going to start hanging out with the wrong people who'll introduce you to drugs. You'll become an addict and probably die from it. Or worse, you'll end up in jail for some god awful reason and you'll give our family a bad name!"

"Drugs, dying, jail, all from listening to rock music!" She shouts in retaliation, glaring back at me with identical fierce blue eyes. "Are you insane? If anything it's the crappy music you listen to, that'll make you do that shit. It'll make you go all sissy and you'll end up committing suicide because you're heart broken for some stupid reason." She goes to turn around before saying, "Oh, and by the way, I don't give a shit about our family name. With you in the family it's already been degraded! Not to mention, dumby, that this family's full of chicks and it's most likely all you'll all get marriaged like the sissys you are believing in all that love crap. Then, we won't be sharing the same fucking last name! Thank goodness too."

"Yeah, well, at least I'm not afraid to let someone love me Annabelle! You're just-"

"My name's Anna, Arianne. Not Annabelle," she states with a dark glare.

I'm about to comment on how immature she is when a small cough from behind interrupts. Both Annabelle and I turn to see Adele leaning against the wall lazily, looking like she had been there awhile.

"Who turned the music off?"

It was asked so innocently I stood gapping a moment. Did she not notice we were having a heated argument or something? That's before I remembered that this is Adele I'm talking about and what else could I've expected?

Annabelle's the first to break the sudden silence, "Why? I thought you hated it along with this idiot." She indicates me with a toss of her head.

"I was using the beats to help count," was her reply.

Puzzled, I opened my mouth this time to ask, "Count what?"

"The amount of time for each stretch silly," she explained, smile now growing bigger. "I'm going to try to be able to do the splits by the end of next month."

"Good luck," Anna mumbled. "There's better music to do that to you know, like the crap ballet music our sister here likes."

I open my mouth once again to argue, but once again, I am cut off by an eleven year old girl who seemed to hold the presence of a lion.

"The loud beats just aren't the same though. Please turn it back on soon." She turned to walk away but instead faces back towards us saying, "Arianne, it's nice to see you and everything, but your book pile's downstairs in your bedroom. Not up here. Annabelle, you can use my room for the music if you want, the volume can go louder that way. Also because you know next she'll argue that you're going to be deaf at the age of thirty or something in the same room as that 'loud, awful, ugly, rock-y music. Bye, have a nice day Ari, hope Harry's treating you good."

With that Adele turns and skips away. Annabelle nods at her retreating back and actually goes ahead moving the music to the next room.

I stand there in the doorway for a while, being bumped around by the moving Annabelle, seeing no reason to move around myself just yet.

Horrible much louder than before music starts from the next room. Annabelle appears from within it, heads to her own room, and slams the door in my face.

I start walking down the stairs then muttering, "I didn't even think of saying that; deaf indeed. Maybe next time."

Now, seeing that Adele is being looked after, or rather, looking after herself perfectly well, I grab my books and head right out of there, all the while wondering how she managed to do it yet again.

***

Harry didn't come home again until late last night. I've already gone through another book.

He did however apologise for not telling me where he was in the morning, so all is forgiven.

I'm so glad I have such an understanding boyfriend. He always seems to know just what I need him to say to make me feel better. I think it's a sign that we are meant to be.

***

"He's absolutely amazing Ari," Aubrey gushes as I arrive over at her place the next day. She invited me to talk about Greg and then to help her choose what clothes to wear again.

"You're not worried about the age difference?"

"No," she states clearly unconcerned. "We both know the more mature guys are the better. All the guys my age are selfish, or horny, or arrogant. I want the real thing. For all I know Greg might be it." She smiles slightly before turning to me, "Do you think Harry's the one for you?"

"Most definitely," I reply smiling.

Aubrey starts gushing again, "This is great! You, me, are well on our way to having a serious relationship. Well, you already do, but still! Ari! Wouldn't it be awesome to have a joint wedding one day?"

I laugh at the enthusiasm she's showing. "Don't get too far ahead Aubrey. You've only been dating him for a few weeks."

"One month today," she corrects.

"Oh I'm sorry," I apologise still laughing. "I didn't know it was such an important date. One whole month now! You should build a monument."

She glares teasingly at me, "Hey, just because you got yourself a permanent man doesn't mean you get to pick on us lower lifes!"

I've only just helped her choose what to wear to the restaurant when we hear the doorbell ringing throughout the house.

Aubrey freaks out, screeching, "Ari, go let Greg in! Distract him for me will you? I'm not ready yet!" She starts rushing all around the room hurrying to get ready as I calmly walk out of the bedroom to open the door for the ever handsome Greg.

"Hey Ari," he greets. "I take it Aubrey's rushing around getting ready for our date?"

"You bet. It's your one month anniversary today apparently."

"I guess so, yeah," he answers casually, almost too casually.

"How often do you get to one month?" I ask suspiciously.

"Often, more often then I would like," he answers. "I'm not one of those stupid pricks that just pick up chicks and dump them if that's what you're worried about. All my relationships just haven't worked out."

I become happily relieved at his words, though I don't let it show. I haven't finished my interrogation yet. Leaning back onto the back of the couch I watch him carefully, while asking, "Do you think you and Aubrey will work out?"

"We'll see," he says with a small grin.

I send him a glare in return, "Don't you hurt her."

"I'll try my best ma'am," he replies cheekily.

My glare doesn't lessen. "You better mister."

Aubrey walks out then, pausing when she sees my glare and Greg's grin. Confused, she asks the predictable, "What's going on?"

I smile then, facing her, "Just playing my role as big sister little one."

"And you've decided?" She sounds cautious.

"Yeah, he's pretty alright." I pat him on the arm, wink at Aubrey, then walk through to the bedroom where I know a mess will be awaiting.

Just before the front door shuts I hear Greg say, "Yeah, I think your sister's pretty awesome too."

***

"Hello, 'ello, 'ello. Arianne, why haven't I seen you in ages?"

"Luce, it's not my fault you moved to a different state with your soul mate leaving me stranded and all alone," I say solemnly into the phone.

"Hey, don't try and guilt trip me Ari. In case you don't remember, it was I who introduced you to Harry. If anything, you owe me." She pauses. "Wait, you guys are still going strong right? Otherwise I'll feel like a bitch and I'll be catching the next flight to comfort you and kick Harry's butt if need be. Understand? And don't think for a second I'm exaggerating."

I laugh happily, feeling glad that she hasn't changed in the least. "No, I still owe you" I confirm. "We've moved in together."

I wait for the excited squeal and Lucy doesn't disappoint, "You're kidding! That's awesome! You see what I mean now when I said it's the best feeling moving in with your man now?"

"Most definitely," I grin joyfully.

"I think so too, yes. Oh," she changes the subject, "How's your sisters these days, still hating them?"

"Most definitely," I repeat, no longer smiling. "Except Aubrey, she's still awesome. She's got herself a boyfriend too."

"Oh-o, is he hot?"

"I don't think I'm supposed to say things like that about my sister's boyfriend."

"So he is?"

"Maybe," I answer, knowing she'll take it as an affirmation. "I think he's a bit old for her though."

That gets her to perk, "How old?"

"Twenty eight-ish give or take."

"Oh, that's not too bad," though from the sound of her voice she's uncertain. "It's only the difference between kindergarten and high school."

"Exactly," I point out.

"Does she seem happy with him?"

"Yes, very, very much so," I smile thinking back to our conversation a few days ago.

"Well then, it should be fine. Love is love after all."

"True that. Where's that quote from anyway?"

"No idea, It's a simply good one though."

"Most definitely," I repeat once again. "I need to run sorry. I can hear Harry coming home. But we need to organise a get together okay?"

"Most definitely," she mimics me teasingly. "Catch you later girlfriend."

I hang up quickly before running to the door and surprising Harry with an enormous hug and kiss. Though, I'd think that after doing it everyday for the past few weeks it would stop being a surprise. He still loves it though I'm sure; I know I do.

"Harry!" I exclaim. "I missed you!"

"I was only gone a few hours."

"Exactly," I state smiling. "Want anything special for tea tonight? I'm about to go shopping."

"Nah, I've been invited to a men's night out. Is that okay?"

I feel disheartened at his words. He's been having a men's night out a lot more than I would have liked. It's not like I can do anything about it either. Harry is his own person, he makes his own choices, as I've come to realise over the years. I would like it if he chose to spend more me and him time though.

"Yeah that's fine. When do you reckon you'll be back?"

"Yeah, that's the thing," he says looking guilty. "Is it alright if I spend the night at Gary's? They're planning to get me hammered."

I look at him curiously. "They're planning to get you hammered?"

"Okay, I'm planning to get me hammered," He sends me a smirk. "I can't get anything past you can I?"

"No," I send him a loving smile right back. "It's my job as your girlfriend to know everything about you."

"Everything?" Harry smirks cheekily.

"Everything," I state clearly with a smirk of my own.

"What do I want for tea tomorrow night?"

"Lasagne with extra cheese," I answer automatically.

"That's why I love you," he pecks a quick kiss onto my lips. "I'll be expecting that Lasagne when I get back."

Then he's gone.

Why does it feel like I'm still living alone?

I don't like this feeling all that much now that I've had a taste of what it could be like.

I think I'll head over to Aubrey's.

***

"Ari, as much as I love that you're here. Why are you here? It's a Friday night. Shouldn't you be having some loving time with Harry?"

"He ditched me for his friends. But that's okay because loving time comes tomorrow. I'm not interrupting your's and Greg's loving time am I?"

"No, no. It's all good. We were just going to watch a movie and then he was going to head home for an early night."

Greg walks in the room then, carrying a handful of bowls filled with spaghetti that he made for dinner.

I can't but feel a little jealous. Harry never cooks me meals. Although I think that's only because he would blow the kitchen up. Also because he told me he prefers my cooking, which was a sweet of him to say.

"Two beautiful bowls for two beautiful ladies," Greg greets as he hands Aubrey and I our food.

We sit in silence for a while then, eating and watching the movie they picked out earlier. I have no idea what movie it is. I'm too focused on the couple sitting across from me. They're sitting side by side on the couch, Greg's arm has made its way around Aubrey's shoulder, and Aubrey's head had found the perfect place to lay on Greg's shoulder. Every known and then one of them look at the other and smile slightly before looking back at the television.

I can't help but feel that something's off.

It takes me an hour to figure it out.

They're sitting too close together, looking too happy. How is it possible to sit too close to your boyfriend though? How is it possible to look too happy?

I sit in silence trying to figure it out.

Harry and I don't sit that close, but that's only because Harry isn't a cuddly person.

Harry doesn't look that happy around me, but that's only because he doesn't like showing much emotion.

We still love each other. That's all that matters right? It doesn't matter that we don't look that happy on the outside, it only matters what's on the inside. Right?

I glance back over to the pair, only to turn my head back around to the television when I notice that Greg's looking over at me curiously. And here I was thinking my looks at them had been going unnoticed.

I don't look back at them for the rest of the movie, as I can still feel someone's eyes on me every known and then. When the movie does end however, I don't even know what the main characters name was.

"Thank goodness that's over," Aubrey announces. "I've needed to go to the toilet since forever; one reason why I hate but love suspenseful movies. Now, if you'll excuse me."

When she leaves, the room is unnaturally quiet, until Greg speaks that is.

"Did you have any idea what that movie was about?"

"No," I shake my head. "I'm guessing suspense?"

He laughs. He has such a nice laugh, Harry's laugh is a bit more like a snort. "I guess so yes."

The room is enveloped in silence once again, though I can see out of the corner of my eye that Greg is just twitching to ask something.

"Is there a reason you kept staring at Aubrey and I all throughout the movie?"

I knew he was going to ask that. Call it a woman's intuition.

"Nope," I deny. "I was just wondering off into that particular space. No biggie."

"Really?" Is that amusement I hear in his voice?

"Yes, I was off visiting the fairies, is that okay?"

He grins and nods his head just as Aubrey comes back into the room. I feel as if I haven't seen her for years. Greg says his goodbyes, which I return, before Aubrey leads him out the front to his car.

I don't understand why I'm feeling awkward around Greg all of a sudden. It must just be because I saw Aubrey and him in a different light. It's strange how your thoughts can change your actions like that. Well, that's what must be happening, and it feels strange, so yes.

I grab a blanket and snuggle down in Aubrey's massive bed, happily waiting for sleep to catch up to me. When Aubrey does walk in though, nearly half an hour later, I realise I had been timing her, or them.

Confused and who knows what else, I mumble, "You guys look really happy together," before falling asleep.

***

A/N: Questions…

Which came first do you reckon: the 'calling' of the phone, or the 'calling' of peoples names? Then, 'envelope' as in letter, or 'enveloped' as in 'enclosing somebody or something completely'? Completely random I know, but I wonder…

On topic: Does it seem Ari's thoughts or feelings are unrealistic in any way? Because sometimes it feels like I've let them get away too much.

What do you think about Harry?

Then lastly: Tell me what you think please?

-

P.S. Sorry this chapter's a bit shorter then the others (and all over the place). I think I know what people mean when they say it's a 'filler' now though.

OI, YOU, YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT MY ONE-SHOTS, UNFORTUANTLY TO SAY, THEY ARE, in my opinion, MUCH BETTER THEN THIS STORY.