Eight years, four months, two weeks, four days. It had been eight years, four months, two weeks and five days since Noah had last laid eyes on the man who held his heart, the man who kept his heart to this day. The sight was burnt into his mind; the pale skin, the blood-drenched shirt, those bright blue eyes staring into nothing, the joy that was usually reflected in them replaced by a cold void that sent chills down his spine. Chills he still hadn’t managed to shake.
He remembered the smells as well, the distinct presence of gun powder, the coppery smell of the blood, the heavy scent of the rain having settled in the woods surrounding them and then something salty, not from the body on the floor, but from her, the salty smell of her tears as her body wrecked with heavy sobs.
They’d all left their homes a long time ago, hunted by the family of the man he held so dear and they spent seven years like that, on the run, always looking over their shoulders, never staying one spot for very long. No chance of settling down, no chance of finding new roots.
It was an unconventional way of living, but one they made work, one they got used to and after having been on the run for so long, just the five of them, settling in the small town of North Lawrence had felt uneasy. None of them slept through the nights, none of them trusted any new faces, they trusted no one but each other and they made it work.
They made it work with just the five of them and things were looking up, it started looking like they might just find the peace they’d been looking for for so long, right there in that small town, but everything changed that one day eight years, six months, two weeks and four days ago.
Grayson’s death changed everything.
Noah wasn’t there himself, didn’t see it happen and part of him was glad for it, whilst another part of him wished he could’ve been here. Perhaps it was foolish to think he might’ve been able to make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but it was a thought that passed through his mind regardless. All the ‘what if’s in the world couldn’t bring Grayson back though, no matter how much he mulled it over.
But it wasn’t just Grayson he lost that day.
She wouldn’t talk to him, wouldn’t look at him, shied away from his touch and his words, wasn’t there when he needed her the most, but he couldn’t be mad about it. Overcome with grief and confusion he convinced himself everything would get better, somehow, some day, and when Liana left he convinced himself she’d come back, somehow, some day.
Only she didn’t.
It could be argued that it was a coping mechanism. The way he chased after her when she so obviously didn’t want to be found. Noah saw the Eiffeltower in Paris, saw the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin, The Great Wall of China across the northern borders of China; he even saw the Taj Mahal on his travels around the world, only he didn’t care for any of the great and historical building he came across.
The eight years, four months, two weeks and four days Noah looked for Liana were spent in denial, pent up anger and misunderstanding, all of which he focused on his mission at hand. He hadn’t dealt with the loss yet, couldn’t make himself deal with any of it until he found her. She was the unfinished business he needed to take care of before he could retreat to pretending to live a life he no longer wanted to live.
It was in Istanbul he found her.
He was scared, always a little scared. Having spent so long looking for her, he’d forgotten what he wanted to do when he did find her, forgotten what he wanted to say to her. All he really knew was that he needed to find her. She was the one person he loved who could still be saved. The one person he’d lost that could still be found. He needed to hold onto that, for the sake of his own sanity.
Tracking her down to Istanbul had been complicated enough; the city itself not making the tracking any easier. The sheer amount of people that crowded the street made it impossible for him to pick up on any lingering familiar scents she carried with her and he had to push his way through crowds in search of that one familiar face that he hadn’t seen in eight years, four months, two weeks and four days.
His surprise when he finally caught sight of her was immense, but he stowed it away, not wanting to consider his mission accomplished yet. Liana had become an expert at disappearing and even though she was right there, right within reach, she could still slip away. He knew he could still lose her all over again and he wasn’t going to let that happen again.
Pushing his way through the crowd, he quickened his pace, not caring about hurting anyone around him, ignoring any angry comments thrown his way as he kept going, finally getting to the place where she was standing, his heart racing in his chest as he stopped right behind her.
A beat, a moment of hesitation as Noah searched for those words he’d wanted to say to her all these years, those words that he’d kept hidden at the back of his mind, those words he’d honestly forgotten about, for he couldn’t find them right now, but it didn’t matter. Stepping around her, he moved into her line of vision, turning to face her.
“Liana” he spoke her name, voice quiet and hoarse from disuse as he honestly hadn’t exchanged words with anyone in quite a while. He stared right at her, almost daring her to try and make a run for it, again, taking in her appearances, the way her face looked longer, her eyes seemed to have sunk a little into her skull, how it all made her look older, more tired.
He doubted he looked much better.
“Noah.” Her voice sounded cold and distant, nothing like the Liana he knew, but he didn’t know what effect all these years had had on her, didn’t even know how Grayson’s death had affected her, though he knew it had, just like death always affected a person in its undeniable and harsh ways. “You shouldn’t be here.”
It was strange to see her again. It had been so long since he’d last laid eyes on her, so long since that phone call, where she’d told him something terrible had happened, asked him to come to the woods near their house, showed him where Grayson was, what was left of him, but it all came rushing back now.
He tried to push the memories away as he willed away the tears that threatened to spill, swallowing them down and forcing himself to stay strong. Just a little longer. He needed to tell Liana what he’d wanted to tell her all these years, but the words still hadn’t come to him.
“Where else am I supposed to be?”
He hadn’t expected this to be easy. She’d been running from him for eight years, four months, two weeks and four days, all that time she hadn’t wanted to talk to him, see him and he didn’t understand why. All those years he’d mulled it over, pondered on every possible explanation he could think off, but nothing made sense to him. He needed to hear it from her, but more importantly, he needed her to come home. Explanations could wait.
“Peru, for all I care.”
“There’s nothing for me in Peru.”
There was nothing for him here either, nothing except for Liana herself. He didn’t care for Istanbul, didn’t care for the hustling and bustling of the great city, he had only one care in the world and that one care revolved around the woman standing in front of him with her arms crossed, a cold look in her eyes and he knew he had to fight to get through to her, to win her back. Because he needed her back. He needed his best friend back.
“Why do you keep running?”
“I’m not running, I’m working.”
He scoffed, sighing heavily then, not daring to look away from her, not daring to lose sight of her because that had happened to him before. He’d been so close and then she’d disappeared all over again and he wasn’t going to let that happen. Not again.
“I miss you.”
Watching her closely, he stepped up to her, ignoring anything she might’ve said about her work, not caring, because he knew she was running away just as much as he was. He knew that his excuse of chasing after her didn’t mean anything; he was just as much on the run, just as much trying to get away from a memory, a painful memory, one that haunted them both at night and he didn’t want to deal with it on his own any longer. He couldn’t.
“Cute. I almost believed you there.”
Fighting back the tears was becoming harder and harder, after such a long time of not having seen his best friend it wasn’t easy for him, to hear the ice in her voice, see the way she crossed her arms, distancing herself from him and it hurt, but he wasn’t giving up. Not now. He knew Liana was worth fighting for. He had over ten years of friendship to prove that, to himself, to her as well and he wasn’t about to give up now.
“You really think I would still be chasing after you if I didn’t miss you?”
She’d have her reasons for having been on the run for so long, reasons he couldn’t even begin to comprehend, no matter how much he wanted to, but he wouldn’t stand for this. He wouldn’t stand for her discrediting him, because he did miss her. More than anything and he needed her more than anything; he’d reached the end and the only way he knew how to keep going was with her help. Maybe his reasons for being here, for chasing after her, maybe they were selfish reasons, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. Not right now.
“If you knew what I did, you wouldn’t be missing me at all. If you knew what I did, you’d be chasing after me to hurt me instead.”
Something broke in her cold exterior, her arms uncrossing and dropping by her side as she seemingly crumbled in front of him and seeing her like that, seeing her break through the cold attitude, it made fighting back the tears even harder for him and at some point he stopped trying, no longer putting up a fight and he simply closed his eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath before looking back up at Liana.
“Nothing you did or could ever do would make me want to hurt you. You are my best friend Liana, I don’t care what you did, I will never hurt you or hate you or mean you any harm.”
How he managed to say it all without choking up was beyond him, his world swimming before his eyes as tears clouded his vision and he shook his head again, moving closer, reaching out for Liana, bringing a hand up to her shoulder to hold her close, keep her close. To stop her from moving away.
He didn’t know what it was he said, didn’t know what words it were that got through to her, but seconds later she was in his arms, her frame shocking with sobs as he wrapped his arms tightly around her, pulling her close as he stumbled a little from the sudden weight weighing down on him, but he managed to remain standing, managed to stay strong for her.
“I’m so sorry Noah..”
It wasn’t. It was never going to be okay, but with his best friend back in his life, maybe this could be the start of okay. Maybe together, with Liana by his side, they could be okay again, one day, even if right now he couldn’t see it happening, but there was a spark of hope there. Hope that perhaps one day things would be better, and hoping was more than he’d dared to do these past eight years, four months, two weeks and four days.
1. ten otps [7/10] tessa cross & adrian keller
1. ten otps [6/10] ava corinthos & seth lockwood
1. ten otps [5/10] cael bryant & laurel goodman
1. ten otps [4/10] ava corinthos & daithi dockerty
callum o'hagan - twenty-eight - the corrupt - (hopefully) aidan turner
His heart jumped in his chest, breath hitching in his throat as he sat up so suddenly that his vision swam in front of his eyes. One hand reached up to the side of his head, an attempt to stabilise the world that was still spinning around him as his eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness. The moon’s light streamed in through the window, giving the room an ominous feel, a feeling mirrored by his own sense of displacement.
Something was wrong.
1. ten otps [3/10] damon sotherby & niamh sotherby
1. ten otps [2/10] lynn hicks & ethan drake
1. ten otps [1/10] noah hemming & grayson hughes