Chapter 49 - Arabella

Daniel skipped through the door, a couple people that worked for her following him with a dress bag and cases of make up. Arabella looked around in shock as Daniel skipped over to her and hugged her tightly "Ties that..what?" she asked, totally flustered. She looked up at Hunter.

"What? Oh! Nothing..nothing" Hunter said awkwardly and took a step back, his cheeks slightly pink. Arabella looked up at Daniel as he looked her up and down.

"You are a beautiful girl, Hunnie, but we are going to do a lot of work" Daniel said with a twinkle in his eyes "Come on, let's go to the bathroom. Everyone can set up while we get you clean" he finished, pulling Arabella to her feet and steering her out of the living room. Arabella looked back at Hunter with wide, stunned eyes. She looked at Daniel as he pushed her away from Hunter and into the bathroom. He closed the door and looked through the cupboard for towels for Arabella "What happened to all of your towels?" he muttered to himself

"Danny, I don't know if I can go to this thing. I probably won't even win" Arabella said quietly, nervously covering her wrist with her hand "Can't I just stay home tonight?"

"You're full of crap, Hunnie. You are so going to win this and if you don't go, you're going to regret it. Alexander Wang has nothing on you" Daniel said with a smile "Okay, turn around" he told her and she sighed, turning so that her back was towards him. He unzipped her dress and turned so his back was towards her "Get in the shower, I'll wait"

"You really suck, you know that?" Arabella muttered but she slipped out of her dress and stepped into the shower, pulling the curtain closed. For the first time, she noticed that the bathroom was clean. Hunter must have cleaned it all up. She took a shaky breath and leaned against the wall, turning the shower on. Arabella looked down at the tub and nearly broke down right then and there. She could remember the feeling of her life slowly ebbing away like it was happening to her right then. Arabella closed her eyes, trying to focus on the water hitting her body.

"Are you going to tell me why you have a scar on your wrist?" Daniel asked and Arabella looked at the curtain. He had noticed. Arabella took a breath and she shook her head, even though he couldn't see her.

"No. I'm not talking about it" Arabella said simply, washing her hair. It seemed like it had been so long since she had really taken care of herself. She didn't know how tonight was going to go, but with any luck, everything would be fine.

"What about you and Hunter?" Daniel asked her and Arabella could hear the smirk on his face. She rolled her eyes and saw Daniel's hand in the shower with a bottle of conditioner "Use this. It's a special shampoo for blond hair" he told her. Arabella took the conditioner and squirted some into her hand.

"There is nothing to say" Arabella said eventually and Daniel laughed. She rolled her eyes and stuck her head out of the shower "Pass me a towel, would you? And shut up" she said and grabbed the towel out of his hands. Arabella wrapped it around herself and climbed out of the shower. Daniel smiled at her and took her by the shoulders, pushing her out of the bathroom. Daniel pushed her to her room and closed the door.

"Put some clothes on then meet us in the living room, Missy!" Daniel called to her and walked away. Arabella sighed and pulled on a pair of sweat pants and a tee shirt. All she really wanted to do that night was stay home with Hunter. Curl up on the couch and try to forget about what happened. She looked down at her wrist and closed her eyes. Arabella pulled a sweater on and tugging the sleeves down so that they almost covered her hands and walked out of her room and down the hall nervously. She looked around the room for Hunter. She felt like she was about to float away but Hunter was the rock that was holding her to the ground. Finally, she found him and she gave him a slightly nervous look. Hunter gave her a reassuring smile as Daniel pushed towards the middle of the room. Luckily, Daniel didn't bring too many people over. Just a few people that worked closely with Arabella. She didn't really want to see people that she wasn't close to. Daniel pushed her into a chair and started working on her hair right away. Daniel looked over at Hunter and smirked at him. "Hunter, are you going to help at all or are you going to sit in the corner and watch?" he asked and Hunter stood up

"I uhh, don't really know anything about this" Hunter said and looked at Arabella who shrugged at him. Daniel sighed and held up a braid of Arabella's hair.

"Just hold this" Daniel said and put the braid in Hunter's hand. Hunter looked down at Arabella and she put a little smile on her face for him. It wasn't long before Arabella's hair was done. Daniel took the dress bag from a woman and held it up for Arabella "I hope that this is everything you wanted it to be" he said to Arabella and he pulled the delicate dress out of the bag. Arabella looked at it and gasped. It was her own design. A dress that had been inspired by her mom and the time that she had spent with her. Arabella let the soft pink fabric run over her fingers and she looked up at Daniel.

"You made my dress" Arabella said softly, in awe of how beautiful it was. Daniel nodded and smiled proudly.

"Yes, we did. It should fit you perfectly" Daniel said then pushed her towards the bedroom, holding the dress in one hand. He quickly had Arabella changed into the dress and it looked almost perfect on her. The only problem was that it was a little loose on her. Daniel and Arabella stepped out of the bedroom and walked down the hall. Everyone from her team was complimenting her but Arabella only cared about Hunter's thoughts. He looked at her with a slightly stunned look on his face and Arabella could really tell what he was thinking.

"" Hunter stammered and Arabella blushed, looking down at her feet. Everyone in the world could tell her that she was beautiful or stunning but it only really mattered when Hunter said it.

"Yes, yes..she's beautiful, you want to jump her bones..blah, blah, blah. We have work to do!" Daniel said and pushed Arabella to the middle of the room where the rest of her team was waiting. As soon as she stood still, they started working on her, fixing her make up and touching up her hair and taking in her dress. In a flurry of movement, the dress was done and Arabella was standing in the middle of the room, starting to look like herself again. The girls that we working on Arabella each said goodbye and hugged Arabella tightly before walking out to take all of their supplies to the car. They left Arabella alone with Daniel and Hunter.

Arabella looked up at Hunter who was still looking at her like she was made of gold or something. Daniel started to work on Arabella's hair, fixing little things here and there and finishing it up. Arabella looked up at Hunter and took a deep breath "So, Hunter? I uhm, I was thinking about this show and I uh, I don't really want to go alone" Arabella stammered "It's know, big event and all that and I uhm, I was just wondering.."

"She wants you to go to the show with her as her date" Daniel sighed, looking at Hunter with a raised eyebrow. Arabella blushed a deep red but she looked up at Hunter with pleading eyes. She really didn't want to be alone but she would rather go alone then with someone who wasn't Hunter. He looked down at her and their eyes connected for a second.

"Yeah, of course" Hunter told her, keeping his eyes locked with hers. The butterflies in Arabella's stomach went wild. She smiled up at him, a real smile and she felt herself relax a little bit more.

"Now we need to get you a suit, Hunter. Or you could just go naked. I would be okay with that" Daniel said and winked at Hunter. Arabella giggled when she saw Hunter shudder.

The award show went by in a blur. One minute she was leaving her apartment, next minute she was on the red carpet. When they called her name saying that she had won, Arabella thought that she might faint. It felt like it had only been 20 minutes when she was back on the red carpet, walking towards her limo with Hunter's arm around her. She was tired and worn out. Emotionally drained. But she was looking forward to curling up on the couch with Hunter and a cup of noodles. Arabella was happy that she went an entire night without having one person ask her about the chair out the window thing.

Suddenly, they were surrounded and Hunter's arm pulled her closer to him protectively. Cameras were going off everywhere Arabella looked and all she heard were people yelling questions at her. They kept walking, Hunter holding her close to him. But then someone had stood in front of them, blocking their way. He held a video camera and he was right in her face, not letting her get around him to their car. He was shouting questions at her "Arabella? Is it true that you're suicidal?" Arabella looked at him and froze. She wanted to break down right there. Her legs felt weak under her. He kept asking her questions "Have you ever tried to kill yourself before? Would you ever consider it?" he asked. Arabella felt like the world was spinning. Her arm started throbbing and she was overcome with an urge to slice through her skin again. Her breaths were shorter and quicker and her heart sped up. Arabella leaned into Hunter, feeling dizzy. She was having a panic attack. The man with the camera didn't stop though and when they tried to push past him, he grabbed Arabella's arm, the one that she had cut and tried to pull her back to him. Arabella let out a little yell of surprise. Hunter then did something that she would never have expected him to do. Something she wasn't sure about. Something that she didn't know whether to be thankful or angry.

Hunter punched the man. Right in the face. The man stumbled backwards and fell. Before Arabella could respond, Hunter had his arm around her and was pulling her into the limo. Once the doors were closed, Arabella broke down, curling up to Hunter's side and sobbing. His body was tense with anger and he looked livid but when she leaned into him, his expression softened and he wrapped his arms around her. Arabella but her head in her hands and sobbed, her entire body shaking.

"Shh, you're okay" Hunter soothed, rubbing her back gently. Arabella couldn't believe that this was happening to her. She was never that girl. The emotional one that broke down at a single word. She was strong and fierce and confidant in who she was. But now she felt like a total mess.

They parked outside of Arabella's apartment and Hunter helped her into the elevator. She felt so weak and tired and sore. She needed to lean on him the whole way. Once they got inside, Arabella stumbled in and kicked off her shoes. All she could think of was her sweat pants, her Camp Half Blood shirt and Breakfast at Tiffany's. As she walked towards her room, she pressed the button on the answering machine when she saw the flashing number. The voice that came out of it made her freeze in her tracks and look back at Hunter with a shocked look on her face.

"This message is for Hunter Reed. My name is Elliot Benson and I'm a lawyer. I need you to call me back as soon as you can. It's about your parents. Thank you"

Chapter 48 - Hunter

Hunter woke up that morning really early. For the first few hours, he looked at her. He just looked at her. She had dark circles under her eyes and her face was pale. He long flowing blonde hair was a tangled mess and it seemed darker, less like gold. She had lost a good amount of weight and looked absolutely ill. He imagined this is how he looked when he showed up at her office, what felt like months ago. He rubbed her arm gently as she slept and quietly hummed a lullaby he had learned some time ago. "Ύπνε μου, επάρε μού το κι άμε το στα περβόλια και την ποδιά του γέμισε τριαντάφυλλα και ρόδα." He sang quietly. He didn't remember when he had heard it, but it had been with him since he could remember. It translated into something with roses and gardens, but he didn't like it for its lyrics. She let out a soft moan as she rolled to her other side and sleeping soundly. Hunter gently moved his arm out from under her and cautiously got out of bed. He quietly stepped out of the room and closed the door behind him. He figured that she would be awake soon and she needed breakfast.

"Let's get going." He said quietly to himself as he walked into the kitchen. He sighed at the appearance of the room. He felt his chest ache at the anxiety of the feeling that she was dead. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before putting the kitchen back in order. After that was sorted, he started on breakfast. He cut up some fruit and put it in a a tupperware container. He sprinkled on sugar and shook it up. He walked out of the kitchen and neared the bathroom. It needed to be cleaned. This needed to never happen. He walked in and drained the tub before taking some towels and soaking up as much water as he could he dropped the wet towels into a hamper and grabbed a mop and a bucket. He cleaned the bathroom as best he could and by the end it looked good enough. You couldn't tell anything happened unless, you already knew.

He walked back into the kitchen and took out the eggs and some other breakfast food items. He quickly cooked it and put it on a tray with a cup of coffee and the fruit he prepared. He heard some quiet movement from inside her room and smiled softly. He picked up the tray and walked in. "I hope I put enough sugar in the coffee." He said with a smile. She looked at him like she had seen a ghost. He walked over and set the tray down on her bed before sitting down next to her. "How'd you sleep?" He asked her with a small smile.

"Best sleep  I've gotten in a while." She said, taking another sip of coffee and picking at the fruit. Hunter honestly felt the same. He didn't sleep much when he was with Philippa or when he was on the street again. It felt good to finally sleep again. Especially next to her. He watched her pick through her breakfast before her eyes landed on her calendar. They widened and a sense of panic entered her face.

"What is it, Ellie? Are you okay?" Hunter asked quietly. She stood up with weak legs that looked like they would buckle under her. Hunter sat on the edge of the bed just in case she fell.

" No, no, no, no, no." She said with her head in the closet. She finally stepped out and put her forehead against the wall. "Dammit!" Hunter stood up and walked toward her. He was tempted to wrap his arms around her and put her back in bed.

"Ellie, what's wrong?" He said awkwardly shifting from one foot to another. He grabbed his hand behind his back and looked up at her. She turned around and looked at him against the wall. She took a deep breath.

"Tonight is the CFDA awards. It's like the Oscars of the fashion world and I'm supposed to go because I'm nominated for Womanswear Designer of the Year." She said with a sigh. Hunter smiled at her.

"That's fantastic, Ellie." He said, tempted to hug her, but resisting the urge. "What's the problem?"

"I have nothing to wear! I need to have a red carpet dress and I need my hair and make up to be just right and I'm not ready for it at all. I totally forgot about it." She let a groan. She tries to commit suicide one minute and it seems like not having something to wear is the bigger crisis. He smiled gently and put his hand over his mouth. She smacked his arm and turned to her closet. She proceeded to scoop everything that she owned out into a pile in the middle of the room. Including underwear. Hunter blushed slightly and looked away.

"I'll, uh, I'll get you some more coffee." He said with a nod before leaving the room and closing the door behind him. He refilled her cup and set it down as he sat on the counter. There was a small chirp from the other room. He raised an eyebrow ad walked into the living room. He looked at the source on the table. Her phone. It chirped again and he picked it up. He examined it for a moment before sliding his finger across the screen and pressing the answer button. He held it up to his ear. "Hello?"

"Hel- Who is this?! Is this Chad?! I will go over there and I will-" A familiar voice shouted loudly into the phone. So loudly he had to pull away.

"No. NO! This is Hunter. Who's this?" Hunter said into the phone. He heard a gasp and a flurry of giggles. The voice returned and Hunter heard him clear his throat. Hunter finally realized who it was. "D-"

"Hunter! Hunter, this is Daniel." Daniel said with an audible grin. Hunter sighed and rubbed his eyes with his index finger and thumb. "I was wondering if Arabella was available." Hunter took a deep breath and looked toward her room and shook his head.

"I don't think so. She's a little tied up in her room at the moment." Hunter said, clearing his throat before realizing what he had said. "No, not lik-" He was interrupted by a flurry of giggles. Hunter facepalmed.

"I had no idea she was into that." Daniel said with a giggle. There was a pause where in Hunter rubbed his face and felt the short stubble on his face. Something occurred to him. "Well, I'll let-"

"Uh..Hold on, Dan-Daniel." Hunter said quietly. He had a feeling that he was going to regret this. "Can you do me a favor?" He asked reluctantly. Daniel let out a small gasp.

"Anything, Hunty."

"Okay, TWO favors. One, stop calling me that. Two, there's this award show tonight. I'm sure you know of it."  He said clearing his throat. "I was wondering, El-Ahem. Arabella has...had a lot on her mind lately. Sadly, she's a little unprepared. Would you mind coming over with an army of designers, makeup...people, hair stylist people, anything that you can imagine? I really want this to go well for her." He said quietly. There was a small pause. "I'll really owe you one." He said, immediately regretting it. There was a gasp and a few more giggles.

"We'll be there in about 25 minutes." He said with a slight excitement in his voice. "Hunter, I'm glad to see you back." Hunter chuckled quietly. "I'll see you soon, Hunty! Okay, that was the last time. Bye!" Daniel said before hanging up. Hunter, not knowing what to do, set the phone back on the table. He sat down on the couch and ran a hand through his hair.

"Wow...This is great!" He said with a grin before sitting back on the couch. He sat there staring at the ground for a few minutes. "I should tell her. It would be so nice to see her get a surprise. She should know though. Yeah...I'll have to tell her....I'll tell her." He said with a smile before standing up and walking toward her door. He took a quick glance back at the phone just as he heard the door open.

"Hey, Hunter? How does this one look?" She said, walking out the door. He turned back without stopping walking and saw her pulling at the hem of her dress. He bumped into her and his hands landed on her hips. She looked up at him as her knees buckled a little. Hunter wrapped an arm around her and helped her stand up again. He immediately blushed as he walked her over to the couch and helped her sit on the couch. He finally took a few steps back and looked at her. Even with the dirty hair, the slightly bloodstained skin, the shabby clothes, and the shallow eyes, she looked beautiful.

"Wow...You look great, Ellie." He said with a grin.  He sat down on the couch across from her and looked at her. She picked at her dress again and looked at it before shaking her head.

"No. It's not good enough." She said with a sigh. She went to stand up and Hunter sprung up and stopped her. She looked up at him oddly.

"Uh..Just calm down a little. You've got plenty of time before the show. It'll be taken care of. You'll look great." He said with a nervous smile. "Looks like I'm going with the surprise tactic." He said under his breath.


"Nothing. Just uh...relax." He said sitting down next to her.

"Hunter, I still have to find a dress, do my makeup, do my hair, find a pair of shoes!" She said in a stressed-out voice. Just then there was a knock on the door. Hunter laughed a little and stood up. He made his way to the door.

"Ellie, it's okay. I've taken care of it." He said with a grin before opening the door. Daniel walked in and looked at her.

"Arabella! Broken free from the ties that bind, I see." He said with a giggle.

Chapter 47 - Arabella

Waking up the next morning wasn't easy. Arabella was sure that it had all been a dream. Hunter showing up would be too perfect. Maybe she was dead. Maybe she had actually died in her tub and she was now in the Underworld. But with a shock, Arabella realized that if she was in the Underworld, then she would know. So yesterday must have happened and she must have fallen asleep next to Hunter. Arabella sat up quickly, but she regretted it. She was light headed and her body ached. Her arm was throbbing and she looked down at the scar running up her arm, almost reaching her elbow. Slowly, Arabella looked around the room and saw that she was the only one in there. Hunter wasn't there. Hunter had left her. Arabella's heart sunk and she took deep breaths, trying to calm herself down. Everything that Hunter had said to her last night was all just a lie. He only said those things because he felt guilty. Arabella leaned back against her pillows, staring out her window with blank eyes.

"I hope that I put enough sugar in the coffee"

Arabella turned her head quickly to look at the door. Hunter was standing in the doorway holding a tray of scrambled eggs, toast, fruit and coffee. She let out a small sigh. He didn't leave her. Arabella wanted to throw her arms around him and stay there. Finally, she settled herself against the pillows and tried to give him a small smile. She didn't want him to feel guilty or sorry for her. She didn't want him to see that she was still a mess. Arabella pulled her knees up to her chest as Hunter placed the tray by her on the bed. She picked up the coffee and took a sip "It's perfect" she said gently and looked down at the food. Arabella wasn't hungry, at least, she didn't feel hungry. Arabella picked at the fruit, popping a strawberry into her mouth.

"How did you sleep?" Hunter asked Arabella in a gentle voice, sitting down on her bed. Arabella looked up at him and took a sip of her coffee, thinking it over.

"Best sleep I've gotten in a while" Arabella confessed and looked down at the tray of food. The truth was, she had slept well because she had fallen asleep with Hunter by her side. Arabella bit into another strawberry and looked down at her wrist for a brief moment before finishing off her coffee.  With a sigh, she looked at the calendar by her bed and her heart nearly fell into her stomach.

"What is it, Ellie? Are you okay?" Hunter asked her in a worried tone, seeing the look on Arabella's face. Had that much time already gone by? It almost seemed like yesterday she was writing that note down. Arabella slipped out of bed and even though her legs were shaky, she hurried as fast as she could over to her closet.

" No, no, no, no, no" Arabella moaned, looking inside at the rows of clothes. Of course, it would be this day that she didn't have a dress. It would be this day that she needed a fancy one the most and it wouldn't be there. Arabella put her forehead against the wall and closed her eyes "Dammit!"

"Ellie, what's wrong?" Hunter said walking towards her. He sounded worried about her, like there was something really terrible and that she was going to do something stupid again. Arabella sighed and turned around so that she was looking at Hunter and leaned against the wall.

"Tonight is the CFDA awards" Arabella said in a stressed out voice "It's like the Oscars of the fashion world and I'm supposed to go to it because I'm nominated for Womenswear Designer of the Year and Fashion Icon of the Year" She added and Hunter gave her a small smile.

"That's fantastic, Ellie" Hunter said in a proud voice "But what's the problem?"

"I have nothing to wear! I need to have a red carpet dress and I need my hair and make up to be just right and I'm not ready for it at all. I totally forgot about it" Arabella moaned and hit the back of her head against the wall lightly. Arabella looked at Hunter and he looked like he was trying to hold back a chuckle. Of course the one thing that would get Arabella out of bed and starting to move around again like a functioning human being would be the fact that she has nothing to wear. Arabella rolled her eyes, gave Hunter a smack on his arm and turned back to her closet. She started pulling out every dress, skirt and shirt that she could find. The pile on the floor got bigger and bigger and Hunter looked more and more uncomfortable as Arabella started throwing bras onto the pile.

"I'll, uh, I'll go get you some more coffee" Hunter told her uncomfortably but Arabella didn't acknowledge him. She was too busy trying to find something, anything that she could wear. Once Hunter had left the room and Arabella and pretty much emptied her entire closet, she sat down on the floor, looking at all of the pieces. The hardest part about trying to put together an outfit for fashion awards was that it was fashion. Everyone was going to be looking at her dress. Everyone was going to be studying her dress. Arabella let out a sigh and laid down on the pile and moaned. Why did it have to be tonight, of all nights? Arabella searched through her clothes for a few moments and she finally found a dress that might work, if she wore it the right way. Arabella slipped into the dress that hit about mid thigh and was a basic, black bandage dress. She looked at herself in the mirror before she padded down the hall to see what Hunter thought of it.

"Hey, Hunter? How does this one look?" Arabella asked him nervously tugging at the hem of her dress.

Chapter 46 - Hunter and Arabella

Arabella thought that she was dreaming or maybe she was just imagining it. But she swore she could hear Hunter's voice. He was yelling. There was pain and panic in his voice. Arabella wanted to open her eyes and tell him that it was going to be okay, that he didn't have to feel sad or guilty. He could move on with his life, grow old with Philippa, live a wonderful life. But she couldn't. Her body was weak and she felt herself slipping away. It was the end. It was too late for Arabella to say all of those things to Hunter, to say everything that she wanted to say to him but she had kept to herself. A small part of her felt him pulling her out of the water and placing her on the floor. After a few seconds, the small part of her that was still alive knew that he had her in his arms. She could feel his arm under her head. It was her favorite spot in the whole world. It was kind of comforting to know that Hunter was with her. He would never want her, but maybe he still cared about her. Arabella tried to open her mouth, to tell him that she was sorry, but her mouth wouldn't move. Arabella wanted to tell him that she loved him and that she was happy, now. But then she felt Hunter put something in her mouth. It tasted like the pesto that Hunter had made for her. Slowly, it was like everything was coming back to her. She could really feel and hear things, not like they were from a distance. It was like waking up from a long sleep during the flu. Arabella's whole body ached. Her arm throbbed and her hands stung where the glass had cut her. Suddenly, she took a deep breath, a gasp, and her eyes flew open.

"Ellie...I-Oh, my gods!" Hunter didn't know what to do when he heard her start breathing again. He fed her another piece of ambrosia and she chewed on her own. "Ellie! I can't...why...You..." He held her tightly and smiled. "Thankyouthankyouthankyou." He whispered as he lightly rocked back and forth, cradling her in his arms. "What do you need, Ellie? I will give you anything you could ever want. Please, tell me." Hunter said. He never wanted to let go of her again.

Everything seemed brighter, louder and more real. The water and blood on her clothes and in her hair was making her shiver but the heat in Hunter's arms and body were keeping her warm. Arabella looked up at Hunter with weak and tired eyes before letting herself fall apart in his arms. Her body went limp and she pressed her face into his body, sobbing like she had never sobbed before. She didn't answer his question. She didn't know if she could even work her vocal chords. All she wanted was Hunter. But how could she tell him that? How could she tell him that the only thing she wanted was Hunter when he was going to go back to Philippa? "I'm sorry" she was able to whisper in a weak voice.

Hunter was so happy to see her alive that he didn't know what to say. "What are you sorry for? You didn't do anything wrong." He held her closely as he fed her another piece of ambrosia. "I shouldn't have...I'm the one who should be sorry." He kissed her lightly on the head before grabbing a towel and throwing it on top of her. He wrapped her up and rubbed her arms to try and get the blood flowing to the rest of her body. "Come on, Ellie. Let's get you out of this water. You need to rest." He helped her stand, but every time he let go even a little she would fall. "Come on. Up up." He said as he lifted her up into his arms. She was so light. "Ellie...I'm so sorry. Let's put you to bed and I'll make you something." He said quietly. He walked into her bedroom and set her gently on her bed before helping her get out of her wet clothes and into some dry ones, without looking, of course. "Lie down. Rest. I'll be right back."

Arabella let Hunter lift her into his arms and carry her off to her room. Part of her was angry at him. She didn't want to live but he had stopped her from doing that. Everything was just going to get much harder now. Hunter was probably going to feel like he needed to stay with her and stay in her life, so Arabella was going to have to see Philippa. But the rest of her was sad and afraid and incredibly alone. She was sore and tired and vulnerable and the last thing she wanted was to be alone. Hunter set her down on her bed and told her that he was going to be back. She shook her head and looked at him with broken eyes, tears falling down her cheeks softly "Please don't leave me" she whispered desperately.

Hunter nodded and sat down next to her in her bed. "I won't. I'm never gonna leave you." He whispered as he put an arm around her. Could he bring himself to confess his love to someone who had just tried to kill herself? That might make her feel worse. "Ellie, I..." He didn't know what to do. He always knew what to do. He always had some idea as to what to do and when he didn't he knew where to find out what to do, but now... "Ellie, I'm so sorry."

Arabella collapsed in his arms, leaning against him. She felt so small and weak. Hunter's arms around her felt so strong and protective. Arabella closed her eyes and took shaky breaths, trying to wrap her brain around everything that had happened to her and everything that had just happened. "Don't be sorry, please don't be sorry" she whispered and shook her head "This is all my fault. You don't need to feel guilty" she whispered and leaned into him more, hiding her face in his side "I didn't mean to hurt you"

Hunter shook his head and ran a few fingers through her hair. "Ellie, I don't care. I've been hurt plenty. What you did was nothing new, but I need to know that you're okay. You're the one who just tried to kill herself for Olympus' sake." He lightly rubbed her arms and looked at the wrist that she had cut. The bleeding had stopped and in place of the gash was a thin white scar. Without thinking, he lifted her arm and gently pressed his lips to her wrist. "You're alive." He whispered.

Arabella watched as Hunter lifted her arm to his lips and while her skin tingled with his touch, she looked up at him "I don't want to be" she confessed in a heart broken voice. Arabella let her arm fall out of his hand and she looked down, away from him and the look on his face. It was horrible to see the pain in his eyes. Arabella felt so tired from all of the blood loss. She felt like she could fall asleep and not wake up.

"Don't say that." Hunter said putting a hand under her chin. He raised her face to his and lightly kissed her forehead. "Ellie, you're...amazing. How could you do this to yourself and waste such a bright, beautiful, kind, and wonderful young woman like yourself? People would miss you. Your father would miss you. Everyone at camp would miss you. Everyone at your company would miss you." He brought her in for a hug. "I...would miss you." He whispered, gently kissing the top of her head.

"Oh, whatever, you're supposed to say that" Arabella whispered, trying to wipe the tears off of her face "No one would miss me" she added in a soft whisper, more of an undertone. Like she was talking to herself. Arabella looked down at her arm before closing her eyes "I'm not any of those things, Hunter. You don't need to lie and say those things to me to make me feel better"

Hunter was taken aback. Did she really think that he would just tell her what she wanted to hear? How could he say what he meant and make her know that he meant it? "Ellie, you know me better than that." He said quietly. "Don't you dare say that no one would miss you. I would miss you. I would miss you more and more every day after your death. Your funeral would break my heart over and over again until it was nothing. Everyday I would look at a picture of you and I would never stop missing you." Hunter held her in a hug briefly before letting go and standing up. "If you think that no one would miss you, than what am I doing here? I came here to tell-" He stopped himself and looked at her for a moment before clearing his throat.  "I came here because I missed you."

He missed her. But he wouldn't love her. What he had written in that note were just words. Arabella wrapped her arms around her legs, pulling them up to her chest. The moment he let go of her, she felt empty and alone. She looked up at him and bit her lip "I missed you so much, Hunter" she whispered then put her forehead on her knees. After a few seconds of silence, Arabella took a shaky breath, trying to calm herself down and regain some of her composure "You should call Philippa. I'm sure she's wondering where you are by now" she whispered and looked up at him.

Hunter's heart sank. Had she seen him with her? She couldn't have known that he wished it was her the entire time. He shook his head and looked at her. When she said she had missed him he had sat down next to her and put his arm around her again. "Philippa and I...we're not...anymore." He said awkwardly. Could he give the reason without saying too much? "Ellie, I'm all yours." He said with a small smile before kissing her temple and gently rubbing her arm. He felt her shaky breaths in his side. She was so hurt. He didn't want to leave her. Ever.

When he said that he wasn't with Philippa, Arabella's heart leaped. He said that he was all hers. Arabella could stay in hunters arms forever. He made her feel warm, safe, protected. Arabella closed her eyes and let herself relax in his arms. "Everything hurts" she whispered to him and put her hand on her wrist, covering the thin scar "I'm sorry about Chad. I didn't know that you had written that note until it was too late" she confessed. 

Hunter had almost forgotten about the note. "Oh uh..." He said quietly. Everything had happened so quickly, he didn't know what to say. He had written with the thinking that he might not see her again. He didn't entirely expect to have to talk about it. "It's okay. I don't want to talk about Chad. If I ever see him again..." He didn't know what he would do. The sound of his name made him want to break something. The sight of her crying on the couch holding her face with Chad standing over her. His fists clenched. Her dress askew. Hunter could feel his fingernails pressing into his palm. "You need to rest, Ellie. I'll be right here. Go ahead and sleep. We can talk more once you feel better." He said with a small smile.

Arabella looked up at Hunter and nodded softly. She was so tired and weak from all of the blood she had lost. Arabella's eyes were dry and sore from crying so much. Her whole body felt heavy. Arabella looked up at Hunter when he told her that she should sleep. She wanted to protest, to tell him that she wasn't tired and that she wanted to talk to him now. She was afraid that once she closed her eyes, he would leave. But she was already starting to fall asleep in Hunter's arms and she couldn't stop it. Arabella closed her eyes, leaning into him "Thank you, Hunter. For everything" she breathed before drifting off into a light sleep.

Hunter smiled gently as she fell asleep. It was about 1 in the morning and checking his watch made Hunter realize how tired he was. He gently rubbed her hair and lightly caressed the scar down her wrist. "I'm never going to leave you, Ellie." He whispered quietly to her before putting his head on hers and falling asleep.

Chapter 45 - Hunter

Hunter was sitting on the couch in Philippa's apartment. His head leaned back and his eyes closed. In his mind, he dreamed of a small patch of grass in the woods. There was sunlight shining through the tall trees and the faint echo of birds chirping and tweeting. It was peaceful. It was quiet. He was reclining on a red blanket, leaning back on his elbows with legs outstretched in front of him. He reached over and took a sip from a glass of lemonade. It tasted fresh and sweet. He set it down and looked to his other side to see a plate with a turkey club sandwich on it. He picked it up and took a bite. The combined crunch of the bacon and the lettuce and the lightly toasted bread made him smile.

"Did I do okay?" Hunter finished chewing and looked up before swallowing. He saw the silhouette of a girl. The sunlight behind her made her blonde hair glow like gold.

"It's delicious. Much better than I could do." Hunter said with a smile. He set it down on the plate and held out his hand after brushing crumbs off on his shorts.

"Oh, please. I'm shocked I didn't cut my hand off." She said with a smile. She took his hand and fell into position on the blanket next to him. She stumbled at the last minute and her hair fell and obscured her face. Hunter smiled at her as she sighed and tried to blow the hair out of her face.

"Let me help." He said as he reached a hand up and brushed a few locks behind her ear. He kissed her on the cheek before repeating the action on the other side of her face. He saw the radiant smile, he had come to love. The soft smooth skin he longed to caress. The hair he wanted to bury his face in and bask in the smell of. "Ellie, how did you get so beautiful?" He asked with a smile, looking into her bright blue eyes that seemed to look like the ocean in the reflection of the sunlight. She giggled softly before kissing him on the nose.

"Well, there's the wrinkle cream and the facial cleanser...." She said teasingly. Hunter laughed before rolling on top of her and kissing her on the lips. He could feel her hands on his back and his shoulders. Hunter had never felt happier. He broke the kiss and smiled against her lips. Suddenly, her arms slid off his body and fell to her sides. He pulled away from her and looked into her face. It was no longer perfectly tanned and full of life. It was pale, dark, sick. His hands felt warm against the red blanket. He pulled back onto his knees and looked at his hands. They were covered in blood. The red of the blanket flowed away into a pool around her body. Hunter fell backward off the blanket and watched in horror as the pool of blood grew larger and larger, flowing closer to him inch by inch.

Hunter woke up with a slight start. His body was covered in a cold sweat and he could feel tears around his eyes. He was back in Philippa's apartment.

"Hunter? You alright?" He looked down to see Philippa looking up at him from her spot on the couch, her head on his leg. Hunter blinked a few times before nodding.

"Yeah, I just...zoned out for a second." He said, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye and forcing a smile across his face. He looked up to see Monsters, inc. playing on the TV. He sighed quietly, remembering back to one of his first nights with Philippa. They had watched that movie and she had fallen asleep next to him. He carried her to her bed. She looked so peaceful. "I'll be right back. I uh...I need to use the restroom." He said in the quiet tone he had gotten over with Arabella. Philippa lifted her head and sat up.

"Hurry back. I don't want you to miss the best part. 'I'm Mike Wazowski!'" She said with a grin. Hunter forced a laugh and stood up. He walked to the bathroom and closed the door behind him. He shut the lid to the toilet and sat down. He took a deep breath and buried his face in his hands. He felt like garbage.

"So, you're dating a girl's half-sister because she doesn't want you? Not only that, but every time she kisses you, hugs you, touches you in anyway you're imagining it's her half-sister." Hunter looked over to see Imaginary Hunter laying in the bathtub. He shook his head and folded his sunglasses before putting them in the collar of his shirt. He lifted up his foot and tied the red converse shoe with a wing on the heel before setting it back down on top of his other foot. "That's pretty low, man." He said with a nod.

"I know that. Don't you think I know that? That's why I feel like crap. I'm lying to her." Hunter said with a sigh. He leaned back against the toilet tank. "I can't believe that I would do this. It's been two days. I have no feelings for her. Whatsoever. She doesn't deserve that. She deserves to be with someone who actually wants to be with her. She liked me out of convenience and then she threw me away." He said with a shrug. "She came back. I took her back. I'm just a schoolgirl crush for her. I was the only guy she liked because I was the only guy she knew."

"It seems you know what you have to do then, eh?" IH said with a shrug. He stood up and brushed off his brown leather jacket and adjusted his watch. He rubbed his pendant for good luck and smoothed it against his shirt. "Let's go, then. You have a girl to break up with." He said with a half-smile. Hunter nodded and stood up before walking out of the bathroom. He looked at Philippa for a brief moment before sitting down next to her. She leaned her head on his shoulder and let out a sigh. Hunter closed his eyes and took a deep breath before sliding away from her. He turned to look at her.

"Hunter, what's wrong?" She said, shutting off the movie. "Are you sick? I can call Dana and she-"

"I'm fine, Philippa, but I...I've been lying to you." He said quietly. She furrowed her brow and looked at him with sad eyes. "When you broke up with me, I...I was hurt. I had never put myself out there like that and when you broke it off, I was expecting it, but that didn't make it hurt less."

"I'm so sorry for all of that. I never-" Hunter shook his head.

"That's not it. After I left camp, I thought that I would never be able to like someone like that again. That was until about 2 weeks ago. I don't love you. I can't love you...I can't love you because I love Arabella." He said quietly, a lump forming in his throat. He looked at her. She seemed confused and sad.

"Arabella? How...But why...I-"

"I'm so sorry, Philippa. I didn't want to keep lying to you and I didn't want to keep lying to myself. I felt bad leading you on these past 2 days...And I didn't want to do it anymore. If you never want to see me again, I'll totally understand and I won't bother you ever again." Hunter said slowly before glancing up at her once and standing up. "Goodbye, Philippa." He said before turning to leave.

"I understand." Hunter turned around to see her looking at him and nodding. She stood up and stepped close to him. "I was awful to you. You didn't deserve me asking you to give up everything one second and then letting you go the next. You shouldn't be sorry." She said smiling softly up at him. "I should be. I'm sorry, Hunter. I really am." She straightened his jacket and patted him on the chest a few times before chuckling quietly. "If you still feel torn up about it, how about this? You go find Arabella and once you two are together, you ask her to give me a job. I'm great with hair." She said giving him a wink and a kiss on the cheek. Hunter blinked a few times before letting a smile spread across his face. He looked down at her and hugged her.

"Thank you, Philippa." He said quietly. He broke the hug and sprinted out of the apartment. He was high on the thought of seeing her. He had a good feeling about this. He imagined himself walking in and telling her that he loved her and she would respond in kind and they would be together and they would put in a movie or they would watch TV and he would make fun of the women on The Bachelor. I would be happy and easy and simple and natural. He wouldn't have to force happiness. He wouldn't have to think about his words before saying them. He could be himself because that's who she loved.

In a few minutes, he was at the door of her building. He froze and looked up at her balcony where a tarp flapped in the wind due to the broken window. "Hunter?" Hunter looked to see Tom looking at him. He was still wearing the jacket that he had given him days earlier. "Where have you been? That jagoff Chad has been around and Ms. Foster has been miserable." Hunter smiled slightly. He felt bad that she was miserable, but at the same time he was glad because he knew why. He smiled big before hugging Tom tightly. Tom stiffened in surprise before hugging back.

"Tom, they don't pay you enough." Hunter said with a grin. "I'd love to stay and chat, but I have a more pressing matter. No offense. I'll see you around!" with that Hunter sprinted into the building and up the stairs. After a few seconds, he was at her door. He took a deep breath and knocked. The door creaked open to a silent apartment. He raised an eyebrow. "Ellie? You here?!" He asked the silence as he walked inside. He heard the faint sound of running water and smiled. He walked toward the bathroom and stood outside. "You know, you really should lock your door." He said with a grin. No response. He looked down to see a small pool of water running from under the door. Water and...Oh, no. Hunter pushed open the door and looked at her in the tub. "ELLIE! NO! NO! NO! NO!" He shouted as he hurried over and knelt down by the tub. He shut off the water and pulled her out of the water. "Why did you do this?! This isn't how this was supposed to happen!" He shouted frantically as he pulled off his jacket and used it to wrap her wrist. He cradled her limp body in his arms. Her body was cold. He felt her face. Cold. "Wake up, Ellie! You have to wake up! You can't be dead! This isn't fair!" He said as he patted her cheek gently. He checked her pulse. "You're alive!" It was incredibly faint, but it was there. "You...You...You're a demigod! You have to have nectar or ambrosia or something around here! Where is it?!" He gently set her down and burst from the bathroom and headed straight for the kitchen.

He immediately opened one of the cupboards and scooped everything out. "It needs to be here! Somewhere! Where is it?!" He shouted as he scooped everything out cupboard after cupboard. "Come on! Come on!" He searched frantically for the small square until he found it in the back of a cupboard behind a can of chicken noodle soup. He grabbed it and immediately tore it open, making sure not to touch it. He held it in the plastic and ran back to her. He put her head in the crook of his elbow and fed her a small piece of the square. "Come on. Come on. Come on. Be alive. Be alive." He whispered as he held her close to his chest. Nothing. He fed her another piece and held her even tighter, tears starting to well up in his eyes again. "You didn't even say goodbye to me..." He said as a tear poured over his eyelashes. He fed her another piece and held her close. He didn't care that he was wet. He didn't care that he had her blood all over him. He just wanted her back.

Chapter 44 - Arabella

There were shouts and camera shutters from the ground level of the building. Her phone was ringing off the hook. Her face was all over TMZ and Showbiz Tonight and Access Hollywood. Arabella was curled up on the couch with a blanket wrapped around her. As her phone vibrated with calls and texts and emails, Arabella turned up the volume on her movie, Some Like It Hot. All she could do was sit in her apartment. It was all she said the energy for. Her whole body felt heavy and sore. The bruises on her neck and face were throbbing, but Arabella didn't bother trying to fix it somehow. She was sure that in the back of one of her cupboards, she still had a little baggie of ambrosia but she didn't want to look for it. The note from Hunter was lying flat on the floor. Arabella had read it so many times, it was hard to tell that it had ever been folded. Her eyes were red from crying and her skin was pale, she looked almost sick. Hunter. Hunter. Hunter. He was the only thing running through her mind. The more she thought about him, the worse she felt. She had kicked him out. She never let him talk to her. She just shoved him out the door. If she had given him a chance then maybe he would be sitting with her right now. Arabella heard her front door open and she nearly jumped out of her skin. Chad. Arabella paused her movie and looked up in fear. But the face she saw wasn't Chad's. It wasn't Hunter's. It was Daniel. Arabella's face softened when she saw him and she sat up. Her blond hair was a mess but she didn't bother fixing it. Daniel walked over to her and settled himself down beside her.

"Oh, Arabella.." Daniel whispered in a sad voice, looking at her messy hair and the expression on her face. Arabella wanted to just collapse in his arms but she didn't want him to know just how broken she was. Daniel moved so that she was closer to her and he looked through his bag, finally pulling out a hair brush and he went to work on her hair, gently pulling out the knots. Arabella turned so that he back was towards him and let him brush her hair, like how he used to at Camp when they would sit on her bed and gossip. Daniel took a breath "I'm really worried about you, hunnie" he said to her softly. Arabella bit her lip, not really sure what to say to him.

"I'll be fine" Arabella told him, trying to sound strong and sure that in a couple days she would be happy again. Daniel scoffed at her and Arabella could practically hear him roll his eyes.

" are a wreck. You look terrible. I haven't seen you eat anything since you came back from your weekend at the beach house. You've got a bruise on your face in the shape of a fist and bruises on your neck in the shape of finger prints. Not to mention you threw a chair out of your apartment yesterday" Daniel said and Arabella closed her eyes, feeling tears sting her eyes "Go find Hunter, Arabella. He made you the happiest and if you don't go look for him, I will. And I can't promise that I'll bring that stud back to you" he said, trying to use a light tone at the end. Arabella shook her head gently.

"I messed up, Danny. I messed up big time and I don't think that he'll ever want to talk to me again" Arabella told him "Besides, he could be anywhere. New York is huge and that's if he even stayed in New York" she added, looking down at her lap as Daniel brushed the ends of her long hair.

"You need to look for him. That boy is crazy about you. If you don't look for him, you will regret it for the rest of your life" Daniel said softly and he hugged her tightly from behind "I love you, sis" he whispered in her ear then he stood up and walked to her door. Arabella looked up at him with sad eyes. "I'll tell the people at work that you're taking a couple days off and that you're fine. Don't come back until you're happy again" he told her and walked out, closing the door behind him. Arabella leaned back against the couch. Daniel was right..she needed to go find Hunter.

The sun was beating on her as she sat outside of the coffee shop with a coffee and an uneaten muffin in her hands. She wore big sunglasses on her eyes, trying to hide from people. Luckily, no one stopped to ask her anything or bug her. Arabella looked around, wondering if Hunter would show up. Maybe this was a place that he went to often. Maybe he would stop to see if she was there. Arabella didn't know but she was trying to hold on to that little bit of hope. She had already walked around the park and looked everywhere she could think of. This coffee shop was the last place that she could think of. Arabella sat there for a couple hours, watching people walk past. Sometimes she would see a dark head weaving through the crowd and her heart would skip a beat but then she would see that he wasn't Hunter and her heart would sink down another level. Eventually, Arabella pushed herself off of her spot and started to walk home. Arabella tossed the uneaten muffin and coffee into the garbage. Daniel had been right. Arabella had hardly eaten anything since she got back from the beach house. After Hunter left, Arabella just wasn't hungry much anymore. Then Chad had told her that she looked like she had been gaining weight and she had cut out most food all together.

She wasn't looking where she was walking. She wasn't paying attention to anything, really. But when she looked up, Arabella was standing in an alley. There wasn't anyone in the alley but on the ground it looked like there was a little bit of dried blood. Now, for an alley in New York City..blood wasn't strange. Something was strange, however. There was something on the ground that was reflecting the light. Arabella knelt down and picked it up. When she saw it, her heart skipped a beat. It was Hunter's pendant. She had never seen it off of him. Arabella held it gingerly in her hands then rubbed it the way that Hunter used to. A dry sob escaped Arabella's lips and with shaking hands, she slipped it over her head and tucked it in her shirt. She stood up and slowly walked back to her apartment.

How much time had passed? A day? Two days? A week? Time seemed to blur together for Arabella. Logically, she knew that not that much time had passed, only one night. But every hour seemed to drag on for days. Arabella didn't sleep the past night. She spent the entire night lying on the couch and watching movies. she managed to watch the entire Harry Potter series for the first time. It was early in the afternoon now and Arabella was walking down the street. She needed to buy coffee and a couple more movies. Her hair was pulled into a bun and she didn't bother putting makeup on, so her face was pale with dark circles under her blank eyes. Arabella didn't spend much time in the stores. Everywhere she went had tabloid magazines with her face on the cover. Each magazine had a different story about what had happened to Arabella. They were saying that she was on drugs, that she was having a nervous breakdown, that she had gone crazy, etc. Soon enough, she was walking home with a stack of movies in a bag and a large coffee from Starbucks in the other.

As she walked towards her home, she saw something that made her heart leap with joy. She felt happy for the first time in what felt like years. Arabella found him. Hunter was sitting in Central Park, looking at a water fountain. Tears of joy stung her eyes and she started to walk towards him. They could be happy now. Life could be easy again. Arabella nearly tripped over her own feet she was so excited to get to Hunter. All she wanted to do was fall into his arms and tell him that she loved him too, that she missed him and she was sorry. Hunter stood up and Arabella thought that he had seen her, that he was going to come meet her and they would hug. It would be like in the movies. But then Arabella heard giggling and saw a beautiful girl run to Hunter and wrapping her arms around his neck. Arabella caught her breath and looked at the familiar face. Philippa. Maybe they're just friends. The hope in Arabella's heart was fading, but it was still there. It was a small glimmer. But then she saw something that shattered whatever hope she had left. Philippa kissed Hunter. Hunter kissed her back, leaning into her.

The moment she kissed Hunter, Arabella's heart broke into a million pieces. Her whole world seemed to flip upside down and she nearly collapsed right there on the sidewalk. Her knees were weak and she felt like someone had punched her in the gut. She turned away and rubbed Hunter's pendant, which she hadn't taken off since she found it. He didn't want her. He was happy with Philippa. Hunter would probably never want Arabella. He didn't love her. Arabella started down the street towards her apartment. She didn't cry. She was numb. She didn't feel anything except emptiness. Arabella walked into the building and into the elevator, ignoring Tom. She made it to her apartment before she collapsed on the couch. She felt weak and tired and alone. All she wanted to do was fall asleep and never wake up.

The early morning sun hit her face and Arabella moaned. She didn't want to wake up. She didn't want to move. Her whole body felt weak and sore. She didn't want to do anything. Arabella pushed herself off of the couch eventually and on weak legs, she walked to the bathroom. Maybe a shower would calm her nerves. Arabella stepped into the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror. She lifted up her tank top so she could look at her stomach. Arabella was repulsed by what she saw. She let go of the shirt and looked into the reflection of her eyes.

"You stupid, ugly, pathetic girl" Her Reflection said. Arabella nearly jumped out of her skin and shook her head, now she really was going crazy "Why would Hunter ever love you? What would anyone ever love you? You are a gross, fat piece of trash and you are going to die alone. It's all your fault that Hunter left you. Mind you, he probably would have left even if you didn't say all of those things to him. He would wake up one day and realize that he was with someone as terrible as you and drop you like a hot cake" the voice said harshly. Arabella shook her head more, tears pooling in her eyes.

"No, that's not true" Arabella whispered but Her Reflection cackled and and glared down at Arabella.

"Not true? You and I both know how true it is. Hunter deserves the best and you, my dear, are the farthest thing from it. You could die today and no one would notice. Not a soul would show up at your funeral. No one" Her Reflection laughed. Arabella felt in her heart that it was all true. Tears spilled down her cheeks and Arabella looked at her reflection for a moment before snapping. With a strangled scream, Arabella threw her fists against the glass. She hit it over and over and over again, not feeling the glass piercing her skin or the blood running down her arms. After a few moments, Arabella collapsed against the sink, sobbing. She hated herself. She hated what her life had become.

Arabella glanced down at her cut hands and looked at the sink. It was filled with glass and blood. For some reason, the blood fascinated her. Arabella climbed into the bathtub and sat down by the facet. Gingerly, she turned on the water and let it flow over her sore hands. Maybe she was right. Maybe if she died, no one really would notice. Maybe everyone would be happier to be rid of her. Arabella looked down at the bracelet on her wrist and it seemed to read her thoughts. Without having to really think about it, the bracelet turned into a dagger. Arabella held it in her hand, turning it over in her palm. She watched how the light reflected on the sharp blade. Arabella thought about Hunter. He had taught her how to hold her dagger, how to fight with it, how to use it. Life seemed so much easier back then. But now, all she saw in her future was loneliness. Arabella didn't see a future for herself, really. Thinking about Hunter was the most difficult thing in the world for her. She thought of his face and his smell and how she felt when he hugged her. But now, she would never know that feeling from him again. He was with Philippa. Arabella hoped that she made him happy and that he could live a happy life.

Arabella glanced down at her arm and she did what felt right, what felt natural in that moment. She did the only thing that she thought would make her feel better. Maybe when she got to the Underworld, she would see people she knew. Friends and family. Loved ones that she had lost. The tip of the dagger pierced the skin at her wrist easily. Arabella let out a gasp as her skin broke but she didn't stop. The blood flowed from her arm easily as she dragged the blade down her arm, make a long gash in her skin. Arabella gave a small sob and she leaned against he back of the tub. Everything was fuzzy. Everything was fading. Arabella watched as the blood kept flowing out of her arm and mixing with the water in the tub. She rested her arm on the edge, letting her dagger clatter to the floor. Tears fell from her tired eyes as her entire world started to go black. Arabella slowly turned her head to look at the door and her eyes shut gently.

Chapter 43 - Hunter

Hunter was confused. He thought that he would go up and kick Chad out. That she would readily accept him with open arms. That they would embrace and that he would kiss her all over. She would cut Chad out of her life for the rest of her life. Hunter and she would be together forever and ever. He never would have imagined that she would kick him out of his apartment. Maybe Chad was right. Maybe she didn't want to be with him. Maybe she was done trying with him. Hunter made his way out of the apartment and down the hall. He could feel it all sink in and he could feel the tears welling up in his eyes. The walk down the stairs, which he had done in a minute coming up, felt like days going down. Every step made his head hurt and his body ache.

"What was I thinking? I can't...She doesn't want me. She never did." He said, finally letting tears fall down his cheeks. "Just another daughter of Aphrodite-" His voice cracked. "Another daughter of Aphrodite that broke my heart." He said, tears pouring from his eyes. Part of him was angry. Part of him was sad. Part of him blamed himself for his stupidity. "Just like Aphrodite to lie. 'She likes you. How could you not tell?' because she doesn't! She never did! You just get kicks from breaking my heart! Why don't you just kill me already?!" Hunter finally reached the last floor and sat in the stairwell. "This is all your fault! What have the gods given me except trouble?" He broke down against the wall. "I became a hunter because of YOU. I have done everything you ever asked. I saved countless of your children. I'm not even part of the family. I have given my entire life. Everything. I have given you everything! What do I get in return? Pain. Anguish. Heartbreak. I lived according to what you wanted. Lived my life by your rules. All I got was pain." He finally got up and wiped the tears away. He didn't know where he was going to go, but he left the building. He ignored Tom's greeting and kept walking. He put his hands in his pockets and just walked. He didn't have a shirt. He didn't have shoes. He didn't have a purpose.

"You don't exist. The girl that you gave your heart, crushed it and threw it in the toilet. You don't even have clothes on your back." Hunter looked up to see Imaginary Hunter walking backwards in front of him, wearing his typical brown leather jacket and orange camp t-shirt. "You're homeless and alone again. That means I'm back." He said, folding up his aviators and tucking them into the neck of his shirt. He spun and fell in stride with Hunter. "So, what's your plan, then? You gonna live outside the coffeehouse again, hoping she'll come? She'll realize her feelings and accept you with open arms? It's not happening. Sorry, man."

"I'm working on it. I've been homeless before. I can do it again." Hunter said quietly. IH laughed.

"Yeah. Last time you were homeless, you sat went three days without a meal and got the crap beat out of you." IH shook his head. "That doesn't seem like successful homelessness."

"Just...shut up, would you? I can't focus with you talking in my ear." Hunter said, closing his eyes and shaking his head. He had been walking for a while. For once, he wasn't sure where he was in this city. He chalked the confusion up to his anxiety. "This is...I was just here." He said quietly. He looked around. There it was. He slowly walked across the street and to the door. He stepped inside and up the stairs. He stood at the door and took a deep breath. He knocked a couple of times, so quietly he was surprised to see the door open a moment later.

"Hunter? What-" Philippa stood there in front of him with tears in her eyes. It had been hours since he turned her down. "What are you doing here? You told me that it was too late. What do you want?" She said bitterly. What was Hunter doing there? She liked him. He didn't not like her. Where's the problem?

"Philippa, I don't..." He took a deep breath and wiped his face. "Look, can I come in? We need to talk." She stared at him a moment before sighing and stepping out the way. "Thanks." Hunter said as he stepped inside. He walked over and sat down on the couch. "El-" He couldn't believe he made that mistake. "Philippa, I'm so sorry. I thought that..." He took a deep breath. "I made a mistake and I realize now that I..." As he spoke he watched as a small smile broke across Philippa's face. She sat down and hugged him.

"Please, tell me you're saying what I think you're saying." She said, burying her face into his chest. Was he? Hunter really didn't want to live on the street again. He liked her enough. She obviously liked him. Maybe...With time....

"Uh...Yeah, Philippa. I am." He said quietly. He tried to convince himself that he wasn't doing this just for a place to sleep.

"Oh, Hunter! I'm so glad! I was...I didn't know what I would do if..." She said with a sigh. Probably the same things he thought about. She squeezed him tight and looked into his eyes before kissing him lightly on the lips. What made him feel worse was the fact that he was wishing they were Arabella's lips on his.

Chapter 42 - Arabella

Arabella watched, stunned, as everything unfolded in front of her. She didn't know how to react. She was frozen in shock. Hunter? What was he doing? What was happening? Arabella looked up at him when he asked her if she was okay. She felt a wave of anger and pushed him away "What were you thinking?!" Arabella said, pushing him out of the way. She fixed her dress and knelt down by Chad. Arabella touched his face lightly and bit her lip "This is not good..this is so not good" she mumbled, trying to get her phone out of her purse. Finally, her hand clasped around the small rectangle and she pulled it out, touching the numbers on the screen. Quickly, without stopping to breathe, Arabella rattled off her address to the operator and hung up the phone. Her face was starting to throb and she could feel a sharp pain on the sides of her neck where Chad had held her. Arabella knew that it was going to bruise. She let out a shaky sigh and looked up at Hunter. What was he doing in her apartment? Why did he think that he could just leave her without saying goodbye then just suddenly show up. Her eyes narrowed and she stood up, fixing her dress.

"Get out Hunter" Arabella said softly. She didn't know why she was kicking him out. All she had wanted was to see him again but now that she was looking at him, she was angry and wanted to kick him out. Hunter looked at her with hurt and disbelieving eyes.

"Ellie, I-" Hunter started but Arabella shook her head, cutting him off.

"Get out of my apartment, Hunter. I'm furious with you and if you stay, you're going to be arrested. Leave" Arabella said, pointing to the door. Hunter just looked at her, like he was stunned and didn't know what to say or do. His eyes were filled with worry and hurt and guilt. Hunter seemed to think over what she was saying.

"Can we please just talk, Ellie?" Hunter asked her, his voice quiet. He took a step towards her and Arabella turned away from him, tears stinging the corners of her eyes. She shook her head

"NO! We can't just talk, Hunter!" Arabella said, her voice raising. She saw him flinch ever so slightly, stunned by her raising her voice. Tears started to flow easily and Arabella tried to rub them off of her cheeks "I can't talk to you, Hunter! Not after what you did to me! Will you please just LEAVE!" she yelled "I can't..we can't..I can't do this with you anymore, Hunter" she finished, not bothering to wipe her tears anymore. Hunter moved towards her, trying to pull her into a hug and Arabella shook her head, pushing him away from her. "Don't touch me. Just leave. Please" she said in a voice that was harsher than she meant it to be. Arabella took a shaky breath, folding her arms across from her. She didn't look at Hunter. She couldn't. If she did then she would probably have a totaly break down in his arms and she didn't want to do that to him. Not when she knew that he was probably just going to leave again. It seemed like forever before Hunter spoke again.

"Bye, Ellie" Hunter muttered, his voice quiet and sad. Arabella looked up at him as he turned and walked out of her apartment. She tried to take a deep breath, calm herself down. She hardly had the time to process the fact that Chad had hit her. Again. She took him back, trusted him for a third time and for a third time, he hit her. Right now, however, she was focused on getting Chad out of her apartment and out of her life for good. She wasn't going to talk to him again. Arabella also secretly hopped that Aphrodite was giving Apollo and big talking to and telling him to talk to his sons.

The paramedics arrived and loaded Chad onto a stretcher, asking Arabella a few questions. She told them that Chad had been jumped in the park on the way over to her house and he showed up like that. Arabella spoke quickly to the police but she convinced them that she didn't know much of what happened to Chad. Only that she showed up at her apartment like that. As they were taking chad out of her apartment, Arabella watched as a piece of paper fell out of Chad's pocket and floated to the ground. She walked over, picked it up then sat down on the couch, holding it in her hands. It looked like it was worn out a little bit, like it had been folded and unfolded multiple times. Did she really want to look at it? Arabella let out a small sigh and with shaking hands, she unfolded the paper. What she saw was not what she was expecting. It was Hunter's hand writing and there were tear spots all over it. She gingerly held the soft paper in her hands and scanned the words. The more she read, the more tears fell.  I felt that I needed to be with you, but I will have to live without you. You deserve to live a good life, Ellie. I want that for you. I hope that you and Chad are really happy together. As Arabella read on, she started shaking more. A lot of it was scratched out, but she could read all of it. Her eyes landed on the words at the bottom. Three little words that meant everything. I love you. Arabella looked at the words again, reading them over and over and over again. I love you. I love you. I love you. Chad kept this from her. He found it and hid it. If Arabella had known, if she knew that he wasn't leaving her...if she knew that he loved her. Well, it wasn't a question about what she would have done. She would have ran down to meet him in the coffee shop and everything would be wonderful and easy. She wouldn't have a bruises forming on her face and neck. She wouldn't be alone.

Sobs rocked through her and Arabella leaned down, resting her forehead on her knees. Her whole body was shaking with sobs, tears pouring down her face. Arabella was so angry at herself. How could she think that Hunter actually left her? He would never have done anything like that. How could she have gone back to Chad? It was the same thing that he said every time that she broke up with him. He was sorry, he wasn't going to hurt her again...blah, blah, blah..lie, lie, lie. Arabella needed to stand up. There were too many thoughts in her head and she couldn't sit still anymore. With tears still pouring down her face, Arabella stood up and started pacing around her living room. Hunter said that he loved her. Arabella kicked him out. He would never forgive her, ever. Arabella folded her arms across her chest tightly as she paced, trying to steady her breathing but nothing was working. She just kept sobbing. Arabella felt a sharp pain in her toe and she looked down to see a chair in her way. Arabella let out a frustrated sigh and tried to kick it out of her way, but it wouldn't budge. Arabella looked down at the chair and kicked it again. It still didn't move. Anger and guilt and sadness coursed through her body and Arabella started kicking and hitting the chair over and over and over again. She sobbed and kept hitting the chair with balled up fists. Why did this have to happen? Why didn't she just say something to Hunter when she had the chance? Why did she go back to Chad? It was all such a blur of tears and hitting and kicking. Arabella then lifted the chair, not sure why she was doing it, then threw it out of the window. It smashed the glass and fell 15 stories to the street below. Arabella stood there for a moment, taking deep breaths. But then she heard the screams and what could possibly be the worst thing...cameras. She stumbled to the balcony, ignoring the glass on the ground and looked over the edge. All she saw were paparazzi camera's pointed up at her. With a sob, Arabella ran back into her apartment and she collapsed on the couch, sobbing until she fell asleep.

Chapter 41 - Hunter

Hunter walked out of Arabella's apartment and threw himself up against the opposing wall. Tears streamed down his face as he slumped down to the ground. He genuinely hoped that no one came out. He didn't want to interrupt anyone. After about 15 minute, he finally regained enough composure to stand back up and walk into the elevator. He leaned up against the wall and hit the button for the ground floor. He could feel tears pool in his eyes. He quickly wiped them away as the doors opened.

He took a deep breath before stepping out of the elevator and walking out of the lobby. He had actually gotten used to seeing this. Kelly at the counter. Tom at the door. He had gotten used to it and now he had to leave. He was homeless again. He stepped out of the building and gave a teary nod to Tom who raised an eyebrow.

"Hunter? You doing okay?" Tom said quietly, taking a step toward him. Hunter didn't want to turn around. He knew that if he turned around he would cry again, but he swallowed back a few tears and turned around.

"I uh...Yeah. Just fine." He lied. He was upset that Arabella was with Chad, but it was what she wanted. If she was happy, he was happy. Or at least he was going to try and be happy. "You doing okay, Tom?" He asked trying to change the subject. Tom nodded.

"Oh, yes. Of course, Hunter. It's a cold night out, but I'm okay." Tom said with a shrug. Hunter furrowed his brow and took off his jacket. He offered it out to Tom. "Oh, no. I couldn't. You keep it. Surely, you're cold to." Hunter shook his head.

"No, no. I'm good. I've got thick skin. I spent lots of time...outdoors." Hunter said with a nod. To be honest, he was numb. He hadn't noticed that it was cold outside or that it was even night time. He was shut off. "Just take it." Tom reluctantly grabbed it and slipped it on. It was a little tight, but he looked warmer.

"Thanks, Hunter." Tom said, rubbing his arms. "You know? In all the years that I've worked here. And in all the years that Ms. Foster has lived here. I've never seen her happier than I've seen her in the past couple of weeks." Tom said with a smile and a nod. Hunter closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

"Goodbye, Tom." Hunter said quietly before turning around and walking away. The tears poured again. He didn't want to go back. Right now, he needed to get as far away as possible. After walking, what felt like hours, he laid down under an overpass and fell asleep.

He woke up the next morning to a grubby-looking man, rifling through his pockets. Hunter didn't care. He could feel the dried tears around his eyes and the pure ache you felt after a long night of crying yourself to sleep. He had never put his heart as far out as he did for Arabella. He had also never been this hurt before. Even with Philippa, they had been drifting apart for a while, so when she decided to end it, sure it hurt, but he was expecting it.

He finally batted the man's hands away and stood up. "I don't even have anything! Go rob someone worthwhile!" He snapped at the man with a raised fist. The man took a few steps back before beating a hasty retreat. Sadly, he recognized him. His name was Adam and he had eaten with him at a homeless shelter, before. He felt bad for him, but if he could have given him help he would have. He shook his head and walked out from under the overpass, the only thing on his mind was Arabella. He tried to shake it from his mind, but she stayed there like cement. He checked his watch and found it to be noon. He ran through where he could get a meal at this time of day. All of the tricks and tips and tactics he had gained in all of the time he was homeless, were gone. He had imagined himself staying with Arabella for so long, that he thought it was okay to forget how to be homeless. Not only that, but his mind was elsewhere. He stood there alone, wishing that she were there. The only thing he had to look forward to was going to the coffee shop and hoping that she might be kind enough to buy him something. Even if he didn't deserve it.

Hunter finally made it to the coffee shop. He was about 30 minutes early. He walked inside and after about 20 minutes of waiting, he was told he had to buy something or leave. He sighed and complied. Outside, he was cold. He stood outside on a bench outside for so long he fell asleep. When he woke up, it was getting dark. He checked his watch. "6:00." He said with a sigh. "She didn't come. So what? Maybe she was just busy." He convinced himself. He sat there for another 30 minutes before standing up and walking to Central Park. He found a spot under a tree and settled in for the night.

The next day, his day was mostly the same. He managed some water from a hotel water fountain and returned to the coffeehouse. He didn't bother going inside and settled in on the bench. After waiting for a long time, he decided to call it quits. "She's got Fashion week coming up. That's a big deal. No messenger, though? She's busy. I'll just...Tomorrow." He said to himself.

"You really think she's gonna show, Hunter?" He looked over to see Imaginary Hunter leaning up against the building and looking at him. "I say you go back to being homeless. She's not going to show up. Chad and her are a thing. You don't expect to give him, a tall and muscular and not-homeless son of Apollo, up for you, a homeless, sickly, little weakling?"

"I just want to talk to her!" He exclaimed, receiving some odd looks from passers by. "She can't even give me that....No. She's coming tomorrow. She wouldn't do that to me. Even if she doesn't care for me like that, I'm still her friend, right? Right?" He said quietly, his eyes welling up with tears again. He took a deep breath and stood up. "Go away, Hunter. I don't want to talk to you." He turned and walked back to his spot in Central Park before settling in for the night.

The next day was hard. He hadn't had a meal in a few days and was starting to feel it. At this point he was wishing that he had never gone with Arabella in the first place.  Then he would be used to being hungry and Martha would still be Martha. He sighed and managed to stand up. The walk to the coffeehouse was long and arduous. He got there around 1:45 and settled into the bench out front. He waited and waited and finally at 3 he saw a familiar face.

"Hunter, right?" Chad said with a friendly grin. Hunter felt anger toward him, but tried to push it away. He needed to like this guy if he was going to be friends with Arabella.

"Yeah-Yeah. That's me." He said, his voice dry and underused. "What are you doing here?" Chad chuckled and rolled his eyes.

"Oh, you know her. She's holed up in the apartment, busy with fashion stuff. She told me to come and get you." Chad said with a nod. Hunter eyed him cautiously. Hunter assumed that she would make some time for him. It didn't sound like her to just delegate like that.

"What about uh..." Hunter said, gesturing toward Chad. Chad raised his eyebrows.

"Between me and her?" Chad said, calmly. Hunter gave a little nod. "We talked it over. I wanted to see if there was some chemistry. There wasn't. We agreed to be done. We are still friends though." Chad said with a shrug. "Come on, though. She doesn't have forever." He chuckled and helped Hunter up. "Follow me. I know this shortcut." If Hunter were in better shape, he would have recognized how suspicious this was. He followed Chad around the corner and down an alleyway. Chad turned around to look at Hunter and before he could react, Chad punched Hunter in the face. Hunter fell to the ground and could feel tears burns his eyes and the taste of blood hit his lips. "Come on, Hunter. What's wrong?" Chad said as he circled around him. He kicked Hunter in the ribs three times in quick succession, causing Hunter to let out a cry of pain. He lay there on his stomach, sobbing.

"Why are you doing this?" Hunter cried. Chad knelt down and pushed Hunter's face into the ground.

"Did you really think that you could take her away from me? What do you have to offer?" He asked, standing back up again. "Let me guess. A wonderful personality?" He said before stepping on the back of his knee and walking over him. He drove a knee into Hunter's spine and grabbed Hunter's neck. He pulled back, causing Hunter to groan in pain. Chad let go flinging Hunter's face back into the ground. Chad crouched down and grabbed Hunter's hair, pulling him up to look him in the face. "Now, am I going to see you again, anywhere near Arabella?" He said, turning his ear toward him. Hunter could barely move. Chad gritted his teeth and drove Hunter's face into the ground. "Did you hear me?! If I see you near her again, I'm going to kill you! Consider yourself lucky this time." He said before pushing Hunter's face into the ground one more time. He stood up and brushed himself off. "She's done with you. She told me to make sure you didn't bother her anymore. Just forget about her. It'll be easier." He said before straightening his jacket and leaving the alley.

Hunter laid there for what seemed like days. He cried for even longer. He wasn't sure if he was crying because of the pain or Chad's words. All he knew was that he couldn't stay there. He managed to get up to his feet. He felt lightheaded and was sure that there was blood pouring down his face and onto his shirt. His knee could support no weight and his back was causing him to remain hunched over. He walked out from the alley and kept one hand on the building. He managed to walk a block or two before reaching the goodwill store. He rang the bell and promptly collapsed.

"Hunter? Hey, it's Hunter! Come here! Help me!" He heard Mike saying, before Hunter's vision blacked out.

When he woke up, he was on a couch. He woke up to the feeling of air conditioning and a bandage around his head. His eyes shot open and he sat up. "Ellie?!" He asked looking around. The apartment was unfamiliar, but by the couch, sleeping in a chair was a familiar figure. "Philippa." He said quietly. He used the armrest and managed to stand up, but his knee was too weak. He fell back onto the couch with a cry of pain loud enough to wake Philippa up. She sprung from her chair and blinked a few time before hurrying over.

"Hunter, are you okay? What happened to you? I'm so sorry. I had no idea." She said quickly, lightly caressing his face. Hunter looked into her eyes and pulled away. "Hunter? What's wrong?"

"What are you doing here, Philippa?" Hunter asked quietly. She sighed and looked into his eyes.

"You stumbled to Mike's store and we took you back here. Dana will be home from the store in a few minutes." She said quietly. "Who did this to you?" She lifted a hand and placed it lightly on his head. Hunter winced slightly.

"Dana is here? What happened to camp? Is everything okay?" He asked worriedly. She nodded.

"Yes, yes. Everything's fine." She said quietly. "I left camp to look for you. I've been thinking..." She didn't have to finish for Hunter to know what she was talking about. Hunter studied the couch between them.

"Philippa, you broke my heart. I was willing to give everything up for you. The gods turned their back on me, because I convinced you to stay at camp. I only did that because I wan-" He was interrupted by the door opening. Hunter looked as Dana walked in and set some groceries down on the counter.

"Philippa, would you leave him alone? He needs to rest." She said. Philippa looked at him for a second before standing up off the couch.

"I'll be in my bedroom, if you need me." She said before disappearing down the hallway. Dana glanced at Hunter.

"You know? I figured that when you left, I would never see you again. That you wouldn't be waking up in my infirmary anymore." She said with a grin as she ground up a plant with a mortar and pestle. "Now, I come back last night from visiting my mom and you're in my apartment." Hunter couldn't help, but smile a little.

"Old habits die hard, I suppose." Hunter said with a shrug. Dana shook her head and chuckled.

"Here. Eat this. I'm about to do some major mojo and it's going to hurt. A LOT." She said with a nod. Hunter looked at the green gristle at the bottom and sighed before reaching in and eating it. He swallowed it down and blinked a few times before his vision blacked out again.

When he awoke, he opened his eyes to Philippa's face looking down at him. He could feel her rubbing his head. "Hey, we were worried that she used too much." She said quietly. Hunter took a deep breath before sitting up and swinging his feet off the couch.

"Where's Dana?" He asked, trying to not look at her. If he had he would feel bad. Philippa sat next to him.

"She's at her mom's. We both had our reasoning to leave camp, so we left together." She said with a shrug. She turned her body to face him. "Hunter, we were talking yesterday, before Dana came in. What were you saying?" Hunter sighed.

"Look, Philippa. I liked you. A lot. I was willing to give everything up for you." Hunter said plainly. "When it came to crunchtime, you welshed. You backed out. So, don't expect me to ju-" Hunter suddenly felt the feeling of her lips on his. They were a little salty from tears, that she had no doubt shed, worrying about him. That only made Hunter feel worse. There was something different here. There was nothing. No feeling. No connection. No...chemistry. Hunter sat there like a statue as she kissed him. She finally broke it and held his face, while looking into his eyes. "Philippa, I'm sorry, but it's too late." He said standing up. "Thanks for all your help, Philippa." He said before quickly hurrying out of the room. He had been kissed like that before, except the difference was the feeling. There was chemistry in the other one. He had to go see her. He took a deep breath before sprinting down the stairs and out of the building. He quickly got his bearing and ran as fast as he could, without a shirt and in scrubs pants. He looked like a patient escaped from a mental ward.

He didn't bother nodding to or even recognizing Tom, but ran past him and to the elevator. He pressed the button and waited impatiently. He finally gave up and sprinted to the stairs. He ran up all of the floors and stood in front of the door. He quickly caught his breath and that's when he heard the scream. "Ellie?" He said before his mind tried to figure out what to do. His body thought faster and kicked in the door. He looked at Arabella, holding her face on the couch, and Chad standing over her fists clenched. His eye burned with rage. "You son of a b-" He said as he ran and tackled him to the ground before he could finish. He straddled his stomach and punched him over and over again in the face. This wasn't just for Arabella. This was for Hunter. If he hadn't showed up, Hunter wouldn't have gotten beaten up and he wouldn't have had to talk to Philippa again. "Go ahead and kill me, Chad! You said you would! I'm pretty near her, now, aren't I, Chad?!" He said, landing punch after punch. Chad kneed Hunter in the back hard and pushed him over his head. Hunter got to his feet and that's when reflexes kicked in. He dodged Chad's first jab and spun, grabbing his arm and bringing it up under his. He rolled and elbowed Chad in the side of the neck and then the temple. Chad fell to the ground in a daze. Hunter turned to Arabella. "Ellie, are you okay?"

Chapter 40 - Arabella


Arabella pulled away from Chad a little bit, looking around her apartment. Was that a door closing? Was Hunter back? Her heart skipped a beat "Did you hear that?" she whispered to Chad, trying not to get her hopes up. If she ran to see if it was Hunter and saw that it just her would probably split her heart in two. Chad looked at her with a little frown on his face and shook his head. Arabella couldn't tell if he was lying or if she was really just hearing things.

"It was probably're hearing things" Chad whispered to her, running his fingers through her golden hair. Arabella bit her lip and nodded sadly. Where was Hunter? Did he really leave her? The more the thought about it, the more tears started to form in her eyes. Chad didn't notice that she was trying not to cry, he just leaned back in, kissing her neck again. Arabella closed her eyes, putting her hands on his sides. She tried with everything she had to keep Hunter out of her mind. Maybe he would come back soon. Arabella let out a little gasp when she felt her bra come undone. She was so lost in her own thoughts, she didn't realize that Chad had put his hands up her shirt again. Was he really expecting this from her? He had just swept back into her life and expected her to go to bed with him. Arabella pulled away from him and looked in his eyes. Was it only about sex for him? Chad leaned down and he kissed her lips softly "Come on" he whispered, pulling her close to him and walking down the hall towards her bedroom.

The next morning, Chad pushed himself up into a sitting position and looked down at Arabella. She was curled up into the fetal position and had her back to him, fast asleep. Chad smirked a little bit to himself and slid out of the bed, pulling on his clothes from the day before. He walked down the hall quietly, hoping that he wouldn't wake up Arabella. Yesterday afternoon, he heard someone come in and leave. But he wasn't about to tell that to Arabella. Chad walked into the kitchen and saw a small envelope with Arabella's name on it. His eyes narrowed and he picked it up, slicing it open in a quick swipe. Chad quickly scanned the words on the page, anger boiling up inside of him. He had just gotten her back. He wasn't about to lose her to Hunter. Chad folded up the note, slipping it into his pocket and ripping the envelope into pieces before throwing it out. She didn't need to know that it had ever existed.

Two days had passed. Two days and not a word from Hunter. Arabella thought that he would at least stop by to say goodbye or let her know that he was okay. But she didn't hear a thing from him. Why would he just leave her like that? It would be one thing if he stayed with her, as friends. Arabella could maybe deal with that. She had been his friend for a long time, maybe she would be able to go back to that. But he didn't seem to want to be her friend let alone anything more than that. It broke her heart when she thought about how he left her. Arabella's self esteem plummeted. She was so critical about everything, especially her looks. She hated what she saw in the mirror. She was sure that the reason why Hunter left was that there was something wrong with her. The only time that she felt halfway decent was when she was with Chad. He paid attention to her and even though he always expected her to sleep with him, at least he wanted her too. She felt a little bit better knowing that Chad liked the way she looked.

Arabella stepped out of her bathroom, pulling her wet hair up into a bun. She didn't look in mirrors anymore, she avoided them like the plague. Arabella walked down the hall and into the living room. Chad was standing at the fireplace, his designer jeans were low on his hips. He wasn't wearing a shirt and Arabella could see that the muscles in his back were tense. As soon as she saw that, Arabella's stomach got tight. He didn't look happy. Chad turned around and looked at her. His golden hair was messy and in his tanned hand, he held the small statue that Arabella kept on the mantle piece. It was something that she had gotten made for her when she was visiting Greece. It was a small statue of Aphrodite and it meant a lot to Arabella. It was like having her mom with her all the time. Chad was clutching it now, like it was ugly and horrible, like he just found drugs in Arabella's apartment.

"Why do you keep something like this?" Chad snapped at her, holding the statue up. Arabella flinched slightly and folded her arms across her chest.

"I like it Chad. Most people keep pictures of their mothers around the house. That's my mother" Arabella said simply, like it was obvious. Why was he acting like this? Chad rolled his eyes.

"Why are you so proud of that? So what, she's Aphrodite. You're still stuck here in New York, living a plain and mortal life. There is nothing special about any of this shit. And I'm sick of looking at your mother's face everyday" Chad said, his voice raising slightly. He walked over the the closet and tossed the statue in and closed the door. Arabella flinched and looked down at the ground.

"I'm proud of who I am Chad, I'm proud of who my mom is" Arabella said softly and looked up at him. Chad glared at her, clenching his fists. He looked livid and Arabella knew that it was best not to push the issue any more. Arabella bit her lip.

"Just order the damn food" Chad said harshly and walked over to the couch, sitting down. Arabella nodded softly and walked over to the phone, quickly ordering the Chinese food. She closed her eyes and rested her forehead against the fridge, listening to Chad flip through the channels.

"Arabella?" Chad called to herArabella didn't respond. She didn't know why..she just..didn't. Arabella wasn't used to actually hearing her name, she was used to hearing Ellie.. She just kept thinking about other things, ignoring the voice from the living room "Arabella?! When is the food coming?" Chad snapped. Arabella shook herself and cleared her throat

"It'll be here in 20 minutes" Arabella told him in a small voice. Arabella couldn't help it, her mind flashed back to Hunter. If Hunter was with her, Arabella would have been curled up on the couch, watching the Jersey Shore marathon. Hunter would probably be cooking super for them. Then he would join her and they would make fun of Snooki together. They would have talked for a little bit, Arabella would have made hot chocolate then they would have gone to bed happy. She would not be ordering Chinese food and pouring herself a shot of Absolut.

When the food came, Arabella paid for it and put it on plates. She quickly finished her shot and brought the food out to Chad, placing it on his lap. He was paying attention to the football game on TV and he just started eating, not saying a word to Arabella. Arabella wasn't hungry. she had a couple bites of steamed veggies before putting her plate down and resting her chin on her knees. "We should watch a movie tonight" she suggested and looked over at Chad "I just bought I Am Number Four"

"There's a football game on" Chad said to her in a harsh voice. Arabella sighed and looked out the window. She pushed herself off of the couch and took the plate to the sink then looked at Chad.

"I'm going to bed" Arabella told him. He waved in response. Arabella sighed softly and walked off to her bedroom, curling up under the blanket.

Another day and a half had passed and still no word from Hunter. Arabella started to really worry about him. but her worry was quickly replaced with anger. Her anger was quickly replaced with sadness. What if something happened to him? How dare he leave without saying goodbye! Was he missing her like she was missing him? Arabella sat at her desk in her office, organizing her papers. She just had a meeting with her team about Fashion Week and she was stressing out about it. There was a knock on her door and Arabella looked up "Come in" she called and watched as the door opened. Her brother Daniel walked in, closing the door behind him. Daniel sat down in the chair across from her with a look in his dark eyes that said 'I am about to give you a speech'. Arabella sighed "What is it, Danny?" she asked, folding her arms on the table.

"I think you know" Daniel said to her simply, not taking his eyes off of her. Arabella let out a sigh, pretending that she didn't know what he was talking about.

"What? Is is the twinkle lights for Fashion Week? It's not too much, is it? I know that I need a lot of them but it will pay off in the end, I know it" Arabella said quickly. Daniel, however, ignored this. He leaned forward and looked at her.

"Chad? Really Arabella? Of all the guys in the world, you pick Chad?" Daniel said to her in a soft voice and Arabella looked down at the desk "In case you forgot, he was horrible to you. I haven't forgotten the sound of you crying every night or all of those bruises on your body. You can say whatever you want about the bruises being from training, but I'm not stupid Arabella. You never trained. You tanned. How could you go back to someone like that? He was terrible and I know that he still is because you look so sad all the time. Whatever happened to Hunter? I know that you have feelings for him"

"He doesn't want me" Arabella said, looking up at Daniel "He doesn't want me and he probably never will. He left. Without saying goodbye. He just...left" she said, her voice breaking off at the end. She looked out side the window and took a breath "It doesn't matter if I have feelings for him. It doesn't matter what I want. I can't force him to stay with me"

"Arabella..." Daniel said softly. He moved to go give her a hug but just then, her office door opened and Chad walked in. Daniel sat down, glaring at Chad. The look of anger in Daniel's eyes was enough to make you think that he could possibly be Ares' son if you didn't know better. Arabella looked over at Chad, forcing a smile onto her face.

"Come on, Babe" Chad said, grabbing Arabella's purse "Let's get home. I already talked to your assistant and told her that you were going to be going home early" he finished and looked at her, waiting for her to get up. Arabella bit her lip.

"I have to stay, Chad..I've got a lot to do here. I can't just..go home" Arabella said and she immediately regretted saying that. Chad looked at her with angry eyes and she flinched. He didn't even have to say anything. Arabella stood up and looked at Daniel with sad eyes before walking out with Chad leading the way.

As soon as Arabella walked into the apartment, she pulled off her shoes "I'm going for a bath" she told Chad but she didn't get very far. Chad put a hand on her shoulder and pulled her back. Arabella looked at him for a moment and Chad smirked. He pushed her against the wall and he started kissing her. She tried to push him away but he was so much stronger than her.

"Chad..I'm tired" Arabella said and bit her lip as he kissed her neck. She wanted to push him away but the warmth of his hands on her back felt so good. Next thing she knew, he had picked her up and walked over to the couch with her. Her sat her down then leaned over her, kissing neck and down to her chest. Chad sat up and pulled his shirt off before he went back to kissing her. Arabella closed her eyes and pretended that she wasn't there. That she was somewhere else. Or that Hunter was the one who was kissing her. Chad's hands found their way up her dress and he started running his fingers up and down her sides. His lips worked their way to her chest again and he kissed with urgency, knowing full well that Arabella didn't really want to do this with him.

Arabella thought about Hunter, still pretending that it was his hands, his lips that were touching her body. Not Chad. Maybe she just got caught up in the moment or maybe she didn't realize that she was saying out loud, but ever so softly, Arabella moaned "Hunter.."

Chad stopped what he was doing and looked down at her. Her dress was rumpled and pulled up to her stomach. She had a worried look on her face as soon as she realized what she had said "What did you call me?" Chad hissed, leaning over her so that his face was inches from her. Arabella shook her head.

"Chad. I said Chad" She whispered, trying to make him believe her. Chad's hand was around her throat then and Arabella tried to pull him off of her. He was squeezing a little too tight.

"You said 'Hunter'" Chad hissed and before Arabella could do anything, before she could stop him or defend herself, she felt his fist hit the side of her face.