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Part 2

June 10, 2008|By ERICA SYVERSON / Pulse Correspondent

Jesse watches the color drain from her friend Ludivine's face, then looks down the street where Ludivine is staring. Rain is beginning to fall. A figure is approaching. It's Aiden.

"How did he know where to find me?" Ludivine wails.

"Maybe it's just a coincidence," Jesse says, quickly standing up. "I'm gonna go inside for a minute."

"No!" Ludivine grabs the leg of her jeans, whimpering. "Please? Not now! I can't face him alone."

"Yes, you can. I'll be back ... later." Jesse hurries through the screen door to the house, locks it and walks down the hall to the kitchen, smiling to herself.

Ludivine shifts nervously as Aiden gets closer, his face expressionless. She assumes he's angry. Nonetheless, she forces half a smile, pushing an ebony lock of hair out of her face.

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Aiden ignores the light rain. His eyes find Ludivine's.

"Hey, Ludi," he says quietly, walking up the crumbling porch steps. He's hoping she'll speak with him. She's all that has been on his mind for the past six days.

"Hey," she says, a little shocked he used his pet name for her. "How have you been?"

"Fine," he shrugs. "Well, not really, but fine." He shoves his hand in the back pocket of his jeans and shifts his weight to one side. He nods at her hands, still jammed in her jeans pockets. "What about you? Are you doing any better?"

Ludivine's face gets hot. Aiden is taling about her wrists, her scarred wrists. "Stop making it sound like I got sick. I can't make anything better without your help ..."

Aiden jerks his head backward, surprised. "You're asking for my help? You never ask anyone for help."

"Maybe because there isn't anyone I feel like I can trust!" she says angrily. She leaps up and glares at him, her face inches from his. "Not since I was little. Not until you." 

Her face softens, the fire inside her extinguished simply by looking into his eyes. 

"I wanted you so badly, but I thought you didn't need me," he says. "I thought you didn't care. And then you did that to yourself ..."

"You think too much," she says. "I miss the way we were -- sitting by the creek, spelling our names in the stars, driving just to get lost. I don't know if I could try this one more time if you're gonna hold this against me."

Aiden's still, expressionless face changes into something awful, and Ludivine looks down at her shoes to avoid looking at him.

"Do you remember the tire swing, and the fallen leaves?" she says. "Four a.m. in the rain? Is all that over to you?"

"No." 

He lifts her head, sad that he finds tears falling from her eyes. All he wants to do is hold her again.

"But I can't be with you if it's going to make you cut yourself," he says firmly.

"And I don't think I'll ever find anyone else who loves me," she says.

"Oh, Ludi," Aiden cracks a smile and takes her hand in his, looking down. "How can I walk away from the best part of my day?" 

He lifts her chin. His smile fades. "I don't want you cutting yourself. Period."

"OK," she says, stepping forward and wrapping her arms around him, closing her eyes and feeling the warmth of his body through his shirt. "Save me from myself. Convince me my life is more useful than useless."

He kisses the top of her head and inhales the scent of her hair -- the hair he has missed so much. "I need you. I can't forget about you," he says, smiling, "No matter how hard I try."

Ludivine hugs Aiden tighter, pulls him down to sit. "You think too much," she mumbles.

He grins. "I love you, too."

And they watch the rain fall.

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