Archer & Ariel
But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No, you didn't have to stoop so low
Replaying the last thirty minutes or so in her head as she walked through the lunch line, Ariel was completely baffled by the recent events that had occurred in her life. Why couldn't the faculty just let people stay at home for homecoming? Why did they feel the need to push them into some social experiment? Why the actual fuck was she paired with Archer of all people? Why?
It wasn't that Ariel didn't like Archer. She had always liked the guy. Out of the Misfits, she had always been the closest to Marisol, then Archer, then Kavi. When she had made the semi-conscious decision to drop her friends, Archer had tried to reach out to her longer than anyone, resulting in an argument where she had called him Marisol’s sidekick. She had said a lot of hurtful things that day….
Grabbing a bottle of water, paying and scanning the crowd, she quickly found Archer sitting at a table. The look on his face was pure anger - such as was expected. Taking a deep breath and walking that way, Ariel took the seat slightly across from him, holding onto the water bottle with both hands for a sense of security.
”Archer. We need to talk,” she said tonelessly.
Archer looked up slowly as the girl spoke still chewing, he swallowed and wiped his mouth with his napkin. “Hello Serafina, I guess we do.” he threw his napkin in the plastic bowl and threw the whole thing into a nearby trash can. He brushed his uniform for any crumbs and stood up grabbing his bag.
“See you guys later.” he nodded at the others with one last pleading look to Marisol that only she could see.
The curly haired boy composed himself and looked to his former friend clearing his throat “Shall we?” he ask as he walked towards the exit not really waiting for an answer. Hardly even looking back to see if she was following him Archer stepped out of the cafeteria and walked over to a special bench in the courtyard, what used to be their bench. He slouched down and looked up at Ariel “So?” he asked expectantly. He had decided to take Marisol’s advice, he would let go of his grudge and hear her out. But he was far from ready to forget what she had done to him.
His response was actually better than what she had expected. The way he called her by her first name practically made her skin crawl. Watching as he turned to walk away, she scrambled to quickly grab her things and follow him. Once he sat down on the bench, she forced herself to face him. She had avoided this spot for nearly two years now. Not having really planned what she was going to say, the young woman decided to wing it. Most definitely the wrong choice.
”I hate that we have to start talking like this, Archer, I do. But… the school has forced us into a really awkward situation and I guess we need to make the best of it.” Noticing how fast she was speaking, Ariel took a breath to calm herself. ”But first… I have to say I'm sorry.”
He just looked at her for a long time before he spoke softly and quietly “You’re sorry?” he paused seemingly deep in thought. He let out a small laugh “You know… that’s not good enough babe.” his eyes shot up to meet hers. “I kinda need an explanation from you. Let’s go through it shall we? We were so close Ari… It was you, me and Mar. And then you just decide to not be friends anymore? You don’t speak to me for months on end and when I try to figure things out you just say that you’re tired of hanging out with an annoying sidekick?” he let it all flow out of him like he had been waiting for this moment the last two years, in fact he had. “And now… because you are forced to… all you can say is that you’re sorry? Well I fucking hope you are!” you could practically see the steam rising from the boys forehead.
You deserve that, she thought. Hell, she fucking more than deserved it. In all reality, she was just glad that he didn't get up and stomp off. As it turns out, winging it couldn't have made anything worse. His reaction was more than expected.
An explanation? She could give him one, but did she want to bore him with all of the gory details? Worse - would he even believe her? She felt her face getting hot again. Crossing her arms, she sat down beside him. ”Archie… I-i was going through a really, really rough time. Instead of leaning on my friends, I pushed them away like an idiot for my own selfish reasons. Reasons that I've tried to convince myself were okay, but they aren't. I'm sorry I said those things but it was easier to push you away like that then to let you see what was going on with me. I didn't know who I had become, and I still don't. I'm trying to fix it. I've already apologized to Kavi, and soon, I will Mari too. It's just been… rough.”
Archer nodded along as she spoke, his heart couldn’t help but break a little when he saw the pain in her face. “I get it Ari… I had it really rough as well.” He began thinking back to when he came out two years ago. “My family practically disowned me, you guys were all I had. I would’ve never treated you that way.” he said feeling his throat getting tighter.
He looked away towards the ground kicking at some small rocks. “If you don’t want to tell me what happened, that’s fine.” He stopped again “But Ariel, you do understand that this is not going away just because you apologized… right?” he whispered.
”I just… I wanted to open up to you guys so bad back then, but my dad had told me so many times that no one would believe me about what he did. And after you hear something so many times, you start to believe it. So I figured why burden you guys with my problems?” She lowered her gaze, looking at the ground now. Archer was right. They had been a family. So why didn't she come to them? Who knew.
“And, yeah, I know. Believe me, I do. But it's been long enough, and I really would like to have my friend back, if that's okay? I don't expect you to trust me right away again or anything. I just… I've missed you.”
The young man's eyes shifted from the ground to Ariel. After a beat of silence he let out a sigh. To be completely honest he had missed having Ariel as a friend. He loved Marisol with all of his heart but sometimes she could be less than sensitive. Usually when he came to her with a problem her response was often “Do you want me to punch him?” or “Do you want Marco to punch someone?” which wasn't always what he wanted. Ariel had been the one that had played that part and when she decided he wasn't good enough he had to deal with those things himself.
“Maybe we can try to salvage this somehow…” he whispered as he shifted uncomfortably. “But we'll have to figure out how to be friends again.” he sighed.
“I'd really like that, Archer. But you might have to avoid me just a few more days until I can explain everything to Mari,” she said with a small laugh.
He raised an eyebrow in confusion “You really think it'll be good if I'm not there to keep her subdued? Whatever you say Babe.” it shocked him how easy it was to slip back on how he used to talk to her.
He looked down at his phone and let out a groan “Sorry Ari, I need to book it if I want to make it to French. Call me later and I guess we'll plan this disaster of a date. I have the same number if you didn't delete that too!” he said with mischief in his voice and a quick smile before he rushed of towards the school building.