{Big Apple Interns}

{Ace's POV}

"Ace?"

Daria opened the door a bit wider and let me in. "Good evening, Daria," I murmured, looking at her.

She paused and bit her lip. Her eyes welling with sadness. "What is.. um, up?"

"Can I talk to you?" I muttered, looking towards the living room.

"Sure," She nodded sorrowfully, sitting herself on the couch and I sat on a separate chair.

"Have you spoken to..her in the last half hour?"

Daria nervously picked at loose thread in the hem on her shirt. "Who?"

"L-Libby."

She shook her head. "No, no, but tell me why, Ace. What went wrong?"

I sighed and stood up, she watched with curious eyes. I pulled the box out of my pocket and tossed it to her.

As soon as the little black box hit her cupped hands, she gasped. "Y-y-you.. eng-gaged? To Libby?"

I didn't answer. I think we both knew the answer very clearly.

"And she declined?" She whispered, pulling the threads and fibers of the situation together.

"Yes," I murmured, broken inside. I felt my breathing stagger.

"Oh," she exclaimed softly, her small hand to her throat. "I'm so sorry.. Ace. I-I don't know what to say.. or do. I.. don't see why she didn't say yes. She loves you more than anything."

I nodded, trying to seem unphased by how I already absorbed the situation, but I couldn't. My fingers clenched the arms of the chair suddenly. 

"Can you just find her, Daz? Talk to her?"

She nodded immediately. "Anything for you two."

"And, please," I looked up from the ground, and stared at her unshakeably into her large eyes. "Tell me it's not over."

{Libby's POV}

I rattled my mind for a place to go. I couldn't look at anyone I knew. I just.. couldn't. I could barely bear the fact I had just told the one love of my life no to his proposal. 

I tried to get away, by running down the street, my tears stinging.

I ran and ran until I came face first into someone I didn't expect to see.

"Libby?" She said, reaching for my hand.

I looked down and wiped the tears with the back of my hand, smearing my makeup. "Stephanie, this isn't the b..best time."

She pulled my hand in the direction I was going before she had stopped me. "Something's wrong and I'm not going to let it get worse," she muttered, her auburn hair blowing back from her face.

She walked me all the way to her apartment, not far from where I was stopped.

She closed the door and switched on the light. She was all alone. No boyfriend, no pets, just emptiness. Her home. It felt weird being with his younger sister.

She slipped off her shoes and went into her bedroom, then made a stop in the homey, cute kitchen, then sat me down on her living room couch. She lived in a homey, warm studio apartment. She pulled my heels from my feet and pointed towards another bedroom.

"Calm down. Go take a shower, dress in these clothes, and stay here for the night. Whatever's up doesn't have to be talked about right now. The guest bedroom is all yours. And we'll discuss this tomorrow morning."

I bit my lip and nodded, headed towards the guest bedroom. 

I placed the clothes on the floor and turned on the shower and vents, I undressed and let the hot water drain my thoughts and anger and sadness and frustration from my head. I came back out and got dressed, seeing that Stephanie left me very warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies and warm milk on the bedside table. 

I smiled, though my heart couldn't shake the hurt. I snuggled under the cool sheets and ate two cookies, followed by the milk.

I closed my eyes and shifted, but my heart wouldn't let me fall asleep.

{Ace's POV}

It was an hour since I shared the information with Daz. She had rushed towards all phones and tried to get in contact with her while I sat in silence in the living room with Jake.

Finally, he broke the silence with something that didn't necessarily sound new. 

"I'm sorry, Ace. I know how much you love her."

I looked straight, into the television watching late night talk shows. I shut my eyes momentarily. "I don't care that she doesn't want to marry me. I just don't want all that time loving her wasted on my moronic mistake."

Jake nudged me. "Hey, I know I'm not good at pep talking guys into feeling better, since I know girlfriends can only do that well, but... I don't think she said no because she doesn't love you enough or something stupid like that. I think she said no for bigger reasons."

I sighed. "Thanks, Jake. But I think it's better if we just sit in silence."

He laughed, only mildly, but an agreeing laugh. "I think so, too."

Daria's voice faded as another phone rang. It sounded like mine. She was using everyone's phone trying to find Li-her.

"Oh, dear. It's.. your sister, Ace."

I got up and took the phone from the counter, pressing it to my ear.

"Stephanie?"

"Hey, Ace."

I didn't say anything, just breathed out. I knew from the moment Daria said it was her that Stephanie knew what I needed to know.

"She's with me," she whispered softly. "Sound asleep in the guest bedroom. Didn't spill a word about whatever's going on. But I think it's best if you let her be for right now."

I closed my eyes and felt disgruntled. "Can one of her best friends visit? Daria...?"

She paused. "Tomorrow morning, yes."

"Thanks, Steph."

"Anytime, big brother."

"I love you," I murmured. "And thank you."

"Love you, too. And you're welcome. Goodnight."

"Night." I turned to Daz. "Tomorrow morning. Visit her."

{Tomorrow morning}
{Libby's POV}

"Why did you say no?" Stephanie investigated, Daz clenching my hand. 

"Because I don't want to risk our marriage." The tears stung, but I carried on. "I didn't.. want us t-to get married at such a young age and..and then re-regret it..." I stammered, tears falling from my eyes rapidly. "I didn't want him to regret marrying me."

Stephanie sighed and hugged me. "Go to Ace, okay? Tell him you love him. Everything will be okay."

{Later that day, Libby's POV, meeting with Ace in Central Park}

I saw him and wanted to run. He was standing tall and slim, just as he looked when we went on our first date. Absolutely handsome.

That's when he saw me approaching. 

"Ace," I whispered, reframing from weeping, "I didn't want you to regret marrying me, so I said...no. But I love you more than any human being will ever love you. And every part of me ached the moment I declined and ran. Every atom of me missed you."

He cupped my face. "I love you, too. I love you so much, but I just want to spend the rest of my life with you, because that's how it should be, right? When you love someone, you're supposed to want to marry them. I'd never regret a second of being with you."

I leaned for a kiss, but he pulled in for something deeper. Our lips met with utter urge and desperation. Between kisses, I heard him whisper, "Will you marry me, Libby?"

I kissed him one last time before pulling back and scanning his eyes. "Yes.."

He wrapped me in his arms and rested his chin on top of my head. "I unconditionally love you."

"I will always love you."

- Libby



* SUCH a long story. But if you read all that (it wasn't that great, sorry!), please, type: ALWAYS
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