She was beginning to feel a tinge of guilt, but she knew how she felt now, and she heard what he was saying. She kept trying to intervene, trying to tell him he was wrong, but she couldn’t get the chance. When he finally did finish, her words were caught in her throat and her eyes seemed to sting. Nodding, she leaned forward and hugged him tightly, her arms wrapped around his neck. “I did love you,” her voice was a hoarse whipser. “All those times I had lied to you, it was to protect you, it was always to protect you.” She pulled back, her hands resting on his shoulders, a sad smile on her face. “You were the first guy I ever fell for, and I would love to be friends again.” Giving him a quick kiss on the cheek, she stood, taking a breath. She took his hand and placed the necklace that she still held in his palm. “I think you should keep this; save it for the next lucky girl who manages to catch your eye,” she said with a small smile then wiped away tears from her face. “Thank you, James. For everything.”
He tightly hugged her back and took a deep breath. He would miss her. From the little things to her familiar sent to the big things like her incredible hugs. “I know.” Was all he managed to say. James still loved her but he understood that he needed to let go. One day it’ll happen but he was aware that day wouldn’t be anytime soon. He grew a bit empty when she pulled away from the hug, realizing this would probably be the last time he would ever get one. “No, you keep it. I thought of you while I bought it and you’re currently in my eyesight right now, I think that’s good enough.” He chuckled placing the necklace back into her hand, a tad shocked to what she said. “Just think of it as a very early birthday present.” He smiled, “A gift from one friend to another.” As much as he hurt, James had to act strong and fine about the situation. The last thing he wanted was for Cecilia to feel bad, she was already in a fight with Jake and if he acted up it would just add to everything that’s been happening to her the past week. “It was my pleasure, Cee.”
Sighing, she closed her eyes, feeling pretty horrible about her outburst last week. “I’ll explain in a minute, I promise.” She put her hands up at his offer, “No, no, there’s no need for that. I should really talk to him myself, I just… don’t know how.” Realizing he was trying help, Cecilia frowned, remembering why she had fallen for him a year ago. He was practically the sweetest guy she had met. Nodding at his answer, she tried to collect her thoughts then raised a brow, “I don’t think so, I don’t know, maybe?” She took a breath, getting herself to focus again. “A-Anyway, what I’m getting at is… I care about you a lot, okay?” Looking up at him, she remembered days she had spent dreaming about those blue-green eyes. “You really are the kindest guy I’ve ever met, and one of the first to show me a hand of friendship at camp. When I fell for you, it was because you were always there making me smile, and I hadn’t been as close with anyone as I was with you back then. Last year during New Years, when we first kissed, do you know what I felt?” She smiled at him warmly, both her hands holding his. “Fireworks.” Her smile faded just a bit, “But when we kissed just now.. there wasn’t…” she sighed. “I didn’t feel fireworks anymore.”
He nodded as she spoke, understanding what she needed to do. Sometimes friends just needed time to speak, he knew how it went. He could feel his heart sink at her words. The fireworks were gone, the spark of their relationship has sizzled away and he fell, well, sad. The worst part was he saw this coming. They’ve been slowly drifting apart through the year and he honestly felt like a burden to her. She deserved someone who would be with her all the time, someone who was always around so she could count on him to keep her safe during her time of need. She deserved someone like Jake. “Yeah.” He agreed, his voice barley above a whisper. “I think it might be best for us to go back in being friends.” He said after clearing his throat and tucking a stay strand of hair behind Cecilia’s ear. “We’ve grown apart and it’s mainly my fault.” He said this honestly, not expecting or wanting to hear her say anything against this. It was true. “Just remember, I’ll always be here for you and if you need a shoulder to cry on or just someone to talk to, tell Claire to wake me up and I’ll be there for you.” He continued to say, making sure she couldn’t slip in any comment that it wasn’t his doing. “Just promise we’ll stay friends?” James asked with a hopeful smile.
She shook her head, “No, this is different.” She was surprised at her ability to keep her composure, something she hadn’t been able to do as of late. Perhaps when she had come to terms with herself it had helped. “It’s not like our usual arguments, I kind of did something awful,” her voice was even, but her expression a bit crestfallen. Taking a small breath, Cecilia took his hand. “Before I go any further I think I need to speak to you.” She didn’t like where her mind was taking her at the moment, but she had made a decision with herself. She hadn’t realized just how much lying she had been doing until then. “I need to ask you how you feel about me… about us, more specifically.” Her eyes were earnest and her face was almost sad.
"What did you that was so awful?" He felt like he was imposing but his actions meant well. "I can try talking Jake, if you’d like." He suggested, just wanting to help. He squeezed her hand when she held his and nodded, ready to hear what she wanted to ask. "How I feel about you? I think you’re amazing and I care a lot about you, Ceecee. Wait, are we having a DTR?" He asked a bit confused to what exactly they were doing. As usual, James didn’t really take the situation as seriously as he should have but he was trying his best to figure out exactly what Cecilia was trying to get from him but going over their relationship couldn’t be a good thing.
She almost felt bad that she had missed an event like that. It was probably why she had quickly found Marie the day before and asked to go to the Masquerade- she felt like she had to be going places, no way were her problems going to be resolved staying indoors. And yet part of her was not all that sure about attending. She was trying to think of something to say when he kissed her, and that snapped her back to reality. Returning it, she gave in to a kiss she had shared with him on multiple occasions, remembering how they had shared their first a year ago. When they pulled back, Cecilia had realized something. Her mind cleared and she looked back up at James. “Yeah…” she said, “I guess something is bothering me.” Pulling a side of her hair behind her ear, she pursed her lips and decided that her lying streak with James had best stop. “I got into a fight. With Jake. I think he hates me now.”
He frowned a bit to her reason of her worry. He was well aware that Jake was Cecilia’s best friend and fights between friends were always the worst. “I’m sure he doesn’t hate you, you’re his best friend after all.” He said giving her a reassuring smile. James knew Jake really cared for the girl and doubted the son of Dionysus could stay mad at her, no matter how bad the fight was. “What was the fight about, exactly?” It really was bad, James wouldn’t mind talking to Jake about their argument in hopes to straighten everything out.
“Everyone says they were great, and the Hephaestus kids are kind of pros at it now,” she replied. It hadn’t dawned on her that she’d missed Manor 9’s yearly spectacle and would have to wait till the Fourth of July to see it again. “Hm? Oh, yeah, I’m fine,” she waved her hand at the notion, sensing the sick feeling in her stomach returning. All she had to do was not think about it. She grinned at him, her smile sympathetic, “Well that’s good.” She felt like her words were trailing and she didn’t know how to keep focus. Looking back towards him, she frowned slightly, then turned her gaze to her lap where she was messing with her hands. “I just… don’t really feel myself lately. It was just something that happened last week.”
James nodded in agreement to what she said. The Hephaestus kids always took pride in their fireworks always making sure to out do themselves every year. He chuckled a bit at her motion, glad that she was okay but he felt like she wasn’t being entirely honest with him. He didn’t want to push her so instead he gave her a small smile and kissed her softly on the lips, pulling back after the short peck. “I’m glad you’re doing fine but just tell me if something is bothering you.” He wanted to be there for her. Always. “What happened last week?” He asked, curious to what happened while he was asleep.
She nodded, smiling lightly, “That sounds like you. But it was probably for the best, I wasn’t really in the party mood anyway.” She grinned at his touch, happy to feel some sort of familiarity after a messed up week. And yet, she caught a hint of something that wasn’t familiar, something felt different. Brushing it aside, she took the box in front of her, the usual smile on her face. “Did you really?” she laughed, her hand already flying the necklace that was around her neck- she hadn’t taken it off for a day. Opening it, she found one similar to last year’s and she couldn’t help but grin at the memory and his consistency. “James, it really is gorgeous. But I-I didn’t bring anything for you.” She sighed, “I’m sorry, I’ve just been preoccupied this week, and I honestly just wanted to see you.”
"I bet the fireworks looked amazing, though." He muttered, regretting not being awake for the event. "Is everything all right?" He asked, worried about Cecilia. She was normally happy and cheerful around parties hardly never in the mood to hang out with friends. Unless she was studying, of course. Her smile caused him to automatically smile with her, the usual effect she had on him. "It’s fine, I’m just glad you like it. That enough for me." He knew how cheesy that sounded but it was true. He didn’t need a gift from her and she always put up with his strange sleeping habit. She deserved the best. "Is something bugging you?" He asked looking over to her, a bit of worry in his eyes.
She smiled when she saw him and returned the hug. It had been a while since they had spoken last. There was always quite a bit of space between their meetings, but it didn’t /usually/ bother her, it was just something she dealt with willingly. “It’s no problem, really, we both forgot. I guess I was just used to spending the days alone that I completely forgot about New Years until the fireworks started going off,” she admitted with a sheepish smile. Sitting down next to him, she sighed, “But it really is good to see you again.” Her fight during the Christmas Party had led her to stay in her room for the entire week, and seeing a friendly face was more refreshing than she expected.
He chucked lightly about both of their forgetfulness. “I think I woke up for a few seconds after the fireworks first went off and right went back to sleep.” He said with a shrug. “It’s really good to see you too.” James smiled, giving her a light kiss on her forehead and subconsciously placing his hand over his pocket after doing so. This resulted in him feeling the forgot present box in his pants pocket. “Oh, I have something for you.” He grinned, pulling out the box and handing it to her. It was almost like tradition for him to give Cecilia a necklace, it was something he always gave to her. “Our one year gift.” He explained, anxious to how she would react upon seeing it.
Awful, awful, awful. Last night’s nightmares had had Cecilia woken up in a cold sweat. She rubbed her eyes, got her breathing in check, and tried to forget. Her stomach felt a whole new kind of sick. Gods, she really hated ghosts. Why was it that every time something awful happened to the demigods it always had some sort of indirect relationship with her family? Running a hand through her hair, she shook her head and realized she had no one to talk to. Her siblings were just as shaken as her, and she owed the entire camp an apology. She wasn’t sure where she stood with her best friend anymore. She grimaced, knowing it was an enigmatic subject. And of course, she did not have a boyfriend anymore. Recalling the memory, she frowned slightly.
The morning before, Cecilia had made the decision to head to the Hypnos manner. It was the day of the ball and she felt like she ought to have had some actual socialization after keeping herself in her manner for the entire week. New Years had come and gone and she hadn’t even spent time with her boyfriend on their anniversary. Knocking on the door, she asked Claire if James was awake and with the answer of yes, she asked her to send him down as she waited by the door.
As usual James was deep in his sleep and managed to miss his and Cecilia’s one year anniversary. He felt terrible about missing the day and was about to head to the Hecate Manor to properly apologize to her with flowers, the whole shizam. He picked up the small box with a necklace in it for her as an anniversary gift and examined it, making sure it wasn’t damaged. Before he could properly get ready and out of bed, the silver headed boy was approached by his sister, Claire about Cecilia already present in their manor. This made him feel bad since she had to walk over to his manor instead of him going to hers.
He quickly put on a pair of jeans, once his sister left his room, and grabbed a stray jacket that hung on the corner of a nearby chair. He jogged down the stairs while putting on the sweater and noticed it was much too big for it to be his, he must have grabbed Niall’s on accident. However, it was too late for him to go back because he saw the brunette and hugged her tight. “I’m so sorry I missed our anniversary.” He apologized, letting her go and leading the girl to one of the many couches that surrounded them.