The Man in The Mansion

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Breakdown

WARNING: MENTAL BREAKDOWN, MENTIONS OF SUICIDE

The next day came quicker than Ava would’ve liked. They would be having lunch soon and Ava knew that she would have to leave afterwards. She was currently sitting on the edge of the windowsill, her leg hanging out the window.

“Don’t…..to….ve” she heard Celene’s voice in the wind.

“I have to, Celene. After lunch, I have to go back.” She said quietly. “Even if I don’t want to.”

She sighed and leaned against the frame. She didn’t understand why her brain did this every time she stayed away from home. When she stayed with her sister for a week, she hadn’t wanted to leave. During the holidays, she wanted nothing more than to stay in her old room and cuddle up with her mom on the couch like old times. There were obvious reasons why she’d wanted to stay with them, they were family. She just couldn’t understand why she wanted to stay with Edmund and the kids so badly. Sure, Ava considered them part of her family but still. She had only stayed with Shari for a night and she didn’t have this much trouble going back home even though she did want to stay for a little longer. Why was staying with Edmund any different?

“You quite like positioning yourself in hazardous areas, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I nearly gave my mom a heart attack when she found my 4-year-old self on top of the fridge.”

“How exactly did you get on top of the refrigerator?”

“I have no fucking idea.” Ava said with a soft laugh.

“I am quite surprised that Jo hasn’t attempted to do that.” Edmund chuckled. Ava laughed quietly and continued to stare out into the backyard.

“May I ask what you’re thinking about? You seemed to be deep in thought.” Edmund asked as he leaned against the wall.

“Just thinking, that’s all. By the way, why didn’t you tell me that you and the kids have special abilities?” Ava asked catching Edmund off guard.

“Wh-When did you find out?”

“Celene told me last night. She also told me that there’s more to you than meets the eye. Are you secretly going to trap me in your sex dungeon after lunch?” She asked with a smirk. Edmund cleared his throat.

“Ava, I’m surprised at you. You should know that I will ask for consent before putting you in my sex dungeon.” Edmund said with a straight face. Ava could tell he was joking but if she hadn’t learned to read his eyes, his expression would’ve caught her off guard.

“Sorry, hon. I require at least one date before I visit sex dungeons.”

“Well, I guess I’ll have to plan a sex dungeon worthy date.” Edmund said chuckling. The two chuckled for a moment.

“On a more serious note, Celene told me that she didn’t know what your ability was. Does anyone know?”

“My brother and Amelia are the only ones who know what my ability is. For now, at least.”

“For now.”

“Well the kids are going to find out eventually, aren’t they? Also, there is a certain woman who I may tell if she doesn’t figure it out on her own.” Edmund said with a wink before heading downstairs. Ava watched as he left the room. She smiled and shook her head. She really was going to miss random moments of him coming to talk to her. She knew they couldn’t be as often since he has children and he couldn’t drive to her house every day; it would be a waste of gas. She could drive here of course but with her piece of shit car, it couldn’t be every day. It’s not like not seeing him every day would kill her, so she had no idea why her brain was wired to wanting to see him and the kids every day. They were simply friends, that’s all.

After lunch, Edmund helped her load everything in the car; she gave each of the kids a long hug and a promise to visit whenever she got the time. It took her everything not to cry, even if she was only a drive away. The two got in the car and started towards Ava’s apartment.

“Are you alright, Ava?” Edmund asked as they drove.

“Yeah, I’m just gonna miss hanging out with you and the kids. Being alone all the time kind of sucks, you know?”

“I understand; I don’t know what I would do if the children were gone. I used to be alone in my home all the time unless Amelia came over to talk or to retrieve the latest manuscript. Now that I have the children, silence is not something I want to hear. Well, unless they’re in their training rooms of course.” Edmund glanced over at her before he continued, “Just because you’re returning to your apartment does not mean that we won’t visit and I can pick you up to come back to the house anytime you’d like. You could call at 2 in the morning at I would still pick you up.”

“Thanks, Ed. I really appreciate that.” Ava said smiling at him.

The drive seemed to only last a couple of minutes as they pulled into the driveway soon after leaving his. Edmund helped her bring her things upstairs and into her apartment.

“Is there anything else I can do for you?” He asked looking around.

“No, that’s about it. Um, thanks for letting me stay, Ed. I….I really appreciate it.” Ava said shoving her had in her pockets.

“It was no trouble at all. The children and I quite enjoyed your company. As I said in the car, if you need anything, you can call me. No matter the time of day.” He said sincerely.

“I know, Ed. I’ll keep that in mind.” She said with a sad smile. Edmund rocked on his heels for a moment before hesitantly spreading his arms for a hug. Without hesitation, Ava hugged Edmund tightly. The two stood there in each other’s warm embrace for a while. Neither wanted to let go. Ava felt like this was goodbye even though she knew he was only a call away. Edmund held her closer before he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He cleared his throat and the two separated.

“S-Sorry. I-I should check that.”

“Y-Yeah. Go ahead.” Ava said nervously rubbing the side of her jeans. Edmund smiled softly as read the message.

“I was going to wait until you found it yourself, but the children want to open Illusions of Yesterday so I can tell them your reaction.” Edmund said. Ava picked the book up off the counter and opened it. Inside, there was a little sticky note with 4 numbers on it. Edmund’s, Danny’s, Jo’s, and Katie’s, along with a little message.

“We love you, Ava!”

“Ben doesn’t really care for a phone at the moment so if you’d like to talk to him, you can call me, and I’ll give him the phone.” Edmund added as she stared at the note. She smiled and hugged Edmund once more.

“Thanks, Ed. I’ll put these in my phone immediately. Again, I really can’t thank you enough for letting me stay with you.”

“My doors are always open for you, Ava.” Edmund said with a gentle smile. “I should…probably get back to the house.”

“Y-Yeah. Jo may have broken something by now.” Ava joked.

“Let’s hope not.” Edmund chuckled. Ava bit her lip before leaning up and planting a kiss on Edmund’s cheek.

“See you later, Ed.” Ava said.

“Farewell, Ava. I look forward to our next meeting.” Edmund said with a smile before disappearing down the stairs. Ava shut the door and sighed; she looked into her empty apartment.

Home Sweet Home.

She put the numbers in her phone and decided that she would unpack in a bit. She walked into her room and threw herself on the bed. She would miss that comfortable ass bed that she’d been sleeping on; though she wouldn’t mind sleeping on this bed if a certain author would- NO, BAD AVA. Not having those thoughts today. She made a mental note to lock Lust back in the cellar where she belongs before she made her way into the kitchen to grab a quick snack.

Later that night after she showered, Ava poured herself a glass of wine before settling on the couch for the night. She clicked through the channels on TV, trying to find something to watch that would keep her mind off the track to a sleepless night. She glanced at the clock.

11:45pm

Ava sighed and clicked on the channel that mostly played old movies that she fell asleep to as a kid. She had no idea what was currently playing since she had switched to the channel about halfway through. Not that it really mattered; Ava was in the state where she couldn’t focus on much. She hated being in that state since it usually meant that no matter what she tried to do to distract herself, nothing worked. There nights it was either not sleep or take some melatonin and hope to pass out before it gets too late.

WARNING: MENTAL BREAKDOWN. I WILL HAVE AN “END OF WARNING” BELOW FOR THOSE WHO NEED TO SKIP

The clock ticked on and on but Ava was still unable to sleep. She stared in the mirror, trying to regulate her breathing. She refused to have a breakdown. Not tonight. The thoughts in her head turned to screams of how the world would be a better place if she weren’t in it. She tried to ignore them, but they only grew louder. She stumbled out of the bathroom and sat on the edge of her bed.

In.

Out.

In.

Out.

She struggled to steady her breathing; her head was starting to spin. The thoughts grew louder and more convincing by the minute.

“Ignore it, Ava. Everything is going to be okay. Keep breathing” she told herself. She tried the coping skills that she’d be taught by therapists over the years, but nothing seemed to be work. She reached for her phone and opened to her contacts. Her thumb hovered over the number to Suicide Hotline, but another number caught her eye.

Edmund’s.

“You can call me. No matter the time of day.” He’d said. It was past midnight; would he still be awake? If he didn’t pick up, she’d call suicide hotline. She pressed his number and called him. The phone rang once before she heard him pick up.

“Hello?”

“Uh, hey Ed. It’s me.”

“Ava? Is everything alright?”

“No…. not really. Trying not to get too deep into a mental breakdown. How’re you doing?” she said scratching at her jeans. She heard shuffling through the phone before Edmund spoke again. Her breathing began to get heavy again.

“Ava, listen to me. I need you to breath. In for seven seconds, out for seven seconds.” He told her. She did exactly what he said.

“Good, good. Now, I know that this is usually used for anxiety, but I want you to tell me five things that you can see.”

“My closet…. my bed ……my bags… my light, and my window”

“Alright, now tell me four things that you can feel.”

“My bed sheets….my phone…the AC and the loose string on my shirt

“Good, now what about three things that you can hear.” Ava heard his car door close. Was he coming over?

“I hear your voice……the AC unit…..and my TV is still on in the living room.”

“What about two things that you can smell?”

“A faint barbecue smell from outside……and I can still smell your detergent on my clothes.”

“That’s why I get it. Last one, tell me one thing you can taste.”

“I had some wine earlier so I can still taste that.”

“I was unaware that you were a wine drinker”

“Not usually but if it’s good enough, I will.”

“I don’t usually drink, but I will on certain occasions.” Edmund said. She heard his car door open and shut again.

“I’m going to let you go. Is your door unlocked?”

“No, but there’s a spare key under the mat.”

STILL A SLIGHT WARNING BUT NOT A SEVERE AS THE LAST ONE

“Alright. I’ll be there in a moment.” Edmund said before hanging up. She closed her eyes and put her head in her hands, attempting to stop her head from pounding and steady her breathing. She heard her door unlock.

“Ava?” Edmund called out into her apartment.

“In here.” She called, looking up. He came around the corner and sat beside her.

“If I hold you, will that help?” Edmund asked. Ava slowly nodded.

Edmund took her in his arms and the minute her head touched his chest, she broke down. Edmund pulled her closer and rubbed her back.

“There there, Ava. I’m here. Let it out, it’s not good to keep everything in.” He hushed. She cried for a while and Edmund sat there holding her and rubbing her back.

“I hate myself, Ed. I shouldn’t feel like this, but I do. I want to be normal; I don’t want to have to call you in the middle of the night because I’m thinking about ending it again.” She cried. Edmund said nothing, just rubbed her back and held her close.

“I lied to you. When you asked me if I’ve ever had thoughts about killing myself, I told you I’ve never tried. I lied to you. The day we met. I was on my way to the bridge; I had made up my mind that night that after work I was going to jump. I’m sorry that I lied to you.” Ava bawled into Edmund’s chest.

“It’s alright, Ava. I could tell that there was something you weren’t telling me. I’m not upset, Ava. I could never be upset with you for something like that.” Edmund said holding her closer and kissing the top of her head.

“I hate myself for even thinking about it. I would hurt so many people; I was being selfish.”

“Ava don’t think about it like that. You didn’t do it instead, you met me and the children.”

“I was thinking about it again. I wanted to end it tonight. I would’ve hurt you and the kids along with my parents and my sister. I’m a horrible person.”

“You’re not a horrible person, Ava. I’m glad that you decided to call me; I’m glad that instead of you taking your own life, you called me.”

END OF WARNING

“I’m sorry for bothering you. It’s late, you shouldn’t have had to come here just because of me.”

“It is not that long of a drive; although if it were longer, I would still make the drive to be by your side. No matter how late it is.” Edmund said. Ava sat up and wiped her tears. Edmund gently took her hand and dabbed her tears away with a handkerchief.

“If you rub your eyes roughly like that, you’re going to hurt yourself.” He said softly dabbing her tears away.

“Thank you, Edmund. Sorry for crying all over you.”

“Ava, it’s quite alright. You can cry on me anytime you need to. Now I know that you just left yesterday but would you to stay the night again? I can take you to work tomorrow morning. I would offer to stay the night, but I have four children back at home who cannot be trusted to wake up on time.”

“That would be nice. I don’t want to be alone at the moment. I’ll leave tomorrow, I swear; I just don’t want to be alone tonight.”

“Ava, if it were up to me, you would never leave.” Edmund said. “I am so sorry. That sounds quite inappropriate; I just meant I would like to be by your side all the time. That sounds even worse; what I meant was- “

“Ed. It’s fine; I get what you meant.” Ava interrupted as she cupped his face with a soft laugh. Edmund sighed with a soft chuckle and caught Ava’s eye. The two stared for a moment in silence. Ava began to lean in but stopped herself.

“We should probably get going if we’re heading back to your place.”

“Ah, yes. Indeed.” Edmund said clearing his throat.

After cleaning herself up a bit and grabbing a change of clothes for the next day, Ava got in Ed’s car and the two drove back to the Lucilius mansion. They quietly entered the house and went upstairs to go to bed. Before Edmund went to his door, Ava grabbed his sleeve.

“Uh, Ed. Would you mind if I stayed with you?”

“Of course, Ava. We can get your things in the morning.”

“No, I meant like with you. I would prefer to be held tonight; I won’t sleep otherwise.”

“O-Oh. You meant in my room.” He cleared his throat. “Of course, Ava. I wouldn’t mind at all.”

The two went to his room and Ava sat on the bed. Edmund’s room was very tidy and well-kept. Ava kind of expected his room to look like this. Edmund went into his bathroom to change leaving Ava to get comfortable. His bed was the kind of memory foam that Ava had dreamed of having one day. She melted into the bed and took a deep breath. Edmund walked back into the room in silky pajama pants and no shirt. God. Damn. Ava hadn’t expected his lanky looking ass to have abs. He wasn’t too buff, but he clearly worked out. Ava tried her damnedest not to stare.

“I hope this is alright. I can put a shirt on if you wish.”

“No, it’s fine. If that’s how you sleep, that’s how you sleep. I’m not gonna make you change.” Ava said.

Edmund climbed into bed and wrapped his arms around Ava.

“Is this okay?” he asked.

“It’s perfect. Thanks.” Ava said melting into his embrace. “Goodnight, Ed.”

“Goodnight, Ava.”

It didn’t take Ava long before she fell into a nightmare-free sleep while in Edmund’s arms.

Author’s note: Hi everyone. Things have been rather stressful for me recently so I will be taking a week or so off from writing for my mental health. When I return, I promise there will be more drama, romance, and all that your little heart desires from my story. I hope you keep supporting me and my book. Thanks everyone <3

Side note: To all of those who have attempted to end their own lives or have had thoughts of suicide, please remember that your life is worth so much and I’m so proud of you for staying strong and for still being here. You are loved.

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