Starting Over

Donovan Hamptons Home



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Cooper Montgomery Ariel Johnson-Lowell

Cooper waits until everyone else starts to move on, and shoots a look to Preston letting him know to go with the others. He leads Ariel to a nicely worked stone bench, and sits down on it motioning for her to do the same.
"Look, I wanted to apologize. For the way I reacted, for the way I've been acting. Your… abilities… are just not something I've had to deal with before. Or something that's normal to me. I acted like an ass, and I'm sorry."
The witch sits, neatly crossing her legs at the ankles and smoothing the hem of her dress down. She listens to Cooper and then shakes her head.
"You don't have to apologize for that," Ariel says quietly. "You were freaked out. It's understandable. I guess if I wasn't raised in it, it'd be weird and scary for me too."
Ariel plucks invisible lint from the skirt of her sundress. "It's a lot to deal with. You're human and you didn't do anything wrong. It's fine, Cooper."
"Apology accepted."
"No, Ariel, I was an ass. In the way I reacted, and the way I treated you." Cooper reaches for her hands, and holds them in his. "Yes, I was freaked out, but running off to hide in the bathroom… making you talk to Preston… that wasn't the right way to deal with it, alright? I should've stayed. Asked questions. Gotten to know about it, since it's a part of you."
He's had a lot of time to think about things, and this is one of those things that's been on his mind. It's been easier to deal with since he spoke to Sera about it, and got it off his chest in a way that he couldn't with Preston.
"First, I need you to forgive me for that, and if you have… then I need you to do something else for me."
"You were scared and confused." Ariel's honestly never blamed him for his reaction. He did come back to her after all, even if things have been weird and strained ever since. She's spent plenty of time blaming herself for not having more control, and for getting her hopes up about things and for trying for something way over her head and out of her league.
His reaction hurt but in her mind, it still makes sense.
She looks down at their hands. "I never did hold that against you. Really." Taking a breath she looks up at him. "There's really nothing to forgive because I wasn't upset with you, but I do accept your apology."
Biting her lip, she stares at him a moment. "What's that?"
"I was." Cooper can easily admit that now. He was frightened by it, and definitely confused as to what had happened. "But you didn't have control of it. It just happened when you experienced something new. Something more intimate. I shouldn't have spoiled that for you." The dancer wraps an arm around her and pulls her in or a small hug.
"Don't hold my actions against Preston? He does like you, and I don't want to mess any of this up for him. What you are… what happened… it doesn't change who you are… and it doesn't change how I feel about you. Just don't give up on Pres because of me?"
Ariel gives a noncommittal shrug. What can she say to that? It's not as if they can turn back time and get a do-over. "You came back," she murmurs. It was the one saving grace of the night; he did come back to bed with her. When she thinks about it - which she tries not to do because it seems a bit like teasing a starving man with a steak - she tries to leave out the awkwardness and focus on the good parts.
It wasn't a total wash. If it hadn't happened, she probably wouldn't have made the move on Preston that she did.
Wrapping her arms around him, Ariel returns the hug, both welcoming it and cursing him for it. The witch is trying very hard to put Cooper over in the Friend Zone box; the hug is nothing more than friendly, but there's nothing platonic about her reactions to it. The way her heart and breathing speed up a bit, and she instinctively inhales his scent.
Stupid, stupid, stupid girl, Ariel chides herself.
She refuses to ask how he feels about her. She's heard the speech before and she's not in the mood to hear it now. Instead of commenting on that she sighs, "I like Preston, too. I'm not giving up on him."
"I'm using the time I'm back at home to put things in perspective." She's hoping Preston will do the same.
Cooper exhales a sigh, then grips her chin tightly. Tilting her head up, he kisses her extremely roughly. He doesn't keep it going for long, just enough to make his point.
"Did you even hear what I said? I like you. I know that I said all that other stuff… was weird… but it's part of you and I want to know more about it, because it'll teach me more about you. I want to keep getting to know you, especially if you're moving to the city and every time I'm over visiting Preston, I'll be thinking about fucking you too."
"I'm really not good at these types of conversations."
Ariel squeaks, eyes going wide at the unexpected kiss. Slowly, they flutter closed, a jolt going from her lips to every other part of her body as she melts into the kiss. It might not last long, but when it ends, she's blinking at him with slightly glazed eyes and has to draw a breath.
"You still … want … to get to know me?"
"I think … you made your point." Her gaze drops to his mouth, and then she looks down at her lap, blushing slightly.
Brushing his thumb over her cheek, he nods. "I do." Cooper doesn't tell her that it took talking to, and fucking another woman for hours on end for him to get to that point, but he does still want to get to know her.
"I can't promise I'm going to be perfect, and I can't promise a hundred percent that I can be entirely faithful, it's not who I am. But I want to keep exploring things, if you still want to. I understand if you don't, because I was an ass."
"No," Ariel answers hurriedly, jerking her head up. Her blush deepens as she realizes how her sudden answer might come across. "I mean, no as in yes as in I don't want you to think that I don't want to … oh hell - "
Surging forward a little, she kisses him. It's a bit awkward and unsteady at first, because of the angle and her nerves, but then she relaxes into it, setting a hand lightly to his chest. When it breaks, she's still blushing, but she manages to speak. "I want to keep exploring. I do."
Cooper dives into it the second she relaxes, taking the kiss over. With a smirk, he breaks the kiss and tosses her over his shoulder.
His hand glides over her bottom before giving it a playful smack.
"Then that's what we'll do. Now let's get inside before all the good bedrooms are gone and Pres and I have to sleep on the floor somewhere."
Ariel laughs and squeals as the world twirls and she finds herself hanging over Cooper's shoulder.
"Cooper!" The witch reaches back, smoothing her sundress over her backside and making sure nothing important is showing. The dress is shorter than what she usually wears, an acquiescence to her cousin, but still long enough that she's really in no danger of flashing anyone.
"I'm sure the place has more than two bedrooms … though if it doesn't, I claim the couch."

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