DISCLAIMER: Degrassi: The Next Generation and its characters belong to Linda Schuyler, Stephen Stohn and CTV. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The second in my season 6 deleted scenes series. Guess I gotta come up with a name for it if I keep this trend up. So far Iíve been going in order, but I canít promise that will continue.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Candleburn
By Casandra

 

Tonight she'll give herself away
She'll break apart all by herself
It's so easy how we come undone

Take me over when I'm gone
Take me over, make me strong
Take me over when I'm gone
Will they burn for me



"So what brings you back to TO so soon?" I flash Marco an annoyed eye roll. Two minutes in the door and already he's grilling me.

"So I didn't give you enough time to miss me I take it." I throw him a half pout, purposely dropping my black duffel bag near his foot for emphasis.

"Well Banting hasn't managed to declaw you yet, that's good to know." Marco teases, avoiding my discarded luggage and pulling me into a tight hug.

I've really missed this, the comfort that's been severely lacking in Kingston. School is certainly nothing like I had ever envisioned it. The campus is anything but welcoming and friendly. It feels cold and sterile. I can count on one hand the new friends I've made in the past month. I honestly shouldn't be complaining though, it's not like I've really put forth a lot of effort to get to know anybody. Classwork takes up any free time I have outside of lectures. And even though I'm up studying until the middle of the night most times, I'm still only barely keeping my head above water.

I'm not at all prepared to share that little nugget of info with anybody back here in Toronto though. Banting is all I've ever wanted, I'm not about to throw in the towel barely a month into the experience.

I playfully smack Marco on the shoulder, disengaging from his familiar embrace. "You really think anything is capable of doing that hon?"

He shakes his head in bemusement, knowing me far too well. "So, how long are you staying? Ohh! You can crash here with us, we have a spare bedroom." I raise my eyebrows at that, knowing full well why one of the rooms upstairs is just collecting dust bunnies.

"Only for the weekend. My lectures got canceled today. Some idiot set the sprinkler system off in the Hall my classes were in." I really hate the no candles rule in our dorm, but the RA is such a little ass, that he literally walks around sniffing the air to see if he can catch a whiff of something scented wafting from underneath one of the doorways. Guess he didn't catch whoever was lighting up the joint inside Rathbone Hall.

Marco guides me into the kitchen, plopping me down onto one of the bar stools before rooting around in the fridge, presumably for something edible. "So, planning on making the rounds tonight?"

"Well Hazel is in Calgary, I don't think she'll be back till at least Christmas. Jimmy, Spinner and Ashley are always over here, so I didn't think I needed to do anything but plop my ass on your couch to see them…." I trail off, very much aware of who I'm leaving out. I'm not sure I can bring myself to go see her though. Our goodbye was one of the most painful things I've ever had to do, I don't think I can manage just a few hours with her, and then have to leave all over again.

I must have zoned out, because I'm suddenly aware of Marco popping a can of Diet Coke in front of me, a compassionate look creasing his features. "You know, she asked me the other day if I had talked to you lately." The compassion so easily seen just a moment ago is slowly being replaced by one of disappointment. "You haven't talked to her since you left, have you?"

I exhale, my manicured nail curling around the tab of the can. "No." I'm ashamed to admit it. But I'm pretty sure just hearing her voice, the way it dips into a husky lower register when she whispers my name, would have been my undoing. At the very least, a major distraction, something that I certainly can't afford when I'm barely surviving at school as it is.

"She's back at Degrassi, you probably didn't know that, did you?"

"What?!" She graduated, I know she did. I stood there on the front steps, holding onto her for dear life, knowing that it was more than likely the last hug we'd ever share.

Marco chuckles faintly at my reaction. "She went back to beef up her grades."

"Why would she do that?"

"Apparently she's applied to a few universities, and they've wait listed her, dependent upon a couple of science courses she needed to get her marks up on. So Miss Hatzilakos let her go back for the semester to try and get her grades high enough to gain admission."

Wow. I honestly don't even know what to say to all of that. She did it. She finally got herself on track and focused on the future. I guess all it took was getting me out of the way……

Marco's quiet voice pulls me from my rapidly darkening thoughts. "It looks like you were a good influence on her."

I scoff at that. "Right. She couldn't be bothered with anything remotely school related while we were together. And now all of a sudden she's Miss Bookworm?"

"Did it ever occur to you that she's doing all of this because of you?"

I roll my eyes at that. "How do you figure that one hon?"

Marco gives me a patiently exasperated glare. "You head off to one of the most prestigious schools in the entire northern hemisphere. She always thought you were too good for her anyway, and the constant Banting this and Banting that didn't help. She's trying to prove to herself that she's good enough for you."

His words feel like a kick to my kidneys. I never gave thought to what it must have been like for her, listening to me go on and on about leaving for university. I honestly never meant for her to feel the way she apparently did. Part of the reason I talked so much about it was to try and convince Alex that she could go too, if she just focused and applied herself. I wanted us to share the experience together, even if we weren't going to the same school. And in the midst of all of that, she ended things, and my broken heart and wounded pride didn't allow me to dig deeper into the hidden meanings of everything.

"You should call her Paige, just to show some support at the very least."

I shake my head, trying to clear all the newly formed cobwebs permeating my gray matter. "Why now? Why would she do all of this now that we're broken up. She left ME, remember that Marco?"

He scoffs, shoulders setting back in a straight line, obviously become slightly irritated with my line of questioning. "Right, and you immediately went and had sex with Spinner. Is your ego really that massive that the fact she dumped you is still a sore spot?"

I glare at him, feeling the fire flashing just under the surface of my aqua eyes. "Don't even go there Marco."

"Look, the point is, it's Alex. And whether you admit it or not, you still care about her. And it's pretty obvious to me that she hasn't gotten over you yet."

I cut him off, a flare of………something, igniting in my chest. "Why, has she said something to you?" I really shouldn't be this excited at the thought of Alex still having feelings for me. Then again, I probably shouldn't be surprised either. I may be able to lie to everyone else without batting an eye, Marco included. But I'm very inner aware of just how much I haven't let go of a certain brunette.

"Paige, call her, ask her for coffee. Just don't sit here trying to pretend with me. I know you too well for that." He pats my hand, which is still gripped tightly around the now half bent soda can. As he's heading out of the kitchen Marco tosses back one last comment. "And by the way, I DO know of one person who could turn you into a little declawed lap cat." He winks, leaving me to stare at the cordless phone not so subtly placed on the counter in front of me.

I've lost track of how long I've just been sitting here, trying to work up the courage to reach my hand out and dial the familiar number of Alex's cell phone. I'm reminded of another day, almost a year ago now, where I was faced with a similar situation. Trying to pep talk myself into reaching out towards her. The memory brings a small smile to my otherwise tense face. That day had ended with us in such a wonderful place, remembering the way we had shyly held hands in the dim hallway of her apartment building is enough to motivate me to make the phone call.

One. Two. Three rings. The longer I hear the irritating buzz of a phone unanswered, the more I'm convinced this was a horrible idea. Stupid Marco and his fantasies of big romantic gestures. Wait, that's not what this is, is it? Before I have the chance to start panicking at that new little demon of a suggestion, Alex's scratchy voice floats through the connection. "This better be good Marco, I just had to sneak out of BioChem."

For a moment I'm paralyzed, just the sound of her breath resonating over the line is enough to leave me frozen, caught in the memories of times past. When that same sound of her breathing was instead ghosting over a sensitive earlobe after the first time we had made love. Or a whisper against my cheek as she hovered between sleep and wakefulness, pulling her body tighter to mine, the obvious conflict of her dreams furrowing her forehead in distress.

"Marco, I'm already plotting ways……"

"Is Mr. Richter still a pushover for a cute girl waving a tampon in the air and asking to be excused?" I manage to pull myself back to the present, interrupting her before she can come up with any number of revenge schemes at our dear matchmaker friend.

"Paige?"

"So say the tags on my luggage sitting in Marco's den as we speak." I've picked up Alex's knack for sarcasm in uncomfortable situations it would seem.

"You're in Toronto?"

"Hence why you thought I was Marco?" I remind her, caller ID, it's such an evil mistress sometimes.

"Wow." Alex has never been the biggest of talkers, but this is becoming ridiculous.

"So, I was thinking, since I'm in town for the weekend, you, me, a no whip latte at the Dot, say four-ish?" I have no idea where I've managed to find the courage to follow through with this whole plan, especially given how monosyllabic my ex is being. Silence continues to echo across the line, the seconds ticking by make me start to wonder if this was as bad of an idea as I was afraid it to be. "Alex?"

"What?"

I roll my eyes affectionately, unseen to her of course. "Java goodness? The Dot?"

"Oh right! Yeah, yeah, that sounds good. I have class till three, so I can meet you after."

"Ok, it's a date……well, ya know, not a date date……but…." I trail off helplessly, my foot inserting itself quite nicely into my big mouth.

A gentle giggle shuts me up immediately. Giggle? Since when does Alex giggle? "Paige, I get it. I'll see you this afternoon." I can hear the familiar chime of the end of period bell in the background, just before she disconnects the line.

"Not so hard, see?" I whip my head around to see Marco propped up against the doorway, a self satisfied smirk gracing his lips.

No, I guess it wasn't.

The End

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