AN: So I feel like a huge apology is in order. It has been way to long since I last updated. I got busy moving, not having very good internet access, getting settled in my apartment, and fighting writers block. Also, my friend Anna (yes the one who I named a character after) "kidnapped" me for the weekend. So I spent some time with her family, which reminded me even more that I hadn't updated in for like ever. So I had free time today, and I decided that I must write something. I hope you like this chapter. I know exactly where I'm going with this story now. Getting there is the problem haha. Here is chapter nine. Please Review

Ch. 9: Progress?


Aria spent the rest of her week off of school doing the same thing she did at the beginning of the week. She sat mindlessly in her room watching television shows that made no sense to her, she attempted sleep, and she spent time on her computer trying to find things that wouldn't let her mind wander back to the horrible night. Though, no matter how hard she tried, Aria couldn't go an hour without being forced to re-enter her nightmare. Everywhere she looked and everything she heard made her think of it. Aria couldn't get out of this hell that A threw her in.

Aria had been attempting to write on Friday afternoon, she needed to let her feelings out. Her anger, her helplessness, her everything, she needed to write, but the words refused to come to her, and this never happened. She was just sitting at her desk staring at the empty notebook page in frustration. It was as if the empty page before her was mocking her at the fact that she had no words to put down. "Aria, Ezra is here." She heard her mother call to her from downstairs "Come say hi to him, he doesn't have long. He has to get ready to go to New York this weekend."

"Great, just what I need, another reminder." Aria mumbled to herself as she slammed her notebook shut and went downstairs. She painted a fake smile onto her face, though she knew it was useless to even fake, because Ezra would know. "Hello, Ezra." She told him.

"Hey, Aria. I stopped by to say hi. Ella invited me to come over tomorrow, but since I wasn't able to, I offered to come by this afternoon before I leave in the morning." He told her, somewhat painfully as they were both thinking that Aria was supposed to be going with him to New York.

"Oh, well thanks for coming." She told him, not even looking at him. Even though she loved Ezra, she didn't want him here right now.

"Uh, anytime." Ezra told her, he noticed her pain and just wished that there was more that he could do to help the girl of his dream heal. "I, uh, brought you a book that I thought you might enjoy." He then pulled out the book that he had bought earlier in the week to give her. She took it and looked at the title and her face automatically lit up.

"Thank you, Ezra. I have wanted this book for a while, but I never actually got around to buying it." Aria knew that Ezra knew this and that he had bought it for that exact reason. Ezra had been surprised to learn that Aria did not own a copy of Jane Eyre. She always told him that she loved the story from the second she picked it up at a library three years ago but she never got around to actually owning it.

"Ezra, I know that you have to get ready to leave for New York, but would like to stay for dinner?" Ella asked walking into the room.

Ezra snuck a glance at Aria who had become immersed into her new book, he couldn't tell if she wanted him to stay or not. "I would hate to intrude; I mean I really did only stop by just to give Aria the book…" Ezra was starting to continue, but Aria spoke up.

"You should stay, Ezra. It would be nice to get to know you a little bit better." Ezra looked for a sign that Aria didn't want him to stay, but he found none at all. She looked like she wanted him to stay.

"Um, yeah okay, then. I would love to stay for dinner." Ezra told Ella. Then she left the two to talk. The two started talking of books, but Ezra caught on that Aria was still uncomfortable. She did want him to stay, but she was still having trouble being around him. He wanted to much to ask her about it, but he also knew that Ella could most likely over hear their entire conversation, so he left it alone, for now.

Aria wanted Ezra to stay for dinner. She knew that she wouldn't be able to see him until Monday, at least. Though, she still didn't want to be around him. Aria hated feeling like this. Wasn't Ezra supposed to make her feel safe? Wasn't he supposed to always be there? That is what he had promised her. She used to melt at the touch of his body, but now she tensed and hardened against him. She loved him, so why did she feel this way?

At dinner, she made sure she sat as far but as close as she could. She spoke more than she had a few days earlier, but she wasn't as animated as the rest of her family. Aria was still extremely scared about everything that she couldn't bring herself to be her normal self anymore. She was now hiding behind some mask. But, maybe she wasn't hiding at all, maybe this is who she actually was now. The guarded, scared, emotionless, seventeen year old girl who had gotten raped. Aria fully believed that she would never be able to go back to the way she had been before. The girl who would sneak around to see the man she loved. The girl who would stay out all night with her best friends. The girl who only ever worried about A.

It was nearly 9:30 before Ezra finally took his leave of the Montgomery home. I'll see you on Monday, Aria?" He asked her, hoping the answer would be yes. She merely nodded and gave a quick smile. The two of them still wishing that she would still be with him for the weekend. Though, they both knew that wouldn't happen. "I'll see you next week then."

After he left, Ezra drove home with many thoughts filling his head. He had noticed how Aria was trying to let him back into her confidence, but she was still struggling. He wanted so bad just to lean over and kiss her so many times that night, hoping it would help her, but he knew that he couldn't for more than one reason.

Ezra wondered how long it would take Aria for her to be able to return to even a fraction of what she had been before. He knew that this event had changed her, and that she would most likely never be the complete same as she used to be. But, he was hoping that she would at least get a little better after time. She was already making some progress, he could have sworn that he saw a true smile when he gave her the book. Hopefully she will be able to enjoy the book as she has been able to enjoy it in the past. Ezra thought to himself as he came up to a red light.

When Ezra got home that night, he pulled out the books again and started reading some more. He couldn't figure out about where Aria was in her healing process, but he did know that she seemed to be doing better than some people from what he read. He only hoped that her progress would not back track at a point. It seemed as if most do at some point in their healing process. Aria was different from the others though. The others didn't have the support system that Aria has. Well at least in his own opinion they didn't. Aria had her family, teachers, her three best friends, and most of all, Aria had Ezra.

But also, Aria had something the other ones didn't have. They didn't have A watching their every move, making sure that Aria will never heal and that her progress she has been making comes to a complete stop. A is there to make sure that Aria's life is a living hell and that hopefully Aria will meet the same end as her friend Alison.

AN: Soooo…..what do ya think? I know it is semi short, but I will have more soon…hopefully. Please review. Reviews make me feel happy haha. Anyways….have a good day. Happy Pretty Little Liars Day….as many of the cast call it on twitter. Sad day though….I have to wait till tomorrow to watch it since I no longer have a TV. Lol oh well….i'll watch it ASAP haha. Anyways. I hope you liked it.

DISCLAIMER! I do not own PLL….i have been over this before, so yeah, you know the drill. lol