Life isn't about the big accomplishments, it's the baby steps you take to get there.
| Chapter Two
I rapidly jolt backwards when I heard a loud crashing noise. Peeking to the side, I find Kyle leaning against the lockers with a cunning smile. He jabs one shoulder into the metal to propel himself forwards, as he moves away from the locker, Kyle takes a step closer in order to stand directly by my side.
“Hey, Ava baby.” He cheekily winks.
“Hello, Kylie boo!” I tease.
“How are you this fine afternoon?” Kyle questions. “Ready to grab some lunch? I’m thinking anything but the crappy food they serve up at the canteen.”
I want to reply with ‘awkward since you almost kissed me’ but I can’t seem to conjure up the nerve to speak them. Instead, I settle for a simple reply.
“I’ve got a packed lunch, so if you wanna go eat, I’d suggest leaving me behind,” I reply.
“Are you sure? I’ve got a craving for fried chicken, so I’m thinking about getting a bucket of drumsticks from KFC or a burger from HJ’s.”
The prospect of food is always tempting but I shake my head. No, I can’t do that because I need a break from Kyle.
“Nah, I’ll be fine.”
“Absolutely sure? You look upset and food always makes you happy.” He smiles.
“I had a late night trying to finish an assignment, that’s all.” I lie.
Kyle slowly inches closer to me which gets my heart rate steadily rising. His gaze is intense which makes me squirm. I want to take a step back but Kyle rapidly places his cold hands on my cheeks. I gasp as a small smirk appears on his lips.
“Then smile kid.” He flicks my nose with the end of his finger.
Pain ricochets through my nose but it quickly subsides.
“What the heck was that for?” I grumble.
I aim my fist at his face and swing for a punch, but he dodges my sloppy attack. My hand clashes with the locker and I wince as my poor knuckles throb from the pain.
“Hey, I was trying to make you smile,” he replies. “And well, you don’t look sad anymore.”
“You’re dead,” I sneer. “I’m going to -”
Kyle goes back to rests against the locker. His smug expression returns along with a cheeky wink which only intensifies my anger with him.
“I love it when you talk dirty, Ava baby.”
“Sexy?” Kyle smirks.
“Gross,” I corrected. “Disgusting, terrible, icky, should I go on?”
“You missed handsome, charming and -”
“- the devil’s spawn, yes, I missed that one as well.” I nod.
“You’re missing out on a lot of things, Ava baby.”
I shake my head and shrug my shoulders - I don’t have a response to that.
The cheeky glow in Kyle’s eyes disappears which provokes a guilty feeling to overwhelm me; maybe I’d taken things too far this time. I shouldn’t have called him those names, names I don’t even mean. Well, devil’s spawn suits his mischievous behaviour.
“Look, I’m sorry, Kyle. I shouldn’t have said those things. It’s just…” I don’t have a valid excuse.
“Don’t sweat it, we’re just having some friendly fun.” He shrugs. “Besides, I’ll take my revenge by eating a cupcake from the cooking class in front of you.”
“I actually have a cupcake at home, so that doesn’t bother me.” I chuckle.
“Then I won’t tell you what I came here to say.” Kyle smugly grins at me.
“Do I want to know?” I raise an eyebrow. “The last time, It was disgusting new about ugh, let’s not ever talk or think about it.”
Kyle shrugs his shoulders and then conveniently looks away.
I glance at my locker and then back to Kyle. A sense of curiosity begins to plague me.
“Fine, tell me.”
“Hm, I’m not sure I want to tell you anymore.” He shrugs.
“You do realize you’re going to miss chicken drumsticks if we keep running in circles, right?”
“Alright, you’re lucky I’m hungry for fried chicken.” He sighs. “Apparently Blake Pierce has been asking about you.”
Kyle scowls at the ground while I pinch my arm to see if I’m having another dream. When I feel pain, I smile. This is really happening; Blake actually knows who I am - or does?
“Is he really asking? Because if I find out you’re lying, I’m never going to speak to you again.” I cross my arms. “There are some things you can’t mess around with.”
The tinge of annoyance swirling within his brown eyes confirms my suspicions before he has a chance to speak.
“I pinky promise I’m not lying.” Kyle holds out his pinky for me to shake.
I hooked mine around his pinky and we shake on it.
“So how did you find out about this?” I question.
“Believe it or not, I was casually minding my own business when I hear Blake asking this random person about an Ava Rose. He officially knows your name and wants to speak with you.”
“Oh my god!” I scream. “I can’t believe this!”
“Well, believe it because we pinky shook on it.”
“I can’t, I mean, oh my god, I don’t know what to say. Should I go speak to him or?”
“You should let him come to you - be his mystery girl,” he replies.
“Okay, I’ll do that then.” I nod.
“While you’re off being a mystery for Mr Fancy pants, I’m going to grab food.”
“Mr Fancy pants? Why don’t you like Blake?”
“He’s just.” Kyle shrugs his shoulders. “I’ll meet you in my car after class.”
“Okay, no worries.” I nod. “Oh, and enjoy your chicken.”
“Don’t worry, I will.” He nods.
Kyle tackles me into a bear hug before leaving me alone. I grab my lunch from my locker and walked towards the oval to find somewhere to sit. There’s an empty picnic bench, so I score a whole table to myself.
Before Logan’s accident, I was afraid to sit or be alone. And then the news broke of Logan’s sudden, tragic passing.
I couldn’t take a step without someone telling me how amazing he was or that his death was a tragedy because he was so young. Then time passed and I just the sad girl nobody wanted to be around.
Sitting alone meant that I could breathe without scrutiny.
When I’m comfortable, I open the clear container and grab my sandwich out. As I take a bite into the crunchy bread, I sigh with happiness.
It only takes me three bites until my mind is fixated on Blake. I wonder why he’s been asking about me. The right thing would be to follow Kyle’s advice but I’m also dying of curiosity.
I’ve liked Blake ever since he moved schools last year. He never fails to make my heart swoon because he’s just, ugh, he’s amazing.
On Blake’s first day here, I recall him sporting a black eye. His tie was crookedly lined up and his shirt partly untucked. His aura screamed bad boy which had the girls swamped to his side. I wanted to be one of those girls but I hide in the shadows.
He joined the school’s football team and his popularity soared through the roof. He had short relationships until he began dating Tori. That was when Logan started teasing me for my not so subtle crush on Blake.
Of course, he played a protective role and told me I wasn’t allowed to date someone like him. Although, it didn’t matter because he was fixated on Tori and I would never compare to her.
The two shared a toxic relationship that spanned over months. They’d fight in public and then she’d lure him back the next day. I don’t think anyone’s every understood the dynamic between the two.
And then it happened shortly after Logan’s death - she announced her pregnancy. Blake would never be mine and it sucked. So now he’s eye candy from afar; a daydream that gets me through a tough week at school.
I just wish things were different.
Once I finish eating, I fold my arms and use them to rest my head on. I enjoy the feeling of the sun radiating onto my back. With this cool weather, it’s nice to soak up some sun before it goes.
The sound of grass crunching from someone’s approaching footsteps has me sighing. There goes my beautiful silence.
“How’s the chicken?” I call out. “Is it everything your heart desires?”
“Can’t say it has.”
I gasp when I see the unusual sight of Blake Pierce. His sharp cheekbones and rowdy dark brown hair makes his appearance tired and frazzled.
“I’m sorry for scaring you,” he apologizes. “I’m Blake.”
He takes a seat from across me and tugs on a smile. I want to melt into a puddle, but I remind myself to steadily breathe. First impressions are important and I can’t screw this one up.
“I’m Ava -”
“Ava Grayson, I know.” He nods.
“I heard you’ve been asking about me.”
Blake cocks his head to the side. “I might have.”
At this point, my heart feels like it’s about to shoot up my throat and land on the table.
“Can I ask why you’re looking for me?”
“Because you take that baby class, the one where you visit the daycare centres.”
“Sure, I guess you can call it that,” I said, letting out a small laugh. “Do you need a recommendation or something?”
“Actually.” He awkwardly scratches the back of his head. “I desperately need your help with London. I’m a freaking mess when they leave me alone with her. I don’t know what to do.”
“Can’t Tori help you with this?” I frown.
“She packed up her things and took off. I haven’t heard from her since Friday.”
“Tori did what?” I jerked my head back in shock.
Blake runs his fingers through his hair, which makes it poke up in all different directions.
“I guess it got too much for her.”
“Well, what about your parents?” I offer.
“My mother helps when she can, but she’s working.”
“Oh.” I sigh. “How about a teacher? I think they’d be more qualified than me.”
“No, I can’t ask them either. I know what the teachers say about me.” He sounds defeated, broken by the world.
Raising a baby is hard work, I’ve been doing enough practice to know what it’s like. However, Blake needed help and I’m not sure if I can do it either, but he looks desperate.
The same way Blake Pierce is broken, he broke me too.
“I might not be helpful,” I warned, “but I could try.”
“Thank you! Could you come over after school today?” He asks.
“Oh, today?” I frown.
“I’d really appreciate it.” He smiles.
“Alright.” I nod. “I guess I could.”
I don’t owe Blake a thing, but my conscious feels like I owe him something. Perhaps his output of sadness is the cause of those feelings.