Life isn't about the big accomplishments, it's the baby steps you take to get there.
| Chapter Five
Last time I felt this nervous, I was standing in front of a crowd talking about Logan. Although, I had Kyle beside who helped me through the speech when I couldn’t hold back the tears.
Now I’m by myself, second guessing if I should really be doing this. I know this is a mistake, but I can't seem to stop myself from going.
“Are you nearly ready, Ava?” Mom calls out.
“Yeah, almost done,” I reply.
I slowly twist from side to side as I scrutinise my figure in the full-length mirror attached to my wardrobe door.
“You look perfect,” she says.
As I glance over my shoulder, I notice mom leaning against the doorframe. Her arms are casually crossed over her chest and she’s smiling.
“Are you sure? I’m worried the shirt makes me look…” I poke at the bulge the shirt highlights around my stomach.
“What did Kyle say?” Mom questions.
“I haven’t asked him. He’s a little bit annoyed that I brushed him off for Blake. The silly goose thinks he’s being replaced.”
“He’s in-” She pauses. “He’s not used to sharing you with other people.”
“There’s nothing to be jealous about, though,” I say.
“Maybe you need to talk to Kyle about it? You two have been the best of friends for such a long time.”
“I’ll be sure to knock some sense into him.” I chuckle.
“Now, would I be correct to assume he’s the same Blake you like?” Mom inquires.
“Yeah, that would be the one.” I quickly nod. “The one Logan never approved of.”
Not that I needed his approval or was it ever required - Blake was always with Tori around the time Logan declared his hatred for him.
“He never mentioned why he never liked Blake.” She frowns. “From what you’ve said, he sounds like a nice boy.”
“Blake is awesome.” I smile. “So, I’ve never understood the bad blood.”
“If you feel uncomfortable being there, just message me and I’ll pick you up.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it.” I smile.
“Before we head off, have you had dinner yet?” Mom asks. “I can quickly throw something together for the drive over.”
“No, but thank you! I’m actually having dinner at Blake’s house.”
Her face lights up from the comment and she bounces on the spot.
“So my baby girl is actually going on a date?” She cheers with excitement.
“No dates.” I shake my head. “Just babysitting and a bit of school work. The dinner is supposed to be a form of payment.”
“If you say so.” Mom winks.
I critically look once more before turning away from the mirror. This isn’t a date, I don’t need to scrutinise this outfit anymore because the jeans and single are good enough.
Grabbing my bag from the bed, I follow mom downstairs and out the front door. We climb into the car and she immediately beings humming along to the pop song on the radio as she reverses out of the driveway.
I wiggle against the plush car seat to get comfortable. Once I’m comfortable, I gaze out the window and admire the passing scenery.
It’s only when I open the car door that I get a rush of nerves convulsing through me.
“Just remember to call if you need picking up,” mom worriedly reminds me.
“Yes, I’ll call if your assistance is needed.” I tug on a large smile.
“Okay, have fun with your non-dinner date.” She grins.
“Thank you.” I teasingly frown.
I close the door and walk across the grass to the not-so-secret gate beside the house. Before I slip through it, I look back to see her driving off. I flick the latch open, walk through and lock it behind me.
As I walk across the crunchy gravel, I take a few deep breaths to soothe my erratic heartbeat.
“Everything is going to be okay,” I whisper.
When I get to the front door, I quickly knock and then stand to the side. After a couple of seconds, I hear approaching footsteps and then the doorknob rattles.
As the door swings open, a flushed Blake awkwardly stands there with a towel dangling over his shoulder.
“I was just about to bathe-”
“Uh, I can, later?” I blush at the thought of Blake naked.
“Bathe London,” he clears up.
“Oh right, that makes more sense.” We both nervously laugh.
“Come in, I’ve almost got dinner finished.” He proudly smiles.
I step into the house and catch a whiff of the aroma wafting from the kitchen. The delicious smell makes my stomach rumble with hunger, thus making this the perfect decision.
He leads me up the staircase and into the bedroom. He grabs London from her cot and passes her to me.
“The bath is ready to go and there’s fresh clothing on the changing table on the sink. Will you be alright?”
“Perfect! All the hard work is basically done,” I say.
“Thank you again for helping! You don’t understand how much I appreciate this.” He grins.
“Really, it’s no worries. Besides, I love babies.” I chuckle.
Blake leaves the room while I wander into the bathroom. I placed her on the changing mat and began to unbutton her jumpsuit. London looks up with a curious expression but doesn’t seem phased by me.
“Are you ready for your bath?” I ask.
London just blinks but she looks so damn adorable.
I throw the nappy into the bin and her jumpsuit into the laundry basket tucked behind the bathroom door. Before I submerge her body into the water, I quickly test it.
Kneeling on the thick bath mat, I leaned over the bath and place her in the water. I have one hand under her neck and back for support while I use my other hand to trickle water over her skin.
When I’m finished bathing her, I pull the plug and wrap her in a soft pink blanket. She’s happy until I placed her on the changing board to dry her off. That’s when the grizzles and tears trickle down her cheek.
“I’m sorry, baby girl, I’ll try and be quick.”
I swiftly dry her off and then work on fastening the nappy on. Then I grab the jumpsuit and work on dressing London.
While I slip her arms through the sleeves, I feel a hand pressed against my side which makes me jump.
“I’m sorry for scaring you,” he apologizes. “Just admiring your nappy changing skills.”
“Oh, thanks.” I'm just thankful Blake is standing behind because it eliminates the view of my blushing face.
Blake, you will be the death of my poor, frantic, beating heart.
Once she’s dressed, I pass her to Blake. She snuggles into Blake’s arms as her eyelids go droopy.
“Bedtime baby,” he happily cooed.
Blake takes her to the cot and begins wrapping her in the blanket. As I reach the pair, he’s already placed his hand on her chest.
“Do you want me to do this?” I offer.
“She’s a bit fussy with this technique,” he comments.
“Maybe I should be making you dinner?” I tease. “I’ve done nothing.”
“You’re here, though. The company is refreshing,” he replies.
When London is asleep, we head downstairs. I take a seat on the bench stool and watch as Blake flies through the kitchen preparing the rest of dinner.
It’s only when I notice Blake grabbing plates that I perk up. He dishes two plates of pasta along with a few slices of garlic bread on the side.
I leapt off the stool and Blake races around the kitchen bench with the plates in hand. He places them on the table and we take our seats opposite each other.
“I hope you like the food, if not, I’ll order pizza.” He laughs.
“It smells so good.” I sigh.
He charmingly smiles which makes my heart swoon. How Logan hated Blake is something that will forever baffle me.
I greedily have seconds because the food is delicious. If I knew he was an amazing cook, I would have offered my babysitting services sooner.
After dinner, I help Blake with the dishes and then we fish out our drama scripts. His copy is a little wrinkled but he tries to straighten out the bent pages by folding it the opposite way.
We sit in the lounge room across from each other with just the above lights on. Now that I’ve got the script in hand, I’m beginning to feel the buzz of nerves.
“Are you ready?” He smiles.
“Ready as I’ll ever be.” I shrug.
“Do you want to read the couples lines first? Then we can do the servants lines after?” he offers.
“Did you get a second role to learn?” I question.
“Yeah, I asked for the Prince’s servant in case it’s too much. I think my understudy is hoping I fail.” Blake laughs.
“Sounds about right.” I nod.
As much as I’d like the princess role, Megan earned it. Although, if she magically couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t be upset by the news either.
“Where should we start?” he asks.
I look at my script and frown. I hadn’t really bothered to read any more after drama class. I’d gotten busy with other work, so I left it under ‘a job for another day’. Some call it categorising, others call it lazy. I felt like I belonged in both categories.
“Wherever you’d like to start,” I encouraged.
“I haven’t read the script,” he answers honestly.
“Well, let’s just start wherever then.” I shrug.
“Okay, we'll start from…” Blake randomly flips to a page and points to the number at the bottom.
I open to the page number and sharply inhale when I notice what’s on there. The story between the two characters is loving someone they could never be with. I’ve got plenty of experience for this role.
“Any tips, Mr Superstar?” I chuckle.
“Well, if I haven’t experienced the emotion, I try to substitute that feeling for something else I’ve experienced which may be similar.”
“What similar experience are you drawing from?” I question.
“I understand the character because I’ve loved someone I could never have,” Blake admits. “I just think of her.”
“Her?” I frown.
“Don’t think about it too much yet, just read the words and get a feel for it.”
“Okay, I think I can do this.”
“I believe in you.” He smiles.
I look at the page and take another calming breath before beginning.
“Why now, why here?” I ask.
“Because your brain will poison the true emotions your heart is trying to send out,” he explains.
“You know that my heart is already yours if you take it. Marriage isn’t a dictation of the soul, it’s a law binding two individuals, not their souls for eternity. Fate has sprung and weaved their webs long before. My hand may be promised, but my heart is already claimed.”
Reading these words to Blake makes me blush both internally and externally. I fan myself with the script but it does a little to defuse the red target pinned to my face.
“Law is the binding motion that affects us now. We could live with the fascination that fate has weaved us a better eternity, but until then, I live in the reality that feeds us. You’re claimed and I’m damned, we’d never be together in this life.”
“I…” I lose my place on the script because those words hit me like a bullet.
Blake is on a collision course, it’s only a matter of time until he unknowingly breaks my heart.