Life isn't about the big accomplishments, it's the baby steps you take to get there.
| Chapter Ten
Blake invited me over for dinner to meet his family. The idea threw me into a nervous fumbling state, but this was a good opportunity for me. It meant that we were going to be taking a step forward in our unknown labeled thing and that was enough hope and excitement to neutralize the nerves.
I didn't know a great deal about Blake's family and he never really expressed much interest in talking much about them. Everyone knew about his social life, who is friends were, interests and hang out spots, but nothing really surfaced when it came to his family background.
Was it the fact he was embarrassed by his parents? Or just not the family kind of guy who boasts and talks about them. The lack of information made me curious to learn about them tonight. I wonder how his parents were in person rather than a description. Well, I wondered about his father at least.
At least I've met Blake's mother, which made things seems a little easier. Now I just need to meet the rest, and well, I hope they like me as well. I know Blake's family's approval will be a huge factor if we make it or break this off.
I knock on Blake's front door and wait. It felt usual to sneak through the side gate to get to where Blake is living, but knowing his parents are getting ready to meet me and are in the building I can touch made the whole situation feel completely different.
The door opens and Blake steps out of the front of the house, closing the front door behind him.
"I'm so glad you're here," he gushes excitedly.
"Uh?" I ask. "Why?" A small giggle escapes my lips by accident. This might be the happiest Blake has been to see me. That makes me even more nervous, why does he look relieved?
"Because my brother is full of quit wit today," he grumbles.
Blake's arms circle around my body as he squeezes me tightly against his chest. I wrap an arm around his neck and snuggle closer. I love the feeling of being pressed so tightly against his body - the warmth and comfort radiating out and soaking into my skin made me happy.
"That bad?" I ask.
"You'll see," he mumbles.
He keeps his arms tightly bound around my body for a few more minutes before hesitantly pulling away and reopening the door in the process. I step inside and we begin to walk down the hallway.
"Justin, this is my friend, Ava." Blake wraps his arm around my waist and rests his hand on my lower back. Friends, I laugh internally, that's not the label I would have picked to describe the relations between the two of us. But we hadn't talked about anything relating to the matter.
Justin is sitting on the ouch with London in his lap. The poor bloke is trying to feed London, but every time Justin tries to get the bottle near her mouth, she looks away and grizzles, leaving a confused and frustrated Justin staring at her in annoyance.
I bet that's how Blake felt and I wonder if Justin is sympathizing with the situation Blake was left to deal with. Raising a child by yourself wasn't an easy task, especially with the complications his age brought. Blake was a lucky case, he'd have to admit that. His father was willing to help financially and he has his own space - that's something a lot of young parents don't get.
"Your friend, huh?" He laughs cheekily, "That's nice though, you need supportive friends with this thing. " He nods his head in the direction of London, and she doesn't look pleased with the situation.
"Be nice!" Blake threatens.
"Me, nice? Always." He grins cheekily.
"Why don't you take a seat on the couch, I just need to finish making dinner," Blake explains.
"Oh, okay." I slowly nod my head.
"I promise I don't bite," Justin adds.
"He probably will, best to keep some distance," replies Blake.
"Are you sure you don't need help?" I ask with hope.
"London might need it though." He looks at his daughter struggling to get out of Justin's arms.
Blake doesn't do anything to help her out, he just returns to the kitchen and starts moving pots and pans on the cooker. I'm not sure how I could leave a child like that but in Blake's defense, she wasn't creaming or showing real struggles. Justin could handle it, and I bet Blake wanted him to as well.
I take a seat on the couch closest to Justin and smile down at little London.
"I'm Justin," he reintroduces himself, "I'm not as bad as Blake describes." He's got a bright, relaxed smile across his face and he seems friendly enough - probably just a bit of rivalry that Blake can't stand.
"Got it." I smile. "So what do you do?" I ask.
"I live on campus at my university, I'm also doing a super cool science degree that requires a lot of brain energy," he explains with a flirty wink.
"I'm hoping to further into forensic." He nods his head.
"Okay, seems interesting enough." I awkwardly smile.
"Well all thought that Blake would follow in my footsteps and go to university for a science degree, but I guess he has other plans in mind." Justin jiggles London in his arms gently.
"Even with my beautiful daughter in the picture, I would never follow his pathway, science has never made any kind of sense to me," Blake adds.
"That's why they call me the smart one." Justin laughs.
"Stupid? Yes, they do." He nods his head.
"Would you two stop fighting for five seconds?" we all turn around to see their mother elegantly walk into the room with a fierce yet charming smile on her face. She struts over to the kitchen counter to place the red rectangle put down before turning to face the rest of the room.
"Ava, it's nice to see you again." She walks around the side of the couch and dives in for a friendly hug. I'm quick to hug her back gently. When she pulls away, she leaves the air smelling like expensive and exotic fruits.
"Great to see you as well." I smile.
"Now give me my grandbaby!" She loudly says to Justin.
Justin looks more than excited to quickly pass the grumpy baby over. Angela snuggles her close and starts saying cute and comforting stuff to her.
"So when am I going to get more grandbabies?" She asks flat out.
Justin bursts out laughing and begins to shake his head, "Not for a long time if you're waiting for me," he says. "Maybe Blake will slip up and London will have a little brother or sister?" He adds in.
Justin's eyes land on me and the comment sends my cheeks bright red. I can't believe he just said that!
"No more babies!" Blake firmly says.
"For now," she slips in cheekily.
Another person walks in the room, and instead of displaying the same high energetic entrance, Blake's father clunks through the doorway and heads straight over to Angela. He kisses London's forehead and says hello.
As he looks up, his eyes catch mine and then frowns. A bewildered expression consumes his face until his eyes light up with some form of recognition.
"Ava Greyson?" he asks.
"Yes?" the man standing before me did not look like anyone I could remember off the top of my head. In fact, I'm sure I've never met this man before. His distinct facial shape and piercing blue eyes are a sight you wouldn't forget.
"I'm Thomas," he introduces himself. "I work with your father as co-manager. He talks about you a lot at work, it's nice to finally meet you." I stand up and shake his extended hand.
"That's so weird, but nice to meet you." I pleasantly smile back.
Dad doesn't talk much about work, well not about the people who surround him in his job role, but rather rants and curses about the bad days he's had. My father was a tradie - the one that gets up at five in the morning, wears Fluro gear and seems to have a rotten smell that follows them, yes, that's him.
He'd given up the hard manual work and progressed further up the ladder. He still wants to work, but at an appropriate level that didn't require the youth of his slowly aging body. I guess that's what Blake's father has done too.
"We'll have to invite Ava's parents over for dinner one night," he says to Angela.
"I do love a dinner party," she gushes excitedly.
"I'm sure they'd love that."
So far things are going good.
"Dinner's ready, come and serve yourself," Blake calls out.
He walks out of the kitchen and over to his mother to collect London out of her arms. He snuggles her close and then apologizes about having to spend time with awkward uncle Justin.
His mother and father wander over to the kitchen to look at the food laid out on the bench, while Justin starts to pile the food on his plate with his fingers.
"That's disgusting Justin, don't put your fingers in the food. I thought I raised you better!" she grumbles.
Justin says something cocky and then laughs. He doesn't worry about her protests because he continues to pick at the food and quickly eat it.
"Do we have wine?" Thomas asks.
"Of course we have wine," Angela replies. "Not sure if the wine fridge is still stocked here though." She looks at Blake suspiciously.
"Should have bought a bottle of red!" Thomas says disappointedly.
"We'll make Justin grab one." Angela shrugs her shoulders.
"Justin," Thomas calls out.
My attention is taken away from the three when Blake pokes my side. My eyes shift to his face and my attention is drawn to the happy smile plastered on his face.
"Everything okay?" he asks.
"Great." I smile back at him.
"I hope you like the food," he mumbles.
"I'm sure I'll like it, thank you." Blake's shoulders relax and his overall aura seems to brighten up.
"Serve yourself, I'll be there in a second," he encourages.
"Are you sure?"
"Don't be shy," he laughs.
I leave Blake to sort out London while I move towards the kitchen counter. All the food is still placed in pots or tossed into containers. It's a bit different how my mother prepares dinner, but it's a nice relaxed style which brings on the comfort and easy like feeling to the room, thankfully.
I grab a plate from the bench and use the scoop to start dishing food onto my plate.
When I've finished serving my food, I sit down at the table in a free seat. Thomas and Justin are adjacent to me - I expected Thomas to occupy the chair at the head of the table, but their seats provide the perfect view to the AFL game on the television screen. Angela is to my left which means Blake can sit to my right.
Turning my head, I look over my shoulder at the screen to try and figure out what's happening to help support any kind of conversations the two might take place. But from the distance, all I see is blurry people running along the green grass and the commentator shouting as the coloured teams make moves and whatnot.
When I turned to look at the screen, I hoped the colours of their uniforms would spark an understanding of their team name, but nothing comes to mind. The purple and white colours seemed familiar, but I couldn't place a name.
I'd hope that I'd see the screen and colour of the uniform to be promoted about past interactions about sport - but nothing comes to mind. Purple and red, those colours seem familiar and local, but for the name, that's foreign.
The sound of a chair scraping against the ground draws my attention to Blake. He takes a seat and shuffles in closer. Angela reaches for the remote and manages to take it off the table and mute the bustling noise of the television.
"Aw," both Thomas and Justin say together.
"You can watch it later, your father has it recording next door," she mutters. "It's family time now," she declares.
Justin picks up his fork and starts eating the rice in big mouthfuls. While she's scolding Justin, Thomas manages to grab the television remote to flick the mute off and turns the noise to a low hum.
Angela grumbles under her breath about the boy before getting up and leaving the table. I keep quiet and look down at my food.
Slowly, I pick up my fork and poke at it. When I notice Blake staring at me from the corner of my eye, I smile and start to gather the rick on my fork.
Angela quickly returns with her red wine and glasses. She places them on the table and starts pouring it. She hands one to Thomas and then looks at Justin. He nods his head without having to be questioned.
"Blake, Ava?" She holds up the bottle.
"Yeah." Blake nods.
"Good." She passes out the full glasses and returns to her meal.
"Thank you for coming tonight," Blake whispers.
"Thank you for having me." I feel his hand rest on the top of my knee, which sends tingles of excitement through my body. I slip my hand under the table and rest m hand on top of his. I see Blake with a happy look on his face, which fills me with joy.
Blake Pierce is someone special to me and I was his special person too.