No one can possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening, each time, for the first time, for the only time.
After all his Del Sol Valley commitments were satisfied, interviews, photo shoots, private auditions, a retake of a scene from his latest movie and various other things before he could take a break in between, all of which took a lot longer than he had anticipated – almost two weeks, Ewan was on the next plane, got into his rental car and drove straight to the diner.
“You again, city boy. Didn’t think I’d see you again.” Ava smiled, using the same line as last time they met here.
“Back at you, waitress from hell. Came as fast as I could.”
“If you consider this fast, I get why you are such a hit with the ladies. A quickie with you must take hours. Whatcha want?” she slid onto the bench next to him, he made room.
“Subtle! But sorry, employee pimping day was yesterday, has to be something off the actual menu today.”
“I have yet to see one. I keep getting this obnoxious waitress that never brings me a menu or much of anything else for that matter.” Ewan grinned at her.
“It’s a diner. We have diner food, city boy.”
“When does your shift end?”
“Tell you what, I’ll just get you your usual. Coffee, the cheeseburger and fries.”
“You are so cruel to me.”
“No, cruel would be bringing you the chilli. Burns going down, but even worse coming back out. I’ll get you food, city slicker.” Ava got up, Ewan joined her, wanting to talk to her more. He wasn’t hungry, he was here to see her.
“Ava, girl, if he ain’t buyin’ nothin’ then take that beau of yours out with you. Your shift ended 15 minutes ago and you are just holding up everything. Git home to your daddy.” they heard what looked like the diner’s manager’s voice.
“He isn’t my my beau, uncle Jim. He’s a crazy stalker from the city.”
“Well, new to me we invite crazy stalkers to our BBQs now, cos I seen him there myself at your daddy’s home, so take him with you anyway. And take Bev’s casserole dish with you and drop it off with her for me, girl. Get, get, sweetheart.” the manager roared, the gentle smile belying his rather rough words.
“Fine, you stalker beau, let’s go. Make yourself useful and drive me home in that fancy rental car of yours.” Ava told Ewan with a theatrical sigh.
“Are your father and brothers home?” Ewan asked carefully, not really eager for more back-breaking advice from them.
“My dad and brothers are ALWAYS home.”
She made him park his rental at the motel, then walked to her nearby home with him after dropping said casserole dish off at another house.
“How long are you in town for?”
“Few days. Got a few things coming up on the weekend. Speaking of weekends, there is some big event I have to go to Sunday in two weeks. Was hoping you’d want to go with me.”
“Another wedding?” Ava asked.
“No, work-related for me.”
“Sure, while you’re here you can help me choose between a mini dress or the one I wore to your cousin’s wedding. Maybe I’ll start the raggedy Ann trend in the big city.”
“I’m afraid that won’t fly for that particular event, it’s black tie, we won’t even get in the door with you in anything other than a full-length evening gown. We could rent you a gown since you react so allergic to me just buying you one, if we must. Pretty please …”
“Okay, I’ll make you a deal, Ewan. You stick around here for three days and three nights, and I’ll go with you to your apartment in Del Sol Valley and see how it goes. If it goes well, I’ll come back to go to that event with you. Even may let you buy me a dress so I don’t embarrass you too much.”
“It’s on, I’ll book me a room now.”
“Oh no! No, no, no. Here.” she pointed to of of her family’s trailers.
“You think your dad and brothers would allow me to stay here with you? Do you even have a guest … trailer? Or do you expect me to curl up by the fire with the dogs?”
“Nope, you’re allowed in the house. Daddy don’t mind. My room, my rules.”
“We’d share your room?”
“And you are absolutely sure your dad and brothers won’t come after me with their guns? Wait – I know that smile. What’s the catch?”
“The catch is, you get to live my life for a few days. No running off to nice hotels, restaurants, spas … just here or at the diner with me, whatever you prefer. If you can make it without too much complainin’, I’ll go live yours with you for a few days.”
“I can do that. It’s on!”
“I wouldn’t be so sure.”
And she would be right. Ewan’s nerves were put to the test.
Not only was there a constant coming and going, some people lived there, some didn’t but walked in just the same, some were in-laws, some aunts, uncles, cousins, to the point that Ewan couldn’t keep any of it straight anymore. There always was yelling and screaming by kids and adults plus barking of dogs. And always something resembling parties, nearly every night there was a BBQ with music and drinking.
On top of all Ava’s brothers seemed to love nothing more than to mess with him whenever she wasn’t around to save him, purposely giving him terrible tasks, sending him on fool’s errands or asking him things he had never heard of only to end up doubled over snorting for laughter.
Ava did some of the yelling of her own when she found out two of her brothers had challenged Ewan to shoot shotguns with them, he ended up knocked to the ground with a bruised shoulder from the backlash. The girl of the slight build reamed the two burly mens’ butts so bad, their initial drunk stupor and laughter wore off quick, until they were reduced to a sea of apologies courtesy their little sister’s angry rants.
Back in her room she cleaned Ewan up, ever so gentle and careful it filled his entire body with butterflies.
“Just gonna be a nasty bruise, you’ll live. I’ll get you some ice. Why did you do that?”
“I didn’t want to look like a ninny. Didn’t want to embarrass you.”
“Look, we both knew this would be tough, but I really am trying here, Ava. Should get some credit for it.”
“You got all the credit in the world when you changed Andy’s diaper. I didn’t think you’d go through with it, especially after you told me you never done it for your younger siblings.”
“We had a nanny. Nobody changed diapers at my house.”
“Well, you did an excellent job, especially for the first time, city boy. May make a decent man out of ya yet.”
“Didn’t realize shitty diapers make a man. Do I get bonus points for that other kid I fed, some other nephew of yours, even though I ended up wearing most of his dinner?”
“You would, if you could remember their names and which of my brothers they belong to. Just playing, you did amazingly well. I am really impressed.”
“Does this mean you are done being cruel to me then?”
“Cruel? How am I cruel, I have done nothing but save your butt again and again, I have even been sharing my bed with you for days. Not my fault you are asleep soon as you hit the pillow and can’t even try if your city slicker lines work on me.”
Ewan snorted a laugh, shaking his head, eyes closed, thinking that any other girl who would have ever put him through any of this, he would have walked away from. No, he’d have RUN, as fast as he could.
Their eyes met, she smiled at him, then told him
“Show me Del Sol Valley then, Ewan, if that offer still stands. I am ready for all the payback I am sure you have in store for me there.”
“What already? Hasn’t even been the full three days and three nights! I am having such a good time here.”
“Careful now or I just may let you suffer till the end.” she giggled.
Both fell asleep fast that night, and by the next afternoon they were at the airport waiting for their flight to Del Sol Valley.
Heart beating fast, wondering what she may say Ewan watched Ava closely after he unlocked the door to his apartment and followed her inside. It wasn’t the biggest apartment, nor the most luxurious, but it was located on prime real estate in walking distance to the Walk of Fame and the Academy Awards hall, as well as only a 10 minute drive to the film studios.
Naturally, her reaction was not what most people would expect.
“Where’s your bathroom? I need to pee before you take me sightseeing.”
Ewan pointed at the bathroom door, as memories of her in a towel popped into his head, before he put her bag into Hannah’s old room. With Eric moved out, the apartment had become way too quiet and lonely. There were times where the silence was deafening, even with the city sounds outside and TV on inside.
“Oh my God – you actually have a bathtub looking out at the Walk of Fame!”
Ava’s sudden outburst as she joined him again startled him a little, but also made him smile.
“Yeah, pretty at night. I put your bags in Hannah’s old room. Let me give you the tour.”
Ewan showed her the rest of the apartment, explained a few features, when suddenly she stopped him by pulling him back, pointing at the couch.
“That’s where they did it, your ex and Hannah’s dude, isn’t it?”
“Where is that coming from now?!”
“Ever since we walked in, you have been staring at that couch like it was the gates to hell. How is that for people reading skills?”
“Impressive. Truth be told, yeah, that’s where I caught them. They probably did it all over this place though – I don’t wanna think about that. Had it all professionally cleaned, but the memories remain.”
“Why are you doing this to yourself then?”
“What?” Ewan’s mind went blank the way she touched his face, so close, her eyes looking caring and genuine.
“If that happened to me, I’d have burned the couch – possibly with the cheaters on it – and left this place long ago.”
“Eric was still living here. I couldn’t just leave him stranded. Living here is pricey. Finding a home takes a lot of time and a realtor.”
“It’s a city, Ewan, people move, just like everywhere else. You want a new house, we’ll find you an available house you like. Let’s make it a bet, if I win, you have to do what I say when I say it.”
“How is that new? What do I get?”
“What do you want?”
“You KNOW what I want.”
“Okay, you’re on.”
“Yeah, let’s go.” she took his hand and ants were crawling though his veins while his heart beat up a storm.
Off they went.
To Ewan’s surprise did Ava not bash everything, instead she smiled a lot, pointed, giggled and was as upbeat as a little kid in a candy store, pointing here and there.
It made Ewan enjoy it all over again, from a new, different perspective.
Somehow, through twists of fate they ended up in the hills, on their way to visit his older sister Briar Rose and her husband Stryker when Ava saw a ‘House For Sale’ sign. They went to the nearby address noted on it and arrived at an impressive mansion.
“Wanna look at it? Just for shits and giggles?” Ewan offered.
“Hell yeah!” Ava smiled.
Ewan pulled out his cell phone and dialed the number on the sign.
Voicemail came on, so he re-tried. And re-tried.
Why? Because the girl next to him wanted to see it, and dammit, he wanted her to see it.
“No answer …” Ewan hung up after trying the realtor’s number on the sign a few more times, discouraged and cursing in his head.
He had wanted to look good in front of Ava, along the lines of whatever she wanted, he could get for her.
“No matter. Come with me.” she started crossing the front lawn towards the side of the house.
“Ava, that is trespassing!”
“No, for all everybody else knows, we are just looking at a house you may be interested in buying – or not. Not our fault nobody wants to show us. Come.”
Nervously Ewan let her drag him around the gigantic – but currently vacant – home into the backyard where she climbed a fence and found an open door.
“Ava! AVA! That is breaking and entering! Come back! AVA!”
Ewan called after her, but she just kept going, only turning back to him once, waving him to follow.
Uneasy and nervous, Ewan followed suit.
“Wow.” Ewan said as they walked into the large, covered pool area overlooking Del Sol Valley.
“You like it?” Ava asked.
“You kidding? Look at that view!”
“You know what that means, right?” Ava grinned.
“That we both may go to jail if the house has a silent alarm or anyone saw us?”
“No, means I won my bet. We found an available house you like. That was the deal. Now pay up, Buttercup.”
“No … wait … okay, I see what you did there with the wording. Fine, you won. What do I have to do? Jump off the ledge?”
“Take off your clothes.”
“Ava …” he begged but looking at her he knew it would be in vain. Backing out now would make him look like a chicken in her book. And since when had he ever been afraid to get naked with a girl?! Oh what the hell …?
So he did. Once done with a record-worthily fast clothing removal, he stood awkwardly in front of her, covering his most delicate parts best he could with his hands, wondering what was gonna be next. Hopefully not streaking down the street … where his sister lived.
She looked at him, in a strange way, as if she was pondering her next steps. He knew she didn’t own a cell phone or a camera, so at least it wasn’t going to produce some uncomfortable evidence.
But as usual with Ava, it was never what you would expect. She slipped out of her clothes, turned around as she took off her underwear – then just jumped in the pool, leaving Ewan standing and staring wondering how it could be that she still managed to surprise him again and again.
“Come on Ewan! Get in!” she demanded.
“You are one crazy woman!” he said, one quick glance up the hill where he could see his older sister’s home clear as day. If even a single paparazzo would catch this, he’d be done for!
Hopefully his older sister Briar Rose and her husband Stryker didn’t own binoculars to look at empty neightborhood houses with. Or if they did, hopefully they wouldn’t look over here now. There was nowhere to hide, just windows everywhere, putting him and Ava out on display for all crazy and nosey stalkers to fully take in.
Ewan jumped into the pool, when he surfaced again he saw Ava smiling. The mere realization that there were only inches separating them, both of them naked, almost put him over the edge, only surpassed by what he felt when she put her arms around his neck – and kissed him! Ewan felt like a teenage boy right after receiving his very first kiss.
He felt her naked body against his, in the water warmed by the mild afternoon sun falling through the large windows and he couldn’t hide his excitement. By now she had to know he wanted her, as her stomach and leg both had grazed his manhood during their kiss.
“I think you might like girls shaped like 13 year old boys after all, Ewan.” she whispered into his ear, her lips grazing it just enough to make his entire body quiver.
“I think you are right. One in particular had my tail in a spin for a while now.” he grinned back.
It may have been just his imagination but the next kiss felt like the longest kiss in all history.
What followed after was even more intense, far surpassing any and all expectations Ewan might have had. Ava was an enigma to Ewan, always straddling the line between innocence and firecracker.
As it turned out intimacy with her proved to be no different. It was the single most intense experience Ewan could think of. Definitely worth the wait – and all the burning hoops he had to jump through to get here.
When he finally let her go, she smiled so sweetly it gave him hot shivers of a deeper feeling than just the physical desire they already satisfied.
“Isn’t it amazing … one little touch, just like this, can cause ripples almost all across the pool. You never know how far they will fan out and for how long it will interrupt the quiet water.” she said as she tipped a finger into the still, mirror-like water, which was soon interrupted as she predicted.
“Yeah, just like the tiniest instances have the potential to change entire lives.” he agreed, and the look she gave him told him they understood each other without saying the words. The waters of both their lives had been rippled by coincidence and both were holding their breaths to see what would come of it.
“Changed mine for sure. I didn’t want to say anything, but tell you a secret. You were my first. Always hoped and dreamed it would be special and boy, is it ever.” Ava spoke quietly, looked at him differently.
“What?! Ava, why didn’t you tell me. I would have been a hell of a lot more careful!” Ewan couldn’t have been more surprised at that revelation. This he would have not guessed in a million years, but could feel she was being truthful.
She just shrugged.
“Ava, how old are you?” Ewan asked suspiciously.
“21. Don’t worry, I am not underage, just picky. Told you, no cute boys where I live.”
Ewan took a while to digest the news. At now 26 it had been a long while and many women ago since he last had been anyone’s first time. That Ava … she would probably never seize to amaze him in the most unexpected ways imaginable.
Only because both were starting to shiver in the now unheated pool, they finally climbed out, Ava had managed to find clean towels for them to dry off.
In the middle of them getting dressed Ewan’s phone rang. The realtor.
After Ava’s encouragement, he answered, grinning.
“Yeah – we’re interested in seeing the house. We can meet you there, yeah, now is good, we’re literally right there.” he told the caller.
He grinned at Ava, who smiled back, nodding.
When he hung up he looked at her.
“Are we gonna run or wait?”
“I say we take the full tour!”
“All right. You got it.”
They finished dressing, hid the damp towels, climbed back over the fence and waited by the car. Naturally the realtor recognized Ewan and laid it on thick, after praising all of his movies, she went straight into praising every single nook and cranny of the home.
When she got to the back of the home, she started to describe the pool as a once in a lifetime experience, taken aback by Ewan and Ava’s hysterical laughter.