Chapter 4- Noah
“Okay folks, we have landed in Savannah. Please enjoy the day.” Everyone starts to get up and gather their things. Being in the aisle seat and close to the entrance I was able to exit the plane quick.
Once I got to the entrance of the gate, I see my beautiful blonde hair, blue eyed sister. She was so small and yet so noticeable in a crowd. Wearing a red plaid shirt and her skinny blue jeans. A smile stretches across her face when her eyes fall on me.
“NOAH!!” She runs into my arms causing me to drop my duffle to the floor.
“Hi Ava.” She slides down revealing my 6′2 height compared to her 5′4 height.
“Oh, my goodness, how are you? I’ve missed you so much.” I kneel down and grab my bag.
“We just spoke yesterday you goof.” I put my arm over her shoulders and start walking towards the baggage claim.
“I know, but seeing you, home, it’s been a while. Everyone is so excited to see you too.”
“Oh yeah? Who?”
“The family. Mama, Pop, Gramps and Grandma.”
“Anyone else?” She looks up at me as I look down at her and I see a sad look in her eyes. “Come on, don’t look at me like that.”
“Noah... you just got here, let’s not revisit anything just yet.” I nod and give her a soft smile.
Once we get my bag, we walk out and I see my brother-in-law Drew sitting in a big black Toyota RAM truck, with his shades on. Once he sees me and Ava, he hops out the truck and jogs over to us. Ava takes the bag out of my hand while Drew approaches.
“Noah! How are ya man? Missed having you around here.” He brings me in for a hug. His long hair that is usually hanging around his shoulders, was tied up in a ponytail. His thick beard standing out more than usual, because his hair is up. I remember when my sister broke the news to the family that they were dating. It was a big deal. Everyone thought he was a dangerous, motorcycle driving, thug, which he was and Ava is the only girl. But he fell head over heels for Ava and slowly but surely turned his life around. Now he owns a very successful bar in town, while Ava does her thing as a registered nurse.
“It’s good to be home man.”
“I hope you had a good flight... oh babe, let me grab that.” He reaches for the bag in her hand and tosses it in the back of the pick-up truck. At the same time, I reach for my luggage and put it in the back too.
Ava hops in the back of the truck, while drew goes around to the driver’s side and me the passenger. Once we start driving in the open road, the memories start flooding in my mind.
I look to the driver’s side and images of her face are resurfacing. Olivia. Her big bright smile. Her freckled skin. Her green eyes. Her brown hair. The oversized jean jacket that always fell down her arms, showing her freckled shoulders.
I close my eyes and turn my head towards the open window.
I feel a hand slide on my left shoulder and already I know it’s Ava’s. I grab it and smile softly.
I see the town sign finally... Waterston.
The familiarity of my home rushes all over me. I did miss it. Nothing beats being home. I turn my head over to Drew, who was bumping his head to the country playing.
“So, man, how’s the bar doing?” Drew lowers the music.
“It’s doing great actually. I have live music now, we also started serving food.”
“Oh wow! So much has happened in a matter of a couple of months. How about you Ava? How’s the hospital?”
“Everything’s good, I got moved to the NICU and I absolutely love it. I get to see all the babies who need just a little extra lovin’.”
I nod. “Wow, Ave’s that’s amazing. How about the house? I know you guys were in the moving process before I left. ”
“Oh man, Noah, you’re going to love it. It’s right by the farm, so you can visit mom any time you need to, and we’re close enough to the town, so it’s not exhaustingly far.”
“Wait, I’m not staying with mom?”
Drew chuckled, “Man, we couldn’t do that to you, we have so much space too. You don’t have to worry.” I laughed along with him. I look out the window and see my family farm. The wrap around porch in view and my grandparents sitting on the porch swing drinking their sweet ice teas. Yup, it feels so good to be home, for now.
Once the truck was parked, I hop out and the screen door swings open. A small woman with the cutest head of blonde hair, that I know all too well, comes running out and runs to me.
“Mom. Ugh, I missed you so so much!”
“Oh no, I missed you. My baby. You need some food in you”
I start laughing and hold her away from me to get a good look at her. Her hair lay flat to her shoulders, her eyes sparkling blue, just like Ava’s. She wore a white t-shirt and jean shorts, with some boots.
Right behind her came my grandparents, smiling big and bright.
“Oh Noah, how was your flight?” My grandma said, giving me a tight hug. I hug her back taking in all the comfort and love.
“Oh grams, it was nice.” My grandpa smiles at me and shakes my hand.
“Come on, let’s get the boy inside, he’s been travelin’ all day.” My grandpa takes my grandma’s hand, and they turn to go inside. For a second, I forget about why I left my family in the first place. The love they have to give is tremendous. I forgot how supportive they are. No judgment has ever filled their pure hearts. I know it’s not common in families and that’s why mentally I’m kicking myself for ever leaving and disappointing them.
“Here Noah, I made you a sandwich.” I take the sandwich and smile at my grandmother.
“Thanks grams, you didn’t have too.” She rolls her eyes and sits at one of the chairs at the table.
My mom sits next to me, smiling happily as I eat my sandwich. I laugh with my mouth so full. Once I swallow it, I look at her.
“Mom, stop staring, it’s kind of creeping me out.”
“Oh I am so sorry, I just am so happy to see you home,” she pats my arm. “So are you going to be staying here with us?”
“Mama, Noah’s staying with us.” Ava jumps in before I could answer. “I already told you this.”
My mom grins and rolls her eyes. “I know, I just wanted to see what your brother was going to say.” I laugh.
“Yeah mama, sorry. Ava beat you to the invitation, but I’ll come by often. Don’t you worry.”
After about 2 hours passed by, talking to everyone, laughing, reminiscing about my childhood, and talking sports with my granddad. I feel a wave of exhaustion hit me. Ava notices and gets up.
“I think it’s time to let Noah get settled in.” I nod in agreement, getting up, everyone doing the same to say their goodbyes.
“Yeah! I am so exhausted. I promise I will come by once I’m settled.” After hugging my grandparents, I walk to the door while my mom follows alongside me. Once outside on the porch, she pulls me to a complete stop, while letting Ava and Drew walk to the truck without me. I look down at her in confusion.
“Listen Noah, I want to have dinner just you and me. I think we should talk about why you left Waterston.” She’s careful with her words and I can see concern cover her face.
I quickly shake my head rubbing my mom’s arms up and down. “Look mama, I know you mean well, but I can’t talk about it. I’m here for a fresh start, to start my life once again. I know I left, but I’m here to stay. Don’t worry about anything pushing me away again. Ok?”
She took a deep breath and smiled a small one. “Alright, I think that’s fair, but Noah eventually you’ll have to face whatever it is you’re running from.” Instead of responding, I pull her in for one last hug and kiss her on the forehead.
“I’ll call you, ok?” She nods, releasing me. I head for the truck.
After about 10 minutes driving, we drive into a long driveway and see a modern looking house, that had dark grey all around. We pull up to two garage doors. Right next to it was an outside entrance door that also looked modern with multiple windows on the door. There was a huge balcony that I could see was decorated with outdoor furniture like a couch, some chair, knowing Drew there must be a grill up there too. The sun was setting so I can see some fairy lights running along the railing of the balcony. Seeing how successful my sister has become made me smile.
“Wow guys, your home is so beautiful! I can’t believe you bought this just 4 months ago.” Ava nods, turning her head to me.
“Yeah, we actually got super lucky with this spot. They just finished building it, so it’s one of the newer homes of the area. When we toured it, we were like we’re taking it.” She smiled and looked at Drew. Their love has always been inspiring to me.
We pull into the garage and to my surprise I see my Harley motorcycle. “No way”, I say hopping out of Drew’s truck. “I missed you baby.” I rub the seat, swinging my leg over, smiling. I hear two door slams and feel Ava mocking me. “I feel you staring, and I don’t care.” I smile at her. She rolls her eyes.
“You and this stupid bike,” she says rolling her eyes,
“I hope you like our surprise.” Drew says hopping out the truck smiling.
“Yeah man, thanks for taking care of Bessy for me.” I hop off the bike and grab my bags out the trunk of Drew’s truck.
“Actually, Bessy wasn’t the surprise.” Ava says as she starts walking towards a door that I know leads to the inside of the house. I follow them through the door, curiosity hitting me. When we get inside were surrounded by 3 doors, one straight ahead, one on the right and the other on the left. There’s also a 2 flight staircase leading to the upstairs. Drew opens the door straight ahead and walks inside, flicking on the lights.
Once I make my way inside, I see it’s a mini apartment. You can see a modern kitchen. Everything was white, the cabinets and the appliances. There was also a small white counter island that had a light grey base. There were also three black stools pushed under the counter. Outside of the kitchen area was a living room area. A tan l-shaped couch sat across a flat screen t.v. that hung up on the wall with a beautiful coffee table in between. The basement floor was all oak-wood making everything look cohesive. I saw 2 doors side by side on the left of the basement entrance door. Both were open, one was a bedroom and the other a bathroom.
“It’s everything you need a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room as you can see. You won’t feel like you are intruding, and you’ll be able to come and go as you please. Here is your key.” Drew hands me a keychain with 2 keys hanging, out of his pocket. It held my motorcycle key and my set of the house keys. I take it while I place my bags on the floor.
“Guys, I can’t. This is just too much.” I shake my head trying to hand Drew back the key.
“Noah, stop it!” Ava says, pushing my hand back towards me. “You’re home now. Starting fresh. What’s better than to start fresh with us.” Ava says leaning against the front door.
“Ava’s right. We made the decision together and we want you here with us. Also, I want you at the bar with me, I want you to co-manage it.”
“You guys are just doing too much.” I shake my head in disbelief. “A job? A place to live? I don’t deserve this.”
“Noah, you’re my brother. Again, this is a non-intrusive set-up. We won’t bother you and vice versa. It’s not forever, you can leave whenever you want. But get your feet on solid ground, we aren’t rushing you out. We bought this house not just for us, but to cater to our family.” Ava looks at Drew.
“Yeah Noah, family helps family out. Listen, it’s already done man. We leave at 10am. I gotta stock up, take inventory, count the drawers. I’ll get you trained to know everything so you can be my acting manager.” He slaps my arm smiling. Ava smiles as well, taking Drews hand.
“Yeah, I need my man home more,” Ava laughs lightly slapping Drew’s arm. “Well settle in, we’ll leave you to it and if you need us just holler.” I watch as they closed the door behind them and leave me standing in my new apartment.
Disbelief hits me. I can’t believe how blessed my family has been with me. I mean they set me up really good. A home, a job. Everything I need to get my life together. I grab my bags and walk through the open door that revealed a full-size bed with a plain black duvet cover and four pillows, two white and two black. The room has the basics, a standup wardrobe closet, that had a bunch of drawers and room to hang things up. Instead of unpacking, I placed the bags in front of the double doors and plopped onto the bed. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to drift off to sleep.