Finding Ava ✔️

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24 | Parties And Kisses (part 2)

“What on earth were you doing Ava?” He asks, anger clear in his tone. Gulping, I wonder how I will get out of this.

My mouth opens and closes in shock. I don’t know what was thinking. The answer is: I wasn’t thinking. I just...kissed him. I didn’t think about the repercussions, I didn’t consider what it would do to Max. I just kissed him.

Max patiently waits for an answer, staring at me expectantly.

“I -” Pausing, I think of what to say. Swallowing, I attempt to say something to him. “Oh god, I messed up.”

Max doesn’t respond. In fact, he doesn’t do anything other than stand in front of the bed, watching. His intense gaze never unwavering, always on me. I’m beginning if he’s looking at me or looking at me.

“It’s almost funny. You are the one who usually mucks up but this time I did. I got drunk and kissed some guy knowing you have feelings for me. God, that makes me such a bitch.” I say, light-heartedly, trying to ease the obvious tension in the room.

Max doesn’t laugh.

“Oh come on, I tried to make a joke,” I sigh.

I stand up, feeling slightly woozy and stumble my way to Max. Just as I’m about to reach Max, I trip on a bit of bed cover that is hanging on the ground. Max is quick to catch me, wrapping his arms around my waist.

His face hovers over mine, so close to me. I move my head closer to him, executing the first move. But before I can kiss him, Max hoists me up and puts me back on the bed. Disappointment fills my face and I do something I never thought I would do in front of Max. I guess you can blame the alcohol for that.

I cry.

I cry, with hot tears running down my cheeks and curl up into a fetal position. I cry because I’m not as strong as I like to admit.

Sobbing, I think about all of the mistakes I’ve made, the bad things I’ve done. What I’ve said.

I am so lost in my thoughts, that I don’t notice Max coming over to me until he uncurls me and picks me up. Gently, he places me on his lap and softly runs a hand through my knotty hair. I start sobbing into his chest, leaving my wet tears on his top.

I don't really know why I'm crying. It might be the alcohol.

For several moments, Max lets me have this moment. For a short while, he lets me have my moment to break down.

“Ssh,” Max whispers into my ear, rocking me back and forth like a baby. When I run out of tears, I begin to hiccup. Max mutters comforting and soothing words into my hair, kissing my temple. “It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be fine.”

Oddly enough, I believe his words. Perhaps its because I’m drunk or maybe its because they are coming from Max.

“I’m an awful person. I’m so mean.” I state, my heart plummeting when I realize how true it is.

Looking up, I see Max frowning to himself. “What do you mean? You are one of the nicest people I know.”

I nearly snort at his words but refrain myself from doing so.

Shaking my head, I fiddle with my hands. “I’m not. I was a complete bitch to you when I saw you. I called you words I didn’t mean. I pushed you away. Its a miracle you’re here right now, consoling me. You should be downstairs having fun with a girl who deserves you.”

“No, no, no. Don’t you dare say those things, Ava.” Max practically insists. “You were hurt, I understand that. Hell, I would probably act like that too if I was in your position. Its a miracle you forgave me. And I’m glad you pushed me away. It only made me want to persist you more. Ava, you are so strong. You are amazing, beautiful and smart. You are so kind too, you help others out. I know you are trying to help Bree and Harry out - yes, I see something happened between them.

“Sunshine, I don’t deserve you. You are above my league. The very fact you could be friends with me shows how you can put everything past us and give me a second chance. You put on a brave face and did something remarkable. God, you are so blind.” He groans softly, resting his chin on my hair.

Electricity crackles around us, on my skin. My heart thumps and pumps so fast, with exhilaration and love.

I want to cry again. But not with sadness, disappointment. But with relief and love. God, so much love.

Sniffling, I rub my nose and wipe the single, happy tear, that streaks down my flushed face.

Max’s attention resumes back to my face. He sends me a confused look, worried.

Laughing slightly, I answer him to relieve him of worrying anymore. “It’s a happy tear. You...god, you have such a way with words. It’s not even fair. You make me feel so special and one in a kind. God, now I do feel awful. But thanks, I really needed that. Sometimes our insecurities, doubts, and worries can catch up with us. I think the alcohol played a big part in it too.”

Max nods his head in understanding and rubs circles on my arm.

“Max?” I ask, in a croaky voice. My throat still feels hoarse from all of my wailing.

Max hmms softly and I continue. “Can you kiss me?”

When Max doesn’t respond, I twist in his lap and cup his cheeks, capturing his face. And then I smash my lips to his.

“I want you to know I loved you so much once. And whilst I’m not in the right place at the moment, one day I will be able to answer the question you are begging to hear.” I say, breaking the silence that settled between us.

After thinking about what happened, from getting wasted to having a breakdown, I know what I have to say.

“I mess up sometimes. We all do, we are human. You messed up - two years ago.” I begin, seeing Max flinch slightly in the corner of my eye. “I messed up by kissing that boy. We do it over and over. I think...”

I don’t even know where I’m going with this. I don’t know what I’m thinking.

Clearing his throat, Max says: “so we kissed. I think we should discuss that.”

Sighing, I lie down on the bed. Max copies my movement, lying right next to me. Our hands are by our sides, inches apart.

“Yeah...maybe,” I say, staring up at the ceiling.

“So...” Max awkwardly trails off.

I sigh. “I was drunk. I want to be honest with you Max. I’m not ready for a relationship, not yet. I want to experience life, single, independent. But I’m scared I will lose you.”

“You won’t,” Max reassures but I don’t believe him. He can’t guarantee that.

“Max, what I am about to ask you is unfair and...wrong,” I tell him, turning my face to stare at him. His brown eyes meet mine, a hidden uncertainty in them.

I’m starting to worry him.

With a deep breath, I begin. “I want - no, if you still want to go on a date with me, then ask me on our graduation day.”

Finally uttering those words makes me realize how selfish they are. To ask anyone to do that, to save and wait is wrong and awful. I feel horrible and so self-centered.

But I have to make it clear to him that I’m not ready. I want - need - to focus on school. Since I have moved here, I’ve been searching for some colleges. I have a vague idea of the grades I need and I know that I need to put every part of me into studying. Being in a relationship will distract me.

Max doesn’t deserve me to neglect him. He shouldn’t have to listen to me yell at him, blame him for me failing classes.

We both need to focus on our future. We need to think about what we want. Max and I can want very different things, our paths may stop crossing and instead, they might start separating.

We both need to accept that.

Max sucks in a breath, shifting his position so he is staring back at the ceiling.

“Max, we are at the stage in our lives where we decide what we want,” I explain. “We both need to make school our priority. We need to decide what we want to do - where we want to go. Being together right now will complicate everything. So that’s why, when I have applied for colleges, graduated from high school, I want to go on a date with you. I know its selfish of me - cruel. You don’t have to sign up for it, you don’t have to wait. I will understand if you give up and let go. I will respect that.”

Max listens intensively, taking in all of my words.

“But if we go to different universities, then what will we do?” Max questions, raising a point I was about to get to.

“Then we will come to that then. We can decide whether its a sign our paths no longer cross or we fight.” I answer.

Max purses his lips together. “But what if I want to fight now.”

“You don’t.” I immediately reply. He turns to me, arching an eyebrow. “You don’t because you respect my choice. I do know you, Max. I know you will nod your head and accept my decision. Whether you ask me on that date next year, I don’t know. And don’t tell me now, I will wait. Leave it a mystery.”

Finally feeling satisfied and content, I let my body relax. Everything that has been weighing on my shoulders has gone. Max now knows why I have been hesitant, doubtful.

“Thanks for being honest,” Max says. “Are we going to remain friends then?”

I ponder on his question for a few seconds. I don’t see why I can’t. It would be unfair and unreasonable to dismiss him but continue to be friends with the others.

“Of course,” I whisper.

“Well then, as your friend, I want to invite you on a trip tomorrow. Just you and me.” Max declares.

“What? Why?” I inquire.

“You’ve said everything you needed to, now it’s my turn. I’ll be at your house tomorrow, at 7. Be ready.” He informs me and gets up. “Oh and pack your swimming costume with a towel.”

{Please don't hate me for this.}

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