Rustling sounds coming from the backdoor of the house, makes me turn my direction to the backdoor when I am just about to head outside.
God, help me if it is the neighbor’s dog deciding to mark its territory.
Recently, I have found our neighbors own a bear dog and trust me from that moment, I haven’t stepped into my backyard alone. Because that dog scared the shit out of me when I found it on our backyard, growling at the Bobby who is just peacefully standing in the shed.
Bobby is a BOB dummy which Pops uses to practice his punches and even sometimes it becomes the target of my kicks too.
Carefully, I go to the backdoor and poke my head outside by slightly opening the door. Just when I am about to close the door, my eyes land on the box placed in front of the door. Stepping outside the door, I crouch down and notice the box is slightly open from the top.
Narrowing my eyes, like the contents of the box will suddenly become visible, I stare at it for a solid one minute. Then my curiosity gets the best of me and I open the box. Before I can even properly look into the box, something small jumps at me making me fall flat on my butt with a loud squeak.
My body relaxes when I find a familiar-looking feline in my lap.
“Frisky?!” I scratch behind her ears and smile, “You look bigger now.” I laugh when she licks my hand.
“What are you doing here?” I ask her as if she can understand me, even when I know who might have brought her here. The only response I get from her is a small meow.
I notice there is something like a small scroll attached to her collar. Placing a small kiss on her head, I take it out and laugh when she settles in my lap after doing a small circle, as I open the scroll.
Please forgive my human. I know he is an idiot for hurting you, but since you are my favorite human and because of him I have met you, so I am asking you to forgive him.
My smile instantly vanishes reading it, as a pair of feet come in my sight. Raising my head, I see Alec standing with a small, but unsure smile. I stand up while picking up Frisky and look at him impassively.
“Hi,” he says in a quiet voice, trying to read my expression.
“I have clearly said that I don’t want anything to do with you, so what are you doing here?” I ask him firmly, getting directly to the point.
“No, you haven’t said anything like that. You said if I value my life, I will not talk to you or show you my face,” he replies.
“So, maybe I don’t value my life.” He shrugs holding my gaze steadily, “Maybe I value our friendship and you more than that.”
Breaking the contact, I sigh.
“Please don’t say such things when we both know you don’t mean them.” Leaning down, I place Frisky back in the box and pet her head before standing straight.
“I mean what I say, Avery.” He stuffs his hands in his jeans pocket, sounding a little bit desperate. “Our friendship matters to me, even more than you can understand. Before you, I really never had an idea of what it's like to have a real friend in my life, but now when I know, I don’t want to lose our friendship.”
“Alec, like any other relationship, friendship is also based on trust and understanding. If we don’t have that, then I don’t think there is much in this friendship to hold on.” I shrug, while my heart falls in my stomach as I voice my thoughts.
“I trusted you when I knew nothing about you, even now I know there is a lot more which I don’t know about you. But still, I trust you. While you, instead of trusting, judged me. Whenever I had any questions I asked you, but never assumed things on my own. While you just made assumptions without knowing the truth. Instead of trying to find the reason behind my behavior, what you did?” Wrapping my arms around myself, I look at him with a small rueful smile.
“I reacted without thinking.” He briefly glances down, then let out a dry chuckle, “Just like you. We both reacted in the same way when we thought the person we care about is in danger. Instead of using our minds, we let our hearts overshadow our thinking. While you hurt the person who put your friend in danger, I lash out on you for putting yourself in danger. We both were afraid to lose the person we care about and acted on impulse, how are we much different from each other, Avery?”
For some reason, my heartbeat quickens, making me swallow hard. When I don’t say anything, he sighs and continues.
“Avery, I am sorry I should not have said those things to you but I didn’t really mean them. However, I am not sorry for caring about you. What kind of friend will I be if I don’t worry about you?”
His words have so much sincerity behind them which is hard not to notice, but I am mad at him so I can overlook it, right?
“Now hear me very clearly, for the first and the last time I am telling you this, you matter to me and I can’t let any harm come to you. Whether you like it or not, I am not going to let you put yourself in danger. I don’t care that you don’t need anyone’s protection, as I will always try to keep you safe. Even if it means to protect you from yourself. You are my friend and I have every right in this world to look after you, worry about you, hell, even to shout at you when you are wrong. And you can’t stop me from doing so, whether you like it or not.” He arches his eyebrow challengingly at me as if asking me to disagree with him, his posture showing dominance.
I would have if I was not so dumfounded, nobody has said such thing to me. Hell, nobody even wanted to be my friend here, apart from Kris, and he is showing so much of concern like I really matter to him.
I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of having the last word, but I don’t know what to say. He is so frustrating and annoying because now I can feel my anger dissipating, however, I want to stay angry.
He gave me a reason to be mad at him, then he is also the one who is giving me a reason not to remain angry with him.
He must have noticed my internal debate with myself, as he takes a small step forward, looking a little relieved than earlier.
“If it makes you feel any better, I will confess, earlier I would have suggested you can beat me for being a jerk to you.” The side of his mouth slightly twitching upward, “But after what I have witnessed yesterday, I don’t think I will ever want to give you any such options.”
My eyes snap to him, only to find teasing glint in his eyes.
Think fast, Avery, anything to just to keep yourself angry. Even though his outburst now makes a sense, but you can’t let him get off the hook so easily.
But it is difficult, especially when he is staring at me so intently. His staring makes me uncomfortable. I have figured he loves to stare, even when I catch him he is least bothered, he just continues to stare as if it is nothing. Sometimes, I think he doesn’t even realize that he is staring.
Yeah, this is a good reason to be angry, his staring is irritating.
Before I can give him an annoyed look, my eyes widen and I instinctually take a step back inside the house when I hear growling and barking sound coming from near.
Since luck is so much on my side, I lose my footing and start falling backward. My hands try to grab on to something to stop myself landing on my ass, but nothing comes in contact.
However, Alec taking one quick stride, snakes his arm around my waist and pulls me towards him. I nearly fall forward on him but, thank God, I hold his shoulders to gain my balance.
“Am I forgiven?” I can see he is trying to hide a grin at my horrified expression.
“Avery, please don’t be like this. You out of all people should understand the reason for my outburst.” He sighs defeatedly, “You can’t be mad at me, for caring about you.”
“You were mean to me.” I glare at him while feeling satisfied with the reason not to forgive him.
“You also said nasty things to me,” he counters, raising eyebrows at me. “So, it makes us equal.”
“Try to think for some other reason for staying mad with me.” He smirks, clearly knowing that now I am just trying to look for anything to not let myself forgive him.
I frown and stare at the collar of his shirt while thinking about what else he did to make my anger justified.
“You manhandled me.” My frown deepens, as I narrow my eyes accusingly at him remembering the way he dragged me.
“Sorry about that.” He slightly grimaces looking guilty, “But, hey... look now, I am holding you gently,” he says with a soft smile on his face, his fingers slightly tighten on my waist.
I realize we are still in the standing in the same position, earlier it was not awkward, but since he mentioned now it seems hell awkward.
Looking down, I swallow and step away from him. Rubbing my hands on my jeans-clad thighs, I try to get rid of this weird feeling.
Demanding meow sound grabs my attention as Frisky has managed to escape the box. And now she is climbing Alec’s leg making her way towards his shoulders. Alec helps her on his shoulder after finding a comfortable spot she sits. I can’t help but smile at her as now she tilts her head looking at me from her current position.
“Firefly, don’t ignore me. Please, now quit your anger,” Alec says slightly pouting.
“Frisky, tell her to quit her anger,” He says in a fake serious tone while petting Frisky, who is now playing with his hair, making me roll my eyes at him while trying to suppress my smile.
“Since you are not willing to forgive me so easily, that means I have to work for it.” He shakes his head and sighs.
He puts Frisky down, who runs inside my house as if she owns.
“You left me with no other option, Firefly, but to use my best apologizing method which will grant me your forgiveness for sure,” he says in a playful manner as he stalks towards me. While I take a step back, keeping my eyes on him trying to figure what does he mean.
“Shove your apology in any hole of yours, I don’t need it,” I half-scream and sprint inside the house when he runs after me.
“No... no, you can’t run away I have to ask for your forgiveness.” He runs after me as I make a quick dash inside the living room. Frisky also joins our chasing game, as she is also running here and there. Sometimes she runs after Alec and sometimes she chases me.
“Don’t you dare take a step towards me.” I stand above the couch placing a cushion in front of me, as he stands on the opposite side.
“But I have to apolo-” Before he can complete the sentence, a cushion falls on the ground after hitting him flat on the face.
“Take that,” I smirk, happy with my aim.
“Screw apology, you are dead now.” He glares and lunges at me.
I shriek laughing loudly and jump off the couch, nearly getting caught, pushing him away. But before I can escape the room, he wraps his arms around my waist and picks me up.
“Now you can’t escape from me.” He laughs as I kick in the air trying to release his hold.
Damn him and his height!
If there was anyone other than him, then I would have elbowed them hard. So, he should consider himself lucky that he is my friend.
“Stop, you idiot!” I laugh and try to remove his arm, as he starts to tickle my side mercilessly.
“No, not until you forgive me.” He shakes his head and his fingers continue to torture my side.
Normally, people have a tickle spot, but I don’t have any freaking spot which doesn’t tickle.
“Okay, okay you are forgiven,” I say breathlessly, my stomach hurts from laughing so hard. “Please, stop now.” I push his hand away.
“No, if you want you can stay angry with me for some more time, I am enjoying asking for your forgiveness.” He laughs but eventually stops tickling.
“Remind me to knock you out, the next time you piss me off.” I cough as I try to catch my breath while keeping my hands on my hips. Whereas he lightly laughs, his voice is filled with amusement.
“I am sorry, I never meant to hurt you,” he says as he sobers, sounding genuinely apologetic. “Please, forgive me, Firefly, I hate when you are not talking to me.”
“Okay, apology accepted.” I smile at him, which earns me a heartfelt smile from him.
“But next time, I won’t be as forgiving. So, think carefully before you act because I don’t take shit from anyone, friend or no friend, and you will not be an exception,” I say while firmly holding his gaze, so he understands the seriousness behind my words.
“Duly, noted.” He nods his head, “But we are still friends, right?” He asks with uncertainty.
“You are still breathing and standing in front of me, so yeah, we are still friends.” I nod my head at him, as a slow grin spread on my lips as I watch relieve pass over him.
Maybe he also needs a friend, as much as I do.