Always Together

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Chapter 56

Honestly, the last few days were not easy for me, still sometimes I find myself struggling. But things are getting better.

While on the other hand, things are somewhat interesting between me and Alec. Well, we are behaving as nothing has happened, it is like our own way of taking things slow. Even though I haven’t seen him since that night, but he messages me often just to check on me. Every night he calls me and sometimes we fall asleep while talking.

Washing my hands, I start to prepare coleslaw as I check the time. Pops is hosting a barbeque dinner for his friends. Every month or two, all his friends plan these small get-togethers to stay in touch with each other.

“Need any help?”

My eyebrows shoot up in surprise to find Alec standing in the kitchen. He purses his lips to stop himself from smiling at my surprised expression. Stuffing his hands in his blue denim, he walks towards me and my heart slightly picks up speed.

“Hey.” I smile at him, “What are you doing here?”

“Frank invited me,” he says then let out a small chuckle when he watches me frown in confusion.

Pops didn’t mention anything about inviting him, neither he has told me about coming here, even when we have just talked last night.

“I wasn’t sure if I will be able to make it, so that’s why I haven’t said anything to you.” He shrugs and looks at the counter over my shoulder, on which various food items are sprawled. Some prepared and some waiting to be prepared.

Turning around, I continue mixing ingredients and from the corner of my eye, I watch him further walking into the kitchen as he leans against the counter. Soon all the side dishes which Pops asked to prepare are ready.

“All done.” I proudly smile at all the dishes which I have prepared and that too, on time.

“Yeah?” He asks, then holding my elbow he pulls me towards him, “Now, come here.”

“How are you feeling?” He loosely places his hands on my waist, his voice is full of concern.

“Not okay.” I give him a half-hearted smile, “But I will be okay,” I answer with sincerity.

That letter has affected me deeply and I don’t know how long will it take for me to be completely okay. But slowly I am attempting to pull myself together and coming to terms with reality.

He lightly caresses my cheek with the back of his hand, “Remember I will be always there for you. Whenever things will become tougher and you will feel weak under the weight of difficulties, I will be there to support you.”

“But, promise me one thing, Avery,” he says while holding my face, “No matter what happens, you will never try to do something like that again. Promise me.”

“I promise.” Swallowing my emotions, I smile at him.

A small and relieved smile appears on his lips then his eyes drop to my lips. Soon I find him leaning towards me, but quickly placing my hand on his lips I stop his advances.

“You can’t kiss me.” Shaking my head, I pin him with a serious expression.

“Why?” Removing my hand, he tilts his head slightly to the side looking a bit lost.

“I may have given you my first and second kiss, but this doesn’t mean I am going to give you my third kiss also.” I raise my eyebrows, “I don’t know what are your intentions, mister?” My serious demeanor slightly cracks.

“Action speaks louder than words.” His lips alleviate in a teasing smile, “And I think last time I made myself very clear through my actions.”

“This girl needs to hear words, Alec.” Stepping away from him, I start to walk backward while laughing.

“Only if I can put my feelings into words,” he says without the trace of any humor, while he looks at me intently. My steps halt under his heated gaze, feeling the atmosphere around us turned serious.

Hesitantly, my feet drag me towards him. It seems like there is an invisible pull between us. He watches me silently, not slighting shifting from his position. He slightly stiffens then relaxes when I place my hand on his cheek while holding my stare unwaveringly. Standing up, on my toes I plant a small kiss on his cheek.

“C’mon, Firefly, you can do better than that.” He quietly chuckles and I find his eyes shining with a teasing glint when I pull away from him.

“I know I can do way better that.” My face mirroring his expression, “But here I am worried about you. Because you won’t be able to handle it.”

With a smug expression on my face, I blow him a flying kiss as I leave him there flabbergasted.

Keeping the snacks on the table, I look around the backyard to see almost everyone enjoying themselves. This brings a smile on my face because you can feel their happiness for being with each other, even when they are throwing insults at each other.

Pops gives me a hug and kisses my head, making my smile bigger.

For the past few days, Pops gives me these unexpected hugs.

“Are you planning to replace me with him?” I point at Alec, who is listening to whatever Pops friends are talking, looking extremely comfortable with them.

Old soul.

It seems like Alec and Pops have bonded really well, and sometimes it looks Pops and him are great buddies. I have a doubt Frisky is also the reason for their sudden budding friendship. I feel so left out.

Poor me.

“No, but I won’t lie that I haven’t thought about it,” Pops says casually. “He is good at following orders, while defiance is your middle name.”

I can’t deny that. Ask me nicely, I will do anything. However, try to throw your weight around, then you can’t make do that thing even if you are dying.

Pops goes, inside the house, to answer the door when the doorbell rings.

Opening my eyes, I pause my fruit guessing game, when I hear some new voices. Just to pass my time, I invented this guessing game for myself, closing my eyes I was picking a fruit piece from the bowl and guessing it by its smell.

Soon a man around in his sixties and a girl probably a few years older than me appears. I haven’t met all of Pops’ friends, but most of them who I knew is already here. So, he must be someone who I don’t know.

Greetings and introductions are made, then Pops calls my name.

“This is my granddaughter Avery.” He wraps an arm around my shoulder as he introduces me to them, “He is Coleman and she is his stepdaughter, Harley.” He points at the girl standing beside Coleman.

Giving them a polite smile, I nod my head at them in greeting.

She looks around and quickly looks in my direction when she hears her name.

“Hi!” She smiles showing her perfectly aligned teeth, maybe a little too aligned to look natural.

“Hey.” I smile back.

Soon she starts talking with everyone like she has known them for years. I figured behind this pretty face is a self-centered girl who wants everyone’s attention.

Somebody can surely give a tough competition to Victoria.

Most of her talk is about herself, within minutes I know about her entire life. Like she is a history graduate and an extremely empathic person. Once she cried for two days because she accidentally killed a rat. Also how she is going through an ugly break-up, that’s why she decided to stay with her mom for a while.

I mean isn’t it weird to share about your personal life with people whom you have just met.

Excusing myself, I go to help Smith, who is the quiet one among Pops’ friends, as he is now on grilling duty. Her loud laugh forces me to look in her direction to watch her wrapping her hand around Alec’s arm, with a sultry smile on her face, while he looks shocked. Instantly a new unpleasant feeling starts to bubble up inside me as my eyes focus on her hand.

Tearing my eyes away from them, I shift my attention back to grilling some vegetable sticks because I never leave any task unfinished, even though I just want to get back inside my room. I feel like ripping her hand, the hand which touched his arm but I control my urge to act on it. Images of his arms flashes in my eyes, increasing my anger.

Even I haven’t touched his arms.

“Do you need my help with anything else?” I ask Smith while wiping my hands with the hand towel.

“No, thank you, Avy.” He pats my head giving me a small smile.

Even though I don’t like anyone apart from Pops calling me Avy, I never mind them calling me with this name. They sort of picked this name up from Pops, now they all call me Avy.

Once again I find her hovering over Alec, as he is engaged in some conversation with Pops.

Oh, how much she is tempting me to become a cannibal.

I am not a jealous person, however, I am a territorial person.

If she was just talking to him or trying to be friends with him, I wouldn’t have an issue. But here she is subtly throwing herself at him, and flirting with him, which is making me want to strangle her.

Clenching my fists, I take a deep breath and head inside the house.

“Avery, why are you going inside?” Just when I am about to step inside, I hear Pops calling me.

“Tired,” I answer him without turning.

“But you haven’t eaten anything,” Pops again stops me, “Eat something then go to sleep.”

“Later, Pops.” I turn and give him a small smile, silently letting him know that I just need to be alone for some time.

He returns my smile and nods his head in understanding.

Kicking off my shoes, I get inside the cover without even changing my clothes, even though, I smell like freaking smoked meat. Closing my eyes I try to relax. Sometimes simply lying down with closed eyes, also helps to calm me down.

Opening and closing of the door make me glance at the door, to find Alec standing there. Sighing, I put my head back on the pillow and close my eyes.

“Why did you come inside?” He softly asks while sitting on the edge of the bed.

“What are you doing here? Go outside and enjoy the party,” I say, instead of replying to his question.

“You are here, so what should I do there?” He asks, his words are laced with confusion.

His question increases my anger. He never talked to me, even once, the whole time I was out and now he is saying as if it will make a big difference if I am not there.

“I don’t know maybe do what you were doing, talking and enjoying with people, and let me be just with myself.” I sit up and lean against the headboard, sounding more bitter than I want to.

Somebody lightly knocks my door and both our heads turn towards the door.

“Alec, are you inside?” I hear Harley’s hushed voice from the other side.

I glare at Alec then back at the door.

“Alec?” She again asks.

I open my mouth to answer, but Alec quickly covers my mouth with his hand and shakes his head.

After a few moments, she gives up and I hear her retreating footsteps. Instantly, I move his hand away from my mouth and glare at him.

“Wow, unbelievable.” I shake my head in disbelief and anger, “Can’t stay away from you even for a moment.”

“Are you jealous, Firefly?” He arches an eyebrow, teasingly.

“No, I am fucking livid.” I grit my teeth, “Now get out of here, Alec, before I forget that I like you and snap your neck.” I point at the door with my finger.

“So, you like me, huh?” He smirks, irritating me even more.

“I think you have heard it clearly, and even you already know it.” I stare back at him, not embarrassed about openly admitting this to him.

I don’t find there is anything wrong or to be embarrassed about being honest about your feelings. What worst can happen that person will reject you? But this will give you a chance to move on, rather than silently carrying those feelings in your heart.

“It feels so good when you actually say it.” Taking my hand, he kisses my palm.

“Don’t be so sappy, if you think I will say it again then you are wrong.” I scoff.

“I won’t ask you to say it again.” He lightly chuckles slipping his fingers between my fingers and gripping my hand, “All I want you is to believe that I am all yours.” His lips stretch in a full-blown smile.

“Also even though I haven’t talked to you, but the whole time my eyes were only on you.” He pulls me closer and circles his arm around me, “I even found your little guessing game extremely cute, especially when you were cheating while peeking through one eye when you couldn’t guess which fruit it is.” His eyes shining with laughter, while my mouth opens in surprise not expecting him to notice this.

Chuckling, he pecks my lips and on cue, I feel my cheeks getting warm.

“Now, let’s go outside as I am starving.”

“Okay.” I nod my head, “You go, I will just change my shirt and come.”

He nods his head, then walks outside my room closing the door behind.

Quickly changing into another shirt, because my earlier shirt smelled just like smoke, I return to the party. Pops looks at me with a wide smile, looking happy as I have returned. At the same time, Alec turns his head and winks at me.

There is an empty space between Pops and Alec on the table, I make my way towards it. But before I can reach, Harley takes that seat.

I notice Alec’s whole body tenses and even Pops looks displeased as he glares at her. I frown when I notice that is my yellow chair, on which she is sitting.

She is so not sitting on MY yellow chair. Pops painted this chair for me and it is mine.

Pops is mine, that yellow chair is mine, and the guy sitting next to the chair is mine. No way, I will let her sit here.

Plastering a smile, I tap her shoulder as she tries to talk to Alec whereas he is staring at his plate with clenched jaws.

“Yes?” She raises her eyebrows and turns her head to me.

“That’s my seat.“I point at the chair, maintaining the smile on my face.

“You can seat somewhere else, it is not a big deal.” She scoffs and points at other empty chairs on the tables.

“It is a big deal for me.” I tilt my head as I raise my eyebrows, “Because, this. is. my. seat.” I slowly nod my head, crossing my arms.

Now every eye is on us, as I feel chatter dies down. Pops continues to eat while enjoying this little scene because he knows how I am. Even Alec has a ghost smile on his lips.

“Harley, come and sit here,” Coleman says, looking annoyed with her, “Frank already mentioned he was saving that seat for Avery if she decides to join again.”

“You are such a child.” She huffs and glares at me as she stands from my seat.

“Of course I am a child, in front of you.” I grin at her, infuriating her more, “Because unlike you, and most of the people on this table, I am born after the Berlin wall came down.” I can’t help but laugh at her stupefied expression.

Soon everyone joins me leaving her more perplexed.

“Bloody history graduate.” I scoff and mutter under my breath while sitting on my seat.

“I was hoping you will punch her into another seat,” Pops whispers concealing his disappointment. I am sure he would have been cheering if I had actually punched her.

“Sorry, but you know me, I am not a violent person.” I shrug innocently.

“Yeah, and I am a fucking queen,” he says sarcastically, earning a hearty laugh from me.

Turning my head, I see Alec glancing at us thoroughly amused, then he unexpectedly holds my hand under the table. My eyebrows raise in surprise, but he seems unfazed as his serious expression slips back onto his face. But the hint of a small smile threatening to break on his lips which he struggles to keep away.

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