I haven't heard from Travis yet.
Sighing I leave my phone on the table top. I've been staring at the screen for too long waiting for a call or even a message from Travis but I didn't receive either.
Earlier today when I was returning home from school, as I passed Ava's house I noticed the curtains drawn. A sign that Mrs Heatherfield was home. I thought of stepping in and saying a hello since I haven't seen her much lately, but then the sight before me made me stop in my track.
A heated argument between parents and Travis. Mrs Heatherfield was more calm, though her judgemental eyes kept stabbing Travis. It's Mr Heatherfield who was beyond enraged. Travis was no better. He looked menacing. Like an angry animal. And then Mr Heatherfield slapped Travis. Hard on the right.
I was about to walk up there and bang on the door demanding why they were being so barbaric towards Travis. But then I stopped. They were his parents. He was their son. This was a matter between family. I, an outsider had no part in it.
With that I had dragged myself home and having dropped off my bag, went over to watch over the gym.
"Hey babe," came the sweet voice of my best friend
"Hey honey," I reply with a bored tone.
Don't mind us. Occasionally we call each other such just to get heads turning.
Ava comes and stands in front of the counter as I stare at a treadmill in silence.
"Wondering why you haven't heard from Travis yet?" She asks so suddenly.
I turn to stare at her and find her grinning. Her brother got slapped and she's smiling?
"Well he's pondering whether to call you or meet you in person. He's been running back and forth to my room since the afternoon and I got tired of him and ran out to meet you." She says to me then stares at her nails. I stare at her nails as well wondering what she's trying to find.
"Your parents?" I ask cautiously. She gives me a shrug.
I grab my phone I had tossed aside and my denim jacket from the chair.
"Watch the gym Ava. You're incharge." With that I dash out of the gym irrespective of Ava's calls.
I stop in front of her house to catch my breath. Then taking slow steps I reach the door and knock twice.
The door is pulled open and Travis stands inside with a pair of shorts and t-shirt. He looks at me confused and in shock and then his eyes roll.
"Ava." Was all he said with a deep sigh rubbing his face.
I push Travis aside and walk inside. Okay, so he moved aside and let me in willingly. I'm just trying to be extra.
"So what's up?" I ask taking a seat on their comfy couch. He sits opposite me in a classy cane stitched chair.
"What do you mean?" He asks but I notice the change in his tone.
"Your face says something happened and you want to talk to me about it." I say casually trying to hide the fact that I had seen him earlier.
Travis remains quiet for some time playing with his hands. I don't pester him and let him take it slow.
The clock on the mantle piece keeps ticking and Travis is yet to reveal to me what had happened.
"Oh for the love of God! What the hell is so Interesting in those palms of yours? It's the same since you were born!" I snap unable to take in the silence and wait anymore.
"I spoke to my parents about College and how stressful their expectations are. Mom thought I was going to drop out and well, Dad slapped me." Travis stops and finally looks up at me. I don't give him a look of sympathy. I will never pity him, because that is not what Travis seeks.
I give him a nod to keep going since there seems to be more.
"I thought my parents would understand. My Dad sort of does I guess. It's mom who's very keen on sending me back this instant. She even marched up to my room and packed my bags." He says with a dry chuckle and I felt my heart go out for him.
What a rotten mom. I'm disappointed in Mrs Heatherfield.
"What are you going to do now Travis?" I ask trying to be very gentle. Travis looked almost broken. I didn't want to break him even more.
"I'm given time until the end of this month. My parents have spoken with the college officials. I am to report back to college dorms in the first week of next month. And I am to cover up all missed work along with current studies." Travis explains to me. I feel so much anger inside of me.
Why are adults so stuck up? Can't his parents feel any compassion towards this boy?
Even I'm feeling so sad. I don't even know why I feel so upset.
"Why don't you just go back right now?" I say and Travis stares at me with shock like I had slapped him in the face. "I mean, it would be easier to catch up instead of having more work pile up."
"You can take it slow. I mean it's not like your parents would disown you for not being the best in college." I say with a shrug. Travis looks at his clenched hands once more.
"I can't. Not yet." He says. It was more like he was talking to himself. Reminding himself something.
"Why?" I ask since I'm bad at being kept in the dark. I'm a privy bitch who wants to know everything.
"I have a reason to remain in Apple valley exempting the fact that I don't want to go back to college." Travis replies looking at me once more. His gaze so hard as he stares at me. I felt like I was named in front of him. Like he was looking at me from all angles.
I don't reply. I just remain silent, not breaking eye contact with him.
There's some sort of a weird vibe in the atmosphere and it was making me feel itchy.
"Will you go out on a date with me?" He asks out of the blue.
Yes I am always steady on my feet. Yes I'm seated on the couch right now.
But yes, I slipped and fell to my butt on the hard floor.
"Wha... What?" I ask my voice going from normal to squeaky.
Travis gets off of the cane chair and comes over to help me up. Once he pulls me to my feet, he let's go of his hand but his eyes don't leave mine.
"Go on a date with me." He repeats.
Breath Judy. He's just asking you such a question since he's deluded.
"Why?" I ask. Thank goodness my voice is back.
"I want to have a date with you before I go back to that hell hole college." Travis voices and his deep gaze melts to a gentle one. The golden specks in his olive green eyes more visible to me now in the afternoon light.
"But why me? There's plenty out there who would kill each other just to go out with you." I say wanting to know why he's asking me such a thing.
"It has to be you." Was all he said.
I travel my mind back to when I had first met Travis. My memories flow from back then to present. Had Travis ever shown a speck of interest in me? Was I so oblivious that I hadn't noticed?
No I'm sure he never left me hints. Perhaps I'm just over thinking.
But wait. What is a date?
I squint my eyes trying to remember what a date is. All that comes to my mind is a girl and boy going out on a day they schedule.
I'll leave my self-respect aside and ask him.
Let's take it smoothly.
"Alright. Let's do it. But, I swear if a date is where the girl has to wear these frilly frocks," Travis doubles in laughter before I could finish.
"And the guy wear a tux?" He says in between his laughs. "We're going on a date Jude. Not to prom. You can just wear casual clothes." He says still grinning.
Right. Now I know the date attire. Let's move on to what date actually means.
"Then why is it called a date?" I try to be extra innocent "It's just like how we go for the cafe or some other random place. So why is it called a date Travis?" I wait for his reply.
"Well, it because what we did before is called an outing between friends. And a date is something, well, between..." He tries his best to explain to me what this date is but his ears turn red.
He's a 21 year old guy who still gets embarrassed so easily.
Oh the wonders of dating. It leaves a grown-up baffled.
And me who's not even an adult is going to experience something so complicated?
Will I be able to handle it?
"Just go talk to Ava if your confused." Travis says with a smile trying to help me out.
I forgot I've a best friend who's an expert in this area.
I don't even say Travis good bye. I just run out of his house like a girl being chased by wild dogs.
Why ever did it lead to us going on a date? I just went there to ask him if he was doing fine.
I pry open the gym glass door and enter the air conditioned room. Ava looks up from a magazine and then smiles at me.
I march to the counter and bang my hands on it taking her by surprise.
"Travis asked me out on a date!" I say breathlessly and I hope with all my heart she doesn't say something irrelevant.
No, she did no such thing. She just let the world know I'm going out on a date with her brother.
"TRAVIS ASKED YOU ON A DATE!?"