Chapter 21 | If I Win...
𝐀 𝐕 𝐀 𝐋 𝐎 𝐍
“My brother and dad are driving me insane.”
As soon as the group call with the girls connects, Sierra blurts out her troubles. Her stressed facial features come into view on my laptop that is sat on the bed. After eating breakfast with everyone, I came back to the room and catch up with the girls since there are no plans for today yet.
“Well, hello to you too, miss dramatic,” Hannah scoffs, making us all laugh. “But drama is what I need right now, it’s so boring here. All my relatives here are old...and I don’t mean old and fun, I literally mean old, and they have no personality.”
“How old are we talking?” Liv asks, knowing Hannah can exaggerate.
Liv rolls her eyes and shakes her head. “Fifty isn’t old Hannah.”
“Well, it is to me. Man, how I wish I can stay young, pretty and not wrinkly forever.”
“Anyway, my brother told me dad about me dating Aiden. They’re both so protective, so they’ve been annoying me all Thanksgiving about him. They want to meet him and that’s fine, but I know they’re going to grill him and chase him away,” Sierra sighs.
“What has Aiden said about all this?” I question, throwing my hair up into a neat bun to get it out of my face.
“He’s fine with it. He wants to meet them, and he says they won’t scare him off,” Sierra explains, moving her hair away from her face.
“Aiden’s a great guy, they won’t find anything wrong with him and I believe it when he said they won’t scare him off. Introduce him to your brother first. How’s Thanksgiving, Liv?” I reassure Sierra.
“Great, Nick’s family and my family have been doing this holiday together for years now. How’s Noah’s family?”
“His family is super nice and welcoming. Everyone came down yesterday and we watched fireworks afterwards. I’m glad he invited me, I’d just be stuck in the apartment right now eating takeaway and writing my journalism piece on my own,” I explain, and they all laugh, agreeing with me.
Hannah smirks. “How are you and Noah?”
I roll my eyes at her idea that she still thinks Noah will confess his love for me while I’m here...her words, not mine. “We’re fine. You girls think my life is some cliché love story or something.”
“I wish. Your life isn’t that interesting,” Sierra smirks and my jaw drops. Before I can respond, a knock resonates on the bedroom door.
“Come in,” I shout and the girls quiet down as the door opens and Sarah walks through the door holding Luna. “Hi Sarah.”
“Hey sweetheart. I was coming to ask if you wanted to come shopping with Emery, Rose, Luna and me?”
I nod my head. “Yeah, that sounds great. I’ll be down in a minute.”
She nods before leaving and Hannah speaks up, “You’re going shopping without me?” Hannah asks, offended and we all laugh. “At least buy me something cute.”
“Uh, huh. Alright, I’ve got to go. I’ll see you all in a few days,” I smile before we end the call. Grabbing my bag with all the stuff I need for shopping. I head out of the room and see Noah coming out of his at the same time.
“Hey. Mom said you’re going shopping? Great, they can tell embarrassing stories about me and I’m not there to stop them.”
I laugh. “Aww poor you. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know the ones I know,” I smirk and he rolls his eyes. “What are your plans for today?”
“Building a treehouse. Luna wants one,” Noah explains, and I chuckle, nodding my head in understanding.
“She’s so cute. You cannot say no to her.”
Walking down the stairs we make it to the living area seeing Luna jumping around everywhere.
“Noah-Bear!” She giggles, running over to Noah and jumping in his arms. “Treehouse day! And mommy says I get to go to the toy store...and and I get another princess outfit!”
Noah’s dad sighs, before looking over at Sarah who smiles sheepishly. “Why do you spoil her?”
“Because she’s the only daughter I have, so I’m allowed.”
“Plus, she’s such a cutie,” Grandma Rose pinches Luna’s cheeks making her smile. “Come on, ladies. Chop, chop, we have a day of shopping while these guys build our princess her castle.”
The guys grunt unhappily, and we get our shoes on before saying goodbye to them and heading to the mall. It doesn’t take long for us to make it to the mall and once we’re there, we split up. Emery and I head to our choice of stores, while Luna, Sarah and Grandma Rose head to get Luna her princess dress.
“So, with your wedding coming up, have you and Liam thought about kids?” I question curiously as we search through the racks.
“We’ve spoken about it and we want a family together. But we’re going to wait to try until after the wedding, since planning a wedding is stressful enough on its own.”
“I feel like Grandma Rose would somehow be happier than the both of you if you got pregnant,” I chuckle, placing some clothes over my arms to try on.
“More than likely, she’s itching for grandchildren from Sarah and Richard’s kids,” Emery laughs before we head to the changing rooms. “I swear I catch her staring at my stomach at times, trying to see if there is a bump.”
Shock runs through me at her words, and I can’t help but laugh as I pull the door to the changing room closed. “God help you with her reaction.”
“Tell me about it. Why are jeans so freaking hard to get on?” Emery grunts from her changing room. “I’ve always struggled to get pants over my ass.”
I scoff. “Can’t relate.”
She laughs. “Oh, hey before I forget. I mean, we all have an idea that Noah will ask you to be his plus one, anyway. But if he doesn’t you have an invitation to the wedding.”
I walk out of the changing room now with the clothes I want to buy, and Emery follows, before turning to look at me. “Yeah. You’ve been here for a few days, but you’ve already won over literally every family member.”
I laugh. “Good to know.”
We go to pay for our clothes before making our way to the food court to meet up with Sarah, Grandma Rose and Luna.
“Emery, Ava, come look at all the toys I got!” Luna smiles, jumping over to us when she sees us heading towards their table at the food court. Pulling us by our hands, making us laugh.
“Well, it looks like you both bought the entire store,” Grandma Rose eyes all our bags. “I remember when I used to shop like that, until I got old and saw old people’s clothes are disgusting,” She scrunches up her face. “Ok let’s order, I’m hungry.”
“We’re home! All of you stop being lazy and come help us with our bags. I’m old and not as strong as I used to be, I could pop a hip anytime,” Grandma Rose shouts through the house as we walk in and Emery and I look at each other, stifling our laughter.
“Grandma,” Noah scolds, walking to us. Taking the bags off her before he eyes the ones I’m holding. “Buy the whole shop?”
Luna wraps her arms around Noah’s legs. “Did you build my treehouse?”
“We did. Alex, Max, go show the princess her new castle. They can be your servants,” Noah whispers the last part to Luna who laughs and runs off with the twins.
“Was it hard to set up?” Sarah asks her husband, leaning up to kiss his cheek.
“Don’t ask him. He sat down the entire time while Noah and I did everything,” Liam rats out his dad before taking the bags off Emery. “Think retirement has gone to his head.”
“Well, since he’s gotten lazy you can take these to our room,” Sarah hands the bags to Noah’s dad who grumbles and walks upstairs with Emery and Liam following. Sarah looks over to us. “Noah go help Ava put her bags in her room.”
“I’m going, I’m going,” He takes the bags off me before we head upstairs. “How was shopping?”
“It was good. Emery dragged me to every store possible and just when I thought she was done, she dragged me to Victoria Secrets.”
“Really?” Noah whips his head around, making me laugh before I walk into my room.
“God, guys are so easy to please,” I state and Noah glares at me. “Not like you’d see what I bought on me, anyway.”
Noah smirks, before pulling out a red lace set from the bag. “Is that a challenge? I mean, I’d like to see this on you.”
My jaw drops and I snatch it off him. “In your dreams. Guess I know what you’ll be dreaming of tonight. Anyway, I’m going to put this all away, so I’ll be down soon.”
He nods his head, before his eyes flicker to the bag once more before he turns to leave. I chuckle before unpacking the clothes, hanging them up, to make sure they don’t wrinkle. Finishing up, I make my way downstairs and outside where the noise comes from seeing the twins throwing around a football with Noah and Liam.
“Now everyone is here, what are the teams?” Max asks, seeing me walk outside as I walk over to the couch area where most of the family are. I give Noah a confused look.
“We play football a lot as a family. But a more laid back version. Alright, who’s in?” Noah stands up, clapping his hands together. Everyone agrees to play minus Grandma Rose.
“Guys v girls? I think with Ava here we could beat you,” Emery crosses her arms, smirking.
“Ava doesn’t even understand normal football,” Noah scoffs and I roll my eyes. “And still doesn’t.”
“Hey! I understand more than I did. I only need to understand enough for my article, anyway. I agree with Emery. How is this played?”
“We start at the back door where someone hands it off to the person behind and the end zone is by the shed,” Noah explains and I nod. Everyone gets into position and Noah walks over to me. “Want to make this interesting and make a deal?”
“Ok if the girls win you have to buy me breakfast for a whole week,” I say and Noah chuckles, not surprised at my demand.
“Deal. If the guys win, then you have to...” Noah leans down to whisper in my ear. “Show me that red lace piece later on.”
My jaw drops and I shove him away. A blush forming on my cheeks. “What no way!”
“Scared you won’t win?”
“Fine. Deal,” I hold my hand out and he shakes it. Giving one last stare down, I turn and walk to the girls. “We better win. Noah and I have this bet and if we win, he buys me breakfast for a full week.”
They laugh before Liam’s voice speaks up, “Ready?” We nod our heads. “We play to five. You can start.”
He hands the ball to Emery and Luna stands behind her as Grandma Rose blows the whistle. “Oh, this is fun.”
Emery hands off the ball to Luna, who immediately passes it to Sarah before she passes it to me and I run, dodging the twins.
“NOAH!” I scream as he runs at me, picking me up and throwing me over his shoulder. “This is cheating.”
I drop the ball as he spins me around. “We made no rules. Go on, Alex!”
I lift my head up to see Alex picking up the ball before making it to the end zone as they cheer.
“Damn it,” I pout, before Noah puts me down. “Fine, no rules.”
“You ok?” Emery asks and I fake glare at her.
I smirk. “I have an idea.”
After telling everyone the plan, Grandma Rose blows the whistle and the guys start off. Noah’s dad passes it to Liam who starts running until Emery nods to me and goes to jump on Liam’s back, surprising him as he throws the ball to Noah before he goes down.
“Boo!” I jump onto Noah’s back, which does nothing.
“Nice try!” He carries on running with me on his back.
“He’s ticklish!” Sarah shouts and I smirk before tickling him.
“Shit! Ava, no!” Noah laughs uncontrollably as we go down. I laugh, grabbing the ball off him before running to the shed, the girls shout, and I smile, waving the ball around in the air. “You play dirty.”
We carry on playing and the score soon begins 4-4. To finish, Emery hands the ball to Luna, who starts running down the garden.
“That’s not fair! She can’t run it to the end, we can’t tackle her!” Max shouts and I smirk. Noah tries to go pick her up, but she runs under her dad’s legs making him and Noah butt heads and Luna makes it to the end as we shout in victory. The guys’ are disgruntled and I look at Noah sticking my tongue out at him.
“What movie do you want to watch?”
We walk into his bedroom after saying goodnight to his family, but as it’s still relatively early, we decided to watch a movie. I jump onto his bed, immediately getting comfy and he chuckles shaking his head at my actions.
“Umm your choice, you should win at something,” I smirk and he glares at me. “Last comment, I promise,” I assure, and he gets onto the bed sitting next to me before turning on Netflix “I love this movie.”
Sitting in a comfortable silence as the movie begins, but I feel Noah’s eyes flickering to my face. “You know, they were dirty plays today. Tickling me and sending Luna to run it.”
“Hey, you threw me over your shoulders like a sack of potatoes. There were no rules after that,” I explain, pursing my lips. “You’re just mad you don’t get to see me in a red lacy piece.”
“Very actually,” Noah admits, making my jaw drop. “Please, for me?” He pouts, wrapping his arm around my waist, pulling me into his side as we cuddle.
“Nope. You lost, so you suffer the consequences. You’re going to be horny and broke considering you owe me breakfast for a week.”
“You’re mean,” Noah pouts and I tap his cheek. “You know my family really like you,” He places his other hand on my thigh. Cuddling with Noah Jackson might be my new favorite thing.
He nods his head. “Hmm. Pretty sure my grandma wants me to marry you. Not joking, she told me I better marry you.”
“Well, I like your family too. They’re great, no surprise there though, they are your family,” I smile, resting my head on his shoulder. “I always miss my mom a lot more on holidays. But being here with you and your family made it easier, I mean it was louder, and I was always busy. She’d like you.”
I nod. “She’d love Dylan more though.”
He laughs. “People do for some odd reason. Wish I could have met her, to tell her how amazing her daughter is.”
“Can we change the subject? Or else I will start crying and you won’t want that,” I say, and he agrees. “What time are we heading back to campus tomorrow?”
“Probably after dinner. Spend some more time with the family, the guys only get back late.”
“Sierra is coming back in the morning, Hannah around lunch and Liv and Nick back around the same time as us. Thanks for inviting me,” I say, looking up at him.
“Of course, I wasn’t going to leave you on campus on your own. Glad you accepted now?”
“Good, well I’m pretty sure you’re welcome back anytime. I’m pretty sure they would rather see you over me,” He says, and I laugh. “So, your place next time, right?”
I laugh, shaking my head before smiling and looking at him properly. Noah reaches his hand out to cup my cheek as he leans down, brushing my lips against mine. My eyes flicker to his before I lift my head up and kiss him properly. My lips move against his as I wrap my hand around his neck, my fingers threading through his hair as his hand on my thigh tightens.
Pulling back a little, I bite my lip before kneeling up and straddling his lap. His eyes don’t leave mine as I climb over him and lower down before I place my lips back on his, deepening the kiss. Wrapping my arms around his neck, his hands slide up my thighs and around to my butt, giving a gentle squeeze. I run my hands down his muscled arms as he wraps them around me, pulling me closer. Our bodies pressed up against one another.
Slowing our kissing down, we pull back. Staring into each other’s eyes.
A knock on the door brings us out of our staring, and I immediately climb off Noah’s lap and move back to his side. Just in time for her to peer her head around the door. Dressed in a onesie holding a teddy bear. Just when you think she can’t get any cuter. Noah sighs, closing his eyes as he rests down on the pillow and I lie back on the bed resting my head on his shoulder and stifle a laugh when he moves a pillow over his lap.
“What’s up Luna-Bell?” He questions, silencing the film we haven’t been paying attention to.
“I had a nightmare. Can I sleep here tonight?” She asks, clutching the bear to her body.
“Yeah of course. Come here,” Noah offers, and she runs over climbing onto the bed. “Want to talk about it?” He asks, and she shakes her head before lying in the middle of us, Noah wraps his free arm around her.
“Want me to go?” I question, unsure if it’s okay for me to stay.
“No stay,” Luna looks at me, I smile and nod before running my hand through her hair, calming her down as she cuddles back into Noah.
“Looks like you’re stuck here with us tonight,” Noah chuckles and I nod my head. “Want me to leave the light on Luna?”
She nods her head, and he turns off the TV so she can go to sleep but leaves the light on.
“You’re a good brother. Night Noah,” I whisper to him.