What Doesn't Kill You

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Chapter 6

Ava stood in front of Scout with her hands on her hips and Scout felt like a school kid. “I thought we said you would keep up with the exercises.”

“I know,” Scout said, flushing red. “I just hit a bump in the road.”

“You have a goal, Scout and you aren’t going to reach it unless you try.”

“I know.” That appeared to be the end of the lecture and they got back to working her leg through exercises. “How was dinner with your parents and brother?”

“Long,” Ava sighed. “I was subjected to a lot of stories but he’s got friends and a job to keep him busy now.”

“Sounds like a good escape.”

“You have no idea.”

After fifteen more minutes of Ava putting Scout through her paces with the exercises, she let Scout get off the floor.

“Well, I’m happy to tell you, you don’t need the crutches anymore.”

Scout wasn’t sure what happened but she started to cry at the news.

“Scout! Oh, come here.” Ava pulled her into a hug and Scout squeezed her back.

“I’m sorry. God, this is embarrassing.” They let go of each other and Scout wiped her tears and sniffed. “It’s just the first decent bit of news that she’d had in a while.”

“I’m glad I could be the one to deliver it to you.

“Thank you, Ava.”

“No worries. Hey, do you fancy going out for a drink to celebrate?”

“When were you thinking?”

“Tonight?” Ava suggested.

“Sounds good to me. Meet me at La Presna at 7?”

“Perfect!”

Scout left the hospital and made her way to work with a spring in her step. Not a literal spring because she wasn’t quite at that stage yet. This was the first bit of decent news that she’d had in a while and it felt good to know that life hadn’t given up on her just yet.

“Heya, sunshine!” Chris called as she walked into the shop. “Walking without an aid!” Scout gave Chris a small, controlled twirl to show him that she could do it without crutches. “You’ll be back in those dancing shoes before you know it.”

“Here’s hoping. I can do the rest of my shift if you want.”

“I don’t mind being here. You can rearrange the front display if you want to keep yourself busy.”

“Sure.” She took the chance to go through the shelves and pull out some of her favourite books. Every time the door to the shop went, Scout found herself looking. It was Thursday and Thursday seemed to be the day that Lucky visited without fail.

“Are you waiting for someone, Scout?” Chris asked her as she carried an armful of books to the front window.

“I… there’s just a customer I’m used to seeing but he hasn’t come in today.”

“Maybe something came up.”

She put the books down and started to rearrange the display, setting up the books so that they were shown off to the outside world. As the day wore on, Scout got increasingly antsy about the fact she hadn’t seen Lucky. She wanted to tell him about her appointment, although she wasn’t quite sure why.

Half way though her merchandising, Scout pulled out her phone and found Lucky’s number. That damn smile made her heart feel a little funny but she pushed down on it and sent him a message.

Where are you today? Everything okay?

The response came through almost instantly. I knew you’d cave and message me.

She stared at the response. Scout swore she could hear him laughing at her through the message. I think I might actually hate you.

Don’t be like that.

She didn’t respond. Instead, she stuffed her phone in her pocket and pushed the idiot to the back of her mind. As she went back to the display she called over to Chris, “Chris, what would you say to spicing up the window a bit?”

“What ideas have you got?”

“I’m not sure yet but I think something a bit more eye catching would draw people in.”

“I don’t see why not. Got nothing to lose.”

Scout loved the fact that Chris was so laid back about the business but it did have her worry about the longevity of it. She might not have been planning on sticking around but it would be a shame to see another business disappear from the city. They had a habit of things not doing well financially and then sinking into the abyss.

Chris was serving a customer and Scout finished the display when the door opened.

“Hi! Welcome to A Page—” Then she saw who it was. “You can leave.” She turned on her heel away from the door but Luck was hot on her heels.

“Scout, you didn’t reply to my messages.”

“I’m busy working.”

“So you aren’t pissed at me?” he asked hopefully.

“And I’m pissed at you.”

“Let me take you out for lunch to apologise.”

“Super busy right now!” Scout called over her shoulder.

“Actually, Scout,” Christ started.

She looked up at Chris with big, wide eyes, trying to signal to him that she didn’t want her lunch break right now. She wanted him to tell Lucky that they were busy and that there was no way either of them would be taking a lunch break soon.

“Why don’t you take the rest of the afternoon off?” Chris suggested. “There really isn’t a whole lot to do around here.”

“I…” Scout began.

“That means you’re free for lunch,” Lucky beamed.

Scout looked between Lucky and Chris and grabbed her bag from behind the counter. “You and I need to talk about our signals. Don’t think I’ll forget this,” she murmured the words at Chris before turning and exiting the shop.

Lucky was right by her side. “Good to see you without the crutches.”

In all her anger, Scout had completely forgotten to tell Lucky her good news. He seemed to have figured it out though. “Seems like I’m headed in the right direction,” she told him. The response was short and she looked ahead as they walked.

“Come to lunch. Please.”

The please was what made her resolve wobble. Lucky did not seem like the kind of guy who said please often. “Fine.”

“Where’s good?”

Scout didn’t answer him but continued to walk until there was an opening between two shop fronts. She took a sharp left into it with Lucky behind her. In the little arcade there was a pet shop and a hairdressers on the right but on the left hand side there was a large café.

“I didn’t realise anything was down here,” Lucky admitted.

“I worked here while I was in college. It does good coffee.”

Lucky opened the door for Scout and they stepped inside the cosy café. She took a seat near the window and he dropped down into the seat opposite her.

“Seriously,” Scout said, looking at him. “Do you not work?”

“I told you, I have a business and I’m in the process of setting up another.”

“And that’s not keeping you busy?”

“Not busy enough to stay away from you.”

She snorted a laugh at the line and then had a thought. Scout tried her best to come across casual but she knew it sounded like she was fishing for information. “Girlfriend not keeping you busy?”

“You think I would have a girlfriend?”

“Don’t look at me like that. We both know you fancy yourself.”

Lucky laughed and the sound filled the space so that a few people nearby looked over at us. A young waitress came over and Scout ordered a latte and some soup and Lucky got coke and a sandwich.

“To answer your question,” Lucky said as the waitress left, “there’s no girlfriend. I don’t do girlfriends.”

“You don’t do commitment,” Scout corrected him.

“What’s the point in me being with someone if I know my eye is going to wander?”

“A fuckboy with a heart,” Scout said, raising an eyebrow. “That’s a new one.”

“Woah, I’m not a fuckboy!” Lucky argued. Scout leaned back in her chair and folded her arms across her chest. “Alright, I’m a bit of a fuckboy.”

Scout was glad they had cleared that up. It meant that Lucky was completely off the cards. She didn’t want to be another conquest to someone. The next time Scout gave her heart to someone, she wanted to know they would take care of it.

“And is all this an elaborate way to get me into your bed?” she asked.

“You want me to be honest? You’re hot, Scout. That’s why I talked to you in the first place,” he admitted. Her cheeks felt warm. She hadn’t expected him to be so blunt but from what she knew of Lucky, blunt was his default mode. “But you’ve got a mouth on you and you’re funny and I think I’d rather keep you around in my life. So, if you could try not to fall for me, I’d appreciate it.”

And there was the reason she never would. Lucky had such a high opinion of himself that most of the time Scout wouldn’t mind giving him a swift push off a cliff.

The waitress came back with their drinks and Scout took a long sip from the mug. Caffeine was her ultimate weakness. She would down the entire mug now if it wasn’t for the fact that Lucky was opposite her.

“I’ll try my hardest,” she told him. “But only if you promise to do the same.”

“No chance that’ll happen, sunshine. So, the house I dropped you off at. That place is yours?”

“No. It’s my Dad’s house.”

“You’re living with your Dad?”

“I didn’t exactly have anywhere else to go.”

“Why don’t you get a place?”

“I’m not planning on sticking around. I’m here until next year and then I’ll be back in London.”

Lucky had a look of shock on his face and placed a hand over his heart. “But then how will I keep myself grounded.”

“Facetime, babe.”

“You have an answer for everything,” Lucky said as Scout flashed him a smile. “You could always rent a place while you’re here.”

“Hmmm.” It wasn’t something that she’d thought of. Scout was paying Jim despite his protests so paying rent wouldn’t be new. She had a job and it was going well so hopefully she wouldn’t get fired. “I guess I could.”

“A little bit of independence while you’re at home. There’s no harm in looking.”

“You might just have a point.”


Lunch with Luck went pretty smoothly. As annoying as he was, he was also funny and did have a lot of heart. Spending her lunch break with him made Scout realise just how much she missed having friends. Her social life hit the brakes after her injury. She figured out pretty quickly that people she thought were friends, family, were actually just people who filled space in her life.

Lucky didn’t feel like one of those people and neither did Ava.

“Scout!” Ava called.

Scout walked up to the bad, trying not to feel self conscious. Heels were a definite no so she’d teamed her dress with some pumps. “Hey, Ava.” Scout gave her a quick hug before taking a seat. They ordered some brightly coloured, sugary cocktails and clinked their glasses together.

“To your recovery,” Ava announced.

“Thank you.”

“I hope you didn’t mind me asking you out for a drink. I’m still trying to get to know people around here.”

“I don’t mind at all. Aren’t you getting on with people in work?”

“Oh no, they’re lovely but all we do is talk about work and I need a break from it.”

“Understandable. I meant to ask, did you move here with your parents then?”

“Yeah, it’s… My mother has dementia so I didn’t want to be away from her.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t apologise,” Ava waved her off. “These things happen and we’re working through it as a family.”

“It must be hard on your Dad.”

“He tries to keep as positive as possible but you can tell it gets to him. There are times where she doesn’t recognise him.”

“How’s your brother taking it?”

Ava let out a sigh. “We all deal with things differently. His way was to go travelling. If he didn’t have to see it, then it wasn’t happening.”

“But he’s back now.”

“And burying himself in work and women so…

“Men are pigs.”

Ava laughed and took a swig of her drink. “I’m sure your boyfriend appreciates that.”

“I’m free and single.”

“No one catching your eye?”

“Plenty of guys catching my eye but off limits.”

“Why’s that?”

“Good looks aren’t enough to make up for being an irritating womanizer.”

“Ooo, good call.”

“What about you?”

“Happily taken.” She held out her left hand and Scout could see the diamond that sat on her ring finger.

“Congratulations!”

“Thanks! Michael’s a sweetheart. Transferred here when we told him about Mum and everything going on.”

“That’s so sweet of him. Does he have a brother?”

Ava flashed her a grin. “Sorry, Scout. Just a younger sister.”

“Damn it. All the good ones are either taken or gay.”

“You’ll find your other half some dya.”

“I’m not so sure I have one.”

“You can’t believe that.”

Scout shrugged. She’d always been cautious with love after seeing what her Mum did to her Dad. When she found Scott, she thought she’d hit the jackpot but in the end he just proved her right. Maybe there was a family curse or something she wasn’t aware of. Scout made a mental note to ask her Dad if he had pissed of any fortune tellers in his history.

“I have a feeling you’ll find him soon enough,” Ava said. She was definitely one of those happy go lucky people. An optimist. It wasn’t a surprise considering her job. That optimism was infectious when it came to injury but Scout wasn’t sure it was contagious when it came to affairs of the heart.

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