Avery is in my bed again like our date weekend. In some ways, it’s like the last few weeks didn’t happen. They did though, and I was an ass. I assume after the amazing sex we had last night I’m forgiven, but I should also do something to make it up to her. She deserves that.
I lay there staring at this beautiful woman lying in my arms. Her head is on my chest and her black curly air fans out behind her over my arm. Avery’s got a small smile on her face and I wonder what she’s dreaming about. Must be something good.
Avery is so different from Kendra. They are opposites in both looks and personality. Where Avery has shoulder-length black hair, Kendra has long brown hair. Where Avery has green eyes, Kendra has boring brown ones. Where Avery is short with sexy as hell curves, Kendra is tall and too slim. Avery also jokes and is down-to-earth with a great sense of humor. Kendra is high-strung and kinda bitchy, if I’m being honest. She’s the kind of person that’s mean to the servers at the restaurant and the “help”. I can’t imagine Avery ever being rude to anyone, even those who probably deserve it.
There were probably choice words that dickbucket Rich needed to hear, but I don’t think my sweet Avery ever said anything to him. My Avery? When did that happen?
“Stop staring at me, creep,” Avery mumbles sleepily.
“Maybe I wanna stare at you. You’re pretty,” I reply, nuzzling my nose into her exposed neck.
“Flattery won’t get you anywhere.”
“Wanna bet?” I challenge flipping her until I loom over her. She’s naked still after our night together, and I nudge her legs open with my knee. I kiss her neck, reveling in the cute fucking noises she’s making when my phone goes off.
The ringtone tells me who it is, and it also tells me they aren’t fucking happy. They use it in emergencies, and my absence for almost two weeks after a freak out is an emergency. I groan but lean over to grab my phone off the nightstand. Sure enough, three pictures are staring back at me.
“I’m sorry. I have to take this,” I say, sitting up against the headboard.
“Who is it?” Avery asks.
“My friends. I’ve gone dark on them too and they’re worried,” I say and feel the shame.
“Do you want me to give you a minute?”
Avery starts to protest that it’s too soon to be meeting my friends, but I give her no option when I answer the video call and she has to stay where she’s at to cover her naked body.
“Noah! What the fuck, dude? You can’t ghost us like that and expect to live!” Kristie shouts.
Avery chuckles and Kris’s eyes dart to her. They widen, then a wicked smile takes the place of her scowl. Allie, Evan, and Brooke’s eyes dart towards my guest too, but they look more shocked than anything.
“Oh, hello,” Sweets says with a kind smile.
“Hi,” Avery replies. Her cheeks are turning an adorable pink. I gaze at her, and for a second, my friends are silent.
“So, Noah, are you going to introduce your friend?” Brooke finally asks after like a full minute of them watching me watch Avery. I should probably be embarrassed about it.
“Sorry. Avery, this is Evan and his wife Brooke up in the right corner. In the left corner is Allie, but I call her Sweets. At the bottom, is Kristie. Everybody, this is Avery,” I introduce, barely looking up at my friends.
“Nice to meet you guys,” Avery responds.
“So now that the pleasantries are out of the way, do you want to explain yourself, asshole?” Kristie continues.
“You weren’t the only one he ghosted,” Avery says, looking grave. Very audible gasps sound from each box.
“Noah, you didn’t?” Brooke says, scandalized.
“Did you ignore this nice woman for the same two weeks you ignored us?” Kristie demands.
“Dude.” Evan’s shaking his head like he’s disappointed in me.
“What do you have to say, Sweets?” I ask, somehow feeling like her silence is worse.
“I don’t know, Noah. That was really shitty of you,” she answers.
“Oh, my God! It must have been bad to elicit a swear out of you,” I reply with a light laugh.
“You don’t get to joke your way out of this one, jerk. You did a bad thing. Avery, let me apologize on behalf of my mentally challenged best friend. He was crazy about you when we spoke last,” Kristie says and I groan.
“He was?” Avery asks, a smile playing on her lips. All I can think about is biting them.
“You made him forget about the bitch he used to date. Did he tell you about Kendra?” Kristie asks.
“He did. I think she’s part of the reason he ignored all my texts,” Avery answers.
“Noah!” they all shout.
“Guys, shut up. You know I am alive and obviously fine so we’re gonna go,” I say.
“You guys do seem okay. I mean, she’s naked in your bed so she can’t be that mad at you,” Kristie says, motioning to Avery’s covered chest.
“Haven’t you heard of angry sex? It’s like the best,” Evan says, glancing at Brooke, who laughs.
“Of course, Evan! That’s almost the only kind I have since I can’t stand most people,” Kristie answers. “How much angry sex are you having, Ev? Do we need to get you guys a marriage counselor? I mean, it might not hurt. Your marriage was arranged then not even legal then you would have married Kendra if not for the Charlie’s fucking Angels type shit we did to get Daddy Van Holsten arrested. We practically saved the day, but Ev, you guys had a fucked up first year of marriage,” Kristie rambles and with each word, Avery’s eyes widen until they look like two half-dollars.
“That’s enough out of you, Kris. Noah, I’m glad you’re alive and happy. We’re going to go now,” Brooke says, smiling. Evan walks out of the picture, leaving just Brooke.
“Off to have boring old married sex, I imagine,” Kristie mumbles.
“I think off the wall on every surface of our house sex is in order since Summer is with my parents tonight. Every table, couch, bed, wall, shower you have ever and will ever touch,” Brooke says with a salacious smile.
“Ew! I did not need to know that. I’ll be staying in a hotel next time we visit,” Kris yells.
“We’ll have sex there too just to get at you.”
“Brooke!” Evan calls from somewhere far away from the phone.
“Gotta go have that boring old married sex,” Brooke says, smiling again before her box goes black.
“I’m sorry you had to hear all that, Avery,” Sweets says.
“Don’t apologize. You guys are funny,” she responds.
“Okay, go back to your hot newly in a relationship sex. Buh-bye,” Kristie says hanging up too.
“Bye, guys,” Sweets says, then her screen is black too.
“Jesus, I’m so sorry about them. I swear they were less embarrassing when Brooke was the new girl,” I say turning my attention on Avery.
She trills out a lovely laugh and I pull her down until we’re both laying flat. She lays her arms on my chest and rests her chin on top of them. I put one arm around her until my hand rests on the small of her back.
“It seems like your friends come with a lot of drama. Why does the name Van Holsten sound so familiar?” Avery asks and my heart drops.
I don’t want to tell her who Evan’s family is because she might make the connection from him to me. I know Avery is nothing like Kendra. She doesn’t seem the type to status jump, but you just never really know, do you? As soon as she knows, she might run because my life might come with complications or she might look at me differently when she knows I’m not just another person.
“What’s wrong?” she asks, stroking down my face with the tip of her finger. It’s comforting and I catch it with my other hand so I can kiss her fingertips.
“Evan’s family own Van Holsten Conglomerate. They are the richest people in America,” I answer.
“Oh! How did you become friends with him? Did you go to the same high school or something?”
“Well, yeah, we did. The same college too, but I’ve known Evan, Allie, and Kristie my whole life.”
“Where did you go to college?”
“Evan and I went to Yale. Allie and Kristie moved to California during our senior year, so they went to Stanford.”
“Oh, you guys went to the fancy colleges. Does your family have money too?” she asks, still oblivious.
“Have you heard of the “Big Four”?” I ask.
“Oh, yeah. Isn’t that the name for the four richest dudes in America or something?”
“The media calls them that, but yeah. Evan’s dad was one of them before his arrest, but Allie and Kristie’s dads are the other two.” I hesitate before telling her the rest.
“And the last one?”
“My dad. Clarence Whittier,” I finish.
Avery stares at me like all I’ve been saying finally sinks in. I’m holding my breath, waiting for her to say something. Anything would be better than the silence and odd stare she’s giving me.
“Please tell me knowing this doesn’t change anything for you,” I finally say.
I don’t think I could stand for her to walk away now. I had my two weeks alone, and I hated it more than any other time I’ve spent by myself combined. I like Avery a lot and while I should have been the one that fought for her. I didn’t because I was scared to put myself out there again. But she fought for me. She came back demanding nothing more than my attention. She cares enough that she didn’t let my silence go with a shrug, chalking it up to a whatever date.
“Why would it?”
“I don’t know,” I answer, unsure. “Kendra was only with me because I could elevate her status. I spent all that time with her thinking she loved me. I can’t do that again.”
“I liked you before I knew who your family was. Things make more sense now, I think, but you’re still the same sweet man you were two-and-a-half weeks ago. You’re also still the jerk who ignored me, but I get it. More now than I did before.”
I let out the breath I was holding and pull her up to me until I can kiss her. I can feel her smile through the kiss and the tightness in my chest loosens at her whatever attitude. I don’t meet many people like that. It’s refreshing, just like she is.