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chapter seventeen; blashdkf

"I told you to stop doing that," Ava reminded, pushing his hand away from her face, turning away from him, concentrating on her feet as she swung them back and forth. She shifted from her spot on the countertop, not looking back at Luke.

Luke furrowed his eyebrows, fearing he'd done something wrong due to her random change in mood. He shrugged and, seeing as his shift was nearly over and Jerry was boring the only customer (a man in his mid-thirties who just wanted to buy flowers for his wife and looked like he wanted to fall asleep) with details on fertilizer, he tossed himself onto the counter next to Ava, bumping shoulders with her.

"You okay, darling?" He mused. He was thinking of being romantic and paying for a bunch of flowers that she liked (he was thinking violets, but pansies seemed like they suited the moody, spontaneous girl more) and sweeping her off her Doc Martens covered feet and cheering her up. Then they would confess their undying love for each other and get married.

But that wouldn't be realistic.

And so, he sat quiet and waiting for a response (he was anticipating something snarky, considering Ava loved pushing his buttons and when she was exceptionally grumpy, sarcasm was essential), thinking to himself of why he decided to be a huge dunce and call the person who was so-not-his-girlfriend 'darling', but then again he had been referring to her as 'babe' and 'baby' for the past week and a half. It wasn't like he didn't know, because he unmistakably knew, that this wasn't how friends treated each other. This was beyond the care that most friends had for each other—unless most people wanted to kiss their friends and almost did before one of those said friends sneezed and ruined the movie moment.

Luke was very conflicted because God knows what Ava made him feel and how Luke found her indescribably flawless (sincerely, he didn't think that she could be anymore awesome unless she liked dogs because that would take the cake and Luke would then take it upon himself and voluntarily fall in love with her and if she did happen to become more perfect, he'd be a deadman) and being with her made his insides go 'blashdkf' like an erupting volcano. Which was at a certain point understandable, but it was highly unlikely that he should have felt this way, and that only led to more conflicting emotions. He kept his watchful blue eyes on her expression as she answered.

"Yes, I'm fine. I just want you to stop doing that," Ava disclosed vaguely, fixedly eyeing a painting of Billie Joe from Green Day holding a rose that hung in the corner near (you guessed it) the roses.

Indubitably, her gaze would sporadically wander it's wayward way to Luke eventually, for she held a habit of it, but she forced herself to control it for the time being. She knew that Luke would continue to pester and question her if she didn't make another firm confirmation because that was just the annoying pain the ass person that Luke happened to be, so she grabbed the hand of his that was closest to her and gave it a squeeze. She sighed, unable to resist temptation, and she took a glimpse of him, immediately regretting it. One look at his face and she would melt into a pop punk enthusiasm and geek goop onto the floor and stain his nice shoes. Imagining the scene in her mind made her mentally shudder.

"I like holding your hand," Luke admitted, intertwining his fingers with hers, putting on a warm smile. "A lot. I like spending time with you, too. A lot."

Ava had to bite the inside of her cheeks to stop herself from dreamily sighing, or screaming even. In her brain, somewhere hyped up on ponies and rainbows, a part of her wanted to say And I like you. But then she realized what she was doing and she wanted to stop existing for a moment. She was delusional. It was palpable that she and Luke shared some close connection with each other and they were quite well acquainted (more than acquainted, clearly) and she knew she felt something but she couldn't deal with anything too much right now. She needed to focus purely on just becoming better and better friends with him rather than anything else. Maybe if she turned over every rock, she'd unearth every part of Luke—the raw sides, the bad sides—and the feelings would go away.

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