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i know this is late but honestly i had too many ideas for this chapter and i've been a mess so hopefully you all like this :)

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i know this is late but honestly i had too many ideas for this chapter and i've been a mess so hopefully you all like this :)

chapter twenty seven; what are you thankful for?

Rock music played softly in the background of the interior of Luke's car, guitar riffs and drum solos filling his ears as he bobbed his head to its beat, mumbling some lyrics if he knew them. Other than that and the heater buzzing, the car was quiet with no conversation happening between him and the girl next to him. He would glance at her occasionally, when it was safe for his eyes to leave the road, and he'd unconsciously take short glimpses at her, like he was driving her to the airport and wouldn't see her for a long time so he was trying to take in every detail down to the last one so that her image was imprinted in his brain. Most of the time, he just did it mindlessly, because he was captivated by her and desired for one of them to say something, but he'd look away and they would continue acting like the other wasn't really in the car.

It was quite disheartening to watch, especially if you knew Luke and Ava as the people they really were, as the people who laughed at the same stupid jokes about stuff they'd always see on the internet and constantly teased each other over petty traits, like the slope of one's nose and how clumsy someone was. To see them not know what to say to one another, or to not even really have anything to want to say, was a sight strong enough to break a person's heart. It was unusual most of all, and it meant that something was really wrong. That's what scared Luke.

He knew that tonight, he was just emotional support, and him and Ava even compromised a temporary deal to pretend and go back to being "best friends" for one night, just so that they could lessen the possible factors people could use against Ava and simply leave her as comfortable as possible, in a way she didn't have to have prying chats that she didn't prepare for with note cards and leave Thanksgiving dinner with no more emotional damage than she came in with. However, a part of him felt upset, considering the fact that he had helped her deal with her family before and he was unsure of the whole situation even though he was the one who mainly encouraged it. He was stressed over Ava and worried that she might end up getting herself into more than she could chew—or some metaphor like that, Luke had never paid much attention in English Literature—and he truly didn't know how, for a person with a difficult mental illness, she dealt with certain circumstances so well.

Albeit, she did have her therapeutic methods that helped her. Luke's gaze flickered to the "Stress Apple Pie" that she baked minutes before leaving her apartment, its crust crinkled perfectly, with exactly four slits at the top, each two centimeters apart. (He watched her when she baked it, and he wasn't even surprised when she pulled out a ruler.) Then, as he turned up the road, nearing the very house Ava was secretly dreading approaching, his eyes flickered to the elegant red dress she wore and a smile found its way onto his lips.

For the dinner, she had very obviously made an effort to dress for the occasion, yet she somehow also managed to look like she didn't try so hard, even when she really did (and she did: she wasn't one who normally wore fancy clothing, unless by fancy one really meant ripped jeans and a cute blouse). She even brought out some old jewelry: a pearl necklace with matching earrings. To finish it all off, she wore light makeup and put her hair up. Frankly, it was Luke was seeing a new person.

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