XXX: MISTAKES AND HEARTBREAK

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chapter thirty; mistakes and heartbreak

Luke sat at the counter of CFS, his fingers rifling through the pages of a magazines named Plant Weekly, examining each page with interest and fascination, reading paragraphs upon paragraphs about which certain flowers were the best to give or why owning plant was better than getting married. He actually loved learning more about plants and flowers, and a dorky grin was on his face each time he turned the page.  It felt like it had been years since he spent a shift at the shift, his usually and seemingly ordinary life growing busier and more and more stressful as each day went by. However, he apparently missed little to nothing according to Carolynn, who didn't mind Luke missing shifts ever since she had hired a new worker named Derick, whom Luke still had yet to meet.

He folded over a page about the Five Types of Flowers to Let Your Best Friend Know You Care About Them, and closed the magazine as he cast it aside; the entrance bell's dull clanging catching his attention as it rung. His eyes landed on the new customer and he let out an inaudible and nervous breath.

"Hi, Luke," Delilah greeted, her voice inviting and velvety, like they were just old friends catching.  (Which, in a way, they were. If you removed the part where she broke his heart and ran away.) She strolled up to the counter, taking in the place she hadn't seen in so long, remembering that this was where she first met Luke.

"Hi, Del," He responded, his voice feigned happiness and a plastic smile was displayed on his face. Fortunately, he calmer than he was the last time he talked to her, and knowing that gave him a hazy boost of confidence.

He didn't know how to feel about the girl standing in front of her. To everyone else, she was Delilah Simmons: tall, gorgeous, and highly intelligent with an amazing personality. To Luke, she was just Delilah: girl who tore him apart. She had definitely changed in the past year or so, but she would always be the girl who broke his heart and treated him as nothing more than a chew toy.

"So, I stopped by your apartment last night, but it was really late, so sorry about that," Delilah explained, tugging away baby hairs that fell out of her tight ponytail, rocking on the heels of her feet. Her sneakers squeaked as she did this and Luke bit his lip struggling to ignore it. "Did you get it? Read it? I gave it to that girl. The one with the short hair. The pretty one."

At the mention of Ava (because let's face it: Luke's ears perked up whenever someone talked about his girl, the term "his girl" is used in a non-possessive way, of course—Ava was hers before she was ever anyone else's—and he could tell whenever somebody was talking about her. Indirectly or not), he grew hot and red at the cheeks and he almost completely forgot that he was in the middle of a conversation. He thought back to the letter, it's words flooding his brain, swarming his mind with intricate phrases and her eloquent words. Delilah had always been a good writer, just not a good lover.

He nodded hesitantly at her inquiry, not responding verbally. Despite all his bad memories of their toxic relationship, the letter was something that gave him everything he had been asking for. It gave him answers, answers to the questions that he had been wondering to himself for months. It gave him closure—something he had always wanted and waited for; but now that he had it, he didn't know what to do with it.

Luke was one of the most complex people in the world, one of the most complex known to man. Usually, it was just an exaggeration, but lately it seemed to become more and more into the truth. The letter had shocked him, to say the very least. He hadn't expected it at all, and it sent him feeling more open about his past relationship with the girl in front of him, though it did feel weird.

"I really hope that you take it into consideration," Delilah told him truthfully, pausing and awkwardly gazing at the Christmas decorations that Carolyn had hung up earlier before speaking once more, "I'm sorry that I ran away like that when you told me that you wanted something more than what we had. It was so immature and I regret it so much, Luke."

Luke scratched his neck and bit his lip, keeping his stare on a catalog on holiday poinsettias instead of on her green and intimidating eyes, not sure what to say. He grabbed a spray bottle and started to randomly spray the already-clean counter, grabbing a rag to pretend he was wiping it down.

"I was hoping that we could start again? Maybe go out some time?"

Luke almost choked on his spit. He dropped the spray bottle, making it clatter to the ground and he quickly scrambled to pick it up, muttering words to himself as he clumsily got up. His blue eyes widened as he struggled to catch his breath. Did he hear her correctly? She seriously wanted to get back together with him? His brain and heart both screamed: no! You don't love her; and he knew that but all he could do was sit there with a dumbfounded look on his face.

"Is that a yes?" Delilah asked, chuckling lightly as she tried to decipher his silence. For all she knew, Luke was single, and she had no idea that he actually wasn't.

Just then, before Luke could answer, the entrance bell rang once more and Luke thanked the universe that another person has walked in on this dead-sales day to distract him from the situation going on in front of him—until he saw who it was.

Ava stood there with a confused expression on her face, one that was laced with slight hurt. She was wearing a change of clothing, a different look than her usual skinny jeans and t-shirt mix. She was wearing one of Luke's plain black shirts with leggings underneath and a warm olive green jacket, and some black boots to top it all off. The weather had gotten cold, which was part of the reason why she showed up. She wanted to take Luke out for some coffee or hot cocoa after his shift, but now all she wanted was to go back home.

She had heard everything; she had really been standing there for about ten minutes, holding the door open carefully so that the bell wouldn't ring, eavesdropping on their conversation. It was only when her arm got—in her words—"like, super-duper tired," that she let herself let go of the door and let the bell make sound. She had been having a really bad week and seeing this was just the maraschino cherry on top of the Horrible Cake. Plus, she was on her period and her feelings and insecurities became hypersensitive, which didn't help the case at all. She stared at Luke and Delilah as they looked back at her, and she simply let out a breath.

"Sorry, wrong store. I—Merry Christmas," she said before walking out the door.

Deep down, she wanted Luke to chase after her like in movies, but she knew it wouldn't happen. He had his own problems to deal with. She made a mental note to check up on him later, but for now, she just climbed in her car, turned up the sad song on the radio and drove away.

•••

welcome to shit city, my friends. please please please remember that ava is a human being and she is not overreacting when it comes to her and luke's relationship because she has feelings and fears too, ok. also sorry if this sucked, which it probably did.

also i cannot even EXPRESS how much im trying to enforce the healthy relationship idea here!! because luke and ava are having some problems right now does not mean that they are toxic and unhealthy—HOWEVER there is a huge difference between having issues and insecurities in your relationship and having severe trust issues and constantly not trusting your partner. please know that if someone is consistently making you rethink your relationship and whether or not they love you, it is not good for your mental health at all. you shouldn't be with someone who emotionally makes you feel insecure and you shouldn't have to worry about who they're with or where they are. big differences, guys.

do luke and ava have things to work out? YES. no relationship is perfect and conflict can happen. but relationships are about loving someone equally without growing unhealthily co-dependent or attached to them and respecting each other. a relationship does take work and effort but it cannot be a one way give street or mentally damaging as well.

anyways!! haha im fucked because i forgot about xmas and new years eve and i honestly don't want to write those chapters, but i have to so the story flows. just know that communication is important and key in relationships and also that LAVA is gonna get fucked up guys. not too fucked up, just like healthy and reasonable fucked up...okay??

anyways here's a LONG overdue happy holidays and new year. im working on the new chapters now so hopefully those will be published soon.






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