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bet you all thought you'd seen the last of me bitches. i know, i know i'm such an amazing author updating a year later! this is super long, enjoy.

chapter thirty-three: if you don't know

Luke, of all things, felt awkward as fuck.

There were many times that he wished his mouth didn't move faster than his brain, and this time was no different. He had been driving for what seemed like hours, the rest of the night quiet, the only lights being from diners and strip clubs and whatever else seemed to be open during the late hour. The car radio was switched on to the most recent pop song that Luke didn't know the name of, and it faded out as his car pulled into the parking lot of a small 24 hour coffee shop with two or three people inside called The Mudhouse.

The Mudhouse was very tiny, Luke could tell that much. He stepped inside, his hoodie slightly wet from the shower of rain that had occurred before he stepped into his car and went for a spontaneous drive against his better judgement. He didn't know whether he liked driving alone during the night or not; on one side, it cleared his head and helped him think, allowing him to not feel so crowded. On the other hand, the nights he drove alone usually happened because of something bad or problematic, and that within itself just sucked major ass.

This is why Luke desperately needed caffeine.

He took a seat, running a hand through his hair as he browsed through the menu, even though he knew he wasn't going to order anything other than a cup of coffee. Something about the situation wants to make him laugh—and it's mainly the fact that before he met Ava, he would've resorted to downing shots and other various forms of alcohol at a bar or club to deal with his problems, but now he was here, at a nearly silent cafe with smooth jazz playing barely audible on the speakers. It goes to show that some change is good, because as far as he could tell, coffee was never going to cause him to black out and end up facedown in the middle of some stranger's house. Well, depending on how good the coffee was.

Luke sighed to himself. Why do you have to be such an idiot? That was the only thing he had been thinking for the past couple of hours. The words repeated in his head and for hours he struggled to find an answer. He felt messed up and weird, and most of all, he felt full of regret. He didn't just want to be friends with Ava, he was just insecure, but his dumbass had to speak before his mind could fully finish forming a complete thought that was comprehensible. He felt right about one thing though—Ava Morrison deserved better than him.

"Hey, what can I get for you?"

Luke glanced up to see a young waitress standing there, a tired grin on her face. It was fake, no doubt, but she had probably been standing there and he hadn't noticed until now. He hadn't even heard her footsteps when she walked towards his table. He shook his head, almost as if that would get rid of the tiredness and the conflict going on internally, and returned with a small smile.

"Yeah, can I just get a cup of coffee?" He answered and she nodded, walking away shortly after and leaving him alone again. While she walked away, she didn't make a sound either, and the silence suffocated him.

Everything felt out of place. Or, rather, he did. He truly didn't know what was wrong with him. He knew the problem was him, he was the one making things complicated—but this just made him think more about the fact that if he felt like this and was so low in self esteem, he shouldn't focus so much on having a relationship in the first place. Maybe trying to really just establish friendship again wasn't such a bad idea. It would be Luke's first good idea in a long time.

The sound of doors opening made Luke's head snap up, seeing as it was the only prominent sound he'd heard all evening and the fact that he desperately wanted some nice, hot coffee. But then—eye contact. It was not his coffee.

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