XXXIV: FROM THE OUTSIDE IN

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chapter thirty-four; from the outside in

For once in Ava's life, Becca was screaming her head off—in a good way.

"Ava, your hair looks amazing." Becca runs her hand through it, like she's been doing for the past five minutes. "Holy shit, it looks so good! I'm not even mad about the fact that you could've stained our bathroom with blue hair dye."

Ava Morrison, like most people after stressful circumstances, enjoyed to work from the outside in. For some inexplicable reason, it was therapeutic and the almost euphoric emotion that washed over her whenever she went out and did something for herself was addictive and oh so fulfilling.

Whether is be a haircut or new clothes or a tattoo–as long as it was what she wanted for herself and it would do her or anybody else no harm, she relied on herself to get it done. With all the events that have been occurring, each one happening one after the other, like bombs being set off, Ava just wanted to enjoy herself, and so, with the anxiety-filled logic of Let's Alter My Physical Appearance Slightly to Make Me Trick Myself Into Thinking My Life Is Stable, she had dyed her hair blue.

Very blue.

Her hair fell down wet after her shower, and the strands hung vibrantly on her shoulder from her ear down. Her roots, dark and raven-hued, were still visible, but they blended fittingly into the new colour that now lived and made a home on her head. Gazing at herself in the mirror that stood floor-length in Becca's room, she smiled gleefully.

"It was worth the bathroom having to be aired out for an hour because of the bleach smell," she brought up, remembering that she had to wait for the scent to waft out through the bathroom's open window before she could step in the shower. There would've been no use for her new hairdo if she had died less than five minutes later because of it.

"It looks really cute. It's a good change," Becca repeated before pausing a moment, collecting her thoughts as if she were choosing her words carefully. "Speaking of changes. What's going on with you and Luke?"

Ava froze mid-comb, then pretended she didn't and continued brushing her hair out and drying it with a towel even though she knew her hair would become frizzy.

It had been a couple days since her and Luke had their entire talk about if they were both ready for a relationship with each other. There had been no malice or bad blood between the two of them, it had just been awkward due to the fact that it wasn't exactly easy to ignore that they deeply cared about each other.

At the moment, Ava respected Luke's space—and deep down, she knew that he needed to figure things out for himself anyway, because if he didn't, she would've been wasting her time. She supposed that she preferred waiting it out to see if anything would ever happen between them again, if that even was meant to be, rather than push her way back in and come back with disastrous results.

"What did Calum tell you?" Something tells her that no matter how lovely Becca's boyfriend was, he couldn't keep his mouth shut around her. "I mean, I'm assuming he told you something."

"Actually, it wasn't Cal." Becca, for the first time in a long time, seemed to be at a loss for words. She kept licking her lips like she had something to say, but then she refrained. Fiddling with her fingers, she let out a breath. "It was Luke."

"Say what?" With furrowed brows and a towel wrapped around her short hair, Ava gave her fully undivided attention to her best friend.

"He came over earlier when you were hanging out with Michael after work. I told him you weren't here, but he just wanted to check up on everything," Becca admitted, shrugging. She didn't seemed annoyed, Ava noticed, just surprised. Like she had realised something. "He and I talked—and it didn't end in me wanting to rip his head off."

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