Avalon walked through the empty, dark streets of New York, her breath visible as she breathed the cold air. The slight sound of dogs barking could be heard in the distant along with the busy cars that were slowing down as the day ended, but that was it. She finished texting a work friend and slipped her phone back into her shoulder bag as she turned a corner, walking into the familiar empty alley. It was just a gap between two old terraced houses built many years ago but it was bleak and uninviting, nonetheless it was a short cut she passed through every time when she walked home. There were hefty, ponderous puddles on the floor and the remains of an wet, soggy newspaper scattered on the ground. She picked up her pace, not really enjoying the faint, awful smell of urine and rotted trash as she breathed in it's fetid breath.

She stopped in her tracks when she heard footsteps. A cold shiver went up her spine, before she continued to walk- ignoring her eerie thoughts and told herself that whoever those footsteps belong to was just passing by too, just like she was. Not everyone could be an crazy axe-murderer slash rapist, could they?

However, when the footsteps became alarmingly loud, her stride became more rushed and skittish as she tried to exit the alley safely.

"Ava..." She heard a man say, and she could have sworn her heart stopped breathing for a moment before it continued to slam against her chest like a fearful bird trying to escape. "Ava, I just want to talk."She realised who the voice belonged to and immediately calmed down, knowing that she could stand up for herself.

"What, are you following me now?" She spat, stopping in her tracks and turning around the face the tall man with a navy blue hoodie on. He reached his hand up to remove the hood from his head and stepped closer towards Avalon, the light of the moon reflecting of his tired face. She noticed his heavy eyes and stubble as he hadn't shaved in a while. It confused her- he had a great job, and he had to look the part. But now he just looked like a tramp. She almost laughed.

"Well you're not answering my calls." He replied, his voice laced with discontent as he gave her an annoyed look, "Why did you end it with me?"

"Are you-" She paused, scoffing in disbelief and letting out a pathetic laugh, "Are you drunk?"

"No." He defended, swaying on his feet. Avalon rolled her eyes.

"Go home, will you? Stop following me or I'll call the police."

"I am the police." He bickered, stepping forward and jabbing a sharp finger at her chest. She gasped quietly with shock and gave him a look as she slapped his hand away. "Give me another chance."

"You've got to be joking." Avalon murmured, shaking her head and turning on her heels to walk away from the situation- but her ex grabbed her shoulder and forced her to turn back around to face him. "What the hell--?"

"I'm talking to you and you're going to listen." He said with anger, his face close to her as the venom came from his mouth. She widened her eyes in shock as she witnessed his anger, and opened her mouth to speak again but was cut of by another voice lurking in the shadows of the alley.

"Hey, everything alright here?" A man asked, wondering into the murky, misty alley.

"Yeah were fine" He replied, not taking his eyes off of Ava. Avalon's ex then appeared in front of the stranger when he noticed his presence was still there. "I said were fine" He said again, more sternly.

"Yes, you said you were fine but I thought I'd ask the lady you're with too. You okay there, ma'am?" The strange politely questioned.

"Yeah, I'm cool, just want this wasted drunky to stop following me!" Avalon replied, giving her ex an annoyed look. Her ex turned around to face her and furrowed his brows, pointing another finger at her.

"Hey! who's wasted? I'm perfectly sober and I wouldn't have to stalk you if you answered your god-damn phone." He defended himself.

"Don't you get the hint? I don't answer your calls or texts. It's kind of obvious." Avalon roller her eyes. He shot her a harsh look before reaching out and grabbing her wrist forcefully, pulling her towards him as he tried to once again explain his reasons to her. "Just listen-"

"Get off me!" Ava battled with him, trying to get him to realise his grip off her wrist, but she couldn't over-power him. The stranger stepped in immediately to help, capturing his grip, painfully twisting his arm and seizing Ava's wrist back. Her groaned in pain and Avalon rubbed her wrist whilst her ex decided to have a scrap with the stranger, which didn't end very well for him. The stranger didn't break Avalon's ex's arm, probably just bruised it. Her ex through a punch at the tough stranger, but the stranger quickly dodged it so her ex went flying forward, nearly falling onto the ground. The stranger then pushed him a good distance away from Avalon, before quickly warning him. "Leave her alone"

Avalon's ex regained his balanced, standing up to meet the strangers gaze as they stood a good few meters away from each other, "This isn't over!"

"I'm sure it isn't."

"Asshole." He insulted, spitting onto the ground in disgust before walking off. Avalon sighed with relief when he had gone, and turned around to face her savor.

"Thank you for that," She smiled politely, "He's been bothering me for quite some time now."

"Don't mention it." The stranger smiled cutely, and Ava found herself blushing awkwardly. "Need me to walk you home?"

"Um..." Avalon thought, not sure on what to tell him, "I'm grateful that you helped me, but you're still a stranger. I don't trust you enough for you to walk me home. I can take care of myself."

"I completely understand." The stranger nodded his head, respecting her wishes and digging his hands into his pockets, "You be careful now, have a good night."

Avalon smiled. It was rare to meet a man who was interested in helping out a woman because he actually cared, not just because he wanted her number in return for being kind. She nodded her head slightly, and dug her hands into her coat pockets as well, "You too, stranger."

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