Coffee and ConversationsCoffee Conversations

Coffee and Conversations: 9:00 PM

~ 9:00 PM ~

“Did you know that a lot of gay porn stars aren’t gay?” Porn asked.

“Have you been watching sex documentaries again?” Ava asked as she cleaned up their dinner mess.

“I just find it a little disheartening to know.”

“Do you even watch porn?” Walsh asked.

“No. It’s too fake. No one ever looks that good or that into it. When was the last time or the first time anyone came to your door naked wearing a tool belt?”

“Well, actually.”

“It was rhetorical question Walsh.”

“I dated a gay porn star once,” Ava said as she returned from throwing their trash away.

“When?” Garrett asked.

“Who?” Porn asked.

“In college. His name was Greg or Steve. I don’t remember.”

“What?” Walsh asked. “When in college?”

“It was before you and I became friends. Originally it was straight porn, but then he went into gay porn because of the money.”

“You were okay with this.”

“He was doing it before we started seeing each other. I actually ended up breaking things off with him. It was too weird to see him in it.”

“You watched it?”

Ava nodded. “I went on set once. It was weird. There I was, talking about whatever to this guy, and fifteen minutes later, I am standing on set watching the guy I am dating fucking him. In the end, it weirded me out.” Collapsing onto the chair closest to her, she sighed. “I wonder if he’s still in them.”

The three men looked at Ava.

“Why didn’t you tell us this story before?” Porn asked.

“No one has asked and the subject has never popped up. Until tonight.”

“Anything else we should know about you that we don’t?” Walsh asked.

“There’s plenty,” she smiled. “When the timing is appropriate, you’ll find out.”

Garrett’s phone rang, ending the topic of conversation. Looking at the phone, he stood, “I have to take this.”

“Probably some hot date,” Porn asked as he watched him walk outside.

“It could be business,” Walsh added, watching Ava for a reaction to Porn’s comment.

“Hot date,” she said. “He’s all dressed up for something and it isn’t us.”

“Why couldn’t it be he’s dressed up for us?”

“Us? You’re insane Walsh.”

“You, yourself, dress nice for the hell of it. You tell us that all the time.”

Shrugging her shoulders, Ava sighed. “You could be right but Porn could be right too.”

The three fell silent. They really didn’t care what type of call it was or why Garrett was “dressed” nice. They just liked to make a big deal out of small things to sometimes spice up their lives. They all knew when they were doing it and knew when it was useless to continue.

“Sorry. Business,” Garrett said as he returned to his spot.

“This late?” Porn asked.

“Something just came up.”

“Is everything okay?” Ava asked, knowing that Garrett’s business was his life. They had one rule when they were together and that was all cell phones had to be off or on silent and put away. The only who didn’t have to abide by the rule was Garrett, but his rule was only business calls could be answered and he rarely had to answer his phone for that reason.

“There was a glitch in one of the systems. They just wanted to let me know about it and said they would call back with any significant problems.”

“So, no hot date?”  Porn asked.

Smiling, Garrett shook his head. “Sorry to let you down. I work too much to expect someone to be there for me.”

“I regret that.”

“You have always been the exception to the rule,” Garrett said to Ava.

Walsh smiled. He once was jealous of Garrett, but now more than ever he knew that Ava would always be there for him. He did love her but he felt that Garrett might have loved her more. He was after all, the only one who was constantly looking out and taking care of her. Be it consciously or not, he had become her protector and her knight in shining armor. Walsh couldn’t fault Garrett for that. He could only praise him, as it was a role he could obviously never really fulfill.

“Ava,” Mo said as she placed a pitcher of water on the coffee table.

Ava looked at Mo, who was staring at the front of the coffeehouse. Following her eyes, she leapt out of her seat.

The three men watched as Ava bounded across the coffeehouse to a man at the door. The man had raven black hair and was wearing a white short-sleeved t-shirt, dark denim jeans, and had both arms covered in tattoos. The heart in every single one of them was crushed like a car in a compactor the moment she kissed tattooed stranger. They looked away, at each other, and back to Ava.

“Who the fuck is that?” Porn asked, breaking the uncomfortable silence between them.

No one knew the answer. All they could do was just watch her with him.

“What are you doing here?” Ava asked after she had kissed Hart. He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her again, taking her breath away.

Resting his forehead against hers, Hart smiled at her. “I know I’m interrupting group time and I’m sorry but I got your message. I had to see you.”

Ava’s heart swelled. “I couldn’t wait to tell you in person. I had to get the message to you.”

“No cancer?”

Ava shook her head. “No cancer.”

Hart kissed her forehead.

“Can you join us? Finally meet the boys?”

Holding both her hands in his, he smiled. He was beyond happy to know she was cancer free. “I can meet them but can’t stay,” he admitted. “I am on my way to deliver evidence to the district attorney but told them I had to stop and see one person on the way and that I would be no more than ten minutes at said stop.”

“They’re timing you, aren’t they?”

“It’s the district attorney. They wanted everything three days ago.”

“Will I see you later then?”

Hart nodded. “I’ll be done with the night in about an hour. I’ll pick you up on my way back.”

Ava kissed Hart. “I could have waited until you were done.”

“You were too important to wait to see,” he replied. “Frank handed me my phone as soon as I wrapped up.”

Ava smiled. “He’s a good kid that one.”

“You ready for me to meet the guys?”

Ava nodded. “I’ll apologize in advance if they are rude.”

“I completely understand if they are. You are their girl,” Hart said, stressing the word their. “They love you.”

Ava took his hand into hers with a squeeze and lead Hart to where Garrett, Walsh, and Porn sat staring at them. She could sense an uncomfortable almost angry silence around them. She took a deep breath and said, “Guys, I’d like you to meet my boyfriend, Hart.” The three men stared at the man standing next her. “Hart, this Garrett, Walsh, and Porn.”

Hart shook their respective hands. “It’s nice to finally meet all of you,” he said, knowing that three alpha males were staring him down like the sworn enemy of the state. “I’ve heard so much about you all.”

“We can’t say the same,” Porn said, staring at him.

“Porn, don’t be rude,” Garrett said. “Are you joining us Hart?”

“It’s okay Garrett and I wish I could,” he answered. “I’m still on the clock. I just needed to see Ava for a moment.”

“Rain check? Next week perhaps?”

Walsh stared at Garrett. He didn’t understand how he was remaining so calm, cool, and collected.

“Absolutely,” Hart answered. “I’m sorry I can’t stay and apologize for the meet and run.”

“I’ll walk you out,” Ava said, looping her arm around Hart’s. “Can one of you please order a tea for me?”

They all nodded, still at a loss for words.

“Who the fuck was that?” Walsh asked once Ava and Hart had walked outside. “Boyfriend? What in the hell is going on?”

“What’s up with all the tattoos?” Porn asked.

“I bet he sent her the flowers,” Walsh said as he walked towards the counter to order Ava’s tea.

Garrett wanted to confess it was him but opted for silence. He knew they all had a lot of questions for Ava besides just who Hart was.

“Did she tell any of you about Hart?” Walsh asked collapsing back onto the couch he was sitting on.

“No,” Garrett answered.

Porn answered with a shake of his head.

“Where’s Mo? She seemed to know who he was,” Walsh said. “Or she at least recognized him.”

Garret glanced around the coffeehouse but didn’t see Mo anywhere. He was sure the tattooed, red lipstick wearing server was in hiding. He couldn’t blame her if she was either. He had been on the receiving end of boundless questions from the group before and it was worse than any horrible police interrogation scene from a movie.

The chimes above the door rang and all three men watched as Ava walked back in and over to the counter. Mo appeared with her tea and the two women engaged in a brief conversation with Mo’s facial expression revealing all: awestruck.

Picking up her teapot and mug, Ava turned and stared at the three men staring at her. She took a deep breath and walked to where they sat and sat back down in the empty chair between the two couches. She would just wait and see who spoke first.

“Is Hart really going to join us next week?” Garrett asked.

Ava shook her head. “My Fridays belong to you guys. He knows that and he would only join if you really wanted him to.”

Garrett was more than relieved to hear that.

“Well, I don’t want him too,” Porn admitted.

“Porn. Manners.”

“Fuck the niceties,” Walsh snapped. “Who the fuck is Hart? What’s his story? What’s your story with him? The kiss at the door was obviously more than we just met. Boyfriend? Since when? Seems you’ve seen him known him for a while. How long? When? Why haven’t you told any of us about him?”

Garrett looked away from Walsh and to Ava. “How about just start from the beginning,” he said.

“Porn do you have anything you want to say or ask,” she asked.

Porn silently shook his head. The anger he felt was eating away at him. He hadn’t felt this betrayed since the night he came out to his family.

“Start talking Ava,” Walsh barked.

“Walsh,” Garrett said.

“Fuck off Garrett,” he replied with enough anger to decimate a small county. “Don’t try to be her defender about this.”

“I’m not,” he responded. “I want to know the whole story like you both do, but if this hostility and anger is our first reaction, then no fucking wonder Ava has not said anything to us.”

Ava shrank back into the comfort of the chair. On one side, she had a seemingly levelheaded Garrett and across from him sat a verbally angry Walsh and silently angry Porn. “It’s okay Garrett,” she said. “I have been keeping it a secret.”

“See,” Walsh sighed.

“I wanted to make sure he was worthy of meeting you. That’s all. As you can clearly see right now, you’re not an easy bunch. I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time if he wasn’t worthy,” she added.

“So, is he or we worthy?” Walsh questioned.

Sighing, Garrett asked, “Ava can you please start from the beginning?”

“We met here,” she confessed.

“When?” Walsh asked.

“Five or six months ago.”


“Can I just tell you everything first and then be interrogated?” she asked.

Walsh sighed, “By all means. Finally tell us. Let us in on your secret.”

Ava remembered the day she met Hart as if it were yesterday. If there ever was a day that could have been labeled the worse day in her life, that day was it. She had come to the coffeehouse in hopes of salvaging what was left of the day with a tea and a book.

What she got instead was colliding into Mo and her group of friends.

“Come on,” Mo said, looping her arm around Ava’s waist and dragging her away from the coffeehouse.

“Mo, I’m really not in the mood today,” she proclaimed.

“A perfect reason to come,” the tattooed server said, holding onto her even tighter.

Ava struggled against Mo but couldn’t escape her clutches. For a woman she was powerful and strong. “Can this be considered kidnapping?” she sighed.

Mo laughed. “Hart, Ava wants to know if this can be considered kidnapping?” she asked.

“Is it against her will?” a male’s voice asked from the front of the pack.

“Yes,” Ava answered back.

A man stopped walking, letting the others pass around him. As Mo and Ava stepped along side of him, he fell in step with them. “Where did you come from?” he asked.

“My mother’s womb,” Ava snapped.

The man laughed. “Mo, let her go.”

Mo shook her head. “She’ll try to make a run for it,” she said, “and I want Ava to come out with us.”

The man looked at Ava with an arched brow.

“Oh, for fucks sake,” she sighed. “Mo, if I agree not to run and go wherever it is you’re going, will you please let me go?”


“You supply me with coffee and tea on a daily basis,” Ava sighed. “Do you think I’m going to screw that up?”

Smiling, Mo let go of her. “If you run, I will ensure you are never served again.”

“My word is my word.”

With that, Mo stepped away from her and bounced ahead to others in the group.

“Thank you for the rescue,” Ava said to the man next to her.

“You’re welcome,” he replied.

“I’m Ava,” she said and extended her hand.

“Hart,” he replied as he shook her hand. “It’s nice meet you.”


“Non womb answer,” Hart said, “seriously where did you come from? You weren’t inside the coffeehouse with us.”

“Oh jeez, that’s what you meant,” Ava replied. “I was walking in as you guys were walking out. Mo saw me and grabbed me.”

Hart nodded. “Sometimes, she can be as rambunctious as a puppy.”

“I only know serious server side.” Ava waved her hand towards Mo. “This side is new to me.”

“Puppy or toddler jacked up on sugar. Take your pick.”

“Have you known her long?” Ava asked.

Hart shook his head. “Not my traditional group of friends,” he answered, “but Mo serves me too and I don’t want my coffee supply cut off either.”

Ava laughed. “Are you a regular?”

“Does going everyday count as a regular?”

She nodded and answered, “Absolutely.”

“How about you?”

“Same as you,” she answered. “How come I’ve never seen you before?”

Hart shrugged his shoulders. “I’m either in early morning or in when the drunks want to sober up. I’ve seen you in before though. You’re always with a book.”

Ava smiled. She liked that he didn’t say with three guys. “Well, now I feel really rude for not noticing you. Sometimes, I can live in my own little world.”

“Don’t be,” Hart replied, “like I said, you were reading and that’s always a great escape from reality.”

“Do you read a lot?”

Hart nodded. “A lot of reference books for work, occasional nonfiction, and I am a sucker for anything by Stephen King.”

“Favorite King novel?”

“The Stand,” Hart answered. “I have a first edition copy.”

“With the cover by John Cayea?”

Hart’s eyes lit up. “Impressive. You know your books.”

Ava smiled. “To say I’m a nerd is an understatement. I have an unnatural ability to remember things that are completely useless.”

“Like who did the cover art for the first edition copy of a novel?”

“I’m really good at useless trivia.”

“Too bad we are not doing trivia.”

“Dare I ask what we are doing?”

“Bar Olympics,” Hart answered.

“Dare I ask what that involves?” Ava asked.

“Do you know that bar Fahrenheit?”

Ava nodded. “But I’ve never been.”

“In the basement, they have games set up. Life size Connect Four and Jenga, shuffleboard, video games, and so on. It truly is an adult playground of childhood games. Each quarter, we all team up for Bar Olympics. Winning team has free cocktails or coffee for a month.” Hart kicked at a stone on the sidewalk with a sigh. “It is the most intense and competitive night ever.”

“Sounds like you’re dreading it?” Ava said as they crossed the street.

“Only because it brings out the competitive side of everyone.”

“Who are the reigning gold medal winners?”

Hart raised his hand with a smile. “Teammate is not here to defend his reigning title.”

“So, if I bribed you with coffee, could I be your replacement teammate?” Ava asked as they continued to follow along behind the pack.

“You don’t have to bribe me,” Hart answered. “Reigning winners assign teams.”

“Can I bribe you with coffee to not stick me with Mo?” she asked with a smile.

Hart laughed. “You don’t have to bribe me,” he said again.

Before Ava’s head had a chance to think, her mouth spat out, “If you don’t take me up on any of my bribes, how am I going to see you again?”

“Impressive pick-up line even for you,” Walsh admitted. “Totally unlike you.”

“Thank you,” Ava said. “To be honest, I said it without thought. I shocked even myself.”

“Let me guess, he picked you and you guys won the night?” Porn asked, still irritated by her.

“He actually did not pick me,” she answered. “He threw everyone’s name in a hat and pulled out pairs of names and that’s how we were teamed. I was teamed up with a lovely chap named Kenneth and we were annihilated. We gave up after our fourth consecutive loss and just sat at the bar watching everyone. After it was over, people started splintering off and heading home.”

Porn sighed. “Let me guess he walked you home.”

Rolling her eyes, Ava just stared at him. “My life isn’t some fucking romantic movie,” she snapped. “I went home alone. A few days later I ran into him here. He was coming in and I was leaving. He asked if I would change my mind on leaving and join him for a cup and I did. We sat here talking for a few hours. We exchanged info and made a date.”

“What did you do on your first date?” Garrett asked. In all the years of knowing Ava, she had never had a steady guy in her life. He couldn’t even recall the last time she went on a date either. She seemed content to have just the three of them in her life.

“We went to the history museum,” she answered. “They had an exhibition on Jack the Ripper and a solve-the-case whodunit program.”

Walsh stared at Ava. “Was it fun?”

“So much fun,” she answered. “They have a new one every month and we’ve hit them all.”

He knew the far off look in Ava’s eyes well. She had spoken the truth.

“Interesting first date,” Garrett added.

“It fits with his life,” she replied.

“So, he’s a serial killer?” Porn asked.

“No, smart ass. It’s part of his interest and what drives him. It was nice to see the world through his eyes.”

Crossing his arms across his chest, Porn confessed, “Ava, I am being totally judgmental here, but at first glance, with the tattoos and you telling me he is interested and driven by serial killers doesn’t help my opinion of him or of you right now.”

She shrugged her shoulders. “I really don’t care what you think of me or him right now. I happen to like him just the way he is, tattoos and all, and I respect his interests because it drives him to better at his career.”

“And what does he do for a career?” Porn asked.

“He’s a forensic scientist,” she answered. “His specialty is digital forensics if you want me to be exact. The reason Hart couldn’t stay to be tortured by your judgmental alpha maleness is because he is on his way to delivery evidence to the district attorney for a case they’re trialing next week.”

The three men sat in impressed silence.

“At first, I made the decision to not tell you guys about Hart because if he turned out to be a dud like some of the other guys I have attempted to date, I wouldn’t have to be harassed about it.”

Walsh let out a slow sigh. He didn’t blame Ava at all. The group was the harshest of critics when it came to each other’s lives. “You said at first, but what about now?”

“He and I have been talking about when I should introduce you guys to him and him to you guys. We knew it had to be right.”

“And tonight was the right time?”

“Tonight was unexpected and unplanned.”

“Why did he come here tonight?” Garrett asked as he felt the gnawing wariness that Hart knew about her cancer scare too.

“I haven’t seen him a lot this week,” she answered knowing what Garrett was thinking and her answer wasn’t a complete lie like he might have suspected. “He’s been locked up in the lab working on this case and pouring over the evidence. I missed him. I left him message saying so. I wanted to know if I’d see him at home anytime soon.”

“Home?” they all asked in unison.

“You moved in together?” Porn asked.

“God no,” Ava answered. “Do you not remember that my apartment is being painted this week? I’m staying with him while it’s being done.”

“Why didn’t you stay with one of us,” Garret asked.

“None of you offered,” Ava sighed. “None of you. I’ve been talking about getting my apartment painted for months. I set the date, showed you guys the color, and nothing. Hart stepped right up to the plate and offered me a place to stay.”

“Why didn’t you ask?” Walsh asked.

“Why didn’t you offer?” she retaliated.

He shrugged his shoulders. “How long have you been dating him?”

Ava sighed. “Five or six months,” she answered.

“That’s when you met him,” Porn said with an eye roll.

“Then five months after our first date. Happy?”

“Are you?” Walsh asked.

Nodding, Ava smiled. “The happiest I’ve been in a long while.”

Walsh glanced at Garrett out of the corner of his eye. If what Ava said pained him, his face did not reflect it. “What makes him so special?”

“Everything and nothing,” she answered. “He challenges me mentally. He inspires me creatively. He makes me laugh and has never made me cry. We can disagree on things without being in a fight. More importantly, my mind is quiet around him.”

“How does he feel about you?” Garrett asked.

“He says the same,” she answered. “He said I’m his reason to leave work now instead of logging endless hours in the lab.”

“Have you met his friends?” Porn asked. “Family?”

Ava nodded. “His best friend his lab partner, Frank. He doesn’t have a core group of friends like Mo or what we have. I am meeting his dad in a few weeks.”

Porn stood with an exasperated sigh.

“What’s wrong?” Garrett asked.

“I’ve heard enough. I’m leaving.”


“You heard me; I’m leaving.”

Looking at her watch, Ava stood. “Actually you stay,” she said. “Hart is picking me up on his way back from the district attorney. I’ll go wait for him outside. You three can bitch and be angry together. Hart isn’t a social media status to be liked. I don’t care if you like him at all. Instead of giving me the riot act, why couldn’t you have just been happy that someone in this godforsaken world loves me besides the three of you?” She snatched her jacket and purse from where they were and went to the counter to pay her tab.

Porn collapsed back into his spot next to Walsh. “Don’t either of you say a fucking thing. She’s been hiding this for half a year. I am allowed to feel betrayed and hurt and you can’t tell me you don’t remotely feel the same.”

Walsh watched as Ava put her jacket on and walked outside with the flowers she had received earlier in tow. It wasn’t that he wasn’t happy for her. All he ever wanted her was to be happy, but he had always assumed her happiness would be with Garrett.

“It’s a shock to us all,” Garrett spoke. He hadn’t said a lot while Ava shared her story about Hart because he never imagined Ava dating anyone. He always assumed she’d just be there, single and waiting on him.

“Where you going?” Porn asked as Walsh stood.

“She’s been my best friend since college,” he answered. “She needs to know I’m happy for her. Yeah, I’m surprised she didn’t tell me or us about it sooner, but I can’t blame her. If she had introduced us to Hart five months ago, they wouldn’t have survived. We would have crushed him and ruined any chance she had with him. She had to do it this way.”

Garrett looked at Porn. “You know he’s right.”

“Neither of you are hurt by her hiding this very serious relationship?” he asked.

“Of course, we are,” Garrett answered, “but do you think we would have given Hart a fair chance?”

“Yes!” he said as he stood. “I’m going home. I just need to be away from everyone right now. I’ll talk to you both tomorrow.”

Walsh took a deep breath and shoved both his hands through his hair. He watched as Porn paid his tab and then looked down at Garrett who was still sitting on the couch. “What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know,” Garrett replied with a shrug of his shoulders. “This wasn’t the night I was planning.”

“This wasn’t the night any of us were planning,” Walsh confessed. “Are you still going to tell Ava how you feel?”

“I don’t think it will matter,” Garrett answered. “Not right now anyway.”

Walsh collapsed next to him with a worn-out sigh. “Of course, it matters. It’s you. It’s Ava. It’s you and Ava. You’re suppose to be together. We’ve all known that’s how it works out in the end.”

Sighing, he could only hope that Walsh was right. “Mind if I go talk to her before she leaves?”

Smiling, Walsh motioned towards the door. “Your true love awaits. Outside. In the rain. God, this is a fucking romantic moment waiting to happen. Go woo her. Now.”

“Remember her life isn’t a romantic movie,” he said as he stood. “Wish me luck.”

“You don’t need it,” Walsh replied. “You’ve got love on your side.”

Walking to the front door, Garrett felt like he was treading through molasses. Time seemed to stand still and each step took him further away from where he wanted instead of closer to where he wanted. When he finally got to the door, he took a deep breath knowing he needed every bit of courage in the Universe by his side.

He stepped outside and sat down on the bench beside of Ava. Putting his arm around her, he pulled her close. “Am I still allowed to do this?” he asked.

Ava looked at him and smiled. “Nothing changes just because I’m seeing someone.”

“But it does,” he replied. “Hart is part of you now. He needs to be included and don’t think for a moment he wins a hug battle against Porn.”

“Porn isn’t even speaking to me. He walked out and didn’t even glance my way.”

“Give him a day or so. He’s in a no one loves me moment. The flowers didn’t help.”

“Thank you again for the flowers.”

“You’re welcome. Does Hart know about the health scare?”

Ava nodded. “Another reason he popped in tonight. To let me know he got the news.”

“Does he know I know?”

Ava nodded. “He knows you are the only person besides him to know.”

Garrett moved his arm from around Ava with a silent sigh. He knew it was now or never. If she was to know how he felt about her, it had to be now. Leaning forward, he rested his elbows on his legs and stared at the wet ground in front of him. The coward in him begged him to keep his mouth shut. Looking over his shoulder at Ava, he took a deep breath. “Hart’s appearance tonight definitely threw a monkey wrench into the evening.”

“I wouldn’t say monkey wrench,” Ava replied. “It’s not like any of our plans were thwarted. Cut short but not thwarted.”

Swallowing hard, Garrett replied, “He thwarted mine.”

Ava looked at him. “What does that mean?”

Leaning back in the bench, Garrett turned to face Ava. “This was my night,” he said as he took her hands into his. “Mine.”

“What are you talking about Garrett?”

Squeezing her hands gently in his, Garrett took a deep breath and stared at her. “Ava, I’m in love with you. I have been since the day we met. This health scare of yours made realize how much I am in love with you and how much I love you. You’ve been the one for me. You’ve always been by my side and supportive of me. Being with you at the doctors and for all the tests, opened my eyes. I can’t go through life without you. I don’t want to go through life without you.”

Ava felt tears streaming down her face. Trembling, she pulled her hands away from Garrett. Sliding away from him on the bench, she just stared at him. Words wouldn’t form on her tongue. She had waited and even dreamt of the day that Garrett would say those words to her, but not since she had met Hart. “Why are you doing this?”

Garrett stared at her. Her response was not what he expected or hoped. “Because I love you.”

“No!” Ava snapped. Burying her face in her hands, she screamed, “No.”

Moving closer to her, he reached for her hands but she jerked away from him.

“Don’t you do this to me Garrett,” she said as she stood. “This is not the time to play games.”

“I’m not playing games,” he said and stood. Landing in front of her, he took her shoulders into his hands. “Ava, I love you. I want to be with you and I know you feel the same.” He cupped her face between his hands and pulled her in closer. “I love you,” he repeated and kissed her.

Pushing him away, Ava stepped back from him. “This can’t be happening.”

“Why?” Garret asked, throwing his arms in the air. “Just because you met someone a few months ago?”

“Because I love him,” she answered.

“You know that you love him after five months with him?” Garrett probed.

“I knew it five minutes after I met him,” she answered.

“And how so?”

“Because he made me forget about you,” Ava answered collapsing against the wall. She slid down the wall and buried her head into her knees. “I don’t think about you,” she said to herself. “I don’t think about you at all.”

Garrett knelt down in front of her, two streams of emotions pouring down his face. “What?”

Ava looked up at him. “He made me forget about you,” she answered, wiping her tears away. “He’s the only person that has made me not think of you. That’s how I knew he was the right one. I don’t think about you.”

Sighing, he rested his head on her knees. He was at a loss for words. His soul was gutted.

“I have to go,” Ava said, as a vehicle pulled up to the curb.

“Don’t,” Garrett said, taking her hands into his. “Stay. You know we can make this work. It’s us. You and me. Always.”

Ava shook her head. “Please don’t do this,” she said as she pulled her hands away from his. “Please.”

“Ava, I love you.”

Grabbing her purse from the bench, she stood. “Please,” she begged. “Don’t.”

“Ava,” Garrett said as he stood. “Stay. Don’t go.”

Ava opened the car door and got in without acknowledging him. She couldn’t look at him. She didn’t want to look at him. Her world would have come crashing down and she wasn’t ready for that yet.

“Are you okay?” Hart asked as she put her seatbelt on.

“Just drive please,” she answered as Garrett threw the roses at her window. “Please.”

“Of course,” he said, taking her hand in his without any more questions.


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