I didn't need her to tell me that she was mad at me for me to know, but I was grateful that she at least gave me some emotion. Even as I walked through the back door of the beach house (which I had never been in before) all I could think about was how I was going to make it up to her. I kept silently scolding myself for not having called her, for not easing, but instead, increasing whatever pain she was hiding from me.
I could tell by the way that she walked off into the house that it would be hard for her to accept my apology. Outside, rain began to fall in fat drops that hammered the sliding doors. It was, for a moment, a strange contrast to see the bright lights of the house while outside was suddenly dark, all traces of the amber sky gone.
I heard Avery moving around in the kitchen somewhere off to the right and I prepared myself. Taking in a deep breath I walked in the direction of the noise that she was creating in the large quiet house.
She stood behind a large marble island with two yellow mugs steaming warmly on top. She was placing some kind of dessert that I had never seen before and her brow was furrowed in concentration.
"Hey," I began, wondering if she was even listening.
Her eyebrows eased a bit and I knew that I had her attention.
"Avery." Her name tasted sweet and I felt the instant aftertaste of sour as I realized what I had done to her.
"If you're going to say something," she interrupted my thought process in a low warning voice, "then I would rather hear it sooner than later."
"I'm sorry." I blurted out, half expecting her to run around the island and slap me once more like she had done only minutes before.
She stopped her fussing and placed her palms down on the counter of the island.
"I'm just scared." I couldn't believe what I was admitting.
She smirked, but not with the intention of degrading me. "Scared? Of what?"
I hesitated, how much could I tell her? "Of everything."
Her hands started fussing over the unknown yellow and chocolate desserts again. I guessed that that wasn't good enough.
"I'm scared... that I might hurt you." I admitted.
"Check." She said with an ironic smile.
I sighed. "I'm scared... of knowing that you're leaving at the end of summer."
She stopped fussing again and kept her eyes down at the desserts, part of me told me that she wasn't really seeing them.
"I'm scared of being hurt again."
"So you hurt me?" She asked, the question catching me off guard.
"The guys," I reasoned, "have this thing, a sort of rule, that when you meet a girl outsider and start feeling more than a summer fling the appropriate methods should be used."
"Like?" She urged, still not looking up.
"Like cutting out the girl from our lives altogether. From what they figured, we would forget and move on eventually."
"But I can't do that," I explained, half to her and the other half to myself. "For some reason I can't get you out of my mind."
She looked up finally and I saw that she was quietly crying, her hands trembling. "I made tea," she explained while ignoring the fact that she was crying, "and these are nanaimo bars, they're really good--"
"--they're my dad's favorite and we had to bring some with us--"
"Avery, please." I pleaded.
"--you wouldn't believe how many boxes we have."
Then her tears got heavier and her crying became sobs and I quickly reached her side. I tried hard to ignore her chest pressing against mine, her blue tank-top and light grey cardigan bunched up under my fingers and her denim white shorts allowed for her tanned legs to brush against mine.
Avery had turned her back to the island and was now facing me, her back firmly pressed against the marble counter. I was hugging her, my arms gently around her neck and I whispered in her ear, "I'm sorry, I won't leave you again, I promise. I'm so sorry Avery."
She moved her head and I leaned back slightly to look down at her. Her grey eyes, overflowing with tears, looked up at me trying to figure out if I meant what I said.
A flash of light outside lit the leaking sky and her face became shadowed, emphasizing her eyes and lips. The booming of thunder followed shortly after the brief lighting of the world and I kissed her. Her pain blended into my own as we held each other under the roof of the too-quiet and too-large beach house. Her breathing pattern hinted to me that I'd made the right decision with the constant rising and falling of her chest against mine and her arms pulled me closer to her.
The world trembled with the storm, while my heart trembled with our kiss.