Two things happened the morning that marked nine days until Avery was leaving Pueblo forever. One was that we had run out of milk and mom and dad had decided to do an early morning shopping trip, and the other was that Claire showed up at my house unannounced.
I was still in my pajama bottoms and my hair must have been in tufts around my head. That's the thing with curly hair, in the mornings you can never trust it. As soon as Aqua, who had never been a fan of Claire, saw our visitor he bolted back towards my room, the soft clicking of his paws sounding as alarms for me.
Claire's eyes were red from lack of sleep and her hair was almost as messy as mine. I let her in and she didn't say anything as she walked past me and sat on the La-Z-Boy that my dad loved so much.
"So what brings you by this morning?" I said, I was tired. I hadn't seen Avery in almost two weeks and after spending a night together with her my body felt empty, drained. I wasn't in the mood for any of Claire's drama this morning.
"How long have you been sleeping with the outsider?" Her voice was low, threatening.
"What?" How did she know?
"Don't say you haven't because Amanda told me that the stupid girl told her about it last night at your parents' restaurant."
Avery had been at Habana Vieja? "Yeah, we did, once." I looked down at her, too uncomfortable to sit down. "Avery was there last night?"
Claire glowered at me. "Of course you would care if she was there." Her voice was steadily growing. "If I were there you wouldn't care would you?"
"Claire, I thought we went through this."
"When you saved me from drowning when we were thirteen I could only see you, yet now your with her?" She was yelling now, bringing up scars of our past.
"That's funny, that isn't what I thought when I heard about Drake and you. Didn't look like you only saw me!" I couldn't help but yell back, Claire did this to me, she always brought out the worst in me. "And you know nothing about Avery, so don't you dare talk about her like that!"
"There you go bringing up the past. For god's sake Alex, let it go! It was one mistake," she held up a finger to emphasize her point, "one mistake. I thought you of all people would forgive me! And I know her well enough, not talking to you for weeks, keeping you all to herself!"
I felt the anger bubbling inside me before I could control it. "One mistake ruined everything Claire! I loved you and yet that wasn't enough, you had to go and hook up with some outsider that was leaving anyway. You ruined everything, you Claire, it was all You!"
She was crying now and I instantly felt horrible. "Look, you're right, that was the past, but it shaped my future and taught me what I wanted."
She looked up at me with tears rolling like heavy boulders down her cheeks. "I love you Alex."
"I love," I took a deep breath and made eye contact with her. "I love Avery, Claire, I'm sorry."
"You're such a hypocrite." She spat out and all my sympathy for her slowly disappeared.
"What?" I asked, unsure of what I heard.
"I was everything to you and you let me go because of my one mistake, yet you, the one who got all bummed out over an outsider who made me feel the way you never tried to make me feel, found an outsider for yourself." She smirked and quickly wiped away her tears. "You know, just like Drake, she'll leave too, then what will happen Alex? Hm? Then what?"
I stood silent while staring at her.
"You will come to me." She walked past me and stopped before opening the front door. I didn't look at her as she whispered, "You always come back to me, because in the end, I'm all you'll ever have."
She closed the door and I finally fell back down onto the bright purple couch that was ready for my heavy fall.
After silence had taken over my living room again I whispered, "You're wrong Claire, I will never leave Avery."