~ 5:45 PM ~
Ava had always loved the sound of the chimes on the coffeehouse door. They made her feel as if she were home and when she was at the coffeehouse, she always felt at home. Smiling as the door closed, she shrugged off her damp jacket and edged her way towards the back corner of the coffeehouse.
Spotting “their” spot open, she placed her jacket on the coat rack that hung inches away from the area. She collapsed on the plush hideous velvet green couch with a sigh. Despite its ugliness, it was perhaps the most comfortable and luxurious couch she ever had the joy of sitting in. Hearing the music over head, she smiled again. She loved the eclectic music that poured out of the speakers too. She knew if she sat in the coffeehouse long enough she could hear every type of genre ever made. Currently, she could hear the track to one of her favorite bands seeping through the air. She knew that it wouldn’t be the last time she’d hear something by the band tonight. The owner’s taste in music was as strange as her own. Tossing her purse on the floor, she stretched out and then curled herself into the cushions.
“Here you go.”
“Thanks,” Ava replied, looking up at Mo who was placing a steaming cup of latte on the table in front of her.
“Will the boys be joining you?” the waitress asked.
Nodding, she straightened herself. “Yes. I’ll go ahead and order everyone’s usual.”
“Please. Lots. It is Friday night after all.”
“Coming up,” Mo said with a smile.
Ava smiled back and watched her walk away. Mo was a beautiful woman with vampire red lips and a sleeve of ink on her right arm. She intimidated the boys with her strength and the fire in her eyes. Ava saw the strength and fire, but from a different view. She had seen her weeks ago, crumpled on the loveseat that sat across from her crying a river of tears that smeared her jet-black mascara and red lipstick. Mo looked as if she had been abandoned by all faith and hope. The world had just given up on her and she was not taking it well. It was then that Ava realized what strength and fire the tattooed waitress had.
The door chimed, snapping Ava away from her thoughts. She turned to see if it was anyone in her party, but it wasn’t. Of the four of them, she was the one that was always early, impatiently waiting for the others. It was habit she blamed on the fact that she was born premature. They all knew it was a lie. Ava’s biggest pet peeve was punctuality. Garrett would be the only one on time. Not a moment early. Not a moment late. Just on time. She loved that about him. Punctuality was also one of his pet peeves, but he also had a laundry list of pet peeves that was beyond what any normal human could or should have. Why he had so many escaped them and him also, but if it was something that could upset the balance of his world, then Garrett Smith hated it.
By the time Garret had arrived, on time as usual at six, Ava had finished half her latte. Smiling, she looked up at him as he placed his jacket on the coat rack next to hers.
“All black this evening? Going to a funeral?”
“What are you reading?” he asked, edging towards her and ignoring her questions about his attire. They gave him enough hell when he wore anything other than black and gave him hell if he wore black. It was lose, lose situation to him.
“Another novel, by another writer you could give a shit about.”
“Well, aren’t we pissy this evening?”
Smiling, Ava tossed her book at him.
Kissing her on top of her head, he collapsed next to her. Looking at the book, he looked at her with a raised an eyebrow. “You’re right. I could give a shit about it.”
Rolling her eyes, Ava snatched the book from him. She was sure that if she hadn’t had a crush on Garrett for so long, she would not be able to put up with him. She wasn’t sure if it was the way he smiled or the hint of his Australian accent that had captivated her, but her crush on him beat anything Ross had on Rachel. “I told you.”
“Hi Garrett,” Mo said, placing his drink on the side table next to the couch.
“Evening Mo,” he said in return.
Flushed, the waitress smiled. “I’ll be back with the other’s when they arrive.”
“Thank you Mo,” Ava said before he could sneak in.
The two of them watched her walk away.
“You know you make her flustered.”
A smirk crawled across his tanned face. “I just said hello,” he said, reaching for his drink. “Besides, isn’t she seeing someone?”
“That’s not the point. You know she likes you and you go out of your way to drive her crazy.”
Running a hand through his spikey blonde hair, he looked at Ava with a smile that could turn anyone into melted butter. “I just said hello.”
“You and your smugness are unbearable at times,” she said, nudging him in the ribs.
Putting his arm around Ava, he pulled her closer to him. “You’re just jealous,” he whispered in her ear.
“You wish,” she whispered back as she slipped an arm around him. Snuggling closer to him, she inhaled his cologne and felt herself sigh.
It was moments like these they both cherished.
Garrett kissed the top of Ava’s head again and pulled her as close as he could. She was the only woman who had never given up on him. She had stood by him through thick and thin and asked for nothing in return. Not that he had anything in return to give her other than his love and friendship. He knew one day, they’d be together, but he wasn’t sure when it would be. He wasn’t ready to hurt the only woman he loved. It would surely be his death if he hurt her. He couldn’t bear the thought of losing his muse. She had inspired him and encouraged him to do anything that he wanted.
“You two should get a room,” a voice from behind them bellowed.
Looking over his shoulder, Garrett smiled at Walsh. “It was just about to get exciting.”
Tossing his jacket over Ava’s, he smiled at his two best friends. “Watching you is about as exciting as watching a wet towel dry.” Leaning down, Walsh kissed Ava’s cheek. “Hey Sweetie.”
“Love,” she said with a kiss on his cheek in return. “Want to sit with us.”
“And miss the love fest? I think not.”
Smiling, Ava sat up and moved over.
“You know he will be late as usual,” Garrett answered, moving his arm from around Ava. He knew in a matter of moments that Walsh would have her in his arms. She had somehow unknowingly become the rag doll they fought over.
“So have we placed bets on when he’s arriving?” Walsh asked as Mo arrived at their spot with his drink in hand. “Thank you.”
“Anytime,” she said and left the trio.
Garrett said as he checked his watch. “I’ve got six thirty.”
Walsh reached into his back pocket and took out his wallet. “Twenty says he will be here at six thirty-five.”
“Deal,” Ava replied. “If he comes five minutes early it’s Garrett’s. Five minutes late, it’s yours.”
The three friends scrambled for twenty dollars and placed their money on the coffee table in front of them.
“Could we maybe pool our money for a watch for him instead,” Garrett asked.
“He wears one. I bought it for him. In fact, he picked it out,” Ava answered.
“Did you set the time on it?”
Mocking him, Ava stood.
“Where are you going?”
“To the bathroom if it’s okay with you master Garrett,” she sassed. “Do I need a hall pass?”
He motioned her away with his hand. “Sorry.”
Once she was out of earshot, Walsh asked, “Is she on her cycle? That seemed a bit bitchy.”
“If she was, she would have taken her purse with her,” Garrett answered; looking at Walsh he saw a look that could only be described as what the fuck? “What?”
“Why does a purse have to be involved with a cycle?”
“Are you serious? You work in female dominated field.”
“Those females pay me to mock their female dominated field.”
Garrett sighed. “Theory number one my friend, feminine products are concealed in a purse. Theory number two, make-up is in a purse. Now, Ava didn’t take her purse so she’s not reapplying make-up on and apparently she’s not in a cycle of hormones.”
Staring at him, Walsh shook his head slightly. He knew the theories worked, but they also didn’t work either. “Or she could have everything she needs in the pocket of her jeans. They make mini sizes of everything now. Make-up and feminine products included. I do know that from all the girls at work.”
Slightly nodding, Garrett relaxed in his seat. “You are correct.”
“I’ll just ask when she gets back. Would explain the semi bitchy temperament I’m feeling from her.”
“It’s none of our business.”
“I don’t care. If we were all girls here, we’d be discussing it like it was just the weather or the latest episode on some god forsaken reality show.”
“But we’re not all girls here. Well, I know I’m not.”
“Fuck you,” Walsh replied. “What’s the all black for?”
Rolling his eyes, Garrett took a sip of his coffee. “I wear all black you guys give me grief. I wear something with color and get grief. I can’t win can I?”
“Well, if you didn’t look like you just stepped out of GQ, then I wouldn’t ask. Why are you dressed so snazzy?”
“I’m wearing jeans and a button down.”
“Clothing that Porn would have picked out for you to wear.”
“I picked these out. Are you saying it is metro?”
“Not metro, just not your normal attire to Friday nights here. Your Friday night attire is more like jeans and tee, not probably super expensive dark wash jeans and a shirt that probably cost more than our combined tab will be tonight.”
Garrett shrugged his shoulders. “Just felt like wearing it.”
“You’re going to see someone aren’t you?”
“No. Just felt like wearing it.”
Garrett looked at Walsh. “I answered that already.”
“Answered what?” Ava asked, collapsing on the love seat across from the two of them.
“I asked why he was so dressed up.”
“You look hot tonight. Any reason?”
Sighing, Garrett looked at Ava. “Just felt like wearing what I have on,” he answered. He would never admit he knew that what he was wearing was one of Ava’s favorite attire. Every time he wore it, she complimented on it.
“Walsh is just jealous,” she said with a wink.
Smiling, Garrett raised his cup to her.
“I am not jealous,” Walsh chimed in.
“Sure. Believe the hype buddy.”
Looking at her, Walsh wanted to throw his wallet at her. “Are you cycling?”
“As in a bicycle or as in a menstrual cycle?”
“No, but thanks for calling me a bitch.”
“You’re not a bitch. You’re just bitchy tonight.”
“Tonight is no different from any other night sweetheart.”
“Again Walsh,” Garrett added, “you’re just jealous. Ava’s got the one liners tonight.”
“I see it is pick on Walsh night.”
“When is it not pick on Walsh night?” Garrett asked.
“It’s always pick on Walsh night,” Porn answered as he walked towards the trio. Seeing the money on the table, he glanced at them and then looked at his watch. “Six fifteen.”
“Damn,” Garrett replied. “I had six thirty.”
Smiling, Porn grabbed the money from the table. “Hello my little friends,” he said to the three twenties in his hand. “Look’s like the evening’s on me then.” Looking at his three friends, “Well, I mean, you, you, and you.”
“Is it still raining outside?” Ava asked as he took his jacket off and placed it on the chair between the loveseat and couch.
“Drizzling,” he answered, sitting next too her. “Six forty-seven?”
Shrugging her shoulders, Ava leaned her head against his shoulder. “You’ve been super late to everything this week. I was going with the flow.”
“I haven’t been super late to everything.”
The other two men laughed.
“When have you been on time this week?” Garrett asked.
Scratching his cheek, Porn shrugged his shoulders. “I didn’t say I was on time, I said I haven’t been super late.”
On cue like the other three times, Mo appeared with Porn’s chosen drinks. One double espresso and an iced vanilla frappuccino that would be the first of six he would have tonight. “Trey’s bringing your first round of snacks,” she said to him.
Perking up, Porn smiled. “He’s a doll.”
“I thought you might like a change of scenery from me,” she said to Porn.
“We love seeing you,” Garrett said, making her blush.
“Well, this is for Porn,” she said, turning away from him. There was something about Garrett that drove all species into an absolute frenzy when he was around. “Another one for you Ava?”
“Me too,” Garrett added.
“By the time you finish with theirs, I’ll be ready, so go ahead please.”
Nodding, Mo disappeared as Trey appeared with a bevy of snacks.
“Here you guys go,” he said not noticing anyone other than Porn. “We have some rare and delicious cookies made by Sam tonight.” Still staring at Porn, he continued with a wink and a smile, “He’s trying out a new recipe so let me know if you hate them.”
“Thanks,” Porn said as he walked away.
“Should we leave you alone so you can score?” Walsh asked as Porn stared after Trey.
“If you keep staring, you’ll bore holes into the back of his head,” Garrett added as he reached for a cookie.
“What do you guys think?”
“The cookie’s great.”
“Not that. About Trey.”
“Go for it hot stuff,” Garrett suggested.
“Do you know anything about him?” Walsh asked.
“I know that he’s hot.”
“You think ninety percent of the male population is hot.”
Shrugging his shoulders, Porn sighed. “At least I’m open-minded to what is available.”
“And what does that mean?”
“It means, you shouldn’t be so picky about the ladies in your life. Keep the gates closed and the only woman you’ll know is Ava.”
“No offense,” Porn said leaning back into the loveseat and putting his arm around her. “You’re an absolute angel and any man should be honored to have you in their life. The three of us should be bearing you gifts every time we see you.”
“I like that idea.”
“But if Walsh wants a woman in his life that he can score with, then he must let all women in his life.”
“Are you saying I can’t score with Ava?”
“If she’s drunk you could.”
“Should I be taking offense to any of this?” she asked Garrett.
“I’m not sure, but probably.”
“Your standards of what a woman should be are not reality.”
“Ava’s a reality.”
“You’re saying that because she is sitting here.”
“I am not.” Looking at Ava, Walsh new that she was the type of woman he wanted in his life. If she would have him, she would be the woman for him. “She would be my ideal woman.”
A twinge of jealousy rose in Garrett. In a subtle manner, they had been fighting over Ava for years and the small comments that sometimes escaped the others hit closer to him than anything.
“No, she would be Garrett’s ideal woman.”
Walsh looked at him.
Nodding, he shrugged. “What am I suppose to say?”
“You could take my side.”
“I don’t even know what your side is and besides, I’ll be totally greedy, I want Ava for myself.”
“Boys, play nice.”
“Anyway, I’m not sure I follow where this conversation is going.”
Ava felt a wave of relief when Mo appeared like a beacon in the night with the second round of drinks. She absolutely loved the timing of the woman tonight.
“Let’s ask Mo.”
“Let’s not,” Garrett, Ava, and Walsh said in unison.
“Ask me what?” she asked.
“Nothing,” Walsh answered. “Porn’s just being an ass.”
“I am not. I’m just suggesting that you need to be real when it comes to your ideal woman.”
“You mean lower his standards?” Mo asked, placing their drinks on the coffee table.
“Sort of. Walsh just has this high standard for what his ideal woman will be and unfortunately he’s not going to meet a supermodel who will love him for his charms.”
“My ideal woman is not a supermodel.”
“What?” Ava asked. “You’re on crack aren’t you?”
“You’re not on my side either?”
“I have to agree with Garrett about not knowing your side, but you only date women who have nothing in common with you. It’s okay to date down without lowering your standards. Porn’s right. The hottest supermodel of the world is not going to walk in and request your hand in marriage. Instead of blonde hair, maybe a red head.”
“Natural breasts versus fake breasts,” Garrett added.
With a toss of his hands, Porn replied, “This is what I am saying.”
“My ideal woman is not a supermodel.”
“It’s truly okay if it is,” Garrett said. “On your defense, it’s your own choice, but just ask yourself this question, how many women have you dated in your life have had any other hair color than blonde? Natural or fake.”
Walsh contemplated the question and didn’t like the result that was tallying his head. “I’ll get back to you guys on that.”
Smiling, Porn leaned back into the loveseat. “Point proven.”
Next – Coffee and Conversations: 6:30 PM
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