Chapter Four - It's Not a Date
When Ava got home, she immediately rushed into the bathroom to get a better look at her eye. The flesh was slightly inflamed, covered in patches of blues, purples, and greens. She really did need an eyepatch. She groaned. The hefty bruise would probably last a few weeks at least, judging from how long Wrathia's hickies seemed to last. She walked out of the bathroom, kicking her shoes in whichever direction her feet were pointed.
Ava still had the frozen peas in hand, the plastic cup had been discarded as soon as she found a bin. She huffed, the peas were pretty much thawed at that point.
'Might as well put these to use.' She decided. She grabbed a few other vegetables from the fridge and instant noodles from the cupboard and settled to making a stir fry.
Ava was boiling the noodles in a pot when the front door was thrown open, Wrathia stumbled in holding what looked like twelve shopping bags, all from different designer stores.
"You buy out a whole mall?" Ava quipped, the older woman flipped her off before dropping all the bags on the coffee table.
"You're just jealous you missed out on the best closing sale in existence!" Wrathia finally turned to look Ava full on. The woman recoiled at the sight of Ava's bruise. "What happened? You should have called me, I would have bought you an eye patch!" Wrathia snickered. Ava rolled her eyes, turning her attention back to the pot on the stove.
"If you must know, I'm a part of a new fight club." Wrathia snorted. "But keep it on the DL, okay? Or else." Ava warned half-heartedly, but Wrathia merely scoffed.
"I'm almost inclined to believe you after your fight with that frat rat." Ava cringed at the memory. A few years ago, Wrathia had forced Ava to come to a fraternity party with her, which ended up with Ava in a drunken fight with one of the fraternity brothers. It did not end well on either side. "That stuck up, priss got his ass beat!" Wrathia cackled.
"Drunk Ava is mean Ava." The blonde said simply. "But in all fairness, they shouldn't have tried to pick me up and throw me in that pool!" Ava huffed, puffing up her cheeks. She hated fraternity people.
"So, what's the real story behind that sweet shiner? You actually get in a fight, or was it that weird homeless guy who is almost certainly an escaped convict?" Ava snorted.
"It's a bit of a long story." Ava warned. Wrathia shrugged as she plucked the items from her bags, examining what she had bought.
"Make it interesting." The older woman said unwrapping a makeup kit from its packaging. So Ava began to tell Wrathia the whole story about Coffee-guy, or Odin, the incident at the café, and at the park. Wrathia was swatching the makeup palette on her wrist, as she processed what Ava had said.
"So, let me get this straight," she started, looking as the colours on her arm glittered in the light, "Maggie insults a guy, you apologise on her behalf, his sister hits you in the face with a ball, you steal his drink, and then ask him out? Is that everything?"
"Almost, except I didn't ask him out. I offered to buy him coffee, and he said yes." Ava clarified, chopping carrots and onions on the cutting board. Wrathia turned from her place on the couch to face Ava.
"No, no, no, you said "can I buy you a cup of coffee sometime" right?" Ava shrugged, grabbing a wok from the cupboard. She switched on the gas for a different burner, poured oil into the wok, and set it to heat up on the stove.
"Something along those lines." Wrathia tutted.
"That is the date line of all date lines. "can I buy you a cup of coffee sometime" roughly translates to "let's grab a drink 'cause I'm attracted to you," Ava have you never seen a movie!" The woman said throwing her hands up. Ava chucked the vegetables into the oil, nibbling on her lip slightly.
"N-no! I didn't ask Odin on a date, and he didn't take it as a date!" The blonde huffed, but Wrathia wasn't convinced.
"Okay, okay. Lemme ask you this then," Ava turned to face Wrathia, while simultaneously trying fry the vegetables. "When he said yes, did he say it like: Yeah sure I'd like that!" Wrathia said with a preppy voice and smile to match. Ava let out a graceless snort at that. "Or, did he say it like: Yeah, sure. I'd like that." That time her voice was much more quiet and pensive. Her face held the same look of intrigue Odin held earlier. The blonde bit the inside of her cheek before directing her attention back to the wok.
"He said neither of those things." She said finally after clearing her throat.
"Okay, but which was more accurate." Wrathia couldn't catch the quiet mumble Ava let out. "I'm sorry, what was that?" Wrathia cupped her ear. "Can't hear you."
"The second one!" Ava groaned.
"IT'S A DATE!" The red head cheered. "My little Ava's all grow up, asking boys on dates, I've never been more proud!"
"IT IS NOT A DATE! No matter how you spin it, it's not a date!" Ava stomped as she grabbed spices from a rack within the pantry. "Besides, I don't even think I'd want to date, him. I don't even know him!" There was a beat of silence.
"Is he ugly?"
"IS HE?!" Ava shook the spices into the wok much harder than she had meant to.
"No, he's not ugly… He sorta looks like Wes Bentley, but a little more scruffy." Ava thought back to before, seeing him in casual clothes, his face not set in a scowl, instead smiling. "He has dimples."
"Aww~ You're smitten." Cooed Wrathia. Ava's face scrunched.
"One more word, and I'm not feeding you." The older woman chuckled at the weak threat, and decided to let it go, opting to delve into more of her shopping bags. Ava on the other hand was still hung up on the conversation. The thought of talking to Odin over coffee seemed like a good idea when she had presented the idea to him, but the thought of that being a date caused a lump in her throat. It made the situation awkward, and she hated it.
'It's not a date,' she thought to herself, 'It's totally not a date Wrathia's just teasing me.' She puffed her cheeks with air. She did not want to think about Odin anymore.
Ava's first day back at work, the bruise hadn't died down. Everyone had asked her about the eye, and she gave them the same story. She was in a fight club. Everyone seemed amused at the thought of Ava in a fight, whereas Prudith ordered her to stop, much to Ava's dismay. A few days past, with no Odin in sight. In all fairness, they had never agreed on a time or date. They had just agreed that it would happen, but there was no when. Ava didn't know whether she was relieved or disappointed.
Her work day went on as it usually did. The five hours came and went, and there was still no sign of Odin. Ava had collected her things from the back and waddled towards the entrance. But then she saw him. It was Odin, he was signing to Prudith who was stood behind the counter by the cash register. He looked to be wearing black bomber jacket, with a grey turtle neck underneath. Again, he looked as good as he did when last she had seen him.
"You're signing is rusty." She heard him say to Prudith aloud.
"I'm out of practice. However, if you come in more, I'll have an excuse to sign." Prudith said back. Prudith and Odin laughed together. In the five years Ava had worked at the Loone Star café, she had hardly ever seen Prudith smile, let alone laugh. Finally, his eyes shifted and fell on Ava.
"Hey, Ava." He said with a wave. Her overall surprise of seeing melted into mild annoyance. A pout settled on her lips.
"So now you show up." She placed her hands on her hips. "Where have you been, mister?" She scolded, the man seemed unfazed, the corner of his lips quirked slightly.
"I'm here now aren't I?" He leaned over the counter slightly. "And I've come to collect."
"I'm off my shift." She said frankly.
"So that means you have time to have coffee with me." Ava felt a tingle in her cheeks. 'It's not a date.' She nodded her head and made her way next to him on the other side of the counter.
"You two are having coffee together?" Ava squirmed as Prudith raised an eyebrow. Ava gave another robotic nod.
"I owe him." She said weakly. She turned her gaze to Odin, who was already looking down at her. "You having your usual?"
"Nah, I'll mix it up today. I've yet to try your guys' cappuccinos." She was somewhat surprised that he'd even think of drinking anything other than his bitter coffee.
"Nice choice. And you, Ava?" Ava's was suddenly hyper aware of how moist her palms were. She turned to Odin fully.
"Um… You go sit down while I order. I don't know what I want yet." She never felt more relieved that he couldn't hear her voice as it wavered. He nodded before going off, sliding into his favourite booth.
"Odin told me about what you did." Ava perked up, her head whipping to face her boss. "How you went out of your way to apologise to him. That was sweet of you, Ava." The blonde felt her cheeks flush at the praise.
"It was nothing." She mumbled, shifting from foot to foot.
"But I must say, taking him out on a date seems a little unorthodox, don't you think?" Ava spluttered.
"It's not a date! It's just coffee between two people! Speaking of, I'll have a chai latte!" Ava riffled through her purse and paid Prudith for the coffees. Ava's face felt hot as she made her way to the booth. She dropped herself down opposite Odin.
"You okay?" Her eyes shifted to the man. "Look, if you have somewhere you need to be, you can go. You don't actually have to hang here with me."
"No, no. It's not that, it's stupid." Ava let out a long sigh. "I told my cousin about you asking you for coffee, and she called it a date. And then my manager said it was a date, and now I feel weird about it, 'cause I didn't mean for it to be a date, and I'm sorry if I lead you on and…" Ava's rambling was cut short as she felt a hand touch her own. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay. I didn't take it as a date." Ava felt a wave a relief wash over her.
"You wanna know why I said yes to this?" Ava shrugged her shoulders. "You give off this weird, awkward vibe about you." Ava scoffed as Odin continued. "But I found it really endearing. So, when you were there with your black eye, drinking my tea I couldn't not say yes."
"Really? Most people find my awkwardness more annoying, than endearing." Odin smiled, nodding his head.
"Really." He said leaning back in his seat. "And don't worry, one day you'll grow out of your awkward teenager phase." Ava feigned mock annoyance, gently nudging Odin's leg under the table.
"I think I'm a little too old to count as an awkward teenager. I'm more like an awkward grown up." Ava laughed to herself.
"C'mon, don't be so hard on yourself. How old are you? 17? 18?" Ava furrowed her brows.
"I'm 23." Odin sat up in his seat, his eyes widened in disbelief.
"You are not." Ava nodded her head, stifling a laugh at his expression. "No way. Are you actually?" The look of shock on his face was priceless.
"I turned 23 in May. How old are you?"
"25. What the hell kind of fountain of youth bullshit are you on?" Ava snorted, cupping her mouth to cover the sound. Odin placed his head in his hands. "I honestly don't know how to processes this information." Ava looked at Odin, amused. Talking to him felt natural, and Ava couldn't have been more glad.
'This so wasn't a date.'
It didn't take long for Prudith to come with their drinks on a tray. She placed them in front of the two, Ava thanked her, while Odin signed something to her as he took a sip. Ava assumed it was "thank you" by the "your welcome" Prudith replied with. Ava took a sip of her own latte.
"So, Odin…" She started, only to realise that he wasn't looking at her. He was texting someone instead. Ava patted the table in front of him, causing him to look at her.
"Hm?" He hummed, placing his phone on the table.
"What were you and Prudith talking about before?"
"She was just asking me where I had been, so I told her I was cheating on you guys with Starbuck." He said frankly. Ava giggled.
"Oh, yeah. At the park you said you were out of town, where did you go?"
"It was my grandparent's birthday so the whole family went to visit them." He took another swig from his mug before continuing. "Their birthdays are only like, 2 weeks apart which isn't really close enough to have a joint party for them, so we just said fuck it and stayed a few weeks." Ava smiled, leaning forward a little.
"Really? That was really sweet of you. Where do they live?"
"Switzerland." Ava's brows shot up.
"You're from Switzerland?" Odin nodded.
"Born and raised." Ava noticed he had an accent, but she had just attributed that to him being unable to hear himself speak.
"So, does that mean you speak…" Ava realised she had no idea what language they spoke in Switzerland. "Swiss?" She tried, however she could tell by the way Odin pressed his lips together that she was wrong.
"The Swiss speak German, French and Italian. Sometimes Romanish depending where you go. And yes, I speak all of them, but I'm most fluent in German and French." Ava's mouth fell open.
"Say something in French!" Ava asked eagerly. Odin shrugged his shoulder.
"Je ne sais pas ce que tu veux, alors je vais parler et j'espère que tu es impressionné." Ava giggled, clapping her hands.
"I can barely speak English! That's so cool!" Odin laughed, shaking his head.
"Not really. Mum taught us everything she thought was worth learning. Even Magpie can understand everything but Romanish." Ava felt slightly jealous, the thought of having parents to teach her all sorts of languages, and experiences, was something she wished she could have had growing up.
"Okay, so you're like… Multi-lingual," Ava leaned in her seat. "What else do I not know about you?"
"More than I know about you." Odin rested his chin on the palm of his hand. "Tell me about yourself Ava."
"Okay, well… Don't tell anyone but…" Odin kept his eyes on her as he took another swig from his mug. "I'm in fight club." He choked his coffee.
The two continued to talk pleasantly, neither of them noticed the hour fly past them. The two had spoke about many things. Ava had shared her time at the orphanage, her love of rabbits, and love of flowers and the thought of owning a flower shop. In return, Odin had shared his love of dogs – Ava had found out that his dog was a Malinois named Bébé, which belonged to his mother. She had also learned that he had two other sisters besides Magpie, both of which were attending the same university as Maggie, as well as an older brother. They also found they shared a lot in common, they both disliked parties, and obnoxious people, and they shared a love of horror stories and star-gazing.
Ava found herself opening up more than she thought she would. At first Odin seemed intimidating, and rough around the edges, but Ava had found him to be easy to talk to. Someone she wanted to talk to.
Somewhere along the way, the conversation had shifted to their favourite foods.
"Ew, you're icky." Ava sneered, holding her now empty mug.
"I am telling you, I can eat salmon raw! Fresh salmon, nothing on it but some soy sauce, delicious." Ava was shaking her head at the thought of eating raw salmon. "Alright, missy, what's your favourite food?"
"Easy, Ice cream!" Odin couldn't believe what she had just said.
"Ice cream doesn't count as food! That's like saying your favourite food is custard!" He argued, but Ava dismissed him.
"Custard is delicious, but ice cream? Any day, any time!" Ava stuck to her answer. She ate ice cream religiously. Odin shook his head.
"You know who does the best ice cream?" Ava shrugged as he went on. "Gelaré. I don't even like ice cream that much, but theirs is the exception. And when they put it on their waffles, with whipped cream and maple syrup, it's heaven." He declared.
"I've never actually been to Gelaré." Ava couldn't help but roll her eyes, as Odin gave a dramatic gasp. "But that sounds really yummy." She had listened as Maggie talked about going to Gelaré with her university friends on multiple occasions. Apparently, there was a store right next to the campus she went to.
"That's it. I have no choice." Odin gave a long sigh. Ava quirked her head to one side. "I have to take you to Gelaré, you cannot go on like this."
Ava felt her cheeks flushed. He wanted to take her to Gelaré. He wanted to spend more time with her. They'd probably talk more, and joke. She wondered if he considered her a friend at this point.
Ava felt a smile pull on her lips. "You're nice." She said finally. Odin was taken aback by her blunt statement.
"You expected me not to be?" He teased.
"I don't know. Y'know how some people have a resting bitch face." He nodded. "Well, you have a resting 'I'm better than you so don't even think about talking to me' face." Odin chuckled, shrugging his shoulders.
"That's just my face. I guarantee you it's hereditary." Ava giggled at the thought of Magpie making the same grouchy expression she had come to associate Odin with. "But stop changing the subject! Ice cream and waffles. Yes or no? I need to see the look on your face when you take the first bite." Ava smiled at his eagerness.
"Okay." She said finally, her eyes cast to the table top. "You shall have the privilege of introducing me to these heavenly waffles and ice cream." Ava laughed as Odin silently cheered.
Suddenly the two were interrupted by the sound of Ava cell phone going off in her pocket. She hurriedly apologised to Odin before answering.
"Ava, where the hell are you? Why didn't you tell me you'd be out? If I knew you wouldn't be home, I would have invited Ajax over!" Ava huffed at the sound of Wrathia's voice.
"Sorry, Your Highness. Next time I'll let you know when I'm out so that you can engage in vicious, kinky sex with your boy-toy." Unbeknownst to Ava, Odin was looking at her, wide-eyed, with furrowed brows.
"Well, whatever, are you coming home now, or do I still have time to fit in one session of lovin'?" Ava rolled her eyes, cringing slightly.
"Know what Wrathia, I'll be home any minute now, so no sessions of lovin'." Wrathia groaned before hanging up on Ava, who herself let out a sigh she did not know she was holding in.
"S-sessions of loving? Did I read that correctly?" Ava's eyes shot up to Odin who had an eyebrow quirked with curiosity.
"Sorry about that, but I have to go, lest I walk in on my roommate in the act with her boyfriend." She said whilst standing up. "So when do you wanna go out again? To Gelaré I mean." Odin stood himself up before taking Ava's hand, as well as a pen from his pocket. He began to scribble digits onto her palm before snapping the pen closed.
"Message me when you're free, and we'll make this happen." Odin left a decent tip by his cup like he always did and left out the entrance of the café, leaving Ava to stare at the digits on her arm, a small smile placed on her lips. Prudith walked to her booth and started to collect the cups.
"Everything go well?" Ava looked to Prudith with a dopey smile still stuck to her face.
"I made a friend."