Here's the next chapter. Enjoy =D
The next morning Ava awoke to Jade giggling downstairs. Glancing over at her alarm clock she saw that it read 10:30. After lying there for a few short moments trying to wake up, she got out of bed and walked to the railing of the stairs and she peered over it to find Nick playing with Jade, and Brian and AJ sitting on the couch talking. Ava smiled a little as she watched her best friend spin Jade around in the air in circles while Jade giggled insanely.
“AH-HAHA!” he laughed in that familiar corny laugh that always seems to have a way of making Ava feel instantly at ease. He suddenly collapsed onto the couch behind him and Jade shrieked as he brought her with him and she giggled as she lay on top of him. She loves Nick with her whole heart and she loves playing with him and he always has a way of making her laugh no matter what kind of mood she is in. When she is in a bad mood, that is instantly changed when Nick is around. She never felt this way with David and Ava doesn’t blame her.
He wasn’t even in the hospital the day Jade was born. He didn’t want to be and he’s never loved Jade. Nick on the other hand was there for Jade through everything, even on the day she was born. He was the one in the delivery room, he was the one who held Ava’s hand through it all, and he was the first one after Ava who got to hold her. When he did he sat there looking at her with so much love in his eyes for a few moments before looking at Ava and telling her that she is the most precious gift god could ever give her, and she is so lucky to have her. He loves her very much.
Leaning against the railing at the top of the stairs, Ava watched as Nick kissed Jade’s forehead softly as she still lay on top of his chest comfortably and he raked his fingers through her brown hair that reached just a bit past her shoulders. After a few moments of just watching the two, Ava suddenly went downstairs and Brian, AJ, and Nick all looked at her. She went to AJ and sat next to him and he hugged her close to him affectionately.
“Good morning honey…how are you feeling? Did you sleep well?”
“Mhm, I’m feeling better.”
“Good,” Brian spoke up sincerely.
“Are you hungry? I was just getting ready to go get breakfast started. How about bacon, eggs, hash browns, and toast? I know that’s your favorite.”
“I’d like that a lot,” Ava responded, fighting back a wave of emotion at the memory of being thrown against the wall or beaten with a belt when her cooking wasn’t good enough for David. She could really get used to knowing that her brother is more than willing to take care of her all the time. Despite how hard she tried to stop it, her eyes clouded up with tears and AJ who noticed this and didn’t need an explanation just planted a kiss on her forehead.
“I will get right on that then sis,” he told her gently. Jade who was watching her mommy closely noticed her tears too and instantly got up from lying in Nick’s arms and went over and crawled into Ava’s lap before giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Ava returned both.
“I love you mommy,” She told her softly.
“I love you too baby,” Ava responded, and when she managed to keep her tears at bay she pulled back and cradled her face in her hands before gazing into her eyes that are much like Nick’s beautiful blue ones. “Mommy needs to take you to get your hair cut and your bangs trimmed” she announced, wanting to get on a happier subject for her daughter and it worked. Jade smiled really big upon hearing this announcement. She loves Fantastic Sams because Tierja, one of Ava's best friends works there.
Her two other best friends are Kathryn and Raven. She met Kathryn by chance in the library one day from sitting at the same table all the time. They both went through this phase where books were their only best friend and would spend hours at a time there.
They kept to themselves and didn't talk to each other for months until one day Howie picked her up from the library, noticed she was into all of the same books as Ava was, drank the same coffee as her, and even wore the same style as her, and thought it was crazy that they sit at the same table every day and never talk to each other.
He struck up a conversation with her and suddenly he was coming to the library with her daily. Eventually they were all three great friends, and not really knowing how it happened, she was eventually welcomed into the group as part of the family.
Tierja and Raven on the other hand, she met first on the internet and then in person heavily supervised by Q. It turns out that they weren’t dangerous psychopaths like AJ had feared and he even ended up having a crush on Tierja. He’s never once made a move though. He’ll flirt with her but for some reason the thought of getting too close to her freaks him out and nobody can figure out why.
Brian is the exact same except he is much shyer and he likes Raven. Raven has a daughter who is just five minutes younger than Jade. She was born on the same day when Raven's real due date was supposed to be a week after Ava's. But Zara decided that she wanted to come early and shock everybody. Everyone minus Nick was waiting in the waiting room to see Ava and Jade. Nick was already in with her but everyone else was waiting when Raven suddenly began to cry out in pain. Her husband wasn't there because he left her. He left her the day after she told him she was pregnant with his child. He got scared and demanded her to get an abortion and she was furious with him and refused because she wanted Zara more than anything.
They fought about it all day long and the next day she found him and all of his stuff gone. She went crying to Ava and cried in her arms for hours. Ever since he left Brian was there for her. When she cried out in pain in the hospital he freaked out and took her into his arms and asked her what was wrong. She told him that it was time and that Zara was going to come out in the middle of this waiting room if someone doesn't give her a goddamned room right now. Those were her exact words as she clung to Brian. By the time Zara and Jade were old enough to walk, they never left each other’s side.
They do everything together and are best friends and those who don’t know them would think they’re twins. They have such a connection with each other that no one could possibly begin to understand. When Jade is hurt, Zara is hurt. When Zara is sad, Jade is sad. When one cries, the other one does and sometimes that happens even when they aren’t even in the same room. Sometimes Ava and Raven and those who are closest to them wonder if the two of them are capable of reading each other’s minds. They haven’t witnessed it yet, but they’re waiting.
“Can we go today mommy?” Jade asked excitedly.
“I don’t know baby, it just depends on whether or not someone wants to come with us. Who knows where David is at and the first place he would look if we weren’t here is Tierja’s shop. We have another place that we really need to go to first though,” Ava explained.
“I’m coming! Me!” AJ was the first to say and he raised his hand in the air. Jade giggled and Ava smiled a little bit, happy that AJ is making an attempt to keep things light. Which is exactly why she wants him to come with her to the doctor because then maybe he would be able to make things so much easier for Jade. Provided they allow him to go back with her when they’re examining her, that is.
“Are you actually going to make a move this time Alex, or are you just going to flirt with her?”
“We’ll have to wait and see won’t we?”
“I will be impressed if you do.”
“I’m coming too,” Nick announced, and Ava smiled slightly.
“Of course you’re coming, you have no choice Carter.”
“Is that so?” he asked while raising his eyebrow.
“Yes it is so.”
“Me. I said so,” Ava replied while setting Jade down and crawling off of the couch and over to Nick who was seated on the floor now. She straddled his lap and she slid her arms around his neck.
“Oh, so you are the boss of me huh?”
“Yes you should just call me Master Ava.” He chuckled slightly and slid his arms around her waist.
“I like Queen Ava better.”
“Is that so?”
“Mhm,” he answered while resting his forehead against hers. “Are you going to get your hair done too?” he questioned as he twirled one of her curls around his finger. She is definitely the Queen of his world, that’s for sure. And now that she has finally left David for good and is back in his life again, he has every intention of making her his.
“Nah I like my hair,” Ava insisted. The two of them were silent for a couple of moments, until suddenly she turned and looked at her daughter who is sitting nearby playing with her toys. She is no longer sitting with AJ because he and Brian had gone into the kitchen to make breakfast.
“Yes mommy?” when Ava didn’t answer right away Jade looked up from her doll and at Ava curiously.
“How would you like to put blonde highlights in your hair?” Jade suddenly smiled.
“Can I make it all blonde like Nicky’s hair?”
“Yes.” Ava stared at her for a couple of moments skeptically, before looking at Nick with an unsure look on her face and he chuckled.
“You knew it was coming. You led yourself right into that one” he told her and he couldn’t hide his amusement no matter how much he tried. Ava sighed.
“Baby you are much too young to be dying your hair that much.”
“Buts MOMMY! I want to! You are letting me do highlights so why can’t I do all of it?”
“Because…mommy likes your brown hair” Ava answered with a faraway look in her eyes. Angry and upset with her mother now, Jade suddenly looked back down and continued to brush her doll’s hair. Ava sighed in frustration and rested her head against Nick’s shoulder and he hugged her a bit tighter while planting a kiss upon her forehead. She hates it when Jade is mad at her because just like Ava she is extremely stubborn and she will drag her anger out for as long as she possibly can until she finally gets her way.
What annoys her most about it is that Denise called it. When Ava was just a little girl herself Denise had told her that if she wasn’t careful she was going to have a daughter of her own someday who is just as stubborn and willful as she is. Sure enough she had Jade who was stubborn before she even left the womb. She loves her mother to death but she hates it that she is always right. She wasted a lot of time trying to prove her wrong when she was a kid. Rebellious to boot she was. To her relief, Jade never got the rebellious gene. She is just flat out stubborn. And she has been trying to talk Ava into letting her dye her hair blonde since she was old enough to talk and have her own opinion, because she wants to be just like Nick in almost every single way. Not that she can blame her really…
After sitting with Nick for a while and soaking up all of the affection he was giving her, Ava got up and went into the kitchen where she found AJ and Brian working on breakfast. She went up behind AJ, slid her arms around his waist, and rested her chin on his shoulder.
“Hey Sweetie, what’s the matter?” he questioned, knowing right off that Ava is upset without even having to look. He pulled her around and looked into her sad brown eyes.
“Jade is mad at me because I won’t allow her to dye all of her hair blonde” Ava explained while sticking her lower lip out in a pout. Something she learned to do quite well at a very young age.
“Aw honey, you know she gets that way every time you go to Fantastic Sams. Just let her be, she’ll get over it.”
“I know, but I hate it when she’s mad at me.” AJ wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her near as he continued to work on breakfast. After a few moments they heard the front door open in the living room and Jade’s excited squeals.
“GRAMMA!” Ava clung tighter to AJ upon hearing this, and AJ sighed.
“Bri you’re going to have to take over. Ava, I need to breathe sweetie…” he told her while bringing her out of Brian’s way so he could finish breakfast and he wrapped both of his arms around her. He very much wants all of this emotional stuff to pass because he hates seeing his sister in such a fragile state. She has always been cuddly with him since she was a little girl but never this clingy.
“Hi sweetie!” Denise exclaimed and she held her arms open just on time for the four year old to come bounding into them.
“I missed you!” Jade informed while hugging her Grandma tight.
“I missed you too sweetie…very much” Denise replied as tears fell from her eyes. She held her grandchild for a very long time and when she pulled back and took a look at her she noticed her bruised cheek. Denise let out a frustrated sigh as she gently caressed her cheek and she looked into her innocent blue eyes for a few moments before putting her down and she looked at Nick.
“Hey Nick…where is Ava?”
“In the kitchen with Brian and AJ” Denise nodded and then headed for the kitchen and Nick motioned for Jade to go to him before she decided to follow her. When Denise entered the kitchen she saw AJ standing next to Brian while leaning up against the counter with his arms wrapped around Ava from behind and he has his chin rested on her shoulder.
“Hi mom…” AJ greeted gently.
“Hi…” she replied while gazing at her daughter with mixed emotions. She is still very angry with her for what she did but at the same time she is just thankful that she is home and okay.
“Please don’t say I told you so mom…please…” Ava pleaded while suddenly breaking down into sobs. She doesn’t want her mom to be right this time. She just wants her to be there to comfort her. Denise’s heart broke upon seeing her youngest child standing there covered in bruises and with so much fear etched on her face and in her eyes. The anger inside her suddenly melted away and she went over to Ava and pulled her into her own arms and she held her tightly as tears fell from her own eyes. “I’m sorry mom…I’m so sorry…please don’t hate me.”
“Honey I don’t hate you. I could never hate you” Denise reassured. “I’m just thankful that you are home and okay. Don’t you ever do something like that again, do you hear me? Don’t you dare go home to him again I can’t take it! He could kill you Ava. Next time he just might kill you – or Jade!”
“I’m not mom I promise. Alex let me move back in with him and is going to protect me if he comes after me.” Denise sighed in relief and kissed Ava’s forehead as she continued to stand there hugging her. “I missed you…I thought about you every waking second since you’ve been gone. I don’t hate you Ava I love you very much and nothing can change that.”
“I’m sorry…” Ava sniffled. “I’m sorry I upset everyone…I’m such a rotten bitch who doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.”
"You’re not a rotten bitch. You just needed to learn that you were doing the wrong thing but neither AJ nor I could make you learn it. You needed to yourself. There was really nothing any of us could do to stop you. You had it set in your heart that you loved him - you were so in love with him that you were too blind to see that he didn't feel the same way...and we all make that mistake at one point in our life."
"But we love you with all of our hearts. Everyone makes mistakes honey, even me." AJ added, as he too wraps his arms around Ava. "But if you love someone...no matter how bad the mistake they've made you will always find it in your heart to forgive them."
"I wasn't really as blind as you guys think..." Ava confessed softly.
"What do you mean?" AJ asked as concern filled his voice and Brian looked up from making breakfast and at Ava confused.
"I moved in with him by force…I...I just made it seem like I wanted to... he said he'd kill Jade if I didn't. He was abusive a lot sooner than you all think..."
“Oh god Ava…”
"He didn't show up in the hospital because he didn't want to be there...he lied about his boss not letting him go. He referred to Jade as a mistake and said if I didn’t move in with him after she’s born he would kill her." AJ kissed the top of Ava's head before pulling away and he began to help Brian with breakfast again, needing something to concentrate on so he doesn’t go pay David a personal visit and let him know exactly how he feels about him right now.
“Where are the other boys?” Denise questioned as she continued to stand there hugging Ava.
“Good question…” Ava replied softly as she was wondering the same thing herself but never got around to asking it.
“Howie and Kevin went their separate ways for the day. They had some errands to run so it’s just Nick, Brian, and me until later on tonight.”
“I’m going to go check on Jade,” Ava announced while pulling away from Denise and she went into the living room to find Nick lying on the floor with Jade and the two of them are coloring.
“Ava are you ready to go?” Nick questioned as he walked into her room and found her just finishing up her makeup. They had taken Jade to the doctor right after breakfast and then afterwards brought her back to the house and she took a very much needed nap as the stress from the appointment took a lot out of her. Now it’s later on in the afternoon and they are planning on going to Tierja’s shop next now that Jade is feeling better.
“Mhm...Did Jade get her shoes on?”
“Yeah I tied them for her and everything. She’s ready to go.”
“Okay,” Ava replied and she grabbed her red backpack and put it on. She had replaced all of her clothes and such with money and other things that she would need, turning it into an everyday purse. Nick took her hand and brought her downstairs with him and Ava went to go pick up Jade from the floor but she swatted her hand away, made a whiny sound, and got up and went straight for Nick instead. Nick picked her up and she slid her arms around his neck and rested her head against his shoulder and she gave Ava the dirtiest look ever.
Not only is she now upset with her for not letting her dye her hair blonde, but she is also upset that her mommy made her go through such torture earlier that day. She feels betrayed and vandalized. In her four-year-old mind that doctor had the exact same mission as her father – he was out to get her. And her mommy let him – again. Ava looked over at AJ with hurt in her eyes then as her heart is breaking. She has never felt so horrible in her life but she was only doing what is right for her. And though Jade may not understand it, she was being a good mom for once. At least she was trying to.
“Just give her some time honey…she may be angry right now but she’s going to get over it. You know you are the most important person in her life” AJ reassured as they all walked out the door.
“I am the worst person in her life…” Ava whispered quietly, purposely making it so no one would hear her. AJ locked the door behind them and they began their Journey to Fantastic Sams.
“Remind me to make you a key to the house Ava, okay?”
“Kay…” She replied softly and she felt Nick slide his arms around her and pull her to him after he had handed Jade over to Brian and she buried her face in his chest while he kissed her forehead softly and walked with her as she walked backwards. When they arrived at Fantastic Sams they walked inside to find Tierja just standing there.
“TIERJAAAA!” Jade exclaimed, showing a sign of happiness for the first time since they left the doctors earlier that day.
“J-BABYYYY! How are you?” She asked with the same enthusiasm as Jade. Jade went flying into her arms and Tierja hugged her tightly and kissed her cheek. “I haven’t seen you in two whole weeks! How have you been? Okay I hope…” She asked while looking Jade over. She knows David is psycho and when AJ is busy Tierja is the next person she goes crying to. Tierja too is always trying to get Ava to leave him but as stubborn as everyone knows she is she never seems to win.
“I’m okay…we runned away last night an’ we’re stayin’ with Uncle J” Jade explained, and Tierja looked at Ava curiously.
“You ran away?” she asked and Ava nodded quietly.
“For good this time?” she asked and Ava nodded again. Now looking very proud of her friend Tierja pulled Ava into a tight hug forgetting for a split second that she hurts easily.
“Ouch…” Ava whined and Tierja automatically pulled back.
“Oh honey…I’m sorry, I forgot…”
“It’s okay…I’m fine. My back is just bruised up so you have to be careful.” She once again pulled Ava into a hug, but made sure to be gentler.
“Are any of you here for a haircut of some sort? Because I am so bored. We aren’t very busy today.” Tierja asked, suddenly becoming serious again.
“Yes Jade is. She needs her hair trimmed slightly because it has split ends and she wants to have her hair dyed blonde,” Ava explained.
“ALL of it?” Tierja asked making sure she heard her right. Ava nodded while smiling at Jade a little bit.
“All of it.” Jade suddenly smiled at her in return for the first time all day.
“Wow…and how long has she been begging for you to let her get it done?”
“Since she was old enough to argue with me…I figure as stubborn as both of us are one of us has to back down from this fight or it just might go on forever. And anyway…she deserves it.” Tierja took Jade over to her station where she cuts hair and she placed the booster seat in the chair before sitting Jade in it. She put her black Fantastic Sams cape on her and went back into the back to retrieve blonde hair dye. While she was doing that, Ava went over to Jade and wrapped her arms around her for a hug and she kissed her cheek.
“What do you say baby?”
“Thank you mommy…I love you.”
“I love you too,” Ava replied and when she pulled away she sat on Tierja’s work station and Tierja returned shortly after with hair dye and she immediately got right to work.