Hardwood Floors

AN: I don't own Hangover characters. Just Ava. Also, I don't own the Steppenwolf song here mentioned. I bow to them.

Twenty Years Ago

Two ten-year-olds: a boy and a girl. Sitting in the tree house. The boy was gangly, pasty-white with glasses in dorky clothes. He was nervous. He sucked in his lips as he stared at the girl with dark hair in plaited pigtails, overalls and a t-shirt. She had blue sapphire eyes. The prettiest girl in the world.

They looked out at the kids mulling around in the yard. There was a birthday party going on. Yet, the boy and girl wanted quiet time. Get away from the noise and excitement. Though the girl liked parties, it was nice to be with her friend alone. She noticed he looked nervous. The boy wanted to talk to her alone...he was always embarrassed to talk to her in front of his friends.

"Hey, Stuey," said the girl. "Are you OK? You're sweating."

"Yea, Ava," he said, his voice trembling.

"So, what did you want to talk about? Was someone being mean to you?"

"No." His hands were shaking. "I...I wanted to give you your birthday present..."

"Yea? What is it, Stuey?"

"Um...well...I thought...maybe...well, it's a kiss..."

"Oh...I see. Is that why you wanted to give it to me alone, hm?" she giggled.

Stuey blushed, lowering his head.

"It's OK, Stuey," Ava said, smiling. "We can try it...just once...no one has to know."

Stuey was excited. His first kiss. Ava sat on her knees, getting comfortable. The two of them leaned in...puckering their lips...

"HEY!" yelled a voice outside.

The two of them looked out the tree house door and saw the red-haired, freckled boy with a big smile on his face.

"STUEY'S KISSING AVERS!" He was pointing and laughing.

"PHIL!" yelled Ava. "YOU STUPID ASS! LEAVE US ALONE!"

Soon all the kids in the yard saw them and started laughing with Phil. Then, he began to sing, making the other kids join in...taunting and laughing.

"STUEY AND AVERS SITTIN' IN A TREE...KAY-EYE-ESS-ESS-EYE-EN-GEE!"

Stu was red with humiliation, trying to hide in the tree house. Ava was angry and humiliated. She went to climb down the ladder only to find it was missing...

"YOU SONOFABITCH!" Ava yelled. "PUT THE LADDER BACK, PHIL! I WILL KICK YOUR ASS!"

"Come on down and try it, Avers," challenged Phil. "Kiss Stu first...then I'll put the ladder back!"

"Kiss him!" the kids all chanted.

Ava just climbed down from the tree and leaped to the ground. She jumped on Phil and beat him up. Stu was left up there, alone...embarrassed...he wouldn't come out until all the kids were gone...


Present Day

Dr. Stuart Price heard his alarm go off at 5 AM. He sighed, knowing he had to go to work. He was a bit sad, his heart ached...he stared at the empty side of the bed...he missed a warm body being next to him. Well, things were about to change since he had been dating for a while...

What a dream he had. That memory from long ago...his first near kiss...with the girl of his dreams...and now she was gone.

He was sad when it happened...but he understood. Ava Billings told him honestly that she wasn't really ready for a commitment...she missed her freedom. They parted on amicable terms...she returned his ring as she promised...then, she left about a week later. She and him agreed to stay friends, but it might be awkward for a while.

Stu was so depressed for months after Ava was gone. He couldn't get out of bed some days. He hardly shaved and showered after they parted.

He grabbed the pillow where Ava once laid next to him and smelled it...

Her smell was gone...

He missed her. Every time he dated a woman, he always saw...

Her.

He switched on the radio, hearing Steppenwolf's Tenderness playing as he pulled on his clothes...getting ready for work...


Ava Billings blinked her eyes as her 6 AM alarm went off, she turned on the radio, which played Steppenwolf's Tenderness. She sighed, getting up. She didn't want to but she had to go to work that morning.

It had been almost two years since the Las Vegas incident. Things had changed in that short amount of period of time. Ava had changed too. She completed her online courses. Got her teaching degree. Got a stable job working in a preschool/daycare. Got her own apartment. She was still richer than God of course, but she had no intention of touching that money she got from Mike Tyson: a very generous amount of money that the heavy weight champion boxer gave her for returning his tiger when she and the boys were in Vegas.

Of course, her little Cherry Girl video made her a celebrity...until it slowly died down. She got hounded for a while for autographs and pictures from people, but eventually...they forgot. But her little move was made extremely popular among strippers at bachelor parties and clubs last she heard. Embarrassing as it was. Getting a job as a daycare/preschool teacher was hard because of that one video, but she managed to get it, after carefully explaining that it was her brother's bachelor party...and she had absolutely no memory of that night along with a promise that she had no intention of doing that again.

Ava loved working in the daycare/preschool. It was good to be working with kids again...despite having a brother-in-law, Alan, who was just like them. He was dumb and crazy as shit, but sweet. He always called Ava 'Mother Wolf'...a weird nickname. She found out why eventually: when they were in Vegas, Alan had created a little group, adding her twin brother, Doug, and her besties, Phil and Stu called the Wolf Pack . Alan dubbed Ava as part of his Wolf Pack as well, which was cute she guessed. But why not? These boys were her friends.

Life should've been good for her, but it wasn't.

Ava was depressed...so damn depressed...While she dressed, she listened to that song on the radio, listening to the guitar strumming and plucking, John Kay's rough voice...how this song reminded her of herself...and Stu...

She tried to show me how to love

I bit her lips and bruised her arms

No, I hadn't learned

Tenderness

She asked what does love mean to you

I grabbed her hair and pulled her down

I looked in her eyes and I laughed

The love I feel is hard and fast

It's for a face and one night

I don't need to own anyone

Almost a few months of being with Stu after Las Vegas, she decided she missed her freedom and wasn't ready for a relationship. She and Stu parted amicably, but they remained friends as always. Of course, she was honest with Stu about her feelings...he was a bit devastated, but he understood.

She said, she said all your women

Burn in your flame

And as it dies, it dies they'll leave you

And seek revenge

Ava returned to her old lifestyle as usual. Yet, after a while, she felt...it was getting a bit old. It didn't feel the same as it did before for some reason.

She laughed and said, "You'll go through hell

And live in lonely rooms I know

And watch my love's tenderness

Every guy she slept with or dated, she couldn't stop thinking about...

Him.

She didn't understand at all.

I went to her to someone else

To someone else

No I wouldn't be satisfied

A year or so had passed, Stu and Ava saw each other. Yet, Ava chose to make her appearances at her friends' houses as minimal as possible since it was a bit uncomfortable with Stu being there and she was pretty sure he felt the same way too. She hadn't heard he was dating anyone lately.

She was pissed with herself...she let Stu go. How could she?! She was so stupid to do that! Stu was the perfect guy and she fucked it up! All because what? She wanted to have more orgasms with other people?! Fuck! What the hell was wrong with her?

I wish I could find her now

My love is soft, my love is warm...

Well, since Stu wasn't dating anyone else...she came up with an idea...hmm...she thought about doing something spontaneous. Maybe surprise Stu with something sexy. She wanted to try again with him...this time she was ready. She didn't want any more one-night stands or booty calls. She was tired of it.

Maybe Stu would take her back...after all, they did agree that they could.

Take your time, Ava. Stu said. I'm not going anywhere. Whenever you're ready...just let me know.

Yea! She made an appointment for a dental consultation with Stu at his office...a follow-up about her broken tooth that he gladly fixed. She decided to surprise him with something he might like. She went to a salon to get her downstairs...let's just say, groomed. Oh yes! Stu would like this indeed. Sure it would itch, but if she took care of it before the day before her dental appointment so it wouldn't be puffy and red.

She bought a sexy garter belt with thigh high stockings and heels. She hated heels, preferring her Converses. She packed them just to change once she got there. She wore an easy removable dress, which she would tuck away once in his office. She had everything planned out for this surprise. She grinned wickedly as she went to Stu's private office with the nurse.

She shut the door, threw off her loose dress and grabbed one of Stu's lab coats. Oh! She had nothing underneath except a pair of stockings. Stu would definitely like this! She sat in his chair in front of his desk, which was covered in patient files, pens, papers, X-rays...a lot of shit that she didn't care about since it was going to be knocked over.

She heard approaching footsteps...grinning and shaking with anticipation. No! Had to stay calm. She crossed her legs and sat sexily in his chair.

Soon, Stu came in, looking at some chart in his hand...

"OK," he began, then looked up through his wire-rimmed glasses...

"HOLY SHIT!" he exclaimed, startled and clumsily dropped the charts out of his arms when he saw Ava sitting there, in his chair...in his lab coat...with nothing on! He stared dumbly, paralyzed, unable to speak...

"Hello, Dr. Price," Ava said, sexily, smirking. "I've got a cavity...and it needs to be drilled..."

"Uh..." he said, dumbly, laughing a bit nervous. "What...are you doing, Ava?"

"What do you think?" she simpered, winking. "I had an appointment for a root canal...so here I am...ready for some drilling..."

Ava stood up, cocked her hip and showed him her downstairs...HOLY...FUCKING SHIT! Apparently Ava had improvement done. Stu had to get his eyes off of that...hardwood floor. He laughed nervously and uncomfortably...this certainly was a surprise for him: a dental consultation only to end up staring at naked Ava, upstairs and downstairs.

"Well, bad boy," she said. "Get over here and start drilling..."

"Uh...this is...really..." Stu stumbled, trying to find his words. He was sweating, trying very hard not to stare at his old flame.

"Stu, I brought you your lunch..." said a woman's voice...then, a young Asian's face appeared who looked towards Ava. "Who's this?"

Ava's face drained and her stomach dropped. Aw SHIT! She pulled Stu's lab coat over her nakedness.

"Uh...Lauren," he said, mortified, clearing his throat and rubbing the back of his neck. "This is...Ava, my friend. Ava, this is my...girlfriend, Lauren...whom I was planning on introducing tonight..." He said the last part through his teeth.

Shit! Not AGAIN! Why is it that every time she wanted to hook up with a guy, she finds out he's already attached. Shit! Also she forgot! Doug had said that Stu was bringing over a friend tonight at Phil's barbeque...and here she was, meeting her with hardwood floors and in Stu's lab coat. Seriously, she needed to remember to write down stuff.

"I should probably get clothes on," Ava said, awkwardly embarrassed.

"Yea," he said miffed and mortified, looking down at his feet.

"Could you...?"

"Yea."

He shut the door and let Ava get dressed, which she did very quickly. She was definitely not going to grace her presence at the barbeque tonight. Nope! Not to awkwardly meet Stu's new girlfriend...it wasn't worth it.

She made a beeline to the door and went straight home to her apartment, locking the door and pulling the shades down. She even unhooked the phone off the hook and shut off her cellphone. No way was she going to show her face to the world after what she did.


By the next day, Ava just lied on the couch, flipping through the TV, waiting her Chinese food order to arrive. She wasn't going anywhere. $100 for a fucking Brazilian wax to seduce her old flame...only to find out he has a girlfriend already. Seriously, what the fuck was wrong with her? She always had this problem seducing the wrong guy who is attached...and she took so many careful steps to avoid that.

Yet, it wasn't her fault! Doug said friend...he never said girlfriend. Stupid douche!

There was a knock at her door and she figured it was her take-out. Grabbing her money, she opened the door only to be met by Stu, with a look of indignation.

"OK," he said very annoyed and embarrassed. "Could we talk please?"

"Sure," she said. "Come in."

He looked around. He hadn't been in Ava's apartment before. It was a bit messy, but he figured. He smiled a little, pleased that Ava had her own place. Her fridge was decorated with art projects from the daycare she worked at.

"Coffee?" she said.

"No thanks."

"Feel free to sit."

He sat at a bar stool at a counter. He stared at his old flame...her pixie hair was a bit longer than last time, yet still messy as ever. Still beautiful...yet, it pained him a little to look at her. She was in her sweats and a tank top.

"OK, Stu," she began slowly. "About what I did...I'm really sorry...I was just trying to surprise you."

"Yea..." he said, stiffly. "And I would've appreciated it long ago, but I don't right now...but when you pull shit like that, it's really...embarrassing. My girlfriend saw you and your naked pussy!"

"I take it she doesn't like me," Ava stated.

Not that she had a problem with people not liking her. She would just rather not get off on the wrong foot with her friends' significant others. Well, except for Melissa. She was a bitch. She hated her from the moment she met her.

"Well, no," said Stu. "She's a bit suspicious of me now. She thinks I'm cheating on her."

"Again, sorry. But why are you here, Stu? Other than to give me a lecture on embarrassing you..." She crossed her arms.

"Actually, I want you to meet Lauren. I think the two of you should meet...here."

"Um...now?" Ava raised her eyebrows.

"No. I want us to meet next weekend...for coffee. After you left, I explained to her about your...colorfully embarrassing personality and she seems to like you a bit. She thought you were a bit...funny."

"Funny as in 'haha' or weird?" Ava said dryly.

"Um...a little of both. Also, I'd appreciate it that we don't mention that we were married...and that we slept together."

"I'm no squealer, Stu," she said deadpanned. "That's Alan's department."

Stu laughed. "Yea. Let's hope he can keep a lid on it about that, God forbid."

"OK. I guess I'll see you next weekend, Stu. Should I order anything special?"

"Coffee, donuts and bagels are fine," he said. "Thanks for doing this."

"No prob, Stu."

She led him to the door and they...er, shook hands like friends. They wanted to take it slow and mend their friendship, of course. They didn't think hugging would be appropriate at the time. Ava watched as Stu drove away. She sighed...

She really did miss him. She wanted to scream it from the rooftops.

Well, too late. He was the one that got away...and she let him...