It was 9:30pm, Ava trudged down the slushie side walk with her rolling hamper being pulled behind her. It was heavy and she was winded trying to get to the 24 hr corner laundrymat. She quickly crossed the street and struggled to pull the hamper up onto the curb. A car wizzed by and splashed and covered her with water, ice, and salt.
Fuck she hated the winter! She put her body weight into her final attempt to lift her hamper and it hopped up onto the side walk. Ava heard a snicker from behind her and turned her head. A guy was sitting on the ledge of the laundrymat window having a smoke. He had messy red hair, facial hair, and a smirk which read that he thought watching her struggle was hilarious.
Typical fuckin guys these days Ava thought to herself. So much for chivalry! Ava stood up straight and walked towards the door to the laundrymat with her hamper in tow.
"Thanks for the help asshole" she muttered under her breath as she opened the door. The guy on the ledge shot her a look letting her know he heard her but Ava didn't care and continued into the establishment.
This wasn't exactly how she expected to spend her Thursday night but she had no clean clothes left and her washer broke 2 months ago. Sure, she could have continued to wash her clothes by hand like she had been doing but she had a little extra money and thought she would treat herself. But with the amount of trouble it was to navigate her way to the laundrymat and lug her laundry there she was starting to think she should have stayed at home and spent the night in the bathroom with her clothes in the tub.
She took out her ziplock bag of change and placed $1.50 in each of the only two empty washers left. They were situated by the window in the corner and luckily there was a large bench unoccupied next to them. She dropped her tote purse on the bench and pulled her hamper infront of the washers.
Ava looked around her. Not exactly the most fancy place around but it was the cheapest place she found for laundry. Oh, how she wished she could be one of those people who called up a service and have her laundry picked up, washed, dryed, folded and returned to her.
Yeah! Ava huffed as she thought like that's ever going to happen. You are standing in one of the shittiest ends of town (which isn't that far from your apt) soaking wet, doing your laundry. Ava shook her head Let's keep it real Ava.
Ava began to load her half of her laundry into the two available washers. Hopefully another set of washers would become available soon. If not, it was going to be a long night.
The bell attached to the door rang and Ava turned to look at the door. The smoking dick head from outside walked in. She turn her focus back to her laundry and ignored him. He walked over to the dryers across from the washing machines she selected and sat down on the bench where she put her stuff. This definitely is going to be a long night!
Ava pulled off her soaking wet jacket and the sweater she had on underneath her jacket and threw them in the second washing machine. She closed the doors of the washers and pushed the handle to insert the change on the first washer. The second, however, was giving her a hard time. Ava sighed. This is not what she needed right now. Ava began to fight with the handle and cuss under her breath when she felt an arm move hers from the handle and push it in for her.
Well, maybe chivalry isn't dead she thought as she turned with a smile to thank the man who helped her. To her surprise it was the same dick head who laughed at her struggling outside. Ava's smile dropped, not because it was him that helped her, but because his arm was still leaning on her washing machine and he was taking a nice, long, hard look down the front of her tank top.
"Can I help you?" Ava asked, giving the guy a nudge back to get some space.
"Easy" the guy said with his hands in the air. "Is that what I get for helping you?"
Ava sighed, "Thank you for helping me and stop trying to look down my shirt!"
"It's not my fault your canyon was in my view point, shorty" The guy grinned
"My canyon? Shorty? Who in the fuck do you think you are?" Ava stated, so not impressed, poking her finger in his chest.
"I'm Joe Darley. Nice to meet ya, Shorty" He grinned rubbing his chest where she poked him. "And if you don't want me looking there you shouldn't have it out in the open."
"Listen! I didn't plan to be standing here in this dirty laundrymat at 9:30 at night in my camisole but its winter and I had a hard time getting here as you already know by watching me get drenched by that car outside. I didn't see you helping me then!" Ava let out a frustrated sigh, placing her hands ontop of her head and and lifted her eyes to look at the ceiling. She was trying to calm herself and choke back tears that were beginning to form. "This evening has been the worst night of my life!" She stated. She was upset and couldn't handle anymore shit tonight.
Joe stood there confused and stopped grinning. "Hey, look, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you like this. I'm sorry" he said backing away from her and sitting down on the bench not knowing what else to say. Consoling females wasn't exactly something he was used to doing or had practice at.
Ava appreciated that he backed away but ignored him and continued sorting through her clothing to determine how many more loads she had left. One. One load. Lets hope another washer becomes free soon.
Ava moved towards the bench where her tote was sitting which just so happened to be the bench Joe was sitting at but luckily it was a large bench and he was at the opposite end. She pulled out a notebook and examined it.
"Just GREAT!" Ava spoke to herself.
Half of her agenda was soaked and the pen writing throughout the pages was smeared. There goes her schedule. She threw the agenda in the black garbage bag sat on the bench. Trashed my agenda, what's next? She reached into her tote and pulled out a paperback novel that was hiding behind her agenda notebook. Luckily, the notebook sheilded it from the winter weather that had attacked her earlier. At this point she more than likely would have accepted her novel being soaked better than her notebook but it is what it is and at least she had something to read to pass the time.
Ava sat down at her edge of the bench and started to read her copy of JR WARD's Lover Eternal from The Black Dagger Brotherhood series. She was reading the part where Mary met Rhage at the restaurant. Ava was getting into the scene of the book and unbenknownst to her she was smiling.
"Wha'cha reading?" Ava heard from the corner of the bench
"huh?" Ava responded being pulled from her book
"Wha'cha reading?" Joe asked
"A Book" Ava responded
"Must be a good one" Joe stated
"And why is that?" Ava asked closing the novel over her thumb to keep her page.
"Oh, I dunno. You're just sitting there smiling to yourself while reading it." Joe said
"Oh" Ava said feeling a little uncomfortable. She didn't realize she was smiling like an idiot reading her book. It was a good book though.
"And by the cover of it, it looks like an interesting book!" Joe stated motioning to the sultry blue cover.
"Why can't you leave me alone?" Ava stated, not particularly needing an answer.
"Just keep reading your book" Joe stated in a sort of order-like tone
"You just keep interrupting me so why would I do that?" Ava said with attitude"
"Because you have a nice smile" Joe stated.
Ava's mouth dropped. She was taken aback. She was not expecting that. She felt the blood rush to her face and could bet that her cheeks were lighting up like red xmas lights right about now. The buzz of her first washing machine went off informing her that the first load of her laundry was finished which meant the second should be done in about 2 minutes.
Saved by the washing machine she thought
There were no free dryers so she sat her wet laundry on the bench while she loaded her last load of laundry in the washer to get clean. She then grabbed the wet clothes that were on the bench and shoved them in her hamper. Lord only knows what is on that bench! she thought.
She looked over to Joe. He was still sitting on the bench looking at her flipping his lighter over his knuckles.
"What's your name anyways?" Joe asked
"Not that its any of your business but it's Ava"
"Ava" Joe repeated to himself. "That's a really pretty name. I've never met an Ava before" Joe smiled.
"Good for you" Ava stated with no expression
"Wanna go out sometime, Ava?" Joe asked looking at the ground
Ava's head whipped around in shock. Her eyes big, her jaw almost to the floor. Is this guy serious? She was about to come back with a witty dig when she realized he wasn't looking at her. He was staring at his feet like he was nervous for her answer. WTF! Am I in the Twilight Zone or something? she thought. Well he is kinda cute! Oh god Ava you were calling him an anti-chivalrous dick head less than a half-hr ago! ... but he is cute!
"Where?" Ava asked moving towards her second washer that just buzzed
"Huh?" Joe asked confused lifting his eyes from his feet to Ava's face not expecting that reply
"Where do you wanna "go out" to?" Ava asked again, more playful this time.
Joe caught her tone and said "Oh, I dunno"
"Then no" Ava stated moving her clothing from the washer to her hamper with the rest of her wet clothing.
"Why no?" Joe asked confused. It sounded like she was down to go out a second ago
"If you don't know where you want to take me then no. Put a little thought into it why don't cha" Ava said looking over her left shoulder.
Joe was just about to reply when a rumble came from up the street and a black mustang with a red tribal design pulled up into the no parking zone infront of the laundrymat and honked its horn. Joe shot up from his seat and opened his two dryers even though they weren't finished and quickly pushed the clothes from the dryers into a black garbage bag. He moved towards Ava who was still moving clothes from her washer to her hamper.
"The dryers are all yours" she whispered into her right ear and sent chills down her spine.
Before Ava knew it Joe was out the door and opening the door to the mustang outside. Nice Car! Ava peered out the window, curious to see who was behind the wheel that he had to move so quickly. More than likely his girlfriend, or his mom. Ava chuckled to herself. But to her surprise it was a guy.
He was larger than Joe and much scarier. He had a shaved head and black tribal tattoos moving up his neck. He peered out the car and motioned his head towards Ava and said something to Joe. Ava jumped in surprise and quickly began to move her wet clothes into the dryers Joe left empty.
**** in the car****
Joe opened the passenger side door and moved the garbage bag into the back seat and felt a tap on his shoulder.
"Who's the chick?" Billy asked motioning towards Ava in the window.
"Huh?" Joe asked
"The chick in the window." Billy stated matter-of-factly pointing towards Ava, "who is she?"
"Oh, I dunno, man" Joe replied while looking back at Ava. Obviously she noticed Billy pointing at her because she moved away from the window and tried to act like she wasn't staring. Joe got into the car and closed the door.