A/N. Well, this is it, the last chapter. I can't believe I've gotten them here and I think I'll actually miss them, writing for them. I can't thank you enough for reading, everyone. Please let me know what you think, if you've enjoyed Kevin and April's journey or not, because for me it sure was a fun ride.
The sound of her high heels on the hardwood floors echoed on every corner of the room. April was pacing nervously, biting her lips. She couldn't sit still for a second; it was as though she kept waiting for something and she was feeling a nervous wreck because of it.
"We're starting in about ten minutes", a woman in her late twenties said, as she approached April. "April?"
"We're good to go, we just have to wait a few more minutes because some guys from the TV station want to set their equipment straight", Emma went on. She was one of April's co-workers, the one she shared an office with and the only one April befriended at the publishing house.
"Are you ok?"
"Yeah, why?", April answered, not really paying attention.
The company she was working on had a book launch that evening and April and Emma were the ones who've done the PR and marketing for the event.
After their brief lunch, April didn't know what to do to run into Kevin more often. She thought about confessing everything and asking him for another chance, but she didn't really have the courage to do so. She knew herself too well; she never could handle a rejection or a failure, in any area of her life. She was more prone to not trying than having to get over another disappointment. Openly taking chances wasn't her thing. All she could do was somehow show Kevin that she was available; he could have her, if he wanted, whenever he wanted. If he were to grab that chance, she'd be the happiest woman on Earth; if all he wanted was to stay friends, at least her pride wouldn't suffer. She wanted to talk about her feelings, to be one of those women who would just rush breathlessly to a guy and declare their love to him. But when it came to men, she could talk about anything but what was going on inside of her.
People from their old 'gang' were starting to call her again, inviting her out for drinks. Being near Kevin felt to April like she was back at the beginning of things, like she had this status quo she couldn't change. Being in love, but keeping the distance. Wishing he would notice her, but always remaining in the background. No matter how hard she'd try, no matter the circumstances, she would just sabotage her own life, she would always just ruin things herself unintentionally. The more she thought about it, the more she cursed herself for creating such a mess, for letting her happiness go because of absurd reasons.
She was very aware of the fact that Kevin would rarely speak to her directly these three or four times they went out with their mutual friends. He didn't seem mad at her anymore, nor was he ignoring her presence. It felt to her like she just took a huge fall from grace in his eyes and there was nothing she could do to get back to where they were. As time went by, she knew she had to give him – or give herself – an ultimatum. She was either going to act upon her feelings or simply bow out of his life gracefully. Rarely two previous lovers would make good friends and that wasn't them.
So, for the first time, she decided to take chances, although in a more subtle way. A direct confrontation she could never do. This book launch that she was managing seemed like the perfect opportunity, so she took a deep breath and called Kevin to invite him. Now, she was thinking she acted a little bit too casual; maybe he was thinking she had invited him only to show him her work, which wasn't really his field of interest. April was very aware of the fact that he might not feel anything, anymore, for her, which scared her so much, that she emptied a glass a wine in just a few seconds.
After the writer had taken his place, everyone was quiet, waiting for a reading, after which there was going to be a Questions&Answers session and an autographs one. April took one last look in the room, but didn't see Kevin anywhere. She sat down, checking her phone, but she had no texts or missed calls. She tried to focus on the event she had organized, making sure everything was going on according to plan, but her mind was elsewhere.
After the Q&A session was over, April, looking as if the weight of the world was on her shoulders, went to the bathroom a bit to freshen up. As she got back, trying to make her way through the crowd of fans that were waiting for an autograph, Emma starting questioning her.
"It's just…", April said, looking down and smiling wryly, "I hoped this guy…I sort of…had this thing with would show up."
"Oh, I'm sorry, do you want to go get a drink, or something?"
"No I…" but April never got to finish her thought, as she spotted Kevin waving to her from across the room. "Never mind, he's here", she said, as she felt that whole sadness that overtook her before fading slowly.
"Where?" Emma looked in the same direction as April. "Next to the guy in the wheelchair?"
"No", she smiled, very sure of herself and not caring one bit about Emma's reaction. "It's the guy in the wheelchair".
Her friend was left confused and with many questions hanging on the tip of her tongue as April made her way across the room.
Kevin was smiling warmly, not moving forward from his corner. He waited for her to approach him.
All April wanted was to just jump in his lap and make him hug her tight, oblivious to everyone around them. Instead, she stopped, not too close to him, unable to do any of the things she wanted to do. She loved it when he wore blue shirts that matched his eyes and wasn't really freshly shaved. She loved it when he could show to the rest of the world the very best of him, but he was still afraid he was never going to be good enough. She loved it when he was so sure of himself that he wasn't afraid to not take himself seriously at times and he was even able to make fun of himself and his situation. Most of all, she loved him and she loved it that he accepted her invitation.
"I didn't think you were coming."
"Me neither", Kevin answered. "But…here I am", he said, as he raised his shoulders.
"I'm glad you made it."
Kevin chuckled. "Me too."
"Are you here…alone?" She asked, testing the waters she was swimming in.
Kevin thought for a minute what would be the best answer. "Did any of the guys tell you anything?"
"No. What should they have told me?"
"So I guess you just…asked me to come here, even after you've met Amanda…not really…caring about her…"
"You never seemed to care about any of guys I had gone out with, why should I?"
Kevin grinned, looking down. After she called him, he tried to find out whether this was an open invitation and she'd asked him to be there in an attempt to be his friend or it was something more. After he found out that not even Claire knew about April's book launch, added up with the attention she was giving him lately, her intentions were starting to be obvious. He wasn't going to let himself hope to too much, though.
"Yeah, that seems fair. And Amanda and I…took on different paths."
"Oh, I'm sorry, what happened?" she asked, faking concern, as she took a sit on a chair next to him.
"Nah, it's ok…we didn't really have a lot in common, other than sports, but I don't really like women who are much like one of my buddies", he leaned closer to her, like he was telling her a big secret.
April couldn't be more happy about the way the evening was folding out. She wondered whether Amanda's departure from his life had anything to do with her, but she found out she didn't really care.
"Did I tell you how happy I am that you came?"
Kevin smiled. The look on her face when she saw him was enough for him to know what was going on inside her mind. "Well, yeah, this makes you happy and I was curious what 'this' really was…so…", he tried to downplay it, even though he was interested in being a part of everything that made April happy.
"Would you like to meet some of the people I work with?" April asked, as if it was the only natural course of the evening.
He didn't know how or why she had changed. About a year ago, she was having trouble getting out with him in public; now she was ready to introduce him to her co-workers. He wasn't going to ask her about it now, maybe save it for later. He was just going to wipe the look of surprise off his face, calm down his own emotions and just be himself.
"Sure, I'd love to."
She smiled and got up, leading the way to where Emma and a few more people from her work were. April introduced him to them and very proudly told them how he's a reporter for ESPN and how exciting life as a journalist is.
After answering the questions some were asking him about his job out of politeness, the subject of the conversation moved back to the book launch. Everything felt surreal to April; people's voices were fading, as the only thing she could concentrate upon was the fact that he had given her a second chance, no questions asked. She felt her entire body shaken with emotion and, as Kevin sensed it, he took her hand in his and squeezed it softly, reassuring her. April held on to his hand even tighter, never wanting to let go.
Kevin unlocked the door and wheeled in the apartment. He noticed light coming from the living room; looking around, he saw April's boots lying on the floor in the hallway. Trying not to wheel over them – again – he bent over and got them out of his way. Being messy was her second nature.
She was sitting on the couch, watching a movie and eating from a big box of ice cream.
"Hey, how was work?"
"The usual". He put the keys on a bowl on the table and set his eyes on the ice cream. Before he could get it, April pushed it out of his reach, smirking, not even looking at him. She was in his house, wearing his sweater, watching one of his movies, on his laptop and now she wasn't even going to let him get a bit of his ice cream. He loved this girl. He chuckled and shook his head, eyeing a big bag dropped in a corner.
"What have you been up to today?"
"Um…sleeping…eating…and then sleeping some more…", she turned around and kissed him hello.
"Did I wake you in the morning?"
"No, it was ok."
"What's that?" he asked, pointing at the bag.
"Oh, I went home to get the stuff I want to wear tomorrow at work…and the equipment for gym, since I was thinking I could work out a bit afterwards, given that you're working late."
He thought for a while whether he should bring up or not what he had been thinking about lately. Her moving around with her stuff seemed a bit insane. They had barely spent a moment apart ever since they got back together; and that Christmas, April got a taste of how a real family should be like, something she had never felt in almost twenty years.
"You know, you could bring over some of your things…", he said, as he took off his jacket and shoes.
"Well yeah, but then when I'll need something it might be in the other place…I don't mind packing overnight", she smiled.
"Well…" he started, trying to make it as casually as he could, "then you could bring all your stuff here…"
April turned all her attention to him, trying to see if he was saying what she thought he was saying.
"I mean…", he went on, "you're always here and moving around seems pointless. And I love you, I wanna spend as much time possible with you." He let the words linger a few moments. "And it would be great having in house help and not having to call my family whenever I need to change a light bulb…or the drapes…"
"Next weekend?" she asked, excited. "I don't want to move in the middle of the week, it's too much of a fuss."
Kevin nodded and hopped on the couch, next to her. He reached for the ice cream and took a spoonful. "Next weekend, then."