They walked closely side by side, without holding hands, despite Ava’s hope that they would.
The night was chilly, but not freezing cold, a rarity for December, a month generally filled with frigid temperatures. Ava could comfortably keep her hands out of her pockets … just in case he reached for her. The sounds of cars driving by, and college students chatting as they passed, were barely noticeable—she was thinking only about the kiss to come.
Would it come? After all, they had kissed before, even though it had been unexpected, at least for her. True, Max said it shouldn’t have happened and had promised to keep their relationship on a strictly professional level. But things were different now, weren’t they? Was this a date, or was Ava reading too much into it?
And what about Thomas? Did she owe him some sort of loyalty? They’d only had one date, but had never discussed the status of their relationship, even if they had a relationship. Besides, if Thomas was so important to her, why couldn’t she stop thinking about Max? She was certain she already knew the answer to that question.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
She realized they’d come to a stop – right outside of her apartment. Had she ignored Max all the way home?
“Hmm? I’m fine, why?”
“You seem so quiet. I think I lost you about half a block into the walk back.”
Ava stared at the sky. Moonlight shone down on the two of them like a spotlight, cancelling out everything else around them as stars danced above.
“No, it’s just such a nice night, that’s all. Thanks for dinner and for the tutoring again. I really appreciate it. Of course, I still owe you for that, you know. Oh, and good luck with your studies tomorrow. I guess I’ll see you in the afternoon? And thanks also for walking me home. I suppose I’ll be going inside now.” Ava hated this part. She always felt so self-conscious and rambled way too much. She wished Max would kiss her already. She pretended to be searching for her keys in her purse, even though she knew they were in her coat pocket.
“So,” he began, “I know we kind of got off to a weird start with you seeing me naked, and me shoving you up against a wall to kiss you, and all.”
“Yeah, that was a bit out of the ordinary and admittedly awkward,” she agreed.
“Do you think we could start over?”
She smiled and nodded. “I’d like that.” She was already feeling more relaxed.
“Hi, I’m Max Wallis. I’m a senior at Wolfenson College where I tutor statistics. It’s nice to meet you.” He stuck out his hand.
Ava giggled, replying, “It’s very nice to meet you, Max Wallis, I’m Ava Haines. I’m also a senior at Wolfenson, and I happen to need a statistics tutor. I heard you’re very good.” She took his hand and shook it.
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Karen Pokras writes adult contemporary and middle grade fiction under the names Karen Pokras and Karen Pokras Toz. Her books have won several awards including two Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, the Grand Prize in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for two Global E-Book Awards for Pre-Teen Literature. Karen is a member of the Society of the Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). For children, her books include the Nate Rocks series, Millicent Marie is Not My Name, and Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas. For adult readers, Karen’s books include Chasing Invisible, and her newly released, Whispered Wishes series. A native of Connecticut, Karen now lives outside of Philadelphia with her family.
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