1.1- Welcome Wagon

Just because one journey ends, it doesn’t mean another can’t begin. Aaron Butler learned this after finding out that his high school girlfriend, who he had planned to marry and spend the rest of his life with, had been less than faithful to him. For him, that journey was over. He spent a lot of time wondering where it all went wrong and what he could have done to prevent it from happening. But a new path was waiting for him, calling him. All he had to do was make a decision. He could either stay in Sunset Valley, hoping she would come back to him, or he could start a fresh, new life in Willow Creek. His decision to leave wasn’t an easy one, but he knew it was for the best. He deserved to be happy and that just wasn’t going to happen if he continued to hold onto a part of his life that no longer existed. So he packed some clothes and essentials and, with only $1800 saved up, he left his old life behind.

Aaron moved onto a huge empty lot and could only afford a few things, so he bought a tent, a camping shower, a lantern, a fire pit and a chair. He still had enough leftover for food, but after that was gone, he would need some sort of income so he looked online to see what jobs were available. Only one caught his eye. The military were looking for recruits for the army, navy and air force. It said that after completing the recruiting stage, employees could choose one of the three career tracks. Aaron had always liked the idea of being in the air force so he applied right away. A few minutes later, he received a text message with the details for his first day.

As he was unpacking the rest of his stuff, Aaron spotted a group of people walking up the driveway towards him. “Hello!” One of them, a young woman with long black hair, smiled beautifully at him. “We live just next door and wanted to welcome you to the neighbourhood. I’m Alice and this is my husband, Eric.” She gestured to the man standing next to her and he put his arm around her waist, pulling her close as if to make it clear that she was taken. I smiled and shook their hands. “I’m Aaron. It’s lovely to meet you.”

Alice then gestured to an elderly man and woman that had joined them. “This is my dad, Dennis, and Vivian, Eric’s mum.” I shook their hands and thanked them for coming. Dennis handed me a plate. “I made some fruitcake, I hope you like it. It’s a family recipe.” I lifted the plate up to my nose and inhaled the delicious smell. “Mmm, it smells so good. Thank you so much.” The mans eyes lit up and a smile stretched across his face. “I’m so glad you like it!” Vivian smirked at Dennis. “Calm down, old man. It’s just cake.” Dennis looked down at his shoes. “Mum, don’t be mean.” Eric glared at her and she rolled her eyes. Alice touched my arm, sending shivers through me. “Well, it was nice to meet you, Aaron. If you ever need anything, feel free to stop by. We should probably get going.” She shifted her eyes to Vivian and Dennis, then smiled at me as they all turned and walked back down the driveway.

After they left, Aaron devoured the fruitcake. He wanted to save it but, with no fridge to put it in, it would have gone stale. He finished unpacking and went for a jog. He needed to work off all the calories he had consumed. He loved jogging, it helped him clear his mind. As he ran, the cool night air brushed past him, taking all the tension with it. He jogged around the neighbourhood, taking in all the beautiful views. As he jogged back towards his new home, he spotted Alice sitting on her front porch, sipping hot tea and reading a book. He smiled, remembering the warmth of her touch, then shook his head. “No, Aaron. She’s married.” He whispered to himself as he ran faster towards home.

Aaron quickly got ready for bed, trying to ignore the feelings he was getting each time he pictured Alice’s face. Everything about her made his heart race. Her eyes, her smile, the gentleness of her touch. He knew it was inappropriate and that there was no way he could be with her, but he couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like. He shook the thoughts away and climbed into his tent. He only had a few hours before his first day at work and he desperately needed sleep. He pictured her smile once more before drifting off.

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