When she arrived in Willow Creek, Avery fell in love with the beautiful scenery and fresh air. She made her way to the neighbourhood that was now her home. The land was a lot bigger than she had expected and it was surrounded by gorgeous views and peaceful fishing spots. Avery already knew she had made the right decision. She couldn’t remember the last time she had felt so calm, so grounded. This would be the place where she would spend the rest of her life. The place where she would fall in love and raise a family. And, hopefully, the place where her future generations would find their own dreams. She had finally found a place where she could be truly happy.
Upon reaching the front door, Avery took a deep breath in and turned the handle. The door opened to reveal a small, empty room. It was a good thing she didn’t bring all of her belongings with her. As she looked around the room, she made a mental list of what she would need. Plumbing was a must and she would need something to sleep on, but with no money left, both of those would have to wait. She could find a public bathroom and a park bench for the night, and hopefully she would earn enough money from her first day of work to buy the essentials.
All of the moving had made Avery tired and in desperate need of a shower. She looked outside at the rain that was pouring down and decided that no one would be able to see her if she chose the right spot. She quickly made her way around the side of the shack and looked around. There was no one in sight so she undressed and began washing the dirt away. Immersed in her favourite song which she sang out of tune, Avery failed to notice her new neighbours as they were walking up to her front door. One of them cleared his throat and she shrieked as she ran to the back of the shack. “Just a minute!” she called out, frantically pulling on her jeans and shoving her arms into the sleeves of her top.
As she joined her new neighbours, she could feel her face turning bright red as they stared awkwardly at her. “Hi, uh, I’m Avery.” She held out her quivering hand. The man who cleared his throat looked her up and down. “Eric.” He took her hand in his and gently kissed it. “What are you doing?!” A young woman with long black hair draped over one shoulder slapped him across the arm. He glared at her. “Now you know how it feels.” Avery stepped back as she felt the intense anger radiating from the couple. “How dare you! I would never flirt with another man in front of you!” she screeched. Eric laughed. “No, of course not. You would just have him over for dinner while I’m out of town.” The woman looked away. “I told you, it wasn’t like that.” Her voice was barely a whisper.
Avery looked around awkwardly. “I told you, Eric.” An older lady joined the argument. “She’s just not good enough for you.” The woman was silent. Avery felt bad for her. “Hey! You can’t say that! If anything, my daughter is too good for your son!” An old man defended. “Why don’t you just stay out of it before you break a hip or something.” The lady glared at him. “Maybe you should do the same. After all, you’re a good five years older than me.” The old man gritted his teeth.
“Both of you stay out of it!” Eric growled.. “Neither of you have any right to say who should be with who!” The two of them pursed their lips and Eric looked back at his wife. “Whatever happened between you and Aaron, I don’t know. But what I do know is, I don’t trust you anymore.” The woman’s eyes began to water as Eric and his mother walked away. “Come on, Alice. Let’s go home.” The old man placed his arm around his daughter’s shoulders and led her back up the driveway. As she looked back, Avery noticed the tears were now streaming down her face.
Avery spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about Alice and how sad she looked. She felt so sorry for her. She wasn’t sure what happened between Alice and that Aaron guy, but it wasn’t okay for her husband to treat her like that. Avery knew what it was like to be miserable in a relationship and be treated badly by a person who is supposed to love you unconditionally. The memories had started to flood back to her as she watched Eric belittle his wife in front of a complete stranger. As she lay on the park bench that would be her bed for the night, Avery looked up at the house on the top of the hill and said a silent prayer for Alice to be happy.