Avery smiled as she inhaled the crisp morning air that surrounded her. She listened to the sound of the birds as they sang their sweet songs. Opening her eyes, she sat up and stretched out her arms. As uncomfortable as it was, she enjoyed sleeping under the stars. Her stomach broke the peaceful silence with a loud rumble and she realised she had not eaten since she arrived in Willow Creek. Luckily she had some spare change in her pocket, so she made her way to a nearby vendor and ordered the most breakfast-like item they had. Sure, Chocolate Parfait wasn’t the most healthy thing to eat first thing in the morning, but she didn’t really feel like eating french fries.
Avery thanked the woman for the food and sat down to eat. As she looked out over the water, she took in the stunning view. The sun was coming up, casting a warm tunnel of yellow light which reflected on the water like diamonds. She looked at the time. 8:45am. She still had a couple of hours before she had to start work and she really needed to find a public bathroom. Scooping the last spoonful into her mouth, she walked back to the vendor. “Thank you very much, it was lovely. I’ve just moved here and I don’t have plumbing yet. I was wondering where the nearest public restroom was.” The woman smiled at her. “There is a gym in the main part of town. They have showers.” Avery passed her the empty bowl and smiled back. “Thank you. Have a nice day.”
After finding the gym and quickly showering, Avery went off to her first day at Walrus Books. She worked hard all day and returned home feeling tense. Her head was pulsing, the awful feeling of a stress headache, and her back was beginning to feel the effects of sleeping on a hard surface. She looked over at Alice’s house and had the perfect idea. She needed to wind down and Alice definitely needed some fun in her life. She knocked on the front door and Alice answered. She looked surprised to see Avery standing on her front porch. “Hi, I’m Avery. We met yesterday.” Alice forced a smile. “Yes, I remember. Is everything okay?” Avery smiled back at her. “Yes, fine. I was just heading into the city. There’s a festival on and I was wondering if you would like to join me.” Alice looked even more surprised. “Oh. Sure, I’d love to. Just give me a few minutes to get ready.”
Avery and Alice arrived at the festival and were immediately instructed to pick a side- Pranksters or Jokesters. They decided to go with Jokesters and the game began. Avery and Alice’s team were to tell as many jokes as they could in order to beat the Pranksters. They had a lot of fun and, at the end, the winner’s were announced. The Jokesters had won the game and each received $500, a microphone and a bunch of fireworks, which Avery was able to sell for more money. After all, she needed the money more than she needed a microphone and fireworks.
After the game ended, Avery sat down with Alice and they had a couple of drinks. It was obvious that Alice had been drinking before Avery knocked on her door, so now she was a little tipsy. “I’m really sorry about yesterday.” Alice looked guilty. “He isn’t always like that.” Avery touched her hand. “It’s okay. You don’t have to apologise.” Alice began to cry. “We used to be so happy. I only had eyes for him. Then this amazing man moved in next door and made me feel special.” Avery looked at her. “Aaron?” Her eyes shone. “To be honest, I miss him.” “What happened to him?” Avery asked. “I invited him over for dinner. Afterwards, I walked him home and he told me he couldn’t stop thinking about me. Then the next morning he was gone.”
Avery felt her heart break for Alice. She clearly wasn’t happy in her marriage and her husband wasn’t treating her very well. She needed the strength to stand up for herself and believe that she deserved better. But Avery knew that was much easier said than done. She stood up and held out her hand. “Come on. The fireworks are about to start.” Alice smiled and wiped away her tears. She took her hand and stood up. “Thank you Avery. You’re a great friend.” Avery’s eyes lit up. She had made her first friend. That was a big step for her as she had always found it difficult to socialise with new people. The two of them made their way over to watch the fireworks as they lit up the city sky.
After the fireworks ended, Avery and Alice returned to their neighbourhood. “Thank you for tonight, I really needed a friend.” Alice smiled and wrapped her arms around Avery. “I’m always here if you need to talk.” Avery hugged her back and they said goodnight. Walking in her front door, Avery looked at her new bed. Now that she had the essentials- a bathroom and somewhere to sleep that wasn’t a park bench, and her first friend in Willow Creek, Avery began to feel that everything was coming together. She showered and put on her pyjamas before climbing into bed and drifting off to sleep.