Avery was excited that she had made a new friend. Especially considering she had always found it difficult to put herself out there and interact with people she didn’t know. When she woke up, she had a message from Alice. It read, “Hey Avery! Yesterday was so much fun. Thank you for inviting me. If you want to meet some more people, you should join a couple of clubs. I think it will be great for you.” Avery liked spending time with Alice, but joining a club made her nervous. What if they didn’t like her or they thought she was weird? It was a big risk to her self esteem. Maybe Alice was right, though. After all, Avery was planning to live in Willow Creek for the rest of her life. She took Alice’s advice and found a couple of clubs she was interested in. One of them was called Avant Gardes. Avery read the description. ‘Enjoy debating the subtle points of fine literature? Need help with your homework? Or maybe you just don’t fit in anywhere else? Maybe, just maybe, you could be an Avant Garde.’ Avery noticed that they were meeting that afternoon and called the club leader. She was invited to join them at South Square Coffee at 3pm.
Avery had time to spare before the club meeting, so she made herself some breakfast. As she chopped the apples and tossed them into her fruit salad, she thought about the life she had left behind. She remembered him and the look on his face when she told him she was leaving. The anger in his eyes. Just the memory of him sent a cold shiver down her spine, causing the knife in her hand to pierce her thumb. She yelped in pain and dropped the knife. She watched as the red liquid oozed out of her skin. Wrapping her thumb in a tissue, she finished making her meal and sat down to eat. She tried to think about something else, rather than the memory of him as he threw anything in his reach at her. The image of her dodging him and locking herself in her room. The sound of his voice as he screamed at her through the door. No matter how hard she tried, she could not focus on anything else. Once she started to remember, it was hard to stop.
After finishing her breakfast and finally managing to shake the negative memories from her head, Avery washed up and made her way to the library. She sat at a computer and opened up a fresh document. Avery loved to write. Her dream was to be a bestselling Author. As she placed her fingers on the keyboard, they took over, typing word after word, sentence after sentence. She loved how writing could take her anywhere in the world. The level of her creativity was limitless, an endless stream of possibility. All her worries and fears would disappear whenever she made that first mark on the blank page. Hours would pass in the blink of an eye. When she glanced at the time, she gasped. She had only minutes until she was supposed to be at the cafe. She quickly saved her work and shut down the computer before making her way to Windenburg.
When she arrived at South Square Coffee, she spotted the club leader sitting at one of the far tables. She walked over and smiled. “Hi, I’m Avery. I’m sorry I’m late. I was writing and I lost track of time.” The woman smiled back at her. “Hi Avery, I’m Maaike. It’s lovely to meet you. It’s so easy to get lost when you’re writing. Would you like to have a seat?” She gestured to the seat across from her and Avery sat down. “So, Avery, I hear you are new in town?” Maaike sipped her coffee. “Yes, I just moved to Willow Creek a couple of days ago.” Avery smiled. “How are you liking it so far?” Avery’s eyes lit up. “Oh, it’s beautiful. I love it. Everyone seems really friendly.” Maaike took another sip from her cup. “Yes, most of them are. I’m glad you are enjoying it.”
A tall man approached the table. “Afternoon.” Avery looked up at him. He was very thin and had the typical look of a writer. “Hello, Gunther. This is Avery. She’s new in town. Avery, this is Gunther.” Maaike introduced them and Avery waved. “It’s nice to meet you.” Gunther stared in silence for a moment. “H..Hi.” He looked around awkwardly. Avery looked at Maaike. “Gunther is a little shy.” Maaike explained as he sat at a different table. Avery giggled. “That’s fine, so am I.” Maaike stood up. “I need a refill. Would you like one?” Avery nodded and the two walked up to the counter.
Maaike and Avery ordered their cappuccino’s. Gunther appeared next to them and smiled at Avery. When she smiled back, he quickly looked away. He ordered a coffee and fidgeted as he waited. Avery thought he was even more socially awkward than she was. She didn’t think that was possible. When their drinks were ready, Gunther grabbed his and quickly made his way back to the table. Maaike laughed. “He really is a lovely person once he opens up. I have a few things to do. I’ll be back shortly.” She smiled.
As Maaike walked away, Avery looked over at Gunther. She moved to his table and sat next to him. “Hi Gunther. How are you?” His eyes widened. “Oh. I’m, uh, alright. You?” Avery smiled. “I’m pretty good. So are you in the Avant Gardes?” He seemed to relax. “Yeah, I am. It’s a great club. And Maaike does a great job as leader.” He looked at Avery. “Why did you move to Willow Creek?” Avery’s mouth turned dry and the smile disappeared from her face. “Oh, you know. Just needed a bit of a change.” Gunther nodded. “Change is good. It’s great to get a new perspective sometimes.” Avery’s smile returned. “It really is.” The two of them talked for a while before the club gathering ended. Avery went to find Maaike and say goodbye. “I’d be delighted to have you join our club, Avery. You seem to be a really nice person and we have a lot in common.” Maaike grinned. “Oh, wow. That would be great, I’d love to join.” Avery hugged Maaike before waving to Gunther. He waved back awkwardly, making Avery and Maaike chuckle.