A/N: Hey! So this was a story I started back in November and I just started working on it again. This does not mean I'm stopping He's Hers, I had a bit of a writers block for that one, but I have a few chapters on this one finished and I'm interested to hear what you all have to say about it! So please review! Feedback is soo lovely! Thanks!
Disclaimer: Dunmore California is not a real place (at least to my knowledge it isn't). Any sort of labels I mention are not mine!
Types of Perfection
"Airports see them all the time / Where someone's last goodbye / Blends in with someone's sigh / Cause someone's coming home / In hand a single rose" – John Mayer
Ava Turner hated airports.
They were crowded, noisy, frantic, and ten or so other adjectives that caused her to shutter at the mere thought of. Ava was a bit of a perfectionist and airports were on the opposite side of the scale to perfection - to her perfection at least. She was also a little bit neurotic.
"Doesn't he know how to drive?" she asked the girl sitting next to her in the uncomfortable, stylish airport chairs.
"He's been in England for a year. Like we're going to trust him to drive home when he's been backwards for 12 months."
Ava squinted at Kate, her friend since the last forever, in annoyance. "He's not stupid."
Kate rolled her eyes and did not return them Ava's face. "This is coming from the one with no other siblings."
"It's not my fault that my parents felt I was perfect and therefore had no need to continue procreating," Ava smiled sweetly at Kate.
"You're full of it, you know?"
Ava shrugged a 'What-Can-You-Do?' shrug and continued feeling moody despite her previous (and small) victory over Kate while they waited.
Austin Williams, Kate Williams's two years junior brother, had been on an exchange for the last year in England and in half an hour he would be back in sunny, old California. He was something into soccer and jumped at the chance to go and learn from the 'pros' for the year Ava wanted to shake him when she heard him say this because "just 'cause people live there, doesn't make them good at soccer". Austin scoffed in return and shook his head, saying something about Ava being completely "void of compassion, or passion for that matter". She nearly slapped him. Ava was also a violent person. That was one of the handful of sporadic conversations that her and Austin had over the years of her and Kate's friendship.
He was always the annoying tag along, the one that constantly got in the way up until High School. That is where he found other, prettier and cooler girls to follow around hopelessly and ruffle their hair. It suited Ava just fine, as she had obviously been his target before. Austin also found soccer in High School. That wonderfully tribal sport that caused him to go from harmless and slightly cute, to menacing, dominating and (much to Ava's annoyance) extremely good-looking. And there was little chance that any of these new redeeming qualities escaped the female population at St Jude's High School. Luckily, Ava and Kate only had to put up with Austin's new self for a year (one agonizingly, painful year) before they moved on to collage. And Ava thanked her lucky stars for that because if she had stuck around that school for another year she would have been forced to admit that Austin filled out the mandatory white collared shirt, navy blazer, and beige trousers to perfection – her kind of perfection.
Though she would be the last to admit it.
And now, it had been nearly a year and a half since she had last seen him. Both Kate and herself had been accepted to Berkley and moved out there for the year (religiously returning on holidays and breaks) and Austin was just never around. Over Christmas break he had been is Mexico at a soccer camp, same deal at Spring Break only in Maine and all of her non-Austin, the annoying tag along, free holidays suited Ava just fine.
For as much thought has she was giving him now, she had honestly not thought about Austin since he left. Sure Kate would get an e-mail from him every once in a while and gush over how he was going to find her some British Prince (Ava suspected Austin agreed to do no such thing), but that was the extent of it. He was always Kate's kid brother who annoyed her whenever he opened his mouth.
"Gah! Why are we here!?" Ava threw her hands up.
"We're picking up Austin," Kate said.
"Yes, but why are we here. Last I checked you had two other siblings, not to mention parents," Ava retorted.
"Mom is getting Austin's party organized, his surprise party, remember," Kate warned. Ava never saw the point in surprises and therefore ruined every one that had been included in. " And Dad, Jack and Tyler are picking up last minute things."
"Alright," Ava agreed. "I see why you need to be here, but me? Is this necessary? Am I necessary?"
"I can't always be the nice sister. You can and will annoy him."
"You're using me!" Ava cried.
"Details…" Kate muttered suddenly interested in floor tiles underneath her seat.
"The only reason you brought me here was to piss off your brother so he doesn't think you've gone soft over the past year?" Ava hissed.
"Deep down you know you want to see him too," Kate said flippantly.
"No. I really don't," Ava huffed and leaned back in her seat.
They sat in angry, stubborn silence for a few tense moments until Kate cracked.
"I hate how you can hold a grudge forever," she said.
"It has been less then five minutes," Ava returned.
Kate sighed and took a claming breath. "I'm sorry I dragged you here, Ava. I didn't want to wait alone."
"And you wanted to annoy Austin," Ava added with a slight smile.
"Yes, that too," Kate added.
Ava rolled her eyes and faced her friend. "I guess I accept your apology and you better not protect your defenseless, jet-legged, brother. You want him pissed. I'll give you pissed."
Kate beamed. "That's my girl."
Ava rolled her eyes again and retuned Kate's smile. If she didn't get the best of him now, she certainly had a backup plan.
Kate wasn't completely wrong before when she said that Ava could hold a grudge forever. Ava was a rather violent person and was so in every aspect of her life. She threw herself violently into her school work, into a friendship, into a grudge and so on. She also packed one hell of a right hook if the occasion arose, which it has. It wasn't that Ava had a hard time letting go of things; she was just dedicated to her personal causes more than the average person should be to be considered healthy.
Austin called her a party-pooper when she was eight (he was six). Kate had laughed at this and they didn't speak for a week. Kate eventually apologized but Austin never did. It was one of the many reason as to why she strongly disliked him.
Ava considered herself a very generous person by never hating anything; she only ever strongly disliked them. And she definitely strongly disliked Austin Williams.
"What time is the little beast landing?" Ava asked a few moments later.
Kate checked her cell-phone and then referenced it to the arrivals screen close by.
"Another ten minutes. Got some insults ready?" she asked.
"The usual cracks about his sloppy appearance and an avoidance of all 'mother' insults. Got it," Ava smiled at Kate with new vigor.
It's already been distinguished that Ava was a particularly violent person, but she wasn't always this way. Ava was the product of a neurosurgeon mother and a physicist father. Needless to say, she thought that her creation had simply been an experiment that has been recorded in one of her father's labs. And despite her pervious excuse, she was sure that her conception was the only time her parents had slept together. It's not like there wasn't any love in the family, she loved both her mother and father very much, they just never showed it in the stereotypical ways.
Instead of saying "I love you, mom", Ava would say "I've been thinking about going for my PHD". Her mother (it was always mother) would be just as thrilled. For her father (it was always father) bringing home a perfect report card would cause him to tear up. See? Love.
Her mother was also had a phobia for germs to the worst degree. So hugging was non-existent. Again, it amazed Ava that her mother ever found someone, but looking at her father, it didn't surprise her in the least. Her father was a stiff man. She had never seen outside of a suit or outside of his lab for that matter.
In fact, looking at her parents, was a shock that Ava turned out well as she did. Sure she tended to hit someone instead of hug them; everyone has a little pent up aggression somewhere. Plus, she had both her mother and father to thank for that brain of hers. It was that brain that gave her the top pick of any Ivy League university in the States and a number of exceptional places of study around the world. She also had the originality of a snow pea and decided to choose Berkley, a measly 20 miles away from home in Dunmore California and the place of occupation for both her parents.
Dunmore was a bustling town of two thousand where the unfortunate highlight was St Jude's own Crusaders soccer team. There was no escaping the propaganda of the State Champions (two years running) and in more cases, it was easier to join than beat them. Ava violently rejected this, but she loved Dunmore. It was the white picket fence down that screamed of the quintessential the American Dream. Not that she was living it, by any means, just that it existed and she was able to witness it whenever she looked out the window was more than she could ask for.
Dunmore made her want to be a better person, it made her want to be like everyone else; more like Kate. Kate was the only girl in a family full of boys (she never counted her mom) and loved every minute of it, even when she called Ava to complain. Ava and Kate met in the first grade when they were sat beside each other. She got angry with Kate because she was coloring outside the lines and Kate (being Kate) didn't want to upset anyone because at six she had no idea that coloring outside the lines was so horrible and let Ava finish her picture for her.
The beginning of their relationship did not translate into the more recent years. Ava refused to touch Kate's homework when she was doing it wrong.
It was also around Kate that Ava could let everything around her down. She had to build a thick skin around her parents and their expectations and demands and the reputation that they had built up for her. But around Kate she could just be that girl, some random, generic girl that was so utterly average no one would look twice.
She had more than a severely flawed personality to cause herself to be less than (or more than) average. Out of the two thousand people in Dunmore, only three people could claim to be a natural redhead. A three-year-old boy, Bobby, who had freckles to boot, a rundown housewife who was rapidly spouting grey in amongst her red and Ava. She naturally stood out. The fact that she had her mother's piercingly cold blue eyes didn't help matters either. And those two features alone caused her to be noticed more than she wanted. In fact, if it wasn't for her mother's eyes, Ava wouldn't have believed that she was Deborah and George's biological child. Red hair did not run in the family and neither did her 5'5 stature. Both her mother and father were around six feet. It was a good parenting method, always being taller than your child.
Ava looked at her watch and then began tapping her foot rapidly on the ground.
"Stop it," Kate hissed.
Ava shot her a glare, but stopped anyways. Kate nodded in thanks and they went back into their comfortable silence for a while.
"So, um, you wanna play a game?" Kate smiled wickedly.
Ava shared this smile. "Let's."
Kate sat up a little straighter and pointed at a rather ruffled looking man pacing nervously not too far away.
"What do you think his story is?" she asked.
"Affair. His wife or girlfriend is coming back after an extended business trip and he's been sleeping with her sister...no wait… his secretary," Ava said, feeling rather good about her assumption.
"Really? I think he's just excited to see her, look at that rose. If he were sleeping with someone else, there would be a bouquet," Kate counted, lowering her voice so he couldn't hear.
Ava nodded reluctantly and rolled her eye. "You always assume to best in people. This game is about assuming the worst. Maybe he's an alien."
Kate laughed. "The worst, Ava? More like the impossible!"
"Whatever!" Ava joined her in laughing as the man in question looked over that them suspiciously. This, of course, made them laugh even harder.
When they were done with their endless giggles, Kate sighed. "I'm actually really sorry that I dragged you along."
Ava waved her hand. "Forget it. It will all be worth it when I can get some digs in on your brother."
Kate continued her frown. "I'm not apologizing to you. It's Austin I'm feel sorry for."
Ava rolled her eyes. "With all of this build up, I'll have to say something particularly devastating. I don't know if I can live up to all this hype."
"Eat your heart out, Turner. I dare you," Austin Williams drawled unnoticed standing in front of them.
Austin Williams loved soccer.
Ever since he could remember, his heart had raced at the blow of a whistle and just a look at an empty field. To go to England for a year to play soccer everyday was too good of a chance to pass up. So he didn't. Sure he had to give up his striker position on the Crusaders, but he could always try-out again when he came back. With any luck he would be able to try-out in the spring so he wouldn't miss summer training. As long as he practiced…
And so continued Austin's thoughts on his long sixteen-hour flight back home to Dunmore California.
He missed his family, that was for sure. Tyler and Jack were two of his best friends (even though they were brothers) and Kate was just always there, whether he needed her or not. Unfortunately so was that friend of hers…
Austin shook his head and sneered to get rid of the image of Ava Turner that flashed in his mind; the sticky, sweet best friend to his sister. She was a complete disaster; he knew that and gained some twisted sort of satisfaction out of it. She was a total mess around most people and that entertained him to no end. There were times he pitied her for being an only child of two super geniuses with no social skills, but those times were few and far between, he mostly just laughed.
There was that time, though, when he had the biggest crush on Ava. Mainly because she was the only girl he had seen outside of his sister and mother – exactly like some sort of shinny object. Ava lost her appeal when she shoved him into a wall after he called her a party-pooper. He was only six after all, how else were you supposed to tell a girl you liked her?
He grew out of her and grew into hating her. Austin was constantly annoyed that she was so completely clueless when it came to people. He was annoyed that she had a perfect GPA and held all the school records that he could only get close to but never beating them. It also annoyed him that she never came to a soccer game. Austin knew that she hated them, but Kate wasn't particularly fond of the sport either, but she still made an effort to come. Ava's not your sister though he thought more seriously. Still, the Crusaders soccer team was the heart and soul of not only St. Jude's but Dunmore as well. Without them, the town would be just another blip on a road map. Why couldn't she see that? Couldn't she just go with the crowd on this one?
He shook his head again and began to laugh at himself. Why was he so hung up on Ava today? He hadn't thought about her in months, hell it must have been years at this point, but yet today he found himself reminiscing.
"I must really miss home," he mumbled to no one in particular.
After sleeping though the short hour and a half flight to Dunmore's airport from Seattle, Austin was roused by the cheery voice of the pilot over the speaker.
"We will be landing shortly, please ensure that you're seats are in the upright positions and you're seatbelts are on…"
He zoned out when nerves began clawing at this stomach. Austin prided himself on never getting nervous before a game. No one ever needed to know he felt all those nerves now. He shrugged on his Crusaders club jacket, secretly hoping someone would notice him in it, and ran a hand through his bed-head, black hair.
"Home sweet home," he said under his breath and stood up on the plane to his full 6'3 height only to be hunched over.
Austin loved being right. People did notice his jacket, more importantly they noticed him. With any luck, news that he was back in town (they had to know is name, even if they didn't it was printed on the arm of his jacket) would spread like wildfire, if it hadn't already.
There was still a month left in school at St. Jude's, so Austin was thankful to get himself re-acquainted with the town before diving back into school. Plus, this gave him the opportunity to scout out the new people on his team.
He grabbed his duffle bag out of the overhead compartment (he was careful that the contents didn't shift during the course of the flight) and smiled knowingly as more and more people caught sight of his team jacket. Like I never left he thought has he got off the plane and started his walk over the to the luggage carousel.
He immediately spotted Kate's blond hair and laughing face slouching down in a chair near by. Austin found himself smiling and realizing just how much he missed her. He re-adjusted the bag on his shoulder and began walking up to her. He froze mid step when he heard her.
"With all of this build up, I'll have to say something particularly devastating. I don't know if I can live up to all this hype," Ava Turner said.
He sneered and moved over into their eyesight.
"Eat your heart out, Turner. I dare you."