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Here, Darling.

The Store At 6pm.

“So you’re a mama-bear” Alex laughed, lifting his feet to rest on Zack’s coffee table as he munched on some chips, ignoring the eye roll he received in return from Alaska. Her eyes were trained on the kitchen table, watching Ava sat playing a game with Zack, Jack and Matt. From the sounds of the groans and complaints it didn’t sound like Jack was doing too well.

“God relax, A” Alex poked Alaska on her arm, finally drawing her eyes from the table and making her turn to face him, a small smile creeping onto her face when she gazed upon his puppy dog pout.

“Okay, Alexander!” Alaska sighed, rolling her eyes again as she turned to look at their feet resting on the table, hand reaching out to the bag of chips on Alex’s knee and grabbing a handful carefully eating them one by one, ignoring the huff that Alex gave her.

“So why didn’t you tell us Alaska, or should I call you Adelaide?” He asked with a raised eyebrow, causing Alaska’s to hitch together. She didn’t think that Zack would tell the group about her real name, but then again she didn’t really know him that well so she couldn’t really predict what he would or wouldn’t do.

“Either’s fine, I don’t know. I mean I just met you guy’s the other week and it’s not usually the first thing I tell anyone. Seriously I think if Zack hadn’t had to take me home the other night I wouldn’t have ever told you guys. I’m just very over protective of Ava and don’t want her to get attached to people to have her end up hurt in the end” Alaska explained, hoping that Alex would be able to understand, even if it was only just a little bit, why she hadn’t told anyone about Ava.

It wasn’t because she was ashamed; she just didn’t want Ava to get hurt, after all Ava was her world now.

Alex pondered this idea for a while, allowing the words to float around his head, slowly sinking in before he answered not wanting to say the wrong thing and to offend the girl.

“I can’t fully understand what it is like because I have never been in that position but I respect you for your choice but I just think I should let you know that now you will find it impossible to get rid of us all, especially Jack since he acts about the same age as Ava” Alex smiled, turning to look at the table where Jack was complaining loudly that Matt was cheating and therefore should have to forfeit the entire game.

“I guess you’re right” Alaska chuckled, getting off the couch and offering a hand to Alex before helping him off the couch, they both headed into the kitchen Alex collapsing in the empty seat while Alaska headed towards Ava, picking the small girl off the seat and placing Ava in her lap, gently stroking her hair absent-mindedly as she watched the game unfold in front of her.

It wasn’t as bad as she thought it was going to be, if anything the group was nothing but kind taking Ava in with open arms and not judging Alaska for not telling them about Ava. After all it was quite understandable, she had only known the group for three weeks and she didn’t want to bring Ava into something that wouldn’t last.

That was one of the reasons Alaska hadn’t dated since Ava had been born, after all what type of man her age wanted to be tied down with a daughter that wasn’t even his. No one, that’s who. That’s why she didn’t bother trying, knowing that if she dated and allowed Ava to meet her boyfriends the young girl would get confused and hurt in the end when they would leave. Because after all, men always left in the end.

This was the happiest she had ever seen Ava, laughing and joking around, cheekily making fun of Jack because he was losing and telling them all about her previous day at Kindergarten and how much fun her best friend Spencer was.

But the best part of it was the guy’s actually seemed to care, chipping in here and there with anecdotes of their past and silly little jokes for Ava to tell Spencer, they made the pair feel like the belonged there.

That was something that Alaska had not felt before, not at home, not at school, not even at O’Donnell’s and it felt nice to have people care after her, people who liked her for who she was. This felt like something she could get used to.

“C’mon baby we need to go shopping for some food and some lunch for you at school tomorrow before we go home” Alaska coaxed, brushing a hand through Ava’s hair as she stood up, placing her daughter on her hip, a pout deeply evident on her daughters face.

“But I’m having fun” Ava protested, the argument instantly fading when she saw the look her mother gave her. Ava was never a naughty child and was usually as good as gold for her mother but it seemed like she had a new rebellious side to her and even though Alaska found it funny at times she wasn’t happy with the fact that her daughter was now turning into a challenge, the last thing Alaska wanted was for her daughter her to resent her like Alaska resented her own parents.

“Fine” Ava sighed, wiggling for her mother to put her down as the guys stood up from the table and headed into the living room, Ava immediately running after them and wrapping her arms tightly between Zack and Jack’s legs, hugging them tightly to her making it impossible for them to move.

“Go on Ava, if you’re really good for your Mama we meet see you later on this week” Zack tried to coax Ava, kneeling down to her level, turning to look at Alaska for her approval “That’s if it is fine of course..” he trailed off realising that he could of over stepped the mark.

“That’s alright with me, are you happy with that Ava?” Alaska asked, holding out her hand to her daughter who immediately took it, nodding her head wildly as a smile spread across her face.

“Bye Lexi! Bye Matty! Bye Rian! Bye Jack! Bye Bye Bye Zacky!” Ava called over her shoulder as her mother led her out of the house rolling her eyes at her daughter’s antics as she waved madly to the boys as her mother buckled her into the car.

The drive to the supermarket was filled with chatter from Ava. It seemed like the boy’s brought a much more confident and carefree side of her daughter out and Ava didn’t know if she liked it, worried that this would cause her to get in trouble in Kindergarten which was far from what Alaska wanted.

“What do you want for dinner?” Alaska questioned, pushing the cart around the store as her eyes scanned the shelves looking for something that she fancied to eat but nothing was jumping out at her, she looked down at Ava who clasped her hand tightly, not seeming to want to leave her mother’s side as they headed down the aisle.

“Can we have Mac and Cheese?” Ava asked shyly looking up at her mother through her hair as Alaska nodded smiling down at Ava and heading towards the pasta session.

“Of course honey and we can make necklaces with some of the pasta if you like?” Alaska asked, grabbing a bag and placing it in the cart, looking down at Ava who nodded excitedly before placing another bag in her cart happy that Ava was chirpy again after having to be forced to leave the gang.

In under twenty minutes Alaska had gathered the last of the things that she needed, but Ava was already getting tired and grumpy, holding her hands up to her mother who picked her up, the little girl nuzzling her face into her mother’s neck sleepily as they stood at the checkout waiting for their items to be scanned.

“Look Mama!” Ava gasped suddenly, causing Alaska to jump by the sudden motion, Alaska eyes darted around the store trying to find out what she was actually meant to be looking at but nothing seemed out of the ordinary or shock worthy.

“It’s Zacky!” Ava shrieked excitedly, waving her fingers in front of her trying to get her mother to see what she was looking at, Alaska was confused she could not see Zack in the store or anyone that remotely looked like him.

“On the magazine!” Ava added trying to lean over and grab a copy but her arms weren’t long enough to reach. Alaska averted gaze, now looking at the shelf of magazines that Ava was trying to reach, her eyes scanning the front pages before finally landing on the one that her daughter was on about.

Ava was right, there on the front cover was a smiling Zack along with Rian, Jack and Alex a bold headline printed across them. Alaska eyebrows furrowed, not sure why on earth why her friend’s, they were friend weren’t they, were on the front cover on a magazine.

All it mentioned was something called ‘All Time Low’. Was that there name? Or a movie? Were they actor’s or something? Curious about it all, she grabbed a copy adding it to her shopping before grabbing a couple more that had the pictures of the boy on the front cover. Well it didn’t hurt to do some research, right?


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