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Here, Darling.

I Need You Closer, I Need You Beside Me, Good Love Will Find Me.

The short walk back to her house seemed to take forever, even though it should only take give minutes. It wasn’t any one in particulars fault but with such a big group, Ava seemed to be taking advantage and showing all her new friends her favourite sights.

“We’re here!” Ava shouted excitedly, running up the stairs and dragging Spencer behind her as she clung to his hand tightly. Alaska just chuckled opening the door and allowing the group to trapeze into the house, Spencer and the rest of the boy’s standing awkwardly in the hall way as Ava ran about excitedly, laughing and shouting as she pulled out different sorts of games and shoving them onto the table, not giving them chance to reply before continuing the conversation before starting on the next.

“Hey Spence, do you want a drink or a snack?” Alaska asked hanging her coat, along with Ava’s and Spencer on the rack before pulling off her shoes, trying to balance on one foot but nearly falling into the wall as she kept losing her balance.

“Yes please Miss Da – I mean Miss Ad” Spencer whispered, averting his eye’s as his cheeks burned red, shuffling foot to foot awkwardly as he scuffed his sock clad toes on the floor, his hands twisting in front of his chest as Alaska just shook her head slightly, a smile playing on her hand before she offered her hand to the little boy.

“Come on then, let’s get you sorted” Alaska smiled brightly, the boy taking her hand and following her into the kitchen before clamouring to sit at the kitchen table, Alaska quickly placing a glass of juice in front of him as she tried to quickly tidy the house, the sound of laughter and chatter seeping from the living room.

This wasn’t what she was prepared for, all she was expecting was Zack coming around to see Ava for a bit since she really seemed to connect with him the first time they met, that was something Alaska was happy about, that Ava looked up to someone else, someone that just wasn’t her.

She didn’t expect it to be Jack, Alex and Rian. That was just a little too much, especially when poor sweet Spencer was poured into the mix, it was definitely going to be a hectic night and she wasn’t even sure how it was all going to end.

“Spencer!” Ava called, giggles eloping her words as the boy turned to face Alaska, his eyebrows shooting up as she simply nodded, smiling at Spencer who jumped off the seat, running into the living room to the sound of more laughter.

Alaska sighed, taking a seat at the table and nestling her face in her hands. It had been a long day at work the night before, Zack had agreed to come over when Ava had fallen asleep to sit and look out for her while Alaska headed out, returning a couple of hours later, half asleep to relieve the poor boy off his duty.

Dip had agreed for Alaska to have the next two weeks off, understanding that she didn’t have anyone to look after Ava since Chris had gone to care for his family, this she was thankful for. She was now going to be able to spend some quality time with her daughter and sort her business out, finding out what she had left to do before she could finally leave the bar for good.

She closed her eyes and let the silence of the kitchen surround her, immediately feeling at peace with herself, she had never felt this stressed or tired before and it was really starting to chip away at her, something that Alaska hoped wouldn’t affect her relationship with Ava like it had between her own parents.

With a sigh she stood up from the table and surveyed the room, her eyes skipping over the pile of dishes from this morning and the night before mocking her that they were still waiting to be cleaned and put away.

Alaska turned her back on them and headed towards the fridge, eyes scanning the shelf trying to think of something that she could cook for dinner for the huge group but nothing popped to mind. All she wanted to do was scream out loud and pull her hair out but that was just impossible to do.

“Hey, is everything alright?" Zack questioned from where he was leaning against the door frame, surveying the petite brunette who was practically pulling her hair out as she gazed at the contents of the fridge. Adelaide turned quickly, eyes fixing onto Zack's brown as she tried to think of the correct thing to say, whether to tell him what was on her mind or not.

"No, not really" Alaska mumbled as she collapsed at the kitchen table, heard falling into her hands. Zack chewed his lip as he tentively took a seat opposite her, waiting patiently for her to voice her worries, waiting to try and help her the best way he could.

"It doesn't matter" she mumbled after a couple of minutes, lifting her head to look at Zack, taking everything in as though it was the first time she had seen him. Taking in his warm brown eyes, the way his jaw curved, how his hair hand a slight curl to it when it needed a cut.

"Come on Adelaide, open up to me!" Zack urged reaching out to take her hand, trying to prompt the girl into letting him through her walls. Alaska sighed, gnawing at her lip as she had an internal battle with herself, she wanted to open up to Zack, wanted to share the things that worried her but she was scared of being judged and left alone to fend for herself,

"It's just, I don't want to make the same mistakes as my parents" she stuttered averting her eyes to look at her pale hand that was now entwined with Zack's on the mahogany table, his skin was slightly calloused and felt warm and comforting, something she hadn’t felt for a while.

"What do you mean?" He questioned, eyebrows knotted as he stared at the girl, silently begging for her to look at him so he could try and figure out what was running through her mind.

"It's just -" Alaska sighed, her shoulders heaving as she shook her head slowly before continuing "my parents always out their career before Max and I, even before their own relationship and it ripped our family apart. They got divorced when they couldn’t take the arguing anymore and turned our world upside down even more. They ruined their relationship with me and my brother and I don't want my relationship with Ava to turn out like that" she finished her voice going smaller and smaller as though saying the words out loud might make them true. It hurt her to have to admit this to someone, worried that this wasn’t supposed to be how a loving mother would feel, as though this would show she was a bad mother.

"Don't you speak to them now?" He questioned quietly unsure of what else to say to her, what was right to say, and what would make things better. She lifted her head slightly, her eyes locking with Zack's conveying to him the sadness and worry the young woman felt.

"No" Alaska sighed with a small shake of her head "Not since I left college, they don't know about Ava and neither does Max"

Zack frowned slightly, wondering how some people could be so cruel to turn their back on their kids, finding someway into alienating them in such a way where they don't feel comfortable enough to tell you that you now have an amazing granddaughter.

"So no one helps you out with Ava?" He asked his thumbs rubbing comforting circles on the back of Alaska's pale hand trying to make this conversation as easy as possible, trying to find out as much as he could in order to find a way to help her, in a way to make things easier for her.

"Chris helps, to be honest I don't know what I would have done without him, but no it's just been me which makes the strain on the relationship harder. I'm only twenty three but I fell double that now" Alaska half shrugged, her free hand tracing the grains of the table.

"I wish her Dad was around to help but he didn't even get the chance to find out about Ava let alone get a chance to realise how perfect she was" Alaska choked out, her eyes rising to meet Zack's who's mirrored confusion unsure of what she meant causing her to shut her eyes before continuing.

"Josh was the best most sweet and caring boyfriend that I have ever had, we were together for about three years and they were some of the best of my life. My brother never liked him but that was because he thought I could do better which was impossible, Josh could have done better than me. He was the sweetest guy, helping me move into my dorm when I moved to Baltimore and would visit every couple of weekend" Alaska smiled sadly, her eyes never moving from the grains that her index fingers were tracing.

"I found out about Ava and was so excited to tell Josh so we had arranged for him to come up the following week but he never made it in the end. There was a big a big car pileup when a truck had swerved into his car. Sadly he didn't make it through" Alaska finished up, wiping her face angrily with her sleeves trying to stop the flow of tears before they even started.

Zack was stunned, he didn’t know what he was expecting her to say but it definitely wasn't that. He couldn't understand how someone so kind hearted as Adelaide had had to suffer so much.

"It's all about sticking it out Adelaide and I am always going to be here to help out whenever you need it" Zack smiled warmly, squeezing the girls hand to try and show her bow true that was. Alaska smiled, she didn’t know what she had expected to come out at the end of that conversation but it definitely wasn’t that.

“I best get started on dinner” Alaska sighed, rubbing away the tears one last time as she stood up from her chair, heading back to the fridge before pulling out a couple of jars and placing them on the side, turning to face the tall brunette boy that sat before her.

“Spaghetti sound good?” She questioned, a small smile playing on her lips as he nodded, moving to get out of his seat as Alaska continued to get the rest of the ingredients she needed and placing them on the side, feeling like a huge weight had been lifted off of her shoulder.

“Anything sounds good to me, but you go sit take a shower or something and relax” Zack motioned, trying to push the girl gently towards the kitchen door ignoring the objections that she made “Stop it Adelaide, go relax! I’m cooking dinner and will watch the fort down here” he chuckled making a shooing motion before finally shutting the door and turning towards the food laid in front of him.


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