THE FOREST THEY WERE in was beautiful. Until now she hadn't really paid it any mind, but in the silence the blooming flowers and tall trees look like a tranquil painting; it calms her. The path underneath her feet is made of soft earth, the colorful pebbles scattered across it like jewels. She follows it, the melodic whistle of birds and the rush of water mixing into background noise. Spotting the girl clad in black amidst these warm hues wasn't hard, especially considering she was the only person closeby.
She recognized her immediately, the fuchsia underneath her shoes and on her long nails betraying her identity before she could even make out the face.
"Ava!" she shouted.
The girl looked up, confusion clear on her face as she squinted through the trees. She located Ella soon enough though, moving through the forest with the ease of a dancer, her stilettos not seeming to hinder her at all.
"Off to get an item on the list?" Ella asked.
"No," Ava said with a shake of her head," we don't have any other items either, so I don't see anything saving my team at this point."
"If it helps, we probably did worse," Ella said.
Ava chuckled, her fuchsia lips curling up in a smile that could only be described as irresistible. It was no wonder guys were falling in front of her feet, the girl was made to be a heartbreaker with her face alone. For her to be here probably meant she had wanted some solitude though and after the mess just now Ella could understand why.
"What?" Ava said, noticing her gaze on her," do you want to say something, new girl?"
"Why were you with Trevor?" Ella blurted out.
Ava didn't look startled by the question at all, but then again, Ella wondered if the girl ever did look surprised. There was something in those dark eyes which told her she was usually in control of every situation.
"Just happened," Ava said finally," he pursued me and asked me out. Eventually I said yes."
"You deserve better though," Ella said.
"Believe me," Ava sighed as she rolled her eyes," I know."
Ella didn't doubt what Alex had seen, or still saw, in her. From the overflowing confidence to the way she seemed to hold the world at her fingertips, the girl was as intriguing as they could be. She would have even called her cold, had she not seen the unmistakable softening in Ava's eyes when she had looked at her bruised childhood friends earlier.
"Do you want company?" Ella offered.
Ava paused for a bit, before nodding. "Yeah, why not."
Though they had no destination, the time seemed to fly. Ava talked about how this was her fourth year at St Joseph, one year less than the guys, what the teachers were like, how St Joseph itself was worse when they were at the school itself. Pieces of her childhood with the boys came up at times, but never much. Ella had to stop herself from asking questions, surprised at the part of her that wanted to know more about a young Levi.
Instead she told Ava about her own friends back at home, about her mother, how she got sent here. She conveniently left out the details concerning her behavior, but Ava didn't pry at all. It was comfortable to talk with her, especially seeing how she had been surrounded by guys this whole camping trip. Though she didn't mind, talking with her girlfriends always gave off a whole different vibe.
They neared the river then and Ella's eyes followed the waves, a small smile playing on her lips by the memory of her and Levi splashing in there vivid for a moment. Ava doesn't notice it though and they sit down on the edge, legs bungling above the water. It's only after their conversation about cute shops ends that she dares to ask a question which has been lingering in her mind, her eyes curious.
"So you and Alex dated?"
"We did," Ava said, her face noticeably softening when she spoke about him," we had been friends for the longest time and we just went for it."
As if noticing Ella's eyes, all signs of vulnerability immediately vanished again. That same playful yet empty smile Alex wore curled her lips up again, like she was carefully putting her mask in place again; a gold one studded with jewels, one she wore with pride.
"We were too alike in a sense, I guess," she shrugged," but no matter how much you love someone, sometimes people just aren't meant to be."
"Trevor was quite the change though," Ella said," you know, personalitywise."
"Well, I'm talking with someone else now," Ava said," and she's not like Alex at all either, so I guess I don't really have that specific a type." Ella didn't say anything, but Ava still replied, her voice easy. "I'm pansexual."
Ella smiled as Ava started complaining about everyone in the camp, before slinging an amicable arm over Ava's shoulders.
"You're ruining my hair," Ava warned as she tried to free her locks.
"You're exaggerating," Ella said.
Ava scowled at her, her full lips in a dissatisfied pout, accentuated by the fuchsia coloring them. But although she seemed unhappy with it all, she didn't pull herself loose.
"Why don't you just come to St Joseph this year?" Ava said," I don't say this easily, but I am actually starting to like you."
"Although it sounds fun to wreak havoc with you," Ella said," I do want to go home. My family and my friends are there."
Not to mention her MMA gym. Seeing as she didn't want to pull any attention to her by being caught waking up early to practice, she hadn't trained these past few days. It was the longest she had ever gone without it, her hands itching with the need to punch something. Going to St Joseph would just cause her to go from needing to hit something to full out hitting anything in her way.
"Boring," Ava said," but whatever, I do get it."
Ella chuckled at the response, purposefully ruffling a hand through Ava's silken locks. In response Ava started to exclaim her extreme displeasure, her eyes gleaming with the promise of violence, and Ella made sure there was a safe distance between them.
"Just four days to go," Ella said," let's make the best out of it."
"I will kill you when I've fixed this," Ava warned, desperately trying to comb her hair back to normal with her hands.
"Catch you later, Ava," Ella said, quickly leaving before Ava could make good on her promise.
Ava turned towards her, her eyes sparkling with amusement.
"Catch you later, new girl."