Amore And Pizza

Hey, I'm Avery. I thought I had it figured out, ya know? I thought I had distinguished the difference between love and imagination. I was SO sure that no one could ever love me. Especially someone so extraordinary like Niall. But for once in my sob story of a life, I WANTED to be proven wrong. But I was right. Again.

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4. Paintbrushes And Magic

     After lunch, I found myself steaming the rest of the afternoon. But I was determined. This school was gonna change, and I was the one who was gonna do it. I saw Niall in the hallways, he tried to smile but I turned away. Maybe I shouldn't be so mean. After all, it was just my second day here. I didn't want to lose my first real friend. But the way he acted bugged me. A lot. I decided I would text him later. 

     I never got the chance. I walked out the main doors, past the tiger, and out into the parking lot, heading for home. 

     "Avery,please wait!" I kept walking, making him run. I saw his blond hair before I saw his face. "Look, I'm sorry about today!" Niall rubbed his hands through his hair, obviously agitated.

     "Niall, why were you so rude today? Harry tried to be nice, but you brushed him off." I gave him a stern look, but he wouldn't meet my eyes.

     "Well, Harry is kind of a player. He leads girls on, but he's pretty much all talk. I got mad because I didn't want you to get yours hopes up for nothing. You're too nice." He said all this really fast, nervous and shy. That was SO cute! He was just trying to protect me. I guess I just didn't know the whole story. Harry a player? I thought of our first encounter. Made sense.

     "That's really sweet Niall, but I think I can handle him, okay?" I smiled at him to show we were good.

     "Okay. Can I still walk with you?"

     "Of course." We both smiled and kept walking. We walked in silence for a few minutes. Thankfully it was a comfortable silence. I listened to the crunch of gravel underneath my feet. There was something calming about feeling the sun on my back, walking by a cute boy with an even cuter personality. 

     "So Kalley's coming over this weekend?"

     "Yeah, she is. She's going to help me decorate my room. But I really should paint it before we put stuff on the walls."

     "How about I help you paint it? I know a hardware store where we can buy some. Come on!" Niall grabbed my wrist and started running down another street.

     "Niall, wait! I don't have money to buy paint!"

     "I'll put it on my step dad's tab, he goes there all the time!" 

     We turned another corner and stopped in front of a big red building. The sign painted above me read in big, bold white letters : Dave's Hardware.

     Niall kept walking into the store. When he opened the door, a bell rang announcing our presence.

     "Hey, Dave!" Niall waved with his free hand to a older man who I'm guessing was Dave. Dave had wide-rimmed glasses, wispy white hair, and a pot-belly. Niall gestured to me. "This is Avery. She just moved and wanted to paint her room. Can you show us where the paint is?"

     "Of course, follow me." We followed him through a section off to the right. All around us were shelves loaded with different tools, fixtures, appliances, and home decorating stuff. We turned another corner and were faced with cans of paint farther than the eye could see. I'm exaggerating a little, of course, but there was a LOT of paint.

     "Now, Avery, what specific color were you thinking of?"Dave asked.

     "Well, my favorite color is blue." Niall smiled when I said that.

     "Mine is too!"

     "Were you imagining a dark blue or light blue?"

     "Definitely darker blue. Something that's a little purple too. Kind of like violets. They're my favorite flower." Niall looked at me and laughed. "What?" He just shook his head.

     "You're just different, that's all." He grinned like that was supposed to be a compliment.

     If blue's what ya want, that's what you'll get. Come on over here." Dave took us down towards the middle of the shelves. Here are some color samples you can look at." I took the cards from him and looked at the different hues of blue. I didn't know one color could have so many different shades. Dave had given me 4 cards, with 5 colors on each. The first were blues that looked like they had been mixed with gray. I handed that one back. The second had blues that were light the night sky. I imagined my room painted a midnight blue color with those glow-in-the-dark star stickers. Maybe if I was 12. I handed that card back too. The third card had blues that were like my dad's eyes. Deep blue like the ocean. I decided to hold on to that one. I looked at the last card. The last color on the card was called "Cobalt". It was the perfect color. The blue was deep blue, but almost purple. It looked like it had been taken off a violet and put on the paper. I looked up at Niall and smiled.

     "This one."

     "Are you sure?"

     "Positive. Are you sure I can get this?" He nodded.

     "Let's see which one you picked. Ah, this is a good color. Very nice. I'll go get two cans and some primer."

     As Dave left I turn back to Niall. "Niall, this is gonna be expensive. I still haven't known you for very long, maybe we should come back another time." I looked up uneasily into his blue eyes.

     "Don't worry about it. I promise. Besides, I owe you for being a jerk today." well, I guess that would make it even. Not. But I agreed. It wasn't every day that a cute guy bought me paint to apologize. Might as well take it as it is.

     Dave brought back the cans, and told us to follow him to the check out. When we reached the counter, Niall asked him if he could put it on a tab for his step-dad. After, checking out, Niall and I thanked Dave and took the paint back to my house. Niall refused to let me carry one. I didn't mind that much. His muscles stood out when he carried them. We reached my house and walked inside.

     "My dad is probably still at work. So it's just us." I smiled at Niall and led him into the kitchen. "Want some water?" He nodded. I handed him the glass.

    "Thanks. No offense, but your house is kinda small." For some reason I found this funny. I started laughing really hard. "What?" But it was no use.

     "I don't know! I can't stop laughing!" I continued to laugh, which made Niall start to laugh. In no time, we were both hunched over, tears streaming down our faces. I wiped my face on my sleeve. "Well, let's go paint." I grabbed the cans and went to my room.

     "Do you have any newspapers?" I nodded and got a bunch while he moved my bed to the center of the room. "We need to put on the primer first." He grabbed two brushes, and handed one to me. We started painting in silence.

     "So do you paint for every girl you like?" I laughed at his shocked expression.

     "No, only for girls I feel sorry for." It was his turn to laugh at my expression. "I'm kidding, Avery." I laughed with him and finished priming. "We have to let this dry for about an hour. What do you wanna do?"

     "Eat pizza." He gave me a confused look. I sighed and grabbed his hand. "You do eat pizza, don't you?" He laughed and nodded while we walked outside. "There's a Pizza Hut not too far from here. Let's go!" I started running away. 

     "Avery, wait!"

     "If you want to keep your spot on the soccer team, you're going to need some exercise!" I sprinted as fast as I could go. Niall didn't stand a chance. Instead of the 20-minute walk we got there within 5 or 6 minutes. When we got there, we were both panting, but I beat Niall by a few seconds. 

     "No fair, you got a head start. I almost had you!" I punched him playfully.

     "You never had a chance. Come on, I'm buying."

     Pizza Hut was pretty quiet when we walked in. We walked up to the counter, and I noticed that the cashier was the same guy who was working there yesterday. Awkward. By the look on his face he definitely remembered me.

     "Niall, what do you want?"

     "I was thinking a large just cheese. It's my favorite.Is that okay?" I nodded.

     "Cheese is my favorite too." I told the cashier our order and thankfully had money to give him this time. He gave us our number and we sat down at a booth.

     "So by the time we get back the primer should be dry." Niall said. I nodded.

     "I never asked you, what position do you play in soccer?"

     "I don't know about Niall, but I play a mean defense." My heart stopped as I looked up at the curly hair and green eyes. Crap.

     "Harry, what are you doing here?" I asked. I glanced at Niall, who looked about as happy as roadkill.

     "Told ya we could have pizza again sometime." He grinned then looked at Niall. "I just didn't see him in the plans. But that's okay." He sat next to me without hesitation. "We got to be a little more acquainted if we're gonna kill East Denver Homecoming week." He noticed my confused look. "Oh, that's right. You don't know about our rival. East Denver and West Denver have kinda been enemies since the schools were built. It's a tradition. And while we're killin' 'em in soccer, the football team will be creaming them too." He grinned cheekily at us both.

     "Well we ordered already, though. We got a large so I'm sure you can have a couple slices." I tried to make this situation comfortable. But it was hopeless. Niall was furious, and Harry was oblivious. Maybe. Maybe he was doing it on purpose. "So defense, huh? I play forward. No holding back." He laughed while I just smiled. I tried to interject Niall, too. "Niall, what position do you play?"

      He looked up and met my gaze. His eyes burned with apology and, was that jealousy? Gosh, boys were weird. "Mid-field. I like running." I gave him small smile. At least he was trying. Just then I heard our number being called. "I'll get it." Niall got up and walked out of sight.

     "What are you doing here, Harry?"

     He noticed the accusing look in my eyes. "What do you mean, Avery? I was just trying to "break the status quo." He used his fingers to emphasize. "Plus, it would probably be better for the team if we weren't complete strangers." I looked up into his eyes. Those eyes. I thought of what Niall said earlier. But in Harry's eyes I only saw that he meant what he said.

     "Well ,Niall said that you aren't good for me..." I didn't like telling him that. My heart sank a tiny fraction when he looked down and wouldn't meet my eyes.

     "Avery, a lot of girls like me. I don't know why they would spend time over me, but they do. I liked a girl once who wouldn't ever talk to me. It hurt. I didn't want to do the same thing to those girls. But I guess to other people it looks like I'm taking advantage of them or being a player. I've never really done anything with them though. I swear." Harry looked at me. I smiled really wide at him. That is sweet. I imagined his heart was probably stomped on by that girl. Hard to believe someone wouldn't like him.

     "I believe you. I'm sure Niall was just trying to protect me. He'll come around."  Just as I said that Niall returned with our pizza.

     "What kind did ya get?" Harry asked.

     "Your favorite", I replied. "Niall's too." Harry smiled at Niall.

     "Cool! Now we all have something in common. Cheese pizza!" All three of us laughed. We talked a little more about soccer. East Denver has always played West Denver for homecoming, it was kind of a given. They apparently have a tough defense. 

     "I will take 'em down. They haven't seen Avery Jackson yet." Both Harry and Niall laughed. I told Harry Niall and I had to get back because we were painting my room. "I'll see ya later, Harry." He stood up and let me out. Niall said bye and started to walk out. I went to follow him but Harry grabbed my arm. "Avery, thanks for doing this. Being friendly, I mean. I think this town needs a little Avery Jackson." He grinned. I returned it. I said bye and left.

     I caught up with Niall who was waiting outside the doors.

     "Can we not run back?" He asked. I laughed.

     "Sure. Wouldn't want you to pull a muscle." I stuck out my lip and batted my eyelashes. 

     "Oh, it's on." Niall dashed off, leaving me there. 

     "Niall, come on! No more head-starts!" I strained my legs, urging them to go faster. I looked at the back of Niall's blond head, trying to get closer. I was catching up to him. I gave it all I got, and soon I was passing him. I laughed at Niall's expression. His jaw had nearly dropped off his face. "Eat my dust blondie!" I laughed and sprinted till I reached my front door. Niall was there within a couple seconds.

     "You...are the...most...annoyingly fast girl... I've ever...met." He furrowed his eyebrows at me. I laughed.

     "Come on, slow poke, let's get some water." I got us both a glass and sat down resting my head on my arms. "Whew. I'm beat. Kicking your butt is hard work. We both laughed. We rested for a few more minutes before heading to my room. I handed Niall a paint brush and opened up the paint cans. "Let's get started. Do you want to listen to some music?" 

     "Sure." I plugged my Ipod into my stereo and put it on shuffle. Painting along to "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons was kinda relaxing. Just then my favorite band came on. One Direction. (I know it's a little confusing because the real One Direction in my story are just normal guys, but pretend that this One Direction in the story are different guys.)

     "Ugh! I hate One Direction!" Niall stuck out his tongue and made a gagging noise. I nearly killed him right there.

     "How can you say that?! They're amazing! 'Magic' is an awesome song!" ( If you haven't heard that song, listen to it NOW!) Niall rolled his eyes while I started singing along.

     "B-b-b-baby come on over I don't care if people find out..." Niall laughed at my absolutely horrid dance moves and my paintbrush microphone. "Cause you, you've got this spell on me. I don't know what to believe. Kiss you once now I can't leave. Cause everything you do is magic. Everything you do is ma-a-gic." I pointed at Niall and swung my hair around. He laughed and turned around. I grabbed his hand and turned him around. "B-baby you got me moving too fast..." I kept singing the rest of the song jumping around my room. Niall looked at me like I needed to be on pills. I probably did. When the song finished I collapsed on the bed. Niall came over and laughed with me till we were outta breath.

     "Avery, you're crazy, but I think you just made me a Directioner."

     "Yay!" He helped me up and we got back to painting. We finished not too long after since my room was not very big. "Thanks for helping, Niall, it looks great!."

     "Anytime." 

     "Do you wanna watch a movie?" Niall nodded and followed me to the living room. We hadn't set up our TV yet, so we had to pick one out on my laptop. "Have you ever watched the Spongebob Movie?" Niall looked at me funny.

     "The Spongebob movie? Yeah, when I was like 12." 

     "Let's watch it!"

     "Seriously?" I nodded. "Okay." He laughed and I started the movie. It was already about 8:30 by the time we started. Somewhere along the way I fell asleep, my head resting on Niall's shoulder. I woke up at about 6:30 am, in my bed. Strange. My dad never carried me anymore. I got up and went into the living room. My dad was sitting there watching the news on our TV that was now set up.

     "How did I get in my bed?"

     "Oh, you're up early, Aves. That blonde boy that helped you paint your room was watching a movie when I got home. He told me you fell asleep after you got done painting. That was nice that he paid. He carried you to your bed, and helped me set up the TV. He gestured towards the TV. Wow. That was really nice. "Niall's his name right?" I nodded. "Well, I like that boy. Just as long he doesn't like you too much..."

     "Oh, daddy!" 

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