2. Move

Ava's P.O.V.

I open my eyes to the white ceiling above me. My last day in this shit hole before I pack up and leave, for good. I live with my dad, have ever since I was 7 and Catherine left. She is my mother, though not a very good one. She was a drug addict. Heroin. I don't remember a lot about her, just that she wasn't around a lot; which wasn't really surprising. My dad isn't that bad, but he has his moments. On (what would be) the anniversary of their wedding every year, he goes out and gets shit faced. I'm not talking like a couple drinks though. I'm talking so messed up that he comes home and doesn't remember anything when he wakes up 18 hours later. I’m not big on talking about it though. It’s not the kind of thing someone LOVES to share.

I start Uni in two weeks. I have been accepted to the University of London for their photography program and lucky for me, that is far from this place. The best part about it, I have a full scholarship. My dad and I live in a tiny, two bedroom apartment in the lower class area of Ireland. I have worked my ass off for the last 10 years. I have always been determined to leave this life behind, and now I finally can. I don't have any friends. I don't want any, nor do I need them.

I sleepily get out off of my air mattress, pull my jeans and sweatshirt on and pull my long brown hair back into a messy pony tail. I double check that I have all of my things and check the time of the ferrie and train ticket. I pull the zipper of my suit case closed and bring all of my stuff to the front door. My dad comes to the door with his hands dug deep into his pockets and his shoulders slumped in.

"So you're off then?" I look to the floor and give him a slight nod. He takes his hands out of his pocket and hands me a small white envelope. "I know it's not a lot, but here." I look up to him and take the envelope. I consider remarking the fact that if mom was still here, we would've had a lot more, but I decide against it. He works overtime so that he can keep up with the bills and at the end of the day, I can't say anything bad about that. I shove the envelope into the sweatshirt pocket.

"Thanks dad." I say with the most emotion possible from me. I hesitantly step to him and give him a slight hug. This doesn't happen usually for us. "I'll call you when I get there okay?" I say and swing my backpack over my shoulder, grabbing the handle of my suitcase.

"Okay. Ava, I'm so proud of you. Your moth--" I cut him off.

"I know dad." I say and open the door. I look back one more time before walking out, closing the door behind me. I take a 15 minute cab ride to the ferrie and board. I go to the front of the boat and sit on one of the benches, plugging my headphones in my ears. I take out my camera and take a couple pictures of landscapes on the water. There is a little boy and his sister looking over the edge. He has is arm wrapped around her. I smile at them. They remind me of a family who regularly came for Sunday morning breakfast when I worked at the Haplin's Bridge Café. That job helped me start a life of my own. I have about 4,000 saved up, but these days that only goes so far.

I am supposed to be meeting Gary Wellman, the landlord of the apartment I was looking at, when I get off the train. He gave me the address and told me that he already had a girl living in there, so I would have a roommate. Kelsey? I think that's her name. I see the dock and I see the crew members come out to tie the boat down and everyone goes towards the exit. I take a deep breath before exiting the ship. I catch a cab to the train station and get there just in time to catch my train. The train ride is pretty boring; I mostly sit and look out the window. I take out the envelope that my dad gave me and look through it. There is about 500 cash and then a folded piece of paper.

My Ava, it reads,

Today is the day that you are finally free. You are your own woman now and I am so proud of you. I know that I haven't been perfect, but I know that if I had stayed, than your life would have been so much more difficult.

This isn't from my dad. No. I can't read it. Not if it's from her. I fold the note back up and shove it into my bag, not even taking a second look at it. I consider crumpling it and tossing it onto the ground of the train car, but for some reason I keep it in my pocket.

"Attention passengers, we have now arrived in London. Thank you" The P.A. guy says over the system. I grab my things and walk to the apartment. A tall guy with short brown hair is standing at the doorway.

"Hi, Avaliegh?" He asks and puts out his hand. I give him a confused look.

"Oh, sorry, I'm Gary." He says. Oh...

"Hi, yea, but you can call me Ava." I say a bit hesitantly and shake his hand lightly.

"Okay, the apartment is on the second floor, so, let's go." He says, opening the door for me. I follow him up to the apartment and he opens the door to it. The floors are hardwood and I immediately see a small living room with a grey, wrap around couch and a TV. Off to the left in a kitchen and to the right I see a bathroom.  "What do you think?" Gary asks hopefully. Honestly, it's perfect, I say to myself.

"I love it." I say, and then add. "Where are the bed rooms?"

"Oh, right off the living room, this way." He gestures into the living room and to the right. He opens one of the doors and I see and double bed with grey comforters. I smile and look at the brick wall and top to bottom shelf unit.

"How much is it a month again?" I turn to him and cross my arms.

"750 pounds a month." He offers me a light smile. I smile to myself.

"I’ll take it." We go back into the kitchen and I sign the papers. I see a girl come out of her room in pajama shorts and a large UofL sweater. I'm going to make a guess and say that she is my roommate.

"Hey, I'm Kelsey." she says and smiles. She has red curly hair that is tied back into a bun. She's pretty.

"Hey, I'm Ava." I look at her sweater. "You go to University of London?"

"Yeah. I'll be starting my second year of beauty school. You?" She asks.

"Photography. First year." I say.

"Okay, cool! You’ll like it around here; you’ll fit in nicely. I like this one Gary, I’ll keep her." She chuckles teasingly and disappears into her room.

I retreat to mine once everything is sorted with Gary and get changed. I flop on my bed and smile to myself. I'm here, finally.

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