Episode 379: Deck The HallsSebastian walked in, his coat wet, white crystals melting in his silky blond hair, just as Avalon finished pulling on her boots. He slid beside her onto the bench. "How did your shift go?"
"Alright. Thanks again for putting in a good word for me." She offered him the best smile she could muster these days. He really had done her a favor. Sheíd been waiting tables a couple weeks, occasionally on the same shift as him. Heíd originally suggested she go back to the book store but Ava wasnít ready for Lilaís ridicule of how stupid sheíd been on top of how awful she already felt.
"Itís never been a challenge for me to sing your praises," he said, taking noticeable care to sound more friendly than flirty. She knew it wasnít easy for him to straddle that line, heíd been honest that he still harbored romantic feelings for her, but heíd been a very good friend since Xavier left. "Iím sorry it doesnít pay more, especially with the holidays coming. I hope itís enough to cover Christmas for you, you love to do all that baking and really deck the halls. I know Iíll probably end up shivering in my crappy little apartment by candlelight making Tansy paper dolls for her gift."
Despite the snow outside, Ava hadnít given a thought to Christmas too consumed with alleged sightings of Xavier on the internet. Now that she did notice, her awful aching loneliness multiplied. "Itís the last day of November," she said. "Do you rent month to month?"
His brow crinkled in confusion. "Yeah."
"So move into my house then, Iíll charge you less rent than your landlord," Ava said in a hurry so she wouldnít change her mind. In the moment it sounded like the perfect plan. Some extra income to put towards finding Xavier, to at least insure she could eat and pay for her internet service. And someone to share the loneliest time of the year with. "I have a spare room, itís warm, Shelby loves you and I donít want to deck the halls alone."