“I want to talk to you about Ava.”
Liz sighs and leans back in her chair. “Well, good luck with that. I’m not too happy with Ava right now, so you’re on your own with that one.”
Gavin told me that Ava tried to talk to her mom the other day about quitting her job here and it turned into one big clusterfuck. I feel bad that I sort of pushed Ava into doing that and I want to make it right.
“Have you even looked at her blog lately?” I question her.
She picks up a pen and starts tapping it against her desk. “That jenky-looking thing she created on Wordpress with a couple of pictures of her in different outfits? Yes, I’ve seen it,” Liz states sarcastically.
“It’s not jenky anymore. She had Jenny create her a whole new site with graphics and it’s pretty awesome. Did you know she gets more hits on that thing every day than the Seduction and Snacks website? I checked.”
Liz stops tapping her pen and stares at me.
“She also has a shit ton of sponsors paying her for ads now. She’s making more money on that blog than she makes here. This is what she’s always wanted to do. Can you understand that?” I ask.
I hold my breath, waiting for her to vault over her desk and choke me out. Liz scares me just a little bit, but I need to keep going and say everything I came in here to say.
“Ava is smart and amazing and this blog she’s doing, it’s not just a hobby. It’s something she really cares about and loves. She’s been working her ass off on this blog. It’s real for her. This is what she wants to do with the rest of her life. She loves shoes and clothes and all that other girly shit. Seduction and Snacks isn’t her dream, it’s yours. Her dream is to talk about all that girly shit and she’s turned it into a good paying reality. She needs you to understand and to give her your approval. I’m sure not everyone was on-board with the whole sex-toy shop slash bakery when you and Claire dreamed it up. How would you feel if the most important person in your life belittled your dream?”
I stop and try not to wince as I brace for the explosion from Liz that I’m sure is imminent. Maybe I overstepped my bounds. Ava is her daughter and who the hell am I to tell her what to do?
Liz is quiet and still for so long that I’m a little worried I might have given her a heart attack. When she finally moves, it’s to brush a tear off of her cheek.
Awwwww shit, I made her cry. This can NOT end well for me.
“She hates working here. I always thought it was because she was just being stubborn,” Liz says quietly.
“Well, she is a stubborn ass, but that’s not it.”
Liz glares at me.
“I mean, she’s an amazing, beautiful, wonderful, stubborn girl.”
She leans forward and rests her elbows on her desk. “You’re in love with her.”
“WHAT? How do you know that? I just figured that out myself,” I tell her in shock.
“Tyler, you came in here and pretty much told me I’m an idiot even though you knew there was a possibility I would beat the shit out of you for doing it,” she explains. “If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.”
I smile at her. “See? I knew you’d totally understand how much of an idiot you’ve been.”
“I can still cut off your dick and make you eat it,” she states.
“Duly noted,” I nod. “It doesn’t matter, though, since I’m pretty sure she hates me.”
Liz shakes her head in disagreement. “Ava has spent every day since Christmas crying in her room. I don’t know what happened between you guys, but I’m pretty sure she’s in love with you, too.”
Ava’s been crying? Ava knows how to cry? I don’t even know how to process this information.
“I’m sure that has nothing to do with me. That’s all your fault for shitting on her dream,” I tell her.
“Don’t ruin the good thing we have going on here, Tyler. I have a letter opener within reach that I’m not afraid to use on your balls,” she threatens. “Even before we had our little fight the other day, she was a mess. I think she realized she’s in love with you and screwed up.”
Oh, God, please let her really be in love with me and I’ll never jerk off to another episode of MLP ever again. Maybe. Probably. Shit. I’ll try really hard.
“That fight was my fault. We got into it on Christmas and I sort of told her she was too scared to come out and tell you she doesn’t want to work here anymore.”
Liz lets out a low whistle. “Damn, and she didn’t punch you in the throat for that? She’s definitely in love with you if she let you get away with saying that to her.”
She stares down at her hands for a few minutes before looking up at me. “She really doesn’t want to work here?” Liz finally says with a sniffle.
I shrug. “No, she hates it here.”
Her lip quivers and part of me wants to get up, walk around the desk and hug her, but there was this whole thing with Gavin’s mom not that long ago where I sort of had the hots for her and that really didn’t end well and I can no longer even think about the word ‘cougar’ without throwing up in my mouth just a little bit. I don’t want Liz to get the wrong idea or anything.
I watch as Liz slides her laptop closer to her and starts clicking away on her keyboard. After a few seconds, her eyes widen and her mouth drops open.
“Oh, my God. This is her site? This thing is amazing,” she says in awe.