Part eight yay! At this point, I think that I have figured out how I want to wrap this all up! I have also turned this part into one large franken-chapter because I’m the author and I do what I please I swear though it’s like 9 pages on my google doc. I’m so sorry if the transition doesn’t seem organic, I just wanted y’all to get all of this asap. Our friend Willy returns in the second half of this chapter, so enjoy!
Warnings: my usual potty-mouthed diction, more innuendo, an argument (nothing big, just mutual frustration), and a shirtless William Nylander
I had just hit send on my message to Steph and was trying to come up with a witty response to William when three young women who were clearly not restaurant staff sidled up to the table. More accurately, to Auston. In his defense, he looked embarrassed and a little agitated when he saw them, but gave each a tight-lipped smile. I wondered with more jealousy than I care to admit if Auston knew these girls. Worse, if one, or all, of them had been beneficiaries of The Condom Drawer.
It was another text from William, one proclaiming that he was thinking of me, in a less than appropriate way for such a time in the morning, that took me back to reality. As Auston dealt with our guests, I asked William if he would like to FaceTime later that day, to which he immediately responded that he would like nothing better.
Auston stays true to his word. You’ve just finished re-wrapping your ace bandage around your ribs and are waiting for Steph to get back so you can walk to dinner together when he knocks at the door.
He walks in, cheeks flushed from dryland and his hair still wet from his post-workout shower.
“Hey,” you say quietly, shy all of a sudden.
“Hey yourself,” he replies, throwing himself down onto your bed. But he doesn’t quite fit, the lower half of his legs hanging off the end of the bed frame. He sighs loudly.
You hold back a laugh. “Rough day?”
“Circuit training,” he groans.
“Ugh - the worst. I’m actually glad I didn’t have to go.” When Auston gives you a strange look, you add quickly, “don’t tell anyone I said that.”
He grins. “I would never.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“No one would believe me.”
“True enough.” You sigh and sit down on Steph’s bed opposite to him. He’s closed his eyes, and you peer closer at the deep purple circles under them. He looks exhausted. “You gonna fall asleep on me?”
“Maybe,” he murmurs.
You smile to yourself as you stand up. “Alright, make yourself at home. I’ll be back later - Steph’s probably forgotten that she was going to walk with me to dinner. Do you want me to get you anything?”
He says something imperceptible, his words muffled by the pillow.
“Is that a yes or no?”
“Mmphf.” He props himself up onto his elbows. “It’s a no - but wait, don’t go to dinner.” He catches your wrist with his hand and looks up at you with pleading eyes.
“Auston, as much as the idea of staying here and cuddling with you is tempting,” you say and his cheeks redden more than they already are. “I didn’t have lunch, and so I’m a bit hangry.”
“Hungry plus angry. I’m not a nice person to be around when I’m like this.”
“Now it all makes sense.”
You resist the urge to roll your eyes. “So will you let me go?” You look pointedly down at his hand, which is still wrapped around your wrist.
He releases his grip on you. “Yes - but not to the mess hall. I have a surprise for you.”
You raise an eyebrow and cross your arms. Your stomach clenches angrily. “This surprise better involve food, otherwise I don’t think you’ll be around for much longer.”
“I think you’ll be pleased with what I have in mind.”
Five minutes later, the two of you are standing in front of a sleek-looking black BMW.
“Whose car is this?” You peer around to look at the Ontario license plate. “Definitely not yours, considering you’re an Arizona boy.”
You turn to him, exasperated. “You made me walk all the way over here to show off your friend’s car? I swear to god, boys think that if they have some fancy ass car-”
“What do you mean ‘get in’? This is Mitch’s car! I’m going to the mess-”
“Y/N,” he says, his voice strained. “It’s part of the surprise - just get in the car.” He opens the passenger door.
“Oh. Okay, sorry.” You walk around to the passenger side, sliding in and closing the door behind you. You notice begrudgingly that the interior is all black leather. Mitch has good taste.
Auston hops into the driver’s seat and starts the car.
“Should I trust you to be driving?”
He looks over at you as he switches the car into reverse. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Exactly what you think it means.”
“And what would that be?” He pulls out of the camp’s front entrance and a little thrill shoots through you.
“Do I need to call an Uber? Is an American license even valid here? Do you even have a license?”
“Do you want food or not?”
“So that’s a no on the license then?” You pull out your phone, pretending to open your Uber app.
“Y/N, stop.” Auston laughs, reaching over and trying to swat at your phone. You pull it away, out of his reach.
“Two hands on the wheel mister.”
“God, you’re like my driving instructor.”
“Oh, so you do have a license.”
Auston sighs. “Could you please pass me my hat and sunglasses, it’s very sunny and my instructor always told me to wear them if it was too bright out. They’re on the back seat.”
You twist around and grab a baseball cap with a Toronto Maple Leafs’ logo stitched onto it and a pair of black shades.
“Ooh, the Leafs. Nice choice,” you say, sticking the hat on your head and placing the glasses in his outstretched hand.
“Where’s the hat?” He answers his own question when he turns his head. He does a double take. “It looks really good on you.”
“Thanks.” You blush and pull the cap further down on your head. He puts on his sunglasses and grins at you.
Ten minutes later, you’ve driven all the way into the neighbouring town. Several quaint shops line the sides of the road, each one different from the next, their hand-painted signs advertising fresh produce, home-baked goods, and the like. Normally you prefer the busyness of the city, but this place oozes a small-town charm that you can’t resist. You feel yourself eagerly leaning towards the window, trying to take everything in.
Auston notices this. “You that hungry?”
“What?” You jump back, slightly startled by his voice.
“You were practically climbing out the window towards that bakery.”
“Maybe I was just trying to escape from you.”
“Seems like it. We’re almost there, don’t worry,” he answers your unspoken question.
He turns on to the next street and parks the car parallel to the curb. “It’s just a short walk from here.”
You both get out of the car, and you climb up onto the sidewalk and wait as he locks the doors. “All good. Let’s go.” He reaches over and takes your hand. “This okay?” He nods at your intertwined hands.
“Um-uh-yes,” you stammer, blushing furiously. All he has to do is hold your hand and you’re rendered speechless.
You both walk down the street past a clump of trees, revealing a small restaurant tucked in among the long line of pines.
“Okay, so I talked to Steph and tried to figure out where it would be best to go and what you like to eat and this place matched up with most of what she said, but if you don’t like it we could go somewhere else or I’ll drive back to camp or even-”
“Auston, relax. I’m sure it will be perfect.”
He lets out a huge breath. “Okay, because I was really nervous that I would drive out here to surprise you but then you wouldn’t like anything.”
“You are honestly so adorable,” you say bluntly and Auston flushes red from head to toe. “But I am the least picky eater ever, so you had nothing to worry about.” You squeeze his hand and look up at him.
He smiles and squeezes your hand back. “I’ll remember that for next time.”
You both walk into the restaurant, but instead of sitting down like you expect, he whispers something into the host’s ear. The host nods and then disappears. A minute later he reappears with a large bag of something. Auston slips him some cash and thanks him, before leading you out the door.
“That was like some sort of drug deal.”
“It was like what?” He turns to look at you, surprised.
“A drug deal. You walked in there, whispered some sketchy things to the host dude and then he goes to the back and gets you a non-descript bag of something, you hand him the cash, and then we hightailed it out of there. Plus, you’re wearing sunglasses. That’s some shady business right there.”
He laughs, shaking his head. “You have a one-of-a-kind imagination.”
“Hey, I’m just calling it like I see it. So, what’s in the bag? Anything good?”
“You’ll see in a second.” He leads you back to the car, where he puts the bag in the backseat. You drive out of the town, but instead of heading back to camp, he steers the car in the opposite direction.
“Is this the part where you take me to a very quiet place in the woods to murder me, and then dispose of my body in that bag?”
“You caught me.”
“Will I at least get to eat first?”
“Then I will die a happy girl.”
He laughs at your statement and shakes his head. “Just down this driveway and then we’re there.”
He turns the car down a gravel path that winds through trees that overhang above to create a canopy. The fading sunlight filters down through the leaves, creating dappled shadows on the road ahead.
“Wow, this is beautiful.”
He grins, obviously pleased by your reaction. “This isn’t even the best part.”
As the car rounds the corner, the trees seem to pull apart, revealing a small stretch of beach and rocky outcroppings by the edge of a lake. The water is absolutely still, reflecting the bright streaks of colour from the sunset above. You’re shocked into silence.
Even as Auston helps you out of the car and grabs the bag and a blanket from the back seat, you don’t say a word. Instead, you stare in amazement at the scene in front of you. You grab his hand and walk silently over to the beach, where you help him lay out the blanket and unpack the containers of food, which thankfully, have kept it warm.
“Is water fine?” he asks, holding a bottle out to you.
You take it and nod. Your eyes have hardly moved from the lake.
He follows your gaze. “It’s something else, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” you say very softly. Then you turn your attention to the boy sitting to your left. He’s staring out at the lake, and he’s so beautiful you’re having a hard time comprehending that he is actually here, sitting beside you, and has put in all this effort to surprise you. An inexplicable feeling of happiness bubbles up inside you.
“What?” he asks, noticing your stare.
“Thank-you,” you say simply. “No one has ever done something so thoughtful for me. I’m so happy right now, and I can’t quite put the feeling into words, but thank-you so much for doing this.” You bend forward and kiss his cheek very gently.
When you pull away, he looks like he wants to grab you and pull you back down to kiss you properly, but you can see him weigh the options in his mind. “Let’s eat - the food’s probably getting cold,” he says.
You tear your eyes away from him and look down at the array of food surrounding you. “This is amazing Auston, honestly.”
Today, 1st of July, 2017 Canada celebrates its 150th birthday.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA.
Student Ariana Cuvin is the designer of the winning logo for Canada’s 150th birthday celebration. The maple leaf — the nation’s most iconic symbol — is made up of four diamonds at the base with nine more expanding outwards, signifying the four provinces that formed Confederation in 1867, eventually growing to 10 provinces and three territories.