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"Last night a pizza saved my life..."

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Sara pulled up outside the apartment block in her old beat-up car as it backfired and clanked loudly into the darkness of the street, ready for her last delivery of the night. This address had become part of her pattern for her final delivery of the evening; the apartment seemed to order the same meal at the same time every week. At first, Sara took the delivery as it was on her way home, and it seemed convenient at the time, but then she saw the customer at the door and instead, it was the one place she looked forward to going to instead.

It was four weeks ago that Sara met Ava Sharpe. After a long night of delivering pizza’s to drunken teens and office buildings of employees working late, she couldn’t wait to get home and just sleep away the night and day until she had to start doing the same thing all over again. On that particular night, the rain was falling heavily. The blonde had to contend with staying wet her entire shift, dealing with the constant cold chill as the air hit her damp clothing, her drenched hair constantly falling in her face and paying more attention to keeping the pizza’s dry rather than herself. More worried about losing her money to a ruined pizza than her health. Sara had gone past the point of exhaustion and patience, she didn’t want to make the delivery, but when it was a choice between blowing it off and losing her job, Sara begrudgingly did as she was told. She had dragged herself inside the apartment building and lugged the food order up the stairs because, of course, the elevator wasn’t working, and Sara was forced to climb five flights of stairs. In her damp, heavy clothes, Sara trudged up the stairs, leaving a trail of wet footprints behind her as evidence of her presence in the stairwell.

Once Sara had got to the floor that she needed, she couldn’t help but stop for a moment to look around at her environment. The inside of the building was different from the exterior; from a distance, the building didn’t look much, but the inside looked like she had just stepped into the Hilton. The difference of appearance confused Sara; she couldn’t understand how this building situated on a poorer side of the neighbourhood looked like it was the richest one on the street. It was kind of unnerving, but luckily for Sara, she wasn’t there to ask questions. She was there to deliver a pizza, a pizza that was quickly losing heat from all the delay.

Sara walked along the hallway, looking at all the door numbers as she passed them; it seemed like the hallway was neverending as she made her way right to the end. There was one lonely door with no other’s surrounding it at the darkened end of the corridor. If Sara were a superstitious person, she wouldn’t think twice about turning around, but as the girl who lived and breathed horror films, a dark corridor was the least of her worries. She knocked on the door lightly, not wanting to affect the silence of the building too much. Everything was quiet for a moment before Sara could hear rustling coming from behind the door. She tilted her head towards the door curiously to try and hear what was going on, being careful not to drop the pizza she was balancing in her left hand. The rustling got louder; it almost sounded like somebody was moving furniture back and forth. Sara peered up to look at the number on the door, ensuring she was at the right place. Suddenly the door flew open, almost making a surprised Sara almost fall over. Catching herself in the smoothest way she could, Sara quickly stood up straight after being caught listening at the door. Looking up, Sara was struck by the sight of Ava stood in the doorway, looking at her with a very inquisitive face. Sara quickly stood up straight and cleared her throat, instantly struck by the beauty of this woman who had answered the door.

“Uh…can I help you?” Ava asked, giving a nervous chuckle afterwards as she looked Sara up and down, wondering who this stunning woman was.

“Absolutely…” A distracted Sara replied with her eyes glued on Ava, mentally seducing the woman that she didn’t know.

“Excuse me?” Ava replied in confusion.

“Huh? Oh yes…sorry. I’ve got your pizza here?” Sara replied quickly, realising her inappropriate comment.

“Oh, great!” Let me just get my purse,” Ava replied, almost relieved. Pushing the door ajar, Ava disappeared back into the apartment, leaving Sara to wait.

As she waited in the hallway, Sara quickly used her fingers to try and control the wet mop that resided on her head, not wanting to look like a mess in front of the beautiful stranger. A second later, the door opened again, and Ava reappeared but with a smile this time.

Sara quickly returned the smiled and handed the pizza box over to Ava. “That’s $15,”

“Oh sure,” Ava said as she took the box and then pulled a note out of her purse and handed it over. “Keep the change,”

“Thanks…have a good night,” A flustered Sara replied.

The two women stared at each other for a moment as though waiting for one of them to say something to delay the interaction from ending.

“Well, if there are any problems, don’t hesitate to call,” Sara blurted out, mentally kicking herself for not saying something more interesting.

“…Thanks. Goodnight,” Ava replied with a disappointing smile. Looking down, she turned away and went back into the apartment, leaving Sara in the hallway.

Sara dropped her head back, feeling like a fool. She never had a problem talking to a beautiful woman; it was one of her many strengths, but this was the first time she had forgotten how to function. Luckily for Sara, this wouldn’t be their one and only interaction.

The two women met three more times after that, and every interaction was better than the last. At the same time every week, Sara noticed the same address ordered the exact same pizza every time, and she took it upon herself to consistently deliver those pizzas. After the first fluster, she took this as her opportunity to make up for her hesitation and woo the woman who caught her attention straight away.

The second interaction went a lot better; Sara managed to make a casual joke about them meeting again, which led to them introducing themselves and being on a first-name basis. It didn’t seem as awkward as the first time, and Ava seemed quite receptive.

The third interaction was a game-changer; once Sara got to the apartment and knocked on the door, she didn’t have to wait long for Ava to answer the door. It was almost like Ava had been stood behind the door waiting with how quickly the door was opened. They both made light conversation and laughed at each other’s jokes. Ava even found a way to mention that she was very much single and not straight, which only heightened Sara’s interest in the other woman.

The fourth interaction had become a routine; Ava was even stood in the doorway, ready for Sara, skipping the formality of knocking on the door. Their conversation then developed into hobbies and interests and the constant flirtatious laughs at what each other said. Even though the rapport between the two women had gotten better, they both still tiptoed around the idea of asking one another out. Sara was filled with butterflies, and she couldn’t understand why; it’s not like she was ashamed of her profession or who she was, so that couldn’t be the reason. How did this woman make her feel like a bottle of nerves? So again, Sara left, and Ava disappeared into her apartment just like their unchanged routine.

So as Sara sat in her car with the engine still running, she picked up the pizza off the passenger seat on her fifth visit to Ava’s apartment and took a deep breath. Sara had promised herself that the next time she saw Ava, she was going to muster up the courage and finally invite this enigmatic woman on a date.

“You’ve got this, Sara. Sweep her off her feet,” Sara thought to herself.

Sara climbed out of the car and made her way up the stairs to Ava’s floor, prepping herself on what she was going to say once she got to the door. She climbed up the stairs two at a time, not wanting to waste any time in her anticipation. She stepped through the doorway into the hallway and turned with a smile, expecting to see Ava waiting for her like she had done the week before. Only this time, she was welcomed to the sight of flustered Ava running from her apartment and towards the stairway. Ava noticed Sara straight away and ran straight over to her, barely standing still in her hurry.

“Oh Sara, thank god,” A relieved Ava greeted Sara.

“Ava? Is everything ok?” Sara reached out and instinctively placed a reassuring hand on Ava’s arm.

“I don’t have time to explain…do you have a car? It’s an emergency,” Ava rushed, looking down at her watch.

“Uh..yeah. It’s parked out the front…,” Sara replied in confusion but also worried for the panicked woman in front of her.

“Can I drive? And we should leave like now!” Ava grabbed Sara’s hand and pulled them both down the stairs and to Sara’s beat-up car without waiting for a response.

Sara, without question, passed the car keys to Ava and climbed into the passenger’s side as Ava got in the driver’s side. Before Sara could question what was happening, Ava had already slammed her foot down on the accelerator and sped down the darkened street. Sara grabbed the dashboard in shock as she steadied herself.

“Wow! What kind of emergency is this?! Slow down before the cops, pull us over,” Sara called out.

“It’s fine. I am the cops!” Ava replied, not taking her eyes off the road.

“What?!” That is all Sara could reply to, not expecting the evening to go the way it was.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you. I wasn’t even supposed to be talking to you,” Ava explained as they swerved suddenly around a corner. “That place isn’t my apartment…I work there,”

“Oook…so that explains why the conversations were always light. So would you have told me if you didn’t need my car?” Sara asked, feeling slightly foolish.

“I mean, I dunno, I guess it depends on if I finally got the guts to ask you on a date…otherwise, no,” Ava replied guiltily.

“You were going to ask me out?” Sara replied in surprise as she ignored everything Ava had just said and focussed on the date part, giving Ava a look that couldn’t be ignored.

“…I…Shit!” Ava cried as she narrowly missed the car in front of them. The vehicle swerved for a second before Ava could regain control.

Sara had clamped her eyes shut, not wanting to see the accident that was potentially going to happen. She placed her hands on the dashboard as she braced for impact but instead, she felt Ava’s warm touch on her arm, bringing her back to reality.

“It’s ok, sorry I shouldn’t have looked away,” Ava said calmly, keeping her gaze on the road as she addressed Sara, missing the fearful look she was being given.

“Where are we even going to warrant dangerous driving?!” Sara asked, more concerned that her old car was even going to survive the ride. She already mistreated the car racing from house to house, but this was something else entirely. If they went any faster, they were going to hit 88mph and travel through time.

“Do you see that red car ahead of us that just passed the traffic lights?” Ava asked.

Sara looked ahead of her on the road and squinted her eyes, as she could just about see a small red car in the distance that seemed to be driving just as erratically as they were.
“Uh, kinda, they look pretty small from this far back,”

“The guy driving the car lives in the building opposite the one I’m staying in. He’s been part of gang activity, and I’ve been building up a file on him. Today I picked up a phone call, and he’s on his way to meet the gang, and I need to find out where that is,” Ava explained.

“Don’t you have other cops that you could send out to follow him instead of endangering me?” Sara slightly joked as she slowly began to enjoy being involved in a secret police sting.

“I called them with the description of the car, but I couldn’t risk losing track of him before my partner made it to me with the car. I’m very sorry I dragged you into this,” Ava explained to Sara but only seeing the smile that had appeared on the other woman’s face.

“Why are you smiling?” Ava glanced at Sara quickly and went back to looking at the road.

“No reason; I guess it’s nice seeing this side of you. You always seemed reserved whenever we spoke, but this is a whole new side…and I kinda like it,” Sara said with an honest flirtation.

“I guess it’s hard to tell the truth when you’re deep undercover. Plus, you’re kind of intimidating…,” Ava admitted as she shot through a red light as she grew closer to the red car.

“Me? No way, you’re a cop that’s way more intimidating, and before that, I just thought you were this unbelievably hot woman who lived in an expensive apartment building. Me…I just deliver pizzas,” Sara looked down at her hands, embarrassed by her occupation.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with delivering pizzas; I mean, who else is supposed to do it? You’re great with people, and you have this confidence that surrounds you. You just seem way out of my league,” Ava told Sara, who began to tear up at the admission.

Sara had made some bad choices in her life that led to her in the delivery profession, and so she usually did her best to keep that part of her life secret from strangers. It wasn’t that she was embarrassed by the job; it was more to do with the failure to go in the direction she had initially wanted. She wanted so badly to be a doctor but taking college life for granted caused her to flunk out and never get as far as medical school. So for Ava to be so kind whilst only knowing who Sara was from the brief encounters they had already had meant so much. Although before Sara could reply, Ava swerved the car again and turned them in a dusty dirt road, where visibility was limited. Ava switched off the headlights and pulled over on the side of the road. They were parked down the street from an old warehouse, which the small light illuminating the building could only be seen.

“What’s going on?” Sara whispered even though they couldn’t be heard by anyone else.

“The car went into that building over there. I’m going to follow in and see what I can, make sure they don’t move on before backup can get here. Can you call 9-1-1 and let them know you’re with officer Sharpe and then tell them where we are,” Ava instructed more than asked as she pulled a gun from her holster that had been hidden by her jacket and checked the bullets.

“What? No way. You can’t drive me all the way here and make me wait in the car!” Sara exclaimed, not wanting to miss out on what could follow.

“Sara, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but you’re a civilian. It’ll be safer for you here,” Ava warned as she reached for the door handle.

“No way, leaving a young woman in a car, in the dark and in the middle of nowhere. I think I’d be safer with you,” Sara argued, doing her best to make Ava feel bad.

“You will be fine. You have the car keys, so you can lock yourself in and drive away if you need to. If they see me, it could ruin everything, and I can’t risk you getting hurt out there,” Ava said, not taking the bait.

“And what’s your plan, sit in the dark and watch them?” Sara said, rolling her eyes.

“Uh yes…is that a problem?” Ava drawled, annoyed that she was being held.

“Yeah, it is. How does staring at a building help? It’s the middle of the night, you only have a gun, and if you get caught, you have no explanation, so this is all pointless. When really you should be looking for a way to keep them distracted, so they don’t leave before your backup gets here,” Sara explains, as all of her knowledge of every crime drama she had ever seen popped into her head.

“Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t realise you had a better plan,” Ava replied sarcastically, not used to her motives being questioned.

“Yeah, I do, actually. You stay here, and I go in,” Sara stated.

“You’re crazy,” Ava shook her head as she turned to leave, but Sara grabbed Ava’s arm so she could get the cop’s attention.

“I’m not; just listen. I go in there with a “delivery” and act the innocent. They’re not going to be threatened by me. I’ll drive the car down, so they think it’s just me, and you can hide in the car and keep an eye on me. I won’t need to be in there long, just long enough for them to be distracted,” Ava looked on unconvinced, so Sara reached behind her chair and grabbed a cap off the floor and placed it on her head. The words “Pizza Legends” were embroidered on the hat.

“I hate wearing this thing, but with this and the pizza that I had brought for you, they won’t be any the wiser,” Sara said convincingly.

Ava looked at Sara silently and thought about what had been suggested. Ava looked like she was having an argument with herself in her head, opening her mouth multiple times to speak, but no words came out. Sara couldn’t help but smile; Ava looked so cute when she was conflicted. It wasn’t the time for Sara to have romantic thoughts, but she couldn’t help but be enthralled by Ava.

“Ok, but you need to do exactly as I say, and if it looks like trouble is coming, you run like hell. And I’m calling back up now before you go in; the less time you’re in there, the better,” Ava said sternly, staring straight into Sara’s with a firm look.

“Deal,” Sara nodded.

The two women swapped sides of the car, and Sara slowly drove down to the building as Ava put the call into station. Ava scooted down, so she was in the footwell, low enough to not be seen but high enough to peek outside the window. Sara pulled the car over on the opposite side of the building and shut off the engine. With shaky hands, Sara pulled the cap on her head and grabbed the pizza box off the back seat. Ava looked on as she watched the nervous Sara get ready; not thinking, she reached forward and placed her hand on Sara’s. Sara looked down at the hand and swallowed down a lump in her throat.

“Sara, if you want to back out, it’s fine. I’ll go in instead. You’re under no obligation,” Ava told the other woman affectionately.

“No, it’s fine. It was my idea, and you couldn’t go in dressed like me. They’d know you’re pretending straight away; you have too much of a serious face,” Sara gave a breathy laugh to hide her nerves as Ava smiled and shook her head at Sara’s teasing. “Ok, I’ll take your word for it. Now, remember you have 3 minutes. If you’re not back out by then, I’m gonna come looking. Hopefully, the backup will be here before then, so it won’t matter,”

“Right, got it. Wish me luck,” Sara replied.

“You don’t need it. You’ve got this,” Ava smiled, hiding the worry that she had for Sara. Sara nodded one more time and jumped out of the car.

Sara’s heart was pumping through her ribcage, and she crossed the road towards the dodgy looking building. This was the more terrifying and most exhilarating thing Sara was ever about to do. She couldn’t even believe she came up with this plan, it was so unlike her, but at the same time, the thought of going undercover was so exciting. Sara had the opportunity to make herself useful and do something that would make a difference. And she got the bonus of being able to be around Ava and be a part of her life. They barely knew each other, but every time they were together, it felt so natural. And let’s face it, she was also doing this to try and impress Ava; she did like to show off to get a woman’s attention.

Sara made it to the front of the building and looked around for any sign of life; she could see the red car they had been following, parked around the side in an alleyway. She avoided the temptation to look back around at Ava for help in case she was being watched. Next to the car was a metal door; Sara guessed it must be the entrance and jogged over to it. Shrugging her shoulders, she banged a fist against the door and then stood back and waited. Sara stood as casual as she could whilst carrying a pizza and waited for a response. No one answered the door. Sara’s impatience began to kick in, and without thinking of the consequences, she walked up to the door and tried the handle. Expecting the door to be locked, the blonde was pleasantly surprised to find the door was unlocked and swung straight open for her. Not wanting to turn, Sara looked to the left of her, and in her peripheral vision, she could see Ava’s head shaking from side to side, warning her away from the door. Sara had come too far and ignored the detective sat in her car, and entered the building.

Sara walked into the building filled with a pungent smell of B.O and damp air; it was like she had just stepped into a squat, and her senses were instantly invaded. Regret hit her immediately as she realised how much of a bad idea this really was. She slowly stepped through a walkway that led down a long corridor and to another door that was opened ajar. Taking a deep breath, Sara walked up to the door and slowly pushed it open and walked through it. A dim light illuminated the grotty room that held a couple of dusty sofas with two men sat on them. They jumped at the sight of Sara entering their room and jumped to their feet. One of the men stepped toward Sara suspiciously as he looked her up at down. Sara had plastered a fake smile across her face as soon as she saw the men in the room.

“Heeey guys. I’ve got your pizza here. Sorry, I walked in, but no one answered, and the door was unlocked,” Sara happily greeted the men.

The tall man who had stepped forward and turned to her mate and slapped him on the shoulder. “Ow, what the fuck Dave? What was that for?” The other man moaned as he rubbed his shoulder.

“Fred, what have I told you about locking the door behind you. If the boss found out, you’re dead,” Dave growled and then turned back to Sara and folded his arms to show his authority.”I think you’re in the wrong place; we didn’t order any pizza,”

“Oh, really? This was the address I was given,” Sara feigned innocence and ignorance.

“Maybe the boss ordered it? If not, I’ll have it. I’m starving,” Fred chimed in from behind.

“Fred shut it. Hang on, let me ask my boss,” Dave huffed. The man shook his head and stepped into the room next to them, and shut the door.

Fred smiled at Sara goofily; Sara smiled back politely as she tried to look away without making things awkward. She looked around and noticed there was only one way in or out. Looking down at her watch, Sara saw she had one minute left before Ava would come looking for her. Soon enough, Dave returned to the room but never left the doorway.

“This way, please,” The man growled with no emotion.

“Oh, is the pizza yours?” Sara asked nervously, not wanting to follow the stranger.

“Just come this way, please,” Dave repeated as he pulled his jacket aside to reveal his concealed gun.

Sara nodded her head and followed the man through to the next room. She stepped into the large office to find another four large men and an older man sat in a stylish suit at a desk in the middle of the room.

“I hear you’re here to deliver a pizza?” The older man greeted Sara with a solemn face.

“Oh yeah, are you Mr Peterson?” Sara lied, trying to be as natural as she could in the very unnerving setting.

“No…and you know I’m not, don’t you dear?” The man replied calmly but in a way that made Sara very nervous.

“I’m not sure what you’re talking…-,” Sara was cut off as the older gentleman raised his hand to cut her off.

“We saw your car parked out the front. I know you were following one of my men here, so you can stop the act,” The man stood up from the desk and walked around it to stand in front of Sara.

“I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you’re talking about. If this isn’t your pizza, can you just say? Or I’m going to leave,” Sara replied, doing her best to keep up the act.

The older man laughed menacingly at Sara, pulled a gun out from his back, and aimed it at her face. Sara’s caught in the back of her throat as she stared at the gun pointed at her. Nothing entered her mind as the impending doom of what may happen to her dawned on her. There was no escape, and nobody but Ava knew she was there; it’s not how she imagined her life ending but then when did life ever work out the way she wanted to. As the man cocked the gun, ready to pull the trigger, the sound of an explosion thundered out from behind Sara, causing her to jump, mistaking the sound for the gun.

Straight away, all the men in the room pulled out guns and readied themselves for what sounded like an invasion. The leader holding the weapon to Sara’s face got distracted by the chaos and lowered his arm. Without thinking, Sara smashed the pizza box into the leader’s face to throw him off balance, then she dropped to the ground and threw a punch right at his groin. The leader cried out in agony and grabbed his crotch as Sara crawled away, and all the men became confused, not knowing whether to head towards the noise or check if their boss was ok. Luckily they didn’t get a chance to decide when Ava charged through the door with her gun pointed and four other officers right behind her.

“Everybody on the ground! You’re under arrest!” Ava barked as her eyes darted around the room, trying to catch sight of Sara.

“Fuck that, get me out of here!” The leader barked through the pain.

The goons turned towards Ava and the other officer’s and charged right at them. Quick to react, Ava shot the first man who charged at her, hitting him in the shoulder and sending him to the ground. Out of nowhere, another man appeared and punched her in the face, sending Ava back into the officer behind. The officer lifted her back to her feet quickly, and they both joined the other officers that were in a scuffle with the criminals. Ava saw her target of the illustrious gang leader that had managed to stay under the radar for years. She dived forward and pushed him to the ground as he still held on to his crotch in agony. Seeing the remnants of pizza sauce on his face, she instantly knew this was Sara’s doing and couldn’t help but chuckle to herself. She grabbed the leaders arms and yanked them behind his back, slamming his front to the ground as she handcuffed him.

It wasn’t long before the rest of the goons had been restrained taken out to the police van waiting outside. Ava took great pleasure in them and their leader being led away, but as the room emptied, she realised that Sara still hadn’t appeared, and panic suddenly hit. Ava spun around to look at the room and see where the other woman had gotten to.

“Sara?!” Ava asked with a raised voice.

A creak came from behind the desk, and then a hand appeared, it reached out to the chair, and Sara pulled herself up from the ground with a smile on her face.

“Oh, thank god, you’re ok,” Ava exclaimed as she moved over to Sara and helped her stand to her feet. “Are you hurt?”

“Nah, I’m fine. I managed to crawl over here before you and your boys burst in. Figured I’d stay down until the violence stopped,” Sara chuckled.

“I’m surprised you didn’t join in; I saw what you did to their boss,” Ava laughed as she looked over Sara in awe.

“Shut up, jerk,” Sara nudged Ava playfully.

“I’m sorry, but honestly, you did good, plus you are unbelievably lucky. Tonight was a lot,” Ava said earnestly.

“Yeah, I guess I was. Probably not the best place for our first date, but I’m sure we’ll do better on the next one,” Sara replied with an agreeable nod and coy smile.

“You thought of this as a date?” An intrigued Ava replied.

“Yeah, sure. I mean, I definitely got to know you a bit better and spending time with you has been an experience…unless you’re not interested, and I read all the signs wrong,” Sara began to backtrack nervously.

“No! I mean, no, you didn’t read them wrong. You’re right; I definitely need to make this up to you with a second date,” Ava said, unable to hide the smile that had spread across her face.

Sara looked down gleefully and then back to Ava, slightly biting the side of her lip.”How about you make it up to me now with a kiss, and we can worry about the next adventure later?” Sara said brazenly as her attraction to Ava grew more and more with every word they said to each other.

Ava blushed as she looked at Sara softly; she stepped forward and pressed her hand to Sara’s cheek. Effortlessly, she guided Sara’s face toward’s hers and pressed their lips together. Sara melted straight into Ava; the kiss felt better than anything she had ever imagine. They fitted together perfectly, with a spark that instantly filled Sara with desire. Ava tasted amazing on her lips, making her feel how natural everything was with them. Their relationship had from 0-100 in such a short space of time, and at the same time, it had taken so long to develop, but Sara regretted nothing. Who else wouldn’t love to have such a memorable story to remember how a new relationship had begun.?
They stayed in their embrace for a few more seconds, both women unwilling to pull away until they knew they needed air. The women pulled away simultaneously, with Ava keeping her eyes closed for a moment as she smiled, still picturing the kiss as though it was still happening. Sara smiled at the image; everything about Ava told her that she was hooked. Finally, one good thing had come from her career in pizza delivery; she met someone that she knew in her gut was going to change her life forever.

“So, about our next date? Undercover mission or murder mystery?” Ava joked before leaning back in for another kiss, thanking the stars that she had ordered her first pizza all those weeks ago.