A week had passed since Adelia was tricked into snooping around Noah's bedroom. This resulted in him strenuously slamming the door in her face.
Since that particular occurrence, no progress was made with breaking Noah out of his shell. In fact, Adelia felt as if she was moving backwards, rather than forwards. She had lost his trust and she was reminded of it every day.
Noah would go above and beyond to avoid Adelia, and she could not quite figure out why. Adelia understood how him finding her snooping around his belongings would frustrate him. However, he held this grudge from the moment he met her.
Mauve insisted that Noah personally had nothing against her, but Adelia couldn't help to disagree. Although he would never smile or laugh, he would still hold out thoughtful gestures to everyone else but her.
Since Adelia had picked up on this, she decided it was time to take action rather than waiting around for him to soften up to her.
Adelia gathered two things from unintentionally snooping around Noah's bedroom. That was his love for tennis and violent video games. Since Adelia was absolutely hopeless at video games, she resorted to the idea of playing tennis.
Adelia found herself dragging a sack full of dirt cheap tennis rackets, tennis balls and a portable tennis net. She let out loud grumbles and groans as she attempted to transport the bag from the entrance to the door leading into the garden.
Adelia stopped dead in her tracks when she noticed a swarm of children running down the hall towards her direction. As they came to a holt, she dropped the bag which weighed an entire elephant and placed her hands on her hips.
"Christ, we thought you were dying," Jess said, which did not come to a surprise to Adelia.
"I thought we could play some tennis." Adelia chirped while beaming a bright smile towards the kids.
Adelia watched as the majority of the children's faces were covered with a smile from ear to ear. All except for two, Jess and Noah. Jess scoffed and rolled her eyes so far back into her head Adelia almost became concerned. As for Noah, he just stood motionless with the same wearisome expression as The Statue of Liberty.
Without saying a word, Jess turned her back to Adelia and walked back in the direction they emerged from. This encouraged Noah to do the same but Adelia stopped him before he could take another step.
"You're joining us, Noah, I'm not giving you a choice on this one," Adelia instructed with a strict yet cheerful tone.
"What about me? Are you going to make me join?" Jess yelled to Adelia from the distance.
"Uh, no. That'll be one too many." Adelia spat back.
Her sassy remark made the kids chuckle and even caused an outburst of "Oooh's". Adelia smiled, feeling proud of herself as she gazed over at Noah. He was gazing back at her but something had changed in his expression. The way his eyes crinkled and the position of his lips were almost unrecognisable to Adelia. It was as if he was holding back a smile or a laugh.
This caused Adelia to panic. She quickly broke the eye contact she had made with Noah and glared down towards the floor.
Adelia felt a wave of relief as the children one by one ran out into the garden. Fortunately for Adelia, they all missed the bright red glow resting on her cheeks.
Once all the kids had made their way outside, a couple of awkward seconds went by between Adelia and Noah. He then decided to rush over to her and pick up the side of the bag which had been dragged along the floor.
Adelia stood frozen for a second, it was almost as if she needed a chance to register what was happening. She struggled to believe that out of nowhere, and after a week of no progress, he was finally coming undone. And by the look on Jess' face, as Adelia locked eyes with her from across the hallway, she could not believe it either.
"Uh, thank you." After an embarrassingly amount of time, Adelia finally found the words to thank him.
Without expecting a reply, Adelia led the way from inside the house into the garden. The kids were already chasing each other in circles and giggling from excitement. Noah grasped Adelia's attention by pointing towards an empty patch of grass. He decided to guide the way while Adelia dragged behind.
After carelessly dropping the bag onto the ground, Noah began rummaging through the contents. Adelia was left looking over him, with no idea how to assemble the net.
"I don't think it came with an instruction manual, so-" Before Adelia could even finish her sentence, Noah was dragging the components out one by one. He began slotting them together as if they were shape sorters for toddlers.
She decided to stand back and let Noah take the reins. Although, before she knew it, Noah was standing beside a fully assembled tennis net. Beneath his feet on the untouched grass sat multiple rackets and tennis balls.
"Right, well, that was easy," Adelia muttered, attempting to cover up her small state of shock.
The kids seemed to have noticed the completion of the homemade tennis court. This caused them to crowd around and squabble over who goes first. Adelia watched as Noah bent down and reached towards a tennis racket, laying flat on the ground. He raised the racket up towards the sky and stared at it, making sure to flip it around multiple times
Adelia knew he was not admiring the racket, he was judging it. She chuckled slightly as he snobbishly curled his lips up to the cheap plastic wires, and the flimsy handle of the tennis racket.
"Hey, I'm on a budget," Adelia laughed as she picked up a tennis ball and threw it in Noah's direction. Only for him to successfully catch it with his right hand, "That's what £20 at ASDA gets you."