The Trash Bin of Cliches

This is a series of shorts about the life of established author, Willow Parker.

Whilst living in London with her best friend Kennedy, Willow gets writer's block. Something she deals with by getting, what was supposed to be a temp job, at The Agency: a company that is invested in a bunch of media industry fields. While helping out with a photo shoot Willow meets one of the world's most coveted bachelors, Sawyer Huntington, one of the boys from the internationally popular group Once Upon.

Thanks to one of her new model friends, Yvonne, Sawyer gets his hooks into her and she wakes up after a night of partying with someone else's boxers on. After that it's one thing after another, starting again when Once Upon books their new music video shoot with The Agency. When she is mistaken for an extra and Sawyer picks her to play the opposing role in his scene, sparks fly, now all Willow has to do is try not to catch fire.


9. Because Life That's Why: 3rd March 2012


She was woken up by a ringing loud in her ear. Her first impulse was to throw the phone across the room and kill it with fire; however she went with her second. She grabbed her phone and pressed the on button, what was the worst, that she was up before her alarm?   

“Hello?” she said groggily.   

“Hi Will,” at the sound of a voice she hadn’t heard in ages her jaw dropped and her eyes opened wide, her body shooting upright in bed. She was definitely awake now.  



“Pierce Johansen?”   


“You do realize it’s two in the morning?” she looked at the clock and the question came out happy even though she wanted to strangle him through her phone.  

“Yeah… Sorry, can I come in?”  


“Can I come in?”  

“You’re here?”   

“Yeah, Will come on it’s cold, just buzz me in.”  

“But you’re in Toronto?”  

“Yeah, the buzzer?”  

“I’m getting to it! I was in bed you know!”   

“’K, I’m going to just wait and hang up now.”   

She buzzed him in and a minute later she was opening the door. “Can I hug you or is it weird now?”  

“Yeah, you can hug me.” She wrapped her arms around his waist and felt the cold fabric of his coat sleeves around her shoulders, it used to be when they hugged like this it was comfortable, now it was different, awkward some how. But by the looks of it neither of them cared, the hug drew on for longer than it should have with their current situation. They were both in relationships now, their past irrelevant. “Will?”  


“You aren’t wearing any pants.”  

“Yeah,” they let go, and she looked up at him with her eyebrow raised, “And you’re walking around 6 hours from where you’re supposed to be at 2 am. Come on in,” she moved so he could get through and closed the doors behind him. “So what brings you here?” She went over to the fridge, “Want a beer?”  

“No,” he just stood there awkwardly in the middle of the kitchen.   

“Well, more for me then,” She plucked two beers out of the fridge and headed to her room, then realizing he wasn’t following she turned to him, “You coming? We can’t talk out here, we’ll wake Kennedy or Jude. Neither of them is a party in the morning.”  

“Are they worse than you?” Peirce smiles as he enters her room, taking a seat on her bed.   

“Course not,” She opens a beer but puts it with the other on her bedside table, sitting down on her bed she turns her body towards him and leans back on her headboard.  

“It’s Quinn, by the way,” the happy expression drops from her face, she really wants him to have that beer now.   

Quinn was the girl who kept breaking Peirce’s heart, it was cliché really, something Willow would write in a some sappy sob story to get over her writer’s block, but she wouldn’t write it like this, not as tragic as his love life. Well, tragic wasn’t the right word to use, it was too fine for the situations Quinn created; at least in Will‘s opinion. The basics of the story were, Peirce is the guy every girl wants, talented, charming, beautiful inside and out, with just that bit of confidence, borderline arrogance really, that made every guy irresistible. And it wasn’t that he always fell for girls he knew wouldn’t treat him well, he’d fallen for tons that would have, but he was fickle, there were few people that kept his attention for more than three months at a time, Quinn was one of them.   

Regardless, she has to be caring; swallowing back a large mouthful of less than praising words for that girl, she licks her lips. “Why don’t you start with the part that made you want to drive six hours in the middle of the night?”   

So he does, he explains it to her briefly, but he doesn’t have to explain in detail what Quinn has done this time, it’s always repeated moves with girls like her. And she can tell, she just can, because she knows him, that this time, he really is starting to dent. Not that the pain Quinn’s caused him before wasn’t relevant, it was that if Peirce’s heart was a car, Quinn was that person who would nudge forward and ding the car to go faster, to do what it wanted because why go around when there wasn’t enough room to pass. To put it simply, Peirce was this girl’s back-up plan, she would go, until she was sure she had him and then the story would end something along what Peirce was saying now.  

“So then, I walked into the room, and there she was, with him. They weren’t doing anything, but I could just tell you know. The way they were sitting, the way she threw her head back when she laughed at him. It was exactly how we used to be. And god, Will, the way she was smiling at him…” he left off there, his lips pressed together, his fists clenched. Beers in no way were strong enough for this, she put her hand over his, her other hand placing the second bottle of beer she just finished beside the first empty bottle.   

“Hey, let’s play a game,” he turned to her, his smile obviously forced, he was trying to hold himself together, not for Will, but for him. She held his hand and walked him into the kitchen, getting whisky out of the cabinet above the fridge and shot glasses out of the cupboard. She grabbed some cherries as well, that always seemed to be their food, cherries. But she pushed that memory behind her, it was much different now, the way she remembered it.   

“Really? Are you sure this is a good idea, can’t end the same way now can it?” His smile was at least half genuine now and she returned it.   

“Yes really. Well then, we’ll have to create a new rule won’t we? Absolutely no privilege winning, no matter how impressive one’s trick is.”  

With that she started into her bedroom again, hearing him follow her she pulled her Aisle out from under her bed and set the shot glasses on it, placing a cherry in each one then whisky.   

“Since you set up I go first, yeah?” He sounded happier now and she was relieved.   

“None of your old tricks though, remember the new rule.”  

“Course,” He winked at her and she laughed.   

For the next couple hours after that the game was ablaze, at one point Peirce, at no avail to Willow’s rules stripped down to his pants to make it even so they both had 2 articles of clothing on. It was fine, and everything was starting to look up, until the truth portion of the game. Willow wasn’t sure exactly what set Peirce off but a tear fell down his cheek and all at once he was a little boy sobbing in her arms. “She looked right at me Will, with this expression, like there was nothing I could do about it. Silently telling me she didn‘t care that I was watching, she was going to do it anyways”  

“Just let it out,” she rubbed his back as he wept into her chest.   

“Why do I do this to myself Will? I knew she wouldn’t get better, she never has before.”  

“Because, and even if you don’t see it I do, you are a great person who loves to see the best in people, and it hurts badly when people don’t live up to what you expected them to be. You’re so good Peirce, so good, and you would love for other people to be.”  

“But I’m not Will, I hurt people. I-”  

“You can not blame yourself for not returning peoples feelings. I did it for years and it’s not worth it.” He stops and they are both silent for a while, him hugging her to him and getting a hold on himself. After a few minutes she breaks the silence. “I know it feels like you won’t get better,” his heads on her lap now, and he’s curled up like a kitten beside her as she pets his hair, “but you’re never alone Peirce, people genuinely care about you, you know that already.”  

“I did find someone, I was just too daft to do anything but mess around with her when she was available,” she feels his dimples press against her thigh. At this point she’s not sure whether or not to tell him about what’s been going on with her and one of the worlds most wanted bachelors.   

“You’re silly, and a little drunk, I don’t care how high you think your tolerance is, you have been and will always be a light weight.”   

And he’s in front of her and she hopes to hell he’s not going to do what she thinks he is, but he leans in. It’s just a soft kiss on the lips, like he needs to make sure she’s real, but she can’t and she puts her fingers in front of his lips. Her eyes are tearing up, but she blinks them back. He’s enough of a mess already, he doesn’t need her reminding him. Although it does mean something to her, it’s nothing that matters in that way, not anymore. “You don’t kiss me back anymore Will, and I know you’ve got a guy, and that was a horrible thing for me to do.”  

“Calm down, it didn’t happen. Of course you feel more for me now, after what you’ve been put through,” for the past year and 8 months, she adds silently as he places himself where he was before.  

“You act as if it’s nothing but it’s always been you.”  

“Because I’m always around, because I‘m familiar, not because of anything else.”  

“Mmhmm,” and he’s asleep. So she puts his head on her pillow and tucks him in like she did all those times before she was 23 and he was 21, but this time she doesn’t crawl in beside him, she goes to sleep in the living room.   

The next morning Sawyer comes, and she actually feels relieved, guilty but relieved, that now she doesn’t have to tell him awkwardly and ruin their day together. However, a bunch of events unfolded, that were not according to plan.  

It all started when Kennedy got up to make her breakfast, so focused on her task she failed to notice the lump of covers on the living room couch before turning towards the kitchen. Jude however, had no excuse, so it was really not clear why he failed to notice Willow asleep on the couch.   

So Jude is sitting there with his tea and pancakes when Kennedy is finished; as the two of them are both control freaks in the kitchen neither of them can be working at the same time, it’s actually a pretty bad idea for them to even be in the kitchen while the other one is cooking. It was basically a miracle the kitchen hadn‘t imploded from the impending tension.  

Kennedy turned left, down the hall that led to the linen closet, Willow’s room, and the one she shared with Jude. The door to Willow’s was ajar, she pushed it open and nearly dropped the tray, or platter for how much food she had on there; she succeeded in dropping nothing but instead making a mess of her night shirt, hair, and knocking a lamp over. She hurried out of the room, slowly walking as to not spill the rest of what was left on the tray.   

“What’s wrong? Sawyer get here early?” Jude laughed, but upon seeing his girlfriend’s face was not creased in disgust, stopped. “Ken? Seriously, what’s up?”  

“W-Will-” She cut off, developing a small twitch in her eye, “She- but, Sawyer. I don’t… I can’t.. Will wouldn’t, no… not again with him.”   

“Ken?” Jude asked nervously.  

“Naked b-body… bodies… n-no, Will… no… I-I,” Kennedy was spluttering at this point.   

“Will you both,” Willow sat up covers falling off the couch, “shut up please.” At this point Kennedy did drop the tray, which Willow cringed at.  

“Will!” Kennedy looked a mix of overjoyed and relieved.   

“Yes, that is my name, caring old best friend of mine who is making a racket when I am having sleeping time.”  

“Why are you out here if Sawyer’s in there?” Jude pointed to the hall confused.  

“Sawyer is here!” Willow shouted horrified, she jumped up and ran to her room, shoving the door open and revealing a very passed out, very naked, Peirce. She let out a sigh of relief, plucked a towel from her laundry bin and covered his overly revealed bottom. Walking out of the room and back to the kitchen. “Alright. Firstly Kennedy, nothing happened between me and Peirce, it is not and will not be like last time.”  

“’Kay, who is Peirce?” Jude looked confused, then suddenly his expression changed to shocked. “Naked, there is another naked person in your bed! Will! Sawyer-”  

“Jude, nothing happened, Peirce is just a friend, when I left he was passed out in his boxers.”  

“Why was he in his boxers?” This new found friendship between Sawyer and Jude was welcome, but was now becoming a great inconvenience.   

“We were playing a drinking game, the apartment gets hot at night.”  

“So turn on the air conditioning.”  

“Jude, you have seen me naked due to a drinking game, did I do anything to you or the other people at that party?”   


“Then maybe reconsider your judgement. Or do you need the full Peirce and Willow special before then? Long story short is we used to sleep together, but we were never together. We were really close before that and remained close afterwards.”  

“With all due respect Will, I love you, and even if you don’t want to admit it,” Kennedy bit her lip nervously, as if regretting what she had to say, “you and Peirce were a bit more than just friends with benefits. Everyone knew that, both of you were just too scared to admit it.”   

“I will only go as far as possible open relationship,” Willow replied, sounding mildly annoyed. She turned to Jude, “I would never do anything to mess up what I have with Sawyer. You don’t have to believe me, but it‘s true.”  

“Will, I believe you, but a naked man in your bed will not look good when he gets here.”  

“I know, I just don’t know what to do, he’s hurting again and this time I can’t fix it.”   

“Fix it?”  

“We used to have the sort of relationship were if something happened to one of us we ran to the other, didn’t matter what the circumstances were. And now that I’m with Sawyer, I can’t be that for him anymore,” a look of concern crossed over Jude’s face and he stepped forward as if to hug her, but made eye contact with Kennedy, that she assumed, told him not to. “You’re right though. I’m not sure if we should wake him up, he had a lot of whiskey.”  

“A lot?” Jude raised an eyebrow. Trying to get things to go back to the calm way they were ten minutes ago, unfortunately it had the opposite effect.  

“The night ended with him sobbing into my chest like a child who had just been told Santa isn’t real.” She turned to Kennedy. “And before you ask, yes it was her, and I know she may have her reasons, I’m just not emotionally open enough to care.”   

“Did you at least cover him?” Kennedy was also trying to lighten the mood. Willow had a million things going through her head, her heart ached at the thought of losing Sawyer. She didn’t think anything could be worse than the way she felt when she thought he was ending it with her when they weren’t even official. This, this was much worse.   

“With a towel.”  

So then Jude got a sheet to cover him with because he didn’t trust Kennedy not to peak, it was an absurd joke between them about the first time they got drunk together and she looked down his pants. Everything continued as planned, they were all ready when Sawyer got there. The only problem was, apparently Willow’s job as a Sales Rep did not give her good knowledge of when to bring up the fact a naked old friends with benefits who Sawyer vaguely knew about, not the benefits part, was in her bed.  

“Why is there a naked man in your bed.” He says, and it’s a scary calm.  

“Alright, well, he’s a friend from way back and stopped by because something was troubling him-”  

“And spent the night, naked, in your bed!” he looks like he’s going to bolt and she inches towards the door so she can stop him.  

“Would you calm down! I slept on the couch!” She’s in front of the door, “I did nothing wrong, we didn’t even kiss! There was light cuddling but you cannot tell me you don’t cuddle with people.”  

“Yeah! Because it’s my job!”   

“I don’t know how to make you understand! That I l-” she stops herself and his eyes widen, “truly properly very much like you. I would do nothing to compromise our relationship! Don’t you think I know how lucky I am! The boy in my bedrooms been searching for what I have with you with the wrong person and he’s been burned very badly.” He was silent. “Please say something, I’m going to start rambling on about things,” Sawyer remained silent, “This is going to sound really lame, but lets make a list. You-”  

“Please, just stop,” He said quietly shaking his head. He leaned on the side of their dining table, looking exhausted. She doesn’t know whether to push forward or remain silent. Jude and Kennedy were awkwardly held up in their room trying not to eaves drop and most likely failing at it. He’s just staring at the tiled floor of her kitchen, she swallows. A minute passes by and it feels like he hasn’t spoken in hours.  

“I’m afraid,” she whispers, so silently she can barely hear herself but he looks up, his gaze sharp and observant. She takes a deep breath, deciding to continue. “Sawyer, I feel so much, and it terrifies me, because now I can‘t bare the thought of being without…” she trails off, pausing; he’s still staring at her, not as harshly now, more intrigued. She’s shaking, but continues on. “I am living virtually every teenage girls dream, and I have no idea what I’m doing, I barely know how I got here. All I want right now is to desperately do anything I can to stay, but that’s the wrong thing to do.”  

“Why is that?” He finally says, he’s stopped leaning on the table and he’s standing up, taking a slow step toward her.  

“I want you, all I want is you, you’re in most of my thoughts just lurking there all the time,” at lurking she sees a twitch in his lips, almost a smile but not quite, “It’s incredibly frustrating, yet I don’t want it to stop. Peirce came by expecting everything to be as it was before, expecting me to fix the cracks and bruises Quinn made like I always have, but this time I can’t. Somewhere along the way, and I really don’t know why because hidden behind your celebrity mojo is an incredibly awkward individual, I began to-”  

“Truly properly very much like me,” he says, and this time he visually has to stop himself from smiling.  

“Really? Just going to repeat my awkward slip up now?” She sighs, “I have no idea why Peirce is naked, he was wearing clothing when I left. He had his heart broken because he’s searching for himself in all the wrong places like normal twenty year olds do.”  

“Alright, I understand. I don’t like him though,” they are about a few feet away from each other and Willow can barely stand it. It’s really mushy, and she’s sort of disgusted with herself, but all she wants to do is jump into his arms and kiss him all over. He slowly starts walking towards her.  

“I don’t blame you, I don’t either.” Jude walks past them and grabs the whipped cream and his half eaten pancakes off the table.  

“You’ve met him?”   

“No, just seen the bloke naked, I mean he’s no you, but he could probably take me in a round.”  

“Doubtful,” Sawyer winks at him, then Jude leaves and he turns back to Will, “I think I was in the middle of something.”  

“Yeah, too bad huh,” She starts to walk around him but he pulls her back into his arms and she forgets all about their fight until Sawyer lets her go.  

“I am buying you a new comforter-set as a going away present though,” he says as he smiles down at her.   Later on while they’re on the plane and everyone is asleep he turns to her.  

“I have a hypothesis.”  

“Do you?”  

“Yes, now not once in that fight did you use the trust thing against me.”  

“What do you mean?”  

“You know what I mean.”  

“It wouldn’t have been fair.”  

“See that is the thing, it would have been fair, you trust me when all these papers tell you not to-”  

“I think I know you well enough to-”  

“Not my point,” he kisses her forehead and she’s not sure why but he suddenly looks very sad, “Will, you could have, anyone else would have, but what I think, is that you don’t think I should trust you. The reason you didn’t do it wasn’t just because it was a low blow-”  

“It would have made me look guilty when I have nothing to hide.”  

“No, well yes, because you do argue that way. But Will, this is the problem, you can’t just live out our relationship keeping yourself in check.”  

“See but that’s the thing Sawyer,” she had tears in the back of her eyes as she looked at him, “I… I really don’t want to lose you, not because of anything else, but just if this ends I have so much to lose with you. So it’s hard not to.”  

She’s told him this story before and he takes her face in his hands wipes the tears from her cheeks with his thumbs and kisses her tenderly, not as if she’s about to break, but as if there is something missing, something someone took that needs to be replaced. At the risk of being the corniest author ever, Willow was willing to think, that Sawyer, just might be the piece she lost.   

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