I slept 12 hours straight that night. What could I say? I was tired of everything. Eventually, however, I managed to get out of bed. It was noon by that point, and my family was already out and doing their daily activities. Shuffling out of the covers, I reached for my phone. I scrolled through my contacts, not knowing who to text. Then Ashton’s name appeared on the screen, and unexpected courage surged through me. “hey,” I texted. “what u up 2?”
As I waited for a reply, I changed out of my pyjamas and made myself a late breakfast. The second my phone buzzed, I reached out to grab it, scanning the screen. My heart rose to my throat when I saw his name glowing on the screen. “nothing much. want to do something?”
I grinned and responded, “sure. how bout you come over?”
In a few minutes the doorbell rang. I dashed over to open it. “Hey,” I said as he stepped in, taking off his boots. It had snowed overnight, and even though he lived next door, it was impossible to walk anywhere without being covered with snow.
“So…” he said as I led him to the kitchen. I looked down apologetically at the bowl of cereal sitting on the table. “Sorry, I’m kinda having a late breakfast. Want anything?”
Ashton laughed, and I stood there, transfixed. He was just so amazing and I was just so… bleh. “Well, if you have anymore cereal, that’d be great.”
I took out a bowl and the box of cereal, then sat down and finished my breakfast quickly. I didn’t know what to say. But thankfully, Ashton knew how to keep up a conversation.
“Anyway,” he said as I washed my bowl and spoon, “I know this is going to sound somewhat random, but I want to know random things about you, Kelly. What’s your favorite color? Favorite book? What movies do you love to watch?”
I looked at him, eyebrow raised. “Alright,” I said as I sat back down. “Well, um, the color purple is pretty cool.” I winced, not being able to take how lame I sounded. “And I absolutely love The Fault in Our Stars. Have you ever read it?”
“Actually, yeah,” Ashton said. I looked at him, shocked.
“Really. It was an awesome book. The ending though…”
“I know!” I said, slamming my hands on the table. “I loved the book, and the ending was great, but on the other hand its conclusion was horrible at the same time. I wanted Augustus and Hazel to live happily ever after.”
Ashton nodded, smiling. I continued. “Though, I suppose if it had ended happily, it wouldn’t have been as realistic. But still.”
I paused for a moment. “But what about you?” I asked. “What’s it like being you?”
Ashton closed his eyes and put his head down for a moment. When he lifted his head again, he smiled. “Well,” he began. “I mean, most of the time it’s great. But sometimes, I get so tired of everything…” he trailed off. I frowned. “Well, I mean, I guess we all feel that way. But sometimes I worry that I’m not fulfilling everyone’s expectations of me, and I feel so pressured sometimes. You know? Everyone wants me to be something different, and it’s hard”
I nodded. “You know,” I said hesitantly, “I think you’re fine just the way you are. You shouldn’t have to change for anyone.”
Ashton shrugged. “Yeah, I know. But still. sometimes, I just can’t. I feel like I have to change. I have to do this, I have to do that.”
“No,” I said, almost angrily. “You’re too good for them. You don’t owe them anything.”
Ashton shook his head. “You’re right.” He smiled. “I’m good though. Don’t worry about me.”
I shook my head as well. “Alright.” I looked out the window. “Hey, you want to go outside or something?”
“Why not?” I ran out to the hall and grabbed my coat and hat. Ashton followed.
Once we stepped outside, I led Ashton into the middle of the front yard. My back was still towards him when I felt something cold hit me. I spun around, already scooping up my own ball of snow. Ashton laughed as I chucked the snowball at him. It fell apart before it reached him, and I groaned. “Fabulous,” I said.
“Here,” Ashton said as he walked over to me. “Let’s make a snowman.”
To give us some credit, we tried. But it was more of a snow child rather than a snow man. Our little guy was tiny. When we finished, I put my hat on its head.
“Aw, it’s adorable,” I cried when I stepped back to look at it.
Ashton patted its side. “What’s it’s name?” he asked.
“How about Steve?” I suggested. Ashton nodded, and I pulled out my phone. “Let me take a picture,” I demanded. The camera flashed, catching him mid-laugh. The moment was frozen in time, preserved forever in a picture.