Chapter 17: Stuck
I avoided that house until the very last moment possible. I couldn’t stand being near them. I didn’t know what would happen when I would see Ashton. I was so scared of hurting him, and now I know I have. I was so scared of seeing Luke with Amber because it wasn’t right, but I knew I would.
I sat alone in the hotel room most days. My mom goes on several “business” meetings a week with Mr. Granger. But I knew she fancied him.
I was starting to feel like I had when Luke left me. Confused and alone. I hated hurting people. The look that Ashton gave me is imbedded in my brain. It keeps popping up in random moments, making me feel terrible all over again. I had no idea how I was going to handle being around them.
I wish that I had someone to talk to about all this. Like a best girlfriend or something. But honestly, I had no one. Just like it had been for the last two years. Maybe I could talk to Michael or Calum. But Luke didn’t want anyone knowing about our friendship.
But what did I care about what Luke wanted? He was being selfish and stupid.
Before I knew it, it was the day we had to leave for America. All my bags were packed and I felt completely terrible. I dreaded the long flight I would have to sit through with the boys.
I arrived at the airport with my mother to see all the boys waiting in line at the ticket counter. I felt my stomach drop when I saw the red haired head of Amber in line. Please tell me she wasn’t coming.
I remained silent as the boys chit chatted away. Ashton acted as if I wasn’t there. As did Luke. Michael and Calum said hi when I showed up, but other than that I stood in silence, feeling left out. But what I gathered from the various conversations was that Amber was just there to say goodbye to Luke. Thank goodness.
We got our tickets, and put all the luggage, and instruments through baggage check. I followed everyone through customs and then through security. I watched out of the corner of my eye as Luke and Amber said their goodbyes. She tried to kiss him but he hugged her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. After denying the kiss, he quickly turned around and walked through security. I laughed as I saw Amber’s face. She was furious.
Finally we were in the terminal ready to board the plane, and I was already feeling better. I heard the boys talking about their seats. Ashton, Luke and Michael were all in the same row. Calum had a seat about 6 rows back. I looked down at my ticket. Him and I were seated together.
“Looks like we’ll be best friends after this flight,” Calum said with a laugh as he put his arm around my shoulders. I looked at the other guys’ faces straight on for the first time today. Michael looked relaxed, excited and carefree. Luke looked distracted and a little bit happy. Ashton was looking at me by the time I made my way to look at him. As we made eye contact, he shifted his eyes to Luke and then back to me. I quickly looked at the ground, trying to avoid his stares.
After another awkward thirty minutes we were seated and getting ready for take off.
“Well I bet you’re glad that you aren’t sitting up with Luke and Ashton,” Calum said from my right in the middle seat. I stopped breathing for a second. I looked towards him. He was giving me a squinty eye, smirk know it all face.
“Uhh why do you say that?” I asked quickly.
“Well just the fact that you like Luke, and Ashton likes you. And now Ashton knows you like Luke but Luke has Amber and you don’t know what to do.” Calum said confidently.
Damn. He was good.
“How the hell – ” I started asking before he cut me off.
“I notice EVERYTHING.” Calum said.
I sat quietly while Calum stared at me knowingly.
“How much do you know?” I asked as the plane started to take off.
“Well I know that you’ve been friends with Luke since before you guys meet a few months ago. I recognized you from the picture he had hanging in his room. It has since been taken down. I know that you must have done something terribly awful to Luke for him to act like he doesn’t know you. I know that you are torn between liking Luke and liking Ashton. I know that you don’t want to like Luke but you do, even though you keep denying it to yourself. And….I know that you hate Amber.” Calum said matter of factly.
“Well damn. You really do notice everything..” I said with an awkward giggle.
“I’m close with my sister, and I’ve gotten really good at reading girl’s facial expressions…not to sound gay or anything.” Calum said looking worried.
I sat quietly in shock.
“So tell me everything,” Calum said with a trusting smile.
I told him my whole sappy story. All about how I was just now realizing that I’ve always had feelings for Luke, but I really liked Ashton. And now Ashton was mad because he found out the other guy is Luke. How I’ll never be with Luke because Luke hates me now, and now Ashton does too. And now Luke was with Amber. Calum sat, and listened, and didn’t interrupt unless he needed to ask a question occasionally.
By the time I had finished my story, it was dark out and dinner was being served. Calum had been quiet for a few minutes taking in everything I had said.
“Honestly, I don’t know what’s holding you back from telling Luke how you really feel.” Calum said finally.
“Seriously? Were you not just listening to that story? Luke hates me.” I said angrily.
“See I don’t think that he does. He obviously is upset. But I don’t think it’s because of what happened at the pool that day. I can’t figure out what it is, but that doesn’t sound like the Luke I know. To get so upset about something that irrelevant.” Calum said. “Honestly Rylie. I think you just need to talk to him. About everything. We need to somehow get you two alone so that you are forced to talk about it.”
“But what about Ashton? I really like him! I hate that I’m hurting him and I don’t know what to do.” I said.
“Yeah that’s a tougher one. Ashton is really sensitive. I think that when the time comes that you know what you want, and if it is Luke, you’ll have to explain the whole situation to him like you did with me. He loves Luke. He only wants him to be happy, and I’m sure that he wants you to be happy also. He’ll probably be upset, but he’ll understand.” Calum said.
We stayed quiet for a while and I noticed Calum snoring eventually.
Was he right? Should I just forget what Luke said and talk to him about it? Was he right about Ashton? Maybe he would understand. But what if I wanted to be with Ashton?
I closed my eyes and leaned back into my seat, going over every possible scenario in my head as I drifted to sleep.