happy birthday fronds!! if its not your birthday, happy existence day!
im so grateful to all of you guys :’) thankyou so much for reading this even though its sucky ily
comment, vote and read bc poor ashy is in hospital :((((
Ciara checked her list and nodded.
‘Then you’re free for the rest of the afternoon. Thank god.’
I laughed and rubbed at my tired eyes.
‘Amen to that. What’s the room number anyway?’
She gave me a sideways look.
‘Why don’t you check your own list?’
Looking down, I felt my stomach drop. 3 boxes of pizza to Room 5505 on level 5 - well, that sure looked familiar. I thrust the order towards Cee.
‘You take it. I’m not going up there. I’d sooner jump off a cliff.’
She didn’t look up, but I heard her sigh.
‘I think you should just go, okay? You have to sort this shit out with Ashton, seriously. There’s only two ways it could end, and the rest of us are sick of watching you two go around in circles.’ She giggled. ‘Just admit you’re in love...’
‘I am not! But fine, I’ll go, but I’m telling you, this isn’t going to work. We’re never going to work. He’s... he’s just so Ashton. Stubborn asshole,’ I muttered to myself. Even if he’s a hot stubborn one.
Ciara however didn’t seem to care. She was grinning at me slyly.
‘So you do like him then?’
‘No, I don’t! I hate him! No, wait, I don’t,’ I sighed, and gave in, ‘fine, yes, maybe, I guess I do.’ I paused. ‘But only a teensy tiny bit.’
She flopped back into her chair and raised a hand to her mouth, looking at me in wonder.
‘Huh. Well how about that.’
I tensed up and my stomach dropped again. When I opened my mouth, I started spewing words pointlessly.
‘It’s bad isn’t it? I knew it - he doesn’t even think of me that way. It’s just a ridiculous crazy stupid hopeless little crush that I’ll forget about soon. Oh wow, did you see that gorgeous girl he was with last night? I bet she’s a model, he’s probably dating her-‘
‘Emma, oh my god. Just stop talking already babe.’
Ciara turned around and began ruffling around in the papers behind her. Finally, she pulled out her phone and dialed a number. I could hear the phone ringing before someone picked it up on the other end.
‘Luke - it’s me.’
No! I started waving frantically at her but she waved her arms, shushing me. I heard the muffled talk of the person on the other end, and then Ciara blanched.
‘Oh... sorry Ashton... um, yeah, is Luke there?’
Ashton??? I put my hand in my palms and moaned, almost ready to start crying. Ciara looked nervously at me.
‘Yeah, Emma’s here - no, sorry, she, um, she can’t come to the phone right now. Yeah, I’ll tell her.’ There was a pause. ‘Can you please put Luke on? Thanks.’
She mouthed sorry to me, but I just glared at her.
‘Luke? Hey! Yup, I got her here with me, but don’t tell Ashton. What? Uhuh, yeah, okay, sweet.’ She looked at me quickly. ‘She’s coming up soon. Yeah, I know - wait, what? He admitted to...he said he did?? That’s, that’s perfect, wow.’ Another pause. ‘Okay. I’ll talk to you soon. See ya Luke.’
Ciara hung up the phone grinning from ear to ear and I raised an eyebrow, a bit pissed off.
‘What was that all about then?’
‘Nothing. But you have to go up there now. Luke wants to talk to you.’
‘But Ashton’s up there!’
She started to push me out of my seat and towards the elevator.
‘Em, trust me, it’ll end well. Finally,’ she giggled, and stood aside to let me in through the doors, but as I reluctantly walked past I grabbed her wrist gently.
‘Hey - don’t tell anyone about me and how I feel about Ashton yet, okay? Please?’
‘Of course. But how come? I mean, he’ll find out eventually-‘
‘I’m just not ready yet. Ashton will laugh,’ I whispered. ‘He’ll think I’m stupid and laugh at me, I know he would. And I’m not ready to be just another joke to someone I actually like for real.’
As I reached the door, I slowed down and took a few deep breaths. It’s just the boys, I tried to tell myself, and then I reached out and knocked. The door opened almost immediately.
‘Room service?’ I offered, and Luke grinned appreciatively, smiling down at the pizza from my hands.
‘Come on in. The guys are in there playing Xbox, because we’re just having a lazy day today,’ he shut the door quietly behind me and nodded towards the loungeroom, ‘but you don’t have to go in there yet if you don’t want to. You can come help me make lunch?’
Luke looked at me with a hopeful expression and I laughed.
As we made our way past the living room door, I heard the TV going and the unmistakable clicking of controllers and hardcore gamers. Suddenly -
‘Oi, Luke - who was at the door?’
I unconsciously flinched as Ashton’s voice came floating through the open doorway. Luke paused in front of me, biting his lip nervously.
‘No one, mate - I, uh, thought I heard someone knock, but it was just some people walking past.’
I froze as I heard the rustling sound of someone getting off the couch and footsteps coming closer, Ashton’s voice getting louder too,
‘Are you sure no one was there? Weren’t you talking to someone though?’
Luke took one look at my expression and shaking hands gripping onto the pizza, and started to push me towards the kitchen.
‘Go,’ he whispered, and I didn’t need telling twice.
‘Yeah, I saw Ciara at the door, that’s all,’ he called into the living room. As I ran around the corner, I heard Ashton confront him behind me.
‘But it smells like pizza...?’
Heart beating, I flashed around another corner and into the kitchen, looking around wildly. There was literally no good place to hide, unless I wanted to either contort and stuff myself into the fridge, or hide in the gross pantry.
‘Yeah, Luke mate, I do believe you. Except I can smell pizza. Why?’
Ashton wasn’t letting up. I could hear their voices growing louder as they came closer down the hall, and I could hear Luke pushing himself in front of Ashton, trying to stop him from moving any further.
‘I told you, I dug out some frozen pizza from the freezer and was heating it up, you know -- Ashton, wait!’
I stood absolutely frozen in the middle of the kitchen, 3 steaming traitorous boxes of pizza in my hands still. I imagined Luke darting around Ashton, holding out his arms and legs to block his path. Then I imagined Ashton and his biceps, pushing straight through him, determined to get to the kitchen. My knees started to shake.
‘Luke, if you weren’t lying, why the fuck would you be trying to stop me?’
Ashton’s pissed-off voice came down the hallway and I knew he was about to turn the second corner and see me. I looked back at the pantry and sighed before leaning over and pulling open the door and jumping inside, pizza and all. The door slid shut behind me. Outside, I heard Luke and Ashton enter the kitchen.
‘See? Nothing.’ Luke’s nervous voice came through the cracks under the door. I watched parts of the light become blocked out as Ashton stomped across the floor angrily.
‘Well where’s the pizza then Luke?’ His voice was hard, not playful anymore, and I could hear Luke stuttering. I moaned. He knows I’m here somewhere.
The fridge door opened, then slammed shut. I could hear drawers being pulled out, then being closed, and I pictured Ashton checking the microwave too, before finally, the footsteps came to right outside the pantry where I stood, breath caught in my throat.
Ashton’s voice was much quieter now.
I heard a sigh, and then the door swung open, light flooding into the pantry.
I stood there, clutching those stupid pizza boxes, staring up into Ashton’s grim face, Luke looking apologetic behind him. Ashton gave a frustrated sigh, and I knew from his eyes that I was right - he wasn’t surprised to see me there at all, crouched between the jars of nutella and vegemite. He’d known I was there all along.
‘You’re really that desperate to stay away from me?’
He shook his head disgustedly and turned away, looking directly at Luke.
‘Thanks a lot mate. Thanks a lot.’
And then Ashton stomped out of the kitchen leaving us in silence. Luke looked at me.
‘Well - Ashton’s got a good sense of smell, doesn’t he?’