The bell above the door rang as Ashton and I stepped into the Rock Bandit Café. It was just before lunch hour and a few business men in suits were eating by the window. None of them glanced over as we walked in. An elderly couple occupied a side booth, and a blonde haired girl sat with her back to us, on a little table next to the Pierce the Veil painting. A young woman and man were holding hands in the seat where I used to sit all the time, and I smiled as the guy leant over and kissed her hair softly. I looked up at Ashton.
'That could be us. That will be us,' he chuckled, and slung an arm around my shoulder. 'Come on, let's get a seat.'
We walked up to the counter together where several waiters and waitresses were busy with orders. One of them looked up.
'Uhh...' he blushed and nudged the girl next to him. Her jaw dropped, then she rushed forward, red in the face, and gave us a wobbly smile, eyes flicking back to Ashton every 3 seconds.
'Hi, Bandit to the welcome Rock café - I mean, welcome to the Rock Bandit café, what can I do for you today?'
The poor girl's face was burning up, and I was about to say something to Ashton, but he got there first.
'Hey, hey - chill out, I'm just a random dude who's come to eat lunch,' he smiled friendly at her and she took a deep breath, visibly relieved.
'I'm so sorry, it's just - wow, you're the Ashton Irwin...'
I giggled, and she turned to me.
'Oh! You're Emma, right?''
Ashton glanced at me and raised his eyebrow, grinning.
'More famous than you made out to be?'
'I told you the paparazzi were there for me.' I winked and turned back to the poor waitress, who was watching us with wide eyes. 'Sorry, Ashton's being a shithead, but yeah, I'm Emma.'
A very familiar head poked up from behind a bag of coffee beans, a grin spreading over their face.
She came dashing around the counter, almost tripping over her apron, and gave me a massive hug. When we both stepped back, grinning, she went back and stood next to the waitress, who was still glancing at Ashton every 2 seconds.
'Kiraly, do you want to get a photo with Ashton?' Rabia asked kindly, and the girl nodded and blushed again, looking at Ashton. 'If that's okay with you?'
'Sure,' he squeezed my arm and moved a little out of the road, so Rabia and I could talk by ourselves. I just had time to give him a grateful smile before Rabia was tugging me behind the counter and into the back room, past the kitchen. She pulled open the door and let me inside before shutting it behind us and leaning up against a rack of spices. She looked at me expectantly, wide eyes open.
'Soooo...?' I shrugged, playing along. 'How've you been? I haven't seen you in ages-'
Rabia stopped me right there, rolling her eyes.
'Emma - cut the crap. So, what's the deal with you and Mr. Irwin out there??'
I burst out laughing.
She raised an eyebrow and held up the cloth hanging from her waist.
'Would you like my tea towel, so you can wipe the bullshit away from your mouth?'
'Ha-ha,' I deliberated, and smiled. 'But really, not much is happening. We're just good friends pretty much...'
'Last time you were here, that's exactly what you said. I'm hardly going to believe that when you walk in here, hand in hand, and he can't keep his eyes off you for more than three seconds,' Rabia smirked and fiddled with her apron tie, 'Emma, come on, I know you guys are more than friends now.'
I blushed, and tried not to smile too hard.
'Okay. Well, this isn't a date, if that's what you're thinking. I'm just taking him around Sydney again.'
She made a face of disbelief and I sighed.
'Really. But we've kissed-'
'I knew it!' Rabia snapped her fingers and started beaming at me, punching me lightly on the shoulder. 'Aww, Emma! Look at you, all grown up and kissing big boys like Ashton... wow,' she took a deep breath, as if it was just registering, 'you got to kiss Ashton Irwin!'
I shivered, remembering the way he'd tucked his hands into my hair and gripped my waist.
'Yeah... and more than once, too.'
Rabia's face was a mask of amazement, and she squeezed my shoulders.
'You fucking go, girl!'
I laughed and brushed her off.
'Rabia, I think I really really like him. Like, at the start, he was a total dickhead - he was rude, annoying and completely full of himself and conceited. It doesn't really make sense, but I feel like we got closer because we both hated each other.'
Rabia nodded thoughtfully.
'So, kind of like in those movies, where the guy is having rough sex with the girl and he keeps on spitting out how much he hates her in between orgasms, but they're secretly in love?'
I scrunched up my nose, cheeks flushing.
'Um, I wouldn't put it like that, but yeah, sure. Kind of. Minus all the sex.' I bit my lip. 'I think he really likes me too. Problem is, I don't know how to do this. I mean, he leaves in 2 weeks for America, and he'll be on tour for 3 months. Plus there's the fact that he's being watched day and night by paps and fans and all kinds of people, and he's famous, for fucks sake. And I know he acts like he likes me now, but what happens when he has to go away?' I gave Rabia a dark look. 'You know what happened last time I was in a long-distance relationship.'
'And I'm not going to let you put yourself through that again,' she murmured, and gave a sigh. 'Em, I see what you mean, but I think you just have to look at the positive side. You might not see it, but you're falling in love with a guy who can love you back. He has the capacity to, I can see it in the way he treats you. And it doesn't look like he's going anywhere soon.' She tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. 'You have a couple of weeks to make the most of this - I want to see you be happy for now, and Ashton makes you happy, obviously. Why don't you just sit this out, enjoy yourself, have some fun, and then when the time comes, maybe you should talk to Ashton about it. I don't doubt he's thought about what will happen too.' Rabia straightened up and walked over to the door, grinning back at me. 'Sorry to cut this short, but speaking of Ashton - it doesn't take that long to take a few selfies, so we better not keep Mr. Rockstar waiting...'
I laughed and walked out of the room, linking my arm with hers and heading back into the café. Ashton was talking to the waitress and waiter over by the All Time Low wall poster. He looked over as we walked in, and a gorgeous smile spread across his face. He said something to girl, who walked over to Rabia, looking a little dazed still.
'Um, Rabia? Ashton chose a table to sit at, and Aaron gave him a number and some menus, like you said to do. He said he was going to wait until you got back to order,' she smiled at me shyly, and I smiled back. I wasn't used to people being uncomfortable around me like this. Rabia noticed, and gave the waitress a big grin.
'Good job Kiraly, you handled it heaps well. Did you get your photo?'
'Yeah,' she beamed and tapped her pocket, 'we got lots, Ashton was so nice!'
I smiled and made a sarcastic face.
'You haven't seen him when he's tired and annoyed then...'
Kiraly giggled and we all glanced over at Ashton, who was busy with the waiter, chatting away animatedly. He noticed us all staring, and turned around, raising an eyebrow at me.
'Nothing,' I waved my hand and pretended to whisper to Rabia and Kiraly, looking sideways at Ashton. He laughed.
'Oi! Quit talking smack about me!'
'Only good things, Ashton! Only good things!' I called back, and he stuck his tongue out at me. We all giggled and Rabia rolled her eyes before touching my arm lightly and going back behind the counter to serve a new customer. Kiraly stayed back, looking shy again.
'Would it be okay if I got a photo with both you and Ashton?'
'Wow... sure,' I blinked a few times, 'I - no one's ever asked me for a photo before. Are you sure you want me in it?'
'Yes! Well, if you're okay being in it,' she blushed again, following me as I maneuvered my way through the tables to the booth Ashton chose.
'Of course,' I smiled. 'Hey, you,'
I giggled and leant down, lacing my fingers through Ashton's, tugging him upwards. His free hand snaked around my waist immediately, and he touched his lips to my forehead.
'Hey, yourself. What's going on? Do you want to order?'
'Kiraly was wondering if she could get a photo with us,' I gave her an encouraging smile, 'but god knows why she wants me in it too...'
'Because you're gorgeous,' Ashton said matter-of-factly, and I felt my heart drop to my toes. I pressed a kiss to his cheek quickly, blushing as I felt the eyes of the two waiters on us. He chuckled.
'Come on love, stand between us, and you can get Aaron to take the photo.'
He motioned Kiraly over and she happily came and stood in the middle, Ashton and my arms slung over her shoulders. The waiter took a few photos and when we were done, Ashton looped his hand back into mine.
'Thankyou so much,' Kiraly gushed, and we both smiled at her.
'Thankyou for listening to our music.' Ashton waved as they both walked away, talking excitedly to one another and glancing back occasionally. I sighed, and flopped down into the booth, pulling Ashton with me.
'That was probably a really terrible photo.'
He chuckled and slid a menu in front of me, opening his own.
'Don't worry Princess, you should see some of the ones of me floating around on the internet. There's this really terrible screenshot from a video interview, and my eyes are going different directions. Plus, I have like 10 chins. Anyway,' he calmly turned a page, 'you're beautiful, you know. Any photo of you is a good photo.'
I sat there in silence, watching him peruse the menu. The way compliments just slid off his tongue scared me a little bit. I could barely string a few nice words together about Ashton - not because I couldn't think of any, but because he made me so nervous, and I was a shit complimenter. I slid along the booth lounge so our legs were touching, and laid my head on his shoulder.
'How do you do that?' I wondered aloud, and he looked down at me, a little amused. 'Do what?'
'Tell me sweet stuff all the time that makes me smile and blush right down to my toes. Stuff that you say so confidently, but when it comes to me, I can barely get my words out.'
Ashton laughed softly and leant his forehead against mine, taking a deep breath and shutting his eyes.
'That's okay. It's enough to just know that you care about me back.' There was a little pause as we both sat there in silence, drinking in each other's company. 'It's all genuine you know. Everything I say is the truth. And I'm just falling so- I mean, I just like you so much that I can't help saying it.' He blushed. 'I guess I don't really think about it, it just comes out. I should tape my mouth up, shouldn't I?'
'No, I love the way you do that.' Sighing, I relaxed into his chest. 'Thankyou Ashton.'
'It's my pleasure, Princess.'
'And since I can't tell you just how much I love you - let me show you instead.'
I leant forward and dropped my lips to his own, covering them and smiling as he immediately pushed me closer, one hand flying to my waist, the other to my hair. I cupped his cheeks, grazing my finger over his chiseled scruffy jaw and leaving burning fingerprints across his collar bone. With my other hand, I gently found his baby curls at the base of his neck, tugging on them unconsciously and making him moan into my mouth. I let go, and automatically began trailing my hand down towards his stomach.
The sound of someone clicking a pen loudly made us jump apart.
'What can I get for you two R-rated lovers today?'
I groaned at Rabia, who was smiling but purposely looking down at her notepad, avoiding looking at either of us.
'Seriously? Couldn't you see we were a little busy?'
Ashton raked a hand through his sexy curls and rolled a finger over my hipbone, underneath the table where no one could see. I shivered involuntarily, and glared at him.
'Princess, it's fine,' he chuckled, 'we should order soon anyway. We have to get out of here before the lunch crowd arrives.'
Rabia snorted, and I turned my glare on her as she stuffed a hand into her mouth, trying to stop laughing.
'Yeah, yeah, whatever, fine. Everyone make me look like the horny little shit who can't keep her hands to herself in the public area.'
'Well, you kind of are,' Rabia unhelpfully pointed out, and Ashton burst out laughing.
'Anyways,' I said through gritted teeth, 'can I get my usual double hot chocolate? And one Party in the U.S.A. burger.'
'And would you like any sass on the side?' Rabia bit back, poker-faced. Ashton covered his mouth with his hand, eyes crinkling up like they always did when he was trying not to crack up.
'Wow, you guys are so funny,' I scowled and slouched down in my seat. Ashton chuckled.
'Can I grab a Rockerfella milkshake and the Punk Classic sandwich? Thanks,' he handed Rabia the menus and she smiled before walking away. I groaned again.
'That was only slightly embarrassing.'
Ashton tucked a strand of hair back behind my ear and shot me a grin.
'I'm not complaining - I don't even feel hungry anymore.'
'Well, why'd you order then?' I poked his arm and he looked at me sideways, his eyes dark and his mouth turning up at the corners.
'Because I'm not talking about that type of hunger.'