follow my ig @gcodgirls for a free ketchup dawg
‘Nice to know you’ve finally decided to join us,’ Michael jostled me playfully as I walked into the pool area following Calum. I laughed and waved back at Luke and Ciara who were waving at me from in the water. Ashton smiled at me too, his dimples showing as he ducked under and swam over to where I set down my bag next to Michael.
‘Morning, Emma!’ He giggled, messing up his wet hair and splashing me. ‘Or should I say, good afternoon?’
I raised an eyebrow.
‘It’s not my fault I didn’t get enough sleep last night...’
‘Okay Princess, I take full responsibility, whatever. But don’t pretend it wasn’t worth it,’ he stuck out his tongue before floating off to annoy Calum.
I started to roll out my towel and realised Michael was staring at me. I tilted my head.
He tapped his chin thoughtfully.
‘You guys were together last night, weren’t you?’
‘What makes you think that?’
He lay back down on the deck chair, smirking with his eyes closed, and folded his hands behind his head.
‘I slept on the living room couch last night after my date - which reminds me, I have to tell you about that later - and I heard Ashton creep out really early in the morning. I just assumed he was going to the rooftop, but that doesn’t seem likely anymore...’
‘Fine, yeah, he was with me.’ I leant closer and giggled. ‘And we might’ve, you know... kissed.’
Michael opened his eyes wide quickly after that, and abruptedly sat back up.
‘Did you really? Shit...’ he smacked his thigh, ‘I knew something happened! I’m so happy for you!’
He laughed as I blushed and poked my cheek.
‘Aw, look at you. And did my game plan help you?’
‘A little bit. I think I’m just going to have to work on the fans part.’
‘And step 5,’ Michael smirked, ‘you can’t forget step 5.’
I raised an eyebrow.
‘Michael, we haven’t even been on a date yet.’
‘Look at that hunk of meat, Emma! Look at it! Don’t you just want to jump on him right now?’
I cracked up as Michael pointed at Ashton and fanned himself as if Ashton was causing a lot of heat. Which he kind of was. For the second time of me seeing him shirtless in real life, I wasn’t any less amazed at his beautiful body. As we both looked over, Ashton turned around and waved at me.
‘One minute!’ I called back, and Ashton nodded. I turned back around to face Michael. ‘So what’s all this about your date? Tell me what happened!’
Michael relaxed and laid back down, shutting his eyes dreamily.
‘Oh my god, it was perfect. Like, I was so nervous, and got there late, but Lynn looked beautiful and we talked forever about all different things, and I learnt so much about her! It was just like you said it would be, Emma. So thankyou for all your help - it really did make a difference for me.’
He kicked my shin gently and I smiled.
‘It was my pleasure. What else happened?’
Michael took a slow breath, as if reminiscing everything.
‘Well, when I got there, she was waiting for me out the front, and she looked gorgeous in a pretty little dress and she had her hair curled and holy mother of God, when I walked up I swear my heart just stopped. And then we went inside, and she held my hand and told me I looked handsome and we ate dinner together, laughing over silly things and talking about random stuff.’ He looked up at me for a second. ‘I think you two would get on very well. Talking to her is just as easy as talking to you. She’s amazing,’ he sighed again, and I chuckled.
‘Sounds like someone’s pretty smitten.’
‘I am. 100%. I almost love her, I think. I - well, um, after dinner... we walked out to the park and she sat on the swing set and let me swing her for a bit. And then... well, we kissed for bit, of course.’
Michael lifted a hand to his lips.
‘And then, in the middle of our last kiss, she stopped. And she told me she really really liked me. And I told her that I felt the same way.’
‘Michael! That’s so great!’
I whacked him on the arm, laughing, but he interrupted.
‘I asked her to be my girlfriend, Emma. And she said yes. Lynn said yes. I have a girlfriend.’
My jaw dropped, and Michael started to laugh.
‘A girlfriend, yes!’
I squealed, and jumped over, wrapping my arms around him.
‘Congratulations, you dork! That’s awesome!’
He chuckled as we drew away and rubbed a hand through his hair.
‘I haven’t told the guys yet. I wanted you to know first.’
‘Awww, Michael, I’m so happy for you.’ I smiled. ‘When am I going to meet Lynn again, huh?’
He chuckled and rested his arms behind his head.
‘Soon. Man, that was the best night of my life.’
Michael nodded and flipped his sunglasses back on.
‘You know, you really should learn to answer your phone,’ Ciara waded over to the steps as I dipped my foot in, shivering at the sudden cold.
‘I know. One of these days...’
She laughed and sat down next to me on the bottom step.
‘So what’s the deal?’
I looked at her sideways.
‘You and Ashton. Something definitely happened.’ She eyed me carefully. ‘Both of you are acting way too happy.’
‘We, uh, kissed last night.’
I blushed and smiled as Ciara started to laugh, slapping the water with both hands.
‘Finally! Go Emma!’
‘Yeah,’ I giggled, ‘and he’s the best kisser ever, Cee. It was a-maz-ing. And we’re going on a date soon!’
She gripped my shoulders, sharing my excitement, and we laughed together for a while before she gave me a hug.
‘Em, that’s fantastic, I’m so happy for you. Hey,’ she glanced over at Ashton, who was having a heated conversation by the side of the pool with Michael, Calum and Luke, ‘remember when you hated him? And you thought all those guys were total douche bags?’
‘Mmm,’ I laughed, ‘look how far I’ve come now.’
‘All thanks to my educ-ashton, don’t forget.’
She winked and I smiled at her.
‘So who else knows about...’
‘Michael. I haven’t told the other two yet but I think I will soon, I mean-‘
‘Look out, Em!’ Ciara interrupted, but I didn’t react fast enough.
All of a sudden, I felt someone grab my legs from underneath the water and pull me under. I shrieked out loud and accidentally swallowed a mouthful of water, spitting and coughing it up as the person lifted me back out, holding my arms steadily.
‘Oh, fuck, I’m sorry,’ Calum held a hand over his mouth as I spat water everywhere, pinching the bridge of my nose. I glared at him from under my eyelashes.
‘What was that for?’
Once he realised I was okay, a grin quickly spread over his face and he started to giggle.
‘Want Ashton to kiss it better?’
I rolled my eyes.
‘He told you, didn’t he?’
‘Yep, and me too. Sounds like you’re getting serious,’ Luke quipped from where he’d swam up behind me, and Ciara punched him on the shoulder gently.
‘Aw, don’t be mean, Luke.’
‘Yeah Luke, don’t be mean!’ Ashton ducked up beside me and winked. ‘Just because you’re not the only couple around here any more.’
I turned around and smirked at him, his words registering in my head.
‘Is that what we are?’
‘Oooooh,’ Calum laughed, and nudged Ashton, who blushed, and flicked the hair out of his eyes shyly.
‘I’m hoping we will be, after our date.’
That brought another fresh round of ‘oooh’s and ‘aww’s and ‘stick it in, Ashton’s from the group, but I didn’t care. I leant over and kissed him on the cheek. Before I moved away, I put my lips close to his ear.
‘I would like that a lot,’ I whispered, and he chuckled.
‘So Luke and Ciara, Emma and Ashton, Michael and his mysterious Lynn... where does that leave me?’ Calum pouted, and we all laughed.
‘Olivia!’ I burst out laughing as Calum scowled and splashed me with water.
This is the life, I giggled to myself as I watched Calum, Ashton, Luke and Ciara laugh their way across the pool, piggyback racing.
It was past lunchtime and Michael hadn’t come in at all, refusing to even dip his toe in at all, and was spending the whole time eating the supply of pizza that Beck had brought down earlier on a deck chair, “gaming” on his phone (I was pretty sure he was messaging Lynn). Beck had promised to join us later after his shift ended, and the rest of us were waiting for him to arrive so we could play with even numbers.
‘FUCK! Calum, help!’ Ashton let out a girly scream and toppled backwards off Calum’s shoulders, pulling him under too. By the time they surfaced, Luke was cheering and Ciara was punching the air in victory.
‘Damn straight, brothers,’ Luke smirked, ‘who are the outstanding champions?’
‘We are!’ Ciara let out a war-like cry, and they both stuck out their tongues at Calum and Ashton, who were looking super dejected at losing for the 3rd time in a row.
‘Yeah, well, none of you have had the unfortunate luck of coming up against me yet, have you?’
They all turned around to look at me, and I grinned and nodded towards the door.
‘Looks like my partner’s here - ‘
Beck looked at us all suspiciously as he walked in and dumped his stuff next to Michael.
‘Hey man.’ Michael nodded, too engrossed in his phone. ‘Why are they all staring at me?’
Michael didn’t even bother looking up. ‘They’ve been waiting for you, so you can take part in their weird Olympic races of underwater piggyback racing.’
‘Hey!’ Calum threw a noodle at Michael. ‘We take these championships veeery seriously, don’t we?’
Ashton nodded, straight-faced. ‘Extrememely seriously.’
‘Whatever.’ Michael returned to his phone, and Beck laughed, pulling his shirt up over his head.
‘Let’s go then. Who am I partnered with?’
‘Me,’ I stuck up a hand and waved at him, and he grinned back, jumping down into the water beside me.
‘Sweet,’ he knelt down, ready for me to get on his shoulders, ‘I’m already on the winning team then.’
I grinned as I climbed onto his shoulders, letting him slip his arms around my legs.
‘See, this guy,’ I leant over and smiled upside-down at Beck, who smiled back at me, ‘knows exactly what’s up.’
Luke raised an eyebrow and let Ciara climb onto his shoulders.
‘We’ll see about that.’
‘Yeah.’ Calum made to climb up on Ashton, but stopped. ‘Mate, you okay?’
I glanced over to see Ashton staring straight at me with a sad expression, but when I blinked, it was gone and he was back, dimples showing, looking determinedly ahead of him.
‘All good Calum. Let’s do this thing.’
Luke looked around.
‘Oi, Ashton! Hand on the wall, you sneaky cheater!’
Ashton rolled his eyes and leant back so he was touching the wall.
‘Better?’ he teased, and Luke grinned.
I smirked at Ciara, and she pretended to glare at me.
‘You bet. Michael?’
Michael sighed and lifted his head off the back of the deckchair, holding Calum’s shirt like a flag.
‘I can’t believe I have to fucking do this again for you guys.’ He groaned. ‘On your marks... get set... go!’
We all started yelling and shouting as Ashton, Beck and Luke launched themselves through the water, trying to get to the other side first. I laughed my head off uncontrollably, squealing when I started to get off-balance and gripping tight onto Beck’s other arm as I pitched from side to side. Next to me, Ciara was clinging to Luke for dear life, and I laughed even harder when he tripped over, his long legs, buckling underneath him and throwing Ciara into the water.
‘Losers!’ I called out as we stumbled on past, grinning at their pouty faces.
As we neared the end of the pool, Ashton started to catch up, speeding on, Calum whacking his chest to make him go even faster.
‘Go Beck!’ I shrieked, and threw my hands into the air, wrapping my legs even tighter around his chest. He laughed and swam deeper, veering away as a grinning Calum tried to push me off his back.
‘Afraid to lose?’
‘You wish,’ Ashton bit back.
‘You’re going nowhere,’ I stuck my tongue out, ‘Beck and I are the dream team!’
Out of nowhere, Ashton faltered in the water, stopping almost suddenly and Calum yelled, collapsing backwards at the unexpected jolt. Beck and I came slamming into the wall on the other side of the pool, out of breath and unable to stop laughing.
‘CHAMPIONS!’ I shouted, and hi-fived Beck as he let me down and hugged me tightly.
‘Nice job,’ he smiled down at me, keeping his hand on my waist, and I giggled.
‘You too. We dominated, for sure-‘
‘I think Beck’s the good one in your pair.’
We both looked up as Ashton waded over to us, ignoring the water that was dripping all over his face, eyes set straight on me.
‘It’s not you, Emma. You’re not the driving force.’ He looked around at Calum, Luke, Ciara and Michael, who had looked up to see what was going on.
‘I reckon we should rematch. Swap partners.’ He glared at me, then Beck. ‘We’ll see who’s the best then.’
What’s up his ass? I decided to just glare straight back at Ashton. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Calum share an uneasy look with Luke, who bit his lip and turned to Michael. Michael put down his phone, groaned and sat up.
‘Fine. The last race, to decide the final champions. Uh, let’s see. Ciara and Beck, you two go together... Cake, the real dream team... and, yeah, Ashton,’ he shot me a nervous look, ‘you can go with Emma.’