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Beck shot me a sad look and moved away from me towards Ciara. Before he could get there, Ashton shoved past him through the water and stepped up to my side, muttering to himself and shooting glares at Beck.
‘You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,’ he growled, and avoided eye contact with me.
‘Okay, well hurry up and line up against the wall,’ Michael called, and I watched in silence as the other four started to climb into their piggy back positions. The good mood I had been in all day was disappearing into thin air, and I was sick and tired of Ashton’s shit. Mainly, I was just disappointed - after last night, I was sure he had gotten over those stupid mood swings. I guess not. I took a long breath, trying to calm down, then grabbed his arm and dragged him off to the side.
‘Whatis up with you??’
‘What do you think? Christ,’ he spat, and wrenched his arm out of my grip, ‘you’re so... so... so blind sometimes!’
He shook his head forcefully and I rolled my eyes.
‘Oh, come on. Is this just because you lost?’
Ashton finally looked up.
‘No! Don’t you get it Emma? it’s never about losing with you. it’s about just being with you. I don’t care. Win, or not, it’s just about being with you.’
‘Oh yeah? And what’s that supposed to mean? Because obviously I’m “bilnd”, so maybe you should just tell me why you’re all pissy!’
Ashton moved so fast, whipping around and pushing me back against the pool wall. He leant down close to my face and heavily dropped his forehead to mine, shutting his eyes and taking a deep breath. When he spoke, he spoke through gritted teeth.
‘I don’t even have you yet, and I’m already losing you to someone else.’ His eyes popped open and glared into mine. ‘You know exactly how jealousy goes down with me - it’s not always pretty. So you’d better make it better or say something nice before I go over there and knock Beck’s head off.’
I softened, and relented, grabbing Ashton’s hands underwater and breathing in deeply, lifting a hand to slowly draw the wet curls off his forehead.
‘Ashton,’ I whispered, ‘you don’t have to be jealous of me and Beck. There’s nothing going on.’ He grunted, and tried to look away, but I forced his face back. ‘No, Ashton, look at me. This is silly. I like you, and I’m not just going to forget that because I’m on another guy’s shoulders for a few minutes.’
Ashton gave a little sigh and tried on a smile.
‘I know. I’m sorry. I just...’
‘Shhh, I know.’ I stemmed his murmur with a quick little kiss on the lips, and he was surprised enough to stop talking. ‘Let’s go show them that they’ve got nothing on the Emma and Ashton team.’
He giggled quietly and backed off a bit, crouching down and helping me up onto his broad shoulders.
‘Ashmma! That’s what the fans would say.’
I wrapped my fingers into his hair and laughed.
Ashton held a hand to his lips before drawing it away and wincing at the spot of red blood left on his finger. He looked up at me, pouting.
‘Oh, Ashton, I’m so sorry.’
I sighed, lightly sliding off his shoulders and jumping down into the water in front of him and placing my hand on his cheek, carefully rubbing around his busted lip. We’d won the race by far, easily pulling ahead of everyone, but as we’d come into the wall, Ashton had slammed forward and hit his mouth on the pebbled edge, slicing open his full lips. Ashton shut his eyes as I gently dabbed around it. Calum waded up to us, with Beck, Ciara and Luke behind him.
‘Shit mate, are you okay?’
Ashton nodded and started to speak, but I shushed him and turned around so my back was to his chest.
‘He’s fine, he just busted his lip.’ I smiled at them all. ‘You guys keep messing around, I’ll go get him fixed up.’
I grabbed his hand and led him towards the edge of the pool, over by the far corner. Ciara sent us a sympathetic look and Luke and Beck patted Ashton on the back as we passed them. I picked up a towel from the pool deck and sat Ashton down on the underwater step, carefully slotting myself in between his legs.
Ashton reached for me and tried to speak, but I pressed myself closer to him, holding up a finger to his lips.
‘Shhhhh, don’t say anything. Let me clean it up for you.’
We sat in silence for a while, his hands finally coming to rest on my hips and gently rubbing little circles over my skin as I wiped away the blood from his lip. He winced as I accidentally touched the cut and I blushed, whispering apologies. Ashton just shook his head and kept gazing up at me, eyes watching mine carefully. I kept on blushing as he stared more intently at me, and I eventually put down the towel and leaned into him.
‘Stop,’ I giggled.
‘What?’ Ashton smiled gently, trying not to move his lips too much.
I looked down.
‘Stop staring, I can’t do anything when you look at me like that.’
Ashton chuckled and tilted my head upwards.
‘I have a beautiful girl standing in between my legs and you expect me not to look at her? Emma...’
I hid my face in my hands, and tried to move backwards, but he tightened his hold on me and brushed the hair out of my face, pulling me in closer.
‘Ashton, your lip’s busted. I don’t want to hurt you.’
He shook his head.
‘My lip will be fine. Yours still look pretty though... maybe you should kiss mine better for me?’
I giggled at his hopefully face and relented, leaning in and kissing him once, quickly on the lips.
Ashton rolled his eyes, and tugged me even closer.
‘That’s all I’m going to get?’
He was still perched on the edge of the underwater step, and I was leaning forward between his legs. I tentatively placed my hands on his bare chest and let him wrap his long arms around my waist, gently placing his lips to my neck. I sighed, and leant down.
‘Ashton, all our friends are here, and your lip is all bloody.’
‘Please?’ he pleaded, opening his eyes wide.
‘No!’ I laughed, and pushed his puckered-up face away from mine, making him grin.
‘Too bad,’ he half-growled, nudging my jaw with his nose. ‘You’re not allowed to stand between my legs in a bikini, looking absolutely perfect, and not give me a proper kiss.’
I protested, giggling, as he started to kiss softly over my collarbones and up towards my face, his lips lightly touching on my neck and jawline before rising up and attaching themselves to my own.
‘Ashton...’ I pulled away but he just grinned and shook his head.
He gripped onto my waist and curled one hand through my wet hair, gently tugging on my lips with his teeth. I gave in. Ashton knew exactly what he was doing to me, and I didn’t want to resist any more. I raked my fingers through his own hair and tugged on it gently as we kissed deeper, leaning up against his chest so our stomachs were touching. His thumbs rubbed in little motions across my hipbone and I shivered. Through the kiss, I could taste the slight metallic tinge of blood from his lip and Ashton groaned as I accidentally swiped my tongue across the cut.
We both pulled away breathlessly just as a massive splash of water came over our heads, drenching the whole corner of the deck. Blinking away the water, I blushed and laughed, seeing everyone cheering at us from the other side of the pool.
‘Nice to know that a cut on the lip doesn’t stop you two from having a make-out session right in front of all of us,’ Ciara called, and Ashton chuckled, sticking his rude finger up indignantly.
‘She was kissing it better!’
‘Suuuure,’ Michael laughed out loud from his deck chair, rolling his eyes.
‘No shame,’ Luke shook his head playfully, and hi-fived a hysterical Calum, ‘no shame whatsoever.’
‘Oh, calm down, you lot,’ I turned around and kissed Ashton on the cheek before swimming over to join the group.
‘He pretty much just came at me-‘
‘Funny,’ Ashton butted in, and grabbed a hold of my legs, gently pulling me into a standing position next to him. ‘More like you couldn’t help but kiss me back.’
‘Alright, that’s nice. Let’s do something else then.’
I shot a sneaky look at Ashton after Beck cut through, looking a little bit disgruntled by our closeness. Ashton just grinned and blew me a kiss.
‘Who wants to have a rematch?’
‘I feel like this is all moving really fast, you know?’
I bit my lip and looked over at Luke, who shrugged and took another drink from his cup.
‘I guess that does happen. We’ve been at this hotel for what, 2 weeks now? Ciara and I have been dating for like, half of that time, so yeah. But when you’re part of a band, and you don’t have a lot of time with the people you want to be around for the rest of your life, you try to squash it all up as much as you can.’ He sighed and looked over to where Ciara, Calum and Ashton were messing around, doing handstands in the pool. Beck had gone for his afternoon shift as doorboy and Michael lay a few metres away on his deckchair, sleeping like a kitten. (a/n MEOW KITTEN MICHAEL) ‘I mean, I really like Cee, and we’ve only known eachother for a little while. But... you know we’re only here for another 2 weeks? And then we’re flying out to the U.S. again for the start of our tour?’
I widened my eyes.
‘Oh my god, I didn’t realise... I didn’t think you guys were going that soon...’
Luke shot me a small smile.
‘I really wish we didn’t have to. But we have fans everywhere, and we don’t want to disappoint them. Plus, it’s not really up to us I guess.’ He brightened up a bit. ‘Hey, you guys can still come and visit us! And we’ll be back to see you in between shows probably.’
‘Mmm. I’ll miss you guys though.’
Luke punched my shoulder gently.
‘We’ll miss you too, Em.’ He winked. ‘Especially Ashton. So when’s this date of yours anyway?’
‘I don’t know yet, but I think he wants me to take him out for a tour around the city again tomorrow. I’m thinking maybe Centrepoint Tower?’
I wiggled my eyebrows and Luke grinned.
‘He’ll love that. You know how Ashton is with big tourist attractions. There’ll be selfies all over Twitter.’
I giggled, knowing Luke was right, before quieting down. I had a serious question to ask, and the answer was important to me.
‘Hey Luke... do you think... well, do you reckon Ashton will ask me to be his girlfriend before you all leave for America?’
I blushed and waved back as Ashton turned around and grinned at me from the pool, even though I knew he couldn’t hear what I’d said. Luke chuckled, and patted my back.
‘Ashton has been waiting to make you his girlfriend ever since you called him a conceited snob that first time we met. So, I’d say, yes.’
My stomach fluttered, and I shut my eyes tight, trying to stop the cheesy grin spreading over my face. When I opened my eyes again, I saw Luke smiling sideways at me.
‘Thanks for making him happy, Emma. I’m so glad we met you.’
‘Aw, Lucas, don’t make me blush.’
He made a serious face, glancing over at Ashton. He was laughing out loud, dimples showing, his hair sticking up in all directions and his eyes bright with happiness. Luke looked back at me.
Really Emma. There’s no one better for him than you.’