YAY UPDATE FOR YOU BECAUSE THE BOYS ARE FINALLY RELEASING AN ALBUM AND YEAH THE MUSIC VIDEO WAS FUCKING AMAZING IF YOU nEVER GET ANOThEr UPDATE ITS BC I DIED FROm EXCITEMENT AND LOVE FOR ASHTON (and luke, cal and michael but yeah)
The 2 leftover slices of pizza lay forgotten on the coffee table, in front of where I was sitting. We'd all eaten together, and Ashton and I had managed to avoid talking to eachother, subtley avoiding conversations involving the other person. It wasn't too awkward, but I was glad when him and Luke had taken Beck and Ciara back to the auditorium for a bit of a jam session - and judging by the off-key sounds coming through the wall, and the sound of Luke's laughter, I assumed Ciara was trying to play.
I leant back against Calum's legs and pointed the controller at the screen. He began to fiddle with my hair, and I paused.
He stopped. 'Is this okay?'
I nodded slowly, and twisted my head around to eye him jokingly.
'Don't knot it, I washed it this morning!'
He laughed and tugged at it gently.
'You've got pretty hair. Brown hair looks good on girls.'
I smiled, and tilted my head back, looking at him from upside down. He was looking at me thoughtfully. Calum had a really cute look on his face, as if he was thinking really hard, and his bottom lip was sticking out. His brown eyes grazed over my face for a while before he nodded.
'Ashton was right.'
I stopped, confused, but his eyes had wandered on, focusing on my hands as he slowly beginning to plait my hair.
'What do you mean, Ashton was right?'
Calum raised an eyebrow.
'That's for me to know and for you to find out, isn't it?'
I huffed. 'Whatever. I don't get his deal anyway. Why does he always act like there's something up his ass?'
Michael laughed from across the room, where he was waiting for me to finish choosing my team on FIFA.
'Something up his ass - that's a good one. He doesn't. You're so judgemental, just wait a bit and get to know him.'
'I don't want to. I can guess what he's like.'
'But that's the point. He really isn't that person. He's probably the nicest out of all us.'
Calum grinned. 'Yeah, chicks dig Ashton.'
I rolled my eyes. 'And that's why he has a big head. I know a lot of guys just like him. As soon as I let him get to know me, he'll either ditch me then or want something more. And I'm not looking for that right now. I just want a summer job, with good pay, and no extras.'
Michael pouted. 'Do we count as extras?'
I smiled. 'Nah. You guys are the exception.'
'Aww, shucks. But Emma, you have to give Ashton a chance. Do you think we would have put up with him for this long if he was a total dickhead?'
'Calum, I don't know-'
He pulled his fingers out from under my head, and shifted himself slightly so he was looking directly into my eyes.
'Please Em. Give him one chance. Just for the summer. Be nice. We're just four normal guys who got lucky, and we like to make friends. We still want to try and make the most of our teen years. Ashton especially, all he wants is someone else he can talk to and laugh and do normal things with, without being seen as a member of 5SOS. All you gotta do is be his friend.'
Calum stopped speaking but kept looking at me. I felt Michael watching us closely. He was right, in a way. I could see their life from his perspective - always on the road, never in one place for more than a few nights. Anywhere they go, there must be girls jumping all over them, but it was clear to me that they just wanted someone to be their friend and see past the whole band image. And if I just got past the whole Ashton problem, I could do just that.
'Alright. I'll try and be nice.'
Michael cheered and Calum beamed.
'Thanks Emma. Ash- I mean, we'll all appreciate it.'
'No problem. Just don't make me regret it, okay?'
Calum leant back again, his hands finding the tips of my hair.
'I won't. I promise.'
Satisfied, I looked over at Michael, who was looking down at his phone, texting someone.
'Oi - Clifford! Now that we've got that out of our way, are you ready for me to kick your ass?'
He laughed and tossed his phone aside.
'Oh, please. Bring it on.'
I lay down my controller, defeated.
'Fine, you win. I'm sick of this shit.'
Michael raised his hands above his head, and ran around the room doing a victory lap.
'Yes! All-time champion!'
Calum and I started cracking up at his crazy antics.
'Hey! I might beat you next time!' I laughed, and stuck out a foot.
Michael pretended to ignore me, but he tripped over my leg and fell, sprawled out on the floor.
I leant forward, but the whole thing looked so funny that I couldn't help bursting out in giggles all over again.
'Em-ma!' Michael whined, and rolled over to face me.
'I'm sorry, I'm sorry!'
Calum held out a hand and together we pulled Mikey off the floor. He ran a hand through his hair and made a thoughtful face, eyeing me sneakily.
'I think you kind of owe me now. Because, 1) I beat your sorry ass at FIFA, and 2) you tripped me up on my victory lap.'
Calum laughed. 'He's right, you owe him.'
I glared at Calum for siding with Michael before giving in.
'Fine, what do you want?'
'I'll go easy on you, seeing as you're hotel staff and technically you could evict us. Heat up those two pizza slices?'
I rolled my eyes, not being able to stop the grin from spreading across my face.
'Fine.' I bowed down. 'At your service.'
Picking up the soggy pizza box, I walked into the kitchen. The boys were all living in the same suite for the month and they'd certainly made themselves right at home. Every shelf was stocked with food, and on the bench sat a massive stand of Chuppa Chups. I shook my head in disbelief. How could they eat so much?!
As I opened the microwave (MIKE-RO-WAVE, geddit? ha),I heard the hotel room door open and then snap shut. I heard voices in the living room. I guess they gave up on Ciara's guitar skills then. Soon enough, Ciara popped her head in.
'How's it going?'
I shot her a smile. 'Good - great, even. I'm glad I came. I'm having fun.'
'I knew I'd convince you sooner or later.'
She turned to leave before looking back.
'Give Ashton a chance, Emma. He's a really good guy.'
Before I could say anything, she was gone, and someone else was walking into the kitchen.
Ughh. I didn't need to look to know who it was. I felt him come over and stand close to me, leaning back against the counter.
After a while, he got straight to the point.
'Look, Emma, I'm really sorry. I've been acting like an idiot, and I shouldn't have. You just act so different from everyone else, and I didn't know how to react. We got off on the wrong foot, and I know you're not attracted to me. And I'm not attracted to you. So maybe you could help me.'
Ouch. His eyes found mine, just like before, but this time, they looked unsure. They were beautiful though. Deep brown. Stop it. I sighed, and rested my back against the fridge door.
'No, I'm not going to help you.'
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his mouth drop open. Apparently young hotel staff never talked to a famous band member like this. Oh well, there's always a first time for everything. Right?
'It's not a hard job.'
He leaned down and gently pulled reached around me, taking the pizza and putting it into the microwave.
'It's just for a month. And it's totally simple.'
He shut the door and began to reheat the pizza.
Suddenly, I remembered what Calum had said. I gave a sigh and turned to face him, trying not to blush.
'Hey, I'm sorry too. About how I've been acting towards you recently. I just have this habit of judging people straight away-' I laughed, '-and like you said, we sure didn't hit it off from the first moment.'
Ashton cracked a smile that spread from his cheeks to his ears. He peered closer at me.
'Can we start over?'
I smiled at him. 'Okay. What do you want me to do?'
He shrugged. 'Help me live an average life. Get away from all this.'
He looked down at himself and then glanced at me again.
'Just for the next month, I want to be a normal guy. I want to stay out late, make new friends, party hard. I want to meet a girl, someone genuine, not just someone who likes me because I'm in a band. I want to have my first kiss, enjoy the summer. Not spend it in this hotel. I want live a little. And you, you can help me with that.'
'How? I'm no one special Ashton. '
I shook my head in disbelief, but he looked at me, wide-eyed.
'You can be my summer guide! You can show me the works, teach me these things!'
His face lit up in excitement.
'You can take me places, we can go and see the sights, meet people and all that stuff. It'll be great!'
The microwave buzzed and I turned back to it.
'Give me one good reason why I should do this for you?'
'Because I'll help you move away. Get out of this dead-beat town. Whatever. Go wherever you want to go.'
'You'll what?' I looked up and blushed.
'Move out! Have a dream life. Travel the world like you've always wanted.'
'How do you know--'
'Ciara told me.'
I need to have a word with that girl. My whole face must have been red.
Ashton smiled at me.
'I promise I'll help you find the best places to stay, guide you around whatever country you go to, and help you make that dream come true. All that you need to know to live your dream life, its up here - knowledge from touring the world.'
He tapped his forehead. I couldn't deny it - that kind of help from someone like Ashton would be fantastic, and I could finally get the life I had always wished for.
But could I get past the whole Ashton problem itself?
I stared up into his face and stuck my palm out.
'And no strings attached?'
He smiled and took my hand in his, shaking it firmly.
'No strings attached.'