I wipe away at my eyes, standing from the floor and gathering my dignity that I had lost moments ago. No, Ashton, I haven't answered your calls; I changed my number. But then you decided that you would call my mother, and get my new number, so this time, I just began to ignore you. I had considered blocking you, but decided against it. I didn't have the heart to do that, the same way that I didn't, and still don't, have the heart to handle you telling me that you don't feel the same way that I do.
I push my hand down on the edge of the bed, pushing myself up off the floor to stand. Why does he always get to me like this? I can't even look him in the eyes without wanting to cry. Hell I can't even hear his voice or see him without wanting to cry. I can't do this. I thought I could, but I can't. Maybe I'll just stay with my dad this time? Honestly, anything sounds better than staying here and dealing with the continuous heartache and pain that comes daily. Fuck. I've already emptied out my bag and I don't have the strength to repack. Maybe I'll just stay for a night? Talk to my mom in the morning and then stay with my dad? I groan. Do I really want to stay here with Ashton literally across the hall? Hell, would I be so weak and desperate as to resort to my alcoholic, abusive father rather than stay here? Hell no, my subconscious screams at me. Don't fucking go back to that man! She's right, I can't do it. I would much rather compose myself and deal with this, all of this, rather than to resort to staying with that mad man.
I lazily sit down on the edge of my bed and look around the room once again. The walls are still covered with posters of my favorite bands, of Ashton's favorite bands, and the occasional space of wall underneath them here and there. The walls were painted black, like the color of my soul at the moment, dark and decayed and dead. My heart feels heavy in my chest as I think of all the things that I've been through that have made me feel so empty and dead inside. I never want to relive those. Ever. I lay back down on my bed, once again staring at the ceiling like Ashton and I used to. I can still see the faint lines of the sharpie that we used to draw on the ceiling with, a pattern being created. When we were younger, we shared this room and we had a set of bunk beds, and every night, I would crawl into the top bunk with Ashton and we would draw, terribly considering we were about 6 or so, little shapes and lines and animals and stick figures on the ceiling. As we got older, we began playing tic-tac-toe on the ceiling, him being the X and me being the O. I had shared with him what my mom told me the X and O stood for, and why it was sometimes used in a conversation between two people who loved each other- the X stood for hugs, and the O stood for kisses.
I look over at Ashton as we come to a deadlock on who wins this round of tic-tac-toe. I smile at him, my bestest friend in the entire world, and watch his face fall as he realizes no one would win. I giggle at him. Sometimes he's just so adorable.
Ashton turns to face me as he sits back down on the bunk, across from me, his legs tangled in an Indian Style seating. "Kaitlynn?"
"Yes, Ashy," I giggle.
"What do you think the X's and O's stand for?" He cocks his head to one side, awaiting my answer.
"I don't think," I giggle. "I know. Mummy says that the X stands for hugs, and that the O stands for kisses. And that two people say it to each other when they love each other, like mummies and daddies do."
"Oh." His brows furrow in confusin, in thought.
I can't help but giggle at him. He's always so at loss for words, so speechless. That one little word, 'oh', always escaping his mouth when he gets that way. I kick his knee playfully with my foot. "What ya thinking about?"
His cheeks redden and he focuses his attention on the wall that the bunk beds are pressed against. "Nothing."
I sit up on my knees and place my hands on his shoulders, shaking him. "Awe c'mon Ashy, tell me."
He laughs and I shake slightly more rough, causing him to laugh harder. "Okay, okay, I'll tell you." I sit back on the bed again, my legs crossing in the same way his are crossed. "Do you ever wonder, you know, if we should-" he cuts himself off and gestures between him and I. He opens his mouth to continue, but closes it back, not wanting to continue. That we should what? That we should kiss? Oh, yes Ashton, I do.
I shrug my shoulders, my expression impassive. "Sometimes," I answer truthfully.
I watch his eyes widen as he swiftly returns his focus back to me, staring at me with shock evidently written across his face. He visibly relaxes and his shoulders hunch back down. His face reddens again as his thoughs echo his expressions and actions, and he looks away from me, only slightly, but still so. "Maybe we shoud.." he trails off, fiddling with his fingers.
I sit back up on my knees and plant a swift but chaste kiss on his lips before sitting back down. His eyes dart back to mine again, repeating the same expression as always. "See," I tease. "That wasn't so bad, was it?"
He smiles at me, and I can't help but smile back, my cheeks reddening as I do.
We were so much younger then. We were both 14 then, and everything seemed so easy. There was no 'well what if' or continuous heartaches and pains and breaks; there was only the present and the 'live in the moment' moments. I would give anything to go back to that day, to be able to live in that day in repeat, but this is reality, and that's something that doesn't happen in reality.
I sit up on my bed after staring a final time at the ceiling and its memories entangled with each drawing and paint splatter. My eyes fall onto the wall that the bunks were pressed against, that year being the final year. Our parents had decided that it was time for us to have our own separate rooms, since we were teenagers, because they didn't want anything to happen between us. Nothing like what I wish would. Nothing that would be too much and too far and possibly life-ruining. I sigh and my stomach growls. Of course, food. I haven't ate at all on the way here, scared that I would throw every bit of it up from anxiety of seeing Ashton. I can't say whether I regret that or not, because on one hand, I know that I would've thrown it up, but on the other hand, I'm so damn hungry. I stand from my bed, and make my way to the door, carefully creaking it open and peeking my head out. Ashton's door is shut and the sound of music is blaring from inside. How did I not notice that playing before? I sigh a sigh of relief and make my way down the stairs and into the kitchen. I rummage through the cabinets looking for something to eat, when a voice from behind me startles me.
"Jesus fucking Christ, you scared me," I say as I turn around to face the intruder. I drop the can from my hand and it falls on top of my left foot, hard and fast. "Fuck!" I whisper-yell, my teeth biting into my tongue, and I lift my foot from the floor.
"Are you okay?" Ashton asks as he steps forward to make his way around the island, concern evident in his voice.
"Stop," I say firmly to him, holding my hand up in warning as not to come closer. "I'm fine," I lie. My foot is throbbing and the pain is never-ending, but I really don't want Ashton being the one to come to my rescue.
"Oh, okay." The disappointment is evident in his voice, and his face falls completely. Oh, Ashton, this is killing me too. Fuck, literally. I stare down at my throbbing foot, restrained in my shoe. I really need to get upstairs and look at this but I really don't want to ask Ashton to help. "Are you sure you're-"
"Yes. " I cut him off. My focus falls from his towards the floor, and the faint word falls out of my mouth, almost reluctantly. "No." I pull my eyes from the floor back to his. And in that moment, I told the truth. No, I am not okay. Not just because I may have just possibly broken my foot, but because of everything that has happened between us, between you and I, Ashton. Love me, my sunconscious screams at him. His lips are parted slightly, and his eyes are widened even so. "Ash, I know I've been bitchy lately, but I really would appreciate it if you would help me back upstairs to my room."
For a second, I think that he is going to say something as he begins to close his mouth, but he licks his lips and nods. He walks around to me, and throws my left arm around his shoulder, his right arm reaching around my waist as he places his hand on my hips. "Keep your foot up, okay? Don't want to hurt you any further." He helps me up to my room, twisting the door handle and pushing the door open, before setting me down on my bed and staring into my eyes- a smoldering of greens and oranges and browns staring into each other. His eyes never leave mine as he unties the laces, pulling them apart and loosening the laces across and down the tops of my shoes. I wince as he carefully pulls it off, placing it on the floor before reaching for the hem of my sock and carefully dragging it off my foot, as well, and I wince once more.
"Holy shit," he says as he examines my foot. I pull my eyes from staring into space as his words bring me from my moment, and I stare down at my foot. Holy shit is right. My foot is swollen right across where my toes meet the base of my arch, and the coloring is a dark blue mixed with purple. "Is that broken?" His eyes fall back into mine, and I am forced to swallow, slightly paralyzed by the intensity of his gaze.
I shake my head. No, if it was broken, the bruising would be black. "No, but it's probably fractured."
"Isn't that the same thing?" he asks, arching an eyebrow.
I can't help but laugh at him. "Not quite. When something is fractured, it means it's almost a break; it's just one or two or so breaks away from being one."
"How can you tell?"
"That it's fractured? Just look there," I point to my foot. "The discoloring would be basically black if it was broken, not blue and purple."
His examines my foot, my words playing in his head, before looking around the room. "Like these walls?" Oh no. Shit. Where is he going with this? No, back to my foot. "I remember when we shared this room when we were younger. It seems like so long ago." His eyes leave the walls and dart up to the ceiling, and I can feel my heart constricting within my chest. Please, no, not this, not here, not now. "Remember when-" he pauses, considering whether or not he wants to finish his question. Then suddenly, he shakes his head as if to erase some thought.
"Yes," I encourage. "I do."
He looks at me and frowns. "You don't even know what I was going to say."
"No, but I remember everything about this cabin, everything about being here and what happened here. Everything," I enunciate the last word.
"Oh," he frowns, eyes finding the floor once again. I cock my head to one side and stare at him. This boy is so damn confusing. I never know what he's thinking. "I'd better go wash my hands," he says as he removes his hands from my foot and stands from the floor. "God knows where those feet are of yours have been," he teases, a smile playing at his lips.
"Oh, shut up," I retort as I throw a pillow at his head, but unfortunately, he ducks and it misses, hitting against the wall and falling onto the floor.
He looks back at me, his smile on full-blast now. My insides melt. Holy shit. I haven't seen that smile in years. Not since.... no. No. God, no. I can feel my heart constricting again as the thought enters into my mind, unbidden and unfortunately unforgotten, and the tears begin to pool in my eyes. I swallow the lump in my throat and try to force the tears back but they reluctantly fall down my cheeks and onto my faded jeans. After noticing the first couple of tears staining my jeans, I can't control myself. I let go, my tears spilling out, and I throw my hands over my face. A second barely passes before I feel Ashton wrap his arms around my torso from behind, pulling me flush against him as he runs his hand through my hair. Words are falling out of his mouth, trying to soothe me, but I can't focus on them. The only sounds that I can hear are my shattered breathing and broken sobs, but ironicly enough, his actions and warmth of his body are comforting enough, calming me in a way that I never thought possible. "Everything will be alright, everything will be okay," he coos as he runs his fingers through my hair, occasionally kissing the top of my head. And for once, I believe him. For once, maybe this time everything will be alright. Maybe this time everything will be okay.