I spent the entire night just talking to Ashton. He listened to me patiently - not like he had a choice. But I knew he was listening because he would nod sometimes and laugh in different parts when he was supposed to. He'd even tap me on the arm or leg or hand to try and motion out different questions about what I was talking about. Ashton was a great person to talk to, not just because he couldn't talk but because he seemed to understand.
We sat on my bed for hours talking. At one point, I offered to go downstairs and bring us up something to eat after my parents had gone to bed. We ate leftover mac and cheese and just talked. I mostly talked about my family, my new school, and my old life. I told him how my mom wanted to be an artist but couldn't find the time to go to art school; how my dad used to be this business man that owned a company with one of his friends, but ended up getting screwed over and now worked for their rival company; how Jeremy and I have never really gotten along all that great and he thinks I'm basically an insane weirdo. I told him about how my friends at my old school completely forgot about me after I moved away. They never bothered keeping track of me or anything. Even before I left, they had already cut me out of the circle.
Then I told him about my first day at school. I told him all about Calum - the mysterious and vague shaggy-haired boy that warned me about Michael. Ashton seemed really interested when I mentioned him but he didn't actually input much on him.
The next morning, my mom pounded on the door, wanting to know if I'd be "getting up anytime soon". I explained I wasn't feeling well - after remembering what happened yesterday, I didn't want to see Michael or Calum or even step outside for that matter - and went back to sleep. When I woke up again, Ashton was still asleep beside me. The light that came in from between the blinds shone on his face. His sunglasses were placed on the bedside table. One eye was purple around it. Did he wear sunglasses because he had a black eye?
Instead of waking Ashton up, I watched him sleep. He looked peaceful, and actually really cute. His hair flopped in his face a little, and he snored lightly. One hand was under his pillow while the other gripped at the blanket laying in front of my torso. I turned and looked at the clock. 9:57. I didn't know if Ashton had anywhere to be today, so I figured I should just wake him up.
"Ashton," I whispered, shaking him gently. "Ashton, wake up."
His eyes fluttered open. I saw they were a pretty hazel color that looked slightly glazed over with sleep. He focused on my face, and he looked suddenly panicked. He sat up and searched around for something. He finally grabbed his glasses and slipped them on, flopping back down onto the pillow.
"Do you wear those because of your black eye?" I asked him.
He just shook head as he stared at the ceiling.
"I wish you didn't wear them," I said quietly, playing with the blanket. "You have really pretty eyes, you know."
Ashton's face flushed as he tried to hide a smile. He put one of his large hands over mine and squeezed gently.
"So my parents are at work and Jeremy's at school," I told him. "Want some breakfast?"
He shot up and nodded, a close-mouthed smile on his face. I giggled at him before getting out of bed and leading Ashton out of my room and down the stairs to the kitchen. As I was about to look through the fridge, he cleared his throat. I turned and saw him still standing in the hallway by the door.
"What?" I asked him.
He nodded his head towards the door.
I looked at the door cautiously. "What if we run into Michael?"
He nodded understandingly and sighed. He suddenly straightened up like he had an idea. He pushed his hands at me, telling me to stay where I was.
"Alright." I laughed a little.
He smiled in reply and ran out the door. I sucked in a breath and let it out slowly. I realized I was becoming some sort of Hollywood cliche, but not the type I thought I'd become if I met a cute boy. It was more of a horror movie cliche.
I sat up on the island and swung my feet back and forth, waiting for Ashton to return. When I heard a knock at the door, I slid off the counter and almost skipped to the door. I swung it open and saw Ashton giving me a toothy grin, car keys swinging around his finger from their key chain. I could see a red sport scar behind him parked in my driveway.
"You can drive?" I questioned and he nodded, stepping around me into the house. He closed the door and guided me to the stairs, pointing up them. "Alright, alright. I'll be down in ten minutes."
I jogged up the stairs to get ready. I put on some black leggings, a white wife beater, and a mossy green jacket. I slipped on my same beat-up black Vans before going to the bathroom to brush my hair and teeth. I jogged back down the stairs to find Ashton sitting in the living room, looking at the pictures hung up around the room.
"Nosy, much?" I smiled.
Ashton looked up from one of the pictures he picked up from the mantle and smiled, showing off his dimples. He showed me the picture and pointed at me in it. Then he folded his hands together and put them up near his face. You were so cute.
"Shut up." I blushed, gently punching him in the arm.
He went and set the picture back down before gesturing to the door with both arms. I took his hand and led him to the door, but I waited for him to go out first. He opened the door and held it for me as I stepped out onto the front steps. He shut the door for me before putting his hand on the small of my back and guiding me to his car. He kind of looked like a body guard, the way he scanned the road for any sign of Michael. The sunglasses really helped with that image, too.
"Irwin!" Michael's voice called out of nowhere, making me jump. I looked and saw him walking over from the yard of the Hemmings House. "What are you doing with Cooper? Didn't you know she doesn't want us around?"
"I never said anything about Ashton," I corrected. "He didn't almost get me killed."
"You were fine, Cooper," he babied. "Besides, Irwin's just as bad as I am."
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about that little thing that happened yesterday is nothing compared to what he can do to you."
Ashton put himself in front of me, staring Michael down.
"I told you, Irwin," Michael said. "She hates us. Stop defending her."
Ashton turned around to look at me. He reached for his glasses, but was stopped by Michael.
"You can't take those off," he said. "Not when you're looking at her. Knowing these things comes with a price, Irwin, and you've paid the price for knowing. But for blowing the secret...well, that's a different price. And I think you know what it is."
Ashton took his glasses off and glared at Michael. From the side, his eyes looked hard as his jaw clenched and unclenched with anger.
"It won't just be us," Michael chuckled. "If things go wrong, I know you'll get the worst of it. Bridgette's on the line now, too."
"What?" I demanded, grabbing at Ashton's arm to turn him to face me.
"NO!" Michael roared.
In the blink of an eye, Ashton was across the driveway, Michael's arm around his neck as he pressed the sunglasses on his face. I was sitting back on the grassy ground, like someone had pushed me.
"You've been warned, Irwin," Michael said. "But it's up to you to be careful."
Word count: 1,435
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