Ashton kicked off his shoes and removed mine as well. Then he crawled up the bed and got settled, halfway hovering over me, resting his weight on his elbow. He nudged my legs apart with his knee and I willingly let him slide his leg between mine. I placed my hands under his shirt and he jumped slightly at the sudden coolness of my fingers.
"Sorry," I giggled.
"It's fine. I've been craving your touch so damn long," he said quietly, and closed his eyes while I lightly ran my hands up and down his sides.
"Me, too," I replied.
His eyes sprung open and his lips formed a small smile. He looked super complacent and I knew something facetious was coming. "Really? You crave your touch? Do you touch yourself when you think of me?"
I was dying on the inside, but wanted to show him that two could play that game. I removed one hand from the warmth of his skin and raised up on my elbow, which brought our faces centimeters apart. "Yes, I do. Do you touch yourself when you think of me?"
He didn't even flinch at my response. "All the fucking time." He gave me a hard, quick kiss. "But it feels so much better when you do it."
I took the hint and moved my hand to the tight bulge in his jeans. How there was any room in there for it in that condition, I'll never know. His eyes closed and his lips parted slightly when I moved my hand strategically. I asked, "Like this?"
Before he had a chance to enjoy it too much, I pushed him away from me and made him turn over so that I was straddling his thighs. He looked at me with wide eyes, surprised that I was taking the lead. To be honest, I surprised myself, because that's something I'd never done. But I'd decided that if I was going to do this - if I was going to give us a shot - I was going to give it my all, mentally and physically. That way, if/when it failed, I'd have zero regrets.
I pulled my shirt off and dropped it onto the floor. He reached up to touch my breasts, but I took his arms by the wrists and put them back down on the bed. I shook my head and he looked at me quizzically. "Not fair. Yours is still on." I lifted his shirt up, slowly kissing the exposed skin as I did so. When it was finally on the floor with mine, I leaned down to kiss him. As I did, I reached down and unfastened those tight ass pants, giving him the freedom he was in dire need of. He lowered them enough to allow me full access, and I used my hand on him while I left kisses in various places.
I knew I was doing something right when he couldn't form a coherent sentence. "Aubree, I... sh-... oh god... fuck."
There's not much more of a confidence booster in the bedroom than knowing that you can give your partner such immense please that they can't speak clearly. But I had to stop so that I could finish undressing us. I loved his expressions as he watched every move I made, especially when I finally settled over top of him and went for the kill.
While we recovered, it hit me how very deeply I'd fallen in love with Ashton. It was as though every cell in my body was drawn to him. I needed him. To never be with him again would be the same as taking away the air I needed to breathe.
I was finally ready to have that conversation with him. But there was something I had to know first. I was sure I knew the answer, but I wanted to hear him say it. It would be the one thing that would prove how much he wanted to be with me.
"Can I ask you something?"
I played with his chest hair while I asked, "I mean absolutely nothing by this, so don't take it the wrong way. I just want to know, have you been with anyone else since we were together last time?"
He looked at me like I'd lost my mind. "Are you serious? Of course not. Why would you even ask me that?"
"Well, I don't know. I just need to know for my own peace of mind. It's not like we've been in a committed relationship or anything since - "
He sat up in the bed. "Woah, woah, woah. Wait a minute. Have you been with someone else?"
"No! Absolutely not."
"Fuck. Why'd you do that to me? You scared me."
I sat up as well. "I didn't mean to. I was just saying, it was never officially like a committed relationship. I know you want that and all, but I was just concerned that since that wasn't the case, that it was possible that you'd had sex with someone else and, I don't know, I just wanted to know. No big deal, I swear."
"No, that's okay. But you know how I feel about you. Surely you didn't think I was talking to you, begging you to give me a chance all this time, and going out fucking around on you, did you?"
I scooted as close as I could to him without actually sitting in his lap, and while stalling, I attempted to tame his wild curls, to no avail. "No, I didn't. I just needed to hear it from you. It's just part of that whole stupid insecurity thing I have. But I'll tell you this: I trust you with all I have. And I know that a big part of why your last relationship didn't last is because she questioned you constantly. I'm promising you right now that I'll never ask you that question again, as long as you promise in return that there will be no reason to ask."
"I swear to you, you'll never have reason to ask." He sealed the promise with what started as a heartfelt kiss. But he stopped suddenly and perked up. He tilted his head in question as what I was insinuating hit him. "Wait a minute. Does this mean... are you going to give me a chance to prove to you that we can make this work?"
"I only have one stipulation."
"You name it, and it's done."
"We have to keep it on the down low. There's no way around it. For the sake of everyone involved, it really is the best thing to do, and you can't argue otherwise, because you know it's true."
He nodded slowly, considering what I'd said. "Okay, then I have a stipulation."
"And what would that be?"
"Six months from now, when we're bound to be tired of pretending that we don't even know each other, we don't have to keep our relationship hidden anymore."
I figured up the date in my head. "Six months from now, you're going to be on tour again." The thought of him being in other countries for weeks and months at a time hurt my heart already.
"That's correct. But that's part of the package."
"I know. That's the part that makes this so difficult. But, six months? How about one year."
"A whole fucking year? No way. I can't go that long staying holed up in hotel rooms with you. Wait, yes, I totally could. But you know what I mean. Six months. Come on."
"How about we compromise? Let's meet in the middle at nine months."
He thought about it for a minute. "That's still a long time. Like, long enough to birth a baby. It's too long, Aubree. Six months." I shook my head, trying with all I had to not give in. He rolled his eyes and said, "Okay, fine. Nine months from today, I'm posting a photo of us on Instagram so all hell can break loose." We both laughed at the thought.
As we leaned in for a kiss, the hotel phone beside the bed rang. Why are those always so freaking loud? I picked it up and answered, "Hello?"
"You losers get dressed and come join us for dinner. We already ordered room service."
"Well, alrighty then. Be there in a few." I started to hang up, but heard Traci yell my name. "Yeah?"
She asked quietly, "Did you tell him yet?"
She squealed with delight and hung up.
We had the best time, the four of us hanging out again. There was never a dull moment. And eventually, Luke and Michael joined us. Michael tried to get me to play video games with him again, but Ashton protested. He wouldn't let me leave his side. If he wasn't holding my hand, he had his arm around me. I didn't mind. I knew our time together was going to be short, so I soaked up as much affection as I could. I lost track of the time, but it was so late when Ashton and I left for his room, that we stripped down, cuddled up, and passed out.