As if it wasn't wonderful enough that I would be spending more time with Ashton in Cincinnati, he insisted on riding home with me. Though, it turned out to be more complicated than him simply jumping in the car with me and us going on our merry way. There was all this crap about liability and such, since he was "on the clock" while traveling. But Ashton got it all settled in the end. At least, I hoped he did. I kind of got the feeling that he told them to fuck off because he was doing whatever the hell he wanted. But to save another clash of opinions on right and wrong, I just went along with it. Thankfully, we had a safe trip, so it all worked out. And it was the best six hours I ever spent in a car.
We had a nice relaxed evening with Ash and Molly. They were ecstatic to see Ashton, and when he told them they were going to hang out with him before the show and watch him perform, you would have thought they'd won the lottery. Not that they even understood what it meant to hang out backstage, but knowing they'd be with Smash is all they needed to understand.
It was funny when we arrived at the venue the next day. Ashton had a tough time convincing the venue security that he was in the band.
"Yeah, okay. The band is already here."
"No, really, sir. I'm Ashton Irwin. I'm the drummer."
We were trying to be serious, because laughing about it didn't help to convince him. But we weren't doing a great job of it at all. The guy even threatened to call the police, until Ashton called Dave, and he talked to someone, who in turn told the guy to let us in. It's still one of my favorite memories. Such a funny moment.
Everyone was so great to Molly and Ash. And the kids loved the attention. Ash had a particularly fun time playing the Xbox One with Michael, which Ashton was none too happy about.
When he asked Ash if he wanted to go watch the drums being set up, Ash said, "Nah. I have to finish this game with Mike-Ro-Wave." Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that, while he loved real-life Smash, Mike-Ro-Wave was Ash's favorite 5SOS superhero alter ego. He even dressed up as him for Halloween.
Ashton didn't bother hiding his disapproval. He said quietly, kind of to himself, but loud enough for me to hear, "Wow. Even my own kid likes Michael better."
I was waiting for some kind of indication that he was joking, but it never came. It wasn't the part about him calling Ash his kid, though that was still odd, it was the jealousy factor making it's reappearance that ticked me off.
When he noticed the look I gave him, he tried explaining, "Well, he said he wanted to learn how to play drums, so I thought he'd be excited about watching. But that's cool, I guess. Whatever." He shrugged and started to walk away.
Molly, bless her sweet heart, ran up to him and asked excitedly, "Can I watch the drums being put together?"
Ashton put that dimply smile back on his face. "Of course, baby girl." He scooped her up, then he looked at me. "Is Mommy coming, too?"
"Yeah. Michael, is my little man okay with you?"
"Yeah, we're cool. Aren't we, buddy?"
Ash nodded slightly, engrossed in the game.
It was neat seeing the behind the scenes stuff that you don't really think about. It takes an insane amount of people to set up for a big production like that. I learned all sorts of things, but before I knew it, it was time for the guys to get ready for the meet and greet with some winners from a contest that was held by a local radio station. So the kids and I wandered around in the meantime.
Our seats for the show were at the end of the catwalk, which was perfect for the kids since they didn't have stand behind anyone. However, it was unfortunately were the other "comp ticket" holders were seated, too. It didn't go unnoticed that they kept glancing at the kids and me and whispering among themselves. But that was okay, they could talk about us all they wanted. The joke was on them because we had something they'd never have: Ashton's love.
We were waiting on the show to start when a girl who was probably 14 years old came up to me and asked, "Oh my god, are you and Ashton dating? You have kids?! Can I take a picture with you?" I loved the way she was taking pictures of us while she asked. I immediately didn't like her.
I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. But how does one prepare for something like that when they've never been in the spotlight before? But whether or not I was prepared, I didn't want to take pictures. I was trying to think of a nice way to say, "Sorry, no. I'm not famous. There's no reason for you to take my picture," when the venue security guy standing in front of me between the barrier and the stage stepped up.
"Sorry, she's not taking pictures right now. It's family time."
I probably looked surprised, but I went along with him and tried giving the girl an apologetic smile, even though she didn't deserve it. She took another picture and rolled her eyes before walking away. Teenagers are so rude these days.
The guy motioned for me to come closer, so I did. He explained, "I was instructed to do that if anyone bothered you. He said you were too nice to tell them no."
Well, he was right. "Thank you, I appreciate that."
That scenario would play out three more times before the supporting band took the stage. And each time the group of girls Michael, Luke, or Calum (or all, who knows?) invited would laugh loudly, trying to make a scene. Too bad I didn't care enough to give a shit.
At the end, Michael gave Ash a pick and Ashton gave Molly a drumstick. They felt like little celebrities.
And speaking of celebrities, when we were going backstage to find Ashton, Ash asked, "Mommy, why did all those people want to take your picture? Are you famous or something?"
I explained the best I knew how that for some crazy reason they thought it would be special to take a picture with me because I was friends with someone who was famous.
Then Molly pointed out, "You mean your boyfriend is someone famous."
She had me there. "Um, yeah, you're right."
Ash asked, "Does that mean he's our dad?"
As I was stuttering, trying to find the right words, Molly interjected. "No, silly. But he will be one day, when they get married. Right, Mommy?"
I knew whatever I said, Ash would probably repeat it to Ashton as soon as he saw him. "Yes, if we got married he would be your dad. But you know we're not talking about getting married or anything, right? Though, that doesn't mean he can't be like a dad to you." I wanted them to know that it was okay to love him like a dad. But then again, I worried that they'd get too attached and things wouldn't work out for us, and they'd get their little hearts broken.
Molly corrected me. "That's not what Smash says."
I stopped dead in my tracks. "Wait. What exactly has Smash said?"
She shrugged. "Well, he told us we shouldn't tell you, but he says he's going to marry you and we'll be his kids for real and we might even get a new brother or sister if we want. Oh, and he said that we can move to a great big house with all the toys we want."
"Really?" I said as more of a statement than a question.
"Yeah! And we'll have a great big swimming pool and all kinds of stuff! And he'll take us to see some really cool places anytime we want." Ash said excitedly.
Though they seemed excited about the idea, I wasn't so sure how I felt about it. Yes, we'd touched on the subject of marriage, but not seriously. It was usually in reference to me pointing out how we probably would not ever get married. I didn't like that he was making promises to my children that would likely never materialize, especially without my knowledge.
To set them straight, I explained to them, "Well, all that would be nice, but you have to know that Ashton and I probably won't get married. If we do, it will be a long time from now. We love each other and we love you both very much. And I'm happy that you guys love him, too. He's part of our family whether or not we're married, okay?"
They agreed, and all was forgotten. As kids do, they quickly moved on to the next random topic as we made our way to the dressing room.
I felt a little weird greeting Ashton, pretending to not know anything about what the kids had told me. I wanted to marry Ashton and live happily ever with him more than anything. But, I knew in my heart from the beginning that our relationship was living on borrowed time, so to speak. I hated being such a procrastinator, but one of us had to be realistic about it. Unfortunately, that job fell to me.
A/N: If you're still reading this, thank you so much. I really appreciate you all for sticking with me. I always enjoy your comments and thoughts. Keep 'em coming, because that's my biggest motivator. It is about time to wrap it up, though. How do you think/hope it ends? ❤❤❤