December has come and I hate the cold temperatures with the icky gray snow on the streets outside. The only thing I do like about December is that it brings Christmas. A holiday filled with family and friends, along with a feeling of cheer that seems to affect everyone. People are nicer, warmer when the season hits. Yet I still feel a coldness from Luke that I’m unsure where it originated from.
I think it started on Michael’s birthday but I can’t be too sure. It could’ve started earlier and I just never noticed. But with them leaving us soon to head home for the holidays, I don’t want us to still be distant. He’s a shit but I do really like talking and hanging out with him. These are the thoughts swarming around my head as I stand outside his bedroom door.
As my heavy hand knocks softly on his thick wooden door, I hear my pulse in my ears. Why am I so nervous? I know why, he could push me away like I always fear people will. There’s shuffling around at first before I hear,
“Yeah?” in a thick Aussie accent. He hasn’t gone home yet but his accent is already making an appearance. With a smile I ask,
“Can I come in?” there’s more shuffling and then the door opens.
He’s dressed in a band tee and his boxer briefs. I bring my eyes up to look at his face quickly, hiding the sheepish grin I want to smile. He gives a small throaty laugh when he looks down at his attire saying,
“You‘re lucky you have me in a shirt.” with a smirk. His lip ring is out today. I wonder why he didn’t put it in. He steps to the side and opens the door wider as I walk in.
Looking around I see a few shirts on the floor and an unmade bed. There’s some figurines and other items atop his dresser from the trips they’ve taken. His suitcases are across the room in front of his closet. A few items are hung in the almost bare space, like he started unpacking but then stopped. As I sit on the end of his bed I watch him close the door and clear his throat.
“So not that I mind but, what are you doing here?” he asks, walking over to crawl back into his bed. He lays down atop the covers and lays his phone over his stomach. I bring my legs up and turn to face him, sitting cross legged almost at his feet.
“I thought maybe we could talk.” I suggest softly. He begins scrolling through his phone again and without looking away from the screen asks,
“About what?” with an indifferent tone. Why did I think this was going to be easy?
“About us?” I offer with uncertainty. He looks at me with a serene face and his eyebrows raised. His phone is replaced onto his stomach and a sigh escapes him.
“I get the feeling you‘re mad or upset with me about something and I don‘t want you to be.” I state, biting my lip.
“Why?” he asks, not leaving my face.
“Because I miss you.” I answer honestly. He sits up and curls one leg into him while the other lays over his side of the bed.
“I haven‘t talked to you in a really long time or even just listened to music with you. I feel like I‘m losing a friend and it sucks.” I continue. He runs his hand over the back of his neck and looks down at his floor.
“Is there something I can do to get us okay again?” I ask, looking for his eyes. Those ocean blues find my face and a long sigh escapes him.
“It‘s not that simple.” he says. His hand drops down to his lap and I crawl over to the other side of the bed. Once I’m at the pillows I sit and cross my legs once more, facing him and clinging to the hope I haven’t lost him.
“What did I do?” I ask in almost a whisper.
“If it‘s about that comment I made in the taxi, I‘m sorry. I just thought that you would shrug it off like you normally do.” I say defensively. His hand rests on my knee when he says,
“Stop. It‘s alright I promise. I just think we need to talk before I can feel comfortable with you again.” I nod in response.
“Do you know why I always act so over confident and cocky?” he asks, looking down at his chipped black nail polish. I shake my head in response and wait for an answer, my hand lays over his and I run my thumb back and forth over the top of it.
“Being famous isn‘t always as great as people make it out to be. It‘s fun don‘t get me wrong, the parties, the people, even the job and the fans are worth it. But there will always be the people who don‘t like you or don‘t like what you do.” he says before growling slightly and leaning back into his pillows. I lay down beside him and wrap my arm around him, pulling my body to his and squeezing him tightly in a side hug.
My head rests on his shoulder and I feel his fingertips brush against my arm. Looking up at him he’s got a small smile on his face.
“I‘ve found it‘s easier that if you wear a shield of ignorance people tend to keep their mouths shut. So if I feel overly confident, others will see my soaring self esteem in my exterior and they feel less obligated to piss all over my band and myself.” he says softly. It’s just a shield? That would account for his sometimes reserved behavior. After all you really can’t be both.
“I‘m sorry.” I say, tilting my head up to look at him. He turns his head to look at me and backs off to clearly see my face. I can see every hair in the scruff along his jaw line and the crevice in the middle of his chin.
“Now that you know do you see me differently?” he asks, with his hand resting on my arm that’s still draped over him. I nod in response and he sighs, looking away and staring intently at his ceiling.
“Now you match the person I‘ve been seeing every time we hung out.” I answer honestly. He turns his head to look at me again and gives a small smile before extending a hand out toward my face. It cups the side of my head holding it in place as he leans over to kiss the top of my head.
That felt so personal. I smile in response but can’t help but think someone might misconstrue this moment. I’m still unsure what we’re doing. Friends -especially close ones- have moments like this, right? Luke clearly sees us as just that, I’m just reading too much into this again.
He releases me, thanking me in the same movement and sighs once more. I hug him and start to move away. I feel his finger tips slide down my arm before his hand grabs onto my wrist lightly. Looking up at me he asks,
“Why don‘t you bunk with me tonight?” with the same Australian accent I heard earlier. Normally I would decline and walk away, but that seems so cruel after the talk we’ve just had. Friends can do this too, right?
Scooting closer to the pillows I grab the blankets and slide my legs under them. Luke smiles in response before joining me and turning out the light on his nightstand. He resituates next to me and I can feel his solid mass in front of me. I wrap my arm around his torso and pull myself toward him hugging him once more.
My face rests against his back with my eyes closed. I can feel his hand cup mine and his fingers playing with the ring on my right thumb. As I listen to his heartbeat I can feel myself drifting off to sleep slowly. I’m almost under when I hear,
“I missed you too, Carol.” and his thin lips pressed against the back of my hand. I smile knowing our friendship means just as much to him as it does to me.
I wake the next day and have dirty blond hair sticking me in the face. Moving away I realize our limbs are entangled together, I can’t differentiate who’s who. I lay there for a moment trying to figure out what I can and can’t move. Luke is snoring away with his head just on my shoulder and his left arm is draped around me. I begin to move my right leg and realize it’s wrapped around his left thigh. Uncurling myself from him I scoot away slowly. I’m almost out from under him when I notice my entire left leg is under his body. Groaning slightly I pull until he’s leveled with the bed and I slide off.
Somehow I don’t think that’s how we started. Sighing I fix my pants and begin walking to the door. I walk slowly so I don’t wake him and reach for the handle.
“Carol?” I hear in a mumble. Closing my eyes I hang my head at the door. Damn it, he’s awake.
“Yeah?” I ask, turning to face him. He moves around a bit before turning toward the door and staring at me with a confused look on his face.
“What‘re you doing?” he asks in his rough morning voice. It’s scratchy, deep and full of his Australian accent.
“Going to use the bathroom and then possibly grab something to drink.” I answer honestly. He sighs and runs his hand through his messy morning hair. He nods in response and rolls over to fall asleep again. I wait for his breathing to even out before leaving the room.
After using the restroom I start to walk down the stairs when I hear Angela.
“Cut it out! You‘re gonna make me burn this.” she scolds to someone I can’t see. I tiptoe down the steps and look around for her. There’s no one in the living room but when I turn to look in the kitchen, I see Angela cooking. Right behind her with his arms draped around her in a hug, is Ashton. He’s giggling next to her ear when he says,
“I can‘t help it munchkin, you‘re so warm today.” in his usual chirpy tone. The sight makes me smile, regrettably.
I notice she smiles as well before flipping what looks like eggs in her pan. Ashton still has his messy bed hair and the closer he nudges into her neck, the more it rubs against her cheek. Almost instantly I hear her giggle and Ash’s high school girl laugh comes out as well. I watch as she tries to move away from him but in doing so he only holds her tighter. Soon their laughter is the only sound in the kitchen besides the sizzling of the eggs.
Ashton’s in a sweater and shorts as he leans against her with his full weight. Angela, still in her pajamas tries to keep her footing without hitting the hot pan.
“Ash, I swear to god if you don‘t quit.” she threatens with a smile. As if she could ever really be mad at him. If I ever treat Ash like she’s treating him now, she comes to his aid and sticks up for him. Most of the time. I stare at their faces and the smiles upon their lips and I wonder why they aren’t a couple. Then I remember Cal and feel guilty for thinking so.
It annoys me that even after the day she spent with Cal she’s still so hopelessly infatuated with Ash. I’m starting to think she’s never going to see Calum the way he sees her. That’s what kills me. Because I know that he’s started to care so much for her and all she can think about is Ashton, who hasn’t done anything to progress their flirtationship. If I didn’t love her so much I could kill her.
I yawn loudly to get their attention and hide my face behind the wall again. I give them a couple seconds before sneaking another glance. Ash nuzzles his nose against her cheek causing Angela to smile widely. He sighs before letting go and sitting at the counter. He begins to play on his phone as I walk into the kitchen and greet them.
Grabbing a water from the fridge I hear Ash say,
“I‘m surprised you‘re awake, Carol. I anticipated you to still be sleeping for a while longer.” teasingly. I hear Angela giggle and then quickly stifle it.
“Oh don‘t worry. I‘m going back to bed. Just try not to burn down the kitchen while I‘m gone, kay?” I tease back, hearing Angela giggle once more.
“That was one time.” I hear Ashton whine as I walk up the stairs.
They’re still talking about the last time Ashton tried to make a meal and got the fire alarm started, when I reach the top of the steps. I look toward Luke’s room and then back to mine. If I go to my room I’ll have to adjust to the coldness of my sheets. While Luke’s bed is still nice and warm from us sleeping in it last night. Biting my lip I turn toward his room sheepishly. Ashton was right about one thing, it is cold this morning.
I’m reaching for the handle when I hear the upstairs toilet flush. The running water flies through the pipes in the walls with a deafening roar in the silence. I turn to see Cal emerge from the bathroom and he takes a double take as I walk into Luke’s room. I give a small smile before closing the door as he walks downstairs. I can only hope that Ash is still sitting at the counter and not hugging Angela again when he reaches the kitchen.