Unexpected Tokens

Paige and Rose heard the stories about Ashton and Michael's reputation. But that didn't stop them each from becoming just another girl added to their lists. What they didn't know, was that Michael and Ashton weren't going to say goodbye after the morning came.

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3. Chapter 2 / Paige's POV

I’m sitting in my Communications Research Methods class, switching between various social media apps to pass time until the professor comes in, hardly paying attention to anything around me, when I am tapped on the shoulder. I jump slightly, shocked, because no one really talks to me in this class.

Looking to my left, I see Ashton Irwin smiling brightly at me, and think that this surely must be a joke. Ashton Irwin is one of those frat boys who parties every weekend and sleeps with a new girl more often than I change socks. He has sort of a ritual, Ashton does. See, I didn’t know it until I had been here for about a month, but Ashton gives out bandanas to every girl that he sleeps with. I had thought that bandanas were just a fad that I hadn’t been told about, but no. Rumor has it that the first girl took one when she left his room the morning after, and wore it all around, sort of as a badge of honor. After all, bandanas had apparently always been a part of Ashton’s personal style. When he realized this, rumor says, Ashton began to give them out like souvenirs. Every week, I could guarantee that I would see a girl wearing a bandana with pride until she saw the new one. Then, no matter where she was at on campus, the girl would take hers off, realizing her time as Ashton’s was over. His friends did sort of the same thing, but with different gifts.

“Hello, there,” he says to me, now. He’s wearing the typical Ashton Irwin gear. Black skinny jeans, some band t-shirt, and a bandana. This week’s color is red, the same color as the one I saw a pretty blonde wearing the day before. Undoubtedly, she had slept with him last week.

I smile at him, unsure what to say. It’s not like I didn’t know that we share this class. It’s not very big because it’s only for Communications majors, of which we both are, so I had seen him in here before, but he’s never so much as sat next to me, let alone spoken to me. I settle on, “Hey.” It’s casual, but not too uncaring- I’m interested in where this conversation is going.

“Have you heard about our party tonight?” He asks me. I look at him straight on, and think that my jaw may have just dropped. Everyone on campus knows that Ashton and his Frat Brothers have a huge party every weekend. Anyone can go. But, why is he asking me?

“I might have heard something about it,” I say, a smile building on my lips as I regain composure.

His eyes light up, and I realize that it’s cute in a boyish way. Normally, when girls talk about the attractiveness about Ashton Irwin, they’re calling him “daddy” or saying that he’s sexy, hot, but not cute. Never cute. Especially not in a boyish way. “Well, I’d love it if you came. Normally it costs five bucks to get in, but I bet that I can get you in for free.”

He says this with a wink causing me to raise my eyebrows; Ashton Irwin is certainly a charmer. As far as I know, however, Ashton hadn’t ever directly invited a girl to one of these parties, which means most certainly that I am his target girl to sleep with tonight. I take this into consideration as I think about how to respond to him. “I’ll think about it.” I know that’s it’s a super casual response, but I hope that it comes across in this intended way. I’ve never been that good at talking to boys, or, really, anyone.

Effortlessly, Ashton coolly says back, “Sweet. I’ll see you tonight, Paige.”

He smiles at me once again, winking this time, but now the professor has begun to lecture, so he turns to face forward and I do as well. I spend the entire class wondering what to say to Ashton when the class ends. Will he want to talk? If he doesn’t, does that mean something? I hardly realize how quickly time has passed until the professor says, “See you all on Monday. Don’t forget that your research papers are due next Friday.” I slowly pack my things to avoid any conversation with Ashton, and he’s out the door before I even stand up from my seat. I breathe out a sigh of relief. Thank god.

At seven o’clock, I’m standing in front of my small closet in my dorm, looking for anything to wear at all. I hadn’t ever been a social butterfly, so really, I don’t own anything appropriate for a party. My roommate, Clarissa, notices me practically pulling my hair out and asks, “Are you alright?” Clarissa and I get along fine, we aren’t best friends or anything, which is, unfortunately, what I had hoped for when coming to college. We’d liked each other enough to room together for our second year, but, I suppose that, more than anything, we don’t run in the same social circles. As in, Clarissa has lots of friends, and I have none. I tell her about what happened with Ashton this afternoon, and her eyes grow wide. For a moment, I think that she doesn’t believe me. But, then, she says, “Honey, no offense, but you can’t wear anything in your closet for that.”

I smile at her, “Yeah, I’ve figured that out.” My wardrobe consisted of entirely too many cardigans, yoga pants, and not much else. She decides that any of her clothes will be too big on me, so we should go to Georgina’s room, where I could definitely find something deserving of Ashton Irwin. Georgina is Clarissa’s best friend, so I know her fairly well, because I’ll tag along with the two of them out to eat or to the library often. We’re about the same size, and I know for a fact that Georgina has slept with Ashton’s friend Luke (last year she had talked about this adorable plush toy that he gave her the next morning until she saw one in the side pocket of some other girl’s backpack – I haven’t seen or heard about it since. Besides, that boy graduated last year), so she’ll have something party worthy.

After an hour and a half of primping from both Clarissa and Georgina, insisting that green looks best with my hair, and there’s no way I can leave without a lot of makeup on, I’m finally ready to leave for this party. It’s quite a far walk from my dorm, so I don’t get to the Frat house until nearly nine o’clock. But, even before I can see it, I can hear the party. As I walk up the entrance, I spot multiple couples on the front lawn making out, and a girl already throwing up in the bushes on the side of the house. Oh man, I think. What have I gotten myself into?

I see a tall, handsome boy standing at the door and a shorter, more stocky one across from him, clearly taking money to get in. I brought five dollars, even though Ashton had told me that I could get in for free. I don’t really feel like inconveniencing these boys (or anyone, in general), so I figure that I’ll just pay for the cup and find Ashton. I’m trying to keep my cool walking up to the door, but my mind is racing. I don’t want to follow Ashton around all night like I’m some sort of lost puppy, but god I don’t know anyone who’s into this sort of scene, and I’ve never been good at just throwing myself out there.

“Five bucks for a cup, honey,” the handsome one says when I reach the door. He smiles at me, but I feel quite uncomfortable with it.

I’m shoving my hand into my bra (this dress leaves nowhere to hide anything, and I refused to bring a purse, I don’t even have my phone with me) when the stocky boy says, “Not her.” The handsome one looks up at him, a questioning look on his face. “Look, red hair, pretty face, looks terrified, definitely the girl Ash said is getting in free.”

The handsome boy looks at me, now, and says, “Ash tell you to come?”

I nod, and then say, “Uhm, yeah. Ashton told me to, um, come.” I take a deep breath. I can tell my voice is shaky, because I really hate talking to people that I don’t know.

He grabs a plastic red cup and hands it to me, while the stocky one hurries me through the door. Some sort of a line has formed behind me, and I hate feeling like I’m a mild inconvenience for anyone. “Drink up, honey,” he says, while practically pushing me through the door. “You need it.”

Once inside, I feel enclosed. There are a lot of people here, all dancing on one another, and a lot of laughter can be heard even above the loud music. How have the cops not been called? I walk through the large room, passing by a couch where a boy sits, laughing at nothing, with a penis drawn on his face. Classy, I think to myself. And also, weird, I realize. I decide to move away from him quickly. There are quite a few guys wearing togas here, and it makes me think about the time some guys at my high school had dressed up in togas for Halloween, insisting to everyone that they were Greeks, even after our History teacher told them that it was the Romans who wore togas. I make my way to a keg, where one of them is standing and hand him my cup. “Having a good time, sweetie?” he asks.

He’s polite enough, and I nod at him. “I’ll be feeling a lot better after a drink.”

“Hear, hear!” he shouts, lifting up his cup in a toast with me. I take a drink of my beer and promptly remember that I hate the taste of beer. Oh well, I sigh, and take another big gulp. Drunk is certainly the only way that I can make it through the night. I don’t feel comfortable throwing myself into the middle of the party, so I opt to hang around the edges, being a wallflower of sorts. I’m looking through all of the people, searching for Ashton’s face. I notice a big group of girls, including the pretty blonde who wore a red bandana all week, all sporting their gifts from the boys. Snapbacks and bandanas everywhere. One girl isn’t wearing either, though. She’s pretty, with dark skin, and looks like she’s had her fair share of beer tonight. Not that she looks bad, she just is definitely in the party vibe.

A girl comes and stands uncomfortably close to me. I’m about to move away when I notice that she’s crying. I turn to look at her, and see that she’s already looking at me. “Are you okay?”

She begins almost weeping, and says – I think, she’s pretty hard to understand – “I’m just so in love with your hair.” I almost chuckle at her, but I realize that this is seriously the reason that she’s crying. Drunk girls are so weird. Instead of saying anything, I awkwardly hug her, and we toast to my hair. She leaves me and I go back to the keg, getting another drink, and returning to my place on the wall. I drink half of the cup in one swig, realizing that I definitely need this. I begin looking for Ashton in the crowd again, sure that it has to be nearly midnight by now. I’m thinking about how I could leave and maybe Ashton would never know that I was here. Not that he would care, there are plenty of girls here without bandanas on, he can hook up with one of them instead.

Just as I’m about to leave, an alarm begins blaring. I freak out for just a moment, when I hear someone’s voice over a loudspeaker, “Alright people, find your toga guy and grab your free beer. Just follow the man wearing the white sheet.” I look for the guy by the keg, but he’s no longer there. Instead, I see a bunch of people rushing toward the center. I finish my drink off and follow, grabbing a new cup off of his tray, and mimic the rest of the crowd, who all are holding their cups up in the air. I laugh and the girl next to me smiles at me. I smile back thinking that maybe I’m not as awkward as I think that I am.

“You came,” I hear a low voice in my ear.

Obviously, I know that it’s Ashton. I turn around, slightly more confident than normal with a few beers in me, and face him straight on. “Well, I didn’t think that I could pass up your offer. It’s not offered to most girls.”

He smirks at me, and I wonder if he thinks that I’m weird for knowing that. Still, he grabs another two beers off of the tray the guy in the toga is holding. He hands one to me, and I notice that these cups are only about half full, but I don’t mind. Ashton finishes his in one drink, so I follow suit. His eyebrows raise, almost surprised. I’m surprised myself, I probably should have thrown up by now. He puts his hand in mine and leads me across the room, pulling me through a mangle of sweaty bodies, all basically one. We reach a staircase, and he steps aside for a second, ushering me in front of him, and I go. I feel his hand on the small of my back, guiding me up. Strangely enough, it feels almost gentlemanly. I suppose that I use much different words than most girls to describe Ashton Irwin.

When we reach the top of the stairs, he takes the lead once again, taking me to what I suppose is his bedroom. It’s messy, as expected, but I don’t have much time to look into the details of the room, because almost as soon as the door is shut, Ashton’s lips are on my neck. A moan escapes my lips. It’s not that I’ve never had sex, I have – it’s that I haven’t had a sexual encounter in about two years. He knows exactly where to kiss to make me feel like I’m floating above my body. I close my eyes as his lips come into contact with mine. It’s rushed and urgent, and exactly what I need at the moment.

We make way to the bed, where he lays on top of me, pulling my dress up over my head, and undressing himself. In the process, our heads bump into one another, which causes us both to laugh. Just as quickly as the laughter had come, it faded away. Looking deep into Ashton’s eyes is the last thing I remember before pure bliss begins. 

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