I almost had a heart attack this morning. Asher had just got dressed after we gathered all of our strewn out clothes around the foyer before he kissed me with a smile and left.
No later than his truck left the street, did my brother pull into the driveway.
That was way, way, way too close! It would be one thing for Harper to find her brother in my bed, but if Dillon found him there... fists would fly and one of them would end up in the hospital.
“Hey, why are you doing at the door?” Dillon asked me with a weird, confused look on his face.
“I-I thought I heard someone knocking,” I lied. My heart pounded in my chest and I honestly didn’t know what else to say. I was freaking out internally! But doing a good job holding it in.
“Strange...” He walked in past me and tossed his keys down on the table. “What happened here?”
My cheeks flushed as I looked at the table where Asher fucked me just hours before. The plant was nearly falling off the table and the picture frames were all over the place.
“Oh. Must have knocked the stuff around when I came in last night.” I nervously laughed.
“Are you feeling all right? You’re being weird...” He stared at me and I just shook my head and walked by him, heading back upstairs to my room.
I was so glad it was spring break for us and we didn’t have school for another few days. And today I was meeting Harper at Tommy’s. It was this really cool burger joint with outdoor seating and entertainment and a skate park right next door. Which is where Asher and all the guys usually skated at.
I was really excited to see Asher again, even though it had only been just a few minutes, and then I thought about Harper and my heart sank. I was going to have to play it cool around her. If she saw anything strange, or God forbid, me and Asher being nice to each other, she would know something was up. I had to play it cool!
After I showered, I put on a pair of shorts that showed off my ass cheeks perfectly. Then I threw on my favorite tee that Harper helped me cut up. Yes, I cut up my favorite shirt, but for good reason. It made me look like I was in middle school before we got our hands on it. We cut off the bottom to make it a belly shirt, then we cut the sleeves and made slices across the cleavage. It was adorable, and just the thing I wanted to wear to taunt my goodies in front of Asher, knowing damn well he couldn’t do anything about it.
My hair was perfectly tousled so I left it and threw on my converse’s before heading downstairs.
“You’re leaving again?” Dillon asked sounding surprised.
“Yeah. Going to Tommy’s,” I said with a ‘duh’ expression on my face.
He snickered and shook his head. “How do mom and dad let you out of the house when you wear stupid shit like that?” He indicated to my clothes.
I rolled my eyes at him again. “Things have changed since you’ve been home, Dillon. Don’t try to be my big brother now. It’s annoying. I’ll be home late. If at all. I might crash at Harper’s like always. Don’t wait up!!”
I sauntered out the front door and slipped into my car.
Tommy’s was bumping like usual. Post Malone blared through the speakers as the bass pounded. Some kids danced, while the rest of them huddled in their own cliques. That’s when I found Tate and Harper.
She saw me at the exact same time and waved me over with a huge smile on her face.
“Hey girl!” She exclaimed as she wrapped her arms around me.
“Hey toots.” I hugged her back, smiling at Tate over her shoulder. “Where is everyone?” I asked as I backed up from her.
She shrugged. “Around. The guys are skating as usual.”
I scanned the crowd as my eyes wandered toward the skate park. That’s when I saw Asher there. He was a sweaty mess and it was delicious to look at. His shirt was gone which showed off his abs and biceps and his boxers stuck out of his jeans just the way I liked.
He stopped at the top of a ramp as he wiped his brow with the back of his arm and then he looked in my direction.
When our eyes connected, I saw a small smirk curve the corner of his lips and then he winked at me. My heart went pitter patter; I had no shame.
“Who is he winking at now?” Harper groaned. “Gah, my brother is such a whore!”
I couldn’t help but burst out laughing at that. “He is, indeed.” I rolled my eyes for good effect as I sat down next to her. “Have you guys eaten yet?”
They shook their heads and we all walked up to the window to order our food.
And just when we sat down to dig in, I felt a sweaty body behind me and tried with all my might not to smile.
Asher reached around me and stole a fry. And when I looked up at Harper she was gawking, giving me a weird look.
Oh, right. I hate her brother.
“Asher! Get your own!” I went to bite his arm and he just laughed and pulled it back.
He took a seat next to me and I had to pretend like it annoyed me as I rolled my eyes and scooted away from him.
Jake and some other guys sat down at the table too.
And that’s when Harper almost found out...
“Hey, Jaaaake.” She winked at him and then at me as I gave her my most sinister look I could. She took that as a hint and shut her mouth.
I looked at Asher when he snorted beside me. Shut up! I mentally sent him a warning.
“So, Harp...” Asher started and Harper looked at him, “What would you think if I dated your bestie here? We’d make a cute couple, huh?” What?!?! Then he came close to me and rubbed his sweat all up my right arm.
“Ew!” I shrieked. I didn’t mind his sweat being on me when we were doing it, but right now it was gross.
Harper glared at him. “I will cut your nuts off if I hear you say that again. Layla is off limits, buck-o!”
Asher laughed. “You’re ridiculous. Nobody is off limits to me.” Asher cocked an eyebrow at her, challenging her.
“She is. I don’t want you breaking my bestie’s heart because you can’t keep it in your pants!! I know how you treat girls and she is not a conquest for you to stick your dick in and then ditch. I don’t want to lose my best friend because you’re an asshole. She deserves way better than you anyway.”
I swallowed. Oh, if she only knew what was going on...
The guys at the table laughed and Asher shook his head. “I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”
Asshole! I smacked his arm and shoved him away from me. “You are an asshole! I do deserve better.” Then I shoved a fry in my mouth and glared at him.
And he gave me a look that I couldn’t decipher.
“I need to pee...” I shoved my food away and stood up. Harper usually came with me but she stayed by Tate as I made my way toward the bathrooms around the building.
I found an open stall and did my business when I heard two giggling girls come in.
“Oh my God. Did you see Asher? Gah, he is so yummy. I am so jealous of Harper!”
“Why? If you were his sister, you wouldn’t be able to have him,” the other girl said.
“Oh. Yeah, you’re right.” I laughed, shaking my head, but stayed quiet so I could continue to eavesdrop.
“I wonder who he’s going to take home tonight. Ellie isn’t here so he’s free game,” the other one said.
“Who knows. You can never tell with him until after dark and the music sounds like a soundtrack for Fifty Shades.”
“Ugh, I want his babies!”
I bit my lip to keep myself from laughing.
“Good luck with that! I heard he doesn’t fuck a girl without a condom. I’ve even heard that he’s stopped mid foreplay because he didn’t have a condom. Do you know how hard that is for guys to do? He is serious about protection. So I always keep a condom in my purse just in case he chooses me.” She laughed.
My heart stopped at that statement. I never knew that, and he’s never used a condom with me. Did that mean something? I told him that I liked liked him last night and he played it off like it was so ridiculous, but now hearing this... Did Asher like like me too?
Then the bathroom went quiet and I flushed before I left the stall. I washed my hands and stared at myself in the mirror.
Why was he being different with me? He always wore a condom... except with me...
I left the bathroom and went to head back toward the group but someone wrapped their arms around my waist and pulled me into the large thick bush next to the building.
I knew it was Asher. I could smell him. I could sense him.
Then he turned me to him and I was indeed correct. He grinned down at me as he kept one arm wrapped around my waist and the other came up to cup my cheek.
“That was some good acting back there, Stanford,” he said, keeping his voice low.
“You liked that?” I giggled.
“You need to be a little more bitchy next time, but yeah, I liked that...” He grinned as he leaned down and took my lips with his.
He tasted so good. So intoxicating. So Asher...
This kiss felt different for some reason. He was being very sweet and delicate with my lips. His lips were soft and gentle and his tongue barely teased mine. He kept his hand up to my face as his thumb caressed over my cheek.
Then he released my lips and I was breathless. It felt like there was more behind the kiss.
“Layla...” he breathed.
We were staring into each other’s eyes, completely mesmerized by each other. Well, I was mesmerized. And did he just call me Layla again? God, I loved it when he called me by my first name.
“I hate this...” I breathed out, gripping his wrist.
He nodded. “I know... and that’s why I pulled you to the side for a second...I have to talk to you about something.”
He looked haunted as he pulled his hand from my face and took a step back.
“It’s clear that we can’t come out to people right now, if ever,” he rolled his eyes, “and that’s what I need to talk to you about...”
My heart started to race and I felt a smile trying to spread across my lips. Was he going to ask me to be his private, behind doors girlfriend?
“There’s a girl here tonight... that’s really into me...”
Oh. That’s not at all what I was expecting to hear. My heart sank into my stomach and I felt nauseous. Butterflies filled my stomach and I was seconds away from losing my dinner. My face felt hot and I wanted to cry.
“So?” I felt defensive. Asher is mine!
He raked a hand through his hair and looked at me guiltily. “And I think I’m going to take her home tonight...”
The blood drained from my face and I felt like crying. No, I felt like sobbing.
“This is a joke right?” I whispered, completely in shock.
He shook his head. “Stanford, I made a pretty shitty reputation for myself and if I don’t hold my status people will start to question things.” He stepped forward and cupped my face again but when I tried to pull away he only gripped my chin and held me there. “Listen to me... I’m... I’m not going to have sex with her. People just need to see me flirting and dancing and kissing her and then I’ll leave with her. I’ll bring her home and tell her to keep it quiet or she’ll never date in high school again. I just wanted to tell you before you thought I’d actually do that to you.”
I thought about his words. And I was actually really touched that he was being completely honest with me.
Then he leaned forward and lightly kissed my lips again. “Are you staying at my place tonight? Or will you be at home?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know right now.”
Jake called his name and we both whipped our heads in his direction.
“I gotta go.” He kissed my lips more possessively this time before he leaned his forehead onto mine. “I want to see you tonight. Just let me know where you’ll be.”
I nodded as he let go of me and jumped out of the bush.
I cannot believe what just happened. Asher was showing a completely different side to me. A side I didn’t think existed inside that asshole soul of his. He warned me about his actions and then wants to see me tonight when he drops her off?
Well... I’m totally okay with that. Right?...
It was total torture watching Asher and some random girl grind on each other in front of me. And of course I had to hide my emotions because Harper was sitting right next to me.
Ugh! Get your hands off of him! I was throwing daggers at the bimbo in Asher’s arms and I hoped she felt them.
Then he looked in my direction and locked eyes with me, but I quickly looked away. I didn’t want him to know that I was loathing over here.
“Hey. You staying at my place tonight?” Harper asked, breaking through my thoughts.
I nodded. “Yeah, probably.”
And then I felt giddy knowing I would be staying at Harper’s so I could sneak down to Asher’s room while she slept.
My eyes moved back toward Asher and the girl and I almost snapped when I saw them. They were making out and she had her hands up his shirt. Fuck!
That should be me out there with him. Not her!
I watched Asher whisper something into her ear and then they walked off the dance floor and headed toward the parking lot.
This was the hard part and I had to keep taking deep breaths. He wasn’t going to have sex with her. He told me he wouldn’t. I just needed to relax. Soon enough, I would be in his bed and he’d be touching me, not her.
We finally left Tommy’s and made it back to Harper’s and she said she was exhausted so we got ready for bed and crawled in. She turned on the TV and I noticed she was out like a light. She must really be exhausted. She must not have gotten much sleep at Tate’s last night.
I grabbed my phone and texted Asher.
L: hey. you awake? harper fell asleep...
I laid there and stared at my phone, waiting for a response, but nothing was coming through. I tried again.
L: ash... you awake?...
I waited and waited. And while I waited, my eyes became extremely heavy and I passed out cold, my phone pressed up to my cheek.
The next morning Harper and I were in the kitchen helping her mom make breakfast when we heard the front door open.
“Morning...” Asher grumbled.
I looked over at him as their mom, Mia, greeted him.
“You just getting in, Ash?”
He nodded. “Yeah...” He rubbed the back of his head as his eyes traveled up to mine.
He was just getting in? He never came home last night? Where was he?
And I couldn’t help but notice that he gave me a guilty look and quickly looked away from me.
He walked over to grab some coffee before he sat back down at the table. He never missed breakfast I noticed, and now I wished we were alone so I could ask him where he was last night and why he never texted me back. I checked this morning. Five times.
I kept my eyes averted from him as I brought a plate of bacon to the table. I could feel his eyes boring holes into the side of my face but I refused to look at him.
I didn’t know why, but I had this huge feeling that Asher fucked up last night, and that’s why he was being weird by giving me a guilty look.
If he did what I think he did, with who I think he did it with... I was done. He can keep his stupid reputation. I was checking out.
“All right, guys, breakfast is served. I’m off to work. We’ll be home at our normal times.” Mia kissed Harper on the top of the head and waved to Asher before she left.
We all sat and ate breakfast. Harper and I talked normally while I continued to ignore Asher and he stayed silent.
“Oh shit! I need to go take a shower! Tate will be here in half an hour! He’s taking me someplace secret I guess...” She shrugged as she stood up from the table.
No! No, don’t leave me alone with him! I know I wanted to be alone with him earlier to question him, but now I wasn’t feeling so brave! Harper!
But she did. I couldn’t tell her not to otherwise I would have to explain why and I couldn’t do that either.
Once she left, I kept my eyes down at my plate as I pushed my eggs around with my fork.
Asher still stared at me, but didn’t say a word.
“Nope.” I held my hand up. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
I stood up from the table to discard my plate and he stood up too, following me.
Then I finally blurted, “I hope you used a condom...”
He didn’t say a word.
And that’s when I twisted around and stared at him. His face said it all.
Without thinking, I brought my hand up and slapped him.
The silence in the room was palpable and I was seconds away from crying.
“Layla...” he finally spoke, reaching out to me. Using my first name twice in one conversation, huh? He seemed to only use it when we were in a serious moment, and this was serious all right.
I slapped his hand away. “Don’t fucking touch me. Don’t... don’t...” and then I couldn’t help it. The tears were there and they started streaming down my face.
He cupped my face with both hands and looked at me with such a painful look that it tore a sob from my lips.
I grabbed his wrists and shoved his hands away from me as I tried to walk by him, but of course, he stopped me.
“Let me explain...”
I laughed as tears still streamed down my face. “There isn’t anything to explain, Asher. You fucked someone else last night. You’re free. You’re off the hook. Your precious reputation is still intact. Congratulations.” I walked away from him.
I left my things in Harper’s room and just left. I couldn’t be anywhere near him right now, and I didn’t give two shits that I was driving home in a tee shirt, panties, and my shoes. Nothing mattered right now.