Destructively Oblivious

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Chapter 25: Ex

ex

/eks/

noun

1. a former lover or partner; someone from the past.

______________________________________

*Chloe’s Point of View*

If there was one thing I didn’t expect at eight in the morning while I was sipping my coffee, it was Prim rushing down the stairs dressed as a fairy.

Or at least one that had gotten into a fatal accident.

Her dress was on backward, her wings upside down, her hair was a mess, and her mouth was covered in thick layers of cheap lip gloss. She seemed perfectly satisfied despite the rattled appearance, and I grinned as she bounded down the steps.

“Chloe! Are you excited to see my play today!” She clapped, bouncing up and down. I instantly bowed down to pick her up and set her onto the counter, her genuine excitement awakening my heart.

“Yes!” Turning my face with as much elation as possible, I nodded. “Of course I am.”

My smile became slightly wider when I saw Asher cruising down the stairs. And no, it wasn’t because of him, or the fact that he was lacking a shirt. It had more to do with the tiny, adorable puppy in his toned arms. With the corner of his mouth curled up in that cocky I’m an asshole smirk he did so well, he handed me my new dog.

He knitted his brows together as the puppy left his clutches. “I think you left something in the hall.”

I kissed Finn’s dainty little nose and placed him on the carpet. He took a few wobbly steps before piloting off in the direction of a sock on the ground a few feet away. I moved back a step as Asher tended forward to kiss the side of Prim’s head and reached for the coffee pot.

“What are you wearing, Weasel?” he questioned his little sister.

“It’s called fashion, look it up,” she snarked, sassily.

Her smile resurfacing, she asked him if he was excited about her play today. He, of course, nodded and told her he’d been waiting for it all week. I collected my coffee mug and began to make my way out the kitchen as I glanced around for Finn who was gnawing away at that sock.

I spun when I detected Asher’s voice behind me. “Where are you going?” the shirtless teenager asked.

My mouth tilted into a small smile and I indicated up the stairs with my free hand. “You know, I could have sworn I was going back up to my room.”

Asher shook his head, the asshole smirk returning, and fast. “That won’t work, Dol. I already told Prim that you and I would play a board game with her this morning.”

I frowned at him, that frown conceding into a smile when Prim’s head swung in my direction. I did not agree to play a game.

“Yeah! Asher told me that me, you, and him were going to play Sorry.” I couldn’t manage to argue with Prim’s meager, sweet voice. I bounced my hand to my forehead in faux remembrance.

“Gosh, you’re right! I don’t know how I would have forgotten.” With my service, Prim skidded off of the counter and into the living room, digging through a drawer that I assumed was full of board games. I shifted to Asher, who had a victorious smirk on his face, muttering, “Dick.”

“Dol,” he greeted, the tone filled with smugness.

“So I guess I’ll put all the important tasks I had to do today on the list after playing sorry,” I mumbled sarcastically.

Coffee in hand, he leaned back against the counter, trying to conceal his twisted lips with a combined effort of zero percent.

“You’ll have a blast, promise. Now, go sit with Prim.” He signaled towards her. My tongue made a cameo as I stuck it in his direction, concurrently skipping around the counter and into the living room. Asher’s voice escorted me in. “And make sure that perfect ass of yours is prepared to get kicked. I’m amazing at Sorry.”

My eyes followed him as he sat across from me, setting up the board game. He was talking to Prim about what color she wanted to be (she picked yellow) as my eyes started to scan the parts of him he left uncovered. Shaking my head to rid the thoughts I shouldn’t have been getting amidst of a children’s game, I squinted at his far too attractive appearance.

When his caramel eyes met mine, he offered me a color. Choosing red instead of green, I set my pieces up while Asher refreshed Prim on how to play the painstaking game. According to his expertise explanation, you took your colorful pieces, pulled a card, and whatever number that card said, that was how many spaces you moved. If you could get all four of your pieces around the board, you won, as long as nobody else’s pieces knocked yours back to start.

Prim commenced the game, her piece moving out of Start and up five spaces. Thirty minutes later, Prim had two of her game pieces out of the start, I had one and Asher had all four. He chuckled at my awed expression.

“I told you.” He winked. “I kick ass at this game.”

“Whatever, even if I lose, I still beat you in Mario Kart.”

He chuckled, handing his sister a card. “Yeah? And I still know you love Swedish Fish and wear red pant-”

I hushed him as we both stilled and our eyes wandered Prim’s innocent face.

Her cheeks only dimpled as she moved her piece forward three spaces. “Red what?”

Stuttering, and panicking, I shrugged. “Pantsuits.”

“Pantsuits?” Asher snorted, arrogance dominating his tone. I picked up one of his pieces and hurled it at him, watching it hit his cheek. “Someone’s a sore player.”

“Maybe stop mentioning my... pantsuits and I’ll be a better player.”

Hands up in surrender, he nodded. “As you wish.”

As the game continued, I had managed to belatedly get as many of my pieces on the board as Asher. Prim seemed to be having copious amounts of fun playing, while I was still thinking about Asher and how I crudely and embarrassingly told him about my stupid... pantsuits... the other day when I was all wrapped up in him, sitting on his counter. He was positively going to use that against me until the day I died.

Prim took her turn, pouting when she was only able to move one space forward. I bent over the board to reach my bright red piece to move twelve spaces for my own turn. Asher, who was splayed on his stomach, curled his lips accordingly as he stared somewhere that was not my eyes.

He grinned. “You look good in white.”

Still halfway through gliding my game piece across the board, and thinking back to the dark-colored shirt I had on, I glimpsed down at myself in curiosity as to what he was referring to. Realizing my black t-shirt had betrayed me by dipping low enough to see right into it and revealing my obvious white bra to a stomach-laid Asher, I forgot about the twelve spaces (stopping somewhere around eight) and slapped the fabric as I jolted backward.

“Are you wearing a matching pantsuit?” he asked with a smirk.

Scowling, hoping the annoyance overtook the embarrassment, I sank back onto my hands. “Weren’t you supposed to not mention my pantsuits? So much for self-control.”

He rolled onto his side, shrugging. “I’m not one to pass up an opportunity that was presenting itself quite attractively.”

After a few more torturous rounds of Asher winning, he very kindly pretended he hadn’t and gave Prim first place and a cookie prize, sending her up to wake Amy and get re-ready for her play in a few hours.

Asshole-ish grin back on his face, Asher sat on the couch next to me, draping his arm over my shoulder. “Did you enjoy getting your ass kicked at Sorry?”

I slipped out from under him, pressing my back to the opposite arm of the couch and anchoring my feet onto his lap. “Muérdeme,” I muttered.

He taped my foot as he chuckled, mocking me. “Only if you show me your pantsuits.”

He laughed harder when I showed him my middle finger instead.

______________________________________

After Prim’s adorable debut of Tinkerbell in her school play, we proudly stepped out of the auditorium with the little star. When the afternoon swung by, I headed off to the diner and spent the majority of my shift listening to Mindy talk endlessly about her old but simultaneously new relationship with Danny, which made the experience of being at work more bearable.

Hours later, I was relaxing on the couch in my oversized shirt, browsing through what episode of Boy Meets World I wanted to watch when Asher opened the front door and Andy and Jamie bounced through it hand in hand. Jamie collapsed onto the couch next to me. She muttered a hello, taking the remote from me and putting on the episode of Boy Meets World she wanted to watch.

I smiled at the best friend. “Hello to you too. I didn’t know you were coming over.”

She shrugged. “Andy and I were bored. We came over to-”

“Publically have sex in someone else’s living room?” I answered for her with a laugh. “My plans tonight involve Boy Meets World, not watching you smack lips with Andy.” With a smile, I added, “It only reminds me how lonely I am, you know.”

Her lips quirked upwards in a smug smile. "What a coincidence! There happens to be an attractive boy in the kitchen who's feining after you."

“Stop.” I turned back to my Boy Meets World episode. “I’m trying to watch Cory complain about his curly hair.”

“I’m serious.”

Conceding with a grin, I looked at her, my voice hitting the sarcasm mark. “Okay, Jame, just for you, I’ll march into the kitchen right now and demand Asher has sex with me.”

“I don’t know if a demand is necessary.” The low voice behind my ear threw me off guard and I turned swiftly to find Asher dropping onto the couch next to me with a bowl of popcorn. “You can ask nicely.”

The catchy theme song pulled my rolling eyes back to the television as I shook my head.

Jamie giggled and made her way over to Andy who had sat down on the chair near the couch, hunkering down onto his lap. I threw a piece of popcorn at her, watching it hit her shoulder before falling onto the floor.

“Do not make out the whole time,” I warned.

Her smile resurfacing, she snuggled farther onto Andy. “It’s a Sunday. I think I know how to restrain myself.”

I frowned. “You absolutely do not.”

I was right, she didn’t.

Five minutes into the Boy Meets World episode when Topanga had begun chopping her hair off in front of Cory, Jamie and Andy were already going at it. I was keeping it PG, resting next to Asher, whose arm was across the back of the couch. Our legs were tangled on the footrest, my head resting on his shoulder.

That was as PG as I could usually be around Asher. We always seemed to be touching. His shoulders bounced carelessly as he chuckled.

“What?” I whispered. My attention drifted between him and the episode, not sure which was more interesting.

Staring down at me, he let his arm drop from the back of the couch to my shoulder, twirling a piece of my hair in his fingers. My shoulders went slack at the movement, every muscle in my body suddenly relaxed.

He let out another quiet laugh, sharing, “I love this episode."

“I thought you’d never watched this show?” I recalled.

“Please, it’s my mom’s favorite show. I usually don’t let the guys know I’ve seen every episode a hundred times,” Asher admitted, indicating towards Andy who was still tongue-deep in Jamie’s mouth. She slid her hands into his curly hair, eliciting a groan from him that made me recoil.

Leaning down to the coffee table, I jerked the bowl of popcorn onto my lap. Upon getting comfortable again, Asher’s fingers returned to twisting in my hair. I smiled. “Wow. I didn’t realize you had so many secrets.”

His grin broadening, he grabbed a piece of popcorn, tossing it into his mouth. I was suddenly very envious of the snack. “I could say the same about you.”

Before I could open my mouth to respond, Jamie had whipped around on Andy’s lap, blurting, “We should totally go swimming.”

Simultaneously, Asher and I cringed. “Swimming?”

Similarly, Andy and Jamie smiled. “Swimming!”

______________________________________

Twenty minutes later, I was sitting on the steps of Asher’s pool, staring into the dark turquoise water, the moonlight twisting ripples into the cold, small waves. Asher was leaning on the edge of the pool, slowly making his way towards the front of the stairs. Jamie and Andy stood farther away, embracing and being disgustingly coupley.

After giving Andy a long, unnecessary kiss, Jamie turned to me, nodding towards her phone on the edge of the water. “Oh my God, I forgot to tell you. Guess who texted me?”

I shrugged, out of guesses before I even began. “Can I have hints?”

“Mhh.” Thought surfed her traits as she rocked herself and Andy through the water. "All you need to know is that they live in LA.”

My eyes stayed and scoured her face, searching for any sign of mockery or banter. I slowly said the word, “Devin?” and her nod confirmed what I wished wasn’t true. An angry huff flew past my lips.

With confusion on his face, Andy inflicted a modest splash onto me to remove my attention from the pool. “Who’s that?”

“He’s my ex-boyfriend and he’s an asshole.”

Asher was wordlessly and gradually passing through the water a few feet in front of me, but his voice threaded the suddenly compressed air. “What happened?”

I sighed. Devin had been my first real kiss at sixteen, my first real boyfriend at seventeen, and my first heartbreak at eighteen. Thinking back on my relationship that had ended many months before, I rolled my elbows onto the edge of the pool to begin my sob story.

“We dated for a year before he moved to LA last spring. I wanted to do long-distance and he wanted to sleep with his new neighbor.” Watching both guy’s faces change like they couldn’t believe what I’d shared, I flickered my eyes toward the sky, already embarrassed by the sliver of information I’d shared. “Let’s just say it didn’t end well.”

Asher chose his words carefully. “Shit, sorry Dol. He’s an idiot.”

I shrugged, both aware and appreciative of the comment. The heavy emotions that came with the break-up were nearly gone after so much time had passed, but the experience had still been a decent shove to my pride even if I knew I deserved better than Devin, and talking about it made my skin itch.

Pulling my eyes from Asher, I gave Jamie my full attention. “What’d he say?”

“He told me to wish you a Happy Birthday and asked how you were.” She waddled like a penguin through the water and over to her phone, removing it from the floor and sliding it open. “I didn’t answer. Should I? Or I can send him a picture of you…”

She was frozen for a moment, deliberating that idea, before her face grew animated and she nodded at the master plan, pointing the phone in my direction.

The opposite of excited, I pressed my hands against my face like a mask. “Jamie no!” I scolded.

“Chloe, yes!” she exclaimed. “You know what they say. A picture says a thousand words. Let’s say a thousand words about how hot you are.”

I shook my head, my palms still plastered against my face. She held the phone carefully, motioning me closer to Asher. “Asher should be in the picture too... to make Devin a little jealous.”

My roommate didn’t seem to mind that idea, holding out his arms to encourage our closeness. The picture Jamie wanted me to star in was my farthest thought, my nearest one, wanting to be in Asher’s arms. I nodded, pushing myself off the bottom step of the pool and wrapping my legs around his waist, pressing the temple of my head against his cheek, and sticking out my tongue. My sudden jump pushed him back a step, but he steadied himself.

*Asher’s Point of View*

With Dol completely winded around me like a jacket, I had more than a bit of trouble keeping my cool. I smiled, resting my cheek against the side of her head. Jamie, as enthusiastic as ever, squealed at the sound of the camera shutter, pressing send no more than a millisecond later.

Jamie laughed, clearly giddy as she typed out a message to go alongside the photo. “I told him that Asher was your boyfriend.”

Dol’s eyes widened to the size of planets. “You what? Jamie!”

She looked like she was getting ready to leap out of my arms, but I was pleased when she didn’t. Jamie giggled again over her lie and Dol relaxed after a second had passed, jerking her head onto my shoulder as she rubbed small circles onto my bare chest with her finger. I could feel her trembling, cold from being out of the water and in my arms. I pulled her impossibly tight to me to ensure a little more warmth as she waited for Jamie to tell her the response.

Jamie screeched when he responded a moment later. “He doesn’t believe that you’re dating someone new already.”

“Well, I am,” Dolphin muttered impatiently, flickering her eyes to me. “Fictitiously.”

Jamie, cool and collected, studied the stars in the sky as she thought. Bouncing gently from foot to foot, she re-pointed the camera in our direction. “You two need to do something more coupley, so I can take another picture.”

I chuckled, reluctant to admit how willing I was. “Like what?”

Piping up, Andy gleamed a smile, wrapping his arms around his girlfriend from behind. “Why don’t you kiss? It’s easy. You guys do it all the time.”

“No, we don’t,” I quipped, wondering how I’d maintained a friendship with the prick for as long as I had.

Andy, his hands scouring Jamie in ways that had me regretting being in the pool with the pair, rested his chin in the crook of her neck. “If you want something more unique, you could try sending him a porno.”

“Thanks, Andy.” Dol gave him a sarcastic smile, still shrouded around me.

A tease coating her tongue, Jamie repositioned the phone. “Just kiss and get this picture over with.” With a smile, she added, “You know you want to.”

“Shut up, both of you.” Rolling her eyes at our friends, Dol clutched the sides of my face and crashed my lips to hers, coaxing them open with a slow sweep of her tongue. I knew from the sound of the camera that Jamie had taken the picture a second later, but our mouths never left each other. The moment our lips touched, the pool, our friends, the world vanished instantly.

My hand was on the nape of her neck, hers reaching below my ear, her thumb caressing my cheek. She gently glided her other hand through my hair, assuring that I didn’t move as she licked into my mouth.

With one hand on her face, I slinked my other around to her ass, giving it a gentle squeeze like the jackass I was. I felt her gasp into my mouth from the forwardness of my actions, which made me smile against her lips, but she didn’t scold me for it like I’d imagined she would.

The entire moment was ruined when Jamie’s ringtone pierced the air and the loud, obnoxious sound caused our lips to detach as we looked over at her. Staring at her phone, she splashed the water below her and laughed again, full-bodied. “He’s fucking calling!”

The look on Chloe’s face deteriorated into shock and she shook her head, stating there was no way. Jamie held the phone up to our faces to prove that Chloe’s ex-boyfriend was indeed on the other end. She tossed the phone in Dol’s direction, which in hindsight seemed a little irresponsible considering we were in a pool, but I caught the phone with one hand, my other holding Dol against me.

Against my better judgment, I answered the call, putting it on speaker and handing it to Chloe. She was clearly shocked by how fast everything was moving, and when she realized the phone was now in her hand, she sighed, wrinkling her nose in her best friend’s direction as she spoke into the device. “Hello..?”

“Chloe!” A guy's voice filled the phone, his tone brimming with excitement and surprise.

A frustrated flutter of air made its way from Dol’s nose. “Devin. Why are you calling me- or, Jamie?”

A sigh was prominent on the other side of the phone. “I tried to call you... so many times. I know you have me blocked. I missed your voice.”

I winced away from the cringe-causing phone call, as did everyone else in the pool. Jamie rolled her eyes, mouthing to Chloe to tell him that he was a loser.

When Dol didn't say anything, Devin took that as the invitation to continue talking. “I wanted to talk to you. How are you? You... you have a boyfriend?” he asked, his tone defeated.

My fake girlfriend didn’t miss a beat, pulling her eyes towards me. “Yeah, I do. What’s it to you?”

“I didn’t think you’d move on so fast.” The words were spoken gently as if he knew Dol’s reaction wouldn’t be a pleasant one. He was right. Her face rotated from confusion to anger.

“It’s been eight months. And if I remember correctly, it only took you about eight minutes to fuck your neighbor.”

My eyes expanded from Chloe’s crudeness. I hadn’t expected her to say anything like that, but I assumed her anger was taking her to new levels of vulgar. Devin’s end of the phone went silent, the troubled voice returning a few instants later.

“What did you expect, Chloe? You wouldn’t let me fuck you.” Dol’s mouth slumped into a hard, rage-filled line as if she didn’t know how to respond. The stillness was almost painful, but Devin’s tone was even worse than the silence when he finished it with, “We dated for over a year and I never once got between your legs. You always were a giant prude.”

Chloe looked beyond embarrassed that he was sharing these things aloud and, without thinking, I grabbed the phone out of her hand and brought it to my own mouth.

“Devin, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m between Chloe’s legs as we speak.” I glanced down at her innocently wrapped around my waist; technically, I really was between her legs. “So maybe she’s not so much a prude as you’re just an asshole.”

I clicked off the call as my sentence ceased and handed the phone back to Jamie, who was huddled over in laughter. Dol's mouth was hanging open in shock when I looked at her. For a minute, I thought she was angry with me, but the surprised expression melted into an alluring half-smile.

She shook her head, playfully slapping my arm with a giggle. “I hate you."

She leaned down, letting her head rest in the crook of my neck. Reeling, I leaned in and kissed the side of her head. "Yeah, I know."

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