Asher didn’t come into the café since that day after the party so I assumed (as one would) that he got the message. But that doesn’t seem to be the case because when I turn around, he’s right in front of me.
“Want to go see a movie?” he asks me as I move past him with a tray of coffee cups. I place the tray on the bench, behind the counter and put the cups in the sink.
“Asher, I’m working,” I tell him in an obvious manner, while making two milkshakes. Mia is off today so I’m working with Brody. He seems normal… well, more normal than usual – I assume that Mars isn’t doing something weird with Jupiter anymore. However, he doesn’t talk much – I would have imagined this would be awkward but for some reason its not.
It’s strange but I find some sort of comfort in being around him. It’s difficult to explain but it’s like my mood shifts in his presence and I feel a sense of calmness.
“I’ll wait,” he says taking a seat on the barstools near the counter.
“Asher, what are you doing? We broke up,” I hiss, not wanting to cause a scene.
“I miss you,” he says, and I roll my eyes. “Seriously Calla, I do. I miss being able to talk to you and you know just hang out like we used to. It’s different here, I haven’t made many friends and…” he trails off.
He looks genuinely upset and I kind of feel bad for him, “Fine, we can go see a movie. But don’t get any ideas. This doesn’t mean that we’re getting back together,” I make myself clear.
Apart from the little incident called losing my virginity which I’ll say again – put me off sex for the rest of my life, we actually had fun times together. Of course, that was until my mother’s death, when I pushed everyone away – including him.
I see Brody eyeing Asher every now and then, “Is that your boyfriend?” Brody finally asks me.
“No, ex,” I reply.
“Hmm,” he says but I can sense there’s something else he wants to say. Unless I am imagining things.
When there is twenty minutes left of my shift, Liv and Zach walk in with Ace behind them. He’s wearing jeans and a dark navy hoodie – which instantly reminds me of the one he gave me at the bonfire, I still haven’t returned it. His eyes instantly set on me and he gives me a small smile, my heart skips a beat.
Even after a week, I’m still not used to this side of him. It’s like a switch was flipped and he is suddenly being nice. However, I noticed that this is only towards me; his behaviour towards others hasn’t changed and that makes me feel…
What? What does that make you feel Calla? Warm and fuzzy? Snap out of it because it probably isn’t going to last. You don’t need a guy in your life.
My conscious is right. Ace is not good for me, he’s moody and basically is a criminal. But I can’t help but notice the good in him and it’s making me want to keep spending time with him. As friends, of course.
We had spent more time working on the assignment, still sticking to the basics. I can sense that both of us are afraid to let the other in. But we know all the generic stuff about each other, his favourite colour is black, I told him it’s not a colour, but he was adamant that it could be whatever he wanted it to be – I didn’t argue.
He told me his favourite band is Arctic Monkeys and he’s known Liv, Zach, Josh and Theo since they were children – that explains their close relationship.
There are also things that I noted, he’s rarely home on the weekends and he always seems to be talking to someone on the phone. I’m sure he has plenty of girls to occupy himself with – and it doesn’t bother me… I think.
I smile back at Ace but his gaze shifts to Asher who is sitting in front of me. Asher is clueless as he scrolls through his Facebook feed.
I am about to finish my shift when Ace comes over and towers over me, “Do you want a ride back home?” he asks, ignoring Asher completely. At this moment, someone enters the café opening the door enough for a breeze to find its way inside. I catch the smell of Ace’s aftershave lingering in the air – musky with a hint of sweetness. My head feels dizzy.
Asher’s head snaps up at this and he stands up, stretching his body out to appear taller, “There is no need dude, I’ll take her.”
“Why bother when I’m going there anyway,” Ace smirks, his eyes not leaving mine. He doesn’t even glance at Asher.
I can see out of the corner of my vision that Asher is shooting me a look and I tear my eyes away from Ace. “He’s my housemate,” I quickly explain to Asher, not knowing why I even need to.
“Calla and I are going to the movies,” Asher presses, his eyes darkening with irritation and he steps closer to me.
“Well, that’s funny because I clearly remember Calla and I making plans to work on our assignment tonight,” Ace raises his eyebrow.
What? I clearly remember that we didn’t make any plans. I look at Ace puzzled, unsure whether he truly thinks that we have something planned or what he is trying to do.
“We can work on it tomorrow?” I somewhat phrase it as a question.
“No…tonight Calla,” he says, my name rolling of his tongue like honey but there’s a sharp edge to it.
I look back at Asher, knowing that Ace isn’t going to back down, “Maybe another time,” I begin to tell him but Ace wraps his arm around my waist and pulls me towards the door before I finish my sentence.
“What was that?” I ask crossing my arms when we get outside. I’m not exactly sure what Ace just pulled and I’m not impressed. Why does he think he can just do that? Logan, now Asher.
We were just friends. I saw him with Lexi yesterday, she was walking into his room when I was leaving for work. She’s obviously not ‘done’ with Ace.
“What was what?” he asks nonchalantly, attempting to put the bike helmet on me. I stop him and place my hand on his chest, pushing him away from me which results in him furrowing his eyebrows together.
“We didn’t make plans,” I tell him, waiting for an explanation.
“Didn’t we? Hmm…” he pauses for a moment and cocks his head, his eyes sparkle “Well, do you want to work on the assignment tonight since you don’t have any other plans?” A smile crosses his face.
“Ace-,” I begin, wanting an explanation.
“Perfect,” he says, not letting me finish and places the helmet over my head.
Ugh! What is wrong with him!?
He hops on the bike and looks at me, waiting for me to get on behind him. I roll my eyes and do it, not wanting to argue in front of the café. I place my hands loosely around him and I notice him tense underneath my faint touch.
Back at the house, I walk towards the stairs with Ace behind me, “Where are you going?”
“I’ll just quickly change and grab my notepad,” I tell him and head up.
I turn around and give him a frustrated look, “The assignment? I thought you wanted to do the assignment, Ace. Isn’t that why I am not at the movies with Asher?”
His face tenses up at the mention of Asher but he quickly covers it up, “Yeah the assignment… I’ll be in my room so… come when you’re ready.”
He is acting strange.
In my room, I change into a long white t-shirt and some pyjama shorts. I quickly run a brush through my hair and brush my teeth before grabbing my notepad. I don’t know why he wants to work on the assignment when we’ve basically covered everything we’re willing to talk about. There’s nothing left unless we’re ready to share our personal life and I am not.
Ace is sitting against the headboard of his bed, he changed into light grey sweatpants and you guessed it, he is shirtless. I try not to stare but it’s hard when someone looks like that. He is undoubtedly sexy. He runs a hand through his hair and I can see the way his muscles contact with every movement. He looks at me and runs his tongue over his bottom lip.
Oh my god. Stop standing there and staring at him!
I make sure to sit as far as I can from him and bring my knees up, placing my notebook against them.
His eyes scan me and I can see the way his lips twitch into a smile, he looks away and picks up the TV remote, “Do you want to watch a movie instead?”
My eyes widen and I honestly don’t know what to say, “Are you kidding me?”
He doesn’t say anything and turns the TV on, scrolling through the movies before turning choosing, ‘A Quiet Place’. He then proceeds to get up and turn the lights off.
Okay, so I guess we’re watching a movie. Ace mentioned that he likes horror movies, I don’t but I didn’t tell him that.
Somehow we are closer than I thought and when I got to move my hand, it brushes against his. Goosebumps rush through me and I don’t move, my eyes still glued to the movie but I have no idea what’s going on.
Ace moves his hand, placing it on top of mine and then he laces our fingers together. I can hear my own heartbeat, the warmth of him radiating through me.
For the next twenty minutes I don’t move but I can’t sit still anymore and I wiggle back into the headboard. My t-shirt rides up and so do my shorts, exposing the rest of my thigh. I can feel his eyes on me and I bite my lip. Something about this moment feels so intimate and I suddenly want Ace to touch me. I want to feel his hands on me… oh my god what am I thinking?
I turn my head a little and out of my peripheral vision I see the way his jaw tightens and his grip on me gets a little tighter or am I just imagining things now?
“I’m going for a shower,” he states, surprising me by letting go and storming towards his bathroom. I am a bit taken back by his suddenness but I continue watching the movie before turning the lights on. Scary movies are not my thing, especially not alone.
Fifteen minutes later, Ace finally comes back, sitting back down next to me. I feel the coolness of his body against my shoulder, “Cold shower?”
“Hmm? Uh.. yeah the hot water is broken,” he replies not looking at me.