Ashley has made mistakes, and now has to face them.
She never thought it would happen to her, Ok, so it happened to other girls, she knew the rules, she was careful, Brett was careful.
She tried to focus her eyes on the ceiling, it was no good. 'would it all feel this bad?' she wondered. Closing her eyes again she tried to think, 'Today, Just take it one day at a time, School, how would she survive feeling like this?'
“Oh, God,” She whispered, “How am I gonna tell Brett? And what about Mum and Dad...They'll go mental!” Groaning at the prospect of future encounters, she pushed herself up in bed. Gradually the queasy feeling cleared and she was able to swing her legs over the side of her bed. Standing up she made her way to her bathroom, running her hand past the pictures on the mantelpiece as she went. Brett... the most amazing guy, all she had ever wanted, but now, did they have a chance? How would he react?
“Oh Lord,” she sighed sinking to her kneed and leaning her head on the cool glass of the floor length mirror in her bathroom, “Help me! I'm so scared.”
This heartfelt prayer was interrupted by a knock on her bedroom door, “Ashley? You up?” It was her mum.
“Yeah mum, I'm up!” came her reply.
“Well don't forget school Ash, you have half an hour!
“I'll be there mum, don't worry!”
Her mums footsteps could be heard going back down the stairs, and that ever too familiar question echoed in her head 'what would her mum think?' This time,the though was joined by a new thought 'her mum had trusted her, trusted her to keep her promise, and she had failed. She, Ashley Jacobs had failed one of the people she loved most on the earth.'
She couldn't stop them now, tears filled her eyes and spilled uncontrollably down her cheeks. She let herself cry. Soon the sobs turned to hiccups, and she was able to grab some toilet tissue and lean on the sink. Staring at the red blotchy face in the mirror, Ashley made a decision.
“You have some changes to make,” she told her reflection, “starting now, you will try to be more positive about yourself, and tell someone your secret.”
Blowing her nose one last time, she splashed warm water on her face and set about trying to return her face to its normal colour.
He hated Mondays, quite possibly the worst day of the week. Head buried in his pillow he though about the day ahead, 'It could be worse,' he decided, 'a lot worse.' There was the auditions for the Junior High Musical he had to attend, because he was playing the piano and working with the head of music to develop the production. One good thing was that he would get to spent the whole time alongside his beautiful Ash. who was helping to choreograph some of the music numbers. Then after school, running. A good 10K cross country run, he'd looked forward to it the whole weekend. One of the only chances he had to clear his head and think straight during his busy schedule, and maybe Ash would join him. He'd asked her yesterday after church, but she'd seemed distant and had mumbled something about extra homework. That wasn't like Ashley. She wasn't usually one to turn down a 10K run on such a beautiful day as was promised today, especially if it was just the two of them.
The two of them, Brett and Ashley, he thought it sounded good. His romantic train of thought was interrupted by his little sister, Rachel, “Bretty, mum says you have to get up, NOW!”she shouted through his door.
“OK! Ok! I'm up!” he replied, switching off his alarm clock which was going off for the third time. He grabbed his daily Bible notes and tried to concentrate on them. It was saying something about promises, funny that, the issue of promises had been going around in his head a lot lately. He had always keep his promises, but two months ago that had changed. He rested his elbows on his knees and slowly massaged his scalp. He remembered it all so clearly, every feeling...
He was again interrupted.
“Brett, Son, You up yet? Schools in half an hour!”it was his dad.
“Yes dad, I know, just getting up!” he replied, standing up he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and stopped, surprised. His physique had changed a lot recently, since he had started doing weights. It wasn't that he was vain or anything, but know he understood why all the girls had been paying him more attention. Then there was Ashley, she had commented about it on Saturday.
He pause at the window and stared out at the point on the balcony where they had stood last new year and shared their first proper kiss.
'Yes, Ash is very special.' he thought as he turned and ran a comb through his messy, light brown hair.
Pulling her waist length hair up into a messy bun, Ashley seated herself on one of the bar stools that lined the worktop.
“Juice?” questioned her mum looking out from behind the fridge door.
“Nah, Milk please,” replied Ashley reaching for her personalized glass that was on the nearby rack. Pouring herself a whole glass she downed half in one go, and was relieved at the cooling effect it had.
“looking forward to the auditions?” asked her mum. Glad as she was that she kept her mum informed on her school activities, she was not in the mood to talk about it now. She gave some vague answer which she knew her mum would take as a yes. She began to wonder how much her mum actually knew, and if she had any suspicions.
Breathing in she prayed for strength before beginning, “mum?” she said, “you busy Friday evening ?”
Her mum looked at her curiously but answered, “Well Josh and Hannah have club, but in free while there out. Why?”
Taking another deep breath, Ashley explained, “Can we have a bit of girly time? I need to talk to you.”
Coming round the counter her mum gave her a hug and said, “honey, of course we can, you Ok?”
Her head rested on her mums shoulder, Ashley replied into her mums light jumper and shoulder length hair. “ I think so, mum, can you pray?”
Accepting the fact that she would find out in due time, her mum didn't question any further and said, “Ok sweetie, that's what I'm here for, now you go have a good day at school.”
Sliding off the stool, Ashley grabbed some toast and left the room slinging her school bag over her slender shoulder. “Bye!” She called back over her shoulder as she slammed the front door.
OJ was the perfect thing to start the day with, that and 20 pull ups. Up-down-one-up-down-two. The familiar rhythm was soothing, helping him prepare for the day. Brett prayed as he worked out. Up-down-up-down. He prayed for himself, his family, the day ahead, and of course, Ash. Up-down-nineteen-up-down-twenty. He dropped to the floor and pulled off thirty press ups before gulping down the rest of his OJ. Tossing his homework into his rucksack he slung it on his back and lept down the stairs.
“Bye mum! Love ya!” he called as he passed the kitchen door and jogged out the front door and towards the bus stop.