Love the Ashley Rogers

 

I stared out at the sky from the window, completely lost in the silence of the afternoon light. That sounds a tad nostalgic, no doubt, but I couldn't do anything more than eat, walk, and talk with the recent news I was kindly and bluntly given.

I suppose it wasn't really ‘news', per say. Not to the others, I mean. I can see by their casual smiles and day-by-day attitudes that they were unfazed by my speechlessness. Except for Ashley. She began to look at me during class when I ducked my head down to write, something I never do.

What can I say?

Lynette is dating Jason-freaking-Crowe! How can I possibly be okay with that? Of course, the fact that it took my mind so long to register the information was disturbing enough, but now that I couldn't concentrate on simple things was just too close to bothersome.   

I sat through my classes scribbling madly, but barely listening. Our English teacher was going on and on about Shakespeare, but then there was something about Hamlet and more historical plays that bore me to tears. None of it reached my ears though. All heard was my hairy teacher's throaty voice, the yawns of my undereducated classmates, and the scratching sound of my pen against the paper of my notebook. Those were the only things I was aware of other than Ashley's worried gaze from behind me.

In short, I was brooding in the dark ‘n dank place that Brandon continuously refers to my mind while moving through the day like a zombie. Though in all honesty, my thoughts weren't taunting or getting the better of me as usual. In the absence of this, I had a terrible feeling churning within me that I could only describe as depressing and tiring.

And the fact that I hadn't seen Lynette the entire day put my mood on another level of gloominess apparently, as Ashley noted when she cornered me at our lockers.

"For goodness sake, Ethan!" she yelled at me, "Snap out of it, will you? It's rather obvious what's happening you know..."

I lifted my eyebrow as I took another book from my locker quickly, but did not face her. "Obvious? What is? The fact that you wear too much yellow?"

Ashley snorted at me and looked unimpressed at my attempt to insult and chase her off. I saw her petite body lean against her locker door while she stared across the hallway at Brandon laughing with some chick as she talked, "Cute, Ethan. But that's not going to work. I'm talking about your mood, Sherlock."

‘No, really?' I wanted to say but didn't. Instead I kept my mouth shut and listened to Ashley's so-called "words of wisdom".

"You see," her tone changed to something I could only express as maternal in a sense, "You're concerned for the crazy person."

My arms hanged in the air for a split-second stiffly before they returned to stuffing books into my locker. The ‘crazy person' in question was none other than Lynette Brook. And I thought that it wasn't obvious...

Note the sarcasm.

"Yeah?" I said, trying to keep my voice as flat as possible.

Ashley cringed a little when the girl across the hall kissed her brother's cheek. A break-up kiss, she and I noted dully. I turned a little to look at Brandon's sad, puppy-eyed face. "Poor boy," we both muttered in agreement. During that small moment I was happy that the conversation shifted to someone else, rather than me. Ashley had been keeping an eye on me, I noticed recently, but I could only guess it was because of mood swings which were more dramatic and angst-filled than usual. The time we spent watching Brandon passed quickly and soon enough, my friend snapped her head towards me to look into my eyes. Dark brown and blue clashed and I felt my muscles tense at the cold, but strong look Ashley possessed. Don't be fooled though -- her expression was one of caring and kindness, and she only made that look when she wanted to say something.

"Go talk to her, you bloody emo bastard." And, with confusion on my face, she walked away to comfort her pitiful brother.

Oh yeah give him the hug, I thought venomously.

---

Lynette was tapping her fingers against the table in an unnamed and random melody when I entered the room. She looked blank, or maybe she was bored? I couldn't tell...But the only thing I could say was that the feeling thriving in my stomach went down a tad, but went up again when I remembered Ash's words.

"Hi." I simply greeted and was given a smile as a reply.

I sat down across from her like always, but instead of taking out my books and huffing hot air out in annoyance, I stared at her barely blemished face with unreadable eyes.

She felt my gaze and looked at me with worry and panicked slightly, "What? Is something on my face?!"

I breathed in a heavy breath and said as plainly and quickly as possible, "He's bad for you."

Lynette's face turned to utter bafflement before she tried to retrace my words with a twisted expression. "Wha...? Who the heck are you talking about, Ethan?"

My shoulders slumped in guilt.

 "Jason," I began, "He's bad for you."

The End

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