Ashley looked out the window of the white Land Rover as it rode down through the night, her hazel eyes not even seeing the stars, the other cars, or anything else except for her own thoughts. “Just
a Dream” by Carrie Underwood blasted in her ear phones, not that she could hardly hear that either, but it was something to drown out the three year old sitting beside her screams, and her parents
yelling. While they went on with their angry conversations, her mind drifted off to the daily bus rides from school, and how she couldn’t stop herself from turning her gaze toward the back where
Daemon sat. Out loud, she would never allow herself to say it, nor would she even admit it to herself, she was infatuated with the boy. His deep brown eyes, his soft tan skin, his large broad
shoulders, and his smile made her go weak in the knees. His smile was her biggest weakness though. She could be having the shittiest day of her life, and then BAM he smiles at her and
she’s having a wonderful day. Of course this wasn’t why she was in love with him, she wasn’t shallow like that. There were so many guys like that at her high school, attractive, but unlike Daemon
they didn’t have the same morals. Daemon was like no guy she’d ever met, he was polite, kind, funny, sweet, he loved kids, and didn’t seem to care either way if she wore a skirt and a clinging top
or a pair of old jeans and a tee-shirt. “Just a Dream” ended and the next song that came on was Trace Adkins “Ladies Love Country Boys.”
“Ladies love Columbians” Ashley thought with a broad smile as she bit the inside of her lip. “Damn…” She thought to herself. “I am so royally stupid” She shook her head and turned away from the window, hoping to get him out of her head. Of course at that moment Ethan, her three year old brother, had decided to say a naughty word.
“Ethan! Are you supposed to be saying that? No! Don’t do it again!” She reprimanded and Ashley shook her head. The kids at the pre-school he was going to weren’t the most polite. “It’s the
parents fault"She thought inwardly, grumbling about how her sweet little brother was going to turn into a bad, horrible child. “Won’t say I’m in love” Suddenly popped up, and it took
everything in her to keep from laughing. It was her story.
If there’s a price, for rotten judgment, I guess I’ve already won that. She thought about that line, remembering her freshman year and the guys who she thought liked her, and who just turned out to be a sleaze ball. Shame on her it happened twice. No man is worth the aggravation, it’s ancient history, been there, done that!
“Amen” Ashley thought as the muses began to sing. She sighed. No. She was NOT in love with Daemon. But She couldn’t stop thinking about him, she could still feel his arms from when he hugged her goodbye the other day. She could still smell his cologne, still see his smile in her heart. The muses, they had to be Ari and Ashlynne.
Ari was trying to get her to admit that she was in love with him, while Ashlynne was trying to get her to talk to him about it. How are you supposed to talk to a guy about that when you can’t hardly talk straight around him? The thoughts of it all made her stomach lurch.
“Alan is home mommy!” Ethan called out, looking over at the neighbor kids as they pulled into the drive way.
“Ashley, can you watch them?” Her step mom asked, exasperated, and Ashley nodded.
“Fine with me,” She replied, and climbed out of the car. For Florida it was actually kind of cold, sixty five was like murder, but she could stand it. She’d been born and raised in California where, unlike most think, actually got really really cold during the fall months. So she stood there, in a thin black jacket over a white tee shirt that was so sheer that it was almost like looking directly at a striped green tank top rather than a buttoned collar shirt. She was a short tan girl among a bunch of toddlers and kinder gardeners . She watched as her parents walked into the house, her dad with his broad and short form stumbling into the house tiredly, and her step mom rubbing her pregnant stomach. Not long after, about ten minutes, the kids ran inside the other house. Alan’s mother had been outside with her, but when she watched the children run inside she decided to follow them in, so there Ashley was, all alone in the night air staring off at the stars and getting lost in the Metro Station song “Seventeen Forever” as she wrapped her arms around herself.
Out of the corner of her eye, a bicyclist appeared into view from the streetlight, and in a sort of bored way she turned her gaze to the broad figure. As soon as her eyes took in his figure, they grew wide and her heart leapt to throat. “Daemon!” She thought hastily as he waved and began riding toward her. She smiled broadly and her chest began to feel airy as she waved back and took a step toward the street. “Now don’t do anything stupid, Ashley. Come on...” She thought encouragingly to herself.
“Hey! What’re you doing out?” He asked. Everyone knew that Ashley was hardly ever allowed outside of her house, mainly because that broad shouldered marine she called daddy was quite paranoid about boys. He had a reason though, but she wasn’t about to think about that.
“Oh, just watching my little brother and the neighbor kids-” She looked toward the door of Alan’s house “Well, was.” She laughed lightly. He laughed along with her, and her heart pounded as that miracle laughter drifted from his lips. Oh, his lips. They looked so warm, so sweet, so kissable... “What about you?” She asked, trying to gain control of herself. She was doing a pretty good job of acting though. She just appeared as a young girl who was a good friend of the attractive football player in front of her.
“I was just riding around, thought I’d stop by,” He smiled back, climbing off of the bike and laying it on the grass not so far from her. He seemed stiff and awkward as he stepped closer to her, and she tried not to take a deep breath as to relax her nerves. You could feel the electricity in the air around them even at that appropriate distance of almost five and a half, six feet. His cologne filled the air around her and Ashley cursed herself as her knees began to grow weak. Why did this boy not only have to be sweet, attractive, and tall, he also had to smell good!
“Thought you’d stop by, huh?” She smirked, trying not to make it seem that she was too pleased with this answer. She watched as he laughed and lowered his head to the ground with a broad smile.
“Yeah…” As the right side of his face crinkled up into that gorgeous smile, a small dimple appeared, and before Ashley could stop herself she smiled and opened her big mouth.
“You have a dimple, did you know that?” She smiled, tilting her head to the right, letting her wavy brown hair fall across her shoulders and her “rocker” bangs dangled over her right eye and rested on the bridge of her nose. With a blush he let out another chuckle and nodded.
“yeah,” He perked his head up suddenly “It’s a deformity, did you know that?” He asked her, his dark brown eyes lighting up like a child’s would when they knew something someone else didn’t. Like a secret he wanted to let free. Ashley furrowed her brow as he spoke, confused.
“Yeah, like birth defect or something,” He nodded, and Ashley smiled, and once again, spoke without thinking.
“Well I think it’s cute,” She replied, getting the sudden urge to poke it. At the realization of what she said she bit the inside of her lip trying not to let her eyes widen with shock at herself. “Ashley Cheever! NOT something you say!” She cried to herself mentally in a reprimanding way. “Freckles are too, you know?” She said, trying to get rid of the heat that she felt flying to her face. He gave her the same look as she gave him.
Once again, his smile was broad as he did that cute little look down thing. “What?” He asked, crinkling his eyes in confusion at her freckles comment.
“Yeah, you can get skin cancer from them.” She said, holding up her arm “I got tons of them all over me, they’re just too small to see,” She said, half hoping he would step nearer to take a look. He didn’t, half to her relief, half to her disappointment. “So, did y’all win your game on Saturday?” She asked. “I wanted to go, but your game was way too early!” she said, referencing to the fact that their games started at like 8:30 AM on Saturday mornings.
“Yeah, 20-0” He smiled proudly. “I know, I’ve talked to the coach but hey, we can’t choose the hours,” He shrugged, trying to keep his eyes from looking directly into hers. “She thinks my dimple’s cute…” He thought, thinking about it as the gorgeous sophomore stood in front of him. He was too shy to do anything though. What if she didn’t like him like that? He’d be making a fool of himself, and he’d seen her with that Mike guy at the way to the buses. She’d kissed the guy on the cheek. He tried not to let it get to him.
“20-0?!” Ashley exclaimed, her hazel eyes lighting up and her mouth forming a happy ‘O’. “Wow, oh my god! Congratulations!” She said. If he’d been any other guy she would have run forward and
hugged him, but Daemon was different. He didn’t seem to be into her like that, and didn’t seem to be into the whole touchy thing. If he didn’t want her to hug him, she wouldn’t do it. She didn’t
cross personal boundaries. “See, now if I tried doing that, we’d have lost.” She smiled encouragingly. “You guys are amazing,” She said.
“You’re amazing,” He wanted to say so deeply, but he didn’t. It wasn’t hospitable or right for him to do it. “Thanks,” he smiled, scratching at his new eyebrow piercing. Damn. It itched. It also made Ashley’s heart race. It gave him that bad boy look, but she knew the real him. Of course she wouldn’t let on that she liked him, not unless he threw her a sign. “We’re alright.”
“Are you kidding me?” she demanded. “Every time I ask you about a game you say like ‘we won 35-7 or 20-0’ alright my ass!” She laughed. “y’all are freakin’ amazing!” She said, letting the laughter drift off. “I still need to get to a game. I found out where the field was, now I just need to wake up in time to get there.” She smiled, and little did she know that he was envisioning seeing her in the stands, cheering for him, freaking out if he got hurt. He tried not to let that thought sink too deep into him though. He didn’t want that disappointment.
He laughed again “I guess so.” With that he turned to his watch and sighed. He hadn’t expected her to be home, let alone to be outside and able to talk. He just wanted to see her. “Well, I got to go, just came by to say hi, you know?” He smiled, faking the fact that he didn’t want to go.
Ashley’s heart sank when he told her that he had to go. “Oh, alright. Well, I’ll see you later, right?” She asked, smiling and tilting her head to the side once again to make it appear that she didn’t care.
“Definitely,” He smiled, and lifted his arms nervously, hoping she’d give him a goodbye hug.
Daemon opened his arms, and Ashley practically flew to him, wrapping her arms around him and closing her eyes for just that brief moment of pleasure of just holding him, feeling his arms around
her. The smell of his cologne next to her face that rested against his chest. A brief second later they pulled away, and he climbed onto his bike.
“Don’t just let him ride away again, Ashley!” Her heart cried as he began to ride away. “I must be insane!” She thought desperately as she called out. “Daemon!” She cried, running toward him and raising her arm. “Wait!”
Daemon turned to look at her and stopped the bike, turning it around and riding back to her, his heart pounding as he stopped in the middle of the street. “Yeah?” he asked, trying to sound concerned.
“I-” She began, and all the courage she had drifted from her as her face grew a deep shade of red. She shook her head and shrugged in a fit of laughter. “I totally forgot what I was about to say,” She said. It wasn’t exactly what she was going to say, but rather what she was going to do, and she hadn’t forgotten it. She was going to kiss him, but that was much easier said than done.
“Oh,” he laughed, trying not to sound slightly disappointed. He’d wanted her to do something. He didn’t know what, just, anything. “Ok, well, I’ll see you later.” He extended his arm again, and she hugged him, taking him in once again, and mustered up her courage and kissed him on the cheek before they pulled away. He tried not to look too happy as he looked at her scarlet face.
“Congratulations on winning the games,” She smiled. And he nodded, lifting a hand to his cheek where her soft pink lips had brushed against his cheek. He could feel her lip gloss against it, and it had a soft minty smell to it.
“Thanks,” With that, he took off down the street, but before he turned the corner, he looked behind him, just to see her standing there with a smile on her face and watching him leave. He waved, then saw a car driving right next to her quickly. He expected it to just drive past her, but it came to a slow stop just behind her.
Ashley watched as he rode off, not bothering to turn and see the car pulling next to her. All she heard was the door open, and that caught her attention, who would stop in the middle of the road and get out if they weren’t dropping off or picking up? She ignored it and turned back to watch Daemon once again. Unfortunately for her though, the man who got out hadn’t been dropped off. They were here for a pick up. With a sudden burst he shoved a cloth against her mouth and wrapped his arm tightly around her. With a yelp she tried to scream and tried to fight off the men.
“ASHLEY!” Daemon yelled, and peddled his bike toward them as fast as it would go. He watched in terror as she fought back, clawing at his hands with her fingernails, then suddenly dropped limply. He jumped off his bike just as the man began to lift her up and shove her in the car. He leapt onto the man, punching him as hard as he could in the gut. The man lurched over, then suddenly brought an uppercut against Daemons jaw. The man was a giant compared to him. He was about 6”7 and more muscular than himself. Daemon didn’t stand a chance, but he didn’t care. “Don’t bother with him! Knock him out and take him with us!” Someone else in the car ordered, and before he knew what to do, the man punched him against his temple, and he fell to the floor unconscious.
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