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Michael's plan didn't help my self-esteem, but I had a feeling it would help my situation. I needed to get Ashton to fall in love with me, and in order to do that, I had to make him realise he liked me. Mike suggested we should make him jealous, and I rampaged him for a full half an hour about how I was just whining about feeling a slut, then ended up giving up anyway, because I was desperate to get out of this hellishly perfect life.

Even if in the real one, everything was screwed up and my sister didn't want to talk to me because I'd yelled at her, even when I lived with her. Even if in the real one, my Mum and Dad hated me for being gay. Even if nothing was okay, and neither was I, at least I wasn't in a perfect world, pretending that I belonged in it.

It was a couple of days later of endless practice flirting and I still wasn't used to it. My best friend was flirting with me, and I was flirting back. We were sitting in a park in a tree as he told me what he was going to do.

"I might accidentally brush my hand on yours, and say a few things that make you blush. If you don't blush, don't worry, just think of Ashton saying it or something. I don't know why I'm doing this, but I'm doing it, just play along with me." he smiled hopelessly. "Do you want to go test it out?"

"W-Where?" I stuttered because I didn't know if he meant flirting, or touching me, or doing something in front of Ashton, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to find out.

"I know where Ashton is." I raised my eyebrows at him, grinning a tiny bit. "A hippie festival thing that is about a minute from here. Can't you hear the music?" I listened a little and he pulled me out of the tree, piggy-backing me to the festival.

I looked around at all of the flower crowns, and weed as people who were high off their heads sung. Ashton was easy to pick out, since he was the only one that was sober and wearing black. When he saw us, his face lit up, waving us over.

"Oh my god, I'm so happy you guys are here. You know there's weed in everything? Kylie's sky-high and I have to sit here because the pot-heads won't let me leave. What are you guys doing here anyway? Doesn't look like your type of scene."

I got off of Michael's back as he explained. "I was just hanging out with Cal."

I snorted, taking an opportunity where I saw it. "Yeah, there was a lot of hanging out." Michael slapped me on the back as Ashton shot us both a confused look. I clamped my hand over my mouth to stop from laughing.

"Okay . . ."

And suddenly it was school. We must've went through a time skip. We were sitting in a typical cafeteria, which kind of freaked me out, because I'd never had a lunch room inside before, just under shelter. And, in the real world, everyone bought their own lunch. I looked down at my tray, which held an apple and a sandwich.

"Cal, come sit here." Michael waved me over to the table he sat on.

I walked over and sat next to him, but he shuffled closer, putting his arm around my waist loosely. I blushed, looking away from him and subtly at Ashton, whose face had gone red as he gripped his girlfriend tighter.

"Ah, fuck." Ashton mumbled, looking down at a paper that had been sitting beside his tray for what must've been the whole lunchtime. "Anyone good at English?"

I smiled because I knew he knew that I was good at English. "What do you need?"

"A tutor."

Michael looked at me, chuckling a little but covering it up as a cough as I nodded. "Okay, after school?"

"Yeah, I – "

"Ashton, I want to go over to my table now." Kylie whined, stamping her foot. Ashton glared at her, but nodded strongly as they both got up.

The dyed-haired boy turned to me with an excited grin. "Oh my god, he's so, so jealous."

I smiled, picking at my sandwich. "Yay."

And then it felt like a strong wind had hit me, and everything faded out and faded in to where we were in Ashton's living room. He was topless, and leaning against me as I explained something I barely knew about.

He was complaining about writing an essay on a book he hadn't even read, and so I – being the amazingly nice person I am – said I would read some of it to him. He yawned, putting more weight on me.

"Why's Gatsby so obsessed with this chick, anyway?"

"He loves her."

"Do you love Michael?" he asked, and I sat up, giving him an 'are-you-stupid?' look.

"Why would you think that?"

"He looks at you like you're amazing, and you always blush whenever he's close to you."

I bit my lip, wondering if I should say what I was going to say. "You sound jealous." There it is.

He sat up, looking me up and down slowly. "What if I was?" He propped himself, so he was leant over a little bit, close to me. No matter what I did, I couldn't stop looking at his lips. "What if the only person that I wanted to touch you was me?"

"Then do it." I said, pushing myself closer to him.

"God, I fucking want to. Believe me."

"I won't tell." I whispered, my breath becoming his as we kissed. His hands put themselves on my cheeks as he talked against my lips, protesting, but I pushed my lips closer to his so he couldn't.

"You don't – You don't get it." He tried again.

"This is meant to happen."

"Wait, what did you just say?"

"Nothing," I sighed, "nothing at all."

chapter 24 ;; cashtonWhere stories live. Discover now