Price of Popularity - Bonus Chapter One

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I have decided to release this chapter as well as the second bonus chapter as a gift to you all. These chapters are set after chapter 23 and before the epilogue. Thank-you for the support and enjoy!

Bonus Chapter 1


The photo frame was thick and heavy in his hand. He jiggled it a little, testing how heavy it actually was. His eyes stared at the photo inside of the dark wood border. It was his new favourite photo. He and Danny kissing next to the moving truck. He couldn't help but smile as he became absorbed in the memory of when it was taken. With that memory also came the reminder that this photo was what reminded Asher of what he had to fight for, what he had to lose.

'Are you going to put it on the wall?'

The voice came from behind him and Asher turned quickly, seeing his father standing in the doorway. His father was dressed quite casually, it was a Saturday after all. Alan's eyes were trained on the frame in Asher's hands.

'I am,' Asher confirmed. He joined his father in looking down at the photo.

Alan strode into the room, standing close to his son. 'You've never had photos in your room, not since you were little,' he said. His tone was curious.

Asher nodded, his eyes still on the photo frame in his hand. His finger traced along the edges of the patterned wood. 'I know,' he said slowly. 'That's going to change now.'

Asher looked around his room. He saw the empty desk and almost bare beside table. He looked at the vacant walls and wondered how many photos he could fit on them. He wanted to fill them up. He wanted to place photos and trinkets and memory filled items all around this room. He needed to remind himself that these people weren't going anywhere, that they loved him.

'That's a nice photo of you and Danny,' Alan commented. He had been peering over Asher's shoulder.

'Yeah it is.'

There was a silence that hung over them loosely. It wasn't awkward but there was something to it that made Asher nervous. He knew that he and his father hadn't properly talked about what he had done. It had been just over two weeks since his birthday and yet neither of them had spoken a word of it. His father knew everything, he was sure that he and Dale had talked about it. Danny had already told Asher that Dale knew everything and he knew that it wouldn't be a subject that their fathers could dance around.

'I know that you know,' Asher told him. His voice was calm but inside he was nervous. He wasn't sure how his father felt.

'Know about what?'

Asher turned to face his father. 'I lied to my friends at school. I made Danny pretend that we were just friends when he transferred. I know that Dale must have told you everything.'

Alan looked a little surprised. 'Oh, that.'

'Yes.'

'I wasn't sure if you were going to bring it up,' Alan said. He paused for a moment. When he spoke there was an emotion in his voice that Asher couldn't put a pin on. 'When you asked me not to speak about the bullying at your last school to Dale, I should have known something was up. I thought maybe you were embarrassed. I didn't realise you had kept that secret from Danny.'

Asher didn't know what to say at first. He took a deep breath. 'I understand if you're upset with me.'

Alan's eyes widened. 'Oh Ash, I'm not upset. I understand why you did what you did. I just wish that I had realised and that I could have done something to help.'

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