The Price of Popularity - Bonus Chapter Two

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It was a strange sight to say the least. Asher wasn't sure for a moment or two if he was in a dream or if this was real. He was standing at the threshold to Bethany's living room, his eyes carefully watching those inside.

Leon and Amanda were sitting on the couch. The two had been talking for almost twenty minutes, smiles gracing both of their faces quite regularly. Asher wondered for a moment if Amanda might be the exact right thing for Leon right now. He was just starting to get over the destruction which Ivy left in her path and maybe Amanda would be the right girl to help with that. Amanda was genuine and sweet, a much better match for Leon than Ivy ever was.

Leon was still angry. He didn't say it out loud but when they talked at school about Ivy there was an underlying anger and fury that reached down deep into Leon's bones. Leon had been deceived by someone he thought loved him and that hurt him, even if he wouldn't say it out loud. Anger wasn't something that came naturally to Leon. Asher hoped that one day he could let go of that anger. Maybe Amanda could help him do that.

A laugh caused Asher's eyes to shift to the back of the room. Bethany and Chad were leaning against the wall, Damien standing next to them. Bethany's hair was falling from the loose ponytail she was sporting, strands falling onto the shoulders of her dark blue dress. Asher thought that it was cute that the colour of Bethany's dress was the same colour as the shirt Chad was wearing. His eyes moved to their connected hands and he didn't feel jealous. Before, he would have been envious of their ability to be so open, but now he knew that he had the same freedoms that they did. He was determined to take advantage of those freedoms.

It was Bethany's laugh which had caught Asher's attention in the first place. Damien seemed to be telling a story of some sort and Bethany was left in stitches. Chad was smiling widely next to her. Bethany's laugh was much louder than the quiet music playing in the background of the room and the happy sound sent a small smile to Asher's lips. Damien seemed to be quite happy with how well his story was being received. He was grinning as he tried to tell the rest over Bethany's loud chuckling. Asher's opinion of Damien had improved quite a lot after finding out that he had demanded the truth from his cousin and pushed Danny to see his side of things. He stopped feeling so jealous of he and Danny's friendship, allowing Asher to actually see Damien as a good guy and not a threat.

'Are you going to stand there all night?' Asher heard Danny ask.

Asher looked over and saw that his boyfriend was walking up to him. Danny's eyes were bright, the beautiful blue in them matching his light blue button up. Danny looked quite handsome in Asher's opinion. The sleeves of his shirt was rolled up at the elbows and his dark jeans hung tight around his legs. His shoes were polished, shining under the low hanging lights. Danny had made sure to dress up a little for the occasion, even spraying some cologne in his direction and then at Asher before they left. Asher understood Danny's insistence that they dress up a little. This was an important night to both of them.

When Danny was close enough, Asher reached over and put an arm around his boyfriend. He pulled him in closer so that he could feel the warmth of Danny pressed up against him. It was a nice feeling, having Danny so close after almost losing him.

'It's just something I never thought I would see, you know?' Asher said as he looked around the room.

Danny looked up at him with soft eyes. 'I know. Aren't you glad that we all get to hang out now?'

'Yes, I am,' Asher told him. He hoped that this was another step in repairing his relationship with Danny. 'It means a lot that my friends are here.'

'They are good people,' Danny reminded him.

'I know,' Asher agreed.

His mind cast back to earlier in the week. He had been walking to class with Bethany and Chad when some random guy ran into him. It wasn't the sort of running into someone that was accidental. A shoulder hit him hard in the side, a leg out to trip him in his steps. Chad righted him before he fell over and Bethany didn't miss a beat. She ran from where she was and got in the face of the guy who had done it. Asher didn't hear what she said but whatever it was caused the guy to walk away quickly with his head hung low. Bethany had run back to them and reached for his hand, squeezing it as she told him that the guy wouldn't bother him again. Asher wondered again what blackmail material she must have had on that random boy. There certainly was an upside to being best friends with the girl who knows everything about everyone.

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