Chapter Sixteen - The Windy City

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Chapter Sixteen The Windy City

Oh dear, you look so lost, eyes are red and tears are shed, this world you must’ve crossed. 

-Augustana

My bird’s eye view on the city of Chicago had my stomach twisting uneasily. This was it, I was almost home. I felt Ashton’s chest brush my shoulder as he leaned over me to take a look out of the airplane window. A lot of the other passengers were doing the same. ‘Oohing’and ‘ahhing’at the scenery from the sky. Mark was sitting across from us, his head buried in work papers. I couldn’t help but feel guilty that he was giving up an entire weekend of his time to take me to Chicago.

“The pilot has now turned on the ‘fastened seat belts’sign as we are growing closer to landing. We ask that you turn off all electronic devices and pull your seats to the upright position. The weather in Chicago is 15 degrees Celsius, 59 degrees Fahrenheit and the time is 9:45 p.m. We will be landing at O’Hare in just under ten minutes. Thank you for flying with Delta Airlines and we hope you have a great stay.”The patchy voice of the female flight attendant rung over the plane’s speakers.

“Welcome home, Sam.”Ashton smiled, gently nudging my side with his elbow.

Was it home though? Without my father and now that I was selling my house? All that I had that made Chicago ‘home’was gone. Chicago was just a city now, one that I probably wouldn’t revisit after this trip. It already hurt, being close to landing. I couldn’t keep coming back to a city that only delivered me pain.

***

Mark had booked us two rooms at the Mariott Hotel in the city. They were adjoined by a wooden door, one of the rooms had a king sized bed and the other two twins. “You can have the single bedroom, Sam.”Mark offered.

I already felt bad that he was paying so much for this trip and giving up so many valuable hours, I wasn’t going to make him share a room with Ashton. “No, you take it. There are two beds in the other room, anyway.”

Mark nodded but I didn’t miss the uncertain glance he shot Ashton’s way. Ashton didn’t notice though because he was busy chewing on the complimentary chocolate squares. The room smelled like clean sheets and coffee. Usually, hotel rooms gave me the shivers since they were so gross and used but this was nothing like the runaway motels and hotels my father and I would find solace in. This one was immaculate and with good reason, it was a five-star.

Ash and I placed our luggage next to our beds, the time scraped just past eleven –which was really twelve for us thanks to the time zone change so we were all pretty beat up. We had actually spent the day in school before heading to the airport. Mark had already said his goodnights before shutting the door to his room. I could hear the water from the shower running through the dividing door.

“I’m surprised my dad’s letting us share a room.”Ash grinned, his brown hair ruffled like he’d just gotten out of bed but I knew it was really due to the flight. His green eyes were slightly red from exhaustion but he still managed to look like a superstar. “If Mom were here, she’d flip.”He chuckled, his voice boyish and charming.

I was about to ask why that was when he placed his hands on the bottom of his shirt and threw it off. “Ashton!”I screeched, I couldn’t take my eyes off his body though. God those abs…He proceeded to tug off his jeans so that he was just in his American Apparel boxer briefs. “Ashton!”Growing more in volume.

“Your turn,”He winked at me, placing his hands on his waist.

My mouth fell open. He had to be kidding. I knew Ashton had a reputation of being a player but was this for real?

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