That afternoon, the Waterside Watering Hole…
It was seven o’ clock and Ashlynn was preparing to whoop Orion’s ass at Don’t Wake the Llama.
Orion shook his head and took a seat next to Ashlynn.
Orion: “Isn’t practicing before I get here cheating?”
Ashlynn: “There’s no cheating in war.”
Orion: “You’re on, Pinky.”
Ashlynn took the first turn and the Orion the second. The first few logs went easily.
A few logs later Orion was feeling cocky.
Orion: “Look at these mad moves.”
Ashlynn: “That was a support log… I’m surprised–”
The structure collapsed before Ashlynn could finish her statement. Orion was left holding the log. Ashlynn burst out laughing and Orion raised his eyebrow at the llama. He gave it the stink eye.
They reassembled the structure and Ashlynn grinned.
Ashlynn: “Wanna play again?”
Orion: “Nah, let’s sit somewhere and talk.”
Ashlynn smiled as she pushed her chair back.
Ashlynn: “Afraid of losing again?”
Orion: “You caught me.”
They moved over to couch and got comfy. Orion raised his hands with his palms out.
Orion: “So why did you want to hang out with me all of a sudden? Was it really because of some dream?”
Ashlynn: “Not just cause of that.”
Orion: “There’s better people you could be hanging out with. Like aren’t you in drama with Misael? Or there’s Judy from the bowling alley.”
Ashlynn: “Orion… Why are you so shocked I’d want to spend time with you? You’ve been shocked over everything I’ve done since I met you.”
Orion gave a sad half hearted chuckle.
Orion: “You’re pretty shocking.”
Ashlynn took it as a compliment and got pretty hyper in return.
Ashlynn: “I know! The school counselor tried to tell my parents it’s due to lack of social interaction with other kids my own age when I was a kid, but I think the counselor is just jealous that they aren’t as cool as me.”
She brushed a stray hair out of her face.
Ashlynn: “Alright, alright… You know everything about me and well… I don’t know anything about you.”
Orion turned his head to look out the window.
Ashlynn: “Don’t be so secretive… tell me about yourself. Like tell me about your family… Do you have any brothers or sisters? What are your parents like?”
Orion snorted in disgust.
Orion: “I’d rather not.”
Ashlynn: “That means there’s a story there.”
She leaned over closer to look him in the eye.
Ashlynn: “Spill it.”
Orion: “Fine. My family is wealthy. Really wealthy. My father is a CEO of a company that works with the government to regulate goods distributed in the city. My mother doesn’t work, not that she needs to. No siblings.”
Ashlynn: “Really? That sounds kinda interesting.”
Orion: “It’s not. My parents are assholes. My Dad is obsessed with having me take over the company and Mom keeps pressuring me to live up to her legacy. She’s from some old money family. They were rich even before the crash. They both treat me more like a pawn in their long game than a son.”
Ashlynn: “That’s awful… but if that’s true–”
Orion: “Why would I be lying about it?”
Ashlynn: “Well I meant if it’s true, is that why you like to hang out at the bowling alley and stuff? Cause they won’t find you there?”
Orion: “That and there’s the best arcade machines there.”
Ashlynn: “Those were great!”
Ashlynn waggled her hands in front of her face.
Ashlynn: “I feel like I’m going to cry!”
Orion: “Why on earth would you want to cry? Over me?”
Ashlynn: “Yes! I’m always worried about my Mom and her stupid legacy, but it sounds like your Mom is so much worse. My Mom is the best.”
Orion: “Yeah, my Mom is a bitch… Your Mom just wants to try to expand the livable world for us. That’s pretty cool.”
Ashlynn: “Oh my god, you can’t let her hear that. She’d be smug for days.”
Orion laughed. It was a genuine, honest to god, laugh. Ashlynn looked up at him and smiled. She scooted closer to him.
Orion: “No more parent talk.”
Orion held Ashlynn’s hand.
Orion: “I will never understand what you see in me.”
Ashlynn: “You’re hot as hell and sweet as sin.”
Orion: “That sounds so cheesy.”
Ashlynn: “It was a saying my grandfather used to say.”
Orion: “Now we’re dragging grandparents into this? How about we focus on just us?”
Ashlynn: “I’d like that.”
Orion whispered in her ear.
Orion: “I’m glad you asked me out tonight.”
Ashlynn: “I am to.”
He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and they gazed into each other’s eyes.
Orion: “I really like you, Miss Grofield.”
Ashlynn: “I really really like you, Mister Fraiser.”
Orion brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. Her cheeks were flame red from the light touch.
Ashlynn: “I better get home it’s getting late. Are you going to head home too?”
Orion: “Fuck no. I’m not stepping foot in that house until their asleep.”
Ashlynn: “Yeah… I can’t do that. My parents are going to be waiting up for me.”
They extracted themselves from the couch they were glued to and Ashlynn looked shy as she said goodbye.
Ashlynn reached up and kissed him before she could talk herself out of the action.
She looked at him nervously.
He looked dreamy and shocked.
The shocked expression wore off and he threw his arms around Ashlynn. His lips locked with hers and the world crashed around them. This feeling was familiar and wonderful and like electricity coursing through their bodies. They were both devastated when the kiss was over.
Orion couldn’t speak. There was a hunger in his eyes in the way he looked at Ashlynn.
She shyly scurried away.
She booked it away from Orion. Widening the distance between them and trying to reduce the desire to be in his arms again.
Orion’s heart slammed against his rib cage with every beat. His mind was wired with the feeling of Ashlynn’s lips on his, the half remembered memories of the dream he had last night, and the crackle of something almost magical in his fingertips.