Story Sunday: Meet Ashton
I sort of adopted Coryl’s projects idea with my #amwriting page. I’ve been sitting on a novel idea since May of this year, debating whether I should suck it up and form it into a screenplay that may never see the light of day, or if I should just sort out a way to put it into novel form.
I’m calling it “The Kids” for short, and their story is really close and dear to me. The gist is that the parents of Hearst, Texas1 are so in denial about their kids already going through “typical teen stuff”, thus they don’t realise some are actually having real problems that can’t be solved through sugarcoating. Inevitable chaos is bound to come. Anyone who has read my novel writing knows I love chaos, death, drama, and non-sugarcoated topics.
…and cliffhangers, breaking hearts, tragedies, and getting so deep in one’s feelings they can’t decide whether they want to cry or laugh or throw a fit or release some butterflies.
I wanted to share an entire chapter, each of which is dedicated to one person’s POV (third person, nevertheless) and literally connected to the previous characters’ POV in some way, but there wasn’t a generous way to split it without revealing more than I wanted to.
This is Ashton.
Ashton shrugged, trying to keep his focus on Bradley but divide it between the others at the same time, but it wasn’t working. He was distracted now by the more personal matter between he and Bradley, and Sydney was suddenly an annoying accessory latched onto him right now. Lucas shouldn’t have left him alone with her to try to flirt up her twin, because unlike Lucas, Ashton lacked interest in flirting with this girl, who he couldn’t tell was interested in him. Was she? “We’re not dating,” Ashton defended, mentally praying to God to keep his defensiveness from getting him into trouble. This needn’t blow up—he didn’t mean anything rude by it at all.
Sydney’s mouth dropped open, and she adjusted her glasses and clothes before she shut it. “I…I should go. I have to find Homeroom to get my schedule, and if I get lost…” She trailed off with a shrug.
“Okay,” Ashton replied carelessly.
“Right, then,” Sydney replied with a nod before scurrying off for the school.
Bradley shot the Cooper brothers a look Ashton couldn’t depict—though he understood what it meant—and they followed after her, eventually catching up to her.
“I know what you’re going to say,” Ashton mumbled. “I just…I didn’t know what it would feel like to watch you kiss a girl’s hand until it happened, and yeah—that’s a really stupid thing to be hurt about, but it hurt. I don’t even know why it did.”
Bradley tilted his head to the side and stepped forward, though he made sure to keep an appropriate distance between himself and Ashton. “Look, Ash, I’m not mad, but that was…” he trailed off, shaking his head. “Her body language, which I’m well aware you weren’t paying attention to, did all the talking for her: she thinks you’re cute.”
Ashton rolled his eyes and looked away. “I just met her.”
Ashton shrugged, watching other students arrive and walk toward the school.
“And since she needs to find her homeroom class, she’s a freshman, or she’s new—“
“Those are the same thing,” Ashton commented, directing his eyes back to Bradley’s brown ones. They were so beautiful and mesmerizing, he could already feel himself melting and his knees trembling.
“Point is, she’s new, she’s scared, and she liked you; and you’re probably going to see her again.” Bradley explained. “You need to apologize. Maybe she can be a friend—“
“She joked about her sister being a lesbian and possibly leading Luke on…” Ashton trailed off, stomping all over whatever plans Bradley was conjuring up in his head about Ashton and Sydney becoming friends.
Bradley winced. “Ouch.”
“And since I already have Lucas I can’t really tell, because he left me alone with Sydney and will probably want to double date in the future, I don’t want another friend I have to keep a secret from. Do you know how hard it is to pretend to like girls?”
Bradley sighed. “Ashton, your parents are cool. We went over this last year. You almost came out to them, even. You’re so wonderful just the way you are, and—“
“I told you I’m not ready,” Ashton pouted, cutting him off. He loved Bradley, and he loved their relationship, but the town of Hearst had a hard time accepting those who were different.
“I know, and I respect that, but Ashton…” Bradley sighed. “I worry about you. I want you to be happy—to have the whole world if that’s what you want.”
Biting his lower lip, Ashton shrugged and looked up at Bradley’s eyes—just a small glance up; Bradley was only two inches taller, but there was “meat” on his bones, as his mother would say. Ashton, on the other hand, was five feet and seven inches of a lot of lank, no matter how much he ate. “I just want you, okay? But it’s…complicated.” Ashton was also scared; if he came out, that meant his relationship would be out in the open, for all to voice their opinions on as if it was even their business. His relationship with Bradley didn’t concern those who weren’t in it, but some days, Ashton really wish he hadn’t chosen to hide their relationship. Bradley was “out” to a few of his friends—the Cooper brothers in particular—and the few friends knew about Ashton, but there was a mutual agreement in place for them not to talk to Ashton about his relationship with Bradley, simply because Ashton wasn’t comfortable. Talking about relationships had always been weird for him, but this one was different… This relationship was more serious than any other he had ever been in.
“You want me, and you want people to know, you just don’t want all eyes on you,” Bradley added.
Bradley smiled and nodded in response, then stepped forward once more, thus closing in the space between him and Ashton. Ashton’s breathing hitched.
This is just the first draft, so my goal is to get the idea written and dress up the romance scenes later, but…as an autistic, this is hard. I’m researching my worst enemy: body language. I’m also trying to figure out whether I want Ashton to know he’s autistic or not, or if I just want him to be aware he sucks at body language, and has other autistic qualities. Decisions, decisions. Either way, autistics need to be depicted in fiction, so.~
The next chapter/character POV is obviously Mr. Bradley Carter.
- If this isn’t a paper town, I’ll change it later, dammit. ↩