9.3: After School

Note: In case you missed it, I decided to go back to two chapters a week early, so there was a chapter on Wednesday (I’m back to Wednesday and Saturday chapters)! Just wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it, since I sprung it on you guys without warning! (I was bad this time 😛 )

Thanks! ^_^

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Asher let out a heavy sigh as he continued trying in vain to focus on his homework. He’d much rather be at home playing video games or working on his science project, but Penelope was staying after school that afternoon to audition for the school play, and his parents insisted that he stay too, so he could ‘keep an eye’ on his little sister while she waited to be picked up after the audition.

She’s nine, not TWO! Asher thought to himself. Why do they need me to watch her?! Maybe if it were Elaina, he could understand. She was only four years old, after all. But Penelope could handle herself, couldn’t she?

Not to mention that they still didn’t trust him to be home alone with his sisters. So why did he have to babysit at school if he couldn’t at home? Parents are stupid.

“Hey, are you okay?” Lily’s voice called him back to the present. 

As soon as Lily had learned that Asher would be staying after school, she’d decided to join him. And though part of him was appreciative of the company, she had been practically hovering over him the entire time. It was starting to get a bit annoying. Why was she acting so weird lately?

“Yeah… Just gotta go to the bathroom.” Asher lied. Honestly, he was just bored out of his mind and looking for an excuse to go wander the halls. Maybe that would help him finally focus.

Thankfully the librarian, Mrs. Lamoreaux, wasn’t very strict about giving out bathroom passes, especially not after school. She simply gave Asher a small nod as he passed her desk, then went back to her computer.

Not really sure where else to go, Asher started off in the direction of the actual bathroom, but he didn’t make it very far. The sound of a familiar voice from behind the heavy double doors of the auditorium gave him pause. Ollie.

He’d almost forgotten that Oliver was staying after school that day too. Though he had no dreams of becoming an actor himself, Oliver liked to humor his mother by participating in the school play every Spring, and it seemed that this year would be no exception. Even from the other side of the door, Asher could hear his best friend’s voice delivering a highly animated monologue at the other end of the auditorium. 

Maybe he can come over after auditions, Asher thought hopefully. Oliver had won their Bloodwatch rematch the other night when Asher came over to see Callie’s Oscar. Now it was time for a tiebreaker!

Just when he was about to open the door to try and spy on his best friend’s audition, the echoes of a soft sniffling and weeping reached Asher’s ears. He stopped in his tracks and turned curiously in the direction of the sound. He followed it around the corner, and was surprised to find his own little sister in the middle of the empty hallway, holding her face in her hands and weeping.

“Penny?” He asked, bewildered. “What’s wrong?”

“N-nothing.” Penelope replied, hastily wiping her eyes with the back of her hand at her brother’s approach. “I’m fine.”

“Don’t lie, dummy.” Despite his concern, Asher couldn’t help his annoyance. “What happened?”

“M-my audition…” Her voice trembled as she spoke. “I got scared… I m-messed up so bad…” Penelope paused to choke back a little sob. 

“Hey, I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as you think.” He tried to assure her. As much as she drove him crazy, it hurt to see his little sister cry. “Or… Or maybe you can go back in there and see if Mrs. G will give you another chance?” He suggested. 

She shook her head. “No. I ruined it! She’s never gonna give me a part now.”

“You don’t know that.” Asher insisted. “And… If you really did mess up that bad, so what?” He tried his best to come up with something to say that would make her feel better about what had happened. “It’s not the end of the world. It’s just some stupid play. It doesn’t really matter, okay? So… stop crying.” Why did that sound so much more comforting in his head?

“You don’t get it!” Though a few tears continued to fall down her cheeks, her pout had been replaced by an angry scowl. “That audition was the most important thing in the entire world! Now I’m never gonna be famous…”

Asher couldn’t help it. He burst into laughter at her words. “Oh my God, Penny… Seriously?”

“What?!” 

He shook his head. “Okay, number one, it’s just some dumb school play. An elementary school play. You seriously think any Hollywood people give a crap about that? And number two, there are about a billion other things you could do with your life that are better than being famous. It’s stupid to cry over something dumb like that. Stop being a baby.” Aw, crap. Asher winced inwardly at his own words. He really sucked at this whole ‘comforting’ thing didn’t he?

Of course, his words did nothing to quell the little girl’s rage. “I’m not a baby! You’re just jealous!” Penelope shot back at him. 

He laughed again, as much as he tried not to. She was being absolutely ridiculous. “I’m not jealous. I’m just saying you’re wasting your time worrying about this dumb play. It’s not worth it!”

“But it is!” His little sister insisted. “You just don’t get it ‘cause you’re not special like the rest of us…” 

Asher felt an intense heat rising up from the pit of his stomach at her words. “What are you talking about?”

“Daddy helps people make music and Mommy makes her pretty costumes.” Penelope explained. “And someday, Lainey’s gonna learn how to play a bunch of cool instruments and I’m gonna be a super famous model and actress…” She narrowed her eyes at her brother. “But what are you gonna do? You’re not special. You just play videogames and read boring science books.”

“So what if I do?” He snapped back in response. “At least I don’t cry like a little baby over a stupid audition.”

“I’m not a baby! Take it back!”

“You first!” Asher insisted. “I am special! Say it!”

No!” Penelope shoved past him and ran down the hallway then, disappearing into the girls’ bathroom where she knew her brother could not follow.

Damn it. How had trying to make his little sister feel better turned into… that?!

Asher was still fuming with rage when he heard a voice call out from over his shoulder. “Asher? Are you okay?”

He turned around, surprised to find himself face-to-face with one of the most popular boys in the whole school. Holy crap! He knows who I am? He knows I EXIST?!

“Oh! H-hey Landon!” Asher’s voice seemed to jump three octaves as he spoke. He paused before continuing, trying to calm his sudden burst of nerves. “And, uh, yeah, I’m fine.” Asher gave a small shrug, trying to keep his cool the best he could. The last thing he wanted was to look stupid in front of Landon.

“You sure?” Landon glanced over Asher’s shoulder toward the girl’s bathroom. “Was that your sister?”

Asher nodded. “Unfortunately…” He laughed, hoping he sounded casual and still trying to figure out whether he was dreaming. Was Landon Littlehale really talking to him?!

The other boy let out a small chuckle as well. “I don’t have a sister, but if she’s even half as annoying as my little cousin, then I’m really sorry.”

“I’m sure she is, trust me.” He replied. “And that’s when she’s not crying and being extra-stupid and mean like today…” Asher rolled his eyes as he spoke. 

Landon appeared thoughtful for a moment. “Well, calling her a baby probably didn’t help…”

“You heard that?” He replied almost guiltily. Oh No… He probably thinks I’m a jerk or something now!

Landon nodded. “I mean, you weren’t wrong. She was being kind of a baby… And she totally dissed you too. What was up with that?”

“Just dumb little sister crap. She’ll get over it.” Asher hoped he didn’t let on just how much his sister’s comments had hurt him. 

“Yeah, don’t listen to her.” Landon agreed, giving him a smile. “You gonna need any help getting her outta there?”

He shook his head. “Nah, I’ll send my friend Lily to try and talk to her… Thanks though! For asking.” Asher grinned, feeling like an idiot. Why was everything that came out of his mouth so weird and wrong? Especially in front of Landon, of all people.

“Sure!” Thankfully Landon did not seem to notice Asher’s awkwardness. “I’ve gotta go get changed for the game… But I’ll see you around, Asher. Good luck with your sister! It sounds like you’re gonna need it…”

“Ha! Thanks. Good luck with the game too.” He replied, secretly wondering what kind of game it was, but feeling too stupid to ask. Landon played almost every sport the school had to offer. It was hard to keep track.

Asher watched as the other boy turned away and headed off down the hallway toward the locker room. He let out a breath of relief, grateful that he’d somehow made it through that conversation alive. I hope I didn’t sound like a TOTAL idiot… Almost as soon as Landon had disappeared around the corner, Asher heard the creaking of the auditorium door swinging open behind him.

“Asher? Was that you?” Oliver asked as Asher turned around to face him.

Asher relaxed instantly at the sight of his friend’s face. Between his fight with Penelope and the unexpected conversation with Landon, he was left feeling so strange and on-edge. But no matter what was bothering him, Oliver could always make Asher feel better, just by being there. 

“You could hear that? Sorry Ollie… I hope we didn’t mess up your audition.” 

Oliver shook his head. “Nah, you know how Mrs. G gets when she’s all ‘in the zone’ or whatever. She didn’t even notice. But I was a little worried… I tried to stop my monologue early so I could come check on you.” He explained. 

Asher smiled warmly at his friend, appreciative of his concern. “Thanks, but I’m okay. It’s Penny I’m kinda worried about… Even if she was a huge jerk and doesn’t deserve it.” He added darkly. 

Oliver looked around curiously for a moment. “Where is she anyway? Mrs. G told me to come find her. Said she wanted to hear her try her monologue again?” He shrugged.

Asher let out a small laugh. “Knew it. She was crying over nothing…”

There you are!” A shrill voice called from down the hallway before Oliver had the chance to reply. “Hey, Ollie. How’d the audition go?”

He shrugged as their friend drew closer to them. “Okay, I think… But we’ll see!”

“Aw, I’m sure it was great!” Lily gave him a small smile of encouragement before turning toward Asher. “Hey, what took you so long? I was getting worried!”

”Sorry… Got super side-tracked by Penny.” He explained. “She started being stupid and yelling at me, then Landon showed up, then Ollie showed up…” Asher almost laughed. “Did Mrs. Lamoreaux send you looking for me?”

Lily shook her head. “Nah, I was just wondering what happened… I was starting to think you fell in or something!”

Both boys burst into hysterics at her words, their hearty laughter echoing throughout the empty hallway. 

Unfortunately, that turned out to be just the thing to finally capture an adult’s attention.

Mrs. Lamoreaux loomed menacingly at the end of the hallway. Apparently she had noticed Asher’s lengthy absence after all. “This isn’t social hour.” She called out to them sternly as she approached. Though she normally wasn’t as strict as some of the other teachers in the building, it seemed that they had managed to get on her bad side. “Mr. Rosebrook, you’ve been gone long enough.” The librarian beckoned with one hand for him to return. “Ms. LaVallee, either go the the bathroom or come back and get to work. And Mr. Rucker… Where are you supposed to be?”

“Drama try-outs.” He muttered in reply.

“Then I suggest you get back in there before Mrs. Gerard comes looking for you.”

“Yes Ma’am.” Oliver glanced toward Asher. “I’ll find you after auditions.” He whispered to his friend before turning and making his way back into the auditorium. 

Mrs. Lamoreaux looked expectantly toward Asher. “Come on.” She called out to him.

“Penny’s in the bathroom… Can you make sure she’s okay?” He said quickly to Lily. “And let her know Mrs. G’s giving her another chance?”

The little girl nodded dutifully, giving him a little salute before disappearing into the girls’ bathroom.

And, knowing he had no choice, Asher followed Mrs. Lamoreaux back to the library where his pile of unfinished homework awaited him.

17 thoughts on “9.3: After School

  1. “Parents are stupid.” This cracked me up for some reason. What self-respecting kid hasn’t said this at least once in their life! 😂😂😂.

    I felt sorry for him trying to make his sister feel better and then it all went wrong. And then Landon – the the popular kid – walks up and flusters him! Poor guy. He just wants to play video games and read science books. Why isn’t that special? 😢😢😢

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lmao right? Everybody has had that thought at least once (probably more!) Asher loves his parents but they can be frustrating too 😛

      Asher isn’t the most eloquent kid in the world, and then Penny had to turn it around on him and make him feel like crap 😭 Landon definitely got Asher feeling nervous and flustered, but he at least helped to cheer him up a bit too. And then Ollie helped too if course… best friends are good at that! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Asher said some amount of truth, specially when it comes to hollywood really not caring from school stuff, and the fact that Penelope shouldn’t be as sad as she was. Buuuut he delivered in a horrible way, besides, for his little sister things might actually have felt *that* bad, 2 years make some difference in age gap, and she’s more of a child then he is, so, not understanding most stuff.

    I guess Penelope thinks that everyone on her Family is special?That’s some weird logic right there, but, as I said, a child’s logic.I hope Asher doesn’t take those words too hard, he doesn’t need to shine to be a good person.Heck, most people I knew had no idea what they wanted to be as a profession and just figure this out as they made their application to uni LOL.

    Huh.I’m glad Landon isn’t a jerk. Hopefully him and Asher could be friends in the future!That is, if Asher feels himself worhty of directing his word to Landon. From the looks of it, Asher won’t go talk with him in a spontenious way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, he expressed himself pretty badly, even if he meant well! And she really is so much more immature than him… it was a recipe for disaster 😬

      Her “special” comment was her little-kid way of saying “everyone else in the family is very skilled at something creative and you aren’t”. Which…. isn’t a big deal, but when you’re 9 and a little bratty, maybe 😂

      Landon is a nice kiddo, just a very popular one! Asher definitely gets intimidated when Landon is around though. So we’ll see…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aww…Asher is a thoughtful bro! And what was up with a Penny? That was such a mean thing to say. Asher actually took that barb fairly well. Most 11year olds would be sensitive if they were called “ordinary”. I hope he doesn’t listen to that. His friends obviously think he’s awesome. And Landon, the popular cool kid, seems to like him too. Just a matter of time before those two become friends.

    Well, it’ll be interesting to see where this takes everyone. I bet Penny does become s famous actress. Ollie might end up in acting even though he doesn’t want it. And what would Asher think? Probably he wouldn’t like it. 🧐 But it’s early in the gen. I’m loving the dynamics already.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Asher is a pretty tough kid, though he has his own insecurities too. Penny is a little drama queen, so I think Asher is used to taking her crap by now. But it did still sting a little!

      You’re right though — his friends think he’s awesome, and Landon also seems to appreciate him too!

      Ollie has a lot of charisma and a knack for acting, even if he’s not interested in it right now! Penny might lack the knack, but definitely has the ambition… so time will tell where the future will take them!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Enter preteenhood “parents are stupid” edit it a bit and you have “paras are stupid” I hear this at my job. I think Asher has a lil bromance crush on the popular kid and what timing right after some sibling rivalry ( I mean sibling love) haha. He’s also totally oblivious that Lilly has a crush on him. This is a fun generation to read so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely some preteen attitude beginning! 😬 Oh, Asher… hahaha

      Asher definitely seems pretty flustered around Landon, it’s true! And definitely a pinch of sibling rivalry at play too 😉

      Glad you’re having fun with the new characters and dynamics so far! 😁😁😁

      Like

  5. Dark WitcHazard: Aw looks like Ashers going to be are adorable little wall flower! Well at least he has that Rosebrook hotheadedness, sass, and whit otherwise he’d be basic and we can’t have that!

    Lover WitcHazard: Okay if anything we definitely should be concerned about Penny’s self esteem going forward. Also sure Asher might be a wallflower but the people who’ll make his life special are those who notice just how amazing he is being himself! Three friends he’s forming a squad!

    Shipper WitcHazard: Oh Lilly something tells me it’s going to be while before he even catches on tot he signals you’re sending let alone reciprocate!

    Anti Shipper: Or he could grow up never notice and just faze out of her life forever! The oblivious trait is going to be strong in this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely decent amounts hot-headedness and sass over here hehe Though I think Penny would say he’s basic regardless 😬 😂

      We’ll see if Asher ever figures out about that crush, and how he reacts to it! He could be clueless forever, it’s true!

      And at least he does have people who appreciate him for who he is ❤ They’re the ones who really matter!

      Like

  6. Wow, I entirely missed out such a lot. Asher is a cutie, and it really can’t be easy for a kid in that famous place. At least his parents aren’t the type to be all above everything else. I understand him – he doesn’t want to deal with all that fame stuff, if it makes people being worried and crying constantly. That’s no easy opinion to carry in this place, where pretty much anyone wants to be famous. But he cares about his family and his friend and doesn’t think it all stupid either.

    I’m sorry for Penny, but sibling rivalries have gone a long way here and they just really aren’t at the same page. I’m still glad they at least try to make each other understand, even if it ended in disaster. And Landon tries to be nice. I’m glad that he doesn’t seem the jerk kind of popular kid, and I think they could make a good team. On the other hand I am getting worried about Lily, she has quite the stalking tendencies and I hope she has not picked up the weird picture of “romance” movies like Twilight like to show and sneaks in to watch him sleep because it’s sooo romantic. She’s pretty young and propably doesn’t know how to express herself better, and it already got her Ashers attention.

    For what does Asher need a pass to go anywhere? It won’t prevent him from leaving and skipping school altogether. A lot of punishment during my school time consisted of sending kids out on the hallway unsupervised and relying on them still being there at the end of the lesson, and none of them got lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s okay, but I’m glad you caught up! ❤️ It’s definitely hard for Asher to be in the middle of all these people who feel so fake. He just wants to be a normal kid and like what he likes without feeling like he’s being judged (which Penny didn’t help with, whoops lol)

      Landon is a nice kid for sure — not the stereotypical popular kid! And as for Lily, I think she will calm down. It’s true that she’s being over the top right now but I think she’s just very over-excited and needs to mature a bit haha

      It might vary from place to place, but where I teach, all students need passes to go pretty much anywhere, and they get in a lot of trouble if they’re caught without them!

      Thanks for reading, as always! 😁

      Like

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