9.5: Learn

That Friday when he walked into school, Asher felt like a rockstar.

Of course, nobody else treated him like one, but he hadn’t been expecting them to anyway. He was proud enough of himself that he didn’t need anyone else’s approval. He felt like a celebrity all on his own.

The science fair had been a roaring success — He’d been awarded the top prize for his experiment on the immune system, and, to make things even better, Lily had won an award too, for her plant experiment. 

Though Penelope had rolled her eyes, the rest of his family had been so proud and overjoyed — including his extended family too. He called his Grammy Lola the minute he got home, and explained every detail of his project to her. His parents even let him get up early that morning so he could Skype with his mother’s family in Germany and tell them all about his win.

To say that Asher was on top of the world would be an understatement. His little sister’s taunting from a few weeks ago had been wrong — He was special. In a different way than the rest of his family, maybe. But why did that have to be such a bad thing?

Oliver, of course, made Asher’s win out to be just as big as his mother’s Oscar win. It was all he wanted to talk about at lunchtime, and Asher had no problem with that.

“Dude, I told you it was gonna be great!” Oliver cried excitedly. “I wish I could’ve been there… What did it feel like when they called your name?” He asked for what had to be the third time.

“Ahhh! It was the best!” Asher replied, beaming as he re-lived the moment in his head. “And when they called Lily’s name too, it was like… perfect. You should’ve entered too! Then maybe we all could’ve placed!” That would’ve been the only thing that could have made last night even more perfect — if both of his best friends had won prizes alongside him.

Oliver laughed brightly at this suggestion. “You’re kidding, right? You know I totally suck at that science-y stuff. But that’s alright — it’ll be my turn soon! The play’s coming up in a couple months, remember?”

“That’s right! It’s gonna be awesome.” Asher felt bad for almost forgetting that Oliver had landed the lead part in the Spring play. “Man, too bad the school doesn’t have its own version of the Oscars though…” He gave his friend a half-teasing smile. 

Oliver just shrugged. “That’s alright, I don’t think Mom has enough room in the display case for another one!”

As they headed out to recess together after lunch, Asher’s eyes scanned the playground, searching for a familiar face in the crowd of fellow fifth and sixth graders. He knew he’d been putting off his conversation with Lily for far too long. The night before, he’d been so distracted by his family that he hadn’t had time to do much but give her a quick smile when they’d gone up to collect their awards together. And that morning at school, well, much as he hated to admit it, Asher had been doing everything in his power to avoid her. 

Don’t be a wimp! He told himself. Just talk to her! Let her ask you out, and then just… tell her the truth! But that already felt so much more easier said than done.

“Want me to go be a lookout?” Oliver offered, his voice bringing Asher back to the present. 

He shrugged in reply. “Sure. But I actually kinda want to talk to her. You know, to get it over with.” Asher sighed in resignation. “So… if you see her, can you tell her to come find me? If she doesn’t find me on her own first.” He added with a smile. Knowing Lily, he had a sneaking suspicion that it would be the latter.

“Alright… I’ll be right back!” Oliver gave him a little nod before racing off to the other end of the playground in search of Lily.

Only a few moments after Oliver had vanished from sight, Asher was surprised by the sound of a familiar voice from off to his left. “Hey, Asher!”

His breath caught in his throat at the sight of Landon walking toward him. “Oh… Hi!” He struggled for a moment to hide his nervousness.

“Congrats on winning the science fair!” 

Asher’s eyes widened. “You know about that?”

“Well, yeah… They said your name on the announcements this morning, remember?” Landon asked with a small laugh.

“Oh, right… Thanks!”

“I got to look at your project after PE today. They left it out in the gym so people could see it. It looked pretty cool! Even though I didn’t really get it…” Landon confessed.

“You didn’t?” Asher asked, surprised. Landon was a year older than him. Shouldn’t he be smarter than him too? Guess science isn’t everybody’s thing though… Like Ollie. “Well, it’s pretty easy. The sand was supposed to be like your body’s cells, right? The little pieces of iron were the pathogens infecting your body. And the magnets — those were the antibodies. It’s like your immune system, right? And the experiment shows how the antibodies work together and…” Asher was rambling nervously now and, judging by the blank expression on Landon’s face, completely losing him. 

“Sounds… really cool.” Landon filled the brief silence uncomfortably.

“Sorry. It’s boring, I know.” Asher replied, embarrassed.

The other boy shook his head. “Nah, I’m just not smart enough to get it.” He let out a small chuckle.

“That’s okay!” Asher replied, smiling. “Everybody’s good at different stuff, right? Not everybody’s smart, just like not everybody’s good at music or sports or stuff too. So… So like…” Oh my GOD did I just agree that he’s not smart?! “No! That’s not what I meant! I mean… I mean you are smart. But like, my parents always talk about how there’s different types of smart, so… So, uh…” Suddenly, Asher wanted nothing more than to make himself disappear.

To his immense relief, Landon just laughed it off. “I get what you’re saying, don’t worry. Anyway, I just wanted to say congrats on the project. So… see you around, Asher.” He gave him one last smile before running off to rejoin his friends by the jungle gym.

Asher let out a breath he didn’t even realize he’d been holding. Would Landon ever even wanna talk to him again after that train wreck of a conversation? Hopefully…

“Asher! Hi!” A high pitched voice called from over his shoulder then. He recognized it instantly, partly because he’d been expecting it.

“Hey, Lily…” Asher muttered back, not even turning around to face her. His eyes were still fixed on the boy with the mohawk at the other end of the playground.

Lily began speaking very quickly then, just as she always did, going on a mile-a-minute rant about… something. Asher wasn’t really paying any attention. His mind was still too caught up in his conversation with Landon.

At least Landon hadn’t seemed that weirded-out by the awkwardness, right? And what really mattered was that he had talked to him. Again! And it wasn’t like last time, where they’d happened to run into each other. Landon had actually gone out of his way to congratulate him! He’d noticed Asher won the science fair! And so what if he didn’t understand the project, he’d cared enough to come talk to him about it. How cool was that?! 

“So… What d’ya say?!” For the first time, Lily’s voice was finally clear. “Asher?”

“Yeah, sure… Sounds good.” He mumbled vaguely in reply, finally turning around to face her. 

Asher’s eardrums were then assaulted by an ungodly shriek of joy. “Ohmigod, really?! Ahhhh!” The next thing he knew, Lily threw her arms around him, pulling him into a tight squeeze. 

“Lil… I can’t breathe…” Asher laughed, wondering what he’d done to earn the hug.

Lily let him go, her face still alight with enthusiasm. “I’m gonna be the best girlfriend ever, I promise! Asher you have no idea… I’ve wanted to ask you for like, ever and ever but I was way too scared, til I talked to Ollie and…”

Oh, crap. What had he done?

Asher tried his best to return Lily’s happy smile. In truth, he probably would have caved and said yes anyway. He didn’t want to make her sad. And maybe having a girlfriend wouldn’t be awful. Maybe he could figure out how to LIKE-like her, eventually. And if it was awful Maybe it would get easier, after a while? 

That’s how most things in life usually worked anyway, right? Wasn’t it all supposed to get easier, eventually? That’s what all those lame talks with his parents about growing up usually amounted to, in the end. How the older you got, the more you were supposed to learn about life, or whatever. And, Asher reasoned, the more you learned, the better you could figure stuff out, and the easier your life would be… In theory.

In the end, he was at least partially right. Things didn’t necessarily get easier as time went on. But, as he’d predicted, Asher did learn a lot over the next several years of his life. And it helped him figure a lot of things out, about his friends and family, the world around him… and even himself.

He learned that his love of science went far beyond just a hobby. It was something to which he decided early-on that he wanted to devote the rest of his life, and he spent long hours of study learning as much as he could about biology and medicine.

He learned that the entertainment industry was just as fake and ruthless as he’d always believed it to be, as he watched his mother continually snubbed at the Oscars and his father miss out year after year on Grammy awards for the albums he worked so hard to help produce. Yet somehow, his parents never let their lack of recognition get them down.

He learned that little sisters simply got more whiny and irritating over the years, especially ones who let themselves fall victim to the shallow vanity of Hollywood.

He learned that friendship — true friendship — could survive just about anything: jealousy; petty arguments; and even, in the case of him and Lily, breaking up and getting back together, only for their relationship to fizzle out once more. 

As much as Asher loved his friend, and hard though he tried to make things work, things just never felt right with Lily. Their attempts at romance failed more than once over the years, but their friendship managed to survive every time… Including the final time, when Asher at last understood why things had never worked out with Lily, and why they never could.

That was also when he reached yet another important realization: That his feelings for Landon Littlehale went far beyond mere admiration.

“Dude, watch it… You’re gonna get drool all over your notebook.” Oliver whispered teasingly to his friend as their teacher’s voice droned on and on.

“Shut the fuck up, you ass!” Asher shot back at Oliver, smiling at his friend’s teasing.

Oliver had caught him staring at Landon — again. Minus a study hall they’d shared two years ago, this was the first time Asher had had a class with his crush. Ever. He knew Landon was pissed about having to repeat 11th grade Math his Senior year… But Asher certainly didn’t mind. Not one bit. 

The sharp sound of Mr. Marshall clearing his throat suddenly filled the air. “Though I probably wouldn’t choose such colorful language, Mr. Rosebrook, might I suggest that you take your own advice?” He asked, drawing closer to where Asher and Oliver sat. “You too, Mr. Rucker.”

Oh my God, what a dick. “Yes, sir.” They both muttered in reply, Asher doing his best to hide his annoyance.

Many heads in the room had turned to stare at the two of them — including Landon’s. Asher gave him a small shrug and a brief smile which, to his delight, the older boy returned.

Still fuming at his teacher, but his heart a little lighter, Asher turned his attention back to the empty notebook in front of him. This was the easiest, most boring class ever. He’d already aced the first two homework assignments without ever even cracking open the book. What a joke!

But if he didn’t try and look busy, Mr. Marshall would probably come back and be a total asshole again, and that was the last thing he needed at eight o’clock on a Monday morning. 

Time to channel Ollie’s acting skills. Asher thought, smiling to himself as he lifted his pencil. He had no intention of taking any notes, but he was hoping it would at least look like he was. Now the only question was… What would he actually write?

Mind still swirling with thoughts of the gorgeous guy sitting just a few feet away from him, Asher took a deep breath and let his pencil start dancing across the blank page, writing down the first words that came to his mind.

24 thoughts on “9.5: Learn

  1. Oh my. No wonder he’s had a crush on Landon like forever! Poor Lily. At least she’s not mad at him. And stayed friends. She’s probably embarrassed. But then, neither one knew….. this is going to definitely be a different type of heir. Hmmm…..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, we didn’t get to see it unfold, but I imagine it was a little rough at first for both of them when Asher finally came out to her, but she really loves and cares about him as a friend, and knew he needed love and support ❤️ At this point in the story, it’s been like two years since that happened, so they’re totally good now! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Woop!! This chapter was amazing!!!
    One I’m so glad he won the science fair and now gets to show it off.
    Two, I guessed that he would have a thing for Landon but I didn’t want to say anything in case I was wrong. I hope this works out for him.
    Three, do his parents and family know that he’s interested in men? I think it’s great his friends are supportive.
    Four, oooooo he’s interested in medicine!! Maybe he’ll be a doctor. Has there been a doctor in the family since Damien?
    Five, how old is everyone now?
    Great chapter I loved it!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this!!! 😁 I’ll answer your list with a list hehe
      1. Yes! He had his moment to be the star, and I think it had a huge impact on him and his plans for the future 🙂
      2. Hehehe you picked up on it before even Asher himself did! 😛 He was still at an age where he was figuring stuff out back then
      3. His family do know and are very supportive 🙂 He is still not 100% out to everybody he knows (like classmates and stuff) but his nearest and dearest all know and are supportive of him ❤️
      4. He definitely has dreams of med school! (That is briefly mentioned in his second journal, actually!) and you’re right — no doctors since Dust to Dust! (I love that you remembered Damien ❤️❤️❤️)
      5. Lainey is 10, Penny is 15, Xander and Emberlynn are 47, Landon is 18, Asher Lily and Ollie are 17 ^_^

      Like

  3. Dark WitcHazard: Yes he’s still a spitfire and he’s a science prodigy! I pity the first person to reject his confession it could
    Be deadly!😈 Looks casually at Landon.

    Lover WitcHazard: I was suspicious but confirmed it in my head in Wednesday’s chapter which brings the question either he has a very intimate idea of his friendship with Oliver or he may like him also just not as much or he got over it cause it has been two years!

    Shipper WitcHazard: Aw Asher started writing down his inner monologue it’s so cute! So Ashdon can be a thing in his head let’s see if Asher has what it takes to take a chance at this ship! I mean if Landon is bad at math you could all ways tutor him!

    Anti Shipper: It shocks me that no one has ever found an heirs journal and blackmail them for its contents. Then again when would they have the opportunity since most of the heirs wrote this at home so it have to be some pretty close.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehehe Glad Dark is a fan! And he’s definitely a bit of a spitfire! Wait til Wednesday when we see his journal! 😂

      Lover is rooting for some feelings for Ollie, from the sounds of it! 😉 Well… no comment from me on that yet, stay tuned 😉 😈

      Also… Shipper has a very interesting idea there about tutoring… 🤔😈 Hehe

      And LMAO anti is right! There’s a goldmine of blackmail material in these journals! I assume they must keep them pretty safely guarded 😬

      Great comment! Thank you to the court, as always 😉 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Asher! So he’s crushing on Landon. Can’t say I blame him. And Ollie is a great
    Bff supporting him! It looks like from the way Landon has been to him from the get go, he has a crush too but is too scared to venture out into this unknown gay territory. I predict a tumultuous relationship filled with many highs and lows as these two explore. 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Landon is quite the looker, huh! 😍 And he’s definitely shown some kind of interest in Asher over the years! As for what that could mean… we’ll have to wait and see! Your prediction is a definite possibility though!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I also wondered if this is where it would lead and imagine it could be scary territory for Landon. I can’t wait to see how everyone has changed in the time lapse. A doctor huh that will be great to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you’re excited about seeing how these kiddos are as teens! 😁 And yes, Doctor dreams from Asher! Hopefully they can come true someday…

      Like

  6. So Asher got to be a little star once. That’s something that would leave few kids unimpressed, and I think that hits especially hard with the ones who normally don’t care because they think they wouldn’t make it anyways and set different priorities. Not that Asher didn’t care about science, but he didn’t really about being a star.
    Now I’m glad he tried with Lily. Might have been really uncomfortable, but it was really precious to her, he had the chance to figure some things out, and instead of becoming a huge mess this gained him a valuable friend. And I think Lily might be less hurt by him not Like-liking her if she knows he’s all over Landon. I guess it pays out that Asher does not go to a private school with all the star kids, it makes him less of an outsider to be interested in science instead of fame, and while he isn’t a crowd leader he seems to be happy and very self-assured with his good friends.
    I can totally understand him for liking Landon, that guy just has something even if he’s not my bottle of beer. I hope he will get over his fears and just ask him out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it was so unexpected for Asher that it really meant a lot to him! Normally that kind of attention or recognition wouldn’t mean much, but being recognized for doing something he loves was so special!

      Glad you’re happy he and Lily gave it a try! It really did help forge their very strong friendship, even if things didn’t work out between them. It was a learning and growing experience for both of them, and now that Asher understands his sexuality, he has a strong supporter and friend in Lily ❤

      Landon definitely has something special about him! But we'll see whether Asher is brave enough to actually do anything about it… His next journal talks a lot about that!

      Thanks for reading, as always! ❤

      Like

  7. Well before I realized there was a time jump I was going to say that Asher is clearly a budding homosexualist, but now that it’s confirmed… my big question is what happened to Landon’s super cool mohawk?

    Sorry again for taking so long in between comments… I have no planning period so far this year, which has translated into long hours at work, and when I come home I tend to pass out. I’m actually headed back to work later today (ew). That said, I’m enjoying the Del Sol Valley aspect of the story and this is an interesting way to wrap up the legacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha the Mohawk is gone 😭 But he has an undercut and a manbun/topknot thing??? 😂

      Never worry about not commenting! And omg that sounds horrific. Are they allowed to deny you a planning period in your contract? Ugh 😭 I hope things get easier ❤️❤️❤️

      Always nice to see you pop in the comments! But again, zero pressure to do so ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Asking the real questions… 😂

      So in terms of an actual answer… it will actually come up in a few chapters, but Harper died a year ago from 17-year-old Asher time 😭 I imagine Katie probably did too 😬 But she had a wonderful long life with Rylie and many fluffy dogs ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  8. GIRL
    *claps*
    I
    *claps*
    KNEW IT!
    *claps*

    The moment Landon came to talk to him and he was all like ”Omg I can’t belive he’s talking to be omg he’s so cool omg I cant-” I was already like ”Girlll, there’s something more then friendship in there! He wants to be the *best* kinda friends with Landon alright.”lololol.

    Oof. Poor Lily. Fell for a gay guy. AKA sorry girl never gonna happen. She should look for someone else, there’s plenty fish in the sea, and they hopefully won’t be looking at the same fish as you are.lol

    I wonder if he told his parents yet. Also if Landon is straight. As much as it pains me to say, yeah that’s a thing.The people you like might not be into the same stuff you are. 😛 No problem thought Asher (How old is he in this time-skip?)

    I wonder if he’s still friends with Lily, and yes, if she’s still salty about the whole ”your childhood crush won’t ever date you and you were in a kinda fake relationship for years” thingy.

    I’m glad that Asher found his league in Science. Go, Science men! Hopefully he has more self-assurence then before, and that his whole ”Yikes hollywwod is fake” while living on a literal looking-over-the-city mansion will go away after a while lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Yes, he wants to be very special friends with Landon 😈😈😈

      Asher and Lily are still very close friends! She understood when he came out to her and, though I imagine there was a rough moment or two at first, they stayed friends ❤️

      Ember and Xander do know about Asher, and support him fully! (He’s 17 now, by the way!). As for Landon, we shall see 😛

      And yeah Asher kinda has two interesting worlds colliding in his life — science and Hollywood! (But he would pick science any day! Hehe)

      Liked by 1 person

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