9.9: Crushes

Damn it, stop being a goddamn coward! Just go in there! Asher paced back and forth down the hallway, continuing his internal argument with himself. 

Ridiculous as he knew it was, he still felt worried about facing Landon after what a fool he’d made of himself at the dance that weekend. Was it too much to hope that Landon’s concern for him had meant something? Did he think Asher was some stupid kid who couldn’t hold his liquor? These were questions he wasn’t sure he really wanted the answers to… Maybe this was one of those times when ignorance was truly bliss.

Asher was so distracted that he almost didn’t notice Oliver emerge from inside the classroom. “Dude, get in here! Class starts in like two minutes!” He called to his friend in the now-deserted hallway. “Mr. Marshall’s gonna kick your ass if you’re late.”

Asher rolled his eyes. “Mr. Marshall can suck my dick.” He grumbled.

Oliver laughed softly. “Him? Nah, you can do way better than that.” 

Joining in his friend’s laughter, Asher resigned himself to his fate. He couldn’t hide out in the hallway forever. He’d have to face Landon sooner or later, wouldn’t he?

Thankfully, class was just about to begin as Asher finally made his way inside. There wasn’t enough time for any kind of awkward exchange with Landon — Everyone just took their seats and got to work (or, in Asher’s case, pretended to).

It had to be the longest class he’d ever sat in — and this time, Asher’s torment went far beyond his usual boredom with the subject.

He tried to occupy himself with venting some of his confused feelings in his notebook again, but gave up when it felt like he was simply writing the same thing again and again. So instead, he’d tried to settle on paying attention to his teacher’s awful lecture and jotting down a few notes… But that effort proved to be even more fruitless. It wasn’t long before he was simply sitting there, letting his mind wander.

It was all Asher could do to not let himself stare at Landon all class, especially when… was it his imagination? Or was Landon trying to catch his eye?

Gotta be in my head… Jesus, I’ve gotta get it together!

Asher had never been so relieved to hear the bell in his entire life. He could hear Oliver chuckling at him as he practically ran out the door. He had five whole minutes to make it to Biology, and it was just around the corner… but he didn’t care. He just had to get away. 

Unfortunately, it seemed Asher’s belief that he belonged on the school track team was misguided. He wasn’t fast enough this time.

“Hey, Asher! Wait up!”

Under any other circumstance, the sound of Landon Littlehale calling out to him like that would have made his heart leap with excitement. Instead, it caused his stomach to twist with dread. 

He forced a smile as he turned around. “Oh, hey Landon…”

“You feeling okay?” The older boy asked with something between teasing and genuine concern. “I know it was kind of a rough weekend…”

Asher felt his cheeks grow warm. “Yeah, I’m fine.” He replied, failing to hide his discomfort. 

Landon clearly noticed, and the smile quickly faded from his handsome face. “Hey, I’m just messing around. Seriously, I’ve been there. Tons of times.” He assured him. “I know how much it sucks. I’m glad you’re okay.”

“Thanks… And thanks for the other night too. Sorry you had to see that. I know it wasn’t exactly a pretty sight.” Asher tried to force a laugh. Look at the bright side, he told himself. Landon actually gives a shit! 

Landon shrugged, the familiar smirk back on his face. “I dunno, I think you pulled it off pretty well.” He paused to let out a small chuckle before continuing. “Look, I know you’ve gotta get to class… I just wanted to ask you for something. A favor.” He clarified. For a moment, Landon looked almost guilty. “God, I hate asking for shit like this. And you can say no. There’s no pressure.” This was the most flustered Asher had ever seen him.

“Sure, what is it?” He asked, hoping he didn’t sound too eager. Landon wanted something? From him?

“So, uh, I dunno if you noticed, but Mr. Marshall updated our grades this weekend…” Landon began awkwardly. “I logged in yesterday to check, and… I’m failing. Like, horrifically failing.” He confessed.

Asher couldn’t help his surprise. They were barely a month into the school year. How the hell was he failing the class already? Especially one as easy as this? “Seriously?! But didn’t you take this class last year?” He asked at last. 

Landon looked down, clearly embarrassed. “Yeah, well… It’s like you told me a long time ago — not everybody’s smart, right?”

Asher’s brow furrowed in confusion. Had he really said that? When? Oh God, what am I doing? He probably thinks I’m an asshole. “That’s not what I meant!” He insisted. “I… I just… I’m sorry. That really sucks. That you’re failing.” Asher finished lamely. 

“Yeah, it more than sucks… I’m completely fucked if I can’t pass this class.” Landon explained sadly. “I can’t graduate if I fail this thing again.”

“Oh. Wow…” Asher’s heart sank. He couldn’t imagine how terrifying it must be to think you might not graduate. How much would it completely suck to think all your dreams were about to get thrown out the window, all because of one stupid class? “Do you need some help or something? Like… a tutor, or whatever?” He offered. “This stuff’s pretty easy for me, so I might be able to help you figure it out… If you want.” 

Across from him, Landon let out what appeared to be a sigh of relief. “That would be amazing. Are you sure you don’t mind? Like I said, I hate asking, But I’m desperate. And honestly, Asher, you’re probably the smartest person I know.”

Asher’s heart began to race at Landon’s words. “Really?”

He nodded. “I know we’ve both gotta run… But if you want, I can text you later and we can figure out more details?” He suggested. “What’s your number?”

Holy shit. Was Landon seriously asking him for his phone number? Okay, so maybe it wasn’t happening in the way Asher always imagined it would, but he’d take what he could get.

He hoped Landon didn’t notice the way his hands were trembling as the two of them exchanged numbers. 

“Thanks, man. I seriously owe you.” Landon smiled gratefully as he returned his phone to his pocket. “You’re totally saving my ass.”

Asher couldn’t help but smile at the other boy’s choice of words. He’d do anything to help save it, of course. Landon’s ass was a national treasure, after all. “Well, don’t thank me yet… But I’ll try my best.”

Landon returned his smile, sending a wave of butterflies soaring through Asher’s stomach. “I’ll text you later.”

“Okay. Later!”

Asher’s goofy grin remained glued to his face for the rest of the morning. He kept checking his phone in between all his classes, and at lunchtime, he kept trying in vain to catch Landon’s eye from across the lunch room — but he was too occupied with his friends to notice.

Lily was clearly amused by the whole thing. But Oliver… he was being so quiet. Not his usual self. And he was very clearly annoyed any time Asher brought up Landon. What had gotten into him?

“Hey, are you okay?” Asher asked his friend, finally tearing his eyes away from his crush for what had to be the tenth time. “You’re not pissed at me or something, are you?”

Oliver shook his head. “I’m not mad.” He assured his friend.

Then what’s wrong? Is it your dad?” Asher suggested. “Was he a dick again?”

“No… it’s got nothing to do with that.” Oliver hesitated. “It’s just this whole ‘tutoring’ thing with Landon. I just… I think you’ve gotta be careful about getting your hopes up too much.” It felt like the sort of lecture his parents liked to give him. “I mean, he asked you to be his tutor, not his boyfriend.”

Asher’s brow furrowed in annoyance at his friend’s reply. Did Ollie seriously think he couldn’t tell the difference? “Well, duh. Of course it doesn’t MEAN anything. I’m not expecting to get anything out of this, except maybe getting to know him a little better.” He shrugged. “Why am I not allowed to be excited about that?”

“I never said you weren’t!” Oliver snapped back at him, anger suddenly flashing in his eyes.

“Then why are you being so weird about it?”

“Guys, seriously?” Lily interjected before Oliver had the chance to reply. “I love you to death, but you’re both being ridiculous right now. I don’t understand what you’re getting so worked up about.”

Asher let out a small sigh. Lily was right. And besides, he simply couldn’t bring himself to stay mad at his friend. “Sorry, Ollie. I know you didn’t mean it like that.” 

Oliver smiled gently at him. “It’s okay… I’m sorry too. Guess I’m just stressed today or something? I dunno. I DID get a text from my dad last night, so maybe that really is what’s getting to me… You know how he is.”

They were all so distracted with their conversation that they almost failed to notice the arrival of a fourth person to their table.

“Hey, Ollie.” Penelope’s sweet voice interrupted him.

Asher did not miss the little glint in his friend’s eye as he replied. “Hey, Penny. What’s up?”

“Nothing, um… I was just wondering…” She paused, giggling nervously. “Uh, are you done with the ketchup?” Her big brown eyes flicked to the red bottle on the table. “Can I borrow it? If you don’t mind…”

Oliver’s eyes widened slightly in surprise at her odd request. “Oh, yeah… sure.” He lifted the ketchup from the table and handed it to her.

Penelope’s fingers very deliberately brushed against his as she took the bottle from his hand. “Thanks, Ollie. You’re the best.”

“No problem.” He grinned back at her.

The three friends watched as Asher’s little sister skipped back to her table with the bottle in hand. As soon as she sat back down, she and her friends put their heads close together and began talking and giggling excitedly with one another.

Asher raised an eyebrow. “Okay, so which thing are we gonna talk about first?” He asked. “The fact that she’s already done with her food, or that Penny hates ketchup?”

Oliver shrugged. “I was thinking more the fact that there’s already a full bottle sitting right in the middle of her table…”

Lily just laughed. “Hey, crushes make people do weird things!” She explained with a smile. “Not like you guys would know anything about THAT, right?”

A hearty laugh passed Asher’s lips. “Touché.”

As though on cue, he felt a slight vibration from his pocket. His heart leapt when he saw a text from Landon appear across the screen. 

Asher’s fingers shook as he hastily typed his reply.

Asher’s face almost hurt from how hard he was smiling. Lily was right… Crushes DID make you do weird things, didn’t they?

Like feel ridiculously excited to stay after school and tutor your least favorite subject.

22 thoughts on “9.9: Crushes

  1. Crushes all over the place. I loved the Penny/Ollie scene! So very much like teenagers in love. But I do like Ollie and Penny! Yep Pollie! They are super cute together. Obviously Asher isn’t on board with it. But I wonder if it’s because he thinks Ollie can do better or because he’s jealous that everyone else seems to be hooking up except him.

    Operation ‘Get Asher Laid’ needs to kick into high gear because I worry that Ollie is right. He’s setting himself up for heartbreak with his Landon Crush. He clearly could be (is) hoping for something that probably will never happen. After all his ass IS a national treasure and all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Penny is definitely crushing HARD, and Ollie certainly doesn’t seem to mind! Asher is definitely annoyed by the whole thing though! Just like Ollie seems super skeptical of the Landon thing too…

      Asher definitely needs to be careful and maybe test the waters a little with Landon first. But so far they’ve had a bunch of positive interactions, so hopefully that’s a good sight? 🤞🏻But yes, that ass is highly coveted, so there’s probably lots of competition 😂😂😂

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  2. How cute! Well, at least Asher isn’t so horribly embarassed about his incident any more. Though it should teach him not to get that wasted, and how much he can or cannot take. I saw something like that coming for some time. For some part that’s Ashers fault, he just can’t get his behind up and just talk to his crush. Landon might know and might just be using him, but at the same time he tried to be genuinely friendly to this point and doesn’t look like that kind of guy. It looks for me like Landon has his own thing going for Asher for some time now, and never really dared to talk to him until the pressure got up too high. And I don’t really believe Landons incompetence here. Yes, he might have failed the class before, but the whole “I’m failing already” stuff? One might think he would have some other help by now. Maybe his parents just don’t care, but Landon isn’t a loner, he has a bunch of friends. Math might suck, but wouldn’t they put some effort into keeping him in the same class, and the same school? From what I know about people failing classes, Landons despair comes a bit early, usually hold a bit of unrealistically high hopes at the beginning of the year and realize they messed up when it’s (too) late. Might just be Landon seeking some opportunity to sit with Asher. I guess their first lesson will show how much is really behind that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right — this should be a valuable lesson to Asher (and hopefully will be!)

      As for Landon… you make a lot of great points here! He’s been nothing but nice to Asher and has had nothing but positive interactions with him. And he DOES seem to be jumping into tutoring very early in the school year… maybe he really does just suck that much though? Hehe we’ll see… Wednesday’s chapter will be their first tutoring session! 😀

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  3. Lover WitcHazard: When ever Ollie sleeps with Penny cause it’s so happening that’s going to be one heck of a aftermath! Speaking of Ollie there’s concern, there’s jealousy, and then there’s OMG you’re not acting on this so can we please stop obsessing over it!

    Dark WitcHazard: Here’s what’s going to happen Landon is going to continue to be bad at whatever the subject is then he’s going to manipulate Asher to let him cheat! Because he’s aware of Ashers feelings. And he’ll fall for it because ass lovers only be thinking about the booty!

    Shipper WitcHazard: Don’t go tainting my ship!

    Dark WitcHazard: I’m just calling what I see. Landon could sit anywhere but he’s stays in the back cause harder to be seen and he sits next to Asher who’s the smartest person in the class and he can confirm it because he’s passing the class but spends most of the time staring at Landon come on! Besides it’s like Rosebrook 101 high school relationships are a disaster either now or later!

    Anti Shipper: She does have point!

    Shipper WitcHazard: So you’re taking her side.

    Anti Shipper: Which ever side sinks the ship faster! Besides Emotionally scarred Rosebrooks are the best Rosebrooks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Dark and Anti are such pessimists here (but are we really surprised? 😂) They might be right to be concerned! It’s hard to tell exactly what Landon is thinking and feeling right now!

      And as for Ollie and Penny… it could happen! 😈 We shall see… (and yes, there’s a little bit of all three of this things, it seems 😉 concern, jealousy, and “omg stop obsessing” LOL)

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  4. Tutoring, huh? I wonder if any extracurricular activities might occur…I remember Eric was Harper’s tutor at one time and we all know how that went. Thankfully, neither one of these boys can get preggers! 😉

    Aww…Pollie! So cute!! Penny…you couldn’t be more obvious! 😉

    And I wonder if Ollie is getting a bit jealous of Asher and his boy? His reaction was rather strange…but then maybe he’s just in overprotective mode of his bff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, the rosebrooks have an interesting history with tutors, don’t they? 🤔😈 Hehehe

      Penny does NOT understand the art of subtlety, that’s for sure 😂 And Asher agrees with you about Ollie’s reaction. It was strange and caught him off-guard… 🤷🏻‍♀️

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  5. Wow where to start on this. First of all is Asher and Landon….hmm….does Landon really need help? Does he have a learning disability we know nothing about? Or is he interested in Asher and this is his way of subtly arranging something? Then we have the deal w/ Penny who is not subtle at all and of all people to crush on her big brother’s good friend not cool. What of Ollie he’s behaving strangely weird being semi flirty with Penny, almost weirdly jealous of Asher tutoring Landon, and where does that leave poor Penelope? So many things goin g on in this story I can’t wait to see what happens and what is going on…kind of reminds me what I see at work everyday and the chaos and drama that happens in high school.

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    1. Hehehe yes, there are lots of things going on here 😉 More details to come later… Those are some good questions about Landon and Ollie… they both have POV chapters a little later that should shed some light on things!

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    1. He does seem a little jealous, huh? 🤔 We’ll see what happens! Next chapter is the first tutoring session 😈

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  6. HUMMM. Asher you Lucky bastard, getting to be your crush’s tutor. I would say this was going to go full on love story, if there weren’t doubts about Landon’s sexuality or this wasn’t A2A and I could totally Picture Landon just being hit by a bus in the middle of the gen. 😛

    I guess it runs in the Family to be awkward about crushes. Thought Asher is adorable when he’s talking to Landon. I’m glad Landon didn’t get trigerred when Asher was like ”Wow you failed this already dayum u dumb” Okay, he didn’t say it like *that* but Landon could have understood it that way, and things sure wouldn’t be any good.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea for Asher to be Landon’s tutor, as it could only deeper his crush for him (and dream about getting into a relationship he may never actually get into), but, if he’s fine with just being Landon’s friends ( and if he isn’t into guys) , just slowly accepting it will never happen, and actually moving on, that’s good! It’s just like Ollie said. We don’t live in dreamland romance, just because an attractive person you like has a friendship with you, it doesn’t mean you’ll end up together.

    I wonder what Ollie will do about Penny. She’s clearly into him, and he *did* say she think she’s hot, and I don’t know about you, I could Picture Ollie making out with her while he’s drunk,(and Asher just walking in like ”WHAT THA FU-” ). Or maybe he could just date her, like I said, when they’re both older.

    Besides, she’s in a very uhhh ”teen” phase right now, even more then the trio.AKA more childish and imature. Wait until both of you have growed out of that phase just so you don’t burn out you pacience with and even more emotional teen, Ollie.Because if they broke up, I have a feeling she’s 100% the type of girl that will go like ”My life in ruined!” While she cries and eat ice cream as she bing watches Grey’s Anatomy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully Landon steers clears of any buses! And hopefully Asher learns to be less awkward too… 😂 He always manages to say the wrong thing, even when he means well!

      We’ll see how things go for Asher and Landon’s tutoring arrangement… maybe it will lead to something good? Hopefully?

      And you’re right about how risky it would be for Ollie and Penny to get together! Angry big brothers, ice cream, and binge-watching could all very wel be on the horizon! 😛 but we shall see hehe

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have so many different theories as to why Ollie could be reacting so poorly to Asher and Landon… I can’t wait to find out if any of them are right! 😈

    Penelope is such a little drama queen, I love it! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh now I’m curious what you’re thinking hehe All I’ll reveal is that we do have an Ollie POV chapter coming up in a couple weeks that might answer some questions 😛 hehe

      And yes, Penny is… something 😂😂😂

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