9.28: I’d Choose You

Asher couldn’t help the wave of dread that washed over him as he followed Landon over the threshold and into the Littlehales’ familiar living room. It was the first time in about a week that Landon had invited Asher over to his house. He was finally done avoiding him and making excuses, it seemed. 

“Can you come over after school today?” He’d asked. “We need to talk.”

Asher had agreed, despite the unpleasant twisting in the pit of his stomach. He knew exactly what was coming, of course — Landon was about to reveal that he’d be leaving for Ohio at the end of the school year.

And even though it was something he’d been expecting for a couple of months, Asher still felt a sense of dread at having to hear his boyfriend speak the words aloud. And Landon’s oddly sullen demeanor did little to help. It was so strange to see him like this. Asher missed his smile, his warmth… 

He’ll be fine. I’ve just gotta remind him that we’re gonna be okay.

“Asher?” Landon’s voice shook slightly as he spoke his name. He was going to get straight to the point, it seemed. “I… I guess I’m not really sure how I’m supposed to say this. But… But I…” He paused, swallowing.

Asher took the opportunity to cut-in. “Don’t worry. You don’t have to say it. I know what this is about.” He let out a soft sigh as he spoke. 

His boyfriend eyed him skeptically. “You do?”

Asher nodded. “OSU… You made up your mind, right? You’re going?”

“Oh. Yeah, I did.” Landon replied lamely. “But I –”

“Landon, don’t worry about it. We’re gonna be fine.” Asher continued, fighting to sound confident. “This is your dream, and it’s gonna be fucking amazing. Just focus on that, and… What’s that cheesy shit parents always say? ‘The rest will work out’, or something? We can make this work.” He forced the biggest smile he could.

Landon took a long, slow breath. Something about such a simple action sent an unpleasant shiver of dread down Asher’s spine. “Asher, this isn’t about OSU.”

He felt like he was going to be sick. Asher said nothing as he waited for Landon to continue.

“I don’t know how else to say it… But I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t.”

It felt like someone had dumped a bucket of ice-cold water over his head. In an instant, his entire body was frozen, from his head to his toes. “What?” It was the only word Asher could manage to form.

“I can’t do it.” Landon repeated. He didn’t even look Asher in the eyes as he spoke. “I can’t be with someone who’s in love with someone else.”

Asher’s mind was a flurry of incoherent thoughts and emotions as the meaning behind Landon’s words began to sink in. He wanted to cry. He wanted to scream. And perhaps above all, he wanted to curl up into a ball and just die. None of this could be real. It couldn’t be happening.

“Landon… Landon what the fuck?!” He choked out at last. “I’m not—”

Don’t lie to me! Don’t you dare fucking lie! Not anymore!”

Never in his life had Asher seen Landon so angry. It was terrifying. 

“I told myself I wasn’t gonna get mad… but Jesus fucking Christ, Asher! How long were you gonna keep this up?! You told me again and again and again that I’m the only one. But I’m not, am I?”

“What the hell?! You think I cheated on you?!”

Landon shook his head. “No… But tell me this, huh? How many times were we together and you were thinking about Ollie instead?”

Never!” Asher could no longer breathe. It was like there was something enormous and immovable crushing down on his chest. 

“I kept trying to tell myself it was in my head…I made so many excuses. I didn’t wanna believe it.”

“There’s nothing to believe!” Asher cried desperately.

Landon was still ablaze with anger. “Fine. Then look me in the eye right now and tell me you aren’t in love with Ollie.”

Asher stared into Landon’s beautiful green eyes — the eyes he loved so very much.

And he said nothing. He couldn’t do it. He simply couldn’t.

Instead, he burst into tears. And that seemed to be all the answer Landon needed.

Even through the blur of his tears, Asher could see that Landon was trembling slightly as he rose to his feet. “I think you should go.” His voice was trembling too.

But Asher shook his head, still rooted firmly to his spot on the couch. “I’m not leaving until you listen to me!” He begged. 

He hadn’t broken down like this since he was a child. It was humiliating. But he couldn’t help it. Everything was falling apart around him, utterly and completely destroyed. And it seemed there was nothing he could do to stop it.

With a heavy sigh, Landon sat back down on the couch, holding his face in his hands. Asher realized with a jolt that he was crying too.

“Landon… I love you. And yeah, maybe… Maybe I used to feel… something for Ollie. I don’t know!” Yes you do, his mind whispered. Landon told you not to lie… Asher shrugged it off and continued. “But I’m with you now, Landon. And I love you.” He repeated. 

Landon shook his head in reply. “How you feel about me doesn’t change how you feel about Ollie. And what is this ‘used to’ bullshit?!”

Asher physically winced at being called out on his lie. “Okay, fine. Maybe I’m still figuring some shit out! But that doesn’t mean I love him!” 

This time, he was sincere. The problem was, he also didn’t know that he didn’t love Ollie either. He wasn’t entirely sure what he felt… Which was why he’d been unable to look Landon in the eyes and deny his feelings just a few moments before.

“Landon, look… I’m fucking this up so bad. It’s all coming out wrong!” He insisted. “I don’t want you to think Ollie’s like… Like a threat or anything, okay?! He isn’t! Don’t you think I would’ve dumped you and gone for him by now or something if he was?!”

“Riiiight… I’m supposed to be grateful you decided to just string me along instead of dump me?!” Asher hated seeing Landon like this — bitter and angry and cold. “You’re not supposed to be thinking about some other guy when you’re with me! And besides, we’re only together because I got there first, right?” The older boy spat bitterly.

Much as he hated phrasing it that way, what Landon said was true, wasn’t it? It was like he’d said so often in his journal — things could have very easily been the other way around. 

Still, Asher couldn’t help feeling his own anger begin to bubble up at this accusation. “What about you and Riley, then?! How can you be such a hypocrite?! You supposedly always liked me, right? So when you were with him, didn’t you still have ‘feelings for me’, or whatever?!”

Landon’s brow furrowed in anger yet again. “I had a huge crush on you, but I wasn’t in love with you! Not yet… It was nothing like you and Ollie. You’re obsessed with him! You think about him all the time!”

I don’t!” Asher’s voice broke with the effort of screaming through his tears. “I don’t know where the hell this is coming from, but you’re turning this into something it isn’t!”

“Fine, then what is it?!”

“I… I don’t know.” Asher admitted. He paused to take a slow, deep breath and try to calm himself. It almost worked. “But what I do know is that I love you. And I don’t wanna just throw everything away over this!”

Landon said nothing for several moments, and neither did Asher. They sat in the unbearable silence together while Asher tried to make sense of it all.

Where the hell had any of this come from?! How had Landon found out the truth of his feelings for Ollie? Hadn’t he been doing a good job concealing them? Trying to move on? Where had he messed up? What had he done wrong?!

“Asher… you’re right.” Landon’s deep voice suddenly called him back to the present. “I am a hypocrite.” He admitted softly. “And that’s why I thought this whole thing was gonna be a hell of a lot easier…” Landon shook his head slowly. “I just fucking lost it. I’m pissed. It fucking hurts. But… I get it.”

Asher looked at him incredulously, saying nothing.

“And me leaving… it’s gonna be good for both of us. I can get away from my shitty, homophobic dad and just… be me. And you can finally have your chance with Ollie.”

“But I don’t want a chance with—”

“Yeah, that’s what I kept telling myself too, at first.” Landon interrupted him. To Asher’s surprise, a small smile had come to Landon’s lips. “After Riley left, I mean. And I loved him. Seriously, I did. But it was different… He wasn’t you. And I’m not Ollie.” He finished with a small shrug before rising to his feet once more. “Now, my mom’s gonna be home soon… So… You really should go.”

With great reluctance, Asher rose to his feet as well. It was clear Landon wasn’t ready to talk any more about this. Not now, anyway. But there was no fucking way Asher would let him go without a fight.

“Y’know, you say you get it.” He said softly as he followed Landon to the front door. “But I don’t think you do.”

Landon shrugged. “It was pretty much the same thing for me — Riley got there first. But if I could go back in time or something and pick between you… Well, you probably know who I’d choose. And it fucking kills me, but I know who you’d pick too.”

“No, you don’t.” Asher insisted. “Because…” He paused. He had to be honest, didn’t he? There was no point in holding back anymore. “Because I don’t even know who I’d pick, Landon. It’s not that simple. I swear to God, it isn’t.”

Landon let out a soft chuckle that was devoid of any humor. “Well, it’s easy for me.” He reached out then, stroking one of his large hands against the smooth, freckled skin of Asher’s cheek. Asher closed his eyes at the gentle touch. “And for the record… I’d always choose you.”

The words that at one time would have made Asher’s heart leap instead cut him like a knife. 

Because no matter how desperately he wanted to, he could not say the same.

22 thoughts on “9.28: I’d Choose You

  1. This was so sad. I thought for a minute they might work through it. The. He asked about who got their first…well it was clear Asher couldn’t choose. Probably because he’d never ‘been’ with Ollie. So it was a tiny bit unfair to ask, but the fact that Asher couldn’t say he’d choose Landon says it all. He has feelings for Ollie and isn’t ready to let them go. And when Landon said he would choose Asher, ugh. So very sad.

    I wonder if Asher will go to Ollie or distance himself again and double down in his studies. I think he’s hurting so bad right now, that he won’t go to Ollie. Poor guy. That dang journal!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a good point — Asher has never actually been with Ollie, which I think effects things a lot. There’s part of him that wants to know what it would be like. There are feelings there he’s never had the chance to explore… and it’s making it impossible to fully let them go, despite his love for Landon.

      Landon, on the other hand, got a chance with both the guys he liked… so he knows now who he would choose… poor guy 😭

      As for what Asher is gonna do from here, that’s an excellent question! And one that will come up in the next few chapters! 😛

      Yes, blame the journal! No one else had any hand in this, that’s for sure!!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well…at least Asher was honest. But Asher doesn’t know how it would even be with Ollie. He might kiss funny or be crappy in bed. Who knows? But being with your best friend…that’s what bonds are made of.

    I see lots of stormy seas ahead. And I don’t think they’re over. Not by a long shot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so true — Asher has no idea what being with Ollie would actually be like. And I think that’s part of the problem too… as long as he has to keep wondering, he’ll never be able to completely let go of those feelings 😬 Poor Landon just couldn’t take it anymore. He’d thought maybe he was exaggerating in his head just how deep Asher’s feelings for Ollie went… but he somehow realized that he wasn’t.

      You’re probably right about the stormy seas… this is A2A, after all. The storm is never over! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thought I was ready for this. Plot twist: I wasn’t 😢 😢 😭.
    Very powerful chapter, so complex and touching. Especially for a teenage romance, it is truly heartbreaking :(. Aaaand it’s going to get much worse for Asher :(((. Hopefully at least London it will get better soon, with the university and all.

    Personal story ahead:

    On a completely unrelated note, when I was like 12, my older sister read my archive on MSN messenger. I don’t know why exactly why, but she found something that to her seemed alarming ( I knew it was only a childlish shenanigan and was well educated in the dangers of the Internet. It was a long time ago. I’m old now.) So she immediately told our mom and to me it looked like she wanted to get me in trouble. I was so embarrassed and felt betrayed. It wasn’t such a big deal, it was ages ago. We have a good relationship and all, and of course in hindsight I understand that she was right to react. But to this day, I never leave my phone or computer on around her.
    This is very different to the story you’re telling, mainly because Asher and Penny had a terrible relationship to being with and what Penny did was so much worse and serious. Seeing how invasion of privacy is always very hurtful, I’m really curious to see what effect it will have on Asher given that this was HUGE. He was lost with his feelings, treated his journal as a safe space (duh, that’s what journals are for) and it was used against him, causing so much pain. :((((

    Sorry for rambling. I’m emotional, okay?! It was really sad seeing them break up like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay four things…

      1. It always makes me so happy when I see you comment ❤️❤️❤️
      2. I apologize for the pain 😭
      3. I’m sorry your sister betrayed your trust like that. Even if it was a childish thing, it’s still such an invasion of privacy!
      4… okay, if anyone bothers reading my comments and see this, they get a free spoiler hehe but I give you kudos for figuring out what happened 😉 Even Asher hasn’t figured it out! He should have password protected those files or something 😬 But I don’t think he ever imagined Penny would stoop so low (or, given his awful relationship/attitude toward her, be smart enough to think to sneak on his computer and read it!)

      Thanks so much for sharing your insights ❤️ Always wonderful to see you around!


  4. OMG, I’m sorry 🤦‍♀️ for forcing you to give out a spoiler. I should have waited till the official reveal but I got so caught up in the moment.
    When Landon basically quoted Asher with the “gettin there first” thing, I was like “ding ding ding” and all the heartbreak and emotions started rolling in.
    Again, I’m sorry, but I can’t help being so invested that I remember most of the details form your story 😂
    And since we’re talking about this, I think it’s very fitting that a journal was the culprit of drama in the last full generation.
    And don’t apologize for causing the tears, heartache is beautiful ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Noooo don’t apologize!!! I was hoping people would figure it out! And I’m really glad you did! It means you pay attention and that means a lot ❤️ And yes, that “getting there first” was the little clue! 😉

      Thank you again. You’re so supportive and wonderful ❤️


  5. Dark WitcHazard: We’ll done Citizen I have a hunch Asher isn’t going to take this breakup well! I’m ready for a catastrophe!😈

    Lover WitcHazard: I’ve kinda soured on this ship a bit so this doesn’t hurt as much as I was expecting! Looking forward to his YA rebound phase!

    Shipper WitcHazard: 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

    Anti Shipper: Hehe I knew it! I’m with Lover Asher College Daze is gonna be hella fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The poor kid is most definitely heartbroken… at least Dark is happy about it! Probably the only one! 😛 Sounds like Lover and Anti are ready to move on too hehe but my condolences and apologies to shipper 😦 This one is sinking down into the abyss, I fear…


  6. I was hopeful when I saw the title of this chapter, but how sad when I realized what was going on. Asher needs time to sort his feelings out so yeah it will be good for Landon to go off to college away. How painful to not be able to say he would’ve chosen Landon…and painful for Landon that Asher couldn’t say it back. I hope they can work it out but teen love and the whole Rosebrook thing well …..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I played kind of a mean trick with that title, WHOOPS lol And yeah… it’ll take time for healing to be able to happen 😦 That darn Rosebrook curse strikes again!


  7. Oh one hand, I’m glad the cat is out of the bag, and everything is already happening. It would have to happen one day or another, and from the state that everyone is right now, it surely wouldn’t go out in a pretty way.On another hand, yeah, it all sucks.

    Sucks even more because it’s true. I have a creppling feeling this was all made by Penny. She told Landond some evil deeds about him liking Ollie and Voilá, his life is ruined. Hopefully, she was smart enought to not just text Landond like ”lol my brother likes Ollie” but rather leave a letter or something. If she *did* do the first way, it’s gonna be very easy to find her. And Asher is going to *lose* it lol.

    Thought I”m glad this all came to light, Penny is still nonetheless guilty. Yes, what she said wasn’t tecnically a lie, but her intention wasn’t of informing Landon of his current situation with Asher, which would be a fairly neutral, even good, motivation to tell Landon about Ollie. No, She did this to hurt Asher. The intention really changed the way things are in cases such as this, since, again, she didn’t tecnially lie.

    Ollie and Asher are just stressing me out at this point. Either make out of break apart, dudes, since clearly it looks like you guys can’t be friends without having some thicc romantic tension in between.

    I’m sad to see then break apart, but they really should Works this feelings out to have a good relationship. Next thing needed is Ollie and Asher have a one-one-one chat about their feelings. Clear the air, everyone is aware of what’s happening, to make a decision.

    I wonder how will Ollie react to this News, how long will it be before Landon says something that makes Asher go ‘hummmmm” and doubt his sister.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeahhhhh there it is. Drama time! You’re right though that it’s probably good that things are out in the open… though if it really WAS Penny… Yeahhhhh this was really bad! Yikes! We’ll see though. Questions will be answered in some upcoming chapters (including what will happen for Asher and Ollie now and their ‘thicc’ tension (OMG I loved that LOL)

      Thanks again for another wonderful comment, sorry it took so long to reply!

      Liked by 1 person

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