9.32: Yo-Yo

I know I always do my “thank you for your patience” thing, and I’m sure it gets old (but my gratitude remains <3) ! So this time I just wanted to cut to the chase and let people know that, unfortunately, it’s looking like these super-slow updates might be continuing for a while, as I now have to teach remotely from home every day and, despite what you might think, it’s actually a heck of a lot more stressful and draining than normal teaching! Still adjusting… Which is part of why this chapter took so long this time (Can you believe that the other busy things in my life FINALLY started slowing down right before all this craziness began? Ugh 😦 If it’s not one thing, it’s another!)

Anyway, I won’t drone on any longer. Just wanted to fill you all in. Hope everyone out there is staying safe, healthy, and sane in these crazy times! ❤

On with the chapter! 🙂


Several weeks later…

Asher watched as his mother gave Penelope a tight squeeze. “You were amazing!” Emberlynn practically squealed in her daughter’s ear. “We told you it would be just fine, didn’t we?” Her eyes flicked toward her husband as she spoke.

Xander smiled, nodding. “You’re a natural, sweetie. Maybe your mother needs to hand that Oscar over to you…”

Emberlynn let out a laugh and playfully slapped his arm. “No way! I worked my ass off for that!

Penny let out a giggle, shaking her head. “You can keep it, Mom. I’ll get my own one day.”

Asher rolled his eyes, taking the opportunity to slip away from his family. His parents were being way too generous. Penny had been mediocre at best… and she’d had, what? Ten lines in the whole play?

And then there was Ollie…  He’d completely stolen the show (and not just because he was the lead either). As always, he’d proven that he’d inherited his mother’s talent. Plus, well, he’d looked absolutely amazing up there on the stage. Asher hadn’t been able to take his eyes off of him. 

And it seemed his gaze was still easily attracted to his best friend — It took only seconds to find Oliver and his mother tucked away from the small clusters of people who filled the lobby… though perhaps part of what made it so easy was how many people’s eyes lingered upon Callie whenever they walked by.

She didn’t even bother trying to hide her identity when she went to school events anymore — by now, the students and their parents were used to having the Oscar-winning movie star drop by from time to time… But people still loved to stare. 

Asher gave a small wave as he drew closer, which Ollie was only able to return with a smile. Like Penny, he was wrapped in his mother’s embrace, Lily standing awkwardly off to the side while Callie gushed excitedly.

“That was incredible… What a performance to go out on, huh?” She asked her son as she finally pulled away from him.

“What do you mean?” Asher asked. “There’s always next year too… There’s no way you’re not getting the lead again.”

Callie opened her mouth to reply, but Ollie beat her to it. “Senior year’s always pretty crazy though, right? Who knows if I’ll even have time?” He asked with a shrug.

The words made Asher feel strangely sad — both the realization that their penultimate year of high school would soon be coming to an end, and the reminder of someone who had shown him firsthand just how hectic Senior year could be… It had been nearly two months since Landon broke up with him now, but the pain still lingered.

“Fair point.” Asher replied at last. “Well, whether it’s your last role or not, you kicked total ass… Seriously. I fucking loved it!”

Lily nodded. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I even saw a few tears, Ash.” She teased. As the sound of Oliver’s hearty laughter filled the air, Lily softly added “Or maybe that was drool…”

“Oh my god, shut up!” He shot back quickly through clenched teeth, grateful that Ollie did not seem to hear them. 

“Hey, do you guys wanna grab some ice cream or something?” Lily continued casually, as though she’d said nothing out of the ordinary. “We can celebrate Ollie’s big opening night!” 

Ollie’s eyes flicked toward his mother for a moment. She smiled brightly at him. “Of course, honey! Go have fun with your friends.”

He smiled gratefully at his mother before turning back toward Lily and Asher. “I’ve just gotta change and pack my stuff up… and Mr. Harris said he wants to talk to everybody backstage before he lets us go… Probably some lecture about resting up before the matinee tomorrow.” Ollie shrugged. “But yeah, I’m in!”

Asher turned toward Lily. “Me too. Mom and Dad won’t mind… I’ll need a ride though.” His parents had driven him and his youngest sister to the show.

“Great! I’ll bring Asher, we’ll get a table, and you can meet us there?” Lily offered. “Red’s, right?”

Oliver chuckled. “Where else? See you guys in a bit.”

As predicted, Emberlynn and Xander didn’t mind their son’s plans to leave with his friends. Penny seemed almost relieved not to have to deal with him any longer. And, of course, Lainey pouted and wanted to go too, so Asher quietly promised to bring her home a sundae.

He and Lily spent the short ride to the ice cream shop talking about the play — from Ollie’s amazing performance to the disastrous moment near the end of act one when Ruby Reynolds forgot her monologue halfway through and awkwardly improvised until they closed the curtains.

Once they’d been seated at a table, however, Lily seized the opportunity to turn their conversation in another direction. “So… just two more weeks, huh? Can you believe it?”

“Shit, is it really that close already?” Asher had been completely losing track of time lately. Everything felt so strange ever since Landon broke up with him. Some weeks seemed to pass by so slowly, and felt like months. Others flew by in the blink of an eye. 

His friend nodded eagerly. “Yup! It’s right around the corner. But I’m all set — I got my dress back in February, and I finally found a good pair of shoes last weekend… All I’m missing is a date!” 

“Oh, come on, Lil. You don’t need one! We’re just gonna do like Homecoming, right?” Asher asked curiously. “I mean, minus the part where we get totally shitfaced before the dance even happens… I’m talking about the ‘going as a group’ thing.” He clarified. “You, me, and Ollie.”

“Oh. Well… Yeah, we could do that…” There was a strangely mischievous glint in Lily’s eyes all of a sudden. “But I was kinda-sorta thinking you might end up asking somebody…”

“But who would I –” Asher stopped himself short, groaning in aggravation. “Oh my God, seriously? This again?!”

It was a conversation he’d been dodging with her for weeks now. After giving him a few weeks to mourn his relationship with Landon, Lily had suddenly been fixated on playing matchmaker… and Operation: Get Asher Laid had been replaced by something far more terrifying.

“Asher, hear me out…”

“This is why you wanted to drive me here, isn’t it? So you could get me alone and nag me about Ollie.” Would Lily ever stop being such a meddler?

“I mean, kinda?” She admitted guiltily. “Just tell me this, okay? What would you have to lose if you just went for it? And don’t you dare tell me you don’t want to!”

A soft sigh passed his lips. “Am I really that obvious?”

“Uh, yeah.” Lily paused and let out a giggle before continuing. “Seriously though. I just… I think you’ve gotta let yourself be happy again, y’know?”

“I am happy.” He insisted. “It took a few weeks, obviously… But I’m fine now.” Asher paused for a moment. “Well, fine-ish. I don’t know if I’m… ‘ready’, or whatever.” He muttered awkwardly. “And besides, Ollie’s been all weird lately. Haven’t you noticed?”

“I have.” She confessed. “But maybe he’s just scared?”

“I dunno.” Asher fell silent for a few moments then, thinking. 

He let his thoughts wander back to that conversation with Ollie on the day of his SATs. It was over a month ago now, but it still felt so fresh in his mind. The way Ollie had held him when he wept, the way he’d looked at him… Asher was certain he’d known exactly what it all meant. And beneath all his sadness and confusion, he’d allowed himself to feel something else… Was it hope, maybe?

Whatever it was, the feeling didn’t last very long. 

Despite his promise that he would be there for Asher and their friendship would go back to normal, Ollie was strangely cold and distant for nearly a week after their conversation. Lily said she’d felt it too — he’d shut himself away from his friends almost as badly as Asher had right after his breakup with Landon.

It was sudden and bizarre and, mercifully, brief. And no matter how many times they tried to hint at it, Ollie seemed completely unwilling to even acknowledge it had happened.

And now, well… Things were about as close to normal as they could possibly be. But there were still odd moments every now and then — times when Ollie would let his guard down, almost. Brush his hand against Asher’s, let a hug linger just a few seconds too long… And as soon as he realized what he was doing, Ollie would pull away — in both the literal and figurative sense of the word — sometimes for up to a day or two before letting things go back to normal.

Asher was starting to feel like he was on the end of a yo-yo string, being pulled up and down and jerked all around. And now Lily wanted Asher to ask the one holding the string to go to prom with him?!

“I really think that’s what it is. He’s afraid.” Lily’s voice managed to break through his muddled thoughts. “But I’m sure he wants it too.” She insisted. “I’ve known you and Ollie basically forever, at this point. And I’m telling you, if human sex pheromones were a thing, I’d have to wear a gas mask any time the two of you are together.”

Asher nearly choked on his water. “Lily!

“I’m just being honest!”

There was a beat of silence between the two of them, save the soft thud of Asher returning his glass to the table. “I don’t get it. You were so gung-ho about getting me with Landon, and now you’re suddenly obsessed with me and Ollie… What changed?”

Lily shook her head. “Not obsessed.” She corrected him. “And nothing changed. But, well… You really wanted to be with Landon. It was what was gonna make you happy. So of course I wanted it to happen!” His friend explained. “And now, I think Ollie’s gonna do the same thing… Hopefully minus the dumping you part, but you know what I mean.” She added quickly.

Asher couldn’t help but laugh. “Lil, what the hell is it with you?” He marveled. “You’re always scheming… And it’s always to help somebody else. But what about you?”

His friend simply shrugged. “I learned my lesson with that dickhead last summer. There aren’t many guys worth scheming for around here… Not ones I’d have a chance with, anyway.” Lily smiled softly at him as she spoke.

Asher felt a slight pang in his heart at her words, but the moment was fleeting. “You’re right… You’re too good for all of them.” He replied seriously.

“It’s alright. If the movies are anything to go off of, all the dudes I’ll meet in Med school will be hot as hell so…” She shrugged. “I can hold off a few more years.”

They both burst into laughter then. And, before Asher had the chance to respond, a third figure had arrived at their table. 

“Damn, I leave you two alone for like fifteen minutes…” Ollie chuckled as he took a seat beside his friends. “What’d I miss? Something good, I guess…”

Lily shot Asher a quick, knowing smile but thankfully made no mention of their previous conversation. 

The three of them enjoyed their ice cream together, laughing and joking just as they always did. It was nice. And Asher couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if he took Lily’s advice and did decide to go for it. Would moments like this still be possible? How would it change things between the three of them? Would Lily be left behind? Would things between him and Ollie get too weird? Would it really make him as happy as Lily thought it would?

Asher knew all those questions were hypothetical, of course.

Because there was no way in Hell he’d ever be brave enough to find out.

19 thoughts on “9.32: Yo-Yo

  1. Hmm…so I wonder if Asher will ask Ollie to prom? Omg…that would be so cute. But then I kind of hope they go as friends, too. And then realize together that they want to try being boyfriends.

    And yay for a chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right now it’s looking like Asher night chicken out… but they’ll probably go as friends! As to whether they will have any realizations at Prom… we’ll find out next time 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. He’s gonna chicken out. And Ollie is trying to keep things just friends it seems. When things get a little too chummy, he is distancing himself. Lily is such a little meddler. But her intentions are good. So, my ship might be sinking before it had a chance to sail. 😭😭😭😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It definitely looks like he’s gonna chicken out, yes! And Ollie’s been putting up some walls lately too :-/

      Lily ships it too! But we shall see whether her meddling is enough to ever help this thing set sail!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a feeling that Ollie is gonna leave after the school year ends. And he’s too afraid to tell his friends. I think that is one of the things why he has been keeping a distance between him and his friends sometimes. And the other ofc., is because of his feelings for Asher. But I just have this strong feeling that he is gonna tell them either a day or two before, or the same day, that he is moving away. Because he’s been afraid to tell them. Or maybe because he didn’t want to deal with the sorrow of it.
    Plus I’m not even sure he would accept if Asher asked him to prom. Because IF he is leaving, then that would complicate things.

    A couple of scenarios I can see:

    Asher asks Ollie to Prom. He accepts and they have an amazing night. The sneak a kiss outside the building, away from others. And then the day after, Ollie keeps a distance from Asher and when Asher asks him about it, Ollie brushes it off as nothing, just that he is busy, but won’t tell with what. And then he meets up with his friends a couple days after and tell them he is moving.

    OR! Ollie rejects Asher’s invitation to prom. Gives no reason really, but secretly he wants to accept, but he feels that it would complicate things now that he is moving away. But he doesn’t tell anyone before the last minute.

    OR! Ollie doesn’t show up for prom. And when Asher gets home afterwards, there is a letter for him from Ollie, explaining everything. And Asher feels heartbroken and is angry with Ollie. But mostly at himself for not grabbing the opportunity to try it between him and Ollie. And now it is too late.

    Also another scenario is, Ollie tells Asher and Lily on the day he is moving away. Asher cries at Lily’s shoulder when they are alone. And Lily tells Asher something like he should go see Ollie before he leaves. But Asher waits until the last minute and drives to Ollies house. But it is vacated already. So he rushes to the airport and see him there. And he lets all his feelings out. Either he kisses him or he wishes to kiss him, but doesn’t dare to. And he tells Ollie he wished he would stay because then they could be together.

    So that is my ‘predictions’ of what could happen. I really really hope that Ollie isn’t leaving. But I just have this strong feeling that he is. Maybe it is with his mother. But it could also be that he is going to live with his dad. And maybe it is because of Asher that he is leaving.
    Hmm… Maybe if it IS his dad he is gonna live with, he will stop before he goes on the plane, if Asher comes to the airport, and he will go back to his mom because he and Asher gets together.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Those are some great (and well-thought-out) ideas! Ollie has definitely been distancing himself, and it’s hard to say exactly why yet… but we will find out more soon!

      Next chapter is prom! 😁


  4. Haha, Lily’s line about the drool made me laugh so much. I love Lily, I hope she gets herself some sexy doctors, she deserves it! ❤

    Why do I feel like they’ll plan to go to prom as a group but then Lily will do something like ditch them at the last minute by pretending to be sick or something and than Asher and Ollie will be forced into an awkward date-like-scenario because it’s too late to back out 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love her too! ❤️ She will be a character for a long time and once we jump to the adult years, we will see whether she managed to snag a sexy doctor or not hehe

      Also, that’s a very interesting plan… Lily would approve 😉 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lily may have overstepped her boundries in the past, but at this point, how could she even not meddle – knowing how Asher feels and having had that conversation about Asher with Ollie. I admire that she can stand to be with the two of them without telling them off for being idiots and to get together already 😄

    Definitely sounds like Ollie is moving away. Clearly he’s not learned much from the Penny thing – his friends are going to find out one way or another, so dragging it out before he tells them is pointless. So here he is again with another classic head in the sand Ollie move. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Ollie. He and Asher better have a moment at the prom, even if they only go as “friends” 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yes Lily is caught in the middle right now, knowing how much they both want it but neither being brave enough to make a move 😂 so… perfect time to start meddling! Lol

      And interesting theory about Ollie! It could definitely help account for some of his strange behavior. But maybe it’s really just cold feed? We shall see…


  6. Dear lord,they’re keeping this salsa for too long!!!!Typical tenager behavior thought ”ohhh should i say it?” ”my, oh, my!Everything will be weird if i say!” Like they’re in some romantic novel in the 19th century. Asher, if you can survive a heartbreak, you can survive Ollie saying no.

    Beside, it’s not like he has much to loose. Ollie is already acting strange and going from cold to hot in a few moments, it’s not like you’re great friends having a great time that might get ruined becaus you said you liked him. Thingsa already went down. he’s already weird. There’s not much room for him to treat you worse, and I doubt he would do so.

    Lily is needed right now because these two surely aren’t doing a great job at communicating. Kinda wish she would just spell it out for Asher like ”He likes you he told me” so that this whole ongoing back and fourth dance would end, but I get that that might a bit too much. We still need Ollie’s view on this. I definetly don’t think it would be Worth being in sucha hot and could relationship, so I wonder why Ollie is making it so.

    Again, you got nothing else to lose dudes, it’s already awkward, it’s already kinda bad, and you’re both already becoming distant from each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha I love your comparison to a dramatic romance novel! You’re right though — he really doesn’t have a lot to lose. Things are weird already so why not just go for it? Maybe he’ll take Lily’s advice? Like you said, she doesn’t wanna go too far (or tell Ollie’s secret) by telling Asher everything she knows, but she is nudging as much as she can! Haha

      Thank you so much for your comment, and sorry for the late reply! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The angst of teenage love. It will be interesting to see if Asher can take the bull by the horns and ask Ollie or if he will just let things be. Lily does need to find herself someone as well. I also hope Asher’s younger sister is done meddling .

    In RL I feel you. I started by serving food to students at the local bus stop but am returning this week to help my ELL students online via email and Zoom meetings. School here in KS is out for the rest of the yr so the poor Srs. get no prom and they are not sure what to do about graduation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I promise Lily will find someone one day… I won’t keep her single forever! She’s too good for that 😛 We’ll see whether Asher is able to find some bravery or not…

      And yeah, this online teaching thing is so rough! Hope you’re hanging in there (I’m trying to, myself!) And yeah, I feel horrible for all the seniors 😦 Things like prom and graduation are such big deals to those kids. It’s so awful that they have to miss those things 😦 My heart breaks for those poor kiddos


  8. I can’t tell what Ollie is thinking right now – but I guess it won’t be good. By his conversation with Penny I would guess he knows she was the one to find out about Ashers feelings and sent his personal diary entries to Landon. He wouldn’t be involved, even if she tried to pull him into this, he would never want to hurt Asher like this and that was propably the reason he tried to argue with her.

    But even if he read that stuff himself, I can totally understand why he would pull back right now. Even if he was sure he could score with Asher, Asher is heartbroken right now and not ready for another boyfriend, much less in front of Landon. It may sound easy to Lily, but it wouldn’t. Could Ollie ever be sure Asher is going out with him because he truly wants him, or is he just the consolation price here? Asher had it all sorted out, and he decided to stick with Landon.

    And even if Asher could jump over his shadow here, could he really be sincere? Can he sort his feelings out like this, even if he means to?

    I’m looking forward to see how this might end, but right now I wish you the best of luck with your online classes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a pretty good theory about the Ollie/Penny argument… You’ve essentially hit the nail on the head haha And of course, he wanted to spare hurting Asher and upsetting him even more, so chose not to tell.

      But you’re right that he is definitely pulling back right now… And it’s possible that it’s for the reasons you mentioned. There are lots of factors at play here, maybe even some we aren’t even aware of yet. We shall see…

      The next chapter will be prom! So we’ll see how that goes (I’m not on my phone right now, but imagine one of those smiling devil smilies here hehehe)

      Thank you very much for the well-wishes! It’s definitely a challenge, but I’m trying to adjust the best I can. ❤


  9. Life is a bit crazy for all of us these days .. no time worries for posting at all .. we all understand the challenges being faced by our teachers! Hang in there .. we are getting thru this ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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