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Almost Lover

I Should've Known You'd Bring Me Heartache

“She’ll come around, I promise.” I stated squeezing his knee for comfort.
“How do you know?”
“She’s your mom,” I shrugged. “It’s only been a week. Rome wasn’t built in a day,”
Stryker rolled his eyes.
“Thanks for being cheesy, jerk.”
“Hey! I’m actually not being a jerk right now, thank you very much.” I retorted. “I’m trying to be a supportive boyfriend, but you’re being mean.”
“Whatever,” He chuckled a little bit. “Thanks for coming over,”
“You’re welcome,” I smiled before leaning over to kiss him. “I did see your mom on my way up,”
“What did she say?” Stryker asked, looking at me.
“She didn’t say anything.” I sighed. “She just gave me a look, shook her head, and walked away.”
“That’s all she’s been doing lately.” He groaned, throwing his body back on his bed. “It’s driving me insane. I just want my mom back. She’s always been the cool mom. She’s always told me that nothing I could ever do would change the way that she feels. She’s my fucking mom, Asher. I can’t understand why everything is happening like this.”
I chewed my bottom lip. This thing over his mom has seriously been stressing him out. He’s been acting weird ever since we told her that we were together. Knowing Shelley, we thought that she would be more accepting than she was. She’s one of the sweetest people I know, and Stryker looks up to her a lot. She’s the only parent he has since his dad left when he was a baby. I can’t imagine how bad he’s feeling right now. His mom never said that she hated him, but she’s not exactly okay with us. That much is obvious.
“Come on, babe.” I stated, standing up from his bed. “We’re leaving.”
“Where are we going?” He asked me, not sitting up or moving at all.
“I figured that you could use some normal bro time.” I replied. “No hanging out as a couple.” I demanded.
“What do you have in mind?” Stryker asked me, sitting up.
“I really want to go to the skate park. Is that cool with you?” I chewed on my bottom lip and looked at him. Stryker’s face light up, and he reached for my hands. I grasped them tightly in my hands before I pulled him up to my level. Stryker’s arms wrapped around my neck seconds before his lips pressed tightly to mine. I smiled, gripping his waist lightly before pulling away. Stryker looked so much happier now than he did ten seconds ago. He’s my best friend, and I tend to worry about him a lot. I smiled, and rested my head against his. I kissed his nose, which he hated. He scrunched his nose, and closed his eyes before opening them back up. He kissed my cheek lightly before I kissed him sweetly.
“You’re the best,” He mumbled into my neck. He placed a soft kiss there before letting go of me all together. I nearly pouted when I no longer felt his arms around me. “Okay, no couple shit starts right now. We are no just best friends…until tomorrow. Then I will kiss you again.”
“Tomorrow?” I laughed. “You can’t last that long,”
“I can to, fucker!” He argued, punching my arm.
I rolled my eyes and nodded toward his bedroom door. Stryker grabbed his skateboard before we headed toward my house. My parents were both gone, which shocked me slightly. My mom was probably out getting lunch with her friends or something like that. I grabbed my skateboard just inside the door, and walked back outside where Stryker was standing. We rode on our boards slowly toward the skate park.
“Have you thought anymore about college?” I asked him, because I was trying to act like we weren’t making out yesterday or the day before that.
“Yeah,” He sighed. “My mom really wants me to go to the same college that she went to. Surprisingly, I kind of want to,”
“That’s in North Carolina, right?”
“Yeah,” Stryker sighed. “Is it bad that I can’t wait to get away from Maryland?”
I shook my head.
“Not really,” I replied. “Baltimore’s fun and all, but I really don’t want to stay here my whole life.”
“I agree.” Stryker nodded. “What about you?”
“I have no plans, Stryk. You know that.” I replied, sighing. “I’ve got a lot to figure out.”
“Life,” I laughed. “Everything in general. You know that.”
“I just kind of thought that you had everything figured out.” He laughed. “You always seem like you do,”
“I don’t,” I quickly corrected. “I have to figure out what I want to do with my life. There are plenty of things that I’d want to do,”
“You could skate?” He suggested. “You’ve always been pretty good at that,”
“Yeah. Right,” I scoffed.
“You are!” He retorted. “You could even take over the law firm that your dad works at. You could become a chef!”
“All of those are great ideas, and all, but I have no idea if I want to do any of that. I’m not a very good planner. I don’t know what I’m even going next weekend, let alone next year.”
“It’s approaching fast, Ash. It’s almost October. You’ve gotta start looking.”
“Okay, mom,” I rolled my eyes.
“I worry about you, just like you worry about me,” He sighed. “Just stop being a douche about it.”
“Fine,” I agreed with a heavy sigh.
This wasn’t the conversation I wanted to have with Stryker on the way to the skate park. I wanted to talk about stupid shows, and make a few jokes. We may still do that now, but our relationship has officially reached that sickeningly cute stage where everything the other does we find completely adorable. I honestly don’t know how I keep my hands off of him in public. By the Grace of God, I guess. I don’t want to talk about stupid college. I wanted to kiss him until my lungs begged for air. I wanted to hold him and never let go. I do not want Stryker to go away for college. I don’t care that North Carolina isn’t that far from Maryland. I don’t care if he would be willing to make it work. I don’t know if our relationship could withstand that. And that scares the shit out of me.
With Stryker, I never know if anything will be alright. I never know if one day he’s going to be all bitchy about being with me or if he’s going to be all over me. It’s weird. I don’t know what runs threw his head when he looks at me. I can only tell that I make him happy. I just don’t know how long it will last. I know that I shouldn’t be thinking about these things so early in our relationship, but I can’t help it. I want to know how far this is going to go. I know that we’re both going to try really hard, but it’s not going to be easy at all.
Nothing with Stryker is ever easy. Never has been, and I know that it never will be. That’s just the way that our relationship is. Sadly, I’m keeping my mouth shut. All I want to do is yell and get it all out in the open. But I can’t. I can’t do that to him. He’s so important, yet he makes me so mad. Yes, I’ve come to terms with the fact that we’re hidden. Yes, I hate that his mom won’t look either of us in the eye anymore. I hate that my other best friend is distancing herself from me even more than we asked. It’s like I don’t exist to her anymore. I feel irrelevant. I don’t care that she knows, I just want her back.
“Okay, stop thinking. I can practically hear the gears turning.” He teased. I snapped out of my thoughts and nearly fell over on my skate board. I stopped riding and hopped off for a minute. Stryker looked back at me before he walked over. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah…” I sighed. “I just got distracted.”
“Well get un-distracted. I want to ride, and I can’t do that when you’re in Asher Land.”
I forced a smile and Stryker didn’t seem to notice was fake. He smiled back widely at me before he got back on his board. I followed him on my own board. In less than three minutes, we were at the skate park. We paid our own way in, and headed toward the concession stand. I bought a water right after Stryker got his Gatorade. We picked out a small table and stuck our drinks down on it before we headed toward the ramps. No matter what else happens to run through my head today, I refuse to let it ruin our best friend bonding time. If we want our relationship to last, we have to get these types of outings in. It won’t work anyway else.

“Asher, can you come down here for a minute?” My mom yelled from the bottom of the stairs. I heard her through my door even if Stryker was playing a video game. I personally didn’t feel like doing anything today. I just had a lot on my mind, and I know that Stryker did. He just hides his differently than I do. So while he worries about his mom, the only thought I understand that goes through his head, I just kind of boring and over-think.
“Yeah, mom,” I yelled back. I hoped up off of my bed, and I looked at Stryker. He didn’t even notice that I had moved. He was focusing on his game way too much. I wish that he would open up to me, but whatever. I rolled my eyes and trampled down the stairs to where my mom was standing. “What do you want?”
“I want you to go to a protest with me,” My mom stated.
I furrowed my brows.
“Because the stupid government won’t pass gay marriage,” She stated. “And I want my baby to marry whoever the hell his little heart desires.”
I rolled my eyes.
“I have company mom,”
“I can’t just leave Stryker here,” I retorted. “I don’t want to be rude and leave him.”
“He can come too!” She stated. “He’s your best friend. It will be perfect to prove that straights and gays can be friends!”
“You’re being ridiculous.” I stated. “Stryker doesn’t want to go. I know that he doesn’t.”
“How could you possibly know when you haven’t even asked him?” She raised her eyebrows at me in a ‘mom’ type of way.
“Because we were hanging out,” I argued.
“It’s fine, Asher.” Stryker stated, suddenly coming down the stairs. “I better get home anyway.”
I furrowed my brows.
“I thought you were staying the night, because your mom was out?”
Stryker shook his head.
“No, she just called. I’m gonna go, yeah? She’s been wanting to spend some time with me anyway,” He replied, looking only at my mom. “I’ll see you at school tomorrow.”
I nodded and watched him walk to the door.
“Later, man.”
“Bye,” He waved before disappearing out of the door.
“That was odd,” My mom stated, looking from the door to me. “Did you guys get into a stupid argument?”
I laughed, and shook my head.
“No…I don’t think that we did.”
“Well Shelley probably just really wanted to talk to him,”
I sighed.
“Yeah, sure,”
“Come on, we’re going to that protest now,”
“Mommmm,” I complained. “Why do I have to go?”
“You’re gay, and it’s a protest. Do it for the cause, Asher Blake,”
“Mom, seriously?” I rolled my eyes. “You’re not making me do this, are you?”
She nodded her head.
“We’re leaving in five minutes whether you like it or not, mister.”
“Alright, fine.” I sighed. “Aren’t we just making things worse though?”
“I hope not,” She shrugged and smiled “I’m grabbing my car keys.”
“Alright,” I stated, running my hand through my hair.
I grabbed a hoodie and my favorite gray beanie from the living room before we walked out of the door. I got into the passenger side of her car, and waited. When my mom and I spend time together, I have no choice but to ride. She’s the driver, and she has made that clear quite a few times. I can’t get my mind off of Stryker. He’s making me mad, and I feel like I can’t do anything about it. I’m stuck, I really am.
My mom and I got to the ‘protest’ site pretty quickly. It would’ve been extremely hard to miss. Protesters for gay marriage, and against gay marriage where everywhere. It was hard for me to tell where one group began and the other ended. Signs, shouts, and policemen crowded the entire place. Normally it wouldn’t look like this, but somehow it just…transformed. Why do people have to make such a big deal about it? If someone loves someone, they should have the right to get married, simple as that.
“Isn’t it exciting?” My mom asked, looking at me with wide eyes after we parked. We started toward the crowds. We were stopped before and offered flyers, and even some buttons. I was a little shocked. This is my first time doing anything like this. I hate huge, uncontrollable, crowds. I can handle concert crowds, and even city ones, but protesters freak me the fuck out. These people feel extremely passionate about it, and here I am. I’m actually gay, and I couldn’t care less. Well, sort of. Do I want to get married? No, not right now. But that doesn’t mean that I want someone to tell me if I can marry that person or not. Fuckers.
“Did you really have to drag me here?” I asked, gripping my mom’s arm.
“I thought that you’d like it,” She shrugged. “In all honesty, I just want to do something for the common good.”
“You were a lawyer,”
“Yeah, and part of my job was lying all of the time,” My mom replied. “I want to do something that I believe in, baby.”
“Thanks, mom,” I sighed, and looked toward the protesters. “Do they really have to carry those stupid signs around?”
My mom looked over at the signs that I was talking about. The so-called Christian protesters were holding signs that said that God Hates Fags. It hurt my heart physically. God hates no one. They’re not making their point, they’re hurting people. They think that this is ‘God’s word’ when all He really wants is for us to love each other. Jesus loved people who were broken. He came from thieves and lowlifes for God’s sake! These people are those people who seem to think that working and trying to be perfect make God happy. I feel bad that they don’t know the God that I do. I pray for those people.
Yeah, I’m a Christian. I pray every night, and I actively attend church. My faith is something that I hold so dear to my heart. So what if I’m gay. That doesn’t mean that my Savior doesn’t love me any less. He created me to be the way that I am. He loves me regardless or my race, orientation, or how much money my parents make. If I can’t trust my creator then how in the fuck am I suppose to live through all of this? I’m sorry if people don’t agree with me, and are too close minded to believe that gay’s can’t go to Heaven. Jesus died to save my stupid ass, so I know that I’m going to Heaven. I don’t think that you can choose to be gay. No one wants to deal with the hurt and constant degrading all of the time. People need to realize that.
“Asher, you are so loved, you know that,” My mom stated, going to hug me. “Don’t let them get you down.”
“It’s easier said than done,” I nearly whispered. The more I looked at the angry protesters, the more my heart broke. Their signs were hurtful, not helpful.
“You filthy queers are going to hell!” One yelled.
“Do right, and convert yourselves!” Another added in.
“It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” The last chimed in.
“Son, you can get rid of this evil,” An older woman walked right up to me and said. “All you have to do is ask for forgiveness, and pray the gay away,”
I felt my jaw literally drop.
“Evil? You think that being gay is evil?”
“Jesus said-“
“Jesus never said a damn thing about gay people.” I interrupted. “Are you really going to through that at me?”
“It’s okay, I understand that you’re not right-“
“Ma’am, in all due respect, there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m a human fucking being. I’m not some diseased animal. I have feelings, and thoughts too.”
“It’s not right,” She argued. “You will go to Hell,”
My heart was breaking. It wasn’t enough that my boyfriend’s mom doesn’t exactly accept us, but that these people believe what they’re saying is true. They have the nerve to carry hateful signs, and tell me that I’m going to Hell. Nice people, they really are.
“Lady, that’s my son, and you will not talk to him like that,” My mom interrupted. “We’re just here for a peaceful protest, and you’re shouting how wrong he is. Grace, Grace.” My mom spoke before grabbing my elbow. I bit the inside of my cheek to keep myself from crying. Call me a pussy or whatever the hell you want to, but that’s a low blow. For someone like it, it hurts when someone is yelling in your face that you’re going to Hell. No wonder why people aren’t so into religion. This sucks. “Honey, don’t listen to her. She’s arrogant.”
“I know, mom,” I replied softly. I looked around. None of the other protesters seemed to be bothered by it. Was this really what has become of this place? People have no compassion or anything? “I…I’m gonna get out of here,”
“What? We just got here,” My mom argued.
“Sorry mom, but I really don’t feel like being put down anymore.” I retorted. “I knew that this was a bad idea.”
My mom sighed and wrapped her arms around me. I rested my chin on the top of her head, and squeezed her tightly.
“I’m so sorry, baby boy. I never wanted this to happen. I didn’t think that it would.”
“It’s alright. I’m just gonna walk home, okay?”
She nodded and kissed my cheek before I let go of her. I started to push my way through the crowd. I needed to get as far away from the crowd as humanly possible. Even if I didn’t stay long, I took a couple of blows. They hurt too. It felt like my heart was breaking, and I really wanted to cry. Above all else though, I really wanted to see Stryker. I wanted him to hold me for once while I cried on his shoulder. I wanted to have him to kiss me, and from him to be the strong one. I just want him.
I snaked my phone out of my skinny jeans pocket, and I dialed his familiar number. He didn’t answer. I figured that he was probably talking to his mom, so I slid my phone into my hoodie pocket. I walked around the corner, and toward my street. Thank God that the protest was less than a five minute drive and a ten minute walk. I drug it out a little bit longer than I suppose I normally would. I just wanted my boyfriend to call back. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I grabbed my phone back out of my pocket and I called again. I called him five more times with no answer at all. It was making me feel more helpless by the minute.
I went ahead and I walked toward his house. I got to the door, and I started to knock rapidly. No one was answering, and I got restless. I stepped back and checked for Shelley’s car. It was there so it meant that they both should be inside. I started to knock harder just in case that she didn’t hear me.
“Oh, hey Asher…” Shelley trailed off awkwardly. “What brings you here?”
I raised my eyebrows at her.
“Hi…Ms. Sutton,” I replied nervously. It suddenly felt wrong to call her Shelley. “Is Stryker here?”
“No, he went out a little while ago with a friend. He should be back within an hour, so you can come back then.”
“Oh,” I nearly whispered. I knew that my face was looking a little freaked out just by the look that she was giving me. “Can you tell him that I stopped by?”
“Sure,” She almost smiled. I could tell that she was debating on her response. “Asher…are you…okay?”
I shook my head.
“No,” I answered. “Bye, Shelley,” I replied. She just waved, and I turned around. I almost ran down the stairs, and toward my house. I grabbed out my phone and called him one more time. This time, I let it ring until it went to voicemail. My boyfriend’s chipper voice came across my speaker, and I waited until the beep. “Stryk…look…I really need you right now. My mom and I got to the protest, and some things were said…I just..I…I need you, okay? I know that you’re not at your house. I just stopped by and your mom said that you were out. I don’t even care that you lied to me right now, I just need someone to talk to. I’m not okay.” I sighed. “I’m probably going over to Tay’s. Bye,”
The second that I hung up, I was back at my house. I ran inside, and grabbed my keys. I left my mom a note, and I left. Before I got too close to her house, I called Taylor, and she let me know that I was more than welcome over. She was just hanging out by herself all alone in her house. Her parents work just about as much as my own parents do. I knew that she would help me. She’s been a great friend for the past month or so since I can’t talk to Izzy about me and Stryker.
“What’s wrong, baby doll?” Taylor asked me the second I sat down on her couch. I brought my hands to my face, and I started crying. I let out all of my frustration, and emotions right in front of her. I knew that I was blubbering, but I know that Taylor doesn’t care. She wrapped her arms tightly around me, and she just let me cry. I don’t think I’ve cried this much since my last boyfriend and I broke up. That happened nearly two years ago. I guess I need a good cry. It’s too bad that I let it happen this way. “Shhh…it’s okay…” I didn’t answer, but I felt my phone vibrate. Taylor reached in and grabbed my phone. “Stryker’s calling,”
“Answer it,” I croaked.
“Okay…” She trailed off. “Hey, Stryker. Yeah, he’s here. No, he’s a fucking mess. I don’t know what happened. He hasn’t said anything…just get your ass over here.” She stated. “Yeah…he’s…okay. I’ll see you in a little bit.”
“Is he coming?” I asked.
“He’s on his way.” Taylor tried to smile at me.
I could just tell that this was going to be a mess.
♠ ♠ ♠
A little more insight into Asher's brain. This is why he's my favorite character. There's so much depth. There's a lot of that to Stryker too, but I haven't had the chance to write something this special for him yet.
I know that some of you readers might not be religious and or believe in God. I apologize, but religion/religious is tagged in this story for a reason. Yes, Christian values are relayed throughout this story, and yes, they are my own and my friend whom Asher is based off of.
Again, I hope you guys love this chapter. COMMENT! <3

xoxo Rae