Ash Miller had a decision to make, and it wasn't a simple one in the slightest. He was wide awake at 2 a.m., sitting in his home office and bouncing a Nerf football off the wall. The past year had been an utter nightmare, so he had been spending extra time with his sister. Her friend had been in town visiting, and she had officially earned his interest. She was pretty, intelligent, and had a sense of humor that complimented his.
Of course, he never told her any of that. He did however confide in his sister Lorilee that night. She of course told him to tackle the situation like he did anything else. Head on, at one hundred percent. Ash wasn't so sure about doing that. He was convinced that his sister's friend didn't see him like that, given their 15 year age difference..he had just turned 40 (and felt blessed he didn't look or feel it!) and she was 25. Lorilee argued that her friend didn't really care, and that she was more interested in getting to know him.
Lorilee's friend Ariel was leaving for Illinois tomorrow. He had less than 18 hours to make up his mind and take the dive.
Ash, frustrated, threw the Nerf toy he had been bouncing off the wall across the room and stared at his iPhone.
"Fuck it..why the hell not," he said to himself as he sent a text message to the number his sister had given him. In less the ten minutes, he got a response. Their conversation went well, he thought. At least, at first:
-->I know its late but I cant sleep. Its Ash btw
<--Hi Ash. Its okay..I cant either. Hate planes. What up?
--> ok this will seem very forward but I decided to go for it. I think I want to give it a chance..
<--Give what a chance?
-->Askin you out on a date..or maybe more. Like I said I know way 2 late if you aren't down I understand. Pls tho i promise it'll be worth it
<--why me nothing special
-->No you're something special.
Oh shit. A sinking feeling started in his stomach as soon as he pressed send. He let his head fall forward and thump down on his desk.
"I'm so fucking awkward. There is no hope for me."
-->I'm sorry. I'm so freaking awkward sometimes.
<-- No worries. Its cute
What you doing now
-->Sitting at home being creepy.
<--well..wanna be weird together?
-->Lmao sure. I'll pick you up.
They ended up playing PS4 games together and watching movies til the sun started peaking through the windows. Ariel grabbed her phone and sent a text before returning her attention back towards Ash.
"I told Lorilee that I took her offer."
Ash stared at her.
"She wants me to move in with her and stay in California before I have any obligations. I still have to go back and send for my things. But that can wait.." Ariel explained, scooting a little closer to him on the couch. She snorted and laughed. "Dude it's six a.m. and we haven't been to sleep yet."
Ash rubbed his face and stretched, letting out a loud yawn. "It is about that time..wanna crash here? I don't mind."
"Sure, thanks. Well..hey would you mind..cuddling with me? I can't sleep unless I'm cuddled with someone or a stuffed animal. I know it's weird.." Ariel blushed and dropped her gaze to her lap, fingers tugging at a loose string from the hem of her green hoodie.
"C'mon this way."
Ariel was fast asleep with her head on Ash's chest. It was comfortable and all, but this was the first time he had a woman in his bed with sex not being his sole intention. He was left with an akward hard on and a pocketful of sexual frustration.
Maybe he would try to get laid after a few hours of sleep.
Ariel Gole woke up to a sensation of being poked by something. She shifted and discovered that Ash was lying flush against her, spoon style, and was sound asleep. His..manhood was stabbing her in the buttcheek. She grinned to herself.
To touch or not to touch?
She decided to behave herself, but she did back her bottom as close to him as possible before drifting off to sleep.
They weren't asleep for very long. 7 hours later, at about 1 p.m., Ariel woke to find that Ash was right in her neck. It was like they flipped positions in their sleep. She was now on her right side, with his face in her neck and head on her shoulder. He had one arm draped over her hip and he was snoozing lightly. She shifted and he gripped her hips tighter.
"Mm-mm..stay in bed with me.." he groaned, squeezing her tightly. "Warm and cozy."
She grinned. "Just need to use the bathroom. I'll be right back."
When she returned and slipped back into bed under the thick black comforter, he was partially awake. They went right back into melting together like two cats taking a nap in the sun.
"You're the affectionate type, I like that," Ariel giggled, feeling perfectly content. Ash grinned.
"Maybe not so much in public, but behind closed doors, definitely."
When they parted ways for the day, Ash went and visited his friend Carlton Bost.
"Well you're in a good mood this afternoon!"
Ash was all smiles. "Yep."
"Eh. I don't know actually. My sister introduced me to her friend Ariel. We hung out and ended up staying up all night playing Call of Duty and watching movies. Then fell asleep next to one another. No sex..just like cuddled the whole time. It was nice," Ash explained, turning his phone over in his hands.
Carlton nodded, drumming his fingertips along the surface of his glass kitchen table. His Chihuahua named Cloe was asleep in her doggie bed by the kitchen's entrance. "Look, I think that you know what it is. You're just scared of letting someone have that control over your emotions again."
Ash's square jaw started to clench angrily. He glared daggers at his friend. "Excuse me?"
Carlton leaned back in his chair with a smartass smile on his face. "You aren't deaf. There's nothing wrong with starting over."
Ash relaxed, taking a deep inhale. "She's 25."
Carlton arched a thin eyebrow. "And? Age doesn't mean anything. For the record, I know this Ariel you're talking about. Ariel Gole is a pretty cool person and you'll be pleasantly surprised," Carlton encouraged Ash, taking a long sip of coffee from a black mug bearing skulls and crossbones.
Ash tilted his head to the side as he often did when intrigued. "You..know from experience?"
His friend laughed. "No. She never gave me a chance."
Ariel Gole had been officially living in Southern California for a week. She got everything transferred and her things had just arrived from her hometown. She loved Lorilee like family and idolized her strength, but she wasn't sure how she felt about her best friend's brother. Sure, he was cute in that geeky goth dude way, but there was a little rigidity in the way he treated her. She decided to give him a call. When all was said and done, she had a date at 7 p.m. with Ash.
It started out as very lovely, a nice dinner that was upscale but didn't have a dress code. She sipped her wine and finally broke the ice.
"What is it about my age that makes you so rigid?"
Ash blinked at her, shocked at her straighforwardness. "Well that came out of nowhere."
"No, it didn't. You knew I would ask. I'm not naive...and I won't waste my time. Ash, I'm all for trying this out. You're sweet, funny, and just a blast to be around. You make me feel safe. You KNOW I'm into you. What about me, besides the age difference, makes you so standoffish?" Ariel swallowed hard, realizing she was asking an awful lot about something that didn't exist yet. Exasperated and embarrassed by her vomiting of emotions, she downed the last half of the wine glass contents. She needed all the courage she could get at this point.
"I haven't had the best experiences. You're just not what I expected..you're not easy to understand."