Asher grimaces as he pulls the sticky clothing away from his skin. He knows he’s going to have a lot of explaining to do if anyone sees him like this. He just hopes that for once the universe is on his side and everyone is asleep when he gets back to the Baker’s.
The universe is not on his side.
In fact, the universe is being extra cruel tonight, because not only is someone awake, but it’s Olivia that’s standing in the kitchen when he walks inside.
He tries to slip past without her noticing. But of course that doesn’t work. He hears a clattering as she places the bowl that she was holding down, and then her voice sounds. “Asher?”
He turns his head, giving her a tired smile and wave. Which has him wincing as his shirt is pulled from his skin again. “Hey Liv.”
Olivia frowns and moves around the breakfast bar towards him, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Yeah I’m fine. Just had a rough practice.”
He hopes that she’ll buy it, but he really should have known better. “You guys didn’t have practice today. Want to try again?”
Asher takes another step towards the stairs, putting space between them. “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”
“Asher!” She sounds annoyed now as she follows him up the stairs, and into his room. “Asher. Stop walking away. Come on.”
She puts a hand on his arm, and Asher’s shoulders slump. For a moment he wishes that Olivia was someone that could just let things go. But she’s not. She’s stubborn. It’s always been one of his favorite things about her. Even if it is driving him crazy right now.
“Olivia please, just drop it.”
“You know I can’t do that,” Olivia says softly. She’s moving to stand in front of him before Asher has a chance to stop her. Her eyes widen as her hands move to his shirt. She lifts it away from his skin, her eyes moving across his bruised and bloody skin. “Jesus Ash. What happened?”
Asher sighs, and runs a hand across the back of his neck. He knows he’s going to have to tell her the truth. “I got into a fight.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Asher mutters.
“It does,” Olivia says. “You might be hot headed but you don’t fight like this. Especially not now when you just worked so hard to get back your spot on the team. So tell me what the hell happened.”
“I heard people talking shit. Okay?”
“About what? You?”
“No. About you,” Asher says. “They were saying shit about you, and your drug problem. And I don’t know. It got to me.”
“So you started a fight? Jesus Asher.”
Asher sighs, “I know it was stupid, and you think I’m an idiot. Now can you please just…?”
He stops when he feels a hand on his cheek. Olivia gives him a small smile. “I don’t need you to defend my honor. Okay? People are always going to talk shit. Nothing is going to change that. While I appreciate what you were doing, it can’t happen again. Okay?”
Asher nods, “Okay.”
She kisses his cheek. When she pulls back, their eyes meet. She leans in again, her lips brushing softly against his.
“Let’s get you cleaned up.”
She takes his hand and leads him into the bathroom. She grabs the first aid kit, while Asher strips off his shirt. He watches her face as she cleans his wounds, every so often meeting his eyes.
When she’s done, she kisses him again. This time over his heart. It feels like a promise.