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Until The Morning

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Olivia can’t sleep. It’s not the first time she’s found herself lying awake in bed and staring at the ceiling, willing sleep to come. Tonight it’s worse. There are so many things on her mind. Things she’d rather not be thinking about.

She thinks about the party, and how she’d come so close to just throwing her sobriety away. She probably would have if not for Asher. And she’d been horrible to him for simply trying to help her.

She sighs and picks up her phone. She doesn’t even think about the time before pressing the call button.

“Olivia?”

“Hey Asher. I didn’t wake you, did I?”

Olivia hears movement on the other end of the line before Asher speaks again, “No. I was still up. Couldn’t sleep.”

“Me either,” Olivia says. “I was thinking too much.”

“I imagine so,” Asher says. “Is everything okay? You worried me earlier.”

“Yeah it’s…”

The word fine is almost slipping out, before she stops herself. She doesn’t want to lie. Not to Asher. “It’s been a rough night.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

She does, if she’s being honest with herself. There’d been a reason why she called Asher out of everyone else.

“Can you come over?”

She hadn’t planned to ask him to, but the words are out there now. She’s not going to take them back.

“Sure,” Asher says. “I’ll be there in 10, okay?”

“Okay. You know where the key is.”

“Under the turtle,” Asher says.

Olivia smiles, “Under the turtle.”

Despite Asher knowing where the key is, she’s still waiting downstairs when he gets to the house. He raises an eyebrow when she opens the door, “I thought I was letting myself in.”

Olivia shrugs and moves back to let him in, “I was feeling restless and decided to just come down.”

Asher kicks his shoes off and places them by the door. He’s still in his pajamas, she realizes, and hadn’t even stopped to put socks on.

“Are you thirsty?” Olivia asks. She grimaces at how awkward she sounds. This is Asher. She’s spent so much time over here. She shouldn’t be this awkward around him.

“I’m good,” Asher says. “But if you want something…”

“No I’m fine.” She laughs and runs a hand along the back of her neck. “Jesus. I didn’t mean for this to be weird.”

“It doesn’t have to be,” Asher tells her. “We’re friends. And you called me and had me come over for a reason. So what’s up?”

“I wanted to apologize,” Olivia says. “You were just trying to help me and I lashed out. It wasn’t fair. And it wasn’t fair the way Chris handled it either. At all. I umm…”

“What?”

“I broke up with him, actually. I have enough going on right now. I don’t need to worry about some guy overreacting and overstepping like that.”

“I’ll kick his ass if you want me to.”

Olivia rolls her eyes, “ No . It’s done. I’m not worried about it. I have enough to worry about.”

“It seems like it,” Asher says. “Anything I can do?”

“Can we just watch a movie and fall asleep on the couch?”

Olivia surprises herself with the question. It’s nothing they haven’t done before, but it’s been over a year, at least. But she’s missed it. She and Asher were so close before they went and screwed it up. She wants that closeness again.

“I miss you, Ash,” she tells him. “And after today I kind of just need my friend.”

Asher nods, “Okay. Sure. But if your dad finds us you can explain it to him.”

“Yeah well I’m done caring what he thinks,” Olivia mutters angrily.

Asher looks surprised, “Did something happen with your dad?”

“He cheated on my mom,” Olivia tells him. “It was years ago, but it doesn’t matter. He did it. With Spencer’s mom. And now my mom is hurting and I don’t know what I can do to help her.”

“Just be there for her,” Asher says. “Let her know she’s not alone and she still has you and Jordan. And know that you’re not alone either, Liv.”

“I know,” Olivia says. She smiles in spite of the ache that’s still building in her chest. “So, movie?”

“What were you thinking?” Asher asks, following her into the living room.

“The Proposal,” Olivia says. “I need some Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.”

“Of course,” Asher says, taking a seat on the couch.

She hesitates a moment next to it, “You might as well lay down and get comfortable.” When Asher raises an eyebrow she rolls her eyes, “I did say we were sleeping here. And we’re not doing that sitting up. So come on.”

Asher lays down with his back to the couch, leaving room for her to lay down in front of him. She knows she could lay at the opposite end and be fine, but right now she doesn’t want to. She needs that closeness. To know that someone is here and that she’s not alone.

Once she’s settled, she pulls up the movie and starts it. Asher wraps an arm around her middle and rests his head on her shoulder. She can almost feel his heart beating steadily against her back. She hadn’t realized how much she missed this, how much she just needed to be held, until now.

Olivia closes her eyes when she feels Asher’s lips against her ear, “It’s alright, Liv. I’ve got you.”

She takes a deep breath and nods, squeezing his hand, “I know.”

She knows they still have a lot to talk about, but for now she lets herself relax into the safety of Asher’s arms. Anything else can wait until morning.