Prompt 1: 2am
Clad in a short dress and thin cardigan, the redhead stood under the bus shelter- shuddering. He arms did little to protect her skin from the onslaught of cold air pistols that not only caused uncontrollable shivers to crawl down her spine but her hair to wildly whip in the wind. She couldn't take it anymore. It looked as though he wasn't coming. She didn't even know why she'd called him, but she'd needed to rant and of course being the oh-so chivalrous man he was, had demanded she'd stayed in the exact spot she was now stood in so that he could drive her home. Honestly, he'd most likely drowned in the abyss of sleep, happily enjoying what the basic necessity had to offer. It was 2am after all. She wouldn't blame him. Although a searing anger subsided in her stomach, she'd get over it, he wasn't to blame. She sighed and began evacuating the bus shelter and making her way home, alone, in the dark. Each step forward was its own battle, with the force of the wind pulling her back in the opposite direction. She was winning but loosing energy at a rapid rate. Her mind quickly wandered to whether or not she'd be able to make the treacherous half hour walk, knowing that most of her energy was already drained from the previous war she'd faced with boyfriend- ex boyfriend. Her mouth blew out a gust of air as she mulled over the phrase. Ex boyfriend. The phrase sounded foreign after her three year long, stable relationship. Or so she'd thought. It turned out the boy she'd been passionately in love with for the best part of three years had been cheating on her for months. She didn't know what was worse: the feeling of never being good enough that was swallowing her whole or the fact that he had only revealed the truth in his drunken stupor, adding the importance of never telling his girlfriends, plural. She thought she deserved much more than that. Maybe not, her mind countered. To clear her thoughts of her dropping self esteem she physically shook her head but the thought remained, engrained into her brain cells as a reminder to how she'd become so afraid of rejection. Tears brimmed behind her eyes, her bottom lip trembled and her nails burrowed deep into her triceps. She would not cry. She would not cry. She repeated it over and over within her whirlpool of a mind and stopped for a moment to recollect herself. She would not cry. Not for him. Not for herself. No, she would not cry.
She became so immersed in her attempts to free her body from the shackles of a fully fledged meltdown she was caught by surprise by the stalking lights and large beep that blared from a car behind her. With a jump and squeal she allowed a few tears to leak and turned to see the only person that could make her smile in a situation like this. Her best friend. He beckoned her over and opened the car from the inside for good measure. She should've known that he would come, despite the fact it was 2am and the boy was usually locked into a whole new reality of dreams and fears during this time. He would always come. He was always there. She smiled and sat on the leather seat of the contraption, loving the sound of the creaking of the door as she shut it. The click secured her inside. After a taking in the new scent of doughnuts, wet dog and coffee (a strangely welcoming mixture) she turned to face her saviour. A dishevelled raven haired university student still clad in his sleeping gear smiled at her, the shadow around his mouth outlining the large grin spread on his face whilst his tan skin perfectly contrasted with his pearly whites.
"Don't you just love the 2am night sky?" He asked sarcastically.
She peered into his sleep deprived eyes and couldn't help but see the hidden concern there, the two pools of chocolate bombarding her with questions she was not ready to ask. She looked away, not wanting to cry. But turned back when something warm hugged her frozen hand. She looked to see the perched eyebrow, his hand was holding hers.
"You're freezing Mist." She smiled at his deep voice, images of the pre-puberty squeak he once held whizzing through her already busy mind. She was snapped from her tiny reminisce by the soft touch of cotton on her leg. His jacket. She smiled and quickly shrugged the material over the top of her cardigan.
"Thanks Ash." Her voice whispered. She couldn't seem to manage much more.
"Its SuperAsh to you." She giggled at the utter dorkiness of her friend. And suddenly he became very serious. "Gonna tell me what happened?" She shook her head. No. Not just yet anyway.
There was a pause and he handed over the coffee he'd stopped by to get, the reason he was so late. With widened eyes she happily accepted the offer and instantaneously the pads of her palms were heated from the plastic cylinder and she couldn't suppress the content sigh that fell freely from her poppy pink lips. The man beside her grinned wider but his face soon fell. It was 2am. He should be in bed. She should be in bed. They should not be sat in his death trap sipping coffees, not at 2am at least. She hadn't wanted to talk about it but he couldn't help himself, he wanted to know- correction he had to know. And the more he looked at her, the more details he took in to begin his mental guessing game. One of the first things he noticed was her smudged eye makeup. He frowned. She'd been crying? He did not like seeing his best friend crying and in that very moment he promised himself that he would not only find the cause of his best friends pain but also show them two of his friends that would leave beautiful certificates on their faces for all their hard work. Deep down he knew though. He knew it was him. But Ash didn't like to make assumptions or pass judgements on other people, his mother had taught him better than that. His observation continued and he watched the woman slouch into the worn chair and rest her eyes on the ceiling of the car, finding a stain much more interesting than she should have. The silence that pursued encased him, it was all so very daunting. It had been a while since any moment with Misty had been so strained. He needed to make her smile or talk. He wanted her to be happy. The sort of happy she'd give the infamous Misty Waterflower eye roll, show the shallow cheek dimples that were barely noticeable to most and the broad, adorable smile that uplifted even the dullest of people. He couldn't stand her being upset. Hell, her being pissed at him was better than this, he concluded.
Suddenly, he was graced with the perfect idea.
"You owe me £2.50," Ash was well aware of the reaction he'd provoke from the redhead.
Wide eyed she looked at the man.
"Excuse me?" Her tone high and squeaky, he held back a chuckle, rubbed his eyes (not just for effect) and reiterated.
"£2.50, you owe me." When he only got the 'are-you-being-genuinely-serious-right-now?' facial expression he continued. "You know, for the coffee." He acted as though it was common knowledge and shrugged off her expression although inside he was bubbling with anticipation for her explosion.
"I owe you?" Nothing but utter disbelief on Misty's behalf. So much so that Ash had to look through the window to continue the charade and not burst out laughing on the spot. It sounded odd but he loved arguing with the girl.
"Well yeah. I brought you coffee."
"Well I didn't ask for coffee." She'd fallen for it, he giggled to himself and just shrugged at the stubborn woman sat next to him. "Here, take it back."
She shoved the cup towards his face and he pushed it back to her chest.
"I don't want it. It's got all of your icky germs on it." Perching an eyebrow she sent a stern glance his way.
"It's never bothered you before! And icky, Ash? Really?" She drawled out the last word in a way that sounded patronising to the younger of the two but it no longer phased him, in fact he barely registered it.
"Yes, really. And I go out of my way to pick you up at 2am, may I remind you and I'm even as thoughtful as to serve you with the true morning beverage and this is how you repay me? It's like it's all take, take, take with you." If it weren't for Ash's overly sugar coated tone and the mischievous glint in his eye Misty may have felt a pang of guilt, but in fact she noted what he was doing and played a long with the act, smiling to show she understood.
"Me? I've no idea what you're talking about. Take, take take? You know what I call that?" Without giving the poor man a chance to answer she continued. "Complete and utter bullshit."
"And what do you call this then?" He pulled gently on his jacket, which to him admittedly looked better on her. Subconsciously she pulled the material around her, her eyes pleading innocence.
"No idea what you're talking about."
"Really." Her answer short and snappy, not the slightest hesitation. If he hadnt already knew that he had given the redhead his jacket he may have even believed her.
"Then what is that overly sized jacket your wearing, I swear I have one just like it." She smirked and leaned forward, a clear acceptance of his issued challenge.
"Then you must be mistaken." He too leaned forward.
"Really?" The air tense.
"Really." To someone outside it would appear as though the two were about to tackle one another. So it would've been even stranger when the two burst into laughter and rolled about it their seats, just from the memory of their younger years together.
Once the laughter calmed down Misty wiped the tears of happiness from her eyes, smudging her make up further. Not that she cared. It was just Ash. Looking back over at her he noticed the smudged makeup even more now and tossed his head side ways to evaluate her once again. Secretly, he thought she still looked as beautiful as ever, concern continued to flood him, however. Misty felt his eyes scrutinising her. She exhaled. She'd have to tell him sometime. So she looked away so she wouldn't have to see the pity pleading with her, through his eyes.
"He cheated." From the corner of her eye she noticed him grip the wheel tight so that his knuckles paled considerably.
"I'll kill him." He wasn't kidding either. Misty grazed her hand over his.
"Don't?" It was more of a question, a suggestion. A tired response that made it seem as though this had been some long time secret she'd finally spilled.
He sighed- not pleased.
"Fine." A little white lie never hurt. The girl knew. Too right, she knew. For her, the boy was as readable as a child's picture book. But didn't prod it any further. He'd only do it anyway. It was just the way Ash was. Stubborn.
Uncontrollably, Ash yawned and Misty glanced at the clock, it was well past 2am now.
"I'm sorry Ashy." If he didn't just want to bundle her up in his arms right now and protect her from the world he would've screamed at her for the nickname.
"It's okay." For a moment he closed his eyes, just a little too long for the redheads liking.
"Ash?" No response. "Ash." Still, silence. "Ketchum." A slight snore surpassed his lips. "Ash!"
Jumping up on high alert he glanced around till his eyes met the annoyed redhead.
"Heh... It's after 2am after all." She rolled her eyes. And signalled for him to get in the back so she could drive the two home. He didn't argue, he knew how she was. Stubborn.
He was an idiot. One, kind enough to listen to his best friend call in early hours of the morning, calm her down and pick her up at 2am just because she'd had a rough night and wanted to make sure she got home safe. He was her idiot. She let her mind stray as the boy slept behind her and she deemed the days events forgettable and unworthy of her tears. She had a man. Not in the same sense. No, Ash was so much better. She adjusted her mirror to see her coal haired knight, snoring and not too quietly. She most definitely had her man.