Before you read, let me fill you in a little bit about the day and age that the characters are growing up in.
Basically, you could call it a parallel universe because I've taken the world today and flipped it, just a little bit. Men and women are not allowed to be together. Men date/marry men, and women date/marry women. It's basically illegal for a man and a woman to be together. In order to have kids, the women are taken to a clinic where they get pregnant by a sperm doner. The men, on the other hand, have no choice but to go in and adopt a baby from a woman who broke the law and had a child with a man. It's horrible, I know, but it's the norm. I got the idea from Rachel, a friend of mine. She let me use the idea (even though she's got a story going) and I love her for it :)
Now you may read xD
Ashlynn Marrie took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. When they agreed to do this, she never dreamt it would become so huge. But now that it was, she could not back out. She had a promise to fullfill, to herself and to the wonderful boy beside her, who was equally as nervous. It had been Ashlynn's idea, but he had every intention to pull it off. Then they could be together forever, and nobody could stop them. That's how they both wanted it. Though they'd spent weeks upon weeks dreaming up ways to defy their parents and, above all, society, they never imagined it would ultimely come to this. . . .
Two Months Earlier
Ashlynn sat in her room listening to music while her mother sat below her in the living room, meeting the new neighbors. She knew she should be down there too, getting to know the neighbors as well and maybe befriending their son if they had one, but she just couldn't bring herself to get up. At least, she couldn't until her mother knocked on her door, demanding that she join them.
"Why do I have to come down?" she asked, turning off her music player.
"Because," her mother, Debbie, answered, "you're being rude and they have a son, and he really wants to meet you." Ashlynn groaned. If only she got a dollar every time her mom tried to set her up with a friend. "I want you down in five," she said and then shut the door to give Ashlynn some privacy. Rolling her eyes, she climbed out of bed and got dressed in what her mom called 'appropriate' clothing. She would have preferred to go down in her sleepwear, but her mother would absolutely flip. She pulled on a dark grey hoodie and some socks and walked out into the hallway, tip-toeing down the stairs. She wasn't the least bit surprised to find that everyone was in the kitchen, where the smell of her mom's veggie lasagna was coming from. She put a smile on her face and walked in.
"Hey mom," she said, joining the group. Her mom pulled her into a hug and introduced her to the neighbors.
"John, Alan, this is my daughter, Ashlynn." John and Alan smiled and said hi, and Ashlynn turned to her mother.
"I thought you said they had a son," she whispered, just as a boy walked in. It took all her effort not to let her jaw drop. He was tall, at least a couple inches taller than her. He had short, spikey black hair with long bangs in the front, and blue eyes that almost looked grey. His black muscle shirt that he wore showed that he had a bit of muscle underneath all that clothing. He was wearing what the kids referred to as 'skinny jeans' and had black and white converse. Not the high-tops.
"This is my son, Lyle. Lyle, this is Debbie's daughter Ashlynn," John said. Lyle finished wiping off his hands on his pants and offered her a hand.
"Hey," he said. Ashlynn bit her lip and shook it.
"Hi," she whispered. The two kids stood there, beside the stove, staring at each other. The adults carried on their conversation that they'd been having before Ashlynn joined them, completely oblivious to their children. After a while, Lyle stepped closer and leaned in.
"Do you wanna get outta here?" Ashlynn smiled softly.
"Where would we go?" Lyle shrugged and she nodded. They walked out to the living room and she slipped on her shoes, also black and white not-high-top converse, and left. If all went well, their parents would be busy talking for a few more hours, which would be long enough for the young teens to enjoy themselves.
"You know.. I'm new here," Lyle said casually. Ashlynn looked over at him, as if to ask, 'yeah?' He smiled. "You could show me around a bit, maybe introduce me to your friends. Or not," he added quickly when she frowned. "We could just hang out at a park or something." She smiled.
"I don't really have any friends. Well, that's not true. I've got one, her name's Kirstin. I guess I could introduce you." Lyle smiled again.
"I'd like that."
Turns out Kirstin wasn't home, so Ashlynn and Lyle did indeed go to a park. It was a small park right next to the elementary school. There was a set of swings, a set of baby swings, and a jungle-gym. Much to Ashlynn's delight, Lyle chose sitting atop the jungle-gym. They sat there for a while, just gazing up at the stars, when Lyle moved over a little bit so that they were closer. Then he pointed up at the sky.
"See that there? My dad says that's the Big Dipper. But I don't see where it dips at all." Ashlynn giggled, causing a smile to break out on Lyle's face. "So uh, how old are you? Your mom didn't really say, and I didn't really want to ask just in case you were older, so-"
"I'm sixteen," Ashlynn interrupted, "and I'll be seventeen in a coupla months. You?"
"I just turned seventeen a couple days ago. This move was supposedly my 'big gift', but up until now its been horrible." Ashlynn smiled.
"And why did it just get better?"
"Oh God, you're gonna make me say it, aren't you?" Ashlynn blinked up at him. "Uh, fine! But don't start whining when it sounds all cliche', okay?"
"Consider me warned."
"Well.. Meeting you, pretty much. I've never really connected with anyone before, but with you it was like, immediate. We just kind of clicked, y'know?" Ashlynn blushed.
"Yeah, I know what you mean." She lightly chewed at her bottom lip, then asked, "Wanna go over to the swings?"
"Wanna push me?" Ashlynn paused in her climbing and looked across at Lyle.
"Sure," he said with a smirk.
When the two teens returned home, their parents were just saying goodbye.
"It was nice to meet you, Ma'am," Lyle said, shaking Debbie's hand.
"It was very nice meeting you as well, Lyle. You three take care, alright?" The three men smiled and said they would, and Ashlynn shut the door. She kicked off her shoes and put them in the hall closet, and turned to her mom.
"I had fun," she said. Her mom smiled.
"I'm glad you did. So did you, uh, get along well with Lyle?" Ashlynn knew where her mom was going with this, and she rolled her eyes.
"We're gonna be good friends," she said, walking up the stairs and changing back into her sleepwear. We're going to be great friends, she thought with a smile.
A month went by, and there a wasn't a single day that Ashlynn and Lyle weren't together. They really had become the best of friends. They were inseparable. Sure, Lyle made some guy friends. But none of them brought him the same pleasure he got when he opened his front door to find Ashlynn just getting ready to knock. Much like she was just doing.
"Hey, come on in! Dinner's almost ready," Lyle said, opening the door wide. Ashlynn came in and took off her shoes, setting them on the small mat that John and Alan had designated for all the shoes in the house. Lyle thought it was silly and often told Ashlynn that one day he was just going to keep his stinking shoes on and see how it played out, but every time he said it Ashlynn would playfully slap his arm and tell him to behave his parents' wishes. He would roll his eyes and say something witty, earning yet another slap.
"Uh, my mom gave me this for you. She'll be joining us in a minute," Ashlynn said, handing John a nice, homemade pumpkin pie, complete with whipped cream on top. "I hope you like it. I helped squish the pumpkin," she finished with a giggle. John just chuckled and patted her on the head.
"I'm sure it will taste amazing. Now, be a doll and go fetch Alan for me, will you?" She nodded and waltzed out of the kitchen.
"Alan!" she called. He came down a little while later. "John wants you in the kitchen." He smiled and walked away. Lyle, being the sneaky boy that he was, decided to hide in the closet and wait for her. When she walked by intending to go up to his room, he quickly opened the door and pulled her in. She let out a squeal of surprise and he silenced her by placing his hand over her mouth.
"Shh, you're going to make them come running," he whispered, and she smiled, pulling his hand away.
"You almost gave me a heart attack!" she exclaimed in a hushed voice. She looked around, noting just how cramped they were, and for that matter, how close. "Is there any particular reason you were hiding in a closet?" He chuckled.
"No, not really. I just thought, you know, this was a lot easier than sitting in my room where everyone could hear us. Not to mention that your mom would be able to see us through her window." Ashlynn raised a brow.
"Is there a reason you don't want my mother seeing us?"
"No?" Lyle asked with a smile.
"Hm.. You seem suspicious," she teased, trying to get over the slight dizziness she was starting to feel. "Uhm, can we retreat from the closet any time soon?" He smiled.
It was at that moment that Ashlynn's mother decided to walk in. She stopped in her tracks as she watched her daughter walking out of the closet, giggling, while Lyle followed shortly after. She cleared her throat and Ashlynn, too, stopped dead in her tracks.
"Honey, could we talk outside for a minute?" Uh oh, Ashlynn thought. That's her 'I-think-you-did-something-wrong' voice. She smiled.
"Of course, mom. Be right back, Lyle," she murmured. Her mother frowned and led her outside. Ashlynn shut the door.
"What were you two doing in that closet?"
"Nothing, why?" Her mother gave her 'the look'.
"Ashlynn, you know I'll love you no matter what. Are you being honest? You two didn't do any kissing, or anything out of the sort?" Ashlynn snorted. As if she would do something like that in a closet! But no, she wouldn't dare say that. It wouldn't help her cause any more than it would help her mom's growing suspicion.
"I swear, Mom. Nothing went on in the closet. Can I go in now?" Her mother hesitated, then smiled.
"Of course you can."
They walked in together, and as soon as she saw Lyle she smiled, letting him know that everything was okay. They both knew the consequences of something like that happening between them. It wasn't allowed. If either one of them were to kiss the other, or worse, fornicate, there would be harsh punishment inflicted on both of them. Lyle would most likely be forced to move out of town, and Ashlynn would be put in a home until she learned to follow society rules, to fall in line and comform with the rest of the kids her age.
"Ah, you made it! Ashlynn said you'd be over soon," Alan greeted Debbie. He gave her one of his dazzling smiles and they all took a seat at the table, ladies first, men second.
"Well of course I made it," Debbie said with a smile. "I wouldn't dream of missing your meatloaf. Lyle says its the best there is." Alan blushed and took hold of John's hand, and they sent a loving glance toward one another. Ashlynn looked down at her lap and Lyle focused on the wall. Debbie thought nothing of it.
"Alrighty then!" John said after a long silence. "I'm sure the kids are absolutely ravenous." Ashlynn smiled, as did Lyle and Debbie. Alan got busy piling food onto everyone's plates and soon the usual conversation was well under way. Ashlynn and Lyle talked about school and any new movies that were showing, and the adults talked about work and all the usual things that were boring to teenagers. Soon everyone was done eating, and the adults were sitting in the living room enjoying a drink or two while Ashlynn and Lyle were hanging out in his room.
"So what did your mom want to talk about?" Lyle asked as soon as he heard music come on downstairs. He knew that it was impossible to hear any conversations going on upstairs with the door shut and music playing. He'd tried it himself.
"Oh, just what we were doing in the closet," Ashlynn answered with a shrug. "I really don't know why parents assume the worst. Plus, why on earth would we be stupid enough to break the rules?" Lyle smirked.
"Well, we certainly break all the others." Ashlynn looked over at him, seeing the mischevous glint in his eyes. She raised a brow.
"Are you hinting at something, my dear Lyle?" Lyle gave her a mischievous grin and looked away. She smirked and stood up. "Well, I don't wanna stay up here for much longer. I long to feel the cool night air blowing through my hair, filling my lungs, and -what? Why must you look at me like I'm a bunny offspring mixed with a hamster?" Lyle laughed.
"Where in the world do you come up with these things?" She shrugged.
"I dunno. But hey, what do you think about climbing out a window?"
"I've been waiting all night for you to ask."
They walked to the park, a place that had grown to become their meeting place when one of them missed school. The night air was colder than Ashlynn thought it would be, and before long her teeth were chattering.
"Do you want my jacket?" It was the third time Lyle offered it to her. He was sure that she'd refuse again, but when she nodded shyly he smiled. "I thought you'd want it eventually," he said with a smile. Her teeth were chattering so much that when she smiled back she resembled a chipmunk. He laughed and mentioned it, and she blushed, pulled on the jacket, and slapped his arm good and hard.
"Don't be a jerk," she giggled. Lyle pretended to be hurt and rubbed his arm. Her gaze lingered over to the swing set, and Lyle followed it after a while. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and walked towards it.
"You wanna swing? I'll push." She smiled and sat down on one of the higher seats. Lyle took his place behind her and started to push her gently, watching as she slowly went higher and higher. Eventually, she was so high that she squealed and begged him not to push her anymore.
"Alright alright, I'm stopping!" He grabbed ahold of the chains and slowly pulled her to a stop. "Happy now?" She giggled and stood up.
"Yes, yes I am," she said, a smile plastered on her face. They stood there, separated by the swing, gazing into each others' eyes. He was looking at her so intensely that she could feel herself blushing. "Lyle, quit staring. You're making me nervous." Lyle cocked his head to the side, noticing how cute she looked when she was blushing. "Lyle," she said again.
"I'm cold." She bit her lip. Get over here, you big dummy, she thought. He smiled and walked to her.
"Wouldn't want you to freeze, now, would we?" He was staring at her with that mischievous look in his eye again. She blushed.
"No, we wouldn't," she said softly. She turned to walk back towards her house and felt a hand grab her arm. She stopped and looked up at Lyle. "Yes?" He didn't answer her. No, instead, he kissed her. It was an innocent kiss, not intended to lead up to anything at all. The fact that what she was allowing to happen was breaking the rules never even crossed her mind. When it was over, they smiled.
"Still cold?" Lyle whispered. She shook her head.
"No. Do you want your jacket back?" She bit her lip.
"Not really, no."
"Well.. I guess we'd better get home then, huh?"
"Yeah." He took her hand in his and walked her home.
Throughout the rest of the month, Ashlynn and Lyle continued to grow closer. They never talked about the kiss that they'd shared, because that's all that it was. It had been a simple gesture showing that they cared about each other, nothing more. There were no other kisses. But that didn't stop people from developing suspicions about the two, much like Ashlynn's mother did with the closet incident. Rumors even started to spread that the two were a couple, and more than once local authorities showed up on their doorsteps, asking questions and leaving assured that nothing was going on. Because in reality, nothing was going on. On more than one occassion, Ashlynn and Lyle found themselves thinking about what would happen to them if someone found out about that night at the park. They even thought about running away together, to somewhere where they could be together for forever. Each time they found themselves blushing and pushing the thought from their mind, only to bring it back again some time later.
Every time some form of authority came knocking on their doors, their parents forbid them from seeing each other. Neither family wanted to even think of the possibility that their kids were running around with each other, fooling around and whatnot. On days like those, it took every ounce of self control Ashlynn had not to yell at her mom that nothing was going on between them. After the last occurrence, their parents left them alone. They were very careful not to even hint that they liked each other. They forced themselves to walk a little farther apart from each other on the sidewalk. They didn't hang out with each other in their rooms as much. They gave their parents exactly what they wanted to think; that absolutely nothing was going on.
The disturbance happened a few days after summer started. An annymous letter showed up in Ashlynn's mailbox, addressed to her mother. She handed her mom the mail and went into the kitchen, getting a glass of water. When she downed her drink and walked back out into the living room, she found her mom, letter in hand, glaring at her.
"Mom? What's wr-"
"What do you think you're doing?!" she screeched. Ashlynn took a step back.
"Don't you 'what' me! I know that you kissed that boy, and I want to know why!"
"Because I wanted to!" Her mom threw the mail onto the floor in rage.
"This wasn't supposed to happen," she growled. Ashlynn was irritated.
"I don't see why this is such a big deal! It was just a ki-"
"It is illegal!" her mom shouted. Ashlynn shut up. "You know that, Ashlynn! I've told you time and time again, just like your school! Girls aren't supposed to like boys! Do you have any idea what they'll do to you if they find out that you don't? They'll take you away from me! They'll put you in a home, and no matter how much they say they will they won't ever let you out! You know why? Because they know perfectly well that you'd be lying to them!"
"Ashlynn, just go to your room." Ashlynn walked slowly. "And Honey?" She turned to face her mother.
"I don't want you seeing Lyle ever again." That was the last straw. Ashlynn could handle her mother grounding her, and she could handle her mother possibly putting her friend down. But she would not and could not stop seeing Lyle. He was her best friend, and as much as she hated to think about it, she did love him. It was nothing like she'd seen in movies, when the actors would 'make love' and then say they loved each other. No, this was so much more. Every time she looked at him an electric shock would spread throughout her body, paralyzing her on the spot. Whenever he spoke she got butterflies in the pit of her stomach and she would flush a bright, cheery red. When he was sad, she would do all that she could to bring him back up again. There was no doubt in her mind that he loved her back. They were inseparable, always there for each other. And nobody would change that.
"Mom?" Her mother looked up at her, the mail now back in her hands.
"I hope you're happy. I really do." Without another word her mother walked into the kitchen, and Ashlynn walked up to her room and quietly shut the door.
Ashlynn looked over at the boy beside her and squeezed his hand lightly. He smiled and squeezed it back. Sirens blared behind them. Voices screamed for them to stop, to come down. Lyle pulled her closer and embraced her, kissing her forehead.
"I love you," he murmured. She stood on her toes and planted a kiss on his lips.
"And I love you," she whispered. Neither one of them looked down. They wouldn't be able to do it if they did. Ashlynn took one last look at the crowds gathered below them and clung onto Lyle's hand tighter. She took a deep breath. "You scared?" She look up into his beautiful blue eyes, and he smiled down at her, noticing for the first time that her eyes were a light brown mixed with a little bit of blue.
They were lying, they knew it. But they wanted to do it nonetheless. If they couldn't be together in this life, then maybe they could in another. Their parents were screaming at them below, begging them to come down. They tried their best to ignore them, concentrating only on what they were doing. When the sirens finally ceased, Ashlynn closed her eyes.
"Ready?" Lyle asked. He closed his eyes as well.
"Ready," she whispered. And together they jumped, ready for whatever met them below.
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