Author: Cattails PM
-Slash- Maddy has a lot to deal with lately: a new home, new school, new boyfriend...and a redheaded jerk who just won't leave him alone. But as long as he keeps taking his pills, everything will be fine. ...maybe.Rated: Fiction M - English - Humor/Romance - Chapters: 13 - Words: 87,536 - Reviews: 224 - Favs: 254 - Follows: 257 - Updated: 07-15-09 - Published: 12-14-07 - id: 2450553
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
*peeks from behind wall* *cough* So, uh...anyone still here...? I am infinitely sorry for the amount of time it took to write this! Writer's block, y'all. Nasty business. I have learned an important lesson: Thanksgiving is mad boring to write about. *sigh* But anyway. First, I'd like to thank Allie for helping me figure out who would show up in this chapter! Although she probably doesn't remember, since it was back in November. Oh well. Secondly, I'd like to thank Chas for getting me to stick with who shows up in this chapter. :3
Well, nothing much else to say. Introduction of a new character, plus the formal introduction of a character mentioned a few times. Yay! Hope you enjoy it, loves! (Although I kinda hate this chapter. Blurgh.) OH! By the way, Thanksgiving is in October in Canada. And this story's set in Canada. Just so you know. If you didn't. :D
Summary of Clichés Thus Far (cont'd):
24) The cliché character named ALEX! (Seriously, practically every slash story I've ever read has had a character named Alex.)
25) The cliché character named AIDEN! (Same thing as Alex.)
26) The cliché jock named MARK! (Again, almost every slash story I've seen involving jocks has at least one named Mark.)
27) The cliché SEX TALK!
28) The cliché friends from OLD SCHOOL!
29) The cliché NEW FRIENDS!
30) The cliché SLEEPOVER!
31) The cliché SCHOOL SHOWERS!
32) The cliché meting the boyfriend's PARENTS!
33) And finally, the cliché GRANDMOTHER!
Story Warnings: Like I said, it's slash. That means boy on boy action. There might be girl on girl action later, too. We'll see how it goes. Also, there will be swearing, lots of fluff, romantic sappiness, touchy subjects that may offend some readers (but no one's forcing you to read it!), really big jerks, making out (maybe more!), smoking, alcohol, the stupid things teenagers do, and...maybe the occasional evil rabbit. You have been warned!
Disclaimers: I don't own any brand names mentioned in this story. I do however claim all characters and plot. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. And if these characters do resemble any real people...I'm kinda worried.
Chapter Thirteen: Whoever Thought Grandmothers Were Nice Little Old Ladies Who Knit and Bake Cookies Obviously Never Met Mine
"Maddy," murmurs a sing-song voice. "Wake up, Maddy."
"Go away," I grumble, burrowing deeper into my pillows.
"C'mon, Maddy, no going back to sleep."
"Leave me alone," I mumble, frowning. Who's trying to wake me up this early on a Sunday?!
"Now, don't talk that way to your grandmother!"
That wakes me up. I quickly sit up, blinking blearily at the woman grinning down at me.
"Grams?" I croak, shocked.
She beams, blue eyes identical to my mum's crinkling at the corners. "Hi, Maddy!"
"What are you doing here?" I ask, confused. She lives out in the Maritimes…what's she doing in Ontario?!
She stares at me, eyebrow raised. "Seriously, boy? I'm here for Thanksgiving!"
"'Thanksgiving'?" I repeat, dumbly.
"Yes…tomorrow's October 13th. Thanksgiving Monday, remember?"
"Oh, uh, right…"
She laughs, shaking her head. "My, you're out of it. I'll leave you to get dressed, then."
I watch Grams leave the room, blinking groggily. Okay. Thanksgiving. Right.
Stifling a yawn, I slide out of bed and stumble to the closet, dragging out a pair of old plaid pyjama pants and a long-sleeved shirt. I'll shower after eating something. Last time I showered on an empty stomach, I fainted. I choose not to try that again.
Now dressed and partially awake, I go to the bathroom, then stagger downstairs, still yawning. I stayed late at Alex's last night, so haven't had much sleep (and, no, it's not because we were going at it all night!). I would've slept over, but he said he had family stuff today. I'm gonna guess he was talking about Thanksgiving.
Everyone's in the kitchen when I get there, and they turn to the door when I walk in. Mum breaks out into a wide smile when she sees me, rushing over to pull me into a tight hug.
"Oh, Maddy, I've missed you so much!" she exclaims, pressing a kiss to my cheek.
"It hasn't been that long," I mutter, face turning red in embarrassment.
"You're my baby! Every hour away from you is painful!"
I pull out of her embrace with a groan, heading quickly for the fridge.
"Take your affection out on someone else."
She laughs good-naturedly, returning to the table where a steaming cup of coffee waits. I join her a minute later, cradling a glass of juice in my hand, and looking around.
"Where're Dad and Grams?" I ask, dropping down into one of the chairs.
"Getting stuff for dinner, I imagine," she replies, raising the cup to her lips.
"I still don't understand how you have zero cooking skills, yet Grams is right up there with dad."
Mum shrugs, smiling slightly. "I take after my dad in that way, I guess. He couldn't cook to save his life."
I laugh, resting my arms on my raised knees. "Good to see genetics at work."
She rolls her eyes with a grin. "You're lucky you take after your father, otherwise I don't think I'd ever let you live on your own."
I shrug, smirking. "I'd just do what you did and find a husband with mad cooking skills to feed me. It's like gold-digging, except more delicious."
Mum laughs at that, shaking her head. "I don't know how I ended up with a son like you."
"Just luck, I guess," I reply, smirking. "Anyway, are Dad's parents coming this year?"
Mum shakes her head, rolling her eyes. "They're on a trip to Florida. Because Heaven forbid they spend time with their son's family."
Dad comes from a pretty wealthy family (upper middle class, if you will). They always expected their son to grow up and marry some rich debutante, take over his father's law firm, and have perfect children. Instead, he pursued a career as a caterer, married an eccentric mathematician with an equally eccentric mother, and had me, the gay boy with mental issues. Not exactly the life they envisioned for their only son. Of course, they weren't exactly happy with the life Dad chose for himself, and so distanced themselves, never coming over for Christmas or Thanksgiving, or any of those other family type things, and only occasionally calling. I don't care much; they're jerks, anyway.
Mum's face lights up suddenly as a wide smile curls her full lips.
"However, I do have some surprise visitors coming over."
I look at her suspiciously.
She tsks teasingly, shaking her finger at him.
"That'd give away the surprise."
I roll my eyes, sipping my juice. Mum has always liked her surprises.
"What time will they be here?"
She taps her lip, eyes rolling up thoughtfully.
"Three-ish, I think. So you have time for a shower and whatever else you need to do before they get here."
I nod, finishing off my juice. I hear a rattle, bringing my eyes back to my mother. She holds out the familiar orange bottle, gaze slightly worried.
"Don't forget your pill."
I sigh internally, accepting the bottle and popping off the lid. A quick shake sends a small white capsule shooting out into my palm, which quickly gets swallowed down. I am a master of the pill-popping.
"Well, I'm gonna go take that shower now."
Mum nods, smiling, and I shuffle out of the kitchen, scratching my head. Visitors, eh? I know it isn't Kiwi or Joy, because they always get caught up in giant family gatherings at Thanksgiving. Doesn't leave a whole lot of choices, does it?
Once I'm safely locked in the bathroom, I unwind the bandage from around my wrist, inspecting the nearly healed cut. Kinda scabby, but a lot better. It'll leave a scar, though. The cut on my finger's already gone, and the bruise has faded a lot. I'm starting to look less like an abuse case.
Probably won't last long, though, knowing my track record.
Sighing, I pull off my clothes and pad over to the shower, goosebumps prickling along my skin. Ugh, why is it always so cold in here?!
I jump into the shower, blasting the hot water until I actually feel awake. I don't see why I have to be up so early; it's not like there's anything for me to help with during Thanksgiving, except setting the table and washing dishes. And that's not until at least five o'clock. I think my family's just sadistic.
I don't stay in the shower for long, wanting to get at least some homework done before three. It's not like I've been home much to do any.
Shut up, I know I'm a nerd.
I finish drying myself, hang up the towel, then peek out of the bathroom before making a mad, buck-naked dash to my room. Once I'm safely inside, I throw on some clothes and search out my bag, which I find partly shoved under my bed. Dragging it out, I locate my homework, and toss it on the bed, eyes narrowed. Okay, English, Bio, French, History…buggers gave me work in every class. Still, this shouldn't take too long.
I crawl onto the bed after my bag, flopping on my stomach and dragging out my books and pen. English first, because it's just answering questions on the text. And I always do the homework I hate first.
Okay. Gotta concentrate.
Damn, it's quiet.
My eyes skitter away from the paper and fall on my desk. Ashes' iPod.
Well…I could use some music…
Sliding off my bed, I pad over to the desk and plug the speakers into the skinny device, scrolling through until I find something. Music filling the room, I return to the bed and start working, softly singing along to the song.
I really need to return that thing…
Heaving a sigh, I stretch my arms and crack my back, blinking at the clock. My eyes widen. Whoa. A lot more time's gone by than I expected.
The sound of a car door slamming catches my attention, dragging my gaze to the window (of course, I can only see a bunch of leaves from the tree outside).
Curiosity gets the better of me, and I vault off my bed, dashing out of my room and down the stairs. Just as my feet hit the tile of the foyer, the doorbell rings.
"Maddy, can you get that?" calls my mum from somewhere in the house.
"Already on it!" I yell back, trotting to the door.
It takes a second to get the lock turned (it's a tricky bastard), and then I'm yanking open the door to reveal…
I stare, mouth gaping.
The brunet raises a hand in greeting, grinning widely.
He laughs, blue-green eyes crinkling.
"Don't sound so surprised. It's not like it's been months since you last saw me."
I roll my eyes. "Maybe not months, but I haven't seen you since, I dunno, like August or something."
Ringed fingers scratch his head as he shrugs awkwardly.
"Okay, fine, it's been awhile." Eyebrows raise, an amused smile touching his lips. "So, gonna let me in?"
I jump back, embarrassed.
"Oh right. Yeah, come in."
He laughs, ruffling my hair as he passes.
I scowl, closing the door and patting down the messy strands.
He kicks off his shoes and hangs his jacket in the closest, then turns to me with another grin.
"So, wanna show me your new room? Gotta be bigger than the last one."
In the past, I would've pretty much had a fit at the idea of Aiden wanting to see my room. Now, however, I just smile and shrug, hands in my pockets.
He follows me up the stairs, looking around with interest, but not saying anything. Sometimes it's hard to tell what Aiden's thinking.
"So, uh, this is my room," I say, gesturing at the slightly messy blue room.
The tall brunet strolls in behind me, whistling.
"Wow, this place is huge. At least twice the size of your last room."
I shrug, clearing my homework off the bed and flopping down.
"Yeah, I guess." I glance up at him with a lopsided grin. "You can sit down, y'know."
I'm kinda surprised when he drops down next to me, but don't say anything. I know he doesn't mean anything by it. 'Sides, I'm over my crush.
Aiden leans back against the wall, folding his arms behind his head. Bright eyes glance at me as he settles in.
"Didya get my delivery the other day?"
I frown. Delivery…?
"You mean the pills and key? Yeah, I did. Thanks."
He grins. "No problem. Didn't want you getting into any trouble."
My gaze unconsciously falls on my scabby wrist. Right. Trouble.
I guess he notices something, because he leans in, frowning.
"Hey, did something happen? You didn't hurt yourself, did you?"
I paste a smile on my face, flipping my hand over.
"Nope! Everything's good!"
The sound that comes from him is a mix between a growl and a sigh.
"I know you're lying."
I cringe under his gaze, smile slipping from my face. I keep forgetting how well Aiden knows me. I cough, scratching my head.
"Well, alright, so there was a little…mishap with a scalpel and pair of scissors, but—"
"I'm okay!" I insist, holding up my hands. "Really! Everything's healed! I'm still alive! No missing limbs!"
I pause. "Eh?"
"Where'd you get hurt?"
I blink. "Oh, uh…" I hold up my right arm, wrist facing him. "I had a cut on my finger, but it's gone now."
Calloused fingers trace the scabs, narrowed eyes studying them closely.
"Looks like a pretty serious cut."
I drop my arm, shrugging. "Not really. I mean, yeah, it'll scar, but I didn't need stitches or anything."
He sighs, rubbing his eyes. "That's not the point."
My face settles into a glare. "Aiden, knock it off. Stop acting like my parents."
A scowl is sent my way. "I'm just worried."
"I get it. But it's still annoying."
Rolling his eyes, he leans back. "Fine."
"Did you see a doct—?"
"Okay, okay! Jesus."
I sigh, dropping back against the wall, my head making a dull thunk sound. Aiden scowls at the wall across from us, not saying anything. My fingers restlessly pick at my comforter as I try to think of something to say. I love Aiden like the brother I never had, but he can be a moody little bugger. I'd find it cute if it wasn't so damn annoying…and y'know, directed at me.
"So, any new girlfriends or anything?" I ask suddenly with forced cheer.
Aiden's head snaps around in surprise, blue-green eyes blinking at me in confusion.
"Oh, uh…no," he replies, frowning. "Um…you?"
Whoops, didn't think he'd turn the tables. I was just trying to move past the awkwardness!
I scratch my head, looking away.
His eyebrows lift in interest as he leans closer.
"Oh? Gotta new guy?"
I cough, flushing. "Uh…yeah, you could say that…"
"Got any pictures?"
Crap, I should've seen this coming. But, uh…at least he isn't mad anymore?
Sighing to myself, I crawl over to my nightstand, grabbing a couple pictures Frankie took during lunch one day. All of them are pretty much the same: me trying to hide, and Alex grinning while preventing me from escaping.
I'm not a fan of pictures.
Aiden whistles, smirking.
"Pretty cute. Almost looks like a girl."
I cut him a glance.
"He's definitely not."
The thought of me dating a girl? …ew. Just…ew.
Eyebrows shoot up at that, a smirk dancing on his lips.
"Seen down there already?"
My mismatched eyes roll, a loud sigh leaving my mouth. Aiden is more immature than me sometimes.
"School showers, dude. Even I'm not that fast."
His eyebrows somehow climb even higher at that, and my cheeks flare up.
"Okay, so maybe I am, but… Oh, fuck you."
He grins cheekily, winking.
"Better save that for your boyfriend."
Growling playfully, I give him a shove, almost knocking him off the bed. He laughs, pushing me back, and suddenly everything's back to normal. Good thing about Aiden: he doesn't hold grudges.
After knocking each other around a bit, I call a truce, the laughter hurting my stomach.
"You should know you can't beat me by now," teases my older friend, tweaking my nose.
As I shoot him a dirty look, he slides off the bed and wanders to the desk.
"I didn't know you got an iPod," he remarks, picking it up and examining it curiously.
I lean back against the wall, yawning.
He glances at me, bemused.
"Who's is it? Your boyfriend's?"
Urk, it sounds weird hearing him say 'boyfriend'.
Shaking my head, I distractedly run my fingers along the scabs on my wrist, watching Aiden scroll through songs.
"It's my…" I hesitate to call Ashes a friend, considering how much we fight. "…Ashes."
Aiden looks interested.
I nod, shrugging.
"This guy I hang out with." I point at a snapshot pinned to the board above my desk, depicting me and the redhead (something Frankie forced us to do). "That's him right there."
Aiden leans forward, studying the picture.
"Kinda looks like the type that'd mug you in a dark alley."
I snort at the description. "I know, eh? But he's not that bad. Bit of a jerk, but you get used to him."
"Ah, one of those."
He sets the music player on the desk before moving around the rest of my room, poking around curiously. If it were anyone else, I'd probably kill them…but since it's Aiden, it's okay.
I idly watch him with hooded eyes, yawns escaping here and there. I'm not sure if Aiden ever realised I liked him. It was pretty obvious, the way I followed him around everywhere, talking to him all the time, and generally being a lovesick idiot. But if he noticed anything, he never mentioned it. It's not like anything would've happened between us, anyway; I know Aiden's straight. Besides, who knows how my parents would've reacted?
My eyes skim sleepily over his nicely toned body, messy honey-brown hair, and angular features, lightly dusted with freckles.
Well, at least I had good taste.
"So, how's the 'rich life' going?" Aiden grins at me over his shoulder, idly flipping through the textbooks on my desk.
"Weird. You should see the kids at my school. Hell, you should see my school!"
He laughs. "I did, remember? Lot fancier than your old one."
"I hate the uniforms."
His eyes roll as he moves over to the window. "You always find something to complain about."
I flip over onto my stomach, wrapping my arms around a pillow.
"What about you? How's the business?"
"Eh, busy as usual. But you probably already know that, seeing how often your parents work late…"
He can say that again.
The doorbell rings suddenly downstairs, and I frown in confusion. More people?
"Someone else coming?" asks Aiden, looking up from poking around my bookshelf.
I shrug, sliding off the bed to walk over to the window. "Apparently."
There's a murmur of voices downstairs, before I hear footsteps running up the stairs. Seconds later, the door bursts open, revealing a beaming redhead.
"Hey, there, pumpkin!"
I stare in surprise. Uh…what the hell?
Aiden, ever the nice guy, steps forward with a smile. "You must be Ashes."
The redhead looks at him curiously, scraping back messy red bangs. "Nope, I'm Frankie."
Aiden blinks in surprise. "Oh, Maddy never mentioned Ashes had a twin brother."
A burst of laughter escapes the twin, eyes shining. "Dude, I'm a girl."
Cue look of utter shock. Ah, my Aiden is so predictable.
He flushes, scratches his head, and clears his throat, the picture of awkwardness.
"Oh. Er, sorry…"
Frankie walks over to the bed with a grin, dropping down to cross her legs pretzel-style. I join her, now that I know who's here.
"No problem. Everyone makes the same mistake. Even Mads here."
I shoot her a glare, shoving her arm.
"Hey, shut up. It was a rough day."
"Oh, right, you'd just met Ashes, hadn't you?"
"Damn right, I had. Speaking of the red-haired demon, where is he?"
Frankie snorts at the nickname, leaning back on her hands. "He'll be here in a minute. Mum needed some help bringing in the food."
I gape in horror. "You guys brought food?!"
The girl quirks an eyebrow. "Uh, yeah? Why?"
I shake my head, feeling slightly ill. "Nothin'. We're just gonna have enough leftovers to last us to Christmas. At least."
"That bad, huh?"
She whistles, eyes wide. My family takes a little bit of getting used to.
"Fuck, I need a smoke."
Ashes storms into the room, glaring as usual, and yanks a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. He lights up as soon as he reaches the window and shoves it open, letting out an almost orgasmic groan.
Uh, okay, then.
"Hello, brother dearest," drawls Frankie, eyebrow raised.
"You're a bitch, makin' me do all the carrying," he replies, frowning.
Green eyes flick around the room, blinking when they land on Aiden.
"Who the hell are you?"
The brunet raises an eyebrow, not intimidated by Ashes' assholey-ness (oh, look, a new word, made just for everyone's favourite redhead!).
"Hm. How old are you?"
A stream of smoke flows out the window, green gaze never leaving Aiden's face.
"Little old, dontcha think?"
Aiden's eyebrow shoots up.
Ashes lips tilt into a knowing smirk.
"What do you think?"
"Oh, my God, Ashes, would you shut up?" growls Frankie, glaring at her twin.
The other redhead shrugs, taking another drag on his cigarette.
"Just lookin' out for dear little Maddykins."
I just gape at him.
"Uh, Aiden's straight," I point out for lack of anything else to say.
Ashes quirks an eyebrow.
"So he says."
Frankie rubs her eyes with a grimace.
"Ashes, just…stop talking. Please."
Aiden snorts, a grin tugging at his mouth.
"I think this one's got a crush on you, Mads," he drawls, head jerking in Ashes' direction.
The redhead's face instantly flushes.
"No, I don't," he growls, eyes narrowed.
Aiden's eyebrows shoot up.
"You sure about that? Awfully defensive."
"Fuck you," he snarls, fists clenched. I wonder where the cigarette went?
Aiden's smirk is positively evil as he leans forward, hands in his pockets.
"I bet you'd much rather fuck Maddy."
I'm pretty sure my face goes just as red as Ashes'.
"Aiden!" I yelp, voice strangled.
The brunet smiles apologetically at me, but I can see the amusement in his eyes. Traitor.
Frankie is laughing beside me, although whether it's more at me or her twin, I can't tell.
"Aw, man, Mads, I love your friend. Can I keep him?"
I roll my eyes, glancing back at Aiden.
"If you really want."
The brunet's face falls into a fake pout. "But I thought you loved me, Maddy."
My face instantly flushes. Gah.
Before anyone can question the sudden resemblance I have to a tomato, my door flies open, revealing my mum. Who is covered in flour.
"Aiden! I need your help!" She doesn't even look at the rest of us, huge blue eyes strained and panicked.
Aiden just sighs, shaking his head as he walks toward the door.
"Ezzie, you have got to stay out of the kitchen."
"I know, I know, I'm sorry, I just… Help!"
"Okay, I'm coming, calm down." He shoots the rest of us a grin, waving. "Well, guess I'll see you guys later."
"Good luck!" Frankie calls after him, grinning. But as soon as the door shuts, her mouth falls into a smirk, and she turns to me, looking scarily like Ashes. "So. Spill."
I blink at her, confused.
"Huh? Spill what?"
Green eyes roll dramatically.
"Don't play stupid with me, Mads. I saw that blush!"
At the mention of the blush, it returns in full force. Goddammit.
"I wasn't blushing!"
Her finger pokes my cheek, while she sings, "You still are!"
I swat it away with a scowl.
"Now, now," she chides, playfully wagging a finger. "Don't get mad at me."
Sliding off the bed, I stomp over to the window, where Ashes is still casually residing, face strangely grumpy.
"Make her stop!" I order, pointing a finger back at his cackling twin.
The redhead raises an eyebrow.
"You think I can control her? She's fucking nuts."
"I am not!" retorts Frankie.
I groan, wrapping my fingers in my hair. "You're both fucking nuts." My mind suddenly flies back to the earlier conversation, and my head snaps up, eyes narrowing. "By the way, what the hell was with that interrogation?"
He flips the hair out of his eyes with a quick flick of his fingers.
"What about it?"
My hands flap around agitatedly. "You! Attacking Aiden!"
He shrugs lazily, face not changing from its usual sullen appearance.
"Just makin' sure he isn't some pervert."
I gape. What.
"I've been friends with Aiden for years! …and he's straight! Which, y'know, means he likes girls. Which I am not." He quirks an eyebrow, and I growl. "Bring up my name, and I kill you."
He shrugs again, smirk curling across his mouth. Great. Now he and Frankie really are identical.
I throw my hands in the air, spinning to head for the door.
"I hate you both."
Frankie just laughs harder.
Dinner…goes surprisingly well. The food is fine (thankfully, Mum didn't get her hands on it earlier), everyone's (mostly) behaving themselves…and I have yet to suffer public embarrassment! Hell, my parents seem to love the twins' and their parents.
Of course, this changes at dessert.
"So, Maddy, how long have you and Ashes been dating?" Grams asks, cradling a cup of coffee between her wrinkled hands.
The pie travelling to my mouth stops and falls off my fork. The twins freeze.
Grams smiles, blue eyes sparkling.
"Now, now, Maddy, you can't fool me. I see the way he looks at you. So tell me, how long have you two been seeing each other? You haven't been here long, so it must have started recently."
My mouth opens and closes a few times, and I'm sure I look like a fish. Luckily, Frankie pipes up.
"Uh, Maddy and Ashes aren't dating," she coughs, trying to disguise her laugh.
Grams blinks in surprise. "They aren't? But, Esmeralda told me Maddy had found himself a boyfriend."
"That'd be Alex," I say, embarrassed and shooting a suspicious glare at Mum. Damn gossip. She smiles back innocently.
"Alex? Well, why didn't you invite him over?"
I go back to my pie, hoping someone will change the subject.
"He had family stuff."
"I see. Well, I'm sure he's a lovely boy. Although it's a shame you and Ashes aren't a couple. I've grown rather fond of him." She grins at the redhead, whose face has gone stony (although his cheeks are suspiciously pink).
"They would make a cute couple, wouldn't they? Although Ashes isn't even half as nice as Alex. I don't think you'd want your grandson stuck with this lout. He'd probably keep him tied in the basement and do horrible things to him or something."
"Frankie!" Ashes and I both sound equally horrified.
"What? It's true."
I groan, burying my face in my hands.
"I hate you."
They all ignore me, and Grams turns her attention to the embarrassed redhead. "Well, Ashes, since you're not dating my grandson, do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend?"
Ashes clears his throat, not looking up.
Grams tuts. "Now, why not? A handsome boy like you! I bet you've got them lined up at the door."
Ashes grimaces, slouching in his chair, but doesn't reply. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've seen Ashes with anybody since I got here.
Then again, he doesn't really seem like the dating type.
"Oh, Ashes has dated plenty in the past," says Maeve, patting her son's hand with a smile. "He used to have someone new every few weeks!"
"Mum," he growls warningly, hands clenched in his lap.
The blonde woman sighs loudly.
"Oh, honestly, so touchy." She shoots a knowing smile at my parents. "Teenagers these days."
I stare at Ashes in surprise. Well, someone's a slut.
And his parents are okay with that…?
I glance around the table, wondering how everyone's reacting. No one seems especially concerned. Although Aiden is looking between Ashes and his parents with just as much surprise as I am. Oh, good, so I'm not alone in the questioning of their easygoingness.
And I thought my parents were weird.
"Oh, by the way, Mum, I read that book you recommended."
Grams eyes brighten as she turns to look at my mother, freeing Ashes from her scrutiny.
"Oh, did you? And what did you think?"
And just like that, the conversation is abruptly brought to a new topic, leaving me and Ashes free from anymore embarrassment.
Still, I think I want to know more about this new side of the redhead…
"Maddy, come with me, there's something I want to give you before I leave."
Curious, I follow Grams to the living room, leaving Aiden to continue with the dishes (the twins' family already went home). I notice a gift bag sitting on the coffee table, which she picks up and hands to me with a smile.
"Grams, you didn't have to get me anything," I point out, eyebrow raised. "It's Thanksgiving, not Christmas."
She shrugs, waving her hand. "Yes, well, I thought this could be useful. After all, you're in your last year of high school!"
Suspicious, I accept the bag, glancing between it and Grams, who is still smiling brightly.
"Well? Are you going to open it?"
"Uh, I guess…"
Inside is filled with bright purple tissue paper. I didn't know you could pack this much into such a small bag. After much digging, I see a box. Frowning, I pull it out…
My eyes are wide and horrified as I stare at my serene grandmother.
"Grams, you bought me condoms?!"
Her eyes sparkle. "And lube, dear! Did you know it comes in different flavours? I couldn't decide which you'd like best, so I got you a few different ones. Isn't that fun?"
I gape at her.
Still looking quite happy with herself, Grams pats my cheek and plants a kiss on my forehead.
"Well, I have to get going, sweetie. Use my present well! After all, you should enjoy your senior year as much as possible!"
I don't manage to say anything back, still staring into the bag with horror as she leaves.
My grandmother gave me sex supplies.
I groan, dropping my head.
Fuck my life.