Loving Ash

Bandfic for Fanfiction Royale

•BOOK 1 IN THE LOVING 5SOS SERIES•

Ashley Clifford spends her spare time coddling her camera and dancing to classic rock. After her high school boyfriend dumps her, she spends most of her time hiding out in her room and blasting pop breakup ballads. But what happens when her brother comes home? She hasn't seen him or his band in months.

Ashton Irwin spends his spare time banging on his drums or playing video games with his friends. Lately he's been hanging with his band, playing gigs all over. Returning home, he didn't expect to find Michael's little sister all grown up. And he definitely didn't expect her to join them on tour.

What happens when these two get put together in a small space? Will they bite each other's heads off, or will sparks fly?

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49. Chapter Forty-Eight: Goodbye

Chapter Forty-Eight: Goodbye

***

Never say goodbye, because saying goodbye means leaving, and leaving means forgetting.

-Peter Pan

***

[ashley]

Saying goodbye isn't easy. In fact, it's probably one of the hardest things in the world. You can't prepare yourself for it, no matter how hard you try.

Standing in the middle of the airport, my pinky finger locked with Ashton's, I wasn't ready for it. I wanted to hold on just a little bit longer.

"We have to let go," he said softly, his breath caressing my neck. I knew he was right. We had to let go, let everything go.

"I know," I whispered back, my eyes focused on our little fingers wrapped around each other, fighting to stay together. I sighed, my pinky uncurling and slipping free from his. "I know."

I took a step away from him, lifting my gaze to his face. He looked the same as he always had, yet he looked so different.

Remember! my conscience yelled at me. Memorize his face, you idiot! Never forget him!

His strong jaw was covered in stubble, his perfect pink lips turned down at the corners and his signature dimples were missing. His green eyes were bright and glossy with dark bags under them. His hair was messy, the perfect curls falling limply over his bandana. He looked so sad.

"Smile for me?" I asked, lifting my hand to his cheek. My fingers brushed where his dimple would appear if only he would smile. I felt his jaw clench under my fingertips.

"I can't smile, Ashley," he mumbled dejectedly, his eyes scanning my face. My heart broke even more at the sight of tears in his eyes. "Not when I'm losing you again."

"It's just college, Ash," I replied, running my fingers over his cheek and into his hair. He tensed under my touch. Was I assuring him or myself?

"I love you Ashley Mae Clifford," he whispered as he wrapped his arms around my waist. I could feel the dread building up inside of me. The dreaded words were coming. I knew they were.

I couldn't say anything to him. My voice wouldn't work. Instead, I kissed him. It was a simple kiss, merely a peck. Nothing more, nothing less.

I stepped back, leaving the safe haven of his arms and taking a step closer to my gate - to my future. He did the same, each of us taking a single step backwards, until we were ten feet apart.

"Just one smile?" I asked, my voice barely carrying over the hustle and bustle of the airport. I could've sworn I saw a teardrop slip from his eye before a beautiful, heart stopping smile spread across his lips.

"Only for you, love," he called back, smiling as he stared at me from across the room. "Goodbye, Ashley."

"Goodbye, Ashton," I replied, forcing my lips into a smile.

**

Sitting in my seat, the seatbelt secure around my waist and my bag stowed securely above me, I let the tears slip down my cheeks. I was on my way to London, and he was in his way to America. This was it. This was the end.

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