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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42. Chapter Forty-One: This was a bad idea

Chapter Forty-One: This was a bad idea

[ashley]

I trotted down the stairs, clad in a pair of high waisted blue jean short shorts and a shimmery green off the shoulder top. My bare feet padded across the carpeted floor and I pulled my hair up into a messy ponytail as I walked into the kitchen.

I looked a whole lot better than I had before, but I was still a lot thinner than I should've been.

Entering the kitchen, my eyes skimmed the maple cabinets and marble countertop, landing on a huddled group of three. I furrowed my brow at the sight, confused at the third person. Sadie was the first to notice me, but I couldn't move my eyes from the extra body.

"You look tons better, sweetie," Sadie informed me, standing up and moving to the fridge. Mum was the second to react.

"Are you hungry, darling?" She asked in concern. I nodded a little, my eyes never leaving his face. His brown eyes stayed focused on mine as he shifted uncomfortably on the stool he sat on. He ran an unsteady hand through his dark hair, one of those nervous habits I had picked up from him.

"What are you doing here?" I asked softly, my voice cracking on every other word. The fact that I hadn't spoken or had anything to drink in a few days made me sound like a serious smoker. Damn it.

"I heard you had locked yourself in your room and wouldn't eat," he said softly, his eyes scanning my face quickly. "I was worried."

He was worried. About me. I drew in a deep breath as I tried to compose myself. I hadn't seen him in over two months. We hadn't talked since the break up and now here he was. Because he was worried. Yet, my boyfriend wasn't here. He was off in America, angry at me for a stupid mistake that I don't even remember.

"Oh," was all I said. I couldn't bring myself to be mad at him. After all, he was here.

"Here you go, sweetie," mum cooed, placing a sandwich on the counter in front of me. I looked away from Lance, turning my attention to my mother. She looked tired and so worried. It was my fault. "Try not to eat too fast. Your body might reject it."

I nodded, picking up the sandwich and taking a small bite. The flavors burst in my mouth as I slowly chewed the food, making my stomach growl in anticipation.

"Thank you," I mumbled, trying not to make eye contact with any of them. I could feel all of their eyes on me as I slowly devoured the delicious sandwich. Nobody moved until the sound of a phone ringing broke their stares from me.

Mum pulled her cell phone from her back pocket and answered it quickly.

"Hello Michael dear," mum cooed into the phone. I winced at the mention of my twin. Yes, he helped me get home. He also tried to convince me to stay and talk it out with Ashton. "Yes, Sadie finally got her to come out."

Great, they were talking about me.

"Yes, yes," she nodded as he spoke, a grin appearing on her face. "Of course, dear."

What? I swallowed the end of my food, my eyes flicking from each of their faces. What was going on here?

"Ashley, your brother wants to speak to you," mum said, holding the phone out to me. I stared at the iPhone, my hands shaking in my lap. Should I?

I reached out, clasping the phone tightly. Slipping from my perch on the stool, I made my way out of the kitchen and away from the stares I was receiving. I made it to the living room couch and pressed the phone to my ear. Taking a deep breath, I prepared myself for my brother's lecture.

"Hello?"

"Ashley?" Michael sounded stressed - well more so than usual.

"Yeah, it's me," I sighed, letting my head fall agains the back of the couch. I was tired. I was really tired. "What's up?"

"What's up?" He repeated, his tone incredulous. I bit the inside of my lip, knowing his lecture was coming. I hadn't kept in contact. "You've been AWOL for the past two weeks, Ashley! None of us have heard from you at all, you haven't been answering any of our calls, and we all thought you were dead. Lily said you were probably just needing space, which I would definitely understand. But then I got a call from Mum telling me you've been locked up in your room for the past two weeks, refusing anyone entry and not eating anything! And now you're asking me 'what's up!'"

"Yes?" I whispered, feeling the guilt fill me. I should've talked to him. And who's this Lily?

"Ashton has made himself sick with worry--"

"He what?" My voice was shaking as I cut him off.

"He's made himself sick, Ashley. With worry. About you." My brother repeated like he was speaking to a three year old. "Lily pointed out that--"

"I-I'm sorry," I muttered, closing my eyes. My voice hitched and I couldn't stop my hands from shaking. "I'm fine, though Mikey."

"You know he loves you," Michael said softly, his voice lowering into a half whisper. "And you love him."

"It doesn't matter, Michael," I said just as softly. I could feel the familiar burn of tears and willed myself not to cry. "He doesn't want me anywhere near him and that won't be a problem anymore."

"Just answer his calls, Ashy," my twin begged. I could hear the desperation in his voice and hesitated in my denial. "Please."

"O-okay," I whispered, my heart cringing.

This was a bad idea.

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