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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32. Chapter Thirty-One: Your ship name, darling.

Chapter Thirty-One: Your ship name, darling.

{ashley}

I had known Ashton for a long time. Not as long as my brother had, but still. I had met more than a few of his girlfriends, not a single one of them good enough for him. Girl after girl, breakup after breakup and yet, never once had I heard him say those words to any one of them.

The sudden declaration had me frozen where I stood. I definitely wasn't prepared for it. We had been together merely a month and a half. My feelings for him had grown, definitely, but I wasn't sure if I loved him. How would I know? I had never been in love.

Before I could even think about responding to his declaration, a knock sounded at the door and Louis poked his head around the door.

"Hey sweet cheeks," he grinned at me as I hurriedly maneuvered myself out of Ashton's arms. Ash watched me carefully, his eyes wary. I kept my eyes focused on Louis, trying to ignore the fact that my boyfriend was boring holes into the side of my head. "Did I interrupt something?"

"Yes,"

"No?"

We answered at the same time, my voice soft and confused. What was I supposed I do?

"Oh, well," Lou looked between us with a calculating gaze. I swallowed hard, my eyes finding the floor. I was so awkward it was sad. "There's a surprise in the living room for you, Ashley."

I latched onto the escape, letting Louis rescue me from my own awkwardness. Ashton followed us out, his eyes still boring into me. My thoughts were scattered, but my mind had latched onto those three little words. 'I love you'.

The sight that met me in the living room wiped all thought from my mind though.

"Ashley!" Dani screamed, her lean body flinging itself from Liam's arms and colliding with mine. I let out a small scream, my eyes widening before my arms wrapped around my friend. "Oh my gosh I missed you!"

"That's more excitement than I got," Liam muttered to Harry who just laughed.

"Girls," he said while shaking his head.

"I missed you too, Dani!" I giggled, pulling away and glancing at the other extra bodies. "Nessa? Oh my god!"

"Hey girlie," Vanessa grinned from her perch on the couch, the awkward distance between her and Calum obvious. "It's been forever."

"I talked to you guys two days ago," I laughed, pulling her up for a hug.

"Like I said," she joked, hugging me back. "Forever."

I smiled, running a hand through my hair. It had been forever since I had a girls day. And now I could spend some time with girls instead of the guys. Looking around the group again, I noticed a few boys missing.

"Where's Zayn and Niall? And my brother and Luke?" My eyes peeked into the kitchen, but nobody was there.

"They're--"

"Honey, I'm home!" Niall called out in his best american imitation. I chuckled at him, but another burst of excitement rolled through me at the four people who followed him through the door.

"Grace!" The small brunette grinned, waving to me with her free hand. The other was wrapped tightly in Niall's. They looked so cute together.

"Hey, Ashtley," she smirked, her eyes flickering to someone behind me. That's when I realized Ashton was still standing right behind me.

"Ashtley?"

"Your ship name, darling," Harry responded, his eyes mischievous. I blushed as my eyes met Ashton's, his words filling my head again. 'I love you, Ashley'. I shifted on my feet awkwardly, feeling a bit overwhelmed.

"Ashley, I want you to meet Perrie," Zayn said, his arm wrapped around the pretty blonde girl I had seen walk through the door. She was gorgeous, like every other girl I had met since joining the bands on tour.

"Hi, Ashley," she smiled showing off perfectly straight white teeth. I smiled brightly, shaking her hand.

"Hi," I murmured back, suddenly feeling much less excited. Why were all these girls so perfect? First Laurie and now Perrie, Dani, Nessa and Grace. I was nothing in comparison.

"Louis!" An excited squeal brought me out of my thoughts, my eyes focusing on the final brunette. She was even prettier than Perrie - if that was possible. Her dark hair fell in soft curls down her shoulders, her brown eyes bright and happy. My eyes flickered to my friend, his blue eyes filled with tears as he ran to her side and hugged her.

"I missed you so much, El," he said, his words strangled and his voice breaking on her name. I felt like I was invading their privacy, but I couldn't help myself. Her arms snaked around him, and they just held each other. They were about the same height and they were perfect for each other. "I love you El, so much babe, so so so much."

"I love you too, Lou," she cried. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

"Hey," the hot breath tickling the back of my neck had my focus, the arms around my waist inviting me to relax into his chest. Ashton's chin rested on my shoulder, his curls tickling my cheek. "I didn't mean to freak you out earlier, babe."

"Y-you didn't," I mumbled, feeling the flush creeping up my neck again. "I was just..."

"Freaked out," he chuckled, a hint of doubt in his voice. I hated putting that there. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry for saying that, Ashton," I insisted, turning around in his arms. His eyes searched my face, uncertainty clouding the beautiful green orbs. "Unless you didn't mean it, don't be sorry."

"I meant it," he said without hesitation, the certainty of his feelings making my heart race.

"Okay," I replied with a shy smile.

"Okay,"

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