Slow Burn

"Oh say, do you know?
I'm a fool in a one man show
I'm a broken stereo, out of time
So how, does it feel?
All alone, is it so surreal?
'Cause the ghost of survivor's guilt can be so unkind"

Eloise Cecilia Hemmings (Lucy) is the twin sister of the one and only Luke Hemmings.
The Catch: the fans have no idea she exists.

Lucas Robert Hemmings is the twin brother of Lucy Hemmings.
The Catch: he's not all that great at being without her.

What happens when Lucy is forced out of "hiding"? How will the fans react when she starts dating Ashton Irwin? Will Luke be able to protect his little sister, or will the real world break them, and the band, apart?

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11. Chapter 11

“Mum,” I quietly whine, “I just want to come home.”

“Sweetie… What’s wrong?” She sounds concerned and sympathetic.

I sigh, getting straight to the root of the problem. “I’m out of meds and everything is out of whack. I’ve been out for a few days and everything just hit so fast… Luke knew something was off and confronted me about it. I don’t want him to worry about me so I didn’t want to tell him, but he didn’t really give me a choice so now he knows and he’s babying me. It’s hard enough dealing with this on my own; I don’t want to have to worry about Luke’s reactions to everything. Any and everything that goes wrong, he thinks I’m like dying or something. I just want to come home. I just want to feel normal again. I hate being sick…”

“Lucy, why didn’t you tell me you ran out of your prescription?” Her tone had a warning edge to it.

“Not right now, Mum. I can’t take a lecture right now. I didn’t tell you because there’s nothing you could have done and I’m not willing to come home early and I’m keeping safe, so what’s the point? But don’t get mad. I can’t have you all weird too.”

She sighs, defeated. “Well, are the other boys treating you normally at least? I assume you haven’t told them.”

“No, I haven’t told them, and I told Luke not to tell them. But they’ve all picked up on my shift and on Luke’s sudden overprotectiveness and they’ve kinda followed suit, so no, they aren’t treating me normally.” I ran a frustrated hand through my hair. “God, I just want to throw something! This is so frustrating! I came out here to see my brother and have a good time, not to have him worry about my every little move.”

“Well have you told him that?”

“What do you think?” I’m met with disapproving silence. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you. But no, I haven’t told him. You know Luke. He’ll just get mad I want him to lay off and it’ll still be miserable.”

“Miserable?”

“Ok, that’s a stretch. But you know what I mean.”

Mum sighs. “I do. Just hang in there. You’re coming home in a couple days. We’ll refill your prescription, you can go back to work, everything will go back to normal. I love you, Lucy!”

I smile sadly. “Love you too, Mum.” She ends the call and I’m left to stand on the balcony of the hotel room alone.

I want things to go back to normal, but the thing is, they haven’t been normal for years. I want the best of both worlds. I want my current life, and I want Luke to have his current life. I just want his current life to be at home. With me. I miss him. And I know that we both want to be together, that life is just better by each other’s side. But I also am fully aware that we can’t live our lives together. He’s touring, living the dream, singing. I’m at home, comfy and happy, modeling and dancing. I love my life. Well, I love my work. I don’t really have any friends at home. I don’t have time.

Someone knocks on the door and I cross the hotel room to open it. “Hey Lucy!” Michael and Calum smile brightly at me. Their smiles also hold a hint of mischief.

I give them a suspicious look. “Hey guys… What’s up…?” I’m expecting them to punk me or something.

“We’re breaking you out. Let’s go!” Calum grabs my hand and pulls me out of the room, the door clicking locked behind me. I silently thank myself for pocketing my cell and putting my room key card in the case.

“But Luke said-”

“Who gives a fuck? Come on!” Michael shouts, running a few steps in front of Calum, who is still dragging me by my hand.

I laugh, excited to get out. Luke practically banished me to my room. Ever since I told him I was sick, he’s been uncomfortable with me going anywhere without him. Which is understandable. But I can’t be with him today because he and the guys are doing a bunch of interviews and promo stuff, which means crowds of fans, which means panic attacks, which means no. So I’ve been in my hotel room all day.

“Wait wait wait!” I’m still being pulled, struggling to keep up with their long legs. They don’t stop, even though I know they hear me. “Don’t you guys have interviews today? You can’t miss your stuff!”

Michael winks at me as we hit the lobby. “We told Ash to cover. The story is that Cal and I are exhausted (not a lie) and we just needed a little time to kinda relax and not have to do anything (totally a lie).”

I roll my eyes. “You do realize when Luke finds out, he’s going to yell at the pair of you. And then he’s going to yell at me. Right?”

Calum shrugs, unconcerned. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.” He then grins at me, releasing my hand.

“We’re gonna show you how tour life is supposed to be. Come on.” Michael gestures for me to follow him. I look at the two boys in front of me and smile, then nod and follow them.

As soon as the doors open, the three of us are instantly greeted by screaming fans. I take a small step back, instantly regretting leaving my room. Michael throws an arm over my shoulders as Cal places a hand on my back, both comforting me and moving me forward. They take pictures with fans and sign phone cases. A few fans even ask to take pictures with me, and I happily oblige, grateful that I’m not just standing there awkwardly. I get asked if I’m dating Luke and I legitimately laugh, telling them I’m not, nor would I ever, date Luke. If only they knew… A few fans have negative comments about me that I hear, but brush off.

Calum and Mike clearly heard them as well. Mikey tells them, “Hey hey, none of that.” And Calum agrees by shaking his head in a disapproving manner.

I simply roll my eyes at the two. I came on tour with one band brother and I’ll be leaving with four… “Not worth it, guys. Ready?”

They hug, sign, and take a few more pictures before nodding at me, saying goodbye to the fans, and heading off into town. We’re now in Oklahoma, which is quite a bit colder than I thought it would be. I mentally curse myself for not grabbing my jacket and fold my arms across my chest, hoping the boys don’t notice.

Of course, Michael does. He slips out of his jacket, despite my protesting, and places it onto my shoulders, holding it for me as I slip my arms inside it. He grins at me as I zip it up, engulfed.

“You’re so tiny!” Calum exclaims, laughing. I smack his arm with the jacket sleeve, earning another, louder laugh.

“Shut up,” I pout.

We keep walking around town for a couple hours, stopping in shops that the boys think look interesting. They take it upon themselves to put hats and jackets on me, making me spin for them. My opinion is apparently irrelevant as they buy things I say no to (usually because of the price tag) and put back things I like.

“You are hopeless,” Michael announces, throwing his hands up in the air.

“I like being comfy. Excuse me if comfy clothes aren’t the most stylish.”

“Ok but you can be comfortable and fashionable. Besides, aren’t models supposed to have fashion sense?” Calum raises a questioning eyebrow, believing he’s won. Oh hon…

I roll my eyes. “I have fashion sense. I just don’t care. Besides, it’s not like I pick what I wear for shoots. I get styled; those aren’t my clothes.”

Michael interjects with, “From what we’ve seen today, you do not have fashion sense at all. It’s painful really.”

“Oh, but I do.”

“Prove it,” he challenges.

“Fine. Give me a price range.” I put my hands on my hips, waiting.

“Unlimited. Show us what you’ve got,” Calum tells me.

“Oh, you’re in for it… What am I dressing for?”

Michael and Calum move off together, discussing. They come back and Calum informs me that “We have a red carpet event back in LA tomorrow. We fly out tonight, so today is your only opportunity to find something to wear.”

“Red carpet. So dress? Long or short.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Michael says.

“Perfect. Follow me.” I stalk off back down the street, having seen a shop I know will have what I want during our morning’s journey. “So, how much do we want Luke to disapprove?” I ask over my shoulder.

The boys once again share a look and a hushed conversation. Mikey tells me, “Enough that he’ll want to give you his jacket to hide you, but he won’t send you back to change.”

“Oh easy. I’ve got this in the bag. And what do I get for proving you wrong?”

“Who say’s you will? I’m still in doubt. I’ve got to see it to believe it.”

“Oh Mikey… Ye of little faith…”

“Lunch. I’ll treat you and Cal to lunch. Not to mention, I’m paying for the outfit. Deal?”

“Deal.”

“$20 says Luke actually puts his jacket over her,” Calum bets.

“Oh you’re on.” Michael is way to excited.

I just roll my eyes and keep on walking.

*****

An hour and a half later, we’re sitting at a restaurant we passed that Calum and I agreed looked good. We smirked at each other as Michael shook his head. “I should be bitter about losing,” he says, “but I’m really looking forward to seeing Luke’s face…”

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