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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2. Chapter 2

I wake up to the sound of my cell phone’s alarm blaring at 5:30 in the morning. Groaning, I reach for the device to silence it, effectively knocking it on the floor.

“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuudge……” I sigh and open my eyes, suddenly disoriented. Wait. This isn’t my room. I bolt upright, looking around. “Oh.” I’m in the ballet studio. Duh.

“Luce, you wanna shut that off?”

I frown and look at my laptop, still sitting open on the desk, Luke’s face still filling the screen. “Luke?”

“Hey sis!” He smiles brightly at me before chuckling. “You should probably turn off the alarm, though.”

“Hm?” I frown. “Oh.” Reaching to the floor, I quickly silence the alarm. Sitting back up, I address the most pressing question of the morning. “What are you still doing online?”

He gives me a look that tells me his answer is obvious. “You fell asleep.”

“Exactly. I fell asleep. You should have ended the call and gone about your day.” I take the same tone he took with me moments ago.

He just shakes his head and rolls his eyes. “If you were here, I’d ruffle your hair.”

I stick my tongue out at him and he smiles. “Luke… I’m not seeing what you’re getting at.”

His smile softens nostalgically. “I miss seeing you every morning. I miss you. Besides, I still went to interviews and stuff while you were asleep. I actually got back like two minutes ago and came back when I heard your alarm going off.”

I shrug. “Alright. As long as you didn’t just sit around waiting for me to wake up. That’s creepy.”

He rolls his eyes yet again and leans back against the couch in the bus.

“Is that Lucy?” someone calls from out of my view.

“Calum?” I move my head, foolishly trying to maneuver so that I can locate the new speaker.

“You know it!” He flops down onto the couch next to my brother. “What’s up?” He beams at me as he shoves some random food item into his mouth.

I laugh at him and fold my legs under me. “Not much, what about you?”

“Is that Lucy?” a voice that clearly belongs to Ashton screams.

“Hey Ash,” I call out, once again trying to see the faceless voice.

Luke rolls his eyes at me. “Here, Cal, take Lucy for a sec. I’m gonna go grab something to eat.”

“Bye Luke!” I shout as the laptop gets handed over to Calum, then shuffled around as Ashton literally drops onto the couch.

“Hey Luce,” he says, smiling at me, “how ya been?”

“Not bad, you?”

“Same ol’, same ol’,” Ash responds.

I frown slightly, concern beginning to shine through. “Hey guys, I had a quick question for you.”

Cal continues eating. “Shoot,” he commands, his mouth full of food.

The frown on my face deepens. “Is Luke okay? He seems really out of it and…”

“And what?” Ashton prompts.

I sigh. “My logic is just gonna seem silly, but his eyes. They change color based on his mood, and lately, they’ve been dark. They aren’t bright and happy like they used to be.”

Michael suddenly drops into the frame of the Skype call. “Lucy, come back!” he quietly whines, concerning me further.

Ashton rubs the back of his neck as Calum and Michael look at each other, neither wanting to explain. “What? What’s going on?” Silence. “Guys!”

I guess they hear the worry in my voice because Aston finally responds. “Well, you’re not wrong. He’s been really down; the guys and I are all worried. I mean, part of it is the stress of the tour, but a lot of it is you.”

“Me?” I’m taken aback by accusation that I’ve caused my brother pain.

“Oh no no, not like that!” Michael furiously waves his hands in front of himself, trying to assure me that it’s not like it sounds.

Calum quickly interjects, “No, we just mean he misses you. It’s different this tour. No idea why…”

“It’s because he didn’t spend much time at home during our time off. We spent most of our time in California writing the new album, then doing promo and gearing up for the next tour, so he didn’t really get to enjoy being home and seeing you. And now that we’re on a new tour, he doesn’t see you at all. He’s getting cuddly, Lucy.” Ashton sounds sad.

“So? He’s always cuddly…” I’m not seeing the issue.

Mikey leans further into the frame. “He’s not usually this cuddly, though. He always likes hugs, but he gets a lot more touchy-feely when he really misses you.”

“Shhh,” Ashton desperately silences Michael, “he’s coming back.”

“Aw,” Luke whines, “you guys are cuddling without me? Not cool.” My brother then proceeds to sit down between Ashton and Calum, curling up to the latter. Ashton gives me a knowing look.

“Well, this has been fun, guys, but I’ve got to go.”

“Lucy…” they all chorus.

“Boys…” I mimick, then begin laughing. “I’m serious, though I’ve got to go. I’ve got to practice, then open the studio for classes. I’ll see you later, though.” I smile and wave goodbye as I end the call.

I groan and stand, stretching my arms and testing out my ankle. It still hurts, but not nearly as much as it did yesterday. I’ll take it easy today, open the studio, then go home and ice it. Should be good as new.

As I stretch, my mind clears. As I dance, and idea begins to form. I’m finished with school, graduated early like my brother. I can take a week or two off, call to collect on a couple favors to cover my shifts in the studio. It would be good. For the both of us. I hate to admit it, but I miss him too. A lot.

It’s when I stop dancing that the doubts began to form. What if he doesn’t want me there? Would I mess up the dynamic? What if the guys don’t want me there? I mean, this is pretty much an all guy thing… Would he be mad that I surprised him? He’s not overly big on surprises. And the fans. If the fans found out… What would he do? How would they react? I mean, I’m a secret. Which is weird, considering how much they know about them… They can find pretty much everything, but they haven’t found me. Which Luke calls a blessing. I’m not sure what it is. But if I go out and see him, I’m not hidden anymore. He can’t protect me anymore. And he’s overprotective.

I sigh and run my hands through my tangled hair, wincing as they catch. I miss him. He misses me. We both feel a pull and I know it.

That’s it. I’m going.

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