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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8. Chapter 8

“Calum, let’s go!” Luke shouts, ripping the curtain divider of Calum’s bunk back. “Come on, ma-”

He freezes when he sees me folded in Calum’s arms. I rub my eyes, the light freaking burning my retinas. I groan and Calum begins to stir behind me. He too rubs his eyes and sits up slightly, looking at my brother with one squinted eye. “Hey Luke.”

Luke looks at Calum, expression hard, then looks at me. “Lucy, can I see you in the back of the bus for a second?” He raises a challenging eyebrow, daring me to say no.

I crawl out of Calum’s bunk, landing unsteadily on my feet. I use the wall of the bus to steady myself, one hand moving to my head. Once the world stops spinning, I look up at my brother to see him with his hands on his waist, watching me. “Thank’s for the help, bro.”

He just stands there, waiting. I roll my eyes and walk into the back section. He reaches past me and presses the button that closes the sliding screen divider. Well shit… “Really?”

I frown. I was not expecting that response.

“Really, Lucy!?!” There’s the anger I was expecting. “My best friend? You went and slept with my best friend? On the bus? While I’m on the bus! REALLY!”

I flinch away from him. He’s never yelled at me before, not like this. I mean, we are siblings, we’ve argued and fought, but this… He’s screaming at me. I try to interject at almost every breath, but he just shouts over to me. He won’t even let me explain!

“What the fuck, Eloise?!? What the fuck makes you think this is okay?!? Is this why you wanted to come on tour? To hook up with my friends!?! God! I SHOULD HAVE NEVER LET YOU COME! I SHOULD HAVE SENT YOU BACK THE MINUTE YOU WALKED THROUGH THAT DOOR!” If at all possible, he shouts even louder. He’s advanced a few steps, his face a few inches from mine. I flinch away from him, backing into the door as he points towards the front of the bus, indicating the door he wishes I would have never walked through.

He takes a step back, his face falling when he sees tears in my eyes. He realizes I’m shaking and trying not to cry and his voice softens. He rubs the back of his neck, looking at the ground in shame. “Come on, Lucy… You’ve got to know this isn’t okay.”

“I do.” My voice is soft and waivers.

“Then why did you do it?”

“What makes you think I did?” My gaze hardens as I look up at him, frustrated and hurt.

“Lucy! You were in bed with him! What am I supposed to think?”

I fold my arms, trying to put as much space between us as I can. “You done yelling?”

He rolls his eyes and gives me a look that says “really?” He sighs and concedes, folding his arms. “Yes. I’m done yelling?”

“Good. First things first, I didn’t sleep with him.” Luke is about to interrupt when I give him a look that silences him. “I didn’t come on tour to sleep with your friends; I came to see you. If you can’t see that, then I don’t know why I’m here. And you know what, I wish you had sent me back out that door, because then I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t have to deal with the hurt of my twin brother accusing me of something so ridiculous! Thanks for the trust, Luke!”

I turn around to leave when he grabs my arm. “Lucy…” He sighs, changing his train of thought. “Why were you in bed with him? If you didn’t sleep with him, then…?”

“There was a thunderstorm last night that kept Calum awake. I couldn’t sleep because I took a long nap. So yeah, I comforted him. So sorry I was trying to be a good friend.” I pull away from him, leaving him standing in the back of the bus.

“Luke,” Michael’s voice carries through the bus, “we gotta go, man! Come on!”

“Yeah I’m coming!” He moves past me, trying to give me a hug and kiss, sighing when I pull away.

When the boys are all gone, I take another two of my pills, looking at the only two that remain. “Well fuck.”

I feel a little better after I’ve taken them. I also take a moment to breathe. “Relax, Lucy. He apologized. He just blew up. You would too if you thought he was sleeping with your bestfriend.” I realize I’m right and sigh, collapsing onto the couch at the front of the bus.

*****

Luke’s POV

I follow the guys into the venue where we have yet another interview lined up. But I’m distracted. I can’t help but replay the images of my sister now burned into my memory. Her sleeping with Calum. Her cowering against the door as I yell at her. Her steeling herself against me. I sign papers and smile for pictures, not all there.

Calum grabs my arm for a brief moment when we’re clear of the fans. “Hey man,” he says, voice quiet and guilty. Great, now he’s gonna tell me he didn’t mean to sleep with her. “I heard you yelling at Lucy.”

“So?” I fold my arms, trying not to snap at my best friend.

“So, we didn’t do anything. There was a storm last night. It was bad; I had debated waking you or Mikey. But then Lucy offered to stay with me and we both fell asleep. Nothing happened, I swear.” He looks up at me.

I meet his pleading gaze, seeing honesty and an apology. He’s telling the truth; nothing happened. Now I feel even worse about yelling at Lucy… Well fuck.

The interview is short since we spend most of the time goofing off. Well, all of us except Michael. He seems off. When I take a good look at him, he looks a little more pale than usual. I’m glad we don’t have a show tonight; I don’t think he’d make it.

When we get up to shake the interviewer’s hand, he teeters a little, Ashton subtly steading him. The guys and I frown at him in concern.

“Mate, you okay?” Ashton asks.

Michael weakly nods. “I’m good, just not feeling great. But I’ll be fine. I’m sure I’m just tired.”

I look at him skeptically, knowing that isn’t the case, but I keep my mouth shut. Ash and Cal know it’s a lie, pointing it out will only make Mike uncomfortable.

The four of us make our way back to the bus, not stopping to talk to the fans. I feel bad, but I care more about getting Mike back to the bus where he can lay down and rest, the longer he’s upright, the worse he looks. He sinks gratefully onto the other couch, my sister sitting up worriedly on the other.

“Is he okay? What happened?” She moves to kneel next to him, her hand already on his forehead, checking for a temperature. “Shit, Mikey,” she exclaims, pulling her hand back, “you’re burning up!”

The boys and I look down at her as she gazes up at us. I guess she reads our clueless expressions because she sighs and adjusts herself so she’s in a better position. “Luke, get me a cold, damp wash cloth. Ashton, get me his pillow and blanket. Cal, help me adjust him.”

I quickly move away to grab what she asked for, Ashton following suit. Calum helps Lucy adjust Michael so that he’s lying down, head on his pillow, feet propped up because he’s so long.

I hand her the washcloth and she just shakes her head at me. “Luke, I said damp, not dripping wet. Go wring it out and bring it back.” I do as she says and she accepts the cloth with a soft “thanks” as she positions it on Michael’s forehead, Ashton wrapping a blanket around him. I see now why the fans call Mikey a kitten.

Michael curls up, grateful for the help and loving the attention. I smile slightly at him, knowing he’s in good hands, as I drop down to the opposite couch, pulling out my cell and flipping through social media.

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