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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9. Chapter 9

I’m out. Son of a bitch, I’m out. I should have planned better. I should have gotten my prescription filled before I came. I should have gone home before this happened. Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit. Fuck me…

I pace back and forth. Life had been fine the past couple days. Luke cooled down after yelling at me and was grateful I was there when Mikey got sick. It was just a bug I guess he caught from one of the fans, and it didn’t last very long. I kept him bedridden for that first day, but I saw no reason he couldn’t perform the night after. The band did well and I think he’s over the whole thing. But the boys were so sweet to Mikey and I. The memory brings a smile to my face.

I spent the time in the same section of the bus as Michael, keeping the other boys away from him as much as humanly possible. We couldn’t afford another one of them getting sick. I, however, was expendable, so it wasn’t a big deal if I picked up what Mikey had, but I didn’t. I remain perfectly healthy.

Ok, well that’s about to be a lie. Now that my medication is empty, I’m going to have to try extremely hard to hide everything from Luke…

I pace the back section of the bus, hands pulling at the roots of my hair, trying to keep my anxiety levels down, as well as my other symptoms at bay. I hear the door slide open and I quickly stop. The panel reveals my brother standing there. “Hey Luce!” He smiles at me and drops down on the couch next to me.

“What’s up, Luke?” I smile at him.

“The guys and I are gonna go out today. Explore the town a little before tonight’s show.”

I frown in surprise. “You don’t have interviews today?”

My brother smiles excitedly. “Nope! So, wanna come with us?”

“What would we be doing? Just walking around?”

He stretches, one arm landing on my shoulders, pulling me into him comfortably. “Mostly, yeah. See what Austin, Texas has to offer. We’ll end up shopping a little here and there. So what do you say?”

“I say I only have Aussie currency and I’m not going shopping when I have no money.” I poke his cheek to emphasize how silly he’s being.

He just raises an eyebrow at me. “Really?”

“What?”

“You’re with me. And I make a decent amount of money. I’ll buy you whatever you want.”

“Luke, no-”

He cuts me off, “Oh stop. It’s my treat. I never get to spoil you. Let me do it now.” I guess he can tell I’m about to say no, because he rushes on. “Please, Lucy! Help make up for all those birthdays and holidays when I couldn’t do much more than call.”

“Luke… All I wanted was a call. I didn’t need anything else.”

He shrugs. “I know, but still. Please. Just let me spoil you; it’s my job as your older brother.” He smirks.

“Ugh! Four hours and he thinks he’s superior.”

Luke laughs at me. “So is that a yes?”

I sigh, curling into him. “I guess…”

He looks triumphant as he wraps his arms around me. “Shit, Luce, you’re shivering. Are you okay?” He pulls back slightly, feeling my forehead for a fever.

I nod. “I’m alright, just cold.” I give him a reassuring smile and he skeptically returns to normal, pulling me closer to him.

“You’re sure you’re okay? You’d tell me if you were feeling under the weather, right?”

I chuckle at his overprotective side coming out. “Yes Luke, I’m fine and I’d tell you if I wasn’t.”

He nods. “Okay. I’m holding you to that.” He releases me. “We’re gonna leave in about 10 minutes. Is that long enough for you to get ready…?” He seems so unsure, but then again he is dating a girl who is a little more high maintenance than I am.

I roll my eyes. “Yeah, just let me change out of my PJs and throw my hair up.”

He seems almost relieved as he walks out, shutting the dividers behind him so the boys don’t get a little show as I pull on my jeans, boots, and a long sleeved shirt.

The boys give me confused looks, knowing Texas is warm. What they don’t know is one of my first symptoms to come back when I stop taking my drugs is constantly being cold.

I shrug as I pull my hair up into what I hope is a decent-looking messy bun; I’m too lazy to check how it looks in the mirror. “We going or what?”

They all stand an exit the bus, laughing and talking about memories from the last time they were in Texas. The conversation is difficult for me to keep up with, my attention slipping (yet another annoying symptom), but I do my best.

Once I tune back in for maybe the billionth time today, I realize we’re splitting off. Ashton is going to go look at some small shops down one street, Luke is going to grab a coffee, and Mike and Cal are going to continue on to the park we will all meet up at in an hour. They ask me who I’d like to go with. I shrug and decide to go with Ashton. The little shops down the road he’s indicating look cute and I mostly just want to walk around and see more of the town. I know the boys have all been here before, but I haven’t. This is still all novel to me.

We split off, Luke telling Ashton to buy me whatever and he’ll pay him back later. Ash assures him it’s unnecessary, that he’s fine paying, but Luke insists. I just drag Ashton away before the two get into a chivalry match. Boys…

“So what’s up with the long sleeves?”

“Hm?” I tune back in, trying to stay focused on this moment. Now that it’s just the two of us, I have to keep up with the conversation.

“It’s like 90 degrees and you’re in a long sleeve. You’re not gonna pass out from heat exhaustion, are you?” He looks jokingly panicked.

I chuckle at his discomfort. “No, I’m not. I just like this shirt, and I’m really not hot.” I try and shrug it off, but Ashton looks at me like I’ve just grown an extra head.

“Okay…” He pauses outside a thrift shop. “Wanna see if they’ve got anything? These places are usually either really good or really bad.”

I smile. “Let’s do it.”

He smiles, his entire face lighting up. He grabs my hand and pulls me in, suddenly extremely excited.

He and I comb the shelves, grabbing the most random things we can find. Some of my clothes I actually want to try on and possibly buy, but most of these are just humorous. We grab a changing room and I’m the first to try on my outfits. I try on the clothes I actually like first and decide to buy a tank top I’ve found. I then proceed to try on all my goofy clothes, giving Ashton a weird show as I parade around in them. He just laughs, his giggle filling the small area we are occupying.

Once I’m finished, it’s his turn for the humiliation. It’s impossible not to laugh at him in bell-bottom jeans and a purple and hot pink paisley shirt. He twirls for me, hands on hips, asking if I think this is the new trend, which just sets me off again, thinking about how ridiculous he’s being. He tries on three or four more outfits and I’m crying by the time he’s done.

We place the clothes on the rack to be hung up and I take my shirt to the front. Ashton pays for my top and buys a watch, a hat, and a mug for himself, explaining that he collects the latter. I just nod, swinging my bag back and forth at my side.

We leave the store to see a few fans. Ashton smiles and chats with them for a few minutes, taking pictures and signing autographs. I think it’s sweet that the boys will stop and take the time out of their days to talk to the fans, even when they’re having time off.

We continue walking from store to store, just killing time. We go inside another and browse for a few minutes, but nothing interests either of us.

When we emerge from the shop, we are greeted with a mob of photographers and fans. Ashton places a hand on my back, turning me slightly so I’m mostly shielded by his body. He throws up a hand in front of his face, the universal celebrity sign for “I don’t want my picture taken right now”. But they don’t listen. People keep screaming his name and shouting questions, flashes going off from every angle.

I feel my breathing hitch as my heart starts beating. I feel dizzy and faint. I know I need to get out of here and I think Ashton senses it too. He pushes me a little faster, trying to get clear of the people, but they don’t get the message. We continue to get swarmed.

My surroundings swim before me as we are halted. I grab Ashton’s arm, tears starting to form. “I know. I’m trying,” he says, just barely audible. He sounds so far away. He sounds like I’m underwater. Not good. “Just breathe.”

I can’t. That’s the thing. My chest has constricted and I. Can’t. Breathe. The tears start to fall as I close my eyes, just trying to get a grip. Fuck this. This wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t run out of my meds.

“Lucy. Hey hey hey.” I can feel him move in front of me, his hands on my shoulders. “Lucy, look at me. Open your eyes.” When he realizes I won’t, he pulls away from me.

I can faintly hear him trying to get people to back up and give us space. But I’m not focused on him. I’m just trying to breathe. But I still can’t. I feel the world go dark as my muscles fail me and I drop to the ground.

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