I began opening the boxes as Ashton got the manikins. My fingertips ran over the silky material. We began separating the clothes, which one should be on display and which should not. I had connected my phone to the speakers, I can't really handle those pop songs.
"Ash?" I said stopping my actions.
I let out a giggle when I saw him staring the manikin with the set.
"I'm sorry." My smile faded and my breathing increased.
He looked away from the manikin and his face filled with concern as he got closer.
"Sorry for what Scar? Is everything ok?" I felt him just inches from me, "Hey, why are you crying." Something clicked inside me when I heard his soft soothing voice, it only made me cry harder.
I couldn't any more. I couldn't stop the flashbacks that would easily come back to life. All the memories, all what I felt in the past were crashing back and I was starting to feel weak again.
"I can't Ashton, I can't." My voice was now a higher octave and I knew that worried him.
"What Scarlett? Please tell me what's wrong." I could tell he was starting to feel more anxious.
"I'm starting to remember again."
My face distorted completely. My eyebrows scrunched up, my eyelids growing heavier. A small squeak followed by a pathetic wheezing. Embarrassed, I brought my hands up to my face to cover it. Ashton wrapped his arms around my body, his hands rubbing my back in a soothing matter. My body trembled into his embrace, I bit my lip to prevent the abnormal noise pouring out of me.
"I've tried so hard. But I just - I - sometimes I, - I can't help it. It's times where I start getting lonely and have nobody by my side where it starts to bother me. It's like as soon as m-my body and mind stops t-thinking or worrying about other things, it takes advantage of it and goes to fill the void. A-and I don't like it. It's like I can't stay unoccupied or else these memories will j-just start running back to haunt me."
He suddenly pulled away, "Come on,"He gently pulled on my wrist, directing me towards the back exit.
I jerked back, tugging him back, "Ashton, we can't leave. I have to finish. Gosh, I knew this wasn't a good time. This is why I had planned to go out, but this ruined everything." I said signaling to the boxes of new clothes.
"You have the keys right?"
"Yeah why?" I asked as I wiped the tears stains with my arm.
"Great, we'll just come back later."He flashed me a cute smile as he once again began tugging on my wrist.
"But - " I tried to interject.
"Ah, you're coming. Don't worry, I'll take the blame. Now let's go."
Back exits were always something I didn't like. They were dark, and you didn't know what could be in them.
Ashton had intertwined our hands, leading me to god knows where. I was always grateful for having Ashton, and I still am. He's very gentle and caring; he would tell me he's just doing what I did.
When I "met" Harry, he in a way lured me in because he reminded me of Ash. He was quiet; trying so hard not to interact with anyone. He kept to himself, his face showing no emotion. Not even a small smile or slight curve at the end of his lip.
We ended up in the familiar place that would in a way relax me. We were in an somewhat uphill that from this point of view we could see everything. You could see the cars buzzing and people walking alongside each other. But most importantly it was the place where I told Ashton everything. It's where we made our pact.
"I'm guessing you know why I brought you here right?"He whispered breaking the silence but not his gaze on the view in front of us.
I pursed my lips and stared at my worn out pink converse, "Yeah.."I barely said into the air.
"Scarlett, you mean the world to me. I don't mean it in a romantic way, but sisters always mean the most to their brothers. I don't want to see you hurting, I never saw you physically go through it, but I know it'll be painful to watch. Please. Please, please don't go back. The past is the past, let it be the past. Don't let it become the present again."
I know he was looking at me, but I couldn't bring myself to look into his eyes and tell him that I won't because I'm scared that I might not be strong enough.
"I hate it Ash. I hate how when someone doesn't want to interact with me or be friends I do this, it's pathetic. And yes, I have felt this a lot, I just didn't want to bother you or Calum because it's stupid. You can't do anything without being sure if it'll hurt me or not, I hate how sensitive I've become, I wasn't like this. After the incident with Rose and Ma- I - I just can't seem to be the girl who didn't care what others said. The person could choose to have me as friend or not, it wasn't my problem, but now it's like I'm desperate. Like if I'm craving for attention, I need someone by my side and I hate it because it seems like nothing is enough for me."
By this point my body had let my sobs take over once again, I felt so useless. How is just crying for something going to help me become a stronger person? It's all I've been doing, crying for the past.
"You promised Scar, you promised you wouldn't go back. Please don't break the pact we did, please."
He was crying. His hazel-green eyes were glassy from the tears forming in them, his eyes pleading to me. In that moment I just wanted to hug and him and tell him I was idiot for even thinking of going back. That I wasn't worth crying for, what kind of person makes their bother cry?
"I'm sorry. I'm being stupid, don't listen to me Ash. I promise, I cross my heart, I won't go back. I'll try to be that girl who didn't get upset with simple things. I'll be strong, for you and Cal." I choked out into his ear while embracing him.
"No, don't do it for me or Cal. Do it for you."
The boys had taken my mom and I to an amusement park for my birthday. As a little kid I always liked going to amusement parks even though I was terrified to get on the roller coasters, that was the only time where I thanked God for being short. But of course as I got older, I grew so I was forced to on them. My father would be by my side holding my hand saying nonsense just so I wouldn't cry or throw up.
"Come on! You have to try it! You won't feel a thing!"
"No Luke! Do you see how fast that thing is moving? Our bodies will be flying everywhere! Do you want us to die?
That thing is basically a death trap, or also called Gravitron. It was basically like a UFO that would slowly increase its speed as it spun. Just looking at it made goose bumps appear on my arm, it also made me dizzy there was no way I was going on it.
"Cal? Ash? Niall? Will you come with me?"
"Hell no!" Calum exclaimed, "No, Luke!" Ashton yelled exasperated at the blonde who was tugging on their sleeves. Niall just hid behind my mom's back as if he didn't hear anything.
"Joy?" Luke looked at her with a hopeful glance.
"Sorry, hun," She laughed while taking a look at the fast spinning ride, "There is no way I'm going on that."
He pouted, "Aw Luke, It's okay." I cooed at him while side hugging him.
"Please, Scarlett? You won't regret it."
"Luke, I said n - "
Cue puppy eyes... damn it, why am I like this?
"Fine! Let's go." I muttered
That's how most of the day went and to be honest the Gravitron ride was actually very relaxing. I went on it twice, Luke didn't mind in fact he was beyond ecstatic to go on it once more. For those of you who don't know what this ride is, it's shaped like a UFO as said before, well kind of. Inside there are mats against all throughout the perimeter that you would have to lean on, kind of like laying down except you're standing up. As the ride starts, you could sort of feel the ride spinning but as it goes faster all you can feel is a force pulling you down, if you try to put an arm up, you can't. Gravity, guys. The last ride we decided to go on was on the Ferris Wheel where we separated into groups. Calum, mom and I got on one together while Ashton, Niall and Luke went together. And like almost every mother would, she began to take picture of the view and of all of us.
"Now what?" I smiled while snuggling into Calum's chest as we approached his car.
"Now, we will head home to cut your cake." My mom responded while doing a little clap.
"Duh, what else would it be?" Luke mocked back, rolling his eyes.
"Shut up Luke, you were the one who bought me that nasty cake last year!"
"Damn, so ungrateful. That was my money by the way." Calum spoke up.
"You did it on purpose! Now shut up and drive."
"Okay Rihanna, off we go."
"Happy birthday to you!"
"Blow your candles women! That cake looks fine.." Niall shouted impatiently as I took my time to blow out my candles.
"Don't wish for impossibles!" Luke chimed in.
"You shutting up is possible." I replied and blew my candles.
They all cheered and clapped while my mother began to detach the plastic plates from themselves. Of course, birthday girl always get the first piece, most importantly the piece she wishes to have. But I told my mom to give the first piece to Niall, not because I'm feeling generous - I mean I am - but I want the slice that has my face on it. And yes, as you can tell, they got a cake that had myself imprinted on it.
Once we had finished eating, my mom had announced that it was time for presents, which I was really looking forward because I don't know what these boys got me.
"I'll go last - "
"No," Mom interrupted Calum, "I will be the last and best, you go first so this could start and finish with Hood."
"Fine. Here you go baby sister, hope you enjoy it."He said handing a pink wrapped box with a nice red ribbon on top of it.
For some reason I always felt bad when I unwrapped presents because I know it takes time to wrap this up, and I perfectly know that it took Calum forever to do this without help from our mom. But oh well, oh well. Inside was a beanie that I recognized was Calum that I would steal from him but had to sadly give back; now it's mine. A hot pink journal that read COMPLETE THE STORY with a feather pointing to the Y of story. Below it it read,
"Some stories end badly,
some end well,
and other just keep going on..."
"I know how much you love to write but sometimes get stuck so this story starts something for you so you can create the rest."
With a smiled, I picked up the last item that was wrapped in a thin material of paper. It was pretty heavy, it was a book, but not your typical one. It was a scrapbook.
"Thank you Cal." Oh no, I'm getting emotional. My voice trembled and the lump in my throat just wanted to burst out, let out all the tears I had to be free.
We had finally gone through the presents, Luke and Niall getting me a signed t-shirt and poster of All Time Low. Ashton had gotten me a bracelet that had half of a metal heart hanging from it, he had the other half. That was enough for me.
"Well mamma, it's your turn." I beamed giving her a toothy smile.
"I see that... close your eyes." I did as demanded. It was moments like this where it felt as I didn't know how to close my eyes, like if it were something I have never done before, my eyes would begin to twitch and I would get a glimpse of my surroundings.
"You may open them."
My heart fluttered as soon as I did, my clammy hands flying over my mouth as it fell agape.
It was a Gibson acoustic guitar. A guitar.
All my body urged me to do was hug the amazing woman who I am grateful to have, "Oh my God, thank you so so so much. I- Oh my gosh - thank you. I love you mom."
Her sweet laughter filled my ears as she rubbed my back, "I love you too darling, you deserve this and more. Let the past be the past and be the present be a revival for you, smile like you are now because mother Hood likes seeing that."
"I promise mamma. I promise."