To be completely honest, though I still loved 5SOS and their music, I wasn't really looking forward to our last trip of the tour. I knew the shows would be great, as always. But I knew it wasn't going to have a happy ending like the others.
When I confessed my concerns to Traci, she told me that she felt the same. But she pointed out that we'd spent so much money on hotels and flights, and none of it was refundable. Not that we would have cancelled the trip if we could get our money back, or at least I wouldn't have. Because I needed to see Ashton, even if it was to tell him that I wouldn't be seeing him again.
I wasn't 100% set on breaking up with him. More like 65%. I was afraid I'd take one look at him and wouldn't be able to do it. But I had to. Not for myself, but for him. He'd become a different person since we'd been together. I wanted him to be himself again. And apparently the only way to fix that was to get out of his life.
I told Traci what I had to do and why. She cried with me until we ran out of tears. I knew her tears weren't all for me, though. She missed Calum, even though she was happy with Andrew.
"It's never going to be the same, is it?" she asked.
"I'm afraid not. But what's that saying? 'Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened',"
"Fuck that saying. Whoever came up with that never had their heart broken."
She was right about that. I had a hard time finding a reason to smile.
I knew it could have been the best time ever, if I wanted it to be. All I had to do was pretend that possessive/obsessive/lost-touch-with-reality Ashton didn't exist. But I couldn't do that anymore.
I ended up lying to Ashton, which was something I said I'd never do. But it wasn't like it was going to hurt anything. As far as he knew, Traci and I were arriving in New Orleans the day of the concert. But actually, it would be the day before so that we could have a day of fun for ourselves. If Ashton knew, he'd insist on going with us. That would have been great, but I didn't want him to think everything was okay, and I wanted to enjoy that one day without feeling like a horrible person for what I was about to do. I wanted to enjoy it with my friend, which I did. Though, it was hard to not think about how things would go the next day.
I was afraid someone would recognize me, and Ashton would realize that I'd lied to him. So I wore a ridiculous short black wig, sunglasses, and hat. And being the best friend that she was, Traci wore a disguise, too, just so I felt better about it. Somehow, it worked. It turned out to be one of those things we'd laugh about for years.
I didn't sleep worth a shit that night, of course. So I was wide awake and had already showered and everything when Ashton called the first time that morning. I told him we were almost to the hotel. I cringed when I said it because I was lying. He said he was "up and at 'em" already, and wanted me to tell him our room number when we checked in.
I told Traci when she got out of the shower that I couldn't put him off much longer. We straightened up our beds and tidied the room to make it look like we just got there. It was actually kind of funny. But it turned out to be a waste of effort.
It couldn't have played out any worse if we'd planned it. Ashton came to the room, and the first words out of his mouth were, "I'm so glad you got an early check in so I can see you this morning. We're leaving early for a radio station thing before we go to the venue." He hugged me and I already felt like crying.
Traci had a major brain fart, forgetting why we went through the trouble of cleaning up the room. She said, "We didn't have early check in. It was like 4:00 when we checked in yest-" She cut herself off, but it was way too late.
Ashton gave her a look of confusion, but in a split second, it turned to anger. He looked down at me and asked in an icy tone, "You've been here since yesterday?"
There was no denying it. All I could do was act like it was no big deal. "Yeah. We did a couple tours, walked around the city a little bit. Girl bonding stuff, ya know." I shrugged and tried smiling.
"Why didn't you tell me? You knew we got here yesterday, too. We could have been together all this time!"
Traci's face was flaming red, and she quietly said, "Fuck." I knew she was embarrassed for letting my lie slip. But it didn't really matter. The end result was going to be the same.
I stammered, "Uhh... well, I wanted to have some time for just me and Traci. No big deal."
"No big deal," he mocked.
Traci was obviously feeling awkward. She asked, "Bree, do you want to be alone? I can go walk around, get something to eat, or whatever."
I answered "no" and Ashton answered "yes" at the same time. So she stood there unsure of what to do.
Ashton asked me why I lied to him. I had no answer other than the one I'd already given him, and said so.
Traci cleared her throat, reminding us she was still there. "You know what? I think I'll just go. If that's okay with you, Bree. But if you want me to stay I will." I told her to go ahead, I'd be fine.
As soon as she was out the door, I tried explaining, "I didn't do it to hurt your feelings or anything. There's no good excuse for lying, I know I've said that plenty of times. It's just that the original intent of this trip was to have fun with Traci, and if I spent all my time with you, it would have defeated the purpose. We never get to do things together anymore, because I'm always with you." My body language wasn't helping me to be very convincing at all. I kept rubbing his chest and arms without even thinking about it, trying to soften the blow, I guess.
"And she's always with Calum, so what's the big deal?"
"The big deal is that she's not going to be with Calum on this trip. And I'm not ditching her."
"So you're choosing your friend over me."
"No, that's not it, Ashton. Look, have you been paying any attention whatsoever to me these last few weeks?"
"Yeah, I've been paying attention to you every day for the past year and four days, actually."
Wow. He had it down to an exact date.
"No, that's not what I mean. You haven't been listening to me. You don't see what's going on here, how this isn't working." I had my hand on his face, pleading with my eyes trying to get him to understand.
And for a moment, I thought I saw some understanding in his eyes. But then he said, "You know what works?"
I shook my head and waited for some crazy answer that had nothing to do with the topic at hand.
He reached for my hand that was on his face and he kissed it. Then he kept moving up the inside of my arm, alternating kisses and soft bites. I couldn't even force myself to move away.
"This works," he whispered when he'd finished with my arm and started on my neck.
Yes, that worked. Every damn time.
A/N: I don't know about you, but I don't think I'd ever be able to resist Ashton. *sigh*
I know some of you may not be understanding why Bree doesn't want to be with Ashton anymore. I mean, it's Ashton freaking Irwin, right? But trust me, when you have someone who demands every second of your attention, it's exhausting. Maybe some people thrive on that, but not this girl.