I greet people with Michael as they walk inside. "Hello." I say. "Hi." Michael tells the visitor. "Where is Ashton?" I mumble to Michael. "I'm not sure. Luke and Calum are in the party room,right? Hello,Liz." Michael replies. "Hi." I say to Luke's mom. She waves. After a few more minutes,I tell Karen I'm going outside for a few minutes. I stand on the porch and pull out my phone. I dial Ashton's number and put it to my ear. "Hey,Emily. What's up?" Ashton asks. "What's up?! What's up?! Ashton,tonight's the Christmas party! You said you'd be here! Where are you?" "I knew I was forgetting something." He mumbles. "Ash,where are you?" I ask him. "I'm walking home from the convenience store." "In the dark?" "Yeah." "Just hurry up. I'm waiting outside for you." "Okay,okay." I hang up and stand there with no coat,just a long sleeved red and white shirt,jeans,and boots. I wait for a few more minutes. "It shouldn't have taken this long." I tell myself and pull my phone out again. The phone rings for a few times,then someone picks up. "Ashton,how long are you gonna take? It's been like,8 minutes. It shouldn't have taken this long," No answer. "Stop playing games,Ash. I'm serious," No answer. "Ashton,I fucking swear. Quit playing games! What the hell are you doing?" No answer. "Ashton fucking Irwin. Answer me!" There's breathing. "I'm serious. I should be inside the warm house,but no. I'm on the phone,waiting,for you. Hurry the fuck up. Why are you taking so long?" The breathing isn't Ashton's breathing. Not his steady breathing. "Ashton? Are you there?" "Ashton isn't able to answer you right now." Someone tells me. My eyes widen. Terrance. He hangs up. I run inside,looking for Michael,Luke,Calum,Allison,someone! "Karen,have you seen Michael or Luke or Cal,or even Allison?" I ask,out of breath. "Uh,I think Michael is in the basement. But I could be wrong." She answers. "Okay,thanks," I run Down the steps. I look for anyone who could help. I see a bit of white and black hair. "Michael." I whisper. I look over to the foosball table. There he is. I run up to him. "Woah,what's up?" "Michael,I called Ashton. Someone answered but didn't talk until the end. It was Terrance. Ash told me earlier he was walking home. Terrance did something." I say. Michael's eyes widen. "Text Allison,text Luke,text Cal. Tell them to come to the porch now." I nod as we walk up the steps and go outside. I text them and Allison comes outside. Luke and Calum appear a few seconds later. Michael explains what I told him and we all run out onto the sidewalk. We put on the flash on our phones as we walk down the path. "It's freezing out here." Allison says beside me. I nod. Calum pulls us behind him,so we're safe,I guess. We turn off our flash,and hide behind a bunch of bushes to wait. After a few minutes,we hear footsteps. "Come on." Someone says,struggling. As the footsteps pass we carefully and quietly sneak out of the bushes and go up behind him. Michael taps his shoulder as Luke and Takes me to the front of him. "Clifford and Allison." Terrance spits. I gasp as I see Ash standing there,unconscious. Luke grabs Ash and we run. Or try to. Allison and Michael come up to us. "He's chasing us." Allison says,looking back. Calum steps back and puts one foot out,waiting for Terrance. Terrance tries to avoid but fails at that. He face plants to the ground. Michael holds him down as Allison calls the cops. Luke and Calum hold Ash up as I try to wake him up. "Come on,Ashton. Come on." I whisper. "Hello. My name is Allison Grason. I'm on the corner before the Stone Creek neighborhood. Uh,there's a guy here." Allison fades out of my mind as she walks around. "Why don't you kiss him?" Luke asks. "That doesn't work." I say,rolling my eyes. "Try." Calum says. I kiss him. Nothing happens. "See." "Something has to work." Luke says. We don't talk for a while and we wait for the police to come. "Take him to the house," Michael instructs. "And her." Gesturing to me. Calum,Luke and I walk home. We take Ash up to my bedroom. They lie him on the floor. "Ash,come on," I mumble. "You can do it,just come on," I give up. A tear rolls down my cheek as I rest my head on his chest. It moves up and down slowly,but steadily. Tears pour out of my eyes and I sigh. "What're we gonna do?" I ask Luke and Calum. Luke shrugs. "Not sure." Calum tells me. I wipe my eyes. I kiss Ashton's cheek. Nothing. I kiss his lips. Nothing. I kiss his forehead. Nothing. "Ashton,please." Allison and Michael come in. "They got him." Michael says. "What's gonna happen to Ashton,Mikey?" Allison asks him. "Don't know." Michael answers. "He's breathing." Luke points out. "So?" I say.
We talk for a few minutes. I watch as Ashton's eyes open. "Look!" Calum says. "Ashton!" I say,hugging him. "Hey." He replies. "Just needed some time." Allison says. I don't let go of him. "Don't ever go out at night again." I tell him. We let Ashton go around,but with me. We end up having a great night actually. It's a few nights before Christmas,a bunch of people are here to celebrate. I'm just happy Ashton is alive. But it'd be weird if he did die. It'd be like one of those books or movies where the author or director kills off your favorite character. But this isn't a book,I hope. After the party,I lie on the floor in the great room with Ashton. We decided to forget anything happened. "One crazy night." Calum says and then we laugh. I look at Ashton,who looks at me. "I love you." I tell him. "I love you too,cutie." I kiss him.