"You have to choose, Emily. Me, or him."


17. 17

A/N: This is a long chapter you guys! I hope you're enjoying this story so far! :)

"What do you mean sweetie?" His mum asked him.

"Ashton and Emily are boyfriend and girlfriend! They are holding hands!" Harry lifted our intertwined hands up for everyone to see.

Oh God...

I quickly pulled my hand away and looked down at my lap. 

I saw Ashton giving me a kind of hurt look form the corner of my eye. 

All the eyes were still on me. I began to hyperventilate, and tucked on my bracelets. 

"Emily, are you okay?" I heard Ashton ask, but he sounded so far away. I blocked everyone out. 

They were probably judging me by the way I looked, or they were thinking I wasn't good enough for Ashton. 

I had Scopophobia, the fear of being stared at by others. 

It was kind of an anxiety disorder. Everyone continued to stare. I closed my eyes. 

I felt sweat in the palms of my hands, and also in my neck. 

I had a dry mouth, and became dizzy. 

My muscles tensed by the memory, and I began to tremble uncontrollably. 

"Ugh, look at what she's wearing." 

"L, o, s, e, r. Makes LOSER!" Their laughing continued in my mind. 

"You're so fat! You can't even look in the mirror because it'll break by your ugliness!" 

I suddenly felt someone dragging me up some stairs. 

I was sat down on something comfy. 

"Emily, everyone's gone. It's just me." Ashton.

I tried to calm myself down. Deep breaths in... And out. In... and out. 

I opened my eyes again, tears filling them. 

"I-I'm so, so sorry." My voice cracked a little. 

I was sitting on a beanbag, and Ashton was kneeling down next to me.

"About what?" He asked, confused. 

There was a tear rolling off my cheek, and Ashton wiped it away with his thumb. 

"Those people think I am your girlfriend. Isn't that something to say sorry for?" I sniffed.

"I already explained everything to them. They all were seriously worried about you. You seemed to be in another world for a few minutes." 

I looked down, letting my hair cover my face. 

Great. Now they all think I made a scene. 

"What happened just there? It was pretty scary seeing you like that, Emily." He put a strand of hair that was covering my face behind my ear. 

I sighed. Should I tell him. I didn't know him well, but he seemed like he could keep a secret.

He moved a little, so that there was place for him to sit on the beanbag, also. 

He got the message and sat down. 

"Keep a secret for me?" I asked and held my pinky out. 

He nodded and we made a pinky promise. 

"Well, I have Scopophobia. I don't know if you know-" 

"The fear of being stare at." He cut me off. 

"Y-yes, wait- how do you know what it is?" 

He immediately seemed a bit uncomfortable. 

"Oh, just- just an old friend of mine has it, too." He fiddled with his fingers. 

"What's their name?" I asked. I wanted to change the subject, so that the attention wasn't on me anymore.

"I, uhm, I can't tell you." 

I furrowed my eyebrows. "Why not?" 

"You'll ask questions about them..." He looked away. 

I sighed. Why couldn't anyone open themselves up to me?!

"I better go, it's getting late. See you later Ashton. Thank you for inviting me over, I had a good time." I shot him a smile and walked out of his room. 

If he couldn't even tell me the name of someone...

I walked down the stairs, and wanted to open the door to the living room to say goodbye to his family, but a hand stopped me and spun me around. 

"Don't leave like that." Ashton almost whispered. 

I looked at his Jimi Hendrix shirt, his hair, his hands, anywhere but his face. 

"Ashton, let go of me, I'm saying goodbye to your family and then I'm leaving." 

I wanted to walk away, but his grip on me was too strong.

"I want you to stay. Please."

"I don't know Ashto-"

"Luke. Luke's the one with Scopophobia." He said.

My jaw dropped. Luke?! 

Why didn't he ever tell me?!

"Let's not go on about that subject. But, please stay? Pretty please?" He made puppy dog eyes.

I laughed. "Only because it's you." I messed his hair up. 

He pouted and fixed it, putting it behind his bandana. 

"This is usually the time that everyone has already leaved." Ashton said, calming me down by telling me that.

Not many stares, Emily. 

We walked in, and he was right. The only ones still there were Jan and Herbert. 

They were sitting at the eating table, talking with Anne. 

Harry was sitting on the couch, playing on his Nintendo DS. Lauren was probably upstairs. 

Jan spotted us walking in. "Are you alright, love?" She asked. 

All three pairs of eyes looked at me. Not again, Emily.. Not again. 

Ashton sung his arm around my shoulder, and held me tight. 

"She's fine, Jan. Thank you for your concern." He spoke for me. I sent him a thank you glimpse. 

He took it by smiling, as saying you're welcome. 

Jan and Herbert leaved a few minutes later, only having the Irwin family and me left. 

Ashton and I were helping his mum with cleaning up. 

"Why wasn't your dad at the party? He missed loads of fun." I smiled.

Ashton stopped doing what he was doing for a second. 

"Oh, he, uhm, he- works! Yes, he's still at work. Busy job, you know?" He nervously laughed. 

His hands were trembling when he brought dirty glasses to the kitchen.

I walked over to him. "Ash, let me do those, aye?" 

He nodded, and walked back to the living room. 

I set the glasses down and began to wash them off. 

"Hey, Emily." His mum came in the kitchen, and set down some dirty plates next to the sink. 

"Hi ms. Irwin." I smiled. 

"Let me help you with those, yeah?" She pointed at the dirty glasses and plates. 

She grabbed a plate and also washed off. 

"You know, you're the first girl he ever brought home." 

"Really?" I was astonished. I thought Ashton would've had a girlfriend already. 

"Mhmm. I think it's because he never really had a dad-figure to look up to. He grew up with a single mum, so.." She pointed at herself. 

What...? Ashton told me his father was at work. Why would he lie? 

A more important question: What happened to his father? 

I wanted to ask, but that would be waaaay too personal, for both his mum and Ashton himself. 

"Emily! Come 'ere for a sec?" Ashton yelled from the living room. 

I looked at his mum. "Go." She chuckled. 

I smiled and dried off my hands, then walking to the living room. 

He was sitting on the couch next to Harry, looking at the game Harry was playing on his Nintendo. 

I sat down next to Ashton. "Hey." 

"Hey" He said, leaning in a bit, only to swing his arm around my shoulder. 

"Is it okay if Calum comes in a few? He says he needs someone to cuddle." He chuckled. 

Calum? The bully, too confident, Calum, needs a freaking cuddle?! 

I told Ashton "Sure." 

"Does he know I'm here, too?" I asked

"Yeah, but he said he didn't mind."


After a few minutes, indeed, Calum rang the doorbell. 

He walked into the living room. "CALUM!" Harry exclaimed, and hugged Calum's leg.

"Hey buddy. I got something for ya." Calum said, and crouched down next to the boy.  

Calum pulled a Star Wars action figure out of the pocket of his coat. 

"Cool! A Sandtrooper Sergeant! Thank you Calum!" Harry attacked Calum in a hug again. 

He laughed. "No problem buds." 

I'd never seen this side of Calum. I enjoyed it MUCH more than the bully side. 

Calum spotted me sitting on the couch. He sat down next to me. "Hey."

"Hi?" I asked. Why was he being nice, he hated me..

Ashton was helping his mum in the kitchen with cleaning. 

Calum sighed. "Come on. I'm not the person you think I am." 

"Why do you bully Luke? What has he ever done to you that's so horrible?" I didn't want to yell at him, so I kept my voice down. 

"Nothing to me. To Ashton." I gave him a questionable look. 

"I don't think that's my place to tell you, really." 

"Well, Calum Hood. I ask you with all my heart to stop the bullying, please? That was probably so many years ago." I pouted and did puppy dog eyes. 

IF Luke wasn't bullied anymore, it'd make him happier, which made me happier. 

He rolled his eyes and crossed his arms. "I'll try." He mumbled.

I squealed, and hugged him. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I kissed his cheek

Guess he didn't see that one coming. 

"W-why did you do that?" He asked confused. 

He looked like a lost puppy, when he was confused, honestly. 

"Because you're stopping it! and if Luke's happy I'm happy." 

He fake puked. "I hate love." He muttered under his breath. 

I rolled my eyes and laughed at the cold-hearted-not-as-much-of-an-asshole-as-I thought- guy sitting next to me.

"Hey, what time is it?" I asked him. 

He checked his phone. "9.30. Why?" 

My eyes widened. That's the time I promised my mum to be home! 

"I gotta go! I'm already late- shit." I stood up and walked over to the kitchen.

"Ash? I gotta go home." 

"Ahw, already?" His mum asked. 

I laughed and told her yes, pouting. 

I thanked her for the lovely evening. "Anytime, love." 

I grabbed my coat from the hallway. Ashton walked in.

"I don't want you to go home by metro. It's not safe there late at night." 

"But, how do you expect me to come home?" I put on my coat.

He seemed to think of other options. "Calum can drive you."

"Why can't you?" I pouted. 

"I don't have my license." He looked down, embarrassed. I asked him why not. 

"I live in London. It just never seemed important in such a city. And my mum probably doesn't have enough money for it..." He scratched the back of his neck.

I nodded in understanding.

"Cal!" Ashton yelled.

Calum walked into the hallway. 

"Can you please bring Emily home? She doesn't live far away from your house, please?" Ashton asked.

Calum sighed. "Sure." 

"Yay!" Ashton and I said in unison.


"Turn right here." I instructed. 

"Hey, can you grab some chewing gum for me from the glove compartment?" Calum asked.

"Sure." I opened the small cupboard, and some things immediately fell out. 

I found the chewing gum and handed one to him. "Thanks."   

"Oh, turn left." 

I went to pick up the things that fell on the floor. I immediately got a disgusted look on my face. 

I picked one of them up. 

"Seriously, Calum? You keep condoms in your car?" I held one in front of his face.

"Hey! You'll never know when you need one of those!" He laughed. I laughed, too. 

He's seriously the only person who would do that.

I put them back in the glove compartment. 

I went to put the last one back, when he stopped me.

"Keep that one. You'll probably need it one day and mentally thank me." He winked.

I laughed and put it in my coat pocket. 

"Ashton loves to be around you, you know." He said, focusing back on the road. 

I smiled, and looked out of the window. "Go down this road, at the end is my house." 










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