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?


1. Chapter 1

"Mum?" I call. "Mum, are you home?" When I'm met with only silence, I assume the house is empty. She must be out with friends or something. Enjoying the peace and quiet, I remove my laptop from my bag, then drop it on the floor next to the couch as I collapse onto the cushions, opening my computer.

Opening my Instagram feed, I flip through the images. My friends have tagged me in a few pictures from our night out last night, and I quickly like them. Continuing to scroll, I curse the inevitable advertisements Instagram feels compelled to spam me with. Finally, I hit a fan account for 5 Seconds of Summer. I follow quite a few of them, as well as each of the boys and their official ones.

The picture is a black and white one of Luke. He's with his nameless girlfriend, Arzaylea. I like the picture and continue scrolling. The thing about fan accounts is that when they post, they post a lot, all at once. So there are quite a few photographs on my feed as I scroll through them. The next photo that catches my attention is another of Luke. Just Luke; nobody else. He's smiling. I smile too, but my smile falls. His eyes are dark.

I close my eyes as my heart twinges, and I close the laptop. Ever since we were little, Luke's eyes really were the windows to his soul. When he was happy, they were as bright of a blue as they could possibly be. My word, they were like crystals. But when he was troubled, they were stormy, almost grey. Those were the eyes in those photographs.

I grabbed my cell from my bag and unlocked it, opening my "Messages" app. Opening my conversation with Luke, my fingers hovered over the keys. I wasn't sure what to text him. "Hey! Your eyes are dark; what's up?" No. Too weird. "You okay?" He's great. He's living the life. He'd say he was fine. "What's wrong?" Yeah right. He'd get all weird and confused and tell me everything is fine, which it technically is.

Luke is happy; I know that. He loves life; he's doing what he loves; he's touring with his best friends; he's making money and seeing the world; he's in love. But he's overwhelmed, and I can see it. He's tired and stressed. He doesn't have time for much. But at the same time, he loves it. His eyes, however, reflect the exhaustion. He's drained and he can't hide it. Not from me.

Suddenly, my mood for the past few weeks makes sense. I know it's kind of a myth, something nobody can scientifically prove, so many don't believe it exists, but for Luke and I, it does. "It" being a kind of connection that twins feel. Granted, we're fraternal twins, but it's still a strong bond. It's subtle. It's kind of like right before a girl gets her period, she gets all moody and it doesn't make sense, then there's that "aha" moment and it all clicks. That's what the bond feels like. We are influenced by each other's emotions and that changes our behaviors. It's when we step back and think about what the other is feeling that that "aha" moment comes and we return to normal. Flipping through Instagram was my "aha" moment. I was moody and tired and mopey because Luke was down.

Me: Dude. Aha moment. What's up?

He responds almost instantly.

Luke: NMU

Me: Come on Luke... I saw your eyes and I've been tired and moody for a while. Which is YOUR fault

Luke: I'm fine! Promise :)

Me: I know you're fine; you're living the dream. Now what's up???

Luke: I'm just tired is all. Touring and stuff. Lots of late shows and early morning interviews

Me: Ok. I miss you!!! <3

Luke: Miss you too sis

Luke: Love you

I pause. Shit. I'm always the one to say that first. Unless something is wrong with one of us and we're hurting, say it first. He must be worse off than I thought...

Me: Love you too, Dork. Now go live your dream!

Luke: Hahaha wanna Skype later today???

Woah. Excessive punctuation too. That's like begging over text for him...

Me: Lemme check my schedule...

Me: I guess I can pencil you in ;) You got a time in mind?

Luke: 8

Me: Sounds like a plan. See you then!!! :)

Luke: :)

I couldn't stop smiling. I was going to see Luke today! I mean, it's not in person, but it's better than nothing. I haven't seen or Skyped him since he left for tour almost a month ago. Looking at the clock, I saw I had 3 hours to go.

I hopped off the couch and cranked up my music on my phone, grateful for the sudden mood shift, then danced over to the kitchen. I had been at the studio all day and I was famished! I saw the ingredients in the kitchen and was suddenly seized by the desire to cook.

I shrugged and began pulling the food from the fridge, then grabbed the cutting board and knife. Chopping the carrots, I got a text from Abigale, the manager of the studio.

Abigale: Hey Lucy, think you could come in for a few more hours? Hannah just called in sick and I need a sub for her class.

I looked at the text and sighed. It seemed like Hannah was sick once a week.

Me: Sure. I'll be there in 15.

Abigale: Thanks Lucy! Oh, I'm going to need you to close up as well. :)

No. Don't give me a smiley face! I'm mad at you! I don't want to come teach Hannah's class, let alone close! Ugh.....

I grabbed my laptop and stuffed it back into my bag.

Me: Fine. But I've got to take a call at 8, so if the class isn't done, I'm ending it early. I'll close when I'm done.

Abigale: That's fine, just don't forget to lock up! See you next week!

I tossed my phone in my bag and grabbed my lanyard of keys, locking the front door behind me. The drive to the studio wasn't long, but the following hours were. Teaching a group of a dozen little girls ballet was exhausting! This must be how Luke feels after a concert, but a lot more high and happy.

I say goodbye to the last girl and her mother, then lock the door behind them. It is kind of freaky being alone in a ballet studio. It's peaceful and calming when I'm dancing, but when I'm just hanging out, it gives me chills. Sounds echo, floors creak, and the emptiness is oppressive. Plus, Twilight. That scene was just weird... And that poor ballet studio! I freaked and started screaming at them to leave the poor floor alone. My mum just looked at me like I was crazy. I guess I have different priorities than most teenage girls.

Checking the clock on the wall, I see that I still had about an hour until Luke is supposed to call. Might as well pass the time with a little ballet. I was already stretched from working with the girls, so I strap on my shoes and just kinda do whatever I feel like. It is cathartic for me to just string together my own moves, not having a set routine. About thirty minutes in, though, I feel a searing pain in my ankle as I landed a leap.

"Fuck..." I mutter.

A few seconds later, my laptop screen lights up with my brother's face. I quickly hobble over to the laptop (not easy to do in pointe shoes, might I add) and drop into the chair, answering his call.

"You're early!" I smile at him.

He frowns at me. "You're hurt."

"Am not." I fold my arms, getting defensive.

He just rolls his eyes and leans back against the wall of his bunk. "Yes you are. I was sitting here watching a movie when all of a sudden my ankle feels weird. So, what did you do and how bad is it?"

I stick my tongue out at him. When he repeats the action, I fall back against my seat laughing. I can't stay mad at him. "I'm fine, honestly. It's probably just a sprain or something. I landed a leap wrong." I shrug.

"You're in the studio this late?" He frowns again, looking at my surroundings.

I shrug. "Yeah... Hannah is sick this week so Abigale asked me to fill in."

"Hannah's always sick." He rolls his eyes and I laugh that he remembers. "Are you sure your ankle feels alright?" He was always worried about me.

"Lukey... I'm alright. Stop worrying."

He raises an eyebrow at me. "You know that's not possible, Luce, I always worry about you; as your older brother, it's my job."

"Oh please! You're older by four hours, not four years!"

"Still more than four minutes." I flip him off and he laughs before falling silent again.

I smile slightly at him, knowing he's exhausted but still wants to see me. "So what's wrong? Why did you want to Skype today?"

He shrugs, suddenly enraptured by his phone. "I don't know. I just missed you." He shrugs, getting awkward. "Can't I miss my sister?"

"Luke, I miss you too. But if you miss me this much, then why don't you get off your phone, huh?" I'm teasing him and he knows it, but he sheepishly apologizes and locks the phone, setting it down. "Don't worry about it." I smile brightly at him, hoping to lift his spirits.

He smiles genuinely at me. "So what have you been up to? How's the modeling career?" His smile drops slightly. He's proud, but he's not fond of the photos.

"Just dancing and posing. It's going well. Making money, supporting Mum. She misses you."

He rubs the back of his neck in guilt. "I know... I miss her too. How is she?"

"Like I said, she misses you. But she couldn't be prouder, Luke. She can't stop smiling and she just glows with pride when she talks about you." I smile fondly

He scrunches his nose and smiles, suddenly shy. I yawn, realizing Luke and I have been talking for an hour. Normally, that wouldn't be a big deal, but I'd been dancing all day, which really takes it out of me.

"You're tired," he comments.

I nod slightly. "Sorry, I've just been active all day."

My brother smiles knowingly. "I get that."

"I think I'm just gonna sleep here," I tell him, grabbing my phone to shoot Mum a text about my decision.

"Wait." Luke looks confused, "You can do that?"

"Well, I've already locked the doors, there's a couch here, and the office has blankets and pillows for when we crash. I'm not the first person to have fallen asleep here."

He just laughs and shakes his head. My phone buzzes and I glimpse a notification from my mother condoning my choice. "Want me to sing to you?"

"Hm?" I look up at him, tuning back into the conversation.

He chuckles at my apse of attention and repeats his question, "Want me to sing to you?"

I nod vigorously. I miss him singing me to sleep. "Lemme grab my pillows and blankets." I hop off the couch and curse loudly, falling to the floor as I remember my foot.

"Lucy? Lucy, what's wrong?"

I groan in response. I probably should have iced it while I was talking to it.

"Eloise, talk to me! Are you alright?" I can hear his panic. He can't see me, only hear my pain, and I'm not responding.

I use the armrest of the couch to pull myself up. "I'm ok. Just jumped on my bad ankle. Kinda forgot about it. Oops! Be right back." I gingerly limp over to the office behind me, then return to the couch with an armful of what is now my bedding.

"Eloise Cecilia Hemmings, do not scare me like that!" Luke's tone is stern and I can see he's angry to prevent feeling worried.

I bashfully look down as I curl up in a blanket. "Sorry Luke."

He sighs. "It's ok. I love you!" He smiles brightly at me.

"I love you too," I tiredly inform him.

I fall asleep to the sound of my favorite brother and other half singing "Beside You".  

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