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Ashton stood there for a while, not being able to move. For a moment, I thought that book had paused or something. Then he blinked. He walked over to me.

"What did you say?"

"You read a story . . . right? And you got stuck into this world and . . ." I cut myself off, seeing his facial expression.

"I've been stuck here for so long." He put his hands over his face. "You have no idea how much I've wanted someone to say that they've been going through the same thing."

I stared at him. His trembling lips. His messy hair. His glassy eyes. His perfection. "The story has changed you."

"Has it?"

"Yeah, you're perfect." We stood there for a while. I watched him break down crying, not knowing what to do, but he walked over to me and my instinct was to hug him, so I did. I held him while I thought about it. "What story were you reading?"

"One where I was falling in love with Kylie. It was kind of like a realistic carrot fanfic." He sniffed.

"Do you remember who it was by?"


I started to cough and splutter, pushing him away. "I have to go."

I ran all the way home. I went straight into my room and went through my library. I opened the book and started to read. And then I started to cry. All I knew was, I could not tell Ashton what I knew. I called fake Michael, wanting the closest thing to Michael. He came over and I didn't even say hello. I just hugged him.

When tears were falling down my face, and my ribs were shaking like they were being tickled, he didn't say a thing. Only when I'd calmed down, changed into comfortable clothes and tucked myself in bed, did he ask.

Ashton. Was what I said. Ashton was my problem.

But, in fact, Ashton wasn't my problem. The problem was, I knew his problem, and he didn't.

After an hour or two, I made him leave, and even though he looked heartbroken at that, I didn't care. I would only care if he was real, and he wasn't.

The whole night, I stared at the book I'd dropped, wanting to tear it up and never see it again, just the cover of it that Luke made on PhotoShop making me sick. At 4:29, I couldn't take it anymore. I needed to get my story, but I couldn't face Ashton.

Luckily, the fanfic gave me amazing climbing abilities (I'd probably have to climb up more windows and sneak in and stuff later on) and I went through his window. I slipped past his sleeping body as fast as I could, putting the book inside a backpack I'd prepared.

"Calum?" Ashton turned around and switched his lamp on, the light reflecting on his features perfectly.

"Go back to sleep, Ash."

"What are you taking?"

"Nothing." I mumbled, slipping it onto my back. "Just go back to sleep." He got up, only in his underwear that just happened to be tight. I put my hand against his chest, looking down. "Why are you wearing such tight underwear?"

"It's not tight." He told me, furrowing his eyebrows.

"Oh, so you're just fucking massive?"

"Um, story perks?"

I, hoping like fuck that I had gotten some sort of story perk, pulled my jeans and underwear away from my skin, making a sound of approval as I nodded. "Good perk." I let go of the material. "Anyway," I gave him a small smile, slapping him on the face softly. "I need to go." I walked over, seeming to successfully changing the subject.

"Wait, Cal . . ." he didn't even get to finish his sentence before Calum had gone.

Figuring that he'd go to my place to try and find out what the hell I was doing, I sat down on a bench that was so conveniently placed in front of me. I sat down and read it. Beginning to where the ink was just appearing. It was writing whatever I was doing, like I was a part of the story.

Maybe I'd been here too long. Maybe I was a character fully now. Maybe I'm stuck in here forever. I started to shake at that.

I couldn't be stuck here. Not like Ashton. 

chapter 24 ;; cashtonWhere stories live. Discover now