Chapter 22

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Ashleigh’s POV…

“You ready Ashleigh?” Andrew asks me through my ear piece that he rewired so he can talk to me through it.

“Yeah.” I breathe out, nerves heavy in my tone. “A bit scared though.”

“You’ll be fine.” He assures me. “And even if you’re not Mila’s backstage with everybody’s microphones. She can always save you if you falter. Just remember that you’re doing this to make up with Liam and everything will be fine.”

I must say I’m a little nervous. I mean, we’re not even sure if Liam’s going to turn up and if he doesn’t then this is all going to be for bust. Hopefully our plan works and Liam doesn’t refuse to talk to Stan…

“Ash! We’re on in one minute!” Casey calls to me so I hurry up to stand behind the curtain.

“CONTROL ALT DELETE! CONTROL ALT DELETE!” I hear the crowd shouting and I quickly look to each side and see each of the girls reaching out their hands to me. I take a breath and then take both hands. It’s painful to know I am about to hurt these girls in a way they may never be able to forgive me for.

“Alright Bradford make some noise!” Casey speaks into her microphone that is clipped over her ear, her voice surprisingly even. I am sure she is nervous too, even if it isn’t for the same reason as me. Slowly the curtain rises and we stop our hands just as we are revealed, and we run onto the stage.

“That’s Casey Tessa Rose Larson!” I tell the crowd, pointing to the brunette.

“That’s Ashleigh Larissa Tharp!” Dixie smiles, pointing at me.

“And that’s Dixie Elizabeth Lay, and we’re Control Alt Delete!” Casey finishes and the crowd roars with applause. I look around the crowd to see that, although a fair few of the people here are obviously University students, there are a number of high school aged kids and even some parents. I scan the back rows, looking for Liam and I breathe out a sigh of relief when I see him and Stan standing at the back of the top entrance. Perfect; just like we planned.

“Let us tell you all a bit about ourselves!” Dixie grins, the attention from the audience fuelling her. “I’ll start shall I?” Casey and I nod. “Well I’m nineteen years old, I’m a Performance Music major, big surprise there, I came to Bradford from London and Casey? She’s my girlfriend.” She grins at the girl to my left and I smile, hoping people don’t see the twinge of sadness in it.

“I’m Casey!” Casey shouts. “I’m twenty years old, I’m a Performance Music major, I also came to Bradford from London and obviously Dixie is my girlfriend.” The two come together in front of me.

“Showtime.” Andrews voice comes through my ear piece and I look up momentarily, making it look like an eye-roll, but really I am checking that Zayn and Hannah are In position, up in the rigging above my head. “Now.” I hear the small click indicating that my microphone is now being controlled by Andrew, and my bandmates microphones are likely cut.

“As Dixie said I’m Ashleigh.” I speak, with less enthusiasm than the other two and the crowd slowly goes silent. I look at Casey and Dixie who are frowning at me. “I’m nineteen years old and up until ten seconds ago I was the ‘Alt’ in Control Alt Delete.”

Whispers break out amongst the crowd and Casey walks over to me. “What do you mean-” Half way through the question she realises she can’t hear herself through her earpiece.

“Case I can’t hear you.” Dixie frowns. “Can you lot hear her?”

It’s obvious that the crowd can’t hear either of them as they continue to whisper about my statement. “Our microphones have been cut!” Casey exclaims and I close my eyes for a moment before opening them and focusing on the figure at the back of the stadium. Liam.

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