Chapter 24

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I sit holding Ashton for a while. By the time either of us looks up, the sky has already started to turn orange and the air has chilled drastically.

"We should head back Ashton. Get you a nice warm shower and into bed. Huh? What do you say?" He nods against my neck but doesn't make any movement to get up. I slowly put my legs underneath me while standing up, Ashton follows me but doesn't unwind his arms from around my waist and keeps his head firmly in my neck. His back is arched as he leans down the two inches to my neck. I never noticed that Ashton was taller then me, but I guess I also haven't ever seen him standing before.

We both stumble back up the hill and across the wet grass,  the sprinklers must have gone off earlier. Ashton still refused to moved his face from my neck, so I had to go around the rocks in the way.

After fifteen minutes of stumbling I finally reach the packhouse. It's dark inside but I can hear the sound of moving bodies inside, so I know everyone isn't asleep.

"Okay, Ashton. We have to go up the steps, can you looks so you don't fall?" He jerkily nods his head before inching his face an inch so one of his eyes is open and he can see the ground.

Just as we make it up the steps the door slams open and Riley comes storming out of the house. His gaze lands on mine and his expression falters for a second before the thunder comes back full force.

"What did you do to my pup?" He snarls as he stomps closer to us. Zoro comes flying out of the house and passes Riley and wraps his arms around Ashton's and my waist. Ashton arches more so his stomach presses into me and his back is away from Zoro. His head is jammed back into my neck and I can feel his lips wobbling again. Zoro slowly pulls away when he realizes his son is trying to move away from him. I can see tears in his eyes but he only drops his head before taking a step back.

"Ashton is just tired. I was going to take him up to his room, get him a shower and put him to bed." I answer Riley when his burning glare is still directed at my head. He grunts but lets me by him dragging Ashton behind me.

I grab Ashton's shoes from him and drop them next to the others before sliding mine off. I can hear the sounds of laughter coming from the living room and I mentally groan when I rememeber that we are going to have to go through there.

I can feel Riley and Zoro watching the two of us as we walk I to the house, but the stay a safe distance away from us. I plan to just walk in and out of the living room, but the moment Aria sees us, she is out of her seat and on her way torwards us.

"Wait!" I cry ands she flings he arms around the both us us and snd smashes her head into Ashton's back. Ashton let's out a feral cry before pushing him and I away from Aria. My back and head hit the hall and the position is awkward as hell, Ashton has my body pinned to the wall as his face is stuffed into my neck, it's even worse that I know that my mate is currently watching this unfold.

"Its okay Ashton." I whisper in his ear. His body shakes with the silent sobs coming from his body. I rub my hand down his back in assurance and I slowly feel his body untense and he allows me to move us away from the wall. I turn to Aria and see the unshed tears in her eyes and sigh.

"He's tired, maybe tomorrow he'll feel better to talk. I am going to give him a shower and put him to bed." I tell her softly before shuffling to the stairway. I am well aware of the eyes of all of the family staring at us as I drag their son, nephew, brother, and cousin, up the stairs.

I make my way to Ashton's room and I mentally prepare myself for the stench. I pop open the door and hold back a gag at the smell, if it's possible it smells worse then earlier. I walk us torwards the connected bathroom and pop open the door. The bathroom smells at tad but better so I close the door and bring us closer to the toilet.

"Ashton, I'm going to set you down on the toilet seat, you can't be holding onto me as I am trying to set your shower." He nods and slowly lowers himself down onto the seat. He keeps his head bowed but I can see his eyes following me as I make my way to the shower.

"Can I have a bath?" His voice is hoarse from crying but I can hear him clearly in the quiet room.

"Of course." I tell him before putting the plug in the tub so that the water will fill up. I turn back to him and watch as he slowly pulls off his shirt and pants. I can see his ribs poking out of his sides and his stomach looks almost as if it's concave on itself. My horror intensifies when I see that his legs look almost nonexistent, half the size that they should be.

"Oh Ashton." I exclaim. I give him a tight hug before turning around and turning off the water. The bubbles I had put in are bubbling on top of the water snd I turn around and gesture for him to get in. I turn around round while he takes his boxers off and steps into the tub. I turn back around when I hear the water settling back into place.

"I'm going to make you something to eat, I'll be right......"

"No! Don't leave me." He waits as he leans over the side of the tub and grabs my arm. I look at him, the tears in his eyes, and I know. I won't ever leave this poor boy, never.

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