Ashton must have noticed the tension between Luke and I (though it would be noticeable to a stranger standing on the other side of the pub), because he glanced up at his mates for a brief moment before taking me by the elbow and leading me a few feet away.
“What’s wrong?” He questioned, looking down at me with concern. I sighed, reluctant to rat out his best mate. He seemed to have noticed my hesitation, because he crouched down slightly so his face was level with mine. “You know you can tell me anything, right? Even if it has to do with Luke.” He assured. I gave him a thankful smile, though it probably came out as more of a grimace.
“Well, I never told you because I thought it would go away, but Luke, ah—how do I say this?” I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “He’s sort of been making my school life a living hell and I don’t know why.” I finally rushed out, letting my gaze fall to the floor so I didn’t have to see his reaction. I didn’t have to see it, though, because I could feel his body tense. He stood up again, and I looked up in surprise as he moved away from me towards Luke.
“Ashton—“ I began, reaching forward and grabbing for his arm. I was too slow, because my hand only swiped through the air while Ashton surged forward.
“Are you kidding me, Luke?” Ashton snapped upon reaching his fellow band mate. Luke’s eyebrows shot up at the tone of his friend’s voice. “What the hell is wrong with you?” He continued, giving Luke a shove. I let out a quiet gasp and lurched forward. After what my father did to me yesterday, I knew exactly how a physical fight like this could ruin a relationship. It only needed to happen once, and years of trust, laughs, and love was gone.
“Ashton!” I yelled, grabbing his arm and trying to yank him back. The only thing I succeeded in doing was hindering Ashton’s ability to block the punch Luke sent his way only moments later. I heard the impact of Luke’s balled-up-hand on Ashton’s cheek and winced. It was then that the rest of the band realized they should probably step in. Calum and Michael grabbed Luke’s arms as he made another move to attack Ashton. I ducked under my sandy-haired friend’s arm and turned to press my hands firmly against his chest.
“You’re a fucking dick, you know that?” Ashton snarled, glaring at Luke over my head. I heard a reply from Luke, but I’d stopped paying attention to words. I was more focused on getting Ashton to calm down. I was putting all my weight into pushing him backwards, but that wasn’t getting me anywhere. He wasn’t moving one bit.
“Ashton!” I pleaded desperately. I was surprised when he listened, this time looking down at me. Something in the expression on my face must have gotten through to him, because his angry expression disappeared rather quickly.
“Fucking shove me again, you fuck wit!” Luke snarled from behind me. Ashton glanced up at his band mate before returning his gaze to me. His hands reached up and wrapped around my forearms gently, pulling them away from his chest. He opened his mouth to say something, but a shout cut him off.
“Oi! No brawls in the pub. Get out, the lot of you.” I turned to see a large, burly man coming towards our group. Ashton’s arm wrapped around my waist tightly, and he practically dragged me forward past Luke, Michael, and Calum. Luke wasn’t struggling with his friends anymore, but his breathing was still heavy with fury.
“We’re leaving, sir. Sorry for this.” I apologized quietly as we passed him. He didn’t say anything back.
“I’m so sorry.” I apologized for probably the fiftieth time as I dabbed the wet washcloth on Ashton’s cheek.
“Don’t apologize, Daeyna.” Ashton said firmly. I shook my head, trying to blink back the tears that were threatening to spill. Ashton was up from the chair he was seated on in an instant, his arms wrapping around me in a tight hug. “Hey, hey. It’s alright.” I hugged him back, and the two of us stood there for a moment more before I pulled away and looked around at the room.