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Chapter 21: Sort it out
PG-13


Hotel mirrors are awful. Especially these expensive hotels with their non-fogging mirrors. Looking in the mirror is the last thing I want to do. I’m face to face with myself and I hate it. I look fucking pathetic. Much worse than when what’s her name left. I didn’t even think I could look or feel worse than after that day, but here I am…feeling worse. I can’t even blame Spencer for this. I blame myself. Only I allowed myself to be put in a position to get hurt. Again! How stupid can I be? I knew she wasn’t going to leave Madison for me. Granted, she left Madison, but it surely wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of her for finally ridding herself of everything that has been holding her back but hell, I’m pissed. Why couldn’t she just do it for me? 

This is it. I can’t go on feeling this way. This pathetic, lovesick girl in front of me gets left right here in this hotel bathroom and the strong, confident, womanizing, rock star is who’s getting on that bus. Period!

 ~

Ashley swung the door open and walked out into the suite finding Aiden looking bleary eyed and miserable.

“Well look who’s awake, Loose Lips Dennison,” she smiled and took a set next to him on the lounge couch. “So, Aid, what’s it like kissing the mouth?” She fell into hysterical laughter after seeing the mortified expression on his face.

“Ha, ha,” he shot back, voice three octaves lower than usual from alcohol and fatigue.

“I have to give it to you, buddy, you are one hell of a friend. That was the epitome of taking one for the team.”

“Anything for you, Ash.” He rolled his eyes and rose unsteadily to his feet.

“Hey, wait a minute. Are you mad at me?”

“At you? Never.” His tone was decidedly sarcastic.

What the hell had she done now? This day kept getting better by the minute. “Aiden, what the hell is your problem?”

Ashley followed him into the bathroom and he was entirely too worn out to care as he stripped himself of his clothing. “Everything is always about you. Me and Angel, me and Spencer, me, me, me!”

She looked at him in disbelief. “Where is this all coming from? I never asked you for any help in regard to me and what’s her name or with Spencer. You, like the girl you are, like to butt in and help. How can I turn that down, friend?”

“Well do you ever stop to ask if I have something on my mind, or on my chest that I’d like to get off?”

“You always seem so happy go lucky, Aiden. I never think to. But if there’s something wrong, say so! I have this little thing called a career that takes up all my time, not to mention my shitty ass personal life. If you needed me I would always be there, but I’m not a mind reader!” She spun around putting her back to him as he dropped his pants and underwear. He was taking this whole, “you don’t have anything I haven’t seen before,” thing too far now.

“Yeah, well, sometimes it would be nice if you just asked, is all I’m saying.” He turned on the shower and stepped in with a contented sigh.

“Okay, fine. What’s the matter?” Ashley needed everything to be out in the open. She’d had enough drama as it was.

“Nothing…I was just saying.”

“Bullshit. No one goes through that entire diatribe just to have nothing to say. Not at this time in the morning and certainly not without pissing me off,” she added. “Is this about last night?”

His silence was her answer.

“You’re not going to tell me are you?”

She was in fact greeted with more silence. She knew him too well.

“Fine.” She began to think. “Okay, last night, last night…what about….”

Light bulb.

She got up and yanked the glass shower door open not caring if he was naked or not.

“You have a thing for Madison!” she screamed.

“Shhhhhhhh! Someone might hear you.”

“Ew, Aiden! That’s gross!” She turned on her heels, heading back into the suite with Aiden in all his glory right behind.

“Ash–”

“Towel,” she warned without even turning around to look at him.

“Christ.” He disappeared momentarily then returned.

“Madi-fuckin-son. That bitch is ruining my life. She has everything I want–need. Hell, I might date her. See what all the fuss is about!”

“Ash, wait, just…calm down. I didn’t say I love her or anything.”

“What are you saying then?” She stopped pacing to look at him closely.

“Just that now that she and Spencer aren’t together anymore maybe…you know…we can…see what can come of this,” he replied sheepishly.

“Oh my God,” she whispered. “You’re sick! So last night wasn’t for me or Spencer, that was for you. All you were interested in was sinking your claws into the suit.”

“No, no, no, it’s not like that. Last night was the first chance I’ve ever had to be alone with her. We were talking and I realized she’s not as bad and you make her out to be.”

Ashley rolled her eyes and continued pacing.

“We started drinking and one thing just led to another. It wasn’t me, really. She was into it just as much as I was. I tried to stop. I know Spencer asked me to keep her occupied for a while, but doing it like that was never my intention.”

All Ashley could do was shake her head. “It doesn’t even matter anyway.”

“What do you mean? I know I heard Spencer in your room earlier.”

“It didn’t work. Well it did. There not together anymore, but…”

“That’s great.”

“She’s not going to be with me either.”

“What? Why not?

“She said it would disrespectful for her to be with me especially so soon after leaving Madison. Madison accused her of leaving her for me. She doesn’t want to prove Madison right, or throw our would be relationship in Madison face.”

“Crap, Ash. I’m sorry.”

She flopped down onto the couch. “It’s cool. I never should have thought it was going to work out in my favor anyway. It seldom ever does when it comes to matters of the heart. What’s that saying, ‘lucky in love, unlucky in money?’ It’s the opposite for me, I suppose.”

Aiden placed a comforting hand on her back. “Well I feel your pain.”

She looked at him in question.

“The reason Spencer gave you is probably the same thing Madison is going to say to me.” He looked truly dejected.

“Right. Sorry. We’re quite the pair, huh?”

He nodded before saying, “This tour is sucking so far.”

“Tell me about it,” Ashley smiled. “Come on. We have to get ready to go.”

~

By noon everyone was standing on the curb waiting for their bus. Ashley and Aiden on one, Libby, Simon, and Spencer on the other. Madison opted to ride with the band, which was going to prove to be really interesting.

No amount of begging was going to help Spencer talk Madison out of doing so. She even volunteered to ride with the rowdy bunch, but Madison wouldn’t hear of it. Madison wanted absolutely nothing to do with Spencer for the remainder of the tour. At least until they got back to their apartment and had to sort out their living arrangements, which Spencer was dreading more than anything.

“All right, people, we’re checked out and ready to go. I hope everyone has everything because we’re pulling out now, no exceptions.” Madison released everyone before heading to her own bus. Libby and Simon were utterly confused as they watched Madison board the band bus with Spencer and Ashley keeping a wide birth.

“I really can’t keep up with this love triangle,” Simon said as he climbed the steep stairs onto the bus.

“Me neither,” Libby agreed.

“But it’s sure fun trying,” he giggled.

“I know,” she agreed once more.

It would be quick few hours from Chicago to Detroit and they would be there three nights before the next stop.

The first show would be that night and it would be the first time since all of the new relationship developments that the entire dysfunctional group would have to be in the same room and interacting.

The first Detroit show was going to prove to be very interesting.

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