Status: New


Do it for Baltimore

Ashley's lips turn up in a smile, hearing her front door open and close. She had made herself comfortable hours ago on the couch, notebook in hand. Jager shoots up from the couch to greet Henry, tail wagging intensely. The clock is settled at 4:30 AM, Ashley has been up since 7 AM the previous morning.

Bags under his eyes, Henry turns and makes contact with her own, "You're still up. Why?"

He falls beside her on the other end of the couch. Ashley closes her notebook, placing it gently on the side table and fixes her blanket before tossing the other end to Henry. A yawn escapes her lips before she speaks, "I just can't get it right. I need more, the album isn't complete. I don't know how to finish it. I just feel like there's a story and it's not over."

She watches as Henry nods slowly, eye's fighting to stay open. It's another night where he probably won't make it to his bed. Henry had been working at a nightclub for the past few years and was recently promoted to manager. Unfortunately for him, the pay was better but the hours were still shit. He often stumbled into their home past 3 AM and would barely make it to the couch, let alone his room. Ashley spent some time worrying about him driving in the past but as time went on her worries subsided, Henry always found his way home safely.

The job was good for Henry. When Ashley had met Henry she was just getting moved into New York, about an hour outside of the city. She had run into Henry on her way to the train station, after her first meeting with Pete of Decaydance Records. Henry had looked like shit, sitting outside of the train station in tattered clothing, cold, with nothing but the clothes on his back.

Ashley's father use to say that she was too nice for her own good, this was no exception. That day in New York, she met her best friend. She didn't think twice as she made her way toward him, placing a hand on his narrow shoulder and shaking him. He had been shivering and was barely conscious. She had asked him to come inside with her, keep her company in the warmth while she waited for the next train.

During this time, she learned about Henry. He told her his past, struggling with narcotic abuse. A couple of weeks prior to their acquaintance, Henry had been released from rehab and found himself struggling since. His family wanted nothing to do with him and because of his flaky job history, he was unable to find work.

Ashley didn't hesitate to help him. She offered for him to move in almost immediately, to which he chuckled asking her how she could just trust him. She remembered him warning her that she really shouldn't be talking to strangers, especially taking them home.

He had declined her offer, afraid that she was not thinking straight and that she would realize the mistake she was making. A few minutes later Ashley was aboard her train, waving to Henry from her seat.

To Ashley's relief, she ran into Henry again a couple of weeks later, after a recording session at the studio. This time she did not take no for an answer. When she saw that he looked no better - possibly worse, she immediately purchased two tickets to her home. On the train ride to her house, Henry opened up about the struggle that he had been having the past week, fighting off the urge to use.

Pete, who owns the recording studio, was actually the one who had gotten Henry the job at the nightclub. His friend, Patrick was the owner and they had desperately been looking for a bartender. When Ashley overheard Pete and Patrick discussing this she weaseled her way in.

Sitting on the couch now, Henry sleeping beside her, Ashley can't help but think about how much Henry had helped her as well.

Before New York, Ashley had called Sydney, Australia home. She and her boyfriend, Paul, had made Sydney home for two years. They moved there together when Ashley was only 18 years old, fresh out of high school and like most teenagers, desperate to get out of her hometown.

Sydney was where Ashley had first met Ashton Irwin and Luke Hemmings. Shortly after Ashley and Paul had become settled into their apartment they were met with loud music at all times of the day or night. It turns out, their neighbors above them were starting a band. From what Ashley heard through the walls, she was not sure if it would take off. A few years later, she would be proven very wrong.

Ashley and Paul had been dating since Ashley was 16 years old. They met at a local concert in Baltimore, where she had grown up. Paul's brother Jack was playing guitar in a band that night. It was the night that changed Ashley's life.

Ashley made her way towards the exit, looking desperately for a bathroom. The music was loud and although the crowd was not too large, all of the bodies were packed around the exit and stage. She struggled to push herself through the sea of bodies, exit in view.

She pushed her way along more, crashing roughly into a boy in front of her, spilling his drink on both of the two. Ashley groaned before looking up at the stranger. Her chocolate eyes came in contact with his own intense gaze. He was a little older than her, maybe a grade or two above her own. She had never seen him around before though.

"I'm really sorry," Ashley apologized gaze falling along with her shoulders.

When she hears him chuckle, she lifts her gaze back to his. "It's fine," He assured, "I didn't really like this shirt, anyway. Where's the fire?" Paul had never seen someone like her, so quiet and gentle but yet he could tell she had a fire burning inside of her. He could feel her energy radiating off her even in her peaceful state with her eyes glued to the floor.

Ashley looked up at the boy, wide-eyed, "Fire? What do you mean?"

He tilted his head, his lip picked up in a smirk, "It's just an idiom. What's the rush?"

"I'm sorry, I just need the restroom." Ashley apologized again. She began to make her way past him, towards the exit again when he reached out to grab her hand.

"You don't want to use the Porta Potty. Come with me, I know the band." Paul kept his hand on hers and used a little force to tug her back in his direction, leading her to the left of the exit and back towards the stage. Ashley was hesitant to follow him, she knew absolutely nothing about the stranger that led her to the quiet and dark hallway. There was a feeling in the pit of her stomach that told her to pull away and if she could not, to call for help. Instead, she followed cautiously, "No offense, but the band is just a bunch of teenagers from school. Everyone here knows them..."

"You go to Dulaney, too?" Paul inquired, slowing down as the couple reached their destination, an actual bathroom behind the stage. Ashley nodded before pointing towards the door and made her way over. She mumbled a small thank you and entered the bathroom. What Ashey did not expect when she left that bathroom, is the boy who waited for her on the other side of the door.

Now, Ashey did not know whether to be worried or not. He seemed like a nice enough guy and had not done anything wrong towards her but she worried about his interest. Why her, here, now? She hadn't even worn make-up, just threw on a t-shirt and jeans before leaving the house.

"Thank you... For the bathroom... I appreciate it," Ashley acknowledged him awkwardly. She stood next to him with her arms crossed, not sure exactly how to proceed. Should she just leave?

He smiled up at her, picking his body up off the wall he had been leaning against. "You're welcome," he paused for a moment and looked at her again. He could tell that she was uncomfortable. "Do you want to come out with the band and me after the show? It's almost over. We were going to meet up at the pizza place down the street. No pressure, you don't have to..."

Ashley did go to dinner that night. She met Paul, whom she would come to know very well in the weeks to follow. She met Alex and Jack, who alongside Paul quickly became her people. Paul taught her to open up that night. She had no reason to be as nervous and awkward as she was. Throughout their relationship, Paul had shaped her to be a better version of herself. She often thinks of Paul when she remembers the first time she met Henry because if she hadn't met Paul she would have probably never stopped for the cold boy in the city.

Ashley gets off the couch and makes her way over to Henry, covering him completely with the blankets and turns off the lights. She makes her way to her own bed and meets Anthony, her current boyfriend, fast asleep under her covers. He had gone to sleep hours prior and would have to be awake in a couple of hours for work. During the past few weeks, she hasn't seen much of him although he has been trying his hardest. Ashley has been stressed because of the new album and is often at the studio recording or at home writing. She may as well have a giant 'do not disturb' sign over her head.