July 17th, 2013.
Ashton Irwin awoke to the soft pitter-patter as droplets of rain began cascading down his bedroom window. He subconsciously reached over onto the other side of the bed, but was left with nothing but his sheets.
Scrunching the sheets within his large hand, he let out a small sigh. His eyes fluttered open, his brows furrowing soon after. He slowly sat up, resting his weight against his elbows as he leaned back. He scratched his head, making a mess of his already astray up due. Looking around the unfamiliar room, he pressed his forehead into his hands, and squeezed his eyes shut, willing himself to remember.
The sound of someone knocking on his bedroom door caused him to flinch slightly. He remained seated as he curiously peered at his closed door. His hands were still close to his face as if at any given moment he would need them to shield his face from danger.
Once again, someone knocked. He slowly got out of his bed and shuffled over to the door, his warm, white socks never leaving the cold floor paneling.
Upon opening his door ever so slightly, he poked his head out, and furrowed his brows once again at the unfamiliar boy standing before him.
“Yes?” Ashton croaked, still not accustomed to speaking due to his many hours of sleep.
“Ashton would you like some breakfast?” the other boy asked, giving Ashton a small smile.
Ashton crinkled his forehead in confusion. To the mysterious boy, Ashton looked bewildered and wide eyed, his expression resembling one of a deer caught in headlights. Ashton continuously kept glancing around, his eyes darting back and forth at a fast pace. With shaky fingers, he wrapped his fingers around the doorknob, getting ready to slam the door shut if need be. His facial features read that he definitely didn't trust anyone there.
“Who are you?” Ashton questioned with a shaky breath, taking a small step back.
The younger boy sighed as he reached into the pocket of his joggers, pulling out a folded piece of paper. Ashton’s eyes never left the boy’s face, trying to figure out his motive.
“I’m Luke. I’m one of your best mates, see?” Luke replied as he held up a photo of himself.
Within the photo was Luke who was grinning widely at the camera. The photo seemed to be one from a Polaroid camera because a thick white border surrounded the picture. Carefully printed underneath the picture in what Ashton recognized as his own handwriting was ‘Luke Hemmings; your best friend.’
Ashton nodded slowly, processing this new information as he opened the door fully. He was still cautious of the younger boy, so his sense of defense was still up.
“Alright,” Ashton mumbled.
“So would you like some breakfast?” Luke repeated, carefully putting the picture back into his pocket.
Ashton nodded his head and followed the younger boy down the unfamiliar hall. Picture frames were lined row upon row against the walls. Ashton couldn’t help but stop and look at each one, Luke patiently waiting off to the side. Some of the pictures had him in them with people he couldn’t recall knowing. In fact, none of the people in the pictures seemed familiar, except for Luke.
Ashton’s eyes scanned upon the pictures, his mouth set into a grim line until he reached one in particular. In this one, he had his arm wrapped around a petite brunette who had her face scrunched up as she grinned widely at the camera. His lips were placed firmly against her cheeks which must have caused her to giggle. He couldn’t help but smile faintly at the picture. Raising his hand slowly, he brushed his fingers against the girl. Unlike the other people in the picture, she seemed somewhat familiar to him.
“That’s Rose,” Louis mumbled causing Ashton to flinch.
Ashton quickly withdrew his hand from the picture, his fingernails digging into the palms of his hands. His cheeks turned a slight shade of pink as he spun on his heel, taking in the sight of his ‘best friend’ who he forgot was standing there. He awkwardly scratched the back of his head as he stared down at his feet.
“I-I remember her,” Ashton whispered after a brief moment of silence.
He looked up to see Luke’s face hadn’t changed; it remained impassive and unreadable.
“I know,” Luke simply stated as he dug his hands into his pockets, scuffing his converse against the carpet.
Ashton squeezed his eyes shut for a moment as his breaths began to grow uneven. He mentally counted to ten before opening his eyes; however, his gaze remained on the floor as he spoke once again.
“Why can I remember her face, but not actually… remember her?”
Luke sighed heavily. He honestly didn’t know how to answer Ashton’s question. Ever since Ashton’s attack, it was hard for everyone to deal with his memory loss. Being the leader of the most feared gang in London, he was obviously a huge target by other gangs; however, no matter what anyone attempted, he would always remain victorious.
Although Luke was only two years younger than Ashton, the younger boy still looked up to Ashton with nothing but awe. Ashton was always easy-going and did everything to perfection without leaving a single clue behind. Everyone thought he was like a God; people worshipped the ground he walked on. That was until he was randomly attacked, completely wiping out his memory. And that was when Ashton’s and his entire gang’s life was flipped upside down. No one knew who could have possibly succeeded in bringing him down within a blink of an eye. Luke vowed that he would one day avenge his best friend, giving no mercy to whoever attacked Ashton.
Everyone in the gang –especially Luke– worked tooth and nail to keep up the gang’s name and to help Ashton when need be; however it was proven to be incredibly difficult when the only thing Ashton remembered was his name and the one girl who managed to change his life for the better. Nobody knew why Ashton could only remember her. In fact, it drove everyone mad, but the thing was Ashton couldn’t actually remember her. He only remembered her face and that was it.
There were times when Ashton would go insane, practically banging his head on the wall because he couldn’t get this familiar, yet unknown girl out of his mind. There were numerous times when Luke would tell Ashton about her, but within an hour, he would forget again. Truth be told, Luke found it better when Ashton couldn’t remember anything about her. When Ashton did recall all the memories he shared with her, he went ballistic, using all of his strength and efforts to come up with some way to seek revenge for her.
“Nobody knows,” Luke sighed.
The two males remained silent for a moment as Ashton continued to stare at the picture of the faintly familiar girl.
“Can I… can I go see her?” Ashton asked hopefully.
“You can’t,” Luke mumbled as he looked down at his feet, no longer capable of looking at the lost expression within Ashton’s eyes.
“Why not?” Ashton questioned as he furrowed his brows.
Luke swallowed thickly, quickly running his hands through his blonde locks.
“Because… because she’s dead.”