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LIMITS // lrh

CHAPTER NINE

"You'll message me when you get home safely, right?" Ashton asked me with anxious eyes, a pink tint rising to his flushed cheeks. My chest warmed at his concern, and I felt myself smiling before I could even think about it.

"I would, but I uh, don't have your number." I felt my own cheeks flush as I looked over Ashton's shoulder to see Mikey making some rather suggestive faces to me.

"Oh, duh that's right," He chuckled, hitting the palm of his hand against the top of his head. "here, give me your phone." Ashton held out a large hand, and I fumbled to grab my phone from my purse before handing it over. I watched as Ashton smoothly navigated to the contacts, quickly typing in his number and sending a text to himself from my phone. "All done." He said with a cheeky smile, placing the sleek smart phone back into my hand.

"T-thanks," I stuttered, staring at his name under my contacts, still finding it hard to believe that Ashton just gave me his number.

"Are you almost ready to go? I'm really trying to get home before daybreak." Luke's clipped accent rung out as he played with the keys to his car, swinging them back and forth around his index finger. I had the sudden urge to roll my eyes, but something about the tense posture of Luke's broad shoulders held me back. He intimidated me, there was no doubt about it. And the idea of having to be alone in such a confined space with him frightened me to my very core for reasons I couldn't explain.

"I'm coming." I mumbled quietly, and I watched a smirk overtake Luke's stubble covered face as he pushed off of the wall, walking out of the doors of the restaurant and towards his car.
"I'm sorry I can't drive you, I know Luke can be a bit..." Ashton trailed off as he tried to find a fitting term to describe the cocky asshole I had come to know as Luke.

"Scary?" I finished, trying to force out a slight laugh as I played with my fingers. Ash chuckled, throwing his arm around me and giving me a quick side hug.

"I guess. Just text me when you get home so that I know you made it safely, okay?" I chuckled then as well, hugging him back awkwardly and trying to hide the permanent blush that overtook my face whenever he was around.

"Ashton, Luke's giving me a ride home remember? I'm not walking." I tried to joke, but something about what I said must have set Ashton off because his gaze darkened and I could see the muscles in his neck twitch.

"Just, text me, okay?"

"Okay..." I trailed off quietly as I walked away, over to a waiting Mikey who had his arms open for a hug.

"You sure you're okay getting a ride home from Mr. Sunshine?" I rolled my eyes as I pulled away from the hug.

"Well I kind of don't have a choice since you're abandoning me to go out to the bars, now do I?" I teased him, ruffling his hair and hiking my purse up my shoulder.

"He's doing you a favor, Em," Riley started as she walked over, wrapping an arm around Michael's waist and lying her head down on his shoulder. "You get to ride home with the Aussie babe? You lucky bitch! First the hot drummer gives you his phone number and now the hot guitar player is driving you home?" She pouted playfully and I slapped her on the arm.

"Shut up."

"What a comeback, Em, you're so witty." I groaned throwing my head back and looking towards the door that Luke had just exited not five minutes earlier.

"I better get going, he already seemed pretty impatient when he left, don't want to keep him waiting." Riley smirked as she leaned into my ear.

"Yeah, wouldn't want to keep him waiting."

When I had walked out of the doors of the restaurant, I was immediately confronted by two things. One being the chilly Minnesota air that immediately chilled me to the bone, and the other being the tall blonde Australian leaning against the passenger side door of a rusted black pickup truck. He stood with his arms over his chest and his ankles crossed as he leaned his weight against the door. I felt my stomach fill with nervous butterflies as I hesitantly approached him.

"It's about time," he scoffed, pushing himself off of the truck door and turning around to open the door, "get in." All I wanted to do was open my mouth and tell him off, but something about the intensity of his gaze kept my lips glued shut. With a slight nod, I brushed past him, shivering as the leather of his jacket grazed against my bare skin, and I climbed into the cab of the truck. He shut the door after I had climbed in and stalked around to the driver's side where he proceeded to smoothly slide into the seat and slam the creaking door.

No words were exchanged as he started up the roaring engine, shifting gears and pulling out of the parking lot in one swift movement. I stared out of the window, watching the streetlamp around me fly by in a blur of yellow light as I tried to ignore the growing tension in the small cab.
"So," A raspy voice coughed out, and I turned to see Luke with his left arm propped against the window, his right firmly placed on the steering wheel. "I can't exactly take you home if I don't know where you live." A smirk curled up on his lips as his eyes darted over to me and his tongue peeked out to wet his bottom lip. Even though the embarrassment was bubbling up in my chest, I knew my feelings of curiosity were greater still.

Before I could even think twice, my lips were moving and I heard my voice speaking out. "What happened to your voice?"

"What?" His voice was quieter this time, and I felt the tension in the truck increase, if that were even possible.

I gathered up every ounce of courage I had and cleared my throat. "I said, what happened to your voice? Casey said something about you getting your voice back, why did you lose it in the first place?"

"You're a nosy little one, aren't you?" I heard his rumble of laughter and quickly looked over to see a small grin dancing on his lips. I shrugged, folding my arms across my lap and once again turning to glance out the window.

"It's a long story for another time. What's your address?" He avoids my question and instead asks one of his own. I roll my eyes at his blunt attitude and turn to retort, when I feel the car lurch to a stop. "Do not roll your eyes at me, Emily."

A shiver ran through my body as I felt his piercing blue eyes burning a hole into the side of my face. I gathered all of the strength in my body and turned to face the apparently quick tempered Aussie. The sharp edge of his jawline was prominent under the dim yellow street lamp we were stopped under, and I watched his chest rise and fall calmly with each intake of air. The embarrassment that I was feeling by being reprimanded by a stranger was quickly being replaced by anger as he continued to stare at me, as if expecting an apology. Who does he think he is?

"Can you just take me home, Luke?"

"Can you not act like a brat?" We stared at each other for a couple silent seconds, daring the other to break the tension.

After almost five minutes of complete silence, I couldn't take it any longer.

"476 Watercress." I mumbled, pouting like a child who didn't get her way. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a small triumphant smirk cross Luke's face as he started the truck once again and we took off again in the direction of my house.

The rest of the short ride to my house was silent as we ignored each other, and not even the soft rumbling of the engine or the static emitting from the radio could overpower the strained silence. Just as we were nearing my street, Luke sped through a stoplight at a deserted intersection.

"You know red usually means stop." I mumble nervously, very grateful that there are no cars or cops around to witness what he just did. I looked at him for the first time since he blew up at me, and saw the glint of something dark in his eye that I couldn't quite place.

Was it... excitement?

Just like that, his whole mood seemed to change as a goofy smile overtook his face and he met my eye.

"C'mon, Emily. Live a little." Something about the joking tone of his voice sent shivers down my spine and made me shift uncomfortably in my seat.

Before I could even respond, Luke was putting the truck into park as we pulled into my driveway.

I mumbled a quiet 'thank you' as I pulled my purse over my shoulder and opened the creaking door of his rusted pickup. Just as I was about to step out and shut the door, Luke leaned over to yell out the open window.

"Have a good night, Sweetheart." A vicious chill ran through my body and I dashed towards my front door quickly as I heard the raspy laughter from Luke's deep voice echo from his truck.
As I finally managed to unlock and wretch open my front door, I heard the roaring of Luke's engine die away as he drove off down the street. A breath that I didn't realize I was holding escaped my lungs as I shut the door behind me and leaned my back up against it. As I tried to steady my breathing, I felt my phone buzz in my purse, and I pulled it out to see a text from Ashton.

From Ashton Irwin:

Let me know when you make it home safely, and I apologize ahead of time if Luke gives you a hard time, he can be an asshole sometimes.

I chuckled at the sweet text from the charismatic drummer as I replied with a short message to let him know I made it home in one piece.

To Ashton Irwin:

Made it home safely, and Luke is... something. Thanks for the great night, see you Friday?

I slid my phone back into my purse as I locked the front door and slowly made my way up the stairs towards my bedroom, the extent of how tired I was finally hitting me full force.

As I walked, I couldn't help but picture the tense muscles in Luke's neck as he stared me down in unnecessary anger, or the mischievous twinkle in his icy blue eyes as he ran the stop light. Something about the curly haired man with the crazy mood swings and the incredibly blue eyes terrified me to the core, and I couldn't explain it.

Why was I so intimidated by this man?

Notes

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