TAKE ME OUT - FRANZ FERDINAND

Collab with the freaking amazing @vampire-weakend y'all

I feel so accomplished, Alex,
I did this in a day,
heeelll yes

AND I finished it even after reading @little-red's newest story, which made me cry like a baby and not want to look at anything for a while

Yeah
That's hard

This set makes me laugh


But why does Niall have his shirt unbuttoned....?

CAM, WHAT DID I TELL YOU?
STOP MOLESTING THE IRISH ONE

Hahahahahahaha 

You're gonna be so proud of the BJ jokes in the story, too
half of them are Alex's and the other half are ones I just made up

Hehe
Oh Horvello,
what are we gonna do with you? (;

Anyway, on with it!




Ashley Hartman 
of the Hartman persuasion
mmn


June 30th;
Cameron’s party




The girl in the mirror was smiling.

Her lips were red, parted; her face hidden somewhere under the layers of makeup. She blinked and her black lashes tickled the tops of her brows. Her blonde hair was curled 20’s styled and on it she dawned a bowler hat tied with a ribbon. 

She wore a white dress shorter than usual, black satin gloves, and matching heels.

It wasn’t happiness that made her lips pull up in the corners,
or any particular emotion at all that usually makes one smile;

It was her show of strength to the girl on the other side, who might’ve needed that smile to help her through the night.

The one with her face plastered across blogs on the internet 
and her name floating in the air of Verona’s campus;


They called her Ashley.



“We’re g’nna be la-a-ate,” Niall whined. “C’mon guys!”


I shook my head and grabbed my purse. The apartment was already suffocating in tension. “There’s no such thing as ‘late’ to one of Cam’s parties, Nialler. It’s called being fashionable.”

I received quite a dirty look.


Three boys emerged from their separate rooms,
each dressed in old timey suits and shoes.
There was Louis, Zayn, and Liam.
Harry wasn’t anywhere to be found.

“Relax mate, I was just fixin’ my hat,” Zayn winked and patted the blonde boys’ back. 

Louis wrapped a steady arm around my waist and pulled me close. “Did I put it all on right?” He had a pocket watch hanging from his vest, an empty cigarette case, and a fedora – all of which I’d bought for him.

I shivered and smiled a bit.
My teeth found my bottom lip as I nodded.
“Uh huh,” I said, my eyes fixed on the way his suit fit his chest. “Perfect.”

“Oh good.” He grinned. “Never been to a dress up part’eh before.”


The blood beneath my skin warmed to his touch. 


“There’s a first time for everything.”


Niall physically pulled us apart.
“Okay, move your arses, I’m tired of watching this. I have someone to be all gushy with, too now, y’know.”




The heartbeat of the party was that of the 1920’s;
roaring.

My black heels seemed to click harder on the floors than everyone else’s, because somehow, they always saw me coming. I would smile or avert my eyes or wave or act like they didn’t exist – depending on the look.

In the middle of the room,
I was lonely.

One by one I’d lost my entourage;
Niall first, then Louis and Liam – who wanted to play a prank of some sort, and eventually Zayn, who had stuck around the longest and had offered a dance or two.

So I’d ended up at the place I could find in the midst of a hurricane; 

The bar.


“What’ll the lady have?”
A boy with a spanish accent asked.
He smiled at me from behind the counter.

I fixed my hat and tried to come up with a drink name, but my mind was blank and swirled with the music in the background.

“Give her some shots, Eddie,” 

I turned my head to see Matt sitting two stools down,
in a navy suit with a beer bottle stuck to his lips.

Owen moved out from behind him and waved. 

“Hey Matt, Rush,” I grinned – because something about them made it hard not to.

Matt nodded at me. “C’mon Hartman, scoot down and join the party.” He smiled and patted the spot next to him. “We need a girl to make us look less pathetic.”

I laughed and switched seats as the bartender set up a platter in front of us. 
The glasses sparkled under Cam’s chandeliers.


Matt ran a hand through his gelled hair. He looked handsome and fitting in his vintage getup. 

And when I looked, I found more than a few gazes in his direction.
It wasn’t too unusual – Matt was always easy on the eyes.

But it seemed like even I could see the difference, and I wondered when I’d missed the place where Matt had grown from a cute school boy to a man who sent tremors down the spines of grown women.


“How’s the boy band doing? Aren’t you an honorary member by now or something?”

My face felt warm.
Owen jabbed Mathew in the ribs.
“Shut up, I like them.” He mumbled.

I giggled.

“Something like that,” I said, eyeing the alcohol.

“I bet they’re a lot cooler than us,” Owen joked.

 “Why do you say that?”

“Because they must be for you to ignore your best friends so you can go play the part of the famous girlfriend…” Matt said, cutting Owen off whatever he was going to say next. It was suppose to be a joke, I knew, but there was a touch of bitterness there.

He downed a shot.

I fretted, dumping salt on the counter and
making circles with my index finger.
Owen coughed loudly.

I frowned. “I’ve been busy…I…I’m sorry…”

“Don’t worry ‘bout it, Hartman,” Matt smiled and he was back to himself, happy and okay. 

He reached out and touched my arm. 
Somehow it comforted me, 
the way he’d always been good at doing.

“You feel like getting wasted tonight, Ashie?” He used a nickname I’d forgotten I had, although he was the only one who had ever used it.

I looked at Owen, who rolled his eyes,
and shrugged. Because why not.
“Do your worst.”


Shot #1;

“How’s the girl department been, Van der Carte?” 

He scoffed. “Next question.”

“No, really.”

“Next shot.”



Shot #2;

“How’s the boyfriend?”

“Amazing.”

“How’s the sex?”

“Next shot.”



Shot #4;

“Miss me?” I asked.

“Tons.”

“Awww. Mattie missed his bff! He wants to huuuug her, he wants to-”

“O-kay, enough of that-.”

“Next shot!”


Shot #?;


“How’s the drugs?”

My jaw went slack.
I felt the nerves in my back speed up, bringing back sobriety.

“Seriously, Matt? Seriously?”

“What?!” He looked at me blankly. “It’s just weed, Ash. You probably had some brownies full of it back in Dubai on accident, too.”

I swallowed hard as the blood drained from my head. “Really?”

He looked at me and laughed once. “No,” 
He shook his head. His face was stern and somber suddenly. 
“I wouldn’t have let that happen to you.”

“But you smoke all the time…”

“Here and there, every once in a while. Yeah. So I’m a little offended you didn’t come to me for them,” He grabbed another shot. “Doesn’t mean I’d let you do it.”

“How come?”

The room buzzed in the back of my head,
far away – like an echo of the world played back over and over.

Matt tilted his head like it was obvious. 
“Because,” He said. “You’re Ashley. You’re better than that.”


His eyes finished his sentence,
making my stomach do a weird flip.

The back of my eyes stung.


I pressed my palm into them until I saw the colors and stars appear. 
Matt wrapped his hands around my wrist, gently tugging. 


“Hey, you okay?”

I started to grab my purse, but he was faster.
“I didn’t mean to offend you, Ash…I thought…”

“No, no, you didn’t,” I sniffled. “I’m fine.”

“No you’re not. And you can’t go anywhere yet, either.”

“Why?” I felt the word twist into a wine, 
stretched too far out by the bitter taste of alcohol.

“Because,” He bear hugged me, planting a kiss on the top of my forehead. “I’m suppose to make you happily drunk. Not wallowing drunk.”

I laughed. I could feel his lips smile against my skin as he pulled away.
“There we go. Didn’t take too much, did it?”

I scoffed.
He grinned.

“Don’t be a damn stranger anymore, okay?”

I met Matt’s brown eyes, deep and warm and watering with something I couldn’t place. They were welcoming, accepting – they’d seen everything I was and had been. They were the eyes of a friend.

I touched his face and giggled.
“I won’t be.”

He ruffled my hair, then smoothed it, 
and wiped a bit of red lipstick from the corner of my mouth.
“You know where to find me when you need me,” He winked.

“Now go on, find that band you’re crazy about. What is it again? Boys to boys?”

I felt my teeth bite into the skin of my lips as I laughed.
“One last thing,” I reached over the counter, 
my heels teetering as I grabbed an old bottle of Jack Daniels.
I held it up with victory.


He laughed. “Thank God the bartender didn’t see that. Or worse – Cam.”

I shrugged and blew him a kiss.
“Au revoir!” 

I needed a place to reconnect with another friend – 
an older one, who’d long been rejected.

I pushed past the kids grinding and dancing 
and making out in the ballroom of the sorority house.

I was tempted to steal Melissa Van Der Rauden’s junk food she liked to cheat on her diet with but the door to the kitchen was locked. So instead I went right out the back door, towards the lake.

There was an empty dock right off its’ edge,
one I’d been sure I’d use when I first got to Verona.

Ha.


I slid off my painful shoes – the ones that poked me in the heel – and dipped my toes in the water.

I was a girl without a plan
and a bottle.



The moon was bright.

But somehow I still didn’t see him sit down beside me
until his hand reached for Jack,
and I felt a rumbling in my tummy.

“You forgot to eat something, didn’t ya?” He laughed.

I looked at Harry with a loose smile and a shrug. “Oops,” I said.

He was dressed in costume like everyone else. I assumed Niall had helped.

He passed a chocolate chip cookie over 
and I practically inhaled it.
“Found it at the snack table. Tried the kitchen - locked.”

I nodded, knowing this firsthand. “Me too. Sounded like someone was banging in there, actually.”

He laughed. “Right?! I thought that was my imagination..”

I finished the cookie off and brushed off the crumbs before studying the curly haired boy under the night sky.

“What?” He asked, smirking.

“You hate me,” I said bluntly. The words were like broken glass cutting through skin. Harry winced. “Why are you giving me cookies?”

“You tried to give me cereal.”

“That’s a decent reason? Because I attempted to feed you?”

“Well…yeah,” He rubbed the back of his neck. “We’re kinda in the same boat, right? Same thinkin’ and everything…”

I felt my brows pull together
and the cookie in my stomach felt out of place.
“How so?”

“You think it’s my fault…Her…going…” 
He swallowed hard. “But you’re still so nice to me. Even when I’m not nice back..”

“Harry…” I saw my breath in the air, a white wisp. “I don’t think it’s your fault,” I almost laughed. “I don’t blame you. You didn’t do anything.”

He stared at me for a minute,
his big green eyes taking everything in.
Then he shook his head and chuckled and looked down.

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“For everything,” He tugged on a stray curl by his ear. “I’ve been a real ass lately. What I’ve said though…I...”

I reached for Jack.
The alcohol burned my throat.

“I don’t hate you, Ash.”
He looked up and smiled sadly.
“Did you really think that?”

I opened my mouth and closed it, then opened it again. 
“It’s not like you don’t have reason to.” I said. My voice shook.

His eyes shined. “Do I really? Like honestly…what have you done to make me hate you?” He read my mind and shook his head. “You didn’t make her leave, Ashley. You didn’t force her to pack her bags or not leave a note or stop answering phone calls. There must have been somethin’ wrong there, for her to leave people she loved like that, y’know? Somethin’ wrong with how she saw things…”

I watched the water move as tadpoles came out for their nightly swim.

“I knew that…Even when I yelled at you that morning in the kitchen, I knew that.”

I tasted saltwater on my lips
and wiped my face.
“Then why?” I asked. “Why’d you do it?”

He laughed. “Because you remind me of her.”

“What?”

“I didn’t know why I was so angry. But then you stood up for me in front of that reporter and…” Harry rolled his shoulders up and down. His eyes were red. “I realized how alike you can be.”

“That’s a new one…”
I laid my back against the dock,
feeling the wood against the thin fabric of my dress.
Harry followed, taking a long sip of the alcohol we shared.

“Right?” He murmured. 

It was a few minutes before he spoke again,
his voice thick and scratchy.

“I was taking my anger out on you because I couldn’t do it on her…That and I didn’t want to be reminded about what I’d lost.” He looked at me. His accent was much more prominent under the influence. “Kinda funny, really.”

“How in the world is it funny, Mcstyles?”

He took another sip of o’le Jack and grinned cheekily. 
“That’s how.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Thanks for the save, by the way, at the gig.”

“I couldn’t hate you, Ashley,” Harry patted my head. 

I took the bottle from him and drank the last of it before getting up. I held my hand out, wobbling as I helped him stand. “C’mon, we better get home.”

“Yeah,” He nodded. He stuck his hands in his pockets. “Hey Ash?”

“Yeah Harry?”

“I miss her so much,” His voice was quieter than a whisper, 
like it might get carried away with the wind. “I don’t wanna say goodbye… I just want her back.”

I wrapped my arms around his boney shoulders.
“I know, Haz. We both do.”






We stumbled down the sidewalk of Verona.
It was a horrible time to live in the apartments – which was farthest away.

The night wrapped around us,
cold and pressing. 

There was a place where she should’ve been, 
under my arm, tripping and falling over her own shoes;
she’d laugh and giggle and act cool when she wasn’t.

But tonight, it was quiet and lonely in that place.


Liam met us at the lamppost in the courtyard. He’d come home early and knew we’d need someone to help us find the apartments.

I laughed.
I don’t know why. It seemed appropriate at the time.



I didn’t remember getting into the living room,
but Lou was there.


He held my head in his hands and a coffee cup by my mouth.

“I don’t wanna be sober,” I said softly, curling in on myself.

He laughed.
“Why?”

“I only want to be drunker,”

I giggled. My face felt hot.
I could feel my instincts numbing.

“Ashley, you make no sense.” He laughed again.

I pulled away from him, towards the other side of the couch. I didn’t realize there were people watching. “I don’t want to think about her anymore,” I slurred, reaching for something I thought might’ve been alcohol. Someone took it away. “Give it back!”

Louis frowned. The wrinkles in his face looked like a dimple.
“You’re worrying me…”

“You don’t know worried until you can’t see me in front of you.”

He wrinkled his brows
and looked at the others
and looked at me.

I snuggled into the corner, holding a pillow into my stomach.


I slept and woke up and slept more.
Each time, Louis would hand me the cup, warmer than before.

I don’t know how many tries it took for it to finally reach my mouth.

But it did.
And I didn’t feel good.



June 31st;
Still no sleep


“What are we doing up?” I asked, fighting through my sore throat.

The clock read 5:45 A.M.

I sat on the bar stool in the kitchen, 
beside Louis, who was pouring cups of coffee over and over.

Liam and Zayn sat on the couch, Zayn rubbing his temples and blinking. Harry laid on the floor, his coffee very obviously untouched as he sang Mariah Carey songs under his breath. I raised an eyebrow.

Louis shrugged. “He gets quite pissy.”

“Ah,” I said.

Liam yawned. “Management called an emergency early meeting at the studio..and Niall’s still gone.”

“When are you supposed to be there?”

“At eight.”

“Ooh,” I groaned, feeling secondhand pain. “Have you tried calling him?”

I rubbed my knuckles into my temples,
sending blinding pain down my spine.

Louis’s hands grazed mine,
softly pulling them off my head and replacing them with his own.
I closed my eyes.

I could feel Zayn’s smart as.s stare. “No. We snail mailed him.”

“Someone else gets a little pissy too, huh?” I whispered.

Louis held back a laugh.


The door slammed.
The room winced.

It was Niall.

“Hey! Shut that pile driver,” Harry’s hand shot up from behind the living room table, birdy finger up. “Damn construction workers…”

Even the Irish boy stared at Harry in confusion.
“What the fu.ck, mate?” He laughed loudly.

Niall walked into the kitchen and grabbed a cup of coffee.
His cheeks were pink, shirt untucked and unbuttoned, his belt hanging by a thread.

“What took /you/ so long?” Louis asked, 
his brows higher than the empire state building.

Niall hesitated. “Uhh…nothin’ jus’ partay’in, I s’pose…”

“…All night?” Zayn asked. His brown eyes roamed the blonde’s face. 

Niall rubbed the back of his neck.
“Uh…yah, why so many questions?”

“Because you look an awful lot like someone who got a big dose of screwing,”

Harry’s head was barely visible.
Niall’s face was red.

“Why would you say that?”

“You did!” Louis yelled, giddy. 
I flinched and he apologized. 

Niall was silent as he sipped his coffee, staring at the floor.

“Why wouldn’t you tell us though?” He frowned. “Oh da.mn Nialler, tell us it was Cam, please for the love of God, tell us you screwed Cam.”


Silence.


I was beginning to think this was not a conversation I wanted in on.


Zayn groaned. “No mate, no no no. You did not choose some fangirl, did’ya? You know how cheap they are, and you’re supposed to be in a relationsh-.”

“Even drunk, you’re so much better than that-..”

“At least tell us her name-…”

“I didn’t screw some other girl!” 

Niall put his coffee cup down a little louder than necessary.
His hands tangled themselves in his hair.

I blinked.

“Then….why wouldn’t you just tell us?” 
Louis asked.




“She shot you outta the sky, eh?”

Everyone looked at the drunk Harry, 
his head sitting on the table.

It took

5
4
3
2
1

seconds.


Zayn burst into hysterical laughter.
Liam looked offended.
Louis was on the floor somewhere.
I gaped.

Niall was
embarrassed.
Just a bit.

“No. No no no no no.” I looked at him. I couldn’t feel my face.


He fumbled for words
and I fumbled for my sanity.

“Some kryptonite, eh?” 

Harry stood up and gave Niall a high five.

Niall ducked his head, 
trying to keep his lips from turning up.

“I am so proud,” Curly slurred. He wrapped his arm around Niall’s shoulder. “I need details, details. Was she good? I bet she was good…Cam looks like she could show a guy a good time..”

I looked away, disgusted.
Drunk Harry was not a friend of mine.

Louis took a seat on the counter, and Zayn continued to laugh somewhere on the floor.

I couldn’t believe it.


“So…where did it happen?” 
Harry patted his back.

I rolled my eyes and tried to fade it all into the background,
to a place where all I could hear was the sound of my coffee in my own mouth.

I could hear Niall scuffing his feet back and forth.
“In the sorority house kitchen….”


I had a flash of the doorknob in my hands.

Harry looked at me.

It took

3
2
1

Seconds.

“Oh my GOD,”
I felt the coffee and alcohol 
and cookies making a second appearance.

Harry was laughing like a damn hyena.

I ran to the bathroom, pulled up the lid, and puked.

I just barely hear Harry say,
“So that’s where the /real/ food was.”


I puked again.









July 2nd;



My head still hurt.


“Oh c’mon Ash, talk to me…You can’t ignore me forever, yeah?”


I looked up at Niall,
frowned, and went back to work drawing.

He sighed.
“Ash…”

I said nothing.

“You’ve heard the whole story… it’s not like I planned it…I just…I can’t get her out of my head, y’know?”

“Which one?” 
Harry asked.

Zayn fell off the couch again.
That was the third time today.
He had begun to imitate Harry’s hyena laugh.

Niall blushed.

I scowled.

“Don’t listen to them, you know me, you know I think about those things more…romantically.”

“Oh no,” Harry gasped. “Did you hear that Zaynie? She sucked him – he’s officially head over heels!”


More laughter.
More blushing.
More scowling.


I fought the urge to throw up my breakfast.


Liam and Louis were staying out of the mess;
They’d both gone out for groceries.


Or maybe they were just out trying to think of jokes to trump Harry’s.


“Aaassshhlleeeyy, please. Jus’ one word, babe. T’ats all I’m askin’,”


I grabbed my sketch pad and pencils.
“Blow off,” I said. “That’s two.”

Harry laughed loudly. “Oh man, if you didn’t have such a stick up your arse Ash babe, you might just beat me at my own game. I should really be thankful…” Harry waggled his finger. “– never remove it. I don’t need any more competition.”


I slammed the door on the way out.




The sun was out,
bright; blinding me as I walked across the quad.

I held my sketchpad tight against my chest.

It helped soothe the waves rocking in my stomach.


I wasn’t planning on thinking about any of it;
I wanted to sit down, maybe draw a flower, hum a bit –
be that hippie I never wanted to be.


But then I found her sitting on /my/ favorite bench, 
her phone in her lap and instagram at the top of the screen.

I’d seen her photos of Niall all over the place.


Suddenly a fire was burning in my heart for this girl I called one of my closest friends.

Envy mixed with annoyance mixed with irritation
mixed with little to no stability – it’s a dangerous combination.


They call it fury.


I wanted a fight.
And I was going to get one.




I smirked. 


“Your hair looks awful pretty all blown out.”




- xx, Ash.
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