< 4 >

"You guys can stay here tonight. It would be safer anyway." Christina's mother said to Justin and Ashley as she and her husband turned in for the night.

"Thanks." they replied in unison.

"We could have gone to my house if my mother wouldnt have already turned my room into an office." Ashley joked.

"Yeah well, there is no point in going out of your way to go home. You guys can have the whole downstairs to yourself. I'm gonna head to bed anyway." Christina said as she yawned.

"Ok. Goodnight." Ashley said as Christina headed up the stairs.

"Night." Justin said as he headed to the living room.

"So, we're all alone now. I'm not used to this." Ashley said as she sat on the couch next to him.

"Yeah, its been awhile." Justin smiled as he put his hand on her knee and got closer.

"You know, I never thought in a million years that we would be this close again. In fact, I never thought I would even see you again." she said as she looked in his eyes.

Justin sighed as he looked away. "I know what you mean. I wrote that letter to you with tears in my eyes and a pain in my heart. I wanted to be with you so badly but I knew that only time could heal what was broken."

"You sound so poetic." she snickered lightly, trying to break the seriousness of the conversation.

"Yeah, well its the truth though. I don't know how else to say it." he said as he looked back at her.

"Thanks for coming to help me with all of this." she changed the subject. "I really didnt expect you, of all people, to come to my rescue."

"Well, I didn't expect to hear from Christina either but I did. To tell you the truth, I didnt even want to hear about it at first. I didnt really want to get involved. But, I still love you and I couldnt let something to happen to you and not do anything about it."

"I cant believe that you even still love me after all this time." she looked at him as he stared at her.

"Why not? You still love me." he replied.

"Yeah, but I am the one that hurt you. After I found out what a mistake I made, I felt so bad. It made me love you more because then I didnt have you. But, I figured you would have hated me because I didnt believe you and trust you." she sighed.

"It did hurt me, Ash. It took me awhile to get over it but I still love you. That one thing I told Christina was that I didn't want to come back here because it would bring up old feelings and I didn't want to get into that again, but, the way I feel about you will never go away. I can't hide from it anymore." he said as he laced his fingers around hers.

"That's the same exact way that I felt." she smiled lightly.

"Thats because we are connected to each other forever." he smiled back.

"Like kindred spirits?" she mumbled to herself.

"Like what?"

"Kindred spirits. That's what Christina called us. It's like we are a part of each other, connected in a spiritual way." she stated.

Justin looked at the end of the couch and then back to her. "That sounds cool, but right now I'm gonna connect with that pillow before I fall asleep on you."

Ashley laughed. "Ok. I'll turn the light off so you can sleep."

"Thanks." he smiled as he gave her a short peck on the lips and layed down quickly at the other end of the couch, instantly falling asleep.

Ashley watched him for a second before she turned off the light and made herself comfortable at the other end of the couch.

Justin and Ashley woke up around the same time the next morning to the smell of fresh brewed coffee and stumbled their way to the kitchen.

"Where's your mom and dad?" Ash asked as she poured herself some coffee.

"My dad didn't have to work today so they probably went out. They usually go and do their shopping and errands in the early morning." she replied from the kitchen table.

"Geez, they're never home." Ashley stated as she sat down beside her.

"Not usually. My dad hardly ever works because he has alot of responsible people at the company. They usually take care of everything unless there's an emergency." she finished and then hovered back over her coffee.

"What's wrong with you?" Justin asked as he poured himself a cup, too. "You look like you got hit by a truck."

"Thanks." Christina replied sarcastically. "Well, besides everything hurting in my body from that altercation yesterday, I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn't go back to sleep. I had this weird case of insomnia."

"Yeah, my neck is really stiff, too." Ashley added as she touched her neck softly.

"It's nice and purple now." Justin said as he looked at her.

"That's great." Christina mumbled as she took a sip of her coffee."

"Well, I have some business to do so I'm gonna get going." Justin said as he stood up and walked to the living room.

"Where are you going?" Ashley yelled to him.

"Just to the city. I'm glad its only a half an hour from here because I have some stuff to take care of since I'm out this way." he yelled back.

"What are you doing?" she asked again.

"I'm gonna meet up with some old friends, take care of some music business." he finished as he returned to the kitchen from his quick change and entered into the bathroom in the kitchen to brush his teeth.

"How long is it gonna take?"

"You ask alot of questions." he mumbled.

"You should know me by now." she smirked.

He walked back out to them and grabbed the keys to the rental car. "I'll probably be back in an hour, maybe two."

"Oh. Ok." she replied bluntly.

"Well, I'm gonna get going." he said as he leaned down to give Ashley a soft kiss. "Stay here and keep the doors locked."

"Yes, dad." Christina joked.

"Smartass." Justin snickered as he went out the door.

"So, are you and Justin back together or what?" Christina asked as she yawned.

"I dunno. I don't want to rush things, especially when I don't know what is going on with Brandon." she sighed.

"Well, you could go back with Justin to Florida. You would be able to start a new life away from Brandon."

"Maybe, but, I really cant think about that now. Justin and I are just starting to discover each other all over again. It's been so long since we were together that its going to take some time to get back what we had."

"True, but, you never know what is going to happen. You have to do what you want right now or you might not ever get the chance. I say just go for it. You both have waited so long to be together again." Christina added.

"I'll have to talk to Justin. Maybe I'll go back with him." she paused before she continued. "Well, I'm gonna go get a shower."

"Ok. I'm gonna clean up down here." Christina said as Ashley got up and went upstairs.

Christina went to the living room and started folding up the blankets that Justin and Ashley had used. She yawned again despite her cup of coffee, and the lack of sleep was starting to take over. The soft plush couch was calling her name and she layed down and fell into a deep sleep.

The phone rang three times before the answering machine came on. Christina slept soundly through it as it clicked over and started recording.

"Hi Ashley. This is Officer Hunter just calling to inform you that Brandon Clark has been released on bail and had left the premises about an hour ago. We assume that he will be returning to his home, so please try to avoid going anywhere near there. The restraining order against him is now effective and he has been notified of this. If there is any problems due to violation of the order, please call us as soon as possible. Thank You."

"Did you say something?" Ashley yelled as she came down the stairs. The machine clicked off as she reached the living room and noticed that Christina was sleeping. "I guess not."

Ashley walked back out to the kitchen and stood in the silence. She eyed Christina's car keys hanging on the wall and pulled them down. "I might as well go salvage my stuff at Brandon's before he gets back." she said to herself. "Maybe I should ask Christina before I take her car." she pondered. "I don't want to wake her up." she finished as she went out the door and drove off.

Fifteen minutes later Justin pulled in the driveway and stormed into the house. "Ashley!" he yelled as he entered the living room and woke up Christina.

"What are you yelling about?" she groggily mumbled as she sat up.

"Christina?" he exclaimed.

"Yeah, the last time I checked." she replied.

"Where is Ashley?" he said, getting frantic.

"She was in the shower. Why? How long was I sleeping?" she asked as she looked around.

"Your car isnt in the driveway." he stated.

"Well, she probably went to the store or something. What's the big deal?" she stood up and walked to the blinking light on the phone.

"It's just that I don't like her being alone. I got a weird feeling thats why I came back." he finished as Christina played the message on the machine.

"Shit!" Christina cursed.

"She probably went to Brandon's and didnt even listen to the message!" Justin exclaimed as he ran to the kitchen.

"Oh my God. He could have been there." Christina said as it finally kicked in.

They looked at each other with fear in their eyes as they ran out the house and made their way to Brandon's.

< Chapter 5 >