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It's Never Too Late                                                                                                                         Chapter 4

Next morning Ashley shot up from her bed, hearing her cell phone's alarm clock ringing. She pulled the phone from the night stand on her hand, clicking the alarm off before laying her head back against the pillow. It was half eight and she didn't have to be in school before nine.

Right when she closed her eyes again, the phone started to ring again, this time ringing Television Television out loud. Ashley groaned grabbing the phone back in her hand, snapping her eyes open before opening the text message.

'Coming to the festival planning today? You promised me. - Micks'

Ashley's eyes went wide before she jumped up from the bed, running to her closet starting to dig some clothes away from it, trying to decide what she should wear today. She didn't really remember promising Mickie that she would be there in the planning, but what she remembered was that she should be there by eight o'clock.

Quickly Ashley pulled her pajama pants off and pulled tight, black jeans over her skinny legs, before throwing the loose t-shirt away over her head, pulling a white t-shirt on and a black tank top with a white skull print over it. She found black socks and a dark green hoodie, pulling them on with a speed of light, before grabbing all her school stuff with him, throwing them to the hallway before rushing in to the bathroom in the end of the hallway.

After getting her hair in some kind of bearable order and finished her makeup, Ashley took another look to the clock - it was already quarter to eight. Ashley groaned, storming out from the bathroom and grabbed her belonging from the hallway, stuffing everything in to her bag before running down the stairs and straight to the kitchen, where her mother was happily making breakfast.

"Morning honey," she smiled. "Jeffrey is waiting you outside."

"Thanks -- Wait, Jeffro?"

"Why you are so surprised?" her mother laughed, handing her a bag containing her lunch. "I found him sleeping on the couch last night when I came home. He told me he wanted to keep an eye on you."

"Idiot," she muttered, taking the brown paper bag from her mother and stuffed it inside her school bag. "I got to go now, I'll see you later."

"Bye honey, have a nice day," her mother smiled after her daughter, who skipped out from the kitchen, stuffing a black converse on her left foot and a white one on the other, before pushing the front door open and stepping outside to the porch. There she found Jeff sitting on the steps, looking her over his shoulder smirking, holding his bicycle in place with one hand.

"Morning to you too," Ashley giggled, skipping the steps down, before pulling her cell phone out from her jeans pocket. Ten to eight already. She groaned loudly, Jeff jumping on his feat and walking after her to the closed wooden gate on the edge of the front yard.

"You need a lift?" Jeff asked grinning after he closed the gate after the two. Ashley gave him amused look, before rolling her eyes, "No, I was planning to run to the school in ten minutes."

"Well then, I brought my bicycle here for nothing," Jeff shrugged. Ashley hit him on the shoulder grinning, "Get it rolling, mister. You need a delivery to make."

"Righty then," Jeff laughed, jumping on the bicycle. Ashley sat herself down on the carrier behind Jeff, before he pushed the bicycle going, starting to pedal like maniac, slowly the bicycle getting more and more speed.

"I didn't know you had so much power in your legs," Ashley giggled while Jeff stopped in the intersection in red lights. Jeff grinned to the punk girl over his shoulder, "Well, I have been training recently."

"Oh, I wonder why," she smirked, Jeff just chuckling before kicking the bicycle going on once more.

It didn't took very long for them to get in the school yard. As soon as Jeff drove in from the gate, Ashley jumped off from the carrier, starting to jog toward the front doors, pulling her phone away once again - two minutes until it was eight.

"Micks is so gonna kill me," she muttered, pushing the door open, hearing Jeff coming in behind her not very far away. She skipped down the stairs two stairs at the time, looking over her shoulder, seeing Jeff following nearby. After getting to the basement floor, they headed toward the music room.

"One more minute," Ashley groaned, hastening her footsteps until she was on the door of the right class room - Mickie's voice reaching to her ears, "I have one more girl on the list, but I don't think she's here yet. Chris, who do you have left?"

Ashley pushed herself in to the crowded huge class room, Jeff probably following her inside. Quickly she spotted Mickie sitting on a table in one corner of the room, chatting with some guy with short, blonde hair. His Canadian accent peeked out from his voice very clearly.

"Micks hey, sorry I'm so late," Ashley smiled after reaching the attention of her friend, who just smiled back at her. "Chris," Ashley nodded to the Canadian boy, who nodded back. Chris Jericho, the lead singer of schools band and the leadman of schools music club. The one, who Mickie had huge crush on.

"It's okay, Ash," she giggled, looking at some papers on her hands. "But the only thing is, that we have only one person for you to choose."

"Uh, choose?" the punk princess asked raising an eyebrow. "Choose for what?"

"Choose to be your partner in the Halloween parties karaoke competition," Chris smirked. Ashley looked at him like he was totally out of his mind. She in a karaoke competition? With some guy who she didn't even have a change to choose?

"No," Ashley stated, giving Mickie a cold look. Mickie rolled her eyes, "You promised that you would participate, remember? Since you didn't plan on doing anything else, you promised me that you will be there."

"No, no and million times, no. I'm not going to sing anything with some random guy, who I probably even don't know."

"You don't have to worry about that," Chris stated, scanning through his papers. "Because your partner will be… Randy Orton."

"What?!" a loud voice shouted in his ear. Chris rubbed the back of his ear a bit, before glaring at the young man standing right there behind him. He was tall and pretty handsome looking, short brown hair and deep, green eyes. Ashley rolled her eyes after seeing both Mickie and Chris grinning.

"I'm so not going to be her partner," Randy stated, glaring at Ashley.

"Randal, come on," Chris whined, pulling the guy away from the two girls that went through on a same kind of conversation at the same time. "I really need you to do this. It will make me look good on Mickie's eyes."

"Hell no," Randy muttered rolling his eyes. "Not in a million years I will be participating in any kind of competition with her."

"Ashley, please," Mickie begged her eyes shining as she stared at her friend. "It will make me look good in Chris' eyes. I really need you to do this to me."

"No," Ashley continued shaking her head. "No matter what, I'm not going to be his partner. The guy I such an ass, I don't want him anywhere near me."

"Well I'm so sure she can't hit anywhere near the high note," Randy snorted. Ashley's eyes immediately went narrow and she turned toward Randy, giving him an angry glare.

"Excuse me?" She glared at Randy, who just blankly glared back. "Like I said, you wouldn't hit even near the high note," he stated again. Ashley turned toward Mickie again, "Add me on the list. I'm so gonna show that smartass what it pays if you are going to diss me."

"Right, I'm adding you in with Randy," Mickie giggled smiling widely, scratching something on her paper. Chris tapped Randy on the shoulder giving him a thankfully smile before going off with Mickie somewhere. Ashley still glared at Randy, who glared back.

"I'm going to let you see," she muttered, without releasing her eyes on his, "I totally make you look miserable on the stage Saturday night."

"If you are even coming," Randy smirked. "I have never seen you in the school's Halloween parties."

"Because I have not any reason to go. But now I have - a mission to kick your ass on the stage."

"Aren't we suppose to be a team or something?" Randy asked rolling his eyes. Ashley shrugged, sitting on the edge of the table, "I don't know, actually."

"So then your mission have to wait," he stated laughing, catching up with Chris. Ashley rolled her eyes, pouting staring at the wall, until Jeff's hand landed on her shoulder.

"So hey, I caught up the part that you and Randy are going to be partners in this crime," he smirked, sitting next to the punk girl who rolled her eyes.

"Anything but him," Ashley muttered. "I hate his arrogant attitude. Thinks he's so much better than anyone else."

"Okay, may I have your attention, please?" Mickie's voice interrupted their conversation, everybody in the crowded room turning their attention to the two standing on the stage in the end of the class room. "Right, now we have made the partners out of you and now we are going to listen all of your sing one song, so we can see who we are having in the finals at Saturday nights party."

"We take as many couples as get over twenty points," Chris continued, "And the points are coming from the four judges, that we made out from the teachers."

"Oh nose," Ashley sighed, "I die if there is mister Hickenbottom…"

"First, the math teacher, mister Michael Hickenbottom," Chris stated when a certain teacher stood up from the small table that had planted nearby the stage. "Second, the history teacher, mister Ric Flair. Third up, the geography teacher mister John Layfield, and the last but not the least, our music teacher, mister Ken Anderson."

All the youngsters started to chat quietly and changed opinions about the judges of the so called competition. Ashley sighed, "Damn the Hickenbottom, he doesn't like me at all and now this… Oh well, neither of us really want this so I think it will be worth of it trying."

"Don't give up so easily," Jeff smirked, wrapping his arm around the girls shoulders. "You are fabulous singer and what I have heard, Randy's not so bad either. Who knows, maybe they like you two."

"I doubt," Ashley muttered, rolling her eyes before concentrating back in Mickie and Chris.

"We have currently ten couples competing," Chris started, smirking to the crowd, "One by one we are going to call them up the stage and they will perform one song form the list. The judges will give point to each pair and all the pairs that get twenty points or over will be competing in Saturday's huge final. Everybody get it?" Some agreeing muttering was heard in everywhere in the room.

"Okay, then the first pair… Ashley Massaro and Randy Orton," Mickie stated smiling. Ashley's jaw dropped as she jumped down from the edge of the table.

"Oh hell no, I agreed to be here but to perform first… Never, girl, never," she stated looking at Mickie, who once again formed that begging look on her face.

"You are just afraid of loosing to me, aren't you?" Kelly's irritating voice stated behind her, before she started to giggle. Ashley rolled her eyes, walking to Randy and grabbed him by his arm, dragging to the stage.

"Oh we are so going to show them," she muttered, making Randy raise an eyebrow at her. "Kelly and her stupid harem."

"Right," Randy muttered, before grabbing the mic that Chris handed to him.

"So, what song?" Randy asked looking at Ashley who already scanned the list through.

"Umm, I think we should go with Roses On My Grave by Papa Roach," she muttered, making Randy grin, "Good choice, that might be the only song from the whole list I actually know."

"Great, then Roses On My Grave it is," Ashley smirked, announcing the song to Mickie and Chris who announced it to the crowd.

"Never heard of the whole song," Kelly whined crossing her arms over her chest. Ashley grinned, listening how the intro of the song slowly started to play as she and Randy locked their eyes on the screen in front of them.

"Blue lines are yours, red ones mine," Ashley whispered, just to make sure everything was going okay so far. Randy nodded, and Ashley lifted the mic on her lips to sing the first lines of the song.

It feels like I'm looking at life

Through a telescope because I'm so high

The ground never seemed so far away

Truth shall be told one day

I'll be under ground one day

Randy smirked after seeing Ashley looking at him from the corner of her eyes, slowly lifting the microphone up and looking back at the small screen in front of them.

Roses on my grave

Feels like I'm looking at life

Through a telescope because I'm so high

And the ground never seemed so far away

Truth shall be told one day

I'll be under ground one day

Looking at the crowd Ashley saw Kelly muttering something to Adam. She raised an eyebrow seeing Kelly's pissed expression while she whined to Adam, making him laugh. She had actually never thought the two could be so close, but maybe it came with the reputation - after all, Kelly was a cheerleader captain and Adam one of the two star players of the junior hockey team.

Randy took a quick look at Ashley, making her pay attention back to the screen in front of the two. From the corner of her eyes Ashley saw how Mickie shined while talking to Chris. She smiled shaking her head, getting ready to sing the last lines of the song together with the Orton boy next to her… But as soon as the c-part of the song begun, she couldn't release her eyes from the crowd and no words came out from her mouth. Biting his lip, Randy tried to get her singing again by gently shoving her in the rib with his elbow, but it didn't seem to make any kind of reaction in her.

Suddenly she dropped the microphone from her hand, jumping off from the stage and ran out from the classroom. Everybody stared after her confused - except Kelly who just started to laugh at her with her little harem around her. Mickie and Chris exchanged quick looks, before started to wave to Randy to stop the singing. He lowered the mic from his hand, Chris pulling him off the stage.

"What the hell, man? What happened?"

"I have no idea," Randy shook his head. "She just suddenly spaced off and the next thing I knew, she jumped off the stage and ran out."

"Did she say anything to you? Or you to her?" Mickie asked, tilting her head worriedly. Randy shook his head.

"What happened?" Jeff asked worriedly after finding his way to the three other students. All three of them shook their heads.

"No idea at all," Mickie sighed. "She just suddenly ran off…"

"And nobody went after her to find out?" Adam asked, arriving to the scene Kelly and the rest of her harem following. Jeff looked at him for a moment, before turning to Mickie again, "I try to find her. There is something seriously wrong with her… Just like last night."

"Okay, I hope you bring her back at one piece," Mickie nodded, before Jeff skipped out from the room.

Ashley sat on the steps outside the front doors of the school, her head lowered on her hands. She was sure about it, there was no doubt she had seen him again… Phil had stood in the back of the class, singing along with the very song, hitting every note even more perfectly in place than she and Randy combined. She shook her head, trying to hold tears down - for a moment she had forgot about the whole incident from last night, but now everything plopped straight back in her head.

"Why are you sitting here?" a sudden voice asked, making Ashley's head bounce up from her hands. "I thought your singing was great."

"Get out of here," she whispered, looking at the black haired boy standing in front of her, looking her with the dark, smiling eyes of his. "I don't need you here, just leave me alone."

"Ashy, let me explain," he sighed, walking to the stairs and sitting next to her. Ashley trembled a bit, but she finally started to felt a little safer when he was around - even though she still knew he wasn't real. "There was a reason I left. But now I'm back. For good. Please give me another try."

"No, Phil," she sighed shaking her head. "There is no way I could give you another chance. Besides, you are nothing but hallucination to me. You are not sitting right there right now, you never been there before and you are not going to be there for now on."

"You don't know that," Phil smiled, lifting his hands on her cheeks and pulling her in a slow, gentle kiss.

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