27. Strangers

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Asher POV

Every time I hear Ashlors voice and look at her and Bay I feel as if I'm in a dream. It is crazy to think about how everything just happened. Running into Ashlor, finding Bay, her mother...

Baylor is a mess right now. All I can do is be here for her. My heart rips in my chest thinking about the day of my mom and Luke's funeral. It was by far worse than the day I found out they died because that's when I could no longer deny it.

I knock on Baylor's door and wait for her to answer but she never does. Slowly I open her door and see her curled up in a ball on her bed. She doesn't move when I sit down beside her. Gently I place my hand on her back and rub soft circles trying to send a bit of comfort through her pain.

I want to ask her if she's okay. But I know how stupid of a question that is right now. So instead I ask,

"Is there anything I can do for you?" She stays quiet for a moment. Then she turns towards me.

"No. Just lay here with me until we have to go." She asks and I nod as I scoot down beside her and lay down. She lays her head on my chest and warps her arm around me. I wrap both of mine around her and play with her hair as she falls asleep.


The funeral was quiet and lonesome. The only company aside from us was the flowers flooding the funeral home that I bought. At least they filled the empty space. Tyler stayed home with Ashlor but I feel as if maybe it should have been the other way around. I think Bay would rather have him by her side than me at the moment. Maybe I'm just overthinking. These situations are never easy.

Cameron seems to be holding it together pretty well. But he's always been good at masking what he's going through. Baylor on the other hand wears it on her face. Her face is flushed and puffy from the constant tears. Dark circles rest beneath her eyes and her hair falls tiredly down her back.

I want to hold her and hug her and tell her that things will get better but she already knows all this. It isn't her first loss and I don't want to overwhelm her.

Instead I go to Cameron to check on him. Knowing him he's probably already been to the bathroom to break down and came back out like nothing happened.

"Hey." I say as I sit down in the seat beside him. He looks up at me and back down at the obituary in his hands.

"How are you holding up?" I ask him and I can see him hold his breath as he clenches his teeth. Presumably so he doesn't cry.

The paper in his hand crumbles slightly with the tightening of his grip. He nods his head attempting to say he's fine. I look over at Leah who is talking to the stranger who is about to speak about Cam and Baylor's mother like they knew her.

It's strange to me how we have people who never even knew our loved ones speak about them and say how great they were when they've never met. I remember flipping the fuck out on the guy speaking at my moms when he said her name wrong then proceeded to read someone else's obituary.

Leah sees me looking at her and motions for me to join her. I take one last glance at Cam and then walk up to them.

"Have you heard from them yet?" She asks and I pull out my phone to see three missed calls. Shit.

"Give me a second." I say and start to walk outside to call them back.

"We're here the doors are locked."

"I'm opening the door now." I say and hang up the phone. Ryder, Jake, Michael, and Ty walk in but I stop Ty at the door.

"Where's my daughter?" I ask him and he rolls his eyes.

"Chillax shes in the car I cracked the window for her and left some water in a bowl." I look at him shocked and he shakes his head.

"God your gullible. Baylor called Drew to take her for a few hours." He walks past me into the funeral home and I walk straight to Baylor. I want to ask her if this is true but I don't want it to sound like I'm mad about it.

"Ryder?" Cam asks and instantly stands up and Ryder gives him a hug. It takes a second for Cam to wrap his arms around him but he does. Baylor then gets up and wraps her arms around him as well.

He lets go of Cam and wraps his arms around Baylor and hugs her tightly as a tear falls down his cheek. Cam wipes one of his own away as well. Jake and Michael follow in step and they all begin to check in on each other attempting to catch up on the past few years. For a moment I think Baylor and Cam forget where they are until Jakes eyes flit towards the coffin for a second but it's enough to remind them of the solemn reason for the reunion.

The room is quiet. The stranger begins to talk about the person he never knew.


Once the funeral is over we all walk outside to the car and Baylor meets Tys eye and as if just now registering her eyes go wide.

"Where's Mia?" Ty's eyes grow wide as ever and I can visibly see the fear in his face he tries to hide from her. His eyes shoot to mine and I stare back at him wondering the same.

"Uh. She's. Uhm. Didn't you call Drew?" Her eyes bulge as she reaches for her phone and runs to the car.

"I'm going to take that as a no." He asks as he runs towards the car with us. I run to the drivers seat and tell Bay I'll drive and she hands me the keys. I run to the other side and open her door for her and the get in the drivers seat. Ty jumps in the back and so does Ryder.

"What's going on?" He asks and Baylor shoots Ty a glare through the rear view mirror.

"Why did you think I would call him when I asked you to stay with her?" She seethes and I know it's just her stress coming out on Ty. I reach over and grab her hand.

"I didn't believe him until he played the voicemail from you." Ty says back with calmness knowing she's about to break.

"Take a breath, calm down he didn't know." I try to reason with her and she takes a deep breath and closes her eyes for a moment.

"I'm sorry Ty. It's just last time I talked to him he said he was going to take Mia from me and he just did." Her voice cracks and she becomes quiet and I know it's to stop herself from crying.

"Drew took Mia?" Ryder asks and I look at Ty.

"Where did he say he was taking her?" I ask.

"I think he was just staying at the house. I heard the voicemail from Baylor I'm sorry I didn't know everything that was happening with you two."

"It was probably an old voicemail." I tell him and he begins to bite his nails as he stares out the window.

The rest of the drive was quiet and the moment we get to her house Baylor jumps out the door and runs inside. I follow after her.

When I get to the door that she left swung open I see Mia is already in her arms hugging her. I step back out onto the porch and give them some privacy.

"Why did you come running in here like that?" I hear Drew ask.

"Because I thought you left with her."

"Why would you think that?"

"Mia honey uncle Ryder is in the car! Why don't you go say hey!" Baylor tries to say excitedly and Mia comes running out the door.

"Daddy!" She yells when she sees me and I pick her up and carry her to the car.

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