‹ Prequel: Love in Music

Love in Lights

Someday I Know We're Gonna Feel Again

“‘Open Up’ was a song I wrote entirely for my boyfriend, Aaron. We went through quite a large rough patch around the time everything crashed for us and we broke up for a brief amount of time. He had given me an ultimatum telling me that I had to give up the drinking and going out every night partying and I had agreed at the time, thinking I could do it. But quitting anything isn’t as easy as you think and I still went out and I either came home to him at ridiculous times, forgot about plans we made or was too busy being sick the next day to talk to him and even try in our relationship. Then this one time it was bad and I had a bad night out and I was back in my hometown so I went to his place but he wouldn’t let me in. I could hear him crying through the door but he told me enough was enough and he refused to let me. And that there was when I got the reality check. I love him more then anything else and I had hurt him, I had made him cry. He couldn’t even talk to me properly and I was so furious at the time that he wouldn’t talk to me and work this out but I know now that I didn’t deserve the hundredth chance I was asking. So from that came this song; an apology and a plea to work this out. After I wrote the first draft I sung it to him through the door and he let me in again, physically and figuratively. I owe him everything under the sun and I will do everything I can to never hurt him again.” – Excerpt from ‘Headlines!’ album.

It was early on the set for the music video and my eyes drooped in the make up chair; Mia thrusting coffee in my face was the only thing keeping me awake.

“You’re filming for the whole day, do not fall asleep on me.” Mia growled when I took the cup. I didn’t reply just pressed my lips to the coffee cup and took a large sip. I blanched at the no sugar but refused to stop drinking. I would drink the caffeine without milk if I had to.

“Don’t ruin your lipstick,” Mia warned spraying more hairspray through a section of my hair. I gagged; she had run out of the nice smelling hairspray two sections earlier.

“Kate’s falling asleep.” Grace shouted; jolting Kate from the slide she had begun down the couch. She looked around, dazed, her hair and make up already finished.

“I’m almost finished.” Mia reasoned, grabbing her comb and teasing the last section of my hair that had already been crimped. My hair that usually sat around my waistline had been teased until it sat high up above my shoulders with dark green streaks, that matched my lips, placed throughout.

“Okay, you girls are all ready to go.” Mia tapped my shoulder and I stood up from the chair I had been stuck in for two hours. I stretched, wiggling my legs trying to relieve the numbness in my butt cheeks.

I protested and followed as Kate grabbed my coffee and headed out of the doors onto set, Gracie following. Frankie was already out there watching the set where Lucinda and Aaron were being directed.

“Aaron’s been doing really well.” Frankie murmured as we crowded around her. “They’re about to film the last section when Aaron finally opens the door for her.”

Everyone was called to places and the set became quiet. Aaron stood on one side of the door set up in the middle of the set. A small apartment scene played out, a couch, fake TV and the start of a kitchen in one corner. He stood halfway between the couch and the door while Lucinda stood on the other side her hands pressed up tightly against the wood.

“Open up open up
Open up open up
I ain’t sleeping on the damn floor
So now open up the damn door.”

Lucinda smashed her fists against the door, shaking her head, pleading through as she sang, Aaron acted well, his steps indecisive his eyes barely wavering from the door, a hand occasionally coming to rough his hair.

“And I’m sorry I’m in this state baby
I’ll make it up to you baby”

Lucinda took a step back, leant against the opposite wall and slid down, pulling her knees tightly against her chest. I could see the tears in her eyes from here. Aaron moved forward, his feet moving quickly and he reached towards the door, his hand closing around the doorknob before ‘cut’ was called throughout the set.

Aaron still yanked the door open anyway and bent down in front of Lucinda pulling her tightly against him. I wanted to comfort them too but people were already rushing onto the set, moving things around, pulling cameras forward and Johnson was there, fixing make up and hair for both Lucinda and Aaron as they held hands tightly together.

“They just have to get close shots of the door opening scene before they need us again.” Frankie further explained. We were supposed to have finished with our parts but after a re-watch there was a sequence of moves that had been changed and we needed to re-film. At least that meant that we got to be on set today for Lucinda and Aaron.


I waited patiently in the comfortable chairs at the side of the office. People buzzed around walking in and out of the office stalls around me, no one focusing or caring about me. It was a nice change actually, to be completely anonymous for a moment.

“Annabelle? You can go in.” I smiled at Holly, the assistant, and stepped towards the glass door in front of me.

The office was large, the furniture modern and shiny. Everything had sleek edges and seemed to be made to look the opposite of welcoming.

“Annabelle, please take a seat.” I looked towards the desk where Lisa Amberson sat, her smile and voice the complete opposite of her sharp room. I sat hesitantly on the chair across from her desk and breathed in relief when I felt the soft cushion.

“How can I help you? I must say it was a nice surprise getting a call from you.” Lisa moved forward her hands clasping together for her chin to rest on.

“I uh actually had a bit of a proposition for you.” I said slowly, my hands wringing together. “ A little while ago when I first met you, I’m not sure if you remember, but I was really interested in your charities and the help you do for young women.” As I spoke I reached down into my bag to grab the folder I had spent the whole night before preparing.

“I remember.” Lisa replied, her eyes eyeing the folder I held in my lap. “I must say if you’re here to try and take part or in some way help I’m extremely flattered but your image isn’t something my charities currently need.”

I flushed at her honest tone but didn’t grow angry or be offended, it was the truth and Jen had made sure to inform me of such.

“I know my reputation isn’t the greatest right now, but I also know that that is currently changing. I have documents full of statistics from my marketing team proving that mine and my bands popularity has begun to rise since our latest album.” I opened the folder and began grabbing papers, laying it on the desk in front of her. “I also have pages showing the support and gratitude that many consumers have shown to us for coming across as real, for being people who have problems and have apologised and attempted to make up for them.” I further pulled out evidence of social media comments, our apologetic statements, proof from our latest album.

“This is all very good Annabelle, but I’m not sure what you’re asking of me? My company and I are still heavily invested within Syco so I cannot imagine that you are here to convince me to stay. So why exactly are you here?” She pressed further.

“Because,” I took a breath and pulled the magazine cover from the back of the pile of sheets, “the other day I found this in a shop.” I presented the cover to her and waited while her eyes scanned the page. She looked up at me expectantly.

“I understand that Photoshop is a necessary part of magazines and that you yourself are invested in one of the top magazines company in the world and that there are certain marketing ploys that magazine companies must do to ensure that teenage girls everywhere continue to buy their magazines and the products they advertise within them. But ma’am there is nothing wrong with my knees and yet they were unnecessarily Photoshopped. Make-up was used to highlight my cheekbones and yet they still insisted on fixing them to the point where they look unrealistic. I look at this and it’s not me and I don’t want girls around the world to look at this and think this is what I look like or that I condone looking that unhealthily skinny.” I had rehearsed the speech a thousand times in front of the mirror, in front of the girls, in front of Liam and even in front of Jen and Simon.

“I understand where you are coming from but this is culture, this is what sells and you want to what? Sue the magazine company? Because I’m telling you now, it won’t be worth the publicity.” I shook my head at Lisa’s words.

“No not sue, I don’t even want to dirty their name. What I do want to do is let girls all over the world know that I nor does my band condone looking like this and that it is not an expectation to look like this.”

“This is a very noble cause Annabelle and yet I’m still unsure as to what you want me and my company to do here?”

“Invest in me. In us, in what I’m standing for. In one weeks time Purity will be performing on Good Morning America and while doing so we are refusing to wear make-up, have someone else do our hair or dress us. Now I know it might sound a little petty or not necessarily big enough but I want this as the start, to say to girls that I don’t mind wearing no make up in front of you, that my talent doesn’t come from how other people make me look and I need your help to promote that.” I clutched tightly to the documents in my lap.

Lisa nodded slowly, her eyes trailing over the cover in front of her again. “In one week?” She murmured. “I think I can advertise Purity and your message in one week but you do realise that this isn’t enough, that girls all over the world are still going to starve themselves and physically change or hurt their bodies to look how you look in this magazine?”

“I know which is why I want this performance to be the first, the announcement but definitely not the last. I want to get out there and talk to these girls, give them people they can talk to. I want to help people.”

“This isn’t on a whim? This can’t be something that you decide over night then decide to leave, if you and your band members decide to do this then you have to be completely in this and your reputation has to be clean. One slip up and I and my company would have to drop you from the cover of this campaign.” Lisa told me sternly.

I nodded and smiled, an elated feeling bubbling up inside me.

“Okay, well there is one condition for me agreeing to this.” Lisa smiled over at me. “My company is planning a large charity even in just over a months’ time for domestic violence victims and we need some famous endorsements, perhaps people that could perform?”

I smiled back at Lisa and nodded eagerly. “Count Purity in and I think I can get your more.” I told Lisa already ready to call Louis.

“Then Annabelle you have yourself a partner. I’ll set up a date with Jen to talk with you and the rest of Purity in a more convenient time.” I took this as my cue to stand and collect the documents, a large smile settling over my face that I couldn’t wipe away. Lisa stared at me amused.

“Annabelle,” Lisa called when I reached the door, “I know why you’re doing this and if this goes well you are going to help and influence millions of girls and boys everywhere. This is a lot of pressure. Don’t screw up.”

I nodded with determination and pushed the door open, nodding at Holly at her desk before heading towards the elevators, trying to refrain from skipping as I did so.


“I’m in.”

“Really?” I widened my eyes and pressed the phone tighter against my ear, smiling like a lunatic.

“Yes, did you think I wouldn’t want to do it?” Louis laughed through the phone. I shook my head.

“No, I’m just excited to hear you say yes.” I told him, laying my head back into Frankie’s lap, her hand pressing through my hair while she munched on a sandwich. Kate was next to her, talking on phone to Jen replaying everything I had told them about the interview.

“I think this is a really great idea Annabelle and I’m really proud of you girls for wanting to change it so me and the lads will back you the whole way.” Louis replied, completely serious.

I blushed darkly and squirmed in my seat. “Have you- have you listened to the album?” I had hoped by how nice Louis was acting, how readily he seemed to want to talk to me. I thought that maybe he had finally listened to our album, had learnt how I finally felt.

“Uh, no sorry not yet. I haven’t had time.”

“Oh,” I deflated slightly, “well that’s okay, you will soon then right?” I enquired, the bubble in my chest on deflating slightly.

“Yeah course, soon.” He murmured and I grinned wildly again.

“Great, well I’ll talk to you soon then Lou. Thanks again, you’re amazing.” I gushed to the phone before ending the call as Kate finished with Jen.

“My God you’re practically radiating a halo.” Lucinda commented, walking in with two plates of food, Aaron following behind her. She sat a plate onto Gracie’s lap and took a seat next to her; Aaron folded his long limbs onto the ground in front of them.

“I think your idea is amazing Belle.” Aaron told me before taking a bite of his sandwich. I beamed at him in return.

“You okay?” Kate voiced and I turned to see her staring at Gracie who had placed her full plate onto the coffee table in front of her and pulled her feet back up onto the couch. She looked around at us all, surprised by the attention.

“Yeah course, why?”

“You’re not eating.” Lucinda said, dropping her own fork onto her plate.

“I’m just not hungry, I had a big breakfast.” Gracie shrugged.

I sat up, dread filling my stomach while I tried to remember what Gracie had for breakfast, to even remember the last time I saw her eat. We all usually watched and recorded together what she ate and how much she did but the last couple of days had been busy and exciting that I couldn’t remember the last time I saw her eat anything.

“Did you? Eat breakfast?” Lucinda asked her. “It’s okay if you didn’t Grace, just tell us okay?”

Gracie’s features hardened and her arms stiffened around her knees. “Are you serious? I’m not lying to you all. I’m just not hungry after breakfast. I ate a lot.” She growled out.

“You used to say that all the time when you weren’t.” Frankie murmured her eyes not meeting Gracie’s but focused on her own hands. It was silent in the room; even Aaron sat perfectly still his eyes focused entirely on the ground as if to keep out of our way.

“Please Grace.” Lucinda begged.

Gracie sighed angrily, shoving herself forward and picking up the plate, she grabbed the fork and shoveled the pasta from that plate and into her mouth; purposefully chewing it and swallowing. “Happy now?” She grumbled, taking another forkful into her mouth and sinking back into the couch, her eyes hard but I relaxed.

We all relaxed, we could deal with the bitterness and the resentment as long as she ate and remained healthy.
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So the whole photoshop/confidence/no make up campaign is going to be a pretty big part of the story and a part of healing the girls lives just to let you all know. I've wanted to incorporate some social problems like this into my stories for awhile so I'm cherishing doing this within these stories. Judgement on how girls and boys are looked at and how society expects them to look and act like is a major social justice passion of mine, I'm a major feminist so that will probably come out in my writing. It's been in all my previous stories as well, perhaps just more hidden. But anyway that was just a little heads up and hey if I raise any issues for anyone in these chapters send me a message! I'm a good listener!

​​​​​Song Title: Like A Drum - Guy Sebastian