‹ Prequel: Love in Music

Love in Lights

I've Only Caused You Pain

“It seems international girl band Purity has found the spirit of giving. After the charity concert last week, which the girls were reportedly responsible for pulling in most of the acts, the girls are now going to be visiting child patients at the Great Ormond Street Hospital. The girls and more likely their publicists are pulling out all the shots it seems. Will there be photos of the girls kissing babies? Maybe feeding the poor? Who knows but by the remarks on Twitter the girls are certainly going in the right direction to regaining the respect of their Twitter followers.” – July 2016

The paparazzi were everywhere today, waiting for us outside the hospital. Jen was with us and made sure we stopped to take photos, smiling together. All five of us aiming for a more natural look with smiles while we slowly made our way to the door of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The five of us and the members of One Direction and Little Mix would be spending the day helping around the hospital to take care of and hopefully brighten the child patients in the hospital. It was an event that Simon and his team of publicists had created and publicized to boost all three bands images.

All five of us were actually looking forward to spending the day at the hospital despite the reasons behind why we were volunteered.

“There’s going to be a film crew following and filming you all today but they have been told to stay back and out of the way so this seems completely natural. But you won’t be able to visit some children in the wards because some parents weren’t willing to sign forms.” Jen told us when we entered the foyer of the hospital.

“Can we still visit those children just without the cameras?” Kate asked.

Jen looked at her surprised, I was almost insulted by her surprise. “Yes of course. There will be a star marked at every door that you are allowed in with the cameras. The camera crew know not to follow you if you decide to go in a room without a star.”

“Be good today girls.” Jen mumbled under her breath so only we could hear before we joined One Direction and Little Mix where they faced the cameras.

There were cue cards to be read out into the cameras. I rolled my eyes at how fake this whole day insisted on being.

By Jen’s she had caught my rolls of eyes so I faked a smile and waved into the camera like everyone else, practically bouncing on my toes so Jen’s glare would finally stop burning a whole through my skin. I felt like an idiot being so cheerful and happy in such a horrid place.

The plan was to split up into three groups; the camera changing between the groups throughout the day. I split into the only four people group with Kate, Perrie and Liam; the camera following us first. I tried not to glare too hard into the lens.

Kate nudged me as we headed towards the elevator. “What’s with you today?”

“Just annoyed about the camera’s following. Makes me feel weird and fake about doing this.” I shrugged to her, practically feeling the camera trained at my back. We hadn’t started filming yet so I wasn’t worried that what I said would be caught on tape.

“No not the camera thing. That I get. I mean I thought you would have jumped at the chance to be with Louis today? Kind of the perfect opportunity to show how much you’ve changed.”

I sighed and stepped out of the elevator and waited while the camera crew got themselves ready.

“Thought I should probably just give that a break for now. It’s tiring.” I told her. In support my whole body felt like a train wreck. I was tired, an aching bone deep tired that was refusing to go away no matter how many cups of coffee I drank.

Kate shot me a worried look but Perrie and Liam interrupted before she could say anything further. They rushed us into the first room with the camera crew eagerly following behind us.

The children were excited as we headed through the rooms. Some bouncing at the door to see us, others bouncing in bed and then there were the ones who couldn’t get out of bed or show that much energy but smiles were enough. We traded in and out in teams when we passed doors without stars on them. Taking it in turn with someone else and heading in to brighten another child’s day so no one was missing out.

A few children had handmade gifts for us; cards and drawings made specifically for today and I came close to tears too many times. Others wanted us to sing and we obliged with a few notes but we were only allowed to stay for a short amount of time. But there were questions, questions from everyone.

“Have you met Beyoncé?” One little girl asked me, her eyes eager and her small pale hand gripped onto my elbow. Her skin was eerily cold.

“No I haven’t. But one time I stood this close to her.” I motioned between the little girl’s cabinet and myself. Her sunken eyes widened in amazement.

There were plenty of stories to be told by each of the kids as well. Parents were there in some rooms and helped to explain different conditions when the children failed to understand or grasp the concept of their own illness.

One little boy had been infected while still in the womb by his birth mothers alcohol abuse. He not only had bowel issues and a droop on his left eye but a possibly fatal heart defect, but his adoptive parents rushed to assure us that he was getting better. It was heartbreaking but there was also happiness that spread around the ward while we moved and I couldn’t help but feel it. Allow their hope and excitement to infect me until my smile didn’t have to be forced, it didn’t drain energy from me.

I could tell the others were feeling it too and by the time we met up with everyone else for lunch all five of us girls were more energetic and talkative then we had been this morning.

“Look they made us bracelets.” Frankie bounced in front of me, showing me the purple thread bracelet wrapped around her wrist and held up more in her hand that were apparently for the rest of us that hadn’t made it to those rooms.

“Did you get drawings? We got heaps of drawings.” Lucinda said, waving a whole handful of papers around.


We all turned immediately to Jen’s stern voice, but she was smiling towards us.

“I’m glad that you girls are enjoying yourself but we have people waiting for us.” She gestured behind herself to the cafeteria where patients that were able to make it to the cafeteria were going to be joining us while we performed a few songs for them.

I mouthed ‘sorry’ at Jen when we passed. One Direction and Little Mix were already sitting near the front of the room where chairs had been placed for us with food off to the side. Some stools were placed closer to the middle and front of the area where all other tables and chairs were facing.

I waved when a cheer rose up as we walked past everyone to our seats. There were many parents sitting in with their children as well.

“You girls eat. We’re going to sing first.” Jesy from Little Mix told us before the four of them headed towards the small set up made for us.

I took advantage and grabbed three small sandwich triangles and a napkin before taking a seat. Louis promptly took the seat next to me and smiled warmly.

“How you been?” He whispered when Little Mix began talking to the audience.

“Good, you?” I mumbled through the chicken and avocado sandwich I had just taken a bite of.

“We haven’t talked in a bit.” Louis shrugged nonchalantly while taking a bit of the chocolate cake he had grabbed. It looked good.

“Been trying to catch up on some sleep. I still feel jetlagged.” I half-lied to Louis. I did feel extremely tired I just don’t think it was jetlag.

Louis offered me a bite of his cake and left the conversation as it was, both of us turning to watch Little Mix perform.

He stayed quiet the whole way through but his presence a comfort I had missed as of late.

One Direction was up next and Niall took the guitar and they began acoustic versions of three songs from their latest album. It was fun while they goofed around and changed lyrics specifically focused on patients they had met today that were watching us in the cafeteria. I couldn’t help the wide aching smile across my face when I watched all those kids smile brightly back.

We were up next and a set list had already been planned for us. We were to sing “Here Standing” “Forever Is Over” and “Open Up” all in their acoustic versions. It was amazing to here both children and parents singing the songs back to us.

“We have time for one more song from you girls.” Jen leant over to whisper to us when we finished “Open Up.”

“Awesome, guys we are allowed to do one more song so why don’t we pick someone lucky and you get to pick the next song we sing.” Frankie announced to everyone, her eyes roaming the room.

Harry jumped up and randomly circled the room. Jokingly keeping his eyes closed while spinning through the chairs and pointing until he landed on one little girl. Her eyes bright and wide in excitement when Harry knelt down in front of her asking what song she wanted to hear. He leant really close his ear to her mouth, a small smile on his face.

I waited patiently, then concerned as Harry’s smile dropped and his posture stiffened before turning to look at us. His eyes searching for mine.

“The ‘Last Call’.” Harry said loudly and I felt all members of Purity immediately turn their attention to me.

I felt frozen, my smile falling from my face while the little girls smiles beautifully up at me. There were dark circles under her eyes, her skin was pale and I could see the bones of her wrist sticking out noticeably from the hands she had clasped together in her lap.

I knew the other girls were waiting for me to decide. This was my song. The song I had written all by myself and it had taken me months before I was happy enough with it to even allow it on the album. This song had helped me immensely but this wasn’t just my decision. I turned to where Louis sat to gauge his reaction.

He sat there smiling openly and warmly in return and I realised he still hadn’t listened to our album. And God I didn’t know if it was going to be okay if I did this. But I looked back at that little girl and I couldn’t say no.

“Yeah of course we can do that one. It’s my favourite.” I forced a smile and winked at the girl.

Purity all hesitated around me, unsure in their movements before Frankie reached for the guitar from our guitarists for today and announced that she was going to play for this song. I smiled at her gratefully. I sung the most in this song and it was going to be hard enough to sing in front of Louis, I needed back up that I trusted without focus.

She began to strum the strings and I nervously took a deep breath in, my stomach rolling around making me regret the sandwiches.

“The sun goes down,
And that’s the time that
It hurts so bad
I feel the weight of the love we had.”

I took a deep breath and glanced towards Louis, his smile was still present and I hoped it was still there at the end of the song. Gracie reached out a hand to tuck into my elbow before she sung the next part.

“I can’t move on
Without you and
I’ve lost myself,
You’re like a habit that
I can’t help.”

Frankie joined for the bridge.

“No I can’t hide.
From this feeling,
Don’t you know?”

The chorus began with my voice dominant and the girls harmonizing underneath my tones.

“I would wait for you
I would wait all night
Just the thought of you
Before I close my eyes
It’s too late
I can’t take anymore
(I can’t take anymore).

And I can’t let it go
And I can’t forget
All that I’m left holding is my regret
And it feels like we couldn’t have it all
You’re still my last call.”

I glanced towards Louis, his face less positive and slowly sliding into a frown. He didn’t seem ready to run or yell or abuse me as of yet and I took that in my confidence while Lucinda sung the next verse.

“We don’t change,
We still talk every single day,
Even though there’s nothing much left to say.”

Gracie’s fingers pinched into my arm roughly and I quickly face forward to the crowd while a slow slide of recognition slid across Louis’ face. He was starting to get it.

“Ooh and I have tried,
All that I can but I can’t break free,
There’s no denying you’re a part of me
That I can’t throw away,

I meant every word I sang as loud and passionately as I could, the lyrics resonating through my body. This was one of the most therapeutic songs I had ever written and I was immensely proud with how it had turned out. But I had never planned to sing this in front of Louis, and definitely not with an audience present when he first heard it.

The five of us fell into the chorus again. My eyes searching for Louis who was determined to stare at the ground around my feet, his jaw clenched and his fingers digging into his knees. I tried to stop my voice breaking but by the way Louis looked up at me in surprise I knew that I had failed.

I had written this song to apologise to Louis and this moment was ruining it. This was not how I wanted Louis to hear this, not without an explanation or time to think it over alone. I was practically forcing him to listen to this after all the improvement of the last few weeks and I wanted to stop the song because Louis was hurt and that was my fault.

I remained in eye contact with Louis when my next line came up right after Kate finished singing “That last thing I do.”

“Is hear your voice
Say ‘I love you’.”

I could see from where I sat every single emotion that broke out over Louis voice as I sang those words. His shoulders slumped and hunched forward. His eyes back on the ground and he looked so defeated and hurt. Gracie’s hand held onto me tightly refusing to let me move and not finish the song.

I suffered through one last push through of the chorus. Ending on a long note before the cheers and claps rang out and Gracie pushed me off to the side, the other girls crowding around me trying to pretend everything was all right.

I watched Louis slip through a side door and I took off after him, ignoring Gracie’s hiss.

“Louis!” I called, letting the door slam shut behind me.

Louis paused halfway down the deserted hallway, his shoulders hunched.

“Lou, I—”

“What Annabelle?” Louis spun on his heel, the palm of his left hand furiously wiping at his cheek but I could already see the red rims of his eye.

“I didn’t mean for you to hear it like this.” I tried to reason, taking steps towards him.

He shook his head furiously at me, his eyes turning towards the roof while a big sigh racked his body. He looked so broken.

“I hate you, you get that? I hate you.”

Air got caught in my throat and my feet stumbled to a stop as I stared at Louis with wide eyes. I didn’t want to hear this.

“You have fucked up so much but everyone’ life still revolves around you, right? My whole fucking miserable existence still revolves around you even after I did everything I could to try and fucking escape from you. You- you’re like a disease! And I can’t stop thinking about you, it’s like you’ve infected everything I am and I hate you.” Louis had fresh tears falling now, quickly and surely.

My own tears were threatening to spill while I tried to control the breaths I took. In and out. Slow and sure.

“I’m sick and tired of it being all about you.” Louis said firmly, his wet eye boring into mine.

“I’m trying Lou.” I whispered out, my voice choking on the breaths I was trying to take. “I’m trying to fix it Louis.”

“That’s just it Annabelle!” Louis voice was condescending and his eyes narrowed. “You can’t fix what you did to me.”

It was like there was an elephant in the room. A big fucking shining elephant that neither of us had talked about and now it was crashing around ruining everything I had tried to re-build.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t—.”

“You didn’t what? Love me? You’re sorry? For fucks sake Annabelle, if you didn’t love me all you had to do was fucking say so. But you ran off, left me standing in the middle of the rain like a fucking twat.”

“It’s not that I didn’t! I did. I do.” I protested, taking a step forward.

Louis eyes raked over me, evaluating but there was an underlying disappointment settled in the air around us.

“Then say it.” There was a quiet pause. “You can’t say it can you?” Louis shook his head and ran a frustrated hand through his hair. “You’re a child Annabelle. You’re just a child who clearly wasn’t ready for this kind of world.”

His words stung and I stopped trying to defend myself. I couldn’t say what he wanted me to say and he wasn’t going to let me defend it either.

“I don’t want to be around you anymore. So please can we just stop whatever this is.” He waved a hand between the both of us, his shoulders resigned.

I stayed quiet as he turned and walked away. Not once pausing or hesitating. Just taking the last exit door and letting it slam shut behind him.

I shakily took steps towards the closest wall, ready to sink and hide but a throat clearing caught my attention. Jen stood in the doorway Louis and I had come from; her eyes sad as she watched me.

“I’ll make sure this doesn’t make it on to the cameras. I promise. I can even cut you guys singing the last song if you wanted.” Jen slowly stepped towards me; her hands reaching out to hold onto me.

I stepped away not wanting physical comfort at this moment. My skin was itchy and restless and the thought of being touched was dizzying.

“It’s fine.” I replied, distractedly. Unsure as to what I was supposed to do right now. After Louis just ripped apart everything.

“I don’t think you realise how much attention you paid to Louis while singing. And I’m sure they got his reaction on tape. You don’t need anyone else seeing that.”

“What does it matter the whole world owns my life anyway right?” I snapped at her. Angry that she was trying to help me, like there was a part of my life that I could keep private. If anything I had learnt over the last couple of years was that my life wasn’t only mine anymore.


“No, no! I came her for you today, you and Simon wanted us to come here and I faked my way through the smiles and the cameras.” My eyes stung from the fresh tears. “I actually care about the stories those kids our telling me because they are having a pretty crappy life and I d-don’t have problems like they do. I’m not dying like half of them are. But I’m still falling apart and screwing up everything in my life that they admire. And I want to be good for them. God do I want to be the person those kids think I am.”

I took a deep breath; the words getting caught in my throat. “Even when I try to do good things I keep screwing up Jen. You don’t trust us. Louis hates me and I can’t keep doing this. I did a lot of horrible crap but every time I try to make amends someone decides to kick me back down and I know I probably deserve it and that I owe a lot of people for the pain that I caused them. But I don’t think I’m strong enough to keep getting back up.”

“You have to be strong enough Annabelle. Otherwise they win. Every person who has let you down and was horrible to you or who didn’t believe in you, they win if you give up.” Jen rushed forward. Her words earnest but she didn’t understand how far gone I was.

“I. Don’t. Care. Let them win. I’m done fighting.” The door opened at the end of the hallway. All four girls of Purity stood there worriedly.

“So you’re going to give up just because of some boy.” Jen snapped making me pause in surprise. “One stupid boy won’t forgive you or breaks your heart or whatever else and that’s it? You’re going to give up. I thought Australians were stronger then that. I thought you were stronger then that.”

I stared at Jen, incredulous; I wasn’t giving up just because of Louis. I was tired, from all of it. It wasn’t just him.

“You guys should probably head home for the day. Let me know what you decide to do Annabelle. You’re decision isn’t just about you.” She looked meaningfully towards the other four girls before brushing past them and out the door.

I fell back against the wall, tugging on my hair and fighting the urge to scream, loudly. I just wanted to go home.
♠ ♠ ♠
Song Title: I'm A Mess by Ed Sheeran

Writing emotional scenes is actually really emotionally draining, so this took longer then I wanted to be able to finish it off!