‹ Prequel: Love in Music

Love in Lights

I'm Just Trying To Get Home

I watched Frankie out of the corner of my eye; she played with the black leather gloves covering her hands. One hand had all fingers bare and she kept twisting them underneath the layer of the other hand. She was nervous about the song we were playing tonight. It was her song and the first time we would be singing it live.

“Five minutes girls!”

I looked away from Frankie and stood, taking one last drink of water before pulling my shoes on. They were making me wear heels tonight and I usually avoided putting them on until the last minute.

We were more dressed then usual; Mia and Johnson had flown in the day before with plans for a more elegant look on X Factor Australia. The song was slower and no dance moves were required. Instead we would be sitting down until towards the end. The stage was set up in a certain way to tell a story and we would be separated from each other for most of it.

“You ready to do this?” Lucinda asked Frankie gently. She nodded, determined and we all split up in all different directions, as we would be coming onto the stage in different places and at different times.

I took a deep breath and allowed the rush of people around soothe my pounding heart. I breathed in and then out, rolling my shoulder back until there was less tension. I shook my arms out and twisted in my heels, gaining the familiarity of walking in them that I had picked up in the last year.

“You tell me you’re missing me and that you can’t wait to see me again.
You tell you don’t know why you and I can’t go on being friends.
You say you still think of the two of us and that you still wanna stay in touch
But I still remember.”

Kate sung first, her voice floating to where I was and I hastily pushed my earplugs into my ear while Frankie began to sing.

“All the hell you put me through, all the tears cried over you
You can’t, keep coming back
It’s not fair.”

The door opened for me and I stepped out to cheers from the crowd.

“You don’t have the right to call me
Acting just like nothings really changed
And that everything’s the same.”

I walked pats Frankie, who sat on a podium, back straight and legs dangling off the side. She was being who the world needed her to be and she wouldn’t break, not in public. I continued singing.

“And that you can come around and just come walking back in my life again,
And you can’t break my heart and then expect that we’ll still be friends.”

I took a seat on the fake swing, set up closer to where Gracie would come from. Thankfully the swing didn’t actually move when I sat down and I raised my microphone free hand to hang onto the ropes that had been wrapped with fake flowers.

“Oh baby you don’t understand,
You don’t have the right to do that.”

Frankie finished off the chorus before Gracie came out next.

We sung through the chorus, putting all our focus and energy into the song, a much more subdued performance then we were used to it. But it was nice, still engaging with crowd even though we were this far away.

The last chorus came around and I carefully hopped off the swing and joined the others walking to the front of the stage. The crowds of people standing pressed closer and held out their hands.

I obliged the few, singing the lines I was needed for before stepping back with Frankie on my right and Gracie on my left. Lucinda and Kate stood on the other side of Frankie as she sung the last lines.

“You don’t have the right to call me
Like nothings changed, everything’s the same
You don’t have the right, you don’t have the right, you don’t have the right.”

I pressed my hand tightly against Frankie’s back as the lights dimmed on the last chord, finishing the mood of the song.

The cheers rose up and I pulled my earplugs out, smiling, overwhelmed as everyone stood to cheer; even the four judges in front of us. We all bowed as the spotlight cam back on and Luke Jacobs came out to greet us.

“That was amazing. Let’s hear it for Purity.” He yelled to the crowd.

I laughed as the cheers grew louder, people were screaming and stamping their feet. It took a while before everyone calmed down enough for us to be heard.

“Welcome to Australia girls. How are you liking the weather?” Luke turned towards us.

“It hadn’t really been a winter.” Lucinda joked into her microphone. I laughed and readjusted the long skirt of my dress so my feet wouldn’t get caught up into it.

“What have you girls been up to since you arrived? You’ve been here a couple of days right?”

“Yeah. We’ve been staying at Annabelle’s house. So mostly we’ve been relaxing on the beach.” Katie voiced.

“What is it like being back home Annabelle?”

“It’s been great.” I piped up, smiling happily. “It gets harder and harder to leave here every time. The waves have been great over at home, my stylists were actually angry with what the water has done to my hair.”

“That’s right you’re a surfer. Managed to get any of these other girls out there with you?”

“Well Frankie actually said that she might give it a shot.” I grinned towards Frankie who just look horrified, shaking her head quickly, a few loose strands of hair falling to frame her face.

“Alright, the single is out on ITunes as we speak, it’s called “You Don’t Have The Right” part of their album “Headlines”, and we’ll let you girls get backstage while our first contestants of the night gets ready. Ronan do you want to introduce your first group?”

We were ushered off stage, our microphones and kits taken from us. We passed some of the contestants we had been talking too before the show. Frankie waved but we didn’t have time to talk anymore.

“I just spoke with Jen and she has told me that both Simon and her are ecstatic with your performance and your single has just rocketed to number one on ITunes in Australia.” Mia greeted us as we stepped into the room we were prepped in.

I was elated at the news, pressing a kiss to Frankie’s cheek before slipping out of my dress and pulling on the jeans and shirt I had been wearing earlier. Pulling a cardigan and scarf over top, feeling colder now that my adrenalin had slowly weaned.

Lucinda threw a water bottle towards me which I took gratefully and drank a large part of it all in one go.

“Do you girls want to head home or stay here?” Johnson came in not long after we sat down.

My eyes blinked tiredly up at him and I desperately wanted to go home. Even after one song I was tired, the fall in adrenalin always drained me.

“Could we maybe do half-half? Annabelle is about to pass out but I want to watch the show.”

I blinked at Frankie in surprise. Surprised that she actually wanted to stay.

“I’ll stay with Frankie.” Lucinda voted whereas both Gracie and Kate were eager to go home.

“I’ll let your security know.” Johnson nodded and headed back out of the room. I sat up to look blearily for my bag before Mia dumped it into my lap.

She patted my cheek and pressed a kiss to my forehead and I smiled happily back. It was nice to actually be taken care of sometimes.

“We’re heading home tomorrow morning. So we’ll see you five when you fly back to London.” Mia told us, saying goodbye to us all before security came to guide us to the car.

I waved goodbye to Frankie and Lucinda and made my way through the building with Gracie and Kate on either side. There were no fans outside, everyone still inside watching the show. I sighed gratefully and climbed into the car, letting my eyes close against the cool window.


My back ached and my fingers twitched. My mind raced through a thousand different thoughts and pathways. And no matter what I did I was not going to focus.

“Just breathe in and then back out.” Frankie’s voice floated over to me. I impatiently took a deep breath and tried to find a way to relieve the pain in my back.

“I know you aren’t concentrating.” Frankie muttered from in front of me.

I cracked one eye open to look at her as she sat opposite me, legs folded and posture as straight as mine should be. My posture would never be that great.

“Meditation is clearly not for me.” I grumbled out, pulling my legs from their cooped up position and sighed in relief.

“How about we lay down? Maybe you can get comfortable enough to meditate from there.” Frankie suggested, gracefully unfolding her limbs from the sitting position.

“Frankie I swear if we lay down, I will fall asleep.” I warned her, standing up to stretch out the kinks in my back and brushed the sand from my bottom.

“You said you would give this a try and you’re not!” Frankie stood and stomped her foot childishly into the sand. I raised an eyebrow at her before opening my mouth to protest.

“We’re going shopping!”

I turned, in surprise, to a bouncing Kate on my back deck.

“Shopping?” Frankie came to stand next to me.

“Yeah, Annabelle your house looks like shit and you need furniture. I’m sick of your depressing emptiness.” Lucinda called from in the house.

I turned to Frankie hoping for some defense but she just shrugged her shoulders.

“You don’t even have a plant dude. Like seriously would it kill you to buy a fake plant and just shove it into a corner.” Frankie waved her hand and started to make her way towards the house.

I sighed in acceptance and trudged my way through the sand after her. Honestly I should have gone shopping for the house a long time ago but I had always put it off.

“I get final decision on everything.” I called through the house only to hear a snort from four different places.

“Yeah right!” Lucinda yelled back before bounding for the front door, grabbing my car keys along the way. I scowled and grabbed my wallet and phone, ignoring the five missed calls from Liam, and slipping on some shoes instead.

“Shotgun!” Gracie rushed past me and out the door into my Jeep.

I glared as she slammed the door behind her before I climbed into the back with Frankie and Kate.

“I hate you all.” I mumbled, not one part of me meaning it.

“Where are we going?” Kate piped up, her fingers flying over her phone keypad.

“Ikea.” Lucinda announced.

I looked away from the window, wide-eyed, before turning to look at Frankie. She seemed nowhere near as horrified as she should be.

“What why? No!” I yelped out, slapping Frankie by accident.

“Geez calm down it’s just a store.” Frankie rubbed her arm and glared at me.

“Annabelle’s right. People just don’t survive Ikea trips together.” Kate said form the other side of Frankie. I nodded quickly.

“Don’t be silly. They’re just rumours.” Lucinda waved her hand and pulled out of my street. Gracie leant over and plugged her phone into my car, Siri’s voice filling the speakers as it directed us where to go.

I shared a wide-eyed horror with Kate, both of us regretting ever waking up today.

It took three hours. Three hours for Lucinda to snap and Frankie to threaten a worker.

“No you need this one.” Lucinda pointed angrily towards a coffee table while I stood in front of another one defiantly.

“It’s my house.” I hissed back at her, not afraid of stomping my foot.

“It won’t match the couch we bought.”

“Oh, you mean the couch I didn’t want.” I growled at her, refusing to budge on the coffee table.

“Okay Frankie has officially had her second warning in Ikea. One more and we get dragged out of here and thrown on our Asses.” Kate pulled Frankie over to us; the Californian girl only glared and crossed her arms in a huff.

“What did you do this time?” I whined, embarrassed now that I could see security actually standing and watching us from close by.

“Uh girls, where is Gracie?”

I looked over towards Lucinda before looking around the area we were in. She was nowhere to be found.

“Crap how long ago did we lose her?” I peered around corners, hoping she hadn’t wandered too far.

“I don’t know. I told you we should have used the leashes they were giving out when you enter the store.” Kate said.

“They were for children!” Lucinda yelled from behind a chest of drawers. I could imagine the affronted look on her face.

“Let’s just find her before we need security.” Frankie cut in, marching towards one area of Ikea. I sighed and headed in the opposite direction. I had a feeling this was all going to get much worse.

My phone buzzed in the back pocket of my jeans. I pulled it out and stepped to the side as two kids flew past, their parents yelling after them. I glanced down at the caller I.D and froze when I saw Louis’ name flash across the screen.

I stared, shocked, as the phone continued to buzz and the accept button flashed at me but I couldn’t. Everything had been going so good. I don’t think I was ready to face anything more he wanted to say to me. Or yell at me.

My finger hesitated before I quickly hit decline and forced my phone back into my pocket. I took a deep breath and focused on my breathing, slowly and surely before I began searching for Gracie again. I could ignore this.

I ran into Kate in the bathroom section of Ikea, both of us looking more than done with the day.

“They didn’t believe us about Ikea.” Kate grumbled, falling to sit on a closed toilet seat.

I paused before shrugging and joining, taking the toilet seat next to her. I leant over and rested my head on her shoulder, closing my eyes and enjoying the familiar comfort.

“You don’t think anything bad would happen to Gracie right?” I sat up to look at Kate, suddenly worried. She frowned but shook her head.

Her eyes widened and then she was grabbing my hand pulling me up and behind the showers.

“Security.” She hissed at me.

I groaned and ran after her. “This whole thing has turned into a mess.” I whined as we ran around the corner and straight into two other people.

“Frankie, Luce?” Kate asked, standing up first and bending over to help me up after her.

“Have we still not found Gracie?” Lucinda grumbled, angrily running fingers through her hair.

My phone felt like it had bruised my bum from where I landed and I gingerly pulled it out making sure the screen wasn’t cracked.

“What are you girls doing here?” I turned, stunned, to see Gracie coming up behind us. “I’ve been looking for you four for ages.”

I shared an incredulous look with Kate before not being able to hold the hysterical laugh that bubbled up within me. I smiled widely and shook my head, leaning against the closest wall. Feeling the ache in my stomach and the tears in my eyes. Kate leant against me, her own body shaking with mine.

“This is ridiculous. We are furniture shopping. Why is this so hard?” Lucinda complained but burst out laughing after watching us all.

“I think it’s time to go home.” I mumbled, resting my head back against the wall, watching the beautiful girls around me. I felt good even if we had been beaten by the Ikea curse.

“Wait until we have to assemble everything.” Kate gasped out. I felt the colour drain from my face.


Lucinda pulled up outside my house and we slowly piled out of the car. The ride home had been silent and we all looked half asleep, wandering up the stairs onto the front porch and through the front door. The thought of standing for much longer actually seemed impossible.

“Mum, Dad?” I paused in the archway to my lounge room, surprised to see both my parents set up on one of my couches, work spread around them.

Frankie and Lucinda pushed past me, going to lie on the ground in front of the TV.

Mum pushed her laptop off her lap and placed it on the ground, getting up to pull me into a hug. I let her, and pressed a kiss to my Dad’s cheek.

“Harry and Niall invited us over for dinner.” Mum told me, sitting back down. I paused before joining her.

“Are they cooking? In the kitchen?” I widened my eyes at their nod and ran out of the room, skidding down the hall and into the kitchen. I grabbed onto the counter before I slipped past both boys. “What are you doing?”

“Cooking?” Niall raised his eyebrow at me and turned back to whatever he was stirring.

“Using the oven and stuff?” I eyed Harry who had just closed the doors. He looked back at me and raised an eyebrow.

“That’s one of the ways to cook.” Harry said slowly. “Do you not want me to use the oven?”

I eyed what was in the oven and stared between the two boys.

“We can cook Annabelle. I’m taking offence that you think we can’t.” Harry crossed his arms and mock-glared. I rolled my eyes at him.

“It’s not my fault. I’ve seen you both have a lot of accidents. Accidents that I still don’t understand how they happened.” I glared back, taking a seat at the counter.

“Wants some spaghetti?” Niall offered me a strand of raw spaghetti; he didn’t try to deny my accusation. I smiled and happily took some, crunching down while watching both boys move around the kitchen.

“Belle?” I turned towards Annalisa’s voice to see her nervously standing in the doorway of the back porch.

“Hey sis. What’s up?” I jumped off the chair and headed over to her. I noticed the hesitant look on her face when she gestured me outside.

“So I uh talked to Louis today.” I paused on the step outside and turned to see both Harry and Niall had stopped and stared at us. I quickly shut the door between the kitchen and the porch and rushed Annalisa to the side so no one could see or hear us.

“Why were you talking to Louis?” I asked.

“He called me,” she said. Pausing to jump up on the rail of the porch. “He said you wouldn’t answer your phone.”

I sighed and rested my elbows on the rail next to her, closing my eyes against the breeze.

“I didn’t think I should answer.” I murmured to her.

“He told me that he doesn’t hate you.” Her voice was soft, almost getting carried away with the wind.

But I heard enough and I hunched my shoulders, not wanting to let the words in. I didn’t feel prepared for anything that Louis had to say.

“He said that he didn’t mean anything he said that day and that he won’t call you or bug you ‘coz he understands. But if you want, he would like to talk.” Annalisa’s hand gently touched my shoulder and it took all I had not to shrug it off.

I could still see the waves crashing against the shore and it anchored me. Remembering that this was permanent, it would not change and shake up my world.

“What do you think I should do?” I forced the words out between clenched teeth. My heart was pounding and I had to remember to breathe.

“I think,” Annalisa began, her voice hesitant. “I think that you have been going so good since being here that maybe you should give it a bit before you talk to him again. I think you need to learn how to stand without him first.”

It didn’t take as long to control my breathing and I stood up straighter, feeling less heavy, nodded at my clever little sister.

We turned at the sound of the backdoor opening and Kate popped her head out. “The boys said dinner is ready.”

Surprisingly I managed to smile back, reaching out for Annalisa’s hand and pulling her inside with me.

Everyone was already sitting around the table and I smiled at them all gratefully. Taking a seat between Mum and Annalisa, I thanked both boys for cooking. I watched everyone begin to eat and talk and I was finally content. I felt like I was actually home.
♠ ♠ ♠
Song Title: Home by American Authors

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