‹ Prequel: Love in Music

Love in Lights

These Hands Had To Let It Go Free

One Year Ago (2015)

I didn’t notice at first when Gracie began hiding all the magazines. I wasn’t interested in the rumours that had spread about us and management hadn’t contacted us, so whatever it was, it couldn’t be that bad.

Lucinda had blocked all gossip sites from each of our computers, tablets and phones a long time ago so it’s not like I could have checked them either. It’s not like I cared enough to try.

But I didn’t want to find out like this. On live television with the interviewer, the crew and even my own girls staring at me all waiting for my answer, an outburst or maybe a live meltdown. Whatever makes the ratings go up.

“I uh actually didn’t know.” I stumbled out, my eyes focused somewhere behind the interviewer at where the pictures were being shown on the television screen. It was Louis and that in itself was enough to make my heart ache.

But he wasn’t alone and he was smiling, smiling and holding hands with another girl. Eleanor, he was back with Eleanor.

“If he’s happy then good for him.” I lied through my teeth. I wasn’t happy for him because I couldn’t be happy. I was a mess and I hated that he got to be happy. I hated that he smiled at another girl and touched another girl.

Jen was quick to wrap the rest of the interview up and we were soon being herded back through the building.

“Are you okay Annabelle?” Gracie asked from next to me and I understood what they had been hiding for so long. Why I hadn’t seen a magazine in weeks possibly over a month. They had been hiding this from me for ages and that wasn’t fair. They didn’t get to choose what I could and could not see, not when at any moment someone could shove it in my face without a care.

“A little warning would have been nice.” I hissed out, aiming my words at all of them, even Jen. She should have stopped that, stopped a question like that being asked. She was supposed to look after us and us girls were supposed to be there for each other.

No one tried to speak to or calm me on the ride back to the hotel. It wasn’t until we were inside that Lucinda turned to me; the patience behind her eyes was familiar. It was the face she pulled before she was prepared to have a calm talk with us even if she had to make us do it, kicking and screaming. But I wasn’t doing it today. What I was doing was going to get a drink. A tall alcoholic drink. And then maybe a whole bar more.

“Belle.” Lucinda began and she had already lost me because all I could hear was Louis’ voice, Louis calling me Belle never Annabelle.

“You’re supposed to be there for me and you all left me wide open to it all. So thank you, really.” I loaded my voice with sarcasm.

Lucinda seemed to expect it, her eyes not leaving mine. Gracie looked worried, chewing her bottom lip and rubbing her bony hands together. Kate just looked exhausted, falling onto the couch, her face drained from colour.

Frankie didn’t even seem to be paying attention, she was getting all twitchy and her eyes darted around the room without focusing on anything. This was just Lucinda and I. She had no one left to back her up and that was fine. That made it easier for me.

“It’s okay if you’re hurt.”

“Why would I be hurt?” I snorted out. “I’m not with Louis, we aren’t together. I don’t own him and I certainly don’t love him. I can’t seem to love anyone so why would I be affected.”

Pity crossed Lucinda’s face and I would not accept that. I didn’t need anyone pitying me.

“I’m like fucking Voldemort okay? I can’t fucking love anyone so don’t worry about me. Louis can go off living in his fucking fantasyland and I won’t give a fuck. It doesn’t matter to me.”

“But it does otherwise you wouldn’t be acting like this. You wouldn’t be so defensive.” Lucinda insisted.

I rolled my eyes; she might put on the caring act. She might pretend that she was the adult of the group but when it came down to it, Lucinda was just as damaged as the rest of us. Her relationship was barely hanging by a thread.

“It’s okay to love him and be hurt.”

I shook my head and stepped away from her. “I’m not hurt and I do not love him.” I insisted, barely stopping myself from stomping my foot. “I do not care who or what Louis does in his life. I don’t get to care anymore, okay. It’s not my right to care about him anymore.”

I turned before she could say anything more, before she could push.

There was a time where we would have worked together to help each other. Frankie would have ran out after me and demanded more from me, Kate would have been practical, Gracie understanding and Lucinda would have been honest.

But I could walk out freely now, knowing that no one could stop me. I would go and drink myself stupid, until I couldn’t see or couldn’t walk and some nights I would go home with someone else. Others, security would carry me out and into safety.

And no one would be there next morning to give me water and hold my hand while I lost my stomach in the bottom of the toilet bowl. I would be alone because we were a whole lot of shattered pieces unable to stick together.

Present - December 2016

“What’s it gonna be?
Are you willingly walking away from this?
What’s it gonna take?
Can you really break this love?”

Ed strummed the guitar, his face calm and happy. I shifted nervously on my seat before continuing.

“Where you gonna go?
Tell me do you know when does your heart emit?
Cause if you leave, baby then leave
Make up your mind before you shut the door.”

Ed picked up the pace on the guitar, lifting his head to meet my eyes and smiled warmly.

I pushed my voice higher. “Coz if there’s a chance we might’ve missed
And if there’s a ray of light in this
Baby you should know that this is where my heart takes over, over.”

“See I told you, it fits fine.” Ed, stopped strumming his guitar and placed it on the ground beside the couch. I chewed my bottom lip and stared down at the paper in front of me. I liked the verses but were they enough?

“I think it’s absolutely beautiful.”

Ed and I both jumped, out attention being pulled to the door where Frankie and Jen stood, both smiling. Jen was the one that had talked.

“I also think that you and the girls should sing that at my wedding.” She added on.

I gaped at her while Frankie pushed her fist into the air, a smug smile on her face.

“What? No, it’s not ready?”

“Yes, yes it is.” Ed cut in. “If you have your way this song is never going to hear the light of day and I cannot allow that. It’s too…. too important.”

I sighed, feeling the eyes of the room around me. Ed was right, I’d probably never let anyone hear this song if I got the choice. “Okay, fine. Yes, Jen, we’ll play it at your wedding.”

Jen smirked, there had never been a doubt that I wouldn’t do what she wanted. Especially when it came to her wedding.

“I’ll leave you all to it then.” She spun on her heel and shut the door behind her. Frankie bounced over to sit next to me, her eyes picking through the rest of the song.

“What are you doing here?” I asked her.

“Ed has kindly offered to look over a song with me.” Frankie grinned, winking over to a blushing Ed.

I sent him a teasing smile. “Are you going to work with every member of Purity?” I joked.

“I’m not one to turn down beautiful women.” He said charmingly, winking at the both of us.

I laughed and rested back on my chair while Frankie began pulling out papers for her and Ed to stare at. I cleared my own stuff from the table and folded myself neatly into the side of the couch, half listening to their conversation, but mostly focusing on the pages in front of me running over every verse and every change of tone.

Honestly, I had known who would sing which part the moment I had begun to plan the song over a year ago. It was almost instinctual to plan my songs with the girls in my mind. We were a team, one being with many different strengths and I knew who would fit where and how it would work. It didn’t come down to what the words were and who sung them. It came down to the emotion and voice that was needed in those parts and who was able to perform that.

Lucinda had the strong voice, loud and unrestrained. Gracie could be soft, calming the music and moving the climax of the song on a gentle note and a whispered voice. Kate was so versatile her voice moving through any style and tone that was needed. Her voice was mechanic, doing exactly what she demanded of it. Frankie was freer; her voice was sometimes higher and other days lower. She didn’t demand anything from it but to allow her to sing the part.

Toby told me once that mine was full of emotion. I could make it crack, cry or be filled with ultimate power when it was necessary. I got the verses that needed to connect with the audience.

With all of that in mind it was like each section was highlighted in my brain telling me who would sing, who would harmonize and how it would all work out. I was only annoyed at the obvious choices because that meant I was closer to finishing this song then I thought. I would have it finished by Jen’s wedding.

“Annabelle, listen to this.” Frankie pulled me out of my head and I turned to her and Ed.

“I, I , just died in your eyes, eyes
Just died in your eyes, eyes.
Just died in your eyes.

There’s a silence in the air tonight
There’s a secret we can’t hide behind, no more.
There’s a distance we don’t dare to go,
And a million things that I don’t wanna know.

Your hand are undressing me;
Your lips won’t stop kissing me;
I hear you say you love me…

But baby you’re lying, lying.
I see the truth your hiding, hiding.
I look at you and I, I just in died in your eyes, eyes.
Before I start crying, crying
Give me a reason for trying, trying.
The one thing that keeps me alive, I, just died in your eyes, eyes.
Just died in your eyes, eyes.”

Frankie trailed off. She watched me for a reaction, her face devoid of all emotion.

“I can’t figure out how to end it. I need another verse before the chorus will come back in and end it there, I guess.” She frowned at the paper in front of her and Ed threw me a pleading look. Obviously at a loss to help her.

It was harder for him, to help her with this when he didn’t understand what she was singing about, or who for. Also Frankie was a perfectionist whenever it came to music.

I cleared my throat before softly singing a few more lines.

“I have seen the end of me and you.
Oh, oh.
And it’s not about what’s right or wrong.
When you wake up in the morning I’ll be gone.”

Frankie eyes shone with unshed tears, her hands fisting around the papers in her hand creating crinkles across it. But she nodded, grabbing the pen behind her ear and jotting down more lyrics.

“I think that’s enough for today.” I said gently. Frankie had only just been released from the hospital. She needed to take it easy, not be torturing herself with it all.

“No,” she said. “Not until it’s done. I need to finish this.”

“I don’t mind helping more.” Ed smiled easily, his hands already strumming the guitar in his lap.

I sighed accepting defeat. “I’ll go grab some lunch for us then.”

I ventured out of the room we had settled ourselves in and wandered down the hall. I was surprised when Zayn and Liam spilled out of a recording booth before the elevator doors.

“What are you boys doing here?” I asked curiously, peeking through the door they had come through.

I only saw recording equipment and Harry’s fuzzy hair before the door was slammed shut and Zayn was casually leaning against it.

“Are you guys recording? Is Louis in there? Louis didn’t say anything about recording. Why didn’t Louis say anything about recording?” I glared at the two boys in front of me.

“Which question would you like us to answer first?” Zayn drawled.

“All of them.”

“Yes, yes and I don’t know.” Liam smiled.

“Your last answer was a lie.” I narrowed my eyes. “You boys always know why when it comes to each other.” I stared between them both. Liam at least looked cowered, fidgeting on the spot. Zayn merely rolled his eyes, unmoved by my interrogation.

“We’re hungry. Are you coming to get food with us or not?” Zayn grabbed Liam and dragged him to the elevator.

I gave in and followed, resolving myself to wheedle answers out of them while we were getting food.

Zayn and Liam were resilient. Well Zayn was and made sure that Liam didn’t tell me anything.

I did demand that they send Louis out to me when we got back to their recording booth. They did as was asked and Louis wandered out in what I had seen him wearing this morning. An old stretched white top with a stain near his left collarbone, and sweatpants that were rolled above his ankle a couple of times. I wanted to roll myself into him and fall asleep.

“You didn’t tell me you guys were recording.” I accused him, insanely curious. Louis had never been so secret about his songs before. I had read many of his songs that had never even been recorded.

“Well we are,” he said. there was an amused glint in his eye. He was finding it funny how annoyed I was.

“Can I listen?” I hedged.


“Why not?” I whined, couldn’t help it as I pleaded with Louis.

“Can I read the song you’ve been writing with Ed’s help?”

I clammed up. My eyes shifted from Louis and down the hall to where the papers to my song sat.

“See, you won’t show me yours, I won’t show you mine.” He said smugly, crossing his arms over his chest. He was laughing but I didn’t find it funny.

“My song is about you. And you didn’t like it the last time I wrote a song about you.” I pointed out, Louis stiffened.

“What if mine is about you?” He forced out between his teeth, composure rock solid. I sighed at how closed off he was.

“Is it?”


I sighed, tired of this conversation. Tired of whatever was happening between us right now. “What’s going on Lou? What are we doing? We can barely communicate when it comes to serious stuff and I’m staying at your house. We cuddle and hold hands and kiss each other but never on the lips. The other day you brought me breakfast in bed and I cooked you dinner last night. What are we doing?”

Louis stayed silent, his eyes meeting mine and I didn’t understand what he was looking for. I never understood what he was looking for. But every time he turned away from me with a quiet sigh, I knew that he never found it.

“I never hated your song.” He began; I was surprised that we were going back to songs. “God I’ve listened to that song a thousand times just to torture myself but I can’t bring myself to hate it.”

I waited, knowing there was more.

“The song, the song makes me think that maybe you were in love with me. Or still are, I don’t know.”

I looked at him shocked, stumbling back a few steps to make sure I was out of arms reach.

Louis smiled at me sadly, like my reaction was expected, not wanted, but expected.

“I’m not going to ask you to tell me that you love me. Not like last time. That didn’t go so well.”

I remembered the shouting in the hospital hallway after I had performed ‘Last Call’. He had demanded it off me then. And I couldn’t say it anymore then I could say it now, despite the fact that it was rattling its way around my head.

“I know you can’t say it. I’ve stopped expecting it off you. So that’s what we are Annabelle.” His voice was harder now, less understanding. “I’m a man who loves you and you’re a girl who refuses to say it back.”

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

It was so easy to say in my head, safe and unspoken and I wanted to tell Louis, I wanted to push it towards him and have it surround him. But he couldn’t hear me because I couldn’t say it. So he stepped back into the booth, the door shut behind him.

I love you.

I didn’t even know what love was. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand it when Louis first said it to me and I don’t understand it now.

I love you.

What does it even mean? And why does it have to matter so fucking much. It hurt and it healed and I didn’t know what to do with a word so simple.

I love you.

I closed my eyes and turned from the door. It didn’t matter. I didn’t know how to say something that came so easily to everyone else.

I wish I knew how to love you.
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Song Title - This Love by Taylor Swift - because I'm addicted to 1989 literally addicted to it all!!