Sequel: Black and White
Status: complete;;


chapter two;;

There was a small flurry of movement as my friends and I shifted around each other to sit; chairs scraped lightly against the floor when we pulled them out and scooted in, and eventually, the area around us fell silent. Amber's hand found mine under the table, and I glanced at her out of the corner of my eyes. Her cheeks were tinged pink, and her hazel eyes shone brightly. I knew she was excited about where she was sitting ー directly across from Harry. Alan sat to my right, Brett on his other side. In front of me sat Louis, and he smiled when he saw me looking at him. My lips curved upwards just a bit in response before I turned my gaze on the others. Zayn was in conversation with Brett; Harry laughed loudly, green eyes sparkling, as he listened to Alan tell Louis about how our band got started. Liam listened in polite silence as we answered his questions about us. Only the one on the far end, Niall, remained unspeaking the entire time, his head angled down as he, I assumed, read the menu. Suddenly, his head shot upward, and I was pinned by his eyes, startling blue and more intense than I ever could have imagined. I froze, and it wasn't until the server appeared at Amber's side that I was able to look away. No one else seemed to have noticed anything; I could feel my face burning hotly, Niall's gaze still heavy on my skin. I blurted out my order for coffee when asked and stared down at the table.

"You don't talk much, do you?"

I jerked my gaze up to see Zayn staring at me. "Uh, no," I replied after a moment, shaking my head and watching my fingers fidget with the edge of my napkin. "Not really."

"Until you get to know her; then she never shuts up!" Jem supplied with a chuckle; my friends joined in immediately, and I ducked my head back down.

My stomach churned, and though it was probably an unwise choice, I picked up the mug of coffee that had been placed in front of me and took a sip. My nose scrunched up when the heat of the drink scalded my tongue, but I stayed quiet. The rest of the group continued their conversations between bites of their meals. There was something pleasant, I had to admit, about hearing the people I cared most for laughing and making connections with the people we'd be with for the next couple of months. But as the time wore on, and they finished eating and focused on talking, I grew uncomfortable. I knew it was noticeable that I hadn't said anything since answering Zayn's question, which was over an hour ago, and it was most likely casting me in a negative light. I just couldn't force myself to talk; the words shrivelled on my tongue, and my throat was tight. So I just kept my mouth shut and counted down the seconds until we could leave.

Outside the restaurant, Liam turned to face us, expression serious. "Listen. Tomorrow is the first night of the tour. Remember, soundcheck at three, shows at seven and nine. Make sure you get plenty of rest tonight. We're all gonna need it."

"Yes, Daddy Direction," the other four of One Direction chorused, smiles on their faces ー even Niall's.

I bit my lip, taken aback by the sight of his grin. It was a carefree, contagious kind of smile, and a small piece of me screamed a desire to keep seeing it. His gaze caught mine, and his face fell blank again. It hurt, a harsh twinge deep in my chest, to see how quickly he could go so emotionless toward me, how quickly he had begun to hate me without ever even saying a word to me. Before I could dwell on it too long, Amber grabbed my arm and tugged me in the direction of the hotel. One thought ran through my mind, before her endless chatter drove it out of my head: What the Hell had I done so wrong already to cause him to detest me so much?


I barely got my hands up in time to catch the pile of fabrics that Amber tossed at me. She flashed me a fake smile and put her hands on her hips. "Put these on."

"What's so wrong with what I'm wearing?" I asked, confused as I glanced down at my jeans and T-shirt to inspect for any flaws.

"They're lame, that's what. Now change!"

I sighed but did as told. Though my worn-out jeans had become a bit threadbare through years of use, they were by far the most comfortable pair I owned, and my black Poison tee had been a staple in my wardrobe for years, which meant it was perfectly soft and moulded in just the right ways. I wiggled a bit until the skinny jeans Amber chose finally slipped past my hips to settle on my waist, and I had to admit they weren't bad, just massively different ー I wasn't accustomed to having denim cling so tightly to every inch of my legs. I quickly shrugged into the blue-and-yellow plaid shirt, buttoning it up and rolling the sleeves to my elbows. Thankfully, she hadn't said anything about my lace-up boots; I'd begun playing in this band while wearing them, so I preferred it to stay that way. A knock sounded at the door before Brett poked his head into the bathroom as I was finishing tying my laces.

"You ready?"

I nodded and slipped past him. Soundcheck had gone smoothly that afternoon, and I couldn't have been happier with that. Amber slapped my butt when I made my way toward the stage; I grinned but didn't stop, following our bassist onto the stage. There was already loud screaming, fans of one or both of the bands excited for the show to start and not afraid to show it; my smile faded as my stomach twisted violently in my gut. My hands trembled slightly as I took my guitar from a tech. I couldn't return his supportive smile.

The set passed by in a blur; the only songs I would remember playing later were "Waiting on Someone", "Stars", and "Forget Everything". Judging by the cheering from the audience and my bandmates' jubilant grins, the show was successful. Zayn and Harry congratulated us as we passed them on our way backstage. I returned Liam's high-five absentmindedly before finding our dressing room quickly. Amber was sitting on the couch reading something on my Kindle. She glanced up when the door opened.

"How'd it go?"

"If you'd been there, you would know."

She scrunched her face at me, flipping me off, then turned her attention back to whatever book she was reading. I escaped into the bathroom as voices grew louder in the corridor outside. After hurriedly locking the door, I walked over to the sink and splashed cold water on my face. My heart was still pounding away rapidly against my ribs, and now that I didn't have my guitar to focus on, my hands shook even more. Sure, we'd played loads of gigs before ー hell, we'd even sold out a few places in America. But nothing had ever come close to our first show in London. The tens of thousands of screaming fans had been completely overwhelming, and a pang of fear zipped through my mind. What would I do if I couldn't get a grip on myself and make it through this tour?

"Erin? Y'alright in there?"

I ran a hand through my hair, checked out my reflection in the mirror. I sighed after a moment and turned to the door, pulling it open to see Jem on the other side looking concerned.

"Yeah, I'm great. One Direction on now?"

"Yep. We're supposed to get cleaned up and ready, because once they're done, they'll meet us at the merch tables for autographs and stuff."

I dipped my chin and stepped aside so Amber could squeeze past Jem. She handed me a pack of baby wipes and a bottle of shampoo before closing the door in our friend's face. After she helped me to wash my hair in the sink (and I regretted that choice when my back started aching from the position halfway through), I scrubbed every inch of my body with the wipes, doing my best to get the last bit of sweat off, and she wiped down my back while I pulled on a pair of clean underwear, dark-washed jeans, a pink knit tank-top, and a pair of black flats. I brushed my hair quickly then pinned my bangs back with white bow-shaped clips.

"You wanna watch the guys while the morons get ready?" Amber asked as she swiped some shimmery gloss on her lips.

I shrugged and let her lead me out of the dressing room, down the hall, and to the side of the stage. The fans were screaming even louder now, their singing and cheers more raucous than during our set, and I could see why. The energy that the members of One Direction exhibited onstage was incredibly powerful; I felt the urge to dance and sing along growing just in the minute or two I'd been watching them. Though they were moving around the entire time, their voices were still beautiful, clear and on key, and they never missed a beat. I glanced over at my best friend to see her lips moving to the words.

We were joined shortly after by Jem, Alan, and Brett. The sound and style of 1D weren't completely similar to ours ー we had more of a grittier, rock sound ー but there was no denying that our tour-mates loved making music, their faces full of joy as they sang their hearts out. Their set soon ended, and even I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more, but I didn't have time to dwell on it as they made their way off the stage. We shifted to make a path for them to get through. Liam raised his hand for another high-five, and I laughed as I obliged. Zayn and Harry were grinning as we patted their backs and told them they were amazing; Louis, on the other hand, grabbed me up in a tight embrace and spun me in circles. I closed my eyes against the swirling colours and shapes around me, giggling until he set me back on my feet. Niall's smile dropped off his face the second he caught my eye. I chose to ignore it, too dizzy from Louis's antics to be able to spare a second thought.

Twenty minutes later, the other band exited their dressing room, and we walked in a large group toward the merch tables. I hooked my thumbs into the belt loops of my jeans and focused on putting one foot in front of the other. Jem nudged me with his shoulder; his brows were furrowed, and I knew he was asking if I was okay. I nodded in response and took a seat between the twins. Taking a deep breath in an effort to steady my breathing, I glanced past the line of security and nearly threw up right then. There was a massive crowd of fans, all chattering and screaming various names. The way my stomach threatened to revolt by expelling its contents made me wonder why the Hell I thought this was a good idea. For as far back as I could remember, I'd always been shy, and that shyness had only grown over the years to full-blown social anxiety; my joining the band had been my way of attempting to overcome that issue. It worked for the most part while touring the U.S., but here? Not so much. Amber rubbed my back reassuringly before she headed off to the side of the room in order to stay out of the way for the mass of bodies. Once I had a Sharpie in hand thanks to Brett, I inhaled slowly and steadily and settled in to wait for the guards to step aside and let the fans through.

The lobby finally cleared of everyone except the bands and security, and I abruptly shoved my chair away from the table to put my head between my knees. I'd been on the verge of a panic attack for the last half-hour, my chest tight and body numb. My friends didn't seem to notice as they chatted amongst themselves about the show, and under the layer of absolute panic, anger sparked dimly, not fading even as I struggled to breathe and my vision blurred with hot tears.

"Oi, you good?"

Silence fell over the group at the question. Someone whispered Oh, shit before warm arms wrapped around me and held me securely against Amber's chest. Her voice was soft but firm as she coached me to inhale, exhale, over and over until I began to calm down. I gulped in air and pulled away from my best friend, wiping my cheeks repeatedly with my hands. Harry and Liam were gazing at me, eyes dark with worry; Louis's bottom lip was caught between his teeth, but he flashed me a timid eye when he saw me looking at him. Zayn stared at the floor, and his hands fidgeted with a marker. Niall raised an eyebrow.

"What was that?"

"It's called a panic attack," retorted Amber dryly, her tone clearly stating that she thought he should have already known that.

"What caused it?"

I glanced at Liam then quickly looked away. "Crowd was too large."

"Wait. Let me get this straight." Niall chuckled. "You have anxiety, yet you became a musician? What kind of sense does that make?"

"Leave her alone, Niall," Liam ordered as he moved to my side to help me stand. "C'mon, lads, let's get to the buses."

Amber kept her arm around my waist as we walked out the back. My bandmates made sure to keep a barrier between me and the handful of fans who had stayed behind to watch us leave. Though I was still reeling from the incident inside, I forced a smile at the twenty or so teens still standing outside.

Brett held open the bus door, and we boarded in a single-file line. I collapsed on the couch in the lounge while the guys immediately went to the bunk area to decide who slept where. Amber passed me the laptop before grabbing up the tablet. Since I was one of the main songwriters ー Alan was the other ー I had been designated as the one who updated our website and social media pages. I didn't think it was very fair, but it was what it was. I sighed, stretched my fingers, and began typing a new post.

Hey, hey! Erin here. So tonight was the first show of our European tour starting here in the fabulous London! And I've gotta say ー it was damn amazing! We're definitely excited to be touring overseas, and I know I speak for the guys when I say we're super-excited to be touring with One Direction (because honestly?? They are SO DAMN GOOD!!!!) So far, it's been absolutely awesome, and it can only get better from here!
Thanks for your support through everything, and we look forward to being able to see your gorgeous faces at our shows in the future!
Love, Erin xx

I quickly posted the same paragraph as a status on our Facebook page and then logged into our band account on Twitter.

CIOfficialx: Tour started 2nite in London. LOVED IT. Can't wait for the rest & to meet u all! Hope ur enjoying the shows as much as we are! :D -e

As I sat on the couch, staring at the screen and watching fans already retweeting and favouriting the tweet, I could see Amber tapping furiously at the tablet's on-screen keyboard. I leaned over to see who she was talking to: her mother. I knew immediately what the conversation was about. Her parents had been out for a date night when we'd picked her up on our way to the airport, so it wasn't until they'd come back to only Amber's brother home instead of both of them that they'd found out she was gone. Without saying anything, I pulled up YouTube with the hopes of distracting myself from the homesickness and pain of missing my own mother.

Jem slammed the laptop shut two hours later, a dark scowl clouding his face. "Get your asses to bed."

I didn't argue; I was too exhausted, so I found an empty bunk, slid inside, and yanked the curtains closed behind me. Unfortunately, sleep evaded me, and I laid there with my gaze trained on the bottom of the bunk above me for hours as my best friend sniffled and tried to stifle the sounds of her crying in her own bed. It tore at my heart to listen to it, but comforting her would only make things worse. She needed time to process everything. Eventually, I rolled over, closed my eyes, and forced myself to sleep.