Sequel: Black and White
Status: complete;;


chapter eight;;

The hotel room was silent, none of my friends around ー or even awake. I stayed curled up on the couch in the main room of the suite, staring blankly at the television that had been playing reruns all morning. My head pounded mercilessly in time with my heartbeat, and I knew if I moved, I would more than likely puke all over the floor. For what seemed to be the millionth time since I’d woken up, I cursed myself, along with Zayn and Louis. They’d somehow managed to convince my bandmates and me to go with them to a club the night before. Niall and Liam had stayed behind, and I had honestly been a little disappointed that Niall hadn’t come with us, but I’d still had fun. I ended up drinking way more than I should have; it was about the time the world starting spinning that I began wishing DeDe was with us. She would’ve stopped me from drinking so much. I couldn’t remember how we’d gotten back to the hotel once the alcohol hit our systems and I lost track of my surroundings. I could only hope Louis and Zayn were as miserable as I was.

The lock clicked, and Amber danced through the door a few minutes ー or maybe hours; at that point, I wasn’t sure how time was moving ー with a tray of Starbucks coffees in her hands. Harry and Liam were right behind her. Normally, I would have been thrilled to see either of them, but the expression on Harry’s face stopped me short. It’d only been a few weeks that I had known them, but I was already pretty close to them. They didn’t exactly make it difficult, what with being genuine sweethearts (except Tomlinson and Malik, for the time being), and they were ridiculously easy to get along with. So I liked to think I could read their expressions rather well by this point. Any time one of them looked upset or anxious, I tried to figure out why and help him, even Niall. We’d been talking more since that day outside of the venue, the day Patrick messaged me, and it was… wonderful. He was an interesting person, and if I was telling the truth, I could listen to his voice and relish that accent all day if I had the chance; I figured we were to the point of almost being friends.

I slowly sat up, winced as my stomach threatened upheaval. The aching in my head ratcheted up in level; Liam handed me a water bottle, and I forced a smile in his direction as I cracked the lid open.

“What’s up?” I croaked out, taking a small sip.

“Do… do you remember anything from last night?” he asked.

“Uh, I think I remember the fourth ー no, sixth shot we took before going back to the dance floor because ‘Get Low’ came on.”

He sighed and pulled his phone from his pocket. I took it in a shaking hand and gave him a questioning look. Silently, he just gestured toward the phone, so I looked down at the screen, blinked to clear my vision. My jaw dropped. On the screen was an article with the title in big, bold letters.

Erin and Louis: WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON???
As everyone knows, Erin McCarty, 18, is the guitarist for Complete Irrationality, who is currently on tour with heartthrobs One Direction. And it seems that, contrary to her own words, Miss Erin is a LOT closer to one certain boy than the rest of the quintet ー certainly closer than she would have led us to believe! Louis Tomlinson, 19, was spotted at a popular nightclub last night with Erin, dancing pretty close together ー so close, in fact, you couldn’t slip a piece of paper between them! As the pair exited the club (accompanied by Jeremy “Jem” and Alan Rhodes, both 18; Zayn Malik, 18; and security), they were caught on camera sharing a rather passionate kiss before getting into a taxi and heading off.

Erin herself, if you’ll remember, stated in a radio interview just last week: “I am most definitely not dating Louis… I could never see myself dating him… I don’t think I could ever date someone I’m touring with.” So either Erin was lying about their relationship, or she’s okay with merely-casual flings with fellow tour-mates (she was spotted on numerous occasions with Garrett Daniels of Silent Playground, many times coming out of the same hotel room or off the same bus, on an American festival tour a few years ago).

So what do you all think?

“I think you’re a fucking moron,” I spat out in response to the author’s final question.

Before I could throw the phone across the room as I so angrily wanted to do, I passed it back to Liam and cradled my head in my hands. This was one of the worst downfalls to being relatively well-known: Every single thing I did was immediately put under the figurative microscope and scrutinised, thus allowing everyone to judge me without remorse, without needing any other reason than to gossip and spread rumours. I was just glad I hadn’t read the comments on the article; people could be vicious. I let out an involuntary huff of laughter when I remembered the mention of Garrett, the drummer of Silent Playground ー and a really close friends. The times I was coming off the same bus or out of the same room wasn’t because of Garrett. It was, each and every time, without fail, DeDe’s fault. Delia Johansen was to my band and SP what Liam was to One Direction: the parental figure and moral compass. I’d once tried convincing Dee to get a tattoo of a compass with “Good”, “Right”, “Bad”, and “Wrong” in the places of North, East, South, and West (respectively), but she’d shot it down. And since she never drank, DeDe was always given the responsibility of making sure we didn’t do anything stupid while drunk, even if she had to lock us all in one room so we couldn’t escape. That festival tour had been one of the most amazing things to happen to me.

With a sympathetic noise, Amber sat beside me. “You gonna be okay, hun?”

“Yeah. I’m fine.” I blew out a breath, ran my hand through my hair. “What’s on the agenda for today?”

“There’s a band meeting between the two bands after the show tonight,” Alan muttered as he stumbled out of his room half-asleep.

“God bless it, Alan Michael, put some fucking clothes on!” screeched Amber, covering her eyes to block out the sight of our completely naked drummer.

He shrugged but did as directed. Liam helped pull me to my feet, and I pinched his arm gently as I passed on my way to the room to change into something more presentable than a pair of boxers and a hoodie. Amber passed over a coffee once I’d changed into a long-sleeved black V-neck and a pair of wide-legged black-and-white striped cotton trousers. The hallway was empty when I stepped out of the suite, but a door opened a bit further down the hall. I slowed as the occupants stepped out but increased my pace to catch up with them. Zayn gave me a small smile, clearly still hungover; Niall, however, glared at me, his blue eyes hard and cold. My heart skipped a beat, and my breath caught in my throat at seeing that expression again after having gotten used to the warmth and care he’d been displaying.

Before I could question it, he turned on his heel and stormed back into the suite he’d just come from; in any other situation, I’d have laughed at how he had to try to swipe his card twice before it finally worked on the third time. Ultimately, though, I wasn’t in the mood to laugh, so I turned to Zayn. He raised one shoulder quickly then let it drop. The rest of our bands eventually joined us, and we made our way down to the buses. The entire time, I noticed, Niall stayed as far away from me as possible. His lips thinned and eyes darkened when Louis laid his head on my shoulder in the elevator. I tried talking to Niall a couple of times during the day, but each time, he managed to slip away before I could get close enough. Between and after the shows, he avoided me, kept at least three people between us at all times, and treated me as if I wasn’t there ー much like the beginning. I finally had enough halfway through the band meeting in One Direction’s suite.

“What the fuck is your problem?” I snapped at him after yet another dirty glance in my direction; Liam stopped speaking abruptly, and everyone stared at me in shock. Everyone but the guy I wanted to actually pay attention to me. “Look at me.”

“Erin? Maybe you should, uh, calm down and do this later.”

“Shut up, Amber. This has nothing to do with you. What. The fuck. Is your problem?”

Niall finally spoke after a tense couple of minutes of me glaring at him. “Nothing. There is no problem.”

He shoved to his feet and started toward a door leading to one of the rooms. I jumped over the back of the couch, barely avoiding kneeing my best friend in the face, and came to a stop between him and the door before he could even touch the handle. His eyes were sharp, crackled with his anger, and deep down inside of me, I could feel myself wanting to get lost in his eyes.

“Get out of my way.”

“Not until you tell me what your problem with me is.”

He smiled, thin and cold and humourless. “I don’t have a problem. I just don’t have time for lying whores.”

With that, he forcibly pushed me aside, walked through the doorway into the room, and slammed the door behind him.