Sequel: Black and White
Status: complete;;


chapter nine;;

I stumbled back in shock, the echo of the door slamming shut loud in the sudden silence; I couldn't tear my gaze away from the door, even as I knew the others were staring at me. My chest clenched tightly, my breathing quickened and grew shallow. Black spots danced at the edges of my vision. I gasped brokenly, turned on my heel to lean against the wall, sliding clumsily down until I hit the floor. Lying whore? His voice had been so cruel: emotionless, cold, devoid of any inflection. I brought my knees up so I could bury my face, hide away from the pitying looks I was certain were being directed my way.

I'd heard the door lock behind Niall, so unless I wanted to pay the hotel for damages caused by breaking it down or he had a sudden change of heart, there was no way that I would be able to talk this out with him. Someone squeezed my shoulder gently before they knocked on the door Niall had just escaped through. My eyes burned as tears spilled over, slipped down my cheeks one after another. I didn't bother wiping them away, knowing they'd just be replaced by more. I wanted to move away from where I was, I knew I looked pathetic, but my body refused to cooperate. A tightness took up residence in my throat as I cried into the fabric of my pants, and I hiccuped when I tried to catch my breath. Fingers stroked softly through my hair; I glanced up at Liam, whose brown eyes were so full of sympathy. His hand was comforting as he helped me to my feet and led me to a door across the main room. I followed him blindly into the bathroom where he pushed me with gentle pressure to sit on the closed toilet. I stared at the floor while he turned the taps on the sink and soaked a washcloth. He lifted my chin with one finger and wiped at my cheeks with feather-soft motions. My lower lip trembled, and fresh tears fell as I struggled to find the words. He tossed the cloth onto the sink, wrapped his arms around my shoulders, and pulled me in as I sobbed against his abdomen.

I didn't know why it hurt so badly when Niall has called me that ー I was no stranger to being called every variation of the word, mostly because I was the only female in a predominately-male band. I'd lost plenty of friends and boyfriends over that fact; I had been snubbed by fans many times over because of it. So for the hurt to be this bad just because Niall said it... it confused me. I couldn't understand why it felt like someone ripped my heart from my chest and replaced it with a bomb on the verge of exploding.

Once I calmed down and was able to breathe a bit easier, Liam wet the washcloth again and wiped away the evidence of my breakdown. He pushed a lock of hair behind my ears, held my cheeks in his hands.

"Don't let him get to you, love. He'll calm down, I promise. Then... then, this will all get sorted."

"And if he doesn't? What if he never wants to see my face again?"

"Well, then I suppose we'll take it a day at a time."

I nodded, unsure and disbelieving but so desperate for him to be right. I let his words sink in, imprint themselves on my brain. And I started to let myself believe. I came onto this tour without knowing Niall; maybe I could handle not seeing him again through the rest of my life. I forced a small smile, and Liam's face fell at how obviously fake it was, but I didn't say anything else. I just stood and pushed past him. The others were whispering amongst themselves as I passed, and I ignored them, heading to our suite without a word.

The dark of our room reflected my current mood perfectly; I slid into bed between the sheets and yanked the covers over my head. As much as I fought it, the urge to check Twitter overwhelmed me, and I pulled my phone from my pocket, unlocking it quickly and tapping on the icon. The tweets directed towards me ー a vast majority of the seven hundred mentions ー were enough to make the Devil himself cry. I scrolled through as many as I could before I was sobbing again. I could only imagine what Management would have to say about this latest fiasco. With a heavy, shaky sigh, I closed out of Twitter and Googled Garrett Daniels sex scandals. If I was already under scrutiny for being such "an easy slut", what he must be dealing with was unfathomable. Over 700,000 results appeared, and I was astounded at some of the articles.

When I'd first met Garrett, he'd been a little crazy, yeah, and a little more than "a little" addicted to sex, but nowhere near the point of multiple accusations of sex tapes, a full spread in Playgirl, or paying some girls to engage in an orgy with him. A moment later, once the latest page finished loading, I lost the ability to ever again truthfully say that I had never seen Garrett Daniels's penis. I snorted and exited the browser, tossing my phone onto the nightstand. I needed sleep ー badly ー and there was no reason to not at least try.

Unfortunately, by the time six in the morning rolled around, I was still wide awake. Amber had come back to the room around eleven-thirty, but I pretended to be asleep so I didn't have to deal with painful conversations or her pity. She was snoring peacefully now, as I sat in the corner of our room. All I had wanted, through the night, was to finally fall asleep. Staying awake only made me remember, replay in my mind over and over and over again, the words Niall had said the night before. A timid knock sounded at the door. I sighed but pushed myself clumsily to my feet. Zayn stood on the other side.

"Sorry to wake you upー"

"You didn't. Haven't slept yet. What's up?"

"I, er, I just wanted to apologise for what Niall said. And for dragging you lot out to party. I feel like it wouldn't have happened if we hadn't."

I shrugged and rubbed at the back of my neck. "I apparently had fun, so I guess it's not that big of a deal. Comes with the territory, right?" I sniffed, waving off his protest. "And as for him, it's not your place to say sorry. He said what he did, he needs to be the one to apologise."

"I understand. Uh, Louis is going to try to do some damage control today, both on Twitter and in our interview. Hopefully, it helps."

"Is there anything else?" I questioned when he continued standing there.

"Oh, right. We're going to hold another bands meeting this afternoon, since the one last night got a bit... interrupted."

"All right." I bit my lip, watched as he started to walk away. "Zayn?"


"Think he'll ever forgive me? For whatever it was that I did so wrong?"

He sighed heavily, not meeting my eyes. "I can hope so, but I can't say he will or won't."
With that, he picked his way through our suite, pulled the door closed quietly behind him. I pushed our room door shut and turned to lean against the wall. The fact that Zayn couldn't tell me one way or the other about my chances at Niall forgiving me... it just compounded the fact that I somehow fucked up, was now suffering the consequences for whatever mistake I made, and there was no relief in sight. My heart ached deep in my chest. Amber stirred in her bed.

"Did I jus' hear one of the One D boys?"


She sat up and peered at me through the semi-dark. "Erin? What are you doing down there?"
I chose not to answer; instead, I buried my face into my knees and forced myself not to cry yet again. I knew if I spoke, all the words and hurt and anger I was feeling would come spilling out, and I felt too fragile for that right now, like one wrong sound, and I would break into a million pieces. It perplexed me, really, how I could still be so hurt by one simple sentence, especially when said by a guy I barely knew. Sure, we were friends, or at least, I thought we were ー but the fact remained that I didn't know him well at all. My best friend padded quietly across the room, sat by my side, and wrapped her arms around me. I looked foolish, even I knew that, but I couldn't stop thinking about last night. I couldn't forget the disgust on his face, the cold iciness to his hate-filled eyes. I could still hear the echoing of the door as it slammed.

Amber slid her hand over my hair repeatedly, kissed my temple. "It'll be all right, babe, I promise. Everything will work out.

"How? He hates me now, and I... I don't even know what I did!"

"Fate is a fickle thing."

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" I mumbled, and her shoulders vibrated with laughter.

"It means, silly girl, that nothing is set in stone. Feelings change. Our paths in life change. Just because one thing is definite now doesn't mean it will be in a week, month, or year. Or, hell, even in a day."

"When did you get all philosophical on me?"

"It's something Mom's told me hundreds of times," she replied softly, shrugging. "It's just stuck with me through the years."

I scrubbed my hands over my heels impatiently, wiping away the tears. She watched as I clambered to my feet and grabbed my phone from the nightstand. I'd remembered what Zayn said about doing "damage control"; if Zayn was already awake, then Louis probably was, too. I opened the Twitter app, sighing at the fact there were even more mentions and DMs. More and more people had been tweeting links and pictures from the night I'd been photographed kissing Louis. I ignored them, typing his handle into the search bar, and smiled slightly at his latest Tweets.

Louis_Tomlinson: You all need to stop with this nonsense about Erin and me
Louis_Tomlinson: There is NOTHING and never will be anything between us.
Louis_Tomlinson: She's one of my best mates and nothing more
Louis_Tomlinson: It doesn't matter what pictures were posted or the fact we snogged. We were both beyond pissed & it doesn't mean anything. CALM DOWN
Louis_Tomlinson: So! To make sure we're all clear and on the same page: ERIN & I ARE NOT DATING/NEVER WILL BE!!!!
Louis_Tomlinson: I'm done. Carry on.

I couldn't stop the quiet giggle that escaped. I had no idea what was going to happen, what kind of backlash there would be from the fans or tabloids or even our managements, but all I could think of at that moment was how grateful I was toward Louis for the messages, for taking action and doing his best to stop the insanity flooding the internet's large masses of Twitter users and gossip blogs who were all intent on one thing: making a mountain out of a molehill and disregarding the truth.

CIOfficialx: @Louis_Tomlinson said it better than I can but to reiterate: We're NOT dating. So stop with the rumours/drama. We're not in high school.-e
CIOfficialx: Also if ur gonna send death threats via twitter, at least make them grammatically correct enough to read -e

I curled up in my bunk on the bus, my mind sluggish as it replayed the events of the day. Amber had forced me to drink a 5-Hour Energy Shot two hours before the show so that I would be alert enough to get through the whole thing but tired by the time we were finished. The One Direction guys had gone to their interview during our soundcheck; I would have to wait until someone put it up on YouTube to be able to see the segment. I was only hoping Louis had been successful in his attempts to stem the flood of rumours and hate.

The show hadn't gone terribly, but I knew I hadn't been at the top of my game. Thankfully, no one else seemed to notice besides Amber and Alan. I was just glad that Jem hadn't realised, or I never would have heard the end of it. I rolled over onto my back and shifted to get more comfortable. My eyes caught sight of a piece of paper taped to the bottom of the bunk above me. I'd forgotten about the note, even though I'd stuck it there so I wouldn't lose it. I pulled it down and opened it, using my phone's screen as a light so I could read the number. I opened my messages app to the Compose Message screen, punched in the number, and typed out a quick message before pressing Send. It was a short text, just a quick Hi, who is this?, but I was hopeful that it would distract me enough from the shit with Niall. The clock read almost midnight, so I didn't expect a reply immediately. I turned my phone on silent and, turning over onto my stomach, closed my eyes. Thankfully, I fell asleep almost immediately.