Status: active;;

Right Now

I Really, Really Don't Like You

I debate for nearly half an hour about how to answer Harry’s text. On one hand, I could tell him so he has a way of helping Brianna - and by extension, Louis - through whatever this mess is. But, on the other… I know Bri, probably better than anyone else in the entire world. She wouldn’t want anyone to know how much turmoil she's in; she has always put a brave face on, hid away from the truth until she could be alone, and pretended like everything is fine. If I tell Harry what's going on and she finds out, she would seriously consider murdering me. I finally settle on a lie.

To: Harry No.

I look away from my phone and withhold a sigh at the sight of Louis. His cheek is pressed against the tabletop, blue eyes dark with confusion and pain. I have no idea what was said between him and my best friend, but my heart breaks a little for him. He keeps muttering I just don't understand - nothing else, just those four words. I reach out, touch his shoulder gently. He doesn't move.

“Lou… wanna tell me what happened?”

“She yelled at me,” he whispers without lifting his head. “She told me she was leaving for a few days until I figured it out. I tried asking what she meant, but sh-she just went to her room and packed a bag. Koty, you're her best friend, she probably told you! What did she mean?”

I hate the fact that I'm about to destroy the hopeful expression that has appeared on his face as he looks at me for the first time since I sat down. I inhale slowly and keep my voice gentle as I say, “Even if I knew, Louis, I couldn't tell you. She needs you to figure it out. She won't accept it if someone tells you.”

His shoulders slump, and his head falls back to the table with a loud thump. It isn't until his shoulders start shaking that I realise he's begun to cry. I bite my lip and look toward the doorway, unsure of what I should do. Does he want to be alone? Does he want me to stay? Hesitating for a moment, I stand and move away from the chair, but his hand wraps around mine.

“Please stay. I can't stand to be by myself.”

“But… is it that you'll accept anyone's company right now? Or are you wanting a specific person?”

Please please please understand what I'm trying to say, I plea silently; his grip loosens at my question, and I make my way out of the room. The quietness of the house is surprising. There hasn't been much silence since I arrived, too many people and too much laughing for that. Even when no one speaks while here, the television is usually on or music is thundering from someone's phone. I close the bedroom door and sit in the armchair by the window. There's no sunshine today, but that's okay - the grey sky and puddles on the ground are good enough. My phone buzzes in my hand, and I glance down to see a new Kik message.

From: bananna Hey. It's me. Your sister. Anna. God this is awkward. Sorry. I just wanted to let you know that I'm not mad at you any more. I mean, I'm still so unbelievably annoyed that you left without telling us, but… I know the divorce is what made you leave. I know you just needed something new. It may be another drastic change in your life, but at least you can control this one, right? :) I do love you and I hope you're having the time of your life over there. Give Brianna hugs from Mama and me. I miss her crazy self :P love you a million pink Starbusts.

By the time I reach the end of the message, I'm in tears. My sister, who hasn't yet reached legal adulthood, somehow has managed to put my reasoning into words - something I haven't really been able to do or admit to myself. I sniffle and scrub the sleeve of my shirt over my eyes, then type back a reply.

To: bananna You have no idea how great it is to hear you say that. Or rather, read your words. I love you, too. I'm sorry that you got hurt by my decision. It really wasn't my intention, and I will feel awful about that until the day I die. I really wish you could have come with me. You would love the guys Bri’s friends with. They all seem awesome, but Harry is probably the one I'm closest to so far. Tell Mama I love and miss her. Have you heard from Daddy lately? I love youuuuu a million strawberry Twizzlers.

I settle further into the chair and open up the game Olly had recommended when we went bowling. The game itself is pretty standard, nothing mind-blowing and innovative, but it does require just enough logic that I can play level after level without being too bored. The only problem I have with it is it leaves me with too much brainpower for thinking about other things.

++++++++


“Hello?” I mumble even as I bury my face further into my pillow.

“Good morning! Are you awake yet?”

A groan escapes, and I roll onto my back, scrunching my face up at the cheery voice on the line; I pull the phone away from my ear to stare blearily at the time. “Seriously, Harry? It’s not even eight yet.”

“I know, I know. But Paul is on his way to pick you and Louis up. You’re coming to the studioooo,” he sings.

“Either you quit being so chipper, or your bandmates will have to replace you,” I threaten, scowling; setting the call on speakerphone, I push myself out of bed and make my way to the pile of clothes I picked out last night.

“But I thought you loved me being so chipper?”

“A, it’s not, and I repeat, not even eight yet, so ‘chipper’ should be illegal. And b, I barely know you enough to love any part of your personality.”

“Fine. Hurry up and get here!” he yells before the beep of the call disconnecting sounds.

I snort, reluctantly amused, and pull on a pair of plaid sleep-pants, a black tank-top, and socks. My only care right now is being comfortable, and it is much too early to care about what I look like. I do take the time to brush my teeth and wrangle my hair into a messy bun, though, so that’s something. I stop by Louis’s room, knock gently on the door; I don’t know if he’s even in there, but I figure I should do something to make sure he’s okay. His voice is flat, emotionless, when he tells me he’s almost ready. Grabbing my hoodie from the hook on the wall, I shove my arms into the sleeves and zip it up before pushing my feet into my sneakers. Louis comes down the stairs a few minutes later, and my heart aches at the sight of the circles under his eyes and the stubble on his jaw. He looks as if he hasn’t slept at all. I sigh, remind myself that I’m on Bri’s side - even if I don’t necessarily agree with her methods of getting the message across, I am proud of her for finally standing up for herself. I was hiding out in my room while they had their “discussion”, but the fact that she left after it means she was serious about protecting herself.

Once Louis has locked the door behind us, we stand in the chilly morning air for a few minutes. He keeps his head down and shoulders up around his ears. I reach over to pat his back; he doesn’t even look at me, and I shove my hands into my pockets. This is awkward enough without me trying to make it better. A black SUV pulls up into the driveway, and I let Louis lead me to the vehicle. Paul grins at me in the rearview mirror after I’ve buckled up.

“And how are you this morning?”

“Dude, is everyone so damn chipper this early?”

He laughs, reversing out onto the street. “When you’re used to early mornings, the hour starts to not bother you.”

“I doubt it,” I grumble and lean my head against the window. “I was up by eight every morning for the past two years, and I still hated it.”

All he does in reply is to chuckle again and focus on the road. I yawn so many times during the ride to the studio that I’m genuinely afraid my jaw is going to fall off. Unfortunately for Niall, he is the first one who sees me and, in his misguided attempt at being a sweetheart, makes the mistake of waving at me with an enormous smile as soon as I join them in the room with the soundboards. My response is an instinctive glare (and yet another yawn), and his face falls, hand slowly dropping to his side. I immediately feel awful - the poor guy doesn’t deserve my irritation - but before I can apologise, a Starbucks cup is shoved into my hands, and I give Brianna a quizzical look. She rolls her eyes and points from the cup to my mouth; I take a small sip.

“Oh, good Lord, this is Heaven,” I sigh dramatically, perching on the stool closest to me.

Her lips quirk upwards, and she takes a drink of her own coffee. “I figured you’d need it.”

I take a closer look at her over the lid of my drink. She’s pulled her hair back into a simple braid and applied her usual makeup, but no amount of eyeliner and mascara can hide the pain in her eyes. I wonder if anyone else notices it. Her hand is cool in mine when I reach over and squeeze it gently. She nods. I turn my attention to the guys as they talk to the staff; before Niall can make it to the booth, I call his name. He glances at me over his shoulder, brows pulled together over his eyes.

“Sorry for earlier.”

His face lights up, and I watch him walk through the door with a renewed bounce to his step.

++++++++


It’s been hours, but I’m still in awe at how amazing the guys sounded during the recording process. They gave it all they had; even Louis had managed to put aside his feelings long enough to lay down the vocals. It was an amazing experience, and I’m immensely grateful that I was able to witness it. I almost feel bad about not accepting the offers to come sooner.

Brianna is staring blankly at the table when I walk back into Harry’s kitchen. We’d come to his flat after the studio session, and while everyone else had gathered in the living room to watch Liam and Niall play video games, Bri hadn’t joined us. She doesn’t move as I sit beside her; I wrap my arm around her shoulder, forcibly tugging her into my side. Her eyes, red-rimmed and puffy, closed as she leaned against me, and my heart hurts for her. This is the worst I’ve ever seen her, even worse than when Steven, loser that he is, broke up with her ruthlessly via text after she gave him two years of her life.

“Why doesn’t he understand?” she murmurs, voice broken and cracking.

“Because he’s a guy, babe. Guys need crayon drawings to understand simple things. Emotions? Way out of their normal scope of understanding.”

“I just… Either he wants more, or he doesn’t, but I just want him to actually tell me, ya know? I can’t be happy until he does.”

“I know. I really hope he stops being an idiot soon.”

I kiss her hair and sit there with her. No words are needed at this point; anything else I say will just make everything more uncomfortable, and Brianna doesn’t need to speak for me to know what she’s thinking. The sound of a crowd cheering comes from the living room, but I ignore it. FIFA means nothing when my best friend is hurting so badly.

++++++++


Brianna throws her phone at me with a bitten-off screech of frustration, and I fumble with the device before finally catching it, watching as she storms from the living room. I scroll through the search results on the screen, all speculating whether “Louanna” has broken up; every link I click makes an enormous deal out of the fact that Bri hasn’t been seen with Louis in days, and a handful of articles contain screenshots of tweets from fans. The sound of a man’s voice brings my attention to the television where Mario Lopez is droning on and on about the rumours. My anger grows the more I read and hear; it’s all so despicable, the way that people are treating Lou and Brianna as delicious gossip and not the humans they are. I don’t think things through as I head upstairs to grab my own phone and bring up an internet window, using the TwitLonger website that a lot of Brianna’s tweets are posted from.

dakotaj: Wow, you guys are absolutely pathetic!! Calling yourself a “fan” but being completely disrespectful towards the guys and their life choices. And DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED on the bullshit that you gossip mags/shows are spewing. You’re always making something out of nothing and blowing everything out of proportion. Yes, I know. The guys knew this was a risk when they decided to pursue a music career, but every single one of you who is pushing for answers to questions that are NONE of your business, who is starting rumors just to watch a shit-storm descend upon the guys/anyone associated with them, who isn’t taking into consideration that their personal lives should be just that - PERSONAL!! - make me absolutely sick! It makes me wonder why they should/would continue making music and playing shows for a group of ungrateful little twats and self-righteous assholes. In closing - you’re all despicable and vile, and your reason for existence is questionable at best.

My thumbs hurt from typing it all on my phone, but there’s a sense of satisfaction that blooms in my chest. I post the tweet then reply to it with the guys’ handles; I don’t expect them to actually read the tweet, and I won’t be hurt if they don’t - they’re busy dudes - but it still needed to be said. I’m aware there will be some backlash for my rant and that it can potentially get incredibly ugly; I really don’t care, though. I can always just deactivate my account if it comes to it.

Was that really you? The long tweet, I mean

I still don’t know which member that the cactus emoji is supposed to be, but I send back Why, yes it was!

Thank you! I bow down to you and your wonderful ways!

I laugh quietly to myself and respond with As you should, peasant! Asking who it is isn't important right now, though I know I should soon. Mostly because it's just going to be awkward if I don't. I've just set my phone aside and lifted my book when my bedroom door flings open, hitting the wall behind it with a resounding crash. I squeal when three bodies land on top of me, and amidst their laughter, I struggle to shove them away. Finally, the guys remove themselves from the pile they've made, and I stare at Liam, Niall, and Harry. The fact that Zayn isn't here lets me know it was probably him who texted. When none of them speak, I raise my eyebrow.

“You must be psychic!” Niall exclaims as he bounces on the edge of my bed, blue eyes twinkling. “You said what we've wanted to say for so long!”

I smile widely and put the book on the nightstand. “No problem. Promise. Where's, uh, where's Louis?”

The three of them exchange a look; Liam crosses his arms, leans against the wall. Harry avoids eye contact with me, and when Niall doesn't say anything, Liam sighs.

“Louis is in a meeting on the phone with management. He's, well, he's kind of in trouble with them right now.”
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title credit hate (i really don't like you) plain white t's