Bitter and sassy (Chapter 4)

Chapter 4 ~ Insults & Challenge

Can you actually believe it works? It f**king works! When Prodigy and One Direction play together it sounds amazing, like we were meant to play together and we have done this all our life. These girls have so much talent that they can do anything and with the arrangement they give to our songs they don’t sound so pop and it’s like they were powerful and full of meaning, but they are still the same songs. How is that even possible? I— I don’t get it!
Yes, they are still rude and they like to mess with us. It is weird when someone else mocks us so much, we’re used to be the ones making jokes and stuff, but this time we’re whom everyone is laughing at. I know we should be offended, but I’ve realised this is the way they interact with each other. If you can’t take a banter, then you can’t really be around Prodigy. They are like that all the time, even with each other. We’re no exception so we have no reason to believe they hate us for being who we are or anything like that. In a way, that they treat us like this is a way to show us that they actually consider us people.
Why does that sound so weird?
“Hey Tammy,” Emma calls in a moment when Tammy is trying to teach Liam her solo in one of her songs —why are all their songs so amazing? Even those that are about partying like there’s no tomorrow? It’s not fair—, so the girl that has been next to Liam the whole afternoon looks at her band mate. “Can you leave your girlfriend there and come for a sec?” she asks and Liam doesn’t even react, as if the fact that Emma called him a girl doesn’t bother him anymore —I think he accepted it already— but Tammy’s expression goes serious instead of mocking, as she has done with everyone else.
What?
“Okay, that’s enough. No need to call him girl. Noob, NSYNC wannabe, but not girl anymore,” she says and I’m so shocked I feel like someone knocked the air out of my lungs. Is really Tammy standing up for Liam… sort of? “I mean, look at this boys, they all must have a dick.” And cue to her words, everyone looks at our crotches. I feel very observed and awkward, plus, I know Kay is staring too intently at me. Damn you, Tammy! “See? There’s something there and I don’t think it’s a pair of socks,” Tammy motions to Liam’s crotch and if he didn’t react when Emma called him a girl, now he is certainly reacting. He is tomato red. “So no lesbian anymore, okay?”
This is so surreal and I know everyone is shocked. They practically introduced themselves and started calling us lesbians instead of directly calling us girls for our ‘soft’ appearance, particularly Tammy, but now she is asking the rest to stop. I don’t know how to feel about this.
Liam is impressed too, he is staring at us with awe in his eyes and a little smile. She has offended him with that little speech, but at the same time she stood up for him and I guess Liam is trying to figure out what that means. Good luck, mate.
“Oh, okay. No more lesbians then. So, can you leave your boyfriend and come for a sec?” Emma asks, mischief clear in her smile and voice and Tammy only raises her eyebrows and shakes her head.
“He is not my boyfriend, for f**k’s sake!” Tammy complains but she approaches Emma and leaves Liam behind, who is still smiling. I wonder what he is thinking.
“Soon you’ll be the only one single, Boo bear,” a feminine voice says and I cringe because I recognise her so easily. I look at my right and there she is, short with her messy blonde hair and that everlasting smile on her lips, amusement in her eyes. She always looks so happy when there’re people around. I’ve only seen her sad once, vulnerable, and it was because I caught her, she was hiding then. Doesn’t she get tired of smiling all the time?
“I don’t care and don’t call me that,” I tell her seriously and emotionlessly. Then her eyes meet mine and her smile grows wider.
“Why? Only your mum can call you Boo bear?” she inquires as her fingers slide down my arm and I shiver. Her touch is so light, like a feather and I have that need to shove her off and shake my body until I get rid of that feeling.

“Yes,” I answer dying to step back but I don’t. I won’t show her that her touch affects me. I’ll pretend she is not even touching me at all.
Kay laughs as if I’ve just told her a great joke, her fingers still moving over my arm, up and down, following the shapes of my tattoos. “You’re so silly sometimes it’s cute. Anyways, I was just pointing that out. It’s obvious Tammy and Liam will end up together.”
And now it’s my turn to laugh. “You’re crazy. Those two would never work out. Have you seen how different they are?” I tell her, feeling like I’m the wise adult here.
“Have you really seen them? They already have a strong connection and if you can’t see past the appearance, then I’m sorry for you, babe. It’s like Alex and Niall, you would never think they are together, but then you meet them and you know it’s just right. I have the same feeling with Liam and Tammy.”
“You’re crazy,” I tell her furrowing my brow.
“Or maybe I just see the things you can’t see because you don’t want to. You’re a blind man that wants to stay blind,” she replies and I roll my eyes. I think I see more clearly than anyone here. “You think that blaming all women for what one did is right. You think that being alone will make you happy. But you’re wrong, Louis.”
She steps closer and as the hand that was running over the skin of my arm decides to take my hand, her other cups my face and I tense up but I don’t step back. No reaction, I will not show her a reaction.
“I’m just trying to help you, babe. Just like all your other friends.”
Slowly, I raise my left hand and take hers, pulling it away from my face and I don’t break the eye contact in any moment. “I don’t need your help. I’m fine.”
She sighs and shakes her head slowly, a movement almost imperceptible, and when she looks up at me again her smile is sad, almost as she pities me. “You’re not and you know that, Louis. I see it. When you look at your friends, when you think no one is paying attention, I see you’re not fine. Why don’t you let me help you?”
It bothers me that she sees that, I hate that she can read me so easily when she doesn’t know me and I despise that she pays so much attention to me. Why does she care? Why can’t she just leave me alone?
Between gritted teeth, I push her hands and her away slowly, I don’t want anyone to yell at me for pushing her again. “I don’t wanna get better, that’s why. I’m perfectly fine like this.”
She doesn’t say anything immediately, she just smiles at me like I’ve asked her to help me when I’ve said the complete opposite. “Well, when you do want to get better,” and her smile widens, “you know where to find me. Now I have to go, Grimmy is coming.” Kay takes a step closer again and kisses my cheek before turning around and leaving, almost dancing her way out.
How can she move so fast? Is it because she is petite? I never see her coming! This is not okay, I’ll have to go around using a helmet now just in case she can approach that way again to kiss me. But that’s not the only thing that infuriates me, it’s that she keeps trying to… to fix me when there’s nothing to fix. I’m fine like this, I’ve chosen this and I want people to respect my decision. I want to be like this, I need my anger, I need my hatred, but everyone wants me to change and I can’t.
And Kay… she acts like she cares. Why? She doesn’t know me? Not even my friends try that hard to get to me and make me change. Yes, they attempt to make me see that what I’m doing is not fine, but they step back when I spat at them. Not Kay, she only smiles and tries again. Why? She met me like this, she has done nothing else but hearing what I was like before, but this is all she really knows about me, yet she tries and tries. Why? It makes no sense. Why does she want to change me? I get it from my friends, they knew the old me and they want it back, but Kay doesn’t. What I am today is all she knows but she still wants me to change. Why?
Why? Why? Why?
And why can’t I get over that? Why can’t I just ignore her as I want her to ignore me? Even if I just hate on her, she is always on my mind and I hate that, I hate it so much. She doesn’t leave me alone, even when she is not around.
So mad at everyone, and even madder at myself, I storm out of the stage. I don’t want to be there, I don’t want to be where everyone is having fun. I don’t want to see Liam and Tammy getting along. I don’t want to see Niall trying to impress Skyler by playing the guitar and the girl pitying him. I don’t want to see Alex smiling at his silly boyfriend. I don’t want to see Zayn trying to look manlier so no one will call him girl again. I don’t want to see Josh idolising Leanne for how she plays the drums. I don’t want to see any of this. And mostly, I don’t want to see Harry’s worried eyes on me, so I leave.
I don’t know exactly where I’m going, I’m just walking away from the stage, through the halls, walking past rooms and other halls that lead I don’t know where. I just keep fighting to push everything out of my mind, to leave it blank. I don’t want Kay with her eternal smile there, I don’t want the memory of her touch nor her words echoing in my head. I want to be alone, I want to be in peace.
Why does she care? Why? Why can’t I just stop thinking of that? I hate her, I hate her so much because even when she is not around, she doesn’t leave me alone and I want to be alone!
Frustrated, I stop and grab my hair tightly, feeling how my knuckles start to get white and as if like that I could get rid of Kay and everything else.
I’m about to let out a scream out of sheer frustration when I hear her voice, as clear as ever, as happy as usual. I step back and press myself against the wall, her voice comes from the hall at my right, the one I was about to take. If I hadn’t stopped, I would’ve ran into her. Thank you not only God but Jesus for making me stop!
“Grimmy! I’m gad you’re here. You were missing something incredible,” she tells him and even though I can’t see, I picture her hugging the host of The Breakfast Show on Radio BBC1.
“Any improvement on your Louis Project?” he asks and I hear the amusement in his voice. Louis Project? What the f**k is that?
“Hmm, maybe a bit. He doesn’t push me away immediately now and he tries to fight me back when I touch him. I kissed him the other day,” she answers as my eyes widen and I hear Grimmy laughing.
“I really don’t understand why you keep doing this. The bloke doesn’t want to get better,” he tells her and I want to scream thanks because that’s exactly what I’m wondering myself. “You aren’t falling for him, are you?”
Now Kay laughs.
“Of course not, that’s not my style. And I dunno,” she answers and I see her clearly in my mind shrugging, her smile still there. “I think it’s not fair if he hates on all of us just because of what one did.”
“Such a good soul,” Grimmy mocks her and Kay laughs again.
“I try,” she jokes. “He is a challenge that seems impossible, I guess. And you know I can’t say no to a good challenge. Plus, it’s really fun to push his buttons.”
I knew it… I knew it. Very deep in my heart I knew she didn’t really care. All this is nothing but a challenge, a project.I’m her f**king project, nothing else. She doesn’t really care if I get better or not, she only wants to have fun. She is just like all the others.
When I turn around and leave that hall I tell myself that I don’t feel betrayed, that I don’t care, that the feeling in my chest is not because I just found out about the truth. No, it has nothing to do with that. That feeling in my chest is hatred, nothing but hatred.

●○●○●○

Voices & Harry

I don’t even hate her more than before. No, not at all. I’m fine. I’m perfectly fine. What I know doesn’t affect me in the slightest. She is just like any other out there, no difference. That she doesn’t really care isn’t new information, I knew this from the very beginning. I’m not surprised. I’m not hurt. I don’t care about her and the things she does. She can try to conquer the world and I wouldn’t care. Kay is nothing in my life. I don’t care.
I don’t care.
I don’t bl**dy care.
And I’m tired of your bullshit! A voice screams in my head and I stop, frozen. Am I going crazy?
I blink a couple of times, still without moving a single muscle, hoping to hear that voice again, but nothing happens. It was a masculine voice, familiar yet I don’t recognise it immediately. I have to think long and hard to put the piece together.
You see, when you hear your voice recorded and you say: that can’t be me! It sounds so different yet you know it’s you. Well, that voice that shouted in my head was me… I heard myself. And now I’m thinking of seeing a psychiatrist. I know many people say they can hear an inner voice telling them what to do and stuff, but I never thought it was literal. I never thought people could actually hear themselves. Either way, my inner voice isn’t helping.
What bullshit? I’m just speaking the truth. That Kay only sees me as a challenge isn’t relevant to my life. She said she wanted me to fall in love with her just to amuse herself. Films and books always have the boy vowing to make the girl fall in love with him; normally for something awful and stupid like a bet or a dare. Films and books don’t show that girls do the same, that they are even worse.
Why me? Why couldn’t she find a challenge in someone else? Why doesn’t she really care?
I stop myself… again, when I realise what I’ve asked. I try to tell myself that I don’t care, she can f**k herself for all it matters, but truth be told… I was hoping she really cared. I was starting to believe she really wanted to help me. Not that I need help, but you get what I mean.
That she never backed off made me think she really wanted to change me, more than any of the guys. I know they want to do something, but when I tell them to leave me alone, they leave me alone. Not Kay. And I thought it was because she maybe cared more than the others, so much she couldn’t accept a go away for an answer. I was starting to think that; I still couldn’t understand why.
But now I do.
It’s not that she ever cared. No. It was that she saw a challenge in me when we met, when she saw me hating on every woman and swearing not to need anyone by my side, she saw a challenge. She saw this guy who wanted to be alone and set her mind in making him want to have someone. Well, who’s laughing now? I figured her out and she won’t win. If I ever decide to fall for someone again, which I doubt it will ever happen, it’s not going to be her.
And even if it weren’t a challenge for her, even if I were determined to try and ‘get over’ this stage in my life, I would never fall for someone like Kay. She clearly doesn’t take things seriously, she is the kind that walks away when she gets bored instead of trying. That’s why she is trying with me, only because she can’t get bored, because I’m still her impossible challenge.
I could never be with someone like her, regardless my hatred of women, in spite of not wanting to be in a relationship ever again. Kay Evans and I would never happen. I would never trust her to fight for the relationship.
That’s why I don’t care if she only sees me as a challenge, because I don’t care about her.
I resume my walking, away from everyone, where no one can see me, where no one can find me. I know I should be back and keep rehearsing. Although we sound great already, we can sound even better; but I don’t want to see anyone right now. I just want to be left alone and I want to stop thinking. That seems to be the only think I do lately. I think, think and think about everything. And I’m tired. For a moment I want to forget everything and just breathe.

I want to forget that Eleanor broke my heart when she told me she had found someone better.
I want to forget that I was once happy and that I believed in love.
I want to forget that all my friends seem to be in love. I even want to forget that Liam gets along with that awful girl that he should hate. Stupid Liam.
I want to forget that even if I try to find someone else, even if I hope I’ll find another girl, that girl will find someone better eventually and leave me… like Eleanor did. If I couldn’t make it work with her, who seemed so perfect for me, who made me think she was the one,why would I be able to keep any other girl?
Somehow, I get to the roof of the venue where we’re playing at tomorrow. I’m not sure how I ended up here, but I’m glad I did. For some reason, I like roofs. I like it when I’m in a high place, when I can look down and see the rest of the world. I like to feel I’m not part of them anymore, that for a moment I can just look at them as a third party, someone who doesn’t fit in their world. It gives me perspective, it gives me peace and that’s all I need right now.
I lay on the roof in the shadows and I close my eyes as I feel the warmth of a summer day embracing me. I fight to leave my mind blank and fall asleep when I succeed. I get to disconnect from everyone and everything.
+ + + + +
I wake up when I feel someone shaking me carefully. I open one eye first and I notice it’s dark, the sun isn’t shining up in the sky anymore and it’s cool, not hot like before. I open my other eye and I see Harry staring at me, worry written all over his face and I sigh. That has been his look all this time every time he looks at me and I’m getting tired of it.
“I’m fine,” I say as I rise slowly, speaking before he can even ask me something. I see the question in his eyes, he doesn’t need to speak up. “I just fell asleep.”
“We were worried. We couldn’t find you anywhere. Couldn’t you at least send a bl**dy text?” he reprimands me punching my arm for real. Not the punch you give your friend just to show affection, he is really mad.
“Ouch, that hurt,” I complain rubbing my arm.
“Good. You really scared us all. For a moment we thought something bad had happened to you. Kay said that maybe you wanted to be alone and we shouldn’t worry.”
At her mention I tense up. At least she left me alone.
“I did want to be alone,” I say through gritted teeth because in a way I’m saying Kay was right and I hate to accept that.
“But you left without saying a thing and you looked so upset. I was worried,” Harry insists and I remember he saw me leaving and he had the same look in his eyes that he has now.
“I’m fine,” I repeat but it’s like I’m talking to a wall. He doesn’t say anything.
“Not because you say that all the time it means it’s true.” At his words I look away.
Normally Harry leaves me alone when I ask him to, he doesn’t do it with a smile and a ‘good luck, mate’ but he leaves me. He doesn’t push me although I’m sure he wants to insist. He knows that when I say stop, he has to drop the subject. But today I don’t see him willing to stop so I’m just taking a deep breath because I know what it’s coming.
“Stop pretending you’re okay. That you’re not crying and depressed doesn’t mean you’re okay, being angry all the time is just another way to show you’re hurt.” I feel his large hand on my shoulder and I turn to meet his eyes. “We’re not gonna judge you if you want to be sad, if you need to be sad.”
“I’m not sad,” I say, never breaking the eye contact. I need him to understand this.
“We’ve all had a bad time, a rough patch and we haven’t been afraid to show that and ask for help. We can help you out, Lou,” he says, ignoring that I just told him I’m not sad.
“I’m not sad, Harry,” I repeat, louder this time, more determined. “I’m mad, I’m disappointed and yes, still a bit hurt, I’m not gonna lie to you, but I’m not sad. I was sad. I don’t need you to help me out to get the girl back because I don’t want her back. I don’t need you to support me while I try to forget her because I already forgot her. I’m angry because I wasn’t enough, because I couldn’t make it work even when I tried so hard. I don’t need you to listen to me because I don’t have anything to say besides what you already know. All I need from you all guys is to stop worrying. I am fine.” I stare at him carefully, hoping he will understand that I’m not going through the same they did. My situation is far more different from theirs.
Eleanor didn’t leave me because she thought we were too different to be together, because she believed she didn’t fit in my world… like Alex did.
Eleanor didn’t leave me because I made a mistake and broke her trust… like Mila did.
Eleanor didn’t leave me because she was so broken and afraid of loving and losing… like Hannah did.
Eleanor left me because I wasn’t good enough, because she didn’t love me anymore. And that… that is very different from what my friends have gone through.
I’m not here, trying to get back to her like Niall was, waiting for the right moment to try to change her mind.
I’m not here, waiting patiently until she can trust me again, like Zayn was, giving Mila all the time she needed to move on.
I’m not here, wishing Eleanor could accept it is okay to be in love and care about people, like Harry was.
I’m just here trying to live my life, to enjoy what I do without feeling like I need someone by my side to feel whole. I’m fine alone, I don’t need someone else to feel complete and I wish the rest would understand that. I know that everyone hopes to find love, to find their soul mate, but many people go through life without finding someone and not because of that they are less worthy. Why do I have to need someone to be happy?
Because you’re not happy now, that voice —my voice— speaks again in my mind, this time not scaring me like the first time and I sigh deeply.
I may not be happy now, completely happy, but I will. I know that.
“Then why don’t you smile like you used to?” Harry asks and this time I get up and walk past him.
“Maybe because all what you all do is worry about me instead of just letting me be. Maybe because I know you expect me to be sad and miserable when I’m not. Stop worrying so much and you maybe will notice that I’m okay.”
“I can’t stop worrying. Could you do that if you were me?”
I turn around to look at my best mate. I worried for him, for Niall and for Zayn when they were in their rough patches, but again, that was so different from this. But if they were in the situation I am right now I would leave them alone. If that were what they really need, I would do it.
“I would believe you if you said you’re okay.” He looks sad, he looks like he expects me to be miserable. “It’s gonna be fine, Harry, stop worrying so much.”
And I try to smile, honestly, how he wants me to smile, but I know it doesn’t work when he sighs and shakes his head.
“Okay,” is all he says but he doesn’t look at me again, he just walks past me leaving me behind.
He will see I’m fine. He and everyone else will finally accept that I’m fine like this. Not because I don’t want the same things they want means that I won’t be as fine as them. I will. Maybe even better.

●○●○●○●○

Managers & Indifference

We are in Manchester for the gig with Prodigy. We decided to make something small and all the money we raise with the tickets will go to this charity with the kids. Management had a meeting with us and the girls of Prodigy trying to convince us to keep, at least, a fifteen per cent of the sales, but Tammy almost killed them for suggesting that. I remember that clearly because no one has yelled that loud at Management.
“Are you f**king insane? You and all of us have already enough money to burn if we want. Specially these boys here!” she shouted and I thanked her silently because she didn’t call us girls or f**kers. “We don’t need a single quid and you still wanna take something? We’re doing this to help, you can’t be this insensitive and selfish! It’s for the kids. What kind of human are you?!”
“We’re just looking after you—”
“Bullocks!” she cut them off. “You’re just looking after yourself. You want more money and you can use these boys,” —meaning us— “as you please, but you won’t do that with us, and not to the kids of this charity. They’ve had enough shit from their parents, you won’t make it worse for them! These here have so much money they would die at a hundred years old before spending it all, and we are fine, too. We don’t need any more money and certainly you don’t either! Why would you want even more? Can’t you stop? How greedy are you? Are you even human? Enough is enough, if you can’t do one thing for free, then don’t count with us. We can make gigs for free whenever we want, our fans won’t have a problem if we cancel this event to do something on our own for the charity, but tell that to their fans. For the first time, do something to help others and not to make more money for you.”
“We won’t accept this,” Liam spoke for all of us, siding with Tammy on this. And to be honest, I agree with them. What Management wanted to do is awful and low. “We don’t need more money. For this time, let us do something without gaining anything else but the satisfaction of helping. Tammy is so right it’s even humiliating. You have always won something out of everything we do. Nothing is for free, we really don’t do anything for free, somehow we always win something and that’s sick. We’re trying to help others, not ourselves.”
“What the noob said!” Tammy said folding her arms and giving one last glimpse to Liam, a little smile playing on her lips.
As they spend more time with the kids of the charity, they get along better. And I hate this, but Liam is growing really fond of Tammy. I know, I don’t understand it either!
“I told you they weren’t going to agree,” Janet, Prodigy’s manager told our group with a conceited smile. Emma laughed and high-fived her manager. I’ve noticed these girls and Janet have a very close relationship and their manager really looks after the girls, she knows them.
“Okay, all the sales will go to the charity,” Jeannine, one of our Management group finally agrees and I still think of that look in her eyes that day, she looked kind of proud.
So that’s good about this, we’re doing this to really help the charity and as we spend more time with this girl band, I’ve noticed a few things, too. All of them have this dark sense of humour and they tease each other all the time, but when it comes to music, they are really professional and they love what they do. And they are so bl**dy talented it’s not fair. Incredibly, I find out that Tammy, the worst of them all, is the most involved with charities. She does not only sponsor You Matter, she is also member of many other charities that help kids and she goes to orphanages frequently. I couldn’t believe it when Leanne told us that. Tammy would never admit it, though.
That girl is weird. She shows you she is terrible, but then she does things like those and you don’t know what to think. Why would someone so rude care so much about kids? She even yelled at me for rejecting a girl that wanted to take a picture with me. She told me I couldn’t do that to a little girl and I better apologise or she would make me regret my existence. Kay had to tell her to relax and not to kill me.

And Kay, that little harpy.
Since I overheard her conversation with Grimmy I’ve avoided her even more, but she keeps following me. When I can’t avoid her, I ignore her. I stay as taciturn as I can until she realises she won’t get a reaction from me and leaves me alone. And that takes a while.
Still, I watch her when she is busy with Peter following the guys, showing how they are during tour. She is a perfectionist, she is constantly checking that everything is like she wants. Although, she never makes us repeat something. I’m not sure how she is going to manage to fit everything together. She is always around, not filming, but alert that something may come up and it would be good to have it on tape.
I’ve also noticed that she gets along with Alex and Tammy well. To be honest, Kay gets along with everyone, especially with Alex. They talk a lot and I can’t help wondering what they talk about so much, but then I remind myself that I don’t care.
Kay has noticed I stare at her sometimes and she has made sure to tell me. “You watch me,” she said one day when I wasn’t paying attention. “I’ve caught you a few times. You like what you see?” she asked looping her arm around mine as she likes to do so much.
I learnt that if I try to shove her off, that only encourages her to push and push, so I just pretend I don’t notice she is touching me, that her skin is pressed against mine.
“I don’t,” I told her, not even bothering to meet her chocolate eyes.
“You do, I’ve caught you. You can deny it, but we know it’s true. I don’t mind, on the contrary, I like it when your eyes are on me.” She slid her hand down my forearm until she reached my own hand, tangling our fingers together. Her hand felt so small in mine, so delicate and feminine and I hated that feeling. I still hate it. “When are you gonna accept you’re warming up?”
“I am not warming up,” I insisted, not even bothering to get my hand free, but I didn’t squeeze back. “Now, would you leave me alone? I have things to do.”
She sighed slowly and let go of my hand just to stand in front of me. “You’re acting even colder than before. Did something happen? You don’t even yell at me anymore,” she asked me, concern written all over her features. Ha, I know she doesn’t care, she is just a good actress.
“I’m just me, if you don’t like it, you can leave me alone,” I told her and didn’t move nor blink when she cupped my face in her hands.
“I can’t,” she said with a smile. “I can’t leave you like this when I still can see in your eyes you need help. I’m trying to help you, Louis. Why don’t you let me?”
“Because I don’t need help. You’re talking nonsense.”
Kay sighed again, shaking her head and I remembered I just wanted her to leave me, to release my face because I was starting to get nervous. My heart raced in fear when she took a step closer and her thumbs started to stroke my cheeks.
“You may not want my help, but the old you does, he needs me,” she said in a whisper and before I could figure out how to reply to that, she stood on her tiptoes and pecked my lips again. This times for a few more seconds, slowly, more tenderly than the last time. I didn’t move, I didn’t react, I didn’t even blink and when she stepped back, I knew I had won. She was disappointed that she didn’t get anything. “I rather when you get angry and yell at me that this cold Louis. What happened this time?”
You, I answered in my mind but I didn’t say anything out loud. She accepted her loss and her hands left my face as she turned around and left me alone, as I wanted.
So that day I learnt that indifference wins. My anger only encourages her, this behaviour will finally make her give up. Nor even with a kiss she can get to me and I feel victorious. Nevertheless, I can’t stop thinking of the two times she has kissed me. I haven’t kissed her back and it’s only been pecks, but still. Those two times have been so different.
The first was so sneaky, like a kid trying to get away with murder, fast and ephemeral. And she laughed, she laughed at me for catching me off guard.
The second time was slow, tender and the way she looked at me was different, with sadness and concern in her eyes.
And until today I can feel the difference. The rush of the first, and the plead of the second.
But today Kay is the least of my problems because as we play for all the kids in the charity and all the others that bought tickets to support the cause, not only Prodigy will be around, Phebs, Belle, Mila, Moni, Hannah and even Savannah are coming to the gig to see us. That means, too many girls around and I feel overwhelmed.
Liam asked me the other day why I was mean to all our friends when they had done nothing to me or to any of them.
“They are women and they side with their type,” I remember telling him but he still looked confused. “It’s not fair to make exceptions.”
“You’re just being stupid,” he told me and I raised my eyebrows. “And cruel,” he added and then he left not giving me the chance to explain myself.
I know that Alex, for instance, who was my closest friend from all the girls, didn’t do anything, but she is still a girl. I’m sure that if an apocalypse breaks loose and she has to choose a side, she would pick the girls and not the boys, no matter how much of a tomboy she is. And she is friends with the poisonous traitor, I think they still talk.
Plus, when I look at Alex —or any of the other girls— I can’t help thinking, remembering my time with Eleanor and that always hurt in a way.
It’s easier to include them as well in my hatred.
Plus, I know they will do the same. Eventually, they will leave my friends, they will find someone better and they will break their hearts. They will replace them. They will make them suffer and feel worthless. And for that future, I hate them, too.
“Louis!” I hear someone calling that I haven’t seen in a while and when I turn around my eyes meet brown ones. Moni is approaching. “Here you are! Everyone is looking for you. They need to do sound-check before they open the doors.”
“I’m coming,” I answer coldly and I notice she frowns, confused by my tone.
“You okay?”
“Perfectly fine,” I answer but she doesn’t look convinced.
“You don’t look fine, you look dead,” she says so honestly my eyes widen. “Worse than the last time I saw you.”
I take a deep breath, looking for the words to answer that. “Well, no one asked you for your opinion.”
Now she raises her eyebrows in sheer surprise. “Well, at least you’re still the sassy one. Let’s go, I need to claim my reward. I knew I could find you first.”
She turns on her heels and starts walking towards the door that leads us to one hall at the backstage of the theatre where we’re performing today. I sigh as I start walking myself. It’s time to face everyone, seeing the lads with their girlfriends, even Kay trying to get to me. It’s time to face that whereas I’ve realised it’s better to be alone, my band mates are still blind to that, they still hope no one will replace them when that’s as inevitable as breathing. I just hope that when that happens, they won’t end up too broken.

●○●○●○

Pain & Comfort

When I walk inside the extremely crowded dressing room I don’t only find too many girls around, but I also see how a petite curly-haired girl with fringe and glasses approaches me, and before I can even realise who she is, she knees me in the balls. Just like that! Without saying a single world! She just hits me and I cry out in sheer pain, my hands flying to the wounded zone of my body and curling into foetal position on the floor. I don’t even hear the gasps of surprise; I can’t stop screaming. Oh my God, that hurts!
“That’s for being the bl**dy arse you are, you dickhead! Do you realise the problems you caused by saying those things to Zayn? What do you think I am? Enough is enough, get your head out of your arse and grow up! We’ve all been heartbroken once, you’re not the first to go through this and we all make it through so stop moaning like a little kid and man up!” she yells louder than I groan in absolute pain.
“Mila, stop,” someone else asks politely and I recognise the voice way too easy, which bothers me even more.
I know it’s Kay.
“Why? He didn’t stop when he said all those things to the guys, did he?” the girl who hit me, Mila, retorts angrily. “I’m tired of his selfishness and immaturity. Childish was one thing, but I’m tired of this immature little twat who can’t be miserable alone, he has to drag others.”
“Zayn, take her out of here,” Kay asks and I’m still on the floor, silent tears escaping from my eyes and I hide my face, I don’t want anyone to see me like this, but the pain is burning, making me see white dots before my eyelids.
Soon I feel a hand on my shoulder, rubbing soothingly. It’s a small hand that touches me so softly and it gives me chills that have nothing to do with the pain that is eating me alive. I don’t do anything, I just let myself be guided. These hands take my head and urge me to rest on a lap and I don’t protest, I curl against this body, my nose buried in the fabric, the feminine and sweet aroma a lullaby to my senses. I hold on to this person who keeps caressing me.
“It’s okay, it will pass,” she says… Kay. She is holding me. “I’m so sorry, babe. I know it hurts, but it’ll be fine in a little while,” Kay adds and I know that if I weren’t in this horrible pain, I would push back or something, but I can’t. I don’t mind it’s her, I hold on to her trying to fight the urge to keep screaming. “Niall, go for some ice patches, please.”
I think I hear some mumbles of agreement, but I can’t be sure. I groan lowly, my hands grabbing the fabric of her dress so tightly—I know she is wearing one, I saw her before.
I know what I told Zayn was wrong in the sense it’s not my business. I still think he should be prepared, but I hurt him and I apologised for that, yet Mila still hit me in the balls. It’s not fair, I did apologise! Now maybe I’m impotent all because of her. I thought Moni was the scary one, everyone says she is the dragon of the group, that if any of us is hurt, she would be the first to step us and kill the one responsible for our pain for us. But this time she didn’t even yell at me, she left that to Mila. Or maybe Moni asked her to take care of me. I don’t know! I just know both of them are scary and dangerous. Stupid women!
“Here, take this,” Niall says, I recognise his voice. I still can’t open my eyes, the pain is too much so I don’t move, but Kay does, carefully and she grabs one of my hands to take the ice patch and guides it to my crotch. It hurts, it hurts so much but the ice helps a bit… just a bit.
“Hold it there, it will help,” she says, still holding me, with my head on her lap. Her other hand takes off my beanie and strokes my hair, which sends relaxing waves through my body that do help me.

After I said those things to the lads, everyone was mad at me. Everyone looked hurt and although I apologised, Niall and Zayn were still keeping some distance. The only one who didn’t look at me murderously was Kay but I never let her tell me something about it, although I know she tried many times. She looked at me with so much pity and concern but I know she doesn’t really care, so I don’t even know what to think of her. I know I’m just a challenge for her, I heard her! But yet here she is, helping me, holding me while I’m in pain. Why her? Why not any of the lads?
“Are you feeling a bit better?” she asks cupping my face with one hand, the other is still on my hair and I honestly don’t want her to move, she is really helping me here.
“A bit,” I say with a hoarse voice. I open my eyes and the first thing I see is her face, her chocolate eyes staring at me with sheer concern as she smiles at me sweetly. Not her carefree, cheeky and amused smile. This is a sweet and coy smile.
For the first time, as she looks down at me with her right hand still cupping my face, her thumb caressing my cheek, I see Kay in another light and the surprise of this makes me forget the pain for a whole second. She doesn’t look like the annoying little girl that can’t leave me alone, the one who doesn’t know the definition of personal space, the stubborn prat. She looks ethereal, almost like an angel. The light from the light bulbs makes her look as if she has a halo around and with her smile she almost looks divine. Not like any other girl, not like anyone I’ve ever seen and for two seconds I can’t breathe, I can only look at her in awe.
“Good, just stay here for a wee more. You’ll be fine in no time,” she says and even her voice sounds sweeter. Is she doing this on purpose?
I blink a couple of times and I recover from the shock of seeing Kay like this, I close my eyes again as the pain comes back, not as strongly as before, but still burning in my very bones. I groan and Kay keeps stroking my hair and murmuring soothing words, but the pain is still here.
Stupid Mila.
“Mate, are you okay?” I hear Zayn asking and I really hope Mila is not around. “I’m sorry, I told Mila it was okay but she was so mad… it’s my fault, I guess. I got so jealous the other day after what you told us and Mila just got mad at me and then at you and I don’t know, things got just messy. I’m sorry.”
I don’t say a thing. I don’t have a single idea of what he is saying and I don’t care about it or if he is apologising for his girlfriend, I just care that I’m still on the floor, in pain.
“It is in moments like this that I appreciate being a girl. No one can hit me in the balls,” another girl says and I open one eye to see Tammy approaching, standing next to Kay. “I’m sorry, Louis. That must really hurt. Is that pain like giving birth?” she asks out of the blue and I hear Kay giggling, I feel her body shaking softly.
“I don’t think so. Giving birth is a pain that lasts longer. I think one of the first contractions is like one kick in the balls,” Kay answers and I can hear the smile in her voice. Don’t ask me how. “The other time I saw a video of a couple of guys simulating the pain of going in labour and they said there was nothing worse in the world.”
Why are they having this conversation?
“Well, that settles it, then. Louis, you’re lucky you’re not a girl and you don’t have to go into labour. You should be grateful that us, women, have to do that instead of you, men. Just think of that the next time you say you hate all women,” Tammy says and Kay laughs again though I don’t find this conversation particularly amusing. I think it’s bizarre.
“Here, this will help,” another voice says and when I look to Kay’s other side, I see Hannah kneeling to hand me a pill and a glass of water. “It’s not poison, don’t worry,” the ginger girl adds with a bright smile and Kay receives the pill and helps me swallow it.
“Do you need something?” Alex asks and I’m starting to get overwhelmed. While the lads keep their distance, it’s the girls who surround me and look at me with concern. Why do they do this? I’ve been awful to all of them all this time, yet here they are, helping me. Starting with Kay who is the one I’ve insulted the most.
“Space,” I ask because their proximity is suffocating me.
And cue to my words, Alex, Hannah, Phebs, Belle, Tammy and even Leanne —I don’t know when she approached— step back, leaving me only with Kay. She strokes my hair again, helping me relax one more time.
The pain is not that terrible anymore, yet I still don’t want to move. I know that the moment I decide to rise to my feet, I’ll have to push Kay and ignore her again, and right now, I’m way too comfortable here, with her holding me. I don’t want to move yet. I just need five more minutes of this.
Finally someone walks in and I hear him gasp before his steps approach. “What happened?” he asks, Paul.
“Mila hit him in the balls,” Kay replies softly, her hand still on my hair.
“Is he okay? Do we need to take him to the infirmary?”
“Uh, I dunno. Louis, babe, how are you feeling now?” she asks me, her hands cupping my face and forcing me to see her.
I take a deep breath because it still hurts, but I can move, I can stand up and leave. I’m okay, but that means, I’m fine enough to push her away again and step into my shell again.
Instead of answering, I push her softly and I rise, putting the ice patch away, moving carefully, testing if I’m okay. It hurts so I’m careful, but I’m okay, I can do this. “I’m fine,” I answer, not to Kay, to Paul. “We have to do sound check, right?” I inquire giving my back on Kay, but soon I feel her hand on my arm, grabbing it.
“Maybe you should sit on the sofa and skip sound check for now,” the blonde girl suggests and I shove her hand slowly.
“I’m fine. Thanks for helping but I don’t need you anymore. I’m fine,” I repeat, swallowing with difficulty accepting that in a moment I needed her.
“But Mila hit you really bad, I don’t think—”
“I’m fine,” I cut her off, my eyes cold on her and I know she notices the change because she tenses and takes one step back.
For five seconds, we look into each other’s eyes without saying a single word and I know she understands what I’m trying to say: That was a moment of weakness. It won’t happen again. Don’t get used to see me holding on to you again.
I see a shadow passing through her chocolate eyes and they lose the warmth they had before, when she was taking care of me. She looks hurt now but I don’t understand why. She doesn’t care about me, she only cares about winning her challenge and I won’t let her play with me.
“Okay,” she says and I’m not sure if she refers to what I told her with my eyes or to the fact that I will do the sound check no matter what. I think it’s the first. “Okay,” she repeats and this time her voice sounds different, like it breaks with the word.
Then Kay looks away and walks past me, not meeting my eyes again, not saying a single thing. She just leaves the room and we sink in a tense silence. No one says anything and I don’t move until I hear someone clearing her throat. I look and I see Leanne standing very uncomfortable on her feet.
“Uh… shall we go?” she asks doubtfully and for the first time since I walked in I take notice that Prodigy is there too. Skyler with her uninterested expression; Emma with an intrigued look; Tammy with a smile that I don’t know how to classify, next to Liam —of course—; and Leanne looking rather uncomfortable.
“Lets’ go,” I state turning on my heels to leave the room first. I ignore the murmurs at my back.

■■■■

Hello again.
I’m not gonna say much ??
Hope you liked it and enjoyed it.
Stay tuned for the next one because it’s gonna be posted ??
Love you all??

Bitter and sassy (Chapter 4)

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Bitter and sassy (Chapter 4)

Category:

Indian Dramas

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