The next couple of months in London flew by so fast I didn’t even believe I had blinked.
My days went from having a dead-set routine to having spontaneous plans and random little moments strung out in each of them.
The boys and I had done a lot together, some of it as a group and some of it has just two or three of us at once.
Harry and I had gone shopping as I’d promised him, and when he stepped out with me, the Directioners went crazy. Apparently, I had been labelled as “Louis’ girl” in the fandom, so going around with Harry, one of Louis’ best friends and band mates, didn’t look well to them. Management had “sources” that were quick to send out stories saying that I was not romantically involved with any member of One Direction, and that we were all just good friends who had only known each other for a couple of months.
After that died down, I went out with Harry again a few times, and he also took me to his home to meet his family. This made Directioners suspicious again, but the majority of them acted as if it wasn’t a big deal.
Niall and I had many more trips to Nando’s, and many, many other restaurants! While I didn’t get to meet all of his family, I had gotten to meet his mother Maura and his brother Greg, who were both extremely nice people and so similar to Niall.
We also went to a club together one night. I remembered it well; I had woken up the next morning at Niall’s and spent the morning nursing a hangover at Louis and Harry’s since Harry offered to cook me breakfast to help get rid of it.
Zayn and I had taken a bit more time than any of the rest of the boys to get accustomed to each other. But after we ran into each other at a couple of clubs and occasionally in the gym, we soon realized that we were similar in personality (with the exception of my sarcasm and his naturally quiet personality around new people). We went out to a few clubs together, having fun dancing but staying (for the most part) pretty sober, and enjoying a few shopping trips together as well.
Liam and I hung out as well, but it was more often Liam, Danielle, and me. I felt a bit like a third wheel around those two! Liam and I did have a Toy Story movie marathon like I promised though, and I’m not ashamed to admit that both Liam and I cried like we were five year olds during Toy Story 3. Liam and I also went to watch Danielle dance once, which was really fun to do!
The boys and I all went out and played laser-tag a few times. They considered it to be an honor that I was included in that. I considered it an honor when I managed to beat all five of them at it!
The amount of time I spent with Louis, however, was the amount I spent with all the boys separately combined and multiplied by 30. We were literally inseparable.
If I had a class with Danielle one day, Louis would come to the gym and wait for me to finish before taking me out to get a coffee or go to lunch. Sometimes, we worked out together. Other times he watched me dance for a while before making me lose concentration and being silly with him.
I went shopping with Louis once, and helped him pick out a whole new line of striped shirts to wear. When he made me carry them to his flat and put them in his closet, I realized exactly how many shirts like that he had.
“Jesus Lou, why don’t you just start calling yourself Skippy? You own enough shirts to be a sailor for life without ever washing your clothes again!”
That comment didn’t sit well with Louis, and I’d yet to go shopping with him again. I hadn’t realized he took stripes so seriously!
Louis had a lot of rehearsals for their tour too, which got closer every single day. Once I found out where they were rehearsing, I’d walk over there after a day at the gym or just waking up and wait outside until the boys came out.
Louis always looked tired, and occasionally frustrated, after walking out of there. But, whenever he saw me, he smiled and his eyes regained the twinkle in them that I had gotten accustomed to.
We’d also visited a club once, which was pretty disastrous. It turned out Louis really wasn’t much of a dancer, but a great drunk. And of course, he managed to get me drunk. Combined with that and the fact that we apparently both became loud and obnoxious when drunk… we ended up getting kicked out of the club soon after!
Whenever the boys and I weren’t around in town, we were at each other’s flats. I’d been to their flats plenty of times, and in turn, they’d eventually been allowed to start visiting mine. We had some good nights just relaxing at our flats too.
But, despite all of this, the tour was coming up fast and furious, and I knew things would end soon. Management had allowed each boy to bring someone on to the tour for a short period of time and the person each boy chose had a VIP backstage pass for all their concerts, although getting to the concerts wasn’t managements’ job.
Liam had already chosen Danielle. Harry had chosen to have Ed Sheeran come visit him in his free time. Niall chose a good friend of his, Sean. Zayn decided to save his, should he meet anyone he wanted to have around or his mother decided she could leave to come visit at some point. And Harry had mentioned that Louis was thinking of taking Stan, one of his best friends from before and after fame, with him, which wasn’t to my surprise.
I knew I would be completely bored without the boys and Danielle around. Danielle would be leaving straight away, and she’d basically travel with them. She would just stay in a separate room and come to concerts while enjoying traveling the different countries.
I was pretty down about it. Not to mention, I barely saw Louis for two weeks now. He hadn’t told me where they were rehearsing lately, and I figured it wasn’t my business to ask. He didn’t come around the gym anymore either, so I just assumed that he was too busy with tour stuff to worry about me, and he’d get in touch when he wanted to.
I was kind of crushed about it, but I wasn’t sure what I had expected. He was Louis Tomlinson of One Direction, and he was busy. I couldn’t possibly expect for him to be around me all the time like he had been.
It was the day before they left for tour, and I was helping Danielle pack. Well, actually, that was my excuse. I was really just sitting on her couch eating all her ice cream while she ran out and asked me if outfits looked cute.
“Okay, how about this one?” I heard her say for the fiftieth time as she came out in a crop top and a pair of hot pink skinny jeans.
“It looks amazing. They all do. Pack all three hundred outfits, you’ll look stunning in them.” I attempted to sound like I really did care.
Danielle smiled sadly, sitting down beside me. “You know that if I could stuff you in my suitcase I would, love. I can already imagine how bored I’m going to be sometimes. I’ll only be around Liam a third of the time. I wish I had someone I could talk to and be with!”
I smiled a bit. “It’s alright Dani. He’s your boyfriend, I understand you want to take every chance you can to be with him. You don’t see him that often in the first place! I’m not mad at you, I’m just sad. I’m going to be as bored as you will be.”
Suddenly, my phone rang, blaring out One Thing. Danielle’s eyebrows raised and a grin spread across her face. “Why-?”
I blushed crimson. “Louis changed that as his ringtone. I swear I had nothing to do with that. Just give me a minute, babe.”
I got off of the couch and walked into Danielle’s kitchen, picking up my phone in the process. “Hey Tommo. What’s up?”
“I have a mission for you”
I frowned to myself. “A mission? Louis, it’s your last night here, shouldn’t you be more worried about packing or something?”
“Already done. Do you accept your mission?”
“Uh yeah, of course. Louis, really-“
“Great! Go back to your flat. Everything you need to know will be there waiting for you.”
“What in the world are you talking about Louis?” I said exasperatedly into the phone. Danielle heard my voice raise and turned to look at me. I could only throw my hands up, unsure of what was going on.
“Just go to your flat. There’s something waiting for you there, as well as your mission. Tommo out.”
“Louis, wait-!” I started to respond, but the phone clicked and I realized he hung up on me.
I rushed over to my purse. “What’s going on?” Danielle asked worriedly.
“I don’t know, Louis started rambling about some mission I’m supposed to take on. He said something was waiting for me at my flat as well. I’m wondering if he’s not drunk or something sitting outside my door, so I’m going to go home. If he’s not drunk, I guess I’ll find out what’s in my flat.”
Danielle only shook her head. Louis being crazy was nothing new to her, but I hadn’t gotten used to it just yet.
“Well, good luck with whatever it is. Text me later tonight, you know I’ll be awake until around 2.”
I threw a hand over my shoulder and waved at her before rushing out the door. I quickly called a cab and spat my address at the driver, telling him to step on it and I’d pay him double.
Within 10 minutes, I was at home. I threw some money at the driver, yelling a quick thanks over my shoulder.
I took the stairs two at a time before finally reaching my door. Thankfully, Louis was not sitting outside of my door drunk. But that still meant I didn’t have any clue as to what the hell was going on and why I suddenly had a mission, not to mention that I had no idea where Louis actually was.
I pushed my keys into the lock, turning them carefully. “Louis? Are you in he- where in the world did that come from?”
There was a stunning dress hanging in front of my eyes. It was hanging off of the windowsill, and as I flicked the switch, I saw something attached to it.
I picked up the note. “Lee,” I read aloud. “If you’re reading this and it’s before 7:30pm, you’ve chosen to accept your mission. If you’re reading this and it’s after, than you have no idea what I mean but you’re still going to read anyway, so I’ll continue. The second part of your mission will be revealed soon. But first, put your dress on. Get dressed up and then call me for part two of your mission. With lots of love, Louis “Tommo” Tomlinson.”
I rolled my eyes, dropping the note. “At least he’s got good taste…” I muttered, secretly glad my dress wasn’t striped.
The dress was, in fact, simple but pretty. It was a vibrant yellow dress and it had a band that would accentuate my waist nicely.
I sighed to myself. I couldn’t believe I was doing this, but I’d play along with this little game. I got dressed and began to touch up my makeup, as well as style my hair slightly.
After twenty or so minutes, I was done. I clicked to my last phone call and dialed Louis’ number.
“Have you completed part one of the mission?”
I was tempted to sigh and yell, but I nodded before realizing he couldn’t see me. “Yes, I’ve completed part one of my mission. What’s next, Agent Tommo?”
I could almost hear the smirk in Louis’ voice. “Well, Agent Lee, part two of the mission involves crossing dangerous streets. Harry left his phone at The Ivy, and I need you to go and get it without taking a cab.”
I frowned. “I just put on heels, and you want me to walk to The Ivy and get Harry’s phone in a dress? That’s my mission? I don’t understand the point of this, Tommo.”
“Well, I would go get it, but I’m currently occupied and cannot-” I heard a bang on the other end of the line, followed with some explicit language.
“Louis, just drop the game for one second and tell me, as yourself, that you’re alright. I’m honestly worried.”
“Love, I’m fine. This is all exactly how it’s supposed to be, trust me! Now, just play along.” Louis cleared his throat before continuing. “You will go to The Ivy, which is only thirteen blocks from your flat, and you will ask for Harry Styles’ phone. They’ll lead you to it, and with it will lie part three of your mission.”
I sighed. “Okay. As long as you’re alright, I’ll play along… Agent Tommo. Will I see you soon?”
He chuckled lightly. “So impatient, aren’t you grasshopper? You’ll learn. Go find the phone!”
The phone clicked again and I knew that Louis had hung up. “Ugh!” I muttered in frustration, stomping out of my flat and headed for The Ivy.
It may have only been thirteen blocks away, but those thirteen blocks were killing my feet. I would have ran if I thought it would hurt me less!
When I finally reached the restaurant, I walked straight up to the first person in uniform I saw. “Um, excuse me? I’m looking for Harry Styles’ phone?”
The person looked me up and down before nodding and walking away. I took the nod as a signal to follow him.
He led me to a coat check. Reaching into the “lost and found” basket, he pulled the phone out. “You can just turn it on,” he said with a quick wink. Before I had time to blink, he was gone and I had a phone in my hands.
One thing I knew, when looking at it, was that the phone I had was not Harry’s real phone. But it was a phone, and the guy had said to turn it on. Against my better judgement, I did exactly that.
The phone came on and I saw there was a message. Opening it, I smiled. The message read: “You’ve successfully completed part two of your mission. Part three is much more simple, and I think you’ll be able to get there easier. Outside is a limousine waiting for you. It will take you back to our flats. The boys will take care of you from there. I’ll see you sooner than you think.X Agent Tommo.”
I giggled to myself. “Louis, you crazy idiot…” I stuffed the phone into my clutch and walked out to see a limo that hadn’t been there before waiting on me.
I quickly stepped inside and, after a confirmation that this limo was mine, relaxed and closed my eyes. Louis’ message had said soon, so hopefully that meant we’d see each other in the next hour or so. The running was getting fun, sure, but I just wanted to relax!
The driver came to a stop, and stepping out of the limo, I took the elevator to the boys’ flats. I walked into the hall, noticing the lights were out in all of them except Louis’ and Harry’s.
I took that as a cue to go to that room, and knocked lightly. I saw someone’s eye peek at me in the peephole before the door opened.
There stood Liam, smiling down at me. “Welcome love!”
I smiled, walking in and pulling out the phone. “Was this the right place to come to?”
Liam nodded, and off to the side I saw Harry, Niall, and Zayn relaxing. “Ashley! Love! You made it!” Harry called out.
“Hey, Haz. Same to you Nialler and Zayn!” They nodded, smiling.
“Alright,” I continued. “Can someone please explain to me what all this is for?”
The boys all shared a knowing smile and glanced at each other. “Well, we can’t actually tell you. But, part of our task is to show you. Are you ready?”
I shrugged my shoulders, turning around. “Yeah, of course. Just lead the way.”
All of a sudden, my eyesight went black. “Hey! Cut the lights on!” I yelled out.
Then, they had the nerve to die a blindfold over my eyes. “Guys, this isn’t funny…” I muttered darkly.
Harry’s voice whispered directly in my right ear as I heard, “Louis has this planned out, okay love? Give him the benefit of the doubt and enjoy your night. He’s put more thought into this than you can imagine. Everything had to be perfect… for you.”
I swallowed thickly. “Okay,” I whispered back softly.
I felt Harry’s hands take mine as he led me to some unknown location. “Harry, what happened to the other three?”
“Those three went to help Louis. My job is to lead you around aimlessly until the exact time you’re meant to show up.”
I laughed to myself. “Of course. I’ve obviously asked a dumb question here.”
I could imagine Harry’s smile. “Obviously. Stand here, okay? Don’t move.”
I frowned slightly. “Fine. I just hope I’m not surrounded by rapist cats or something, Hazza!” I yelled out to no one in particular.
Much to my surprise, I heard someone chuckling in my ear. “Rapist cats or something? Do you really think I’d leave you alone with those? That’s what Harry would do, not me.”
“Hi, Louis.” I replied breathlessly. The way my heart sped up at hearing him speak didn’t escape my notice. “That’s exactly why I said that, Harry was leading me and I was a bit worried as to where he had left me.”
Louis chuckled again, and I felt him take my hand. “Well, can you imagine if I had let Niall lead you around? One sniff of food and who knows where you would be right now!”
I laughed lightly. “I suppose you’re right.”
We started walking again. “Where are we headed? Or would that ruin the surprise?”
“It would ruin the surprise, love.”
“Harry told me something about tonight while you weren’t around.”
“Oh really?” I could hear worry in Louis’ voice, and I smiled to myself.
“He told me that you spent a lot of time planning it, that’s all Lou. He hasn’t spoiled anything.”
“Good. I’d have sent him to the moon if he had.” I laughed at Louis’ empty threat and joking tone, but knew he had been genuinely worried if Harry had told me something about the night.
I bit my lip before blurting out my next words, hating the fact they even had to leave my mouth. “Is this the reason you haven’t been around as much lately?” My voice cracked slightly, letting on how hurt I really was.
I felt Louis stop walking, so I stopped too. “It was a part of it, yes.” I didn’t respond; if this was only a part of it, what was all of it?
There was silence in the air before Louis spoke again. “Did you really care that much that I wasn’t around lately?”
I swallowed. “Of course, Louis. I don’t know if it comes across very well, but I do care about you, a lot. I enjoy being around you, and I’ve grown accustomed to seeing you all the time. Your laugh has become a daily sound in my life. Your voice makes me smile in seconds. Your smile is something I never stop seeing. Of course I cared, and of course I noticed, that you weren’t around so much. I didn’t hear from you and I missed you.”
Louis squeezed my hand tightly, and I felt his free hand cup my cheek. “Love,” he said, his thumb rubbing lightly over my jaw. I felt goosebumps come up on my arms. “I missed you too. Part of the reason I didn’t see you was so tonight would be special. And part of it was tour negotiations and rehearsals. I’ve missed hearing your laugh, your voice, and even seeing the small way your eyes light up and turn bright blue when you’re truly happy. I hated not talking to you. Hell, I hated not even seeing you, for that matter.”
I tried not to cry from his sweet words. “You could have just let me know you were alright,” I whispered stupidly. “I worry too much about you.”
His thumb was still steadily rubbing my jaw, and I felt the butterflies increasing speed in my stomach. “I’m sorry. But I’m hoping that tonight will make up for that. I’ve put so much time into making this right…” he paused, and I knew what his next words would be. “I wanted the perfect moment before we have to go. Let’s just enjoy it, alright?”
I swallowed thickly, truly on the verge of tears. This time, however, it wasn’t from sweetness, it was from sadness. Louis was leaving. I wouldn’t see him for months. How could I possibly do that?
“Alright,” I choked out, even my voice sounding watery. “You don’t have to worry about me not enjoying it. I always enjoy every moment- no, pretty much every second that I spend with you.”
I blushed when I felt his lips touch my cheek lightly where his thumb had just been. I felt like my cheek was on fire when his lips left it.
“Then I’m glad we have tonight to enjoy as long as we please.” Louis’ whisper was rough and filled with some emotion I almost believed to be longing and desire.
Just almost though. I knew better than to get my hopes up.
Suddenly, I felt Louis let go of my hand. A moment later, the blindfold was being fiddled with. “Are you ready?” he said quietly, prepared to let it fall.
I took a deep breath before nodding. “Ready, freddy.”
He laughed lightly, then jerked the blindfold off in one fluid motion. Blinking a few times to get used to my surroundings, I suddenly gasped.
He had brought me to some beautiful little area of the park. Not our secret area, but another small and secluded area. There was a willow tree just beside a running brook, and a bridge leading over to the other side of it. Above us, the sky was painted with glittering white dots that I knew to be stars, and the moon was nearly full above us.
Underneath the willow tree, there was a blanket set out with a few candles lit and sitting on it. There was also a basket there, surely filled with food.
The final touch to the beautiful scene was Louis. He had moved in front of me, and I could truly see him for the first time in a couple of weeks. His hair was the same, but somehow it was different. I noticed after a moment it was a bit longer, his fringe slightly more in his face than normal. I smiled to myself, noticing how cute it made him look.
He was wearing a (non-striped) navy blue button down shirt with suspenders, and a pair of dark denim jeans. His shirt sleeves were rolled up to over the elbow, and I couldn’t help but eye the way the shirt fit him and showed off how incredibly fit he actually was.
Looking back into Louis’ eyes, I noticed they were an electric blue that I had never seen before, stunning me into silence. His lips were stretched into something crossed between a smirk and a smile of relief, and there was the faintest pink tint to his cheeks.
I noticed he had been watching me, and he smiled, not ashamed of the way he had been eyeing me. “Louis, I don’t even know what to say. It’s beautiful. I’ve never… no one’s ever… these things only happen in movies…” I trailed off, unsure of what to say.
Louis grinned wider, proud and happily. “I’m glad you love it. Although I don’t know why no one has ever done this before. You deserve a million of these.”
I blushed, tucking a stray piece of my hair behind my ear and knocking another piece loose in the process. “Here,” Louis suddenly said, moving closer to me. “Let me.”
He gently took hold of the piece of hair and in one fluid movement he had tucked it behind my hair. But, even after the hair was in place, his fingers lingered there against the side of my face. I looked towards them briefly and then, almost numb with some feeling I couldn’t identify, looked towards Louis.
His eyes were trained on me with such intensity that I felt something tighten in my stomach. There were a million tiny tremors and shivers running through my body, and my skin felt like it was coursing with energy. I briefly wondered if I would be sick, but I pushed the feeling aside as nothing more than nerves.
Louis slowly moved his hands so that they were cupping my face again. I smiled slightly at him, unaware of what was going through his mind. “What are you thinking about Louis?”
Blinking, he pulled his hands away suddenly. “I… uh… nothing… just thinking how you look even more stunning than usual tonight.”
My eyebrows furrowed slightly, knowing he was lying about what he was thinking. But that didn’t stop the blush the crept up to my cheeks, coloring them a light pink. “Thank you,” I said sincerely.
Louis grinned and led me towards the blanket. I noticed the candles I thought were burning were actually flameless candles.
I smirked, saying, “I suppose you’re not very good with fire, are you?”
Louis laughed. “No, and neither are the rest of us. Plus, if we knocked over a real burning candle in a park… well, I imagine there would be lawsuits. I’m sure there’s laws against it somewhere.”
I nodded. “You’re probably right. It’s smarter to have these flameless ones!”
He pulled out the food and set it in front of me, and I laughed as I noticed what it was. “We can’t escape Nando’s, can we?”
“Well, the only other option was to let Niall cook, which is never a good idea. I would’ve had Harry fix something, but he was… occupied with something else.”
“Something as in someone or something as in it pertains to tonight?”
Louis smirked. “Something like both. He met some girl today while doing an errand for me, and he can’t stop talking about her. But then again, that’s about sixty percent of the girls Haz meets. There’s no telling if this girl can hack it or not.”
I shook my head lightly. “Give the girl a break, Lou. For all you know, she could be a secret CIA agent. A member of a boyband is probably the least of her worries.”
Louis laughed. “Well, someone’s got an imagination tonight.”
I smiled in response, beginning to eat. We ate for a while, occasionally bringing up light and casual conversation topics like a new song we heard or a film we’d like to see, as well as the places they’d be visiting on tour.
“Oh, while we’re talking about your music, thanks for changing your ringtone to One Thing. It blared today when I was at Dani’s and she looked at me like I was insane. I’m a closet 1D fan, remember?”
Louis laughed, rocking back and forth for a moment before returning to his position. “I was wondering when you’d realize I changed it!”
I rolled my eyes, smiling. “I realized a week ago. This is just the first chance I’ve gotten to mention it!”
We both finished our dinner soon after that, and Louis moved the blanket out from under the trees so we could see the stars in the sky.
“I think that star cluster, over there, looks a bit like Harry’s hair.” Louis commented, pointing to the left of us. “But only if you squint… a lot.”
I squinted, then laughed. “It does! But the ones right next to it, they remind me of a cat.”
Louis stared, trying to see it. When he spotted it, he laughed. “It does, I’m surprised. Hey, there’s a turtle eating an apple over there!”
I looked to where he was pointing, frowning. “I don’t see that one… although they do look like ridiculous stripes!”
Louis rolled over and pinned me so I couldn’t move. I started to giggle at him, his expression mockingly mad, but not really mad at all. “Oh really? Stripes are ridiculous now, are they?”
Still giggling, I bit my lip and nodded. “So ridiculous that even zebras have stopped wearing them.”
Louis laughed at that, rolling from over top of me. He adjusted himself so our hands, arms, and shoulders were touching. I moved my head so that it was laying in the crook of his neck, and I smiled slightly at the warmth and comfort he provided.
“That was actually really good, I’m impressed. Clearly, being around me has sharpened your humor.”
I snorted. “My humor has always been fantastic. Being around you just makes me want to use it more often!”
We lay there in silence, staring up at the moon. “Louis?”
“Can you see the man on the moon like I can right now?”
There was silence as Louis tried to find him, and a startled laugh escaped his lips when he saw it. “Yeah! There he is. Huh, all my life I looked for him, and then he just shows up when I’m not even thinking of him.”
I smiled to myself. “That’s kind of like love. You look for it forever, and when you finally give up on it, it shows up right at your front door. Except you can’t see it, because you gave up on it.”
I frowned ever so slightly. “Wow. That’s one of the more depressing realizations I’ve had in my life.”
Louis chuckled. “Well, they can’t all be happy.”
I nodded slightly, rolling over and pressing my body against Louis’ side, trying to absorb some of his body heat. I sighed quietly, smiling to myself. It was comforting, being around Louis again.
Speaking of Louis, I looked up at him only to find him smiling down at me.
“What is it?” I asked, smiling back.
He smiled at me a bit longer, then pulled his thumb to my jaw, moving it back and forth across it again. “Nothing. I just can’t help but be glad that you’re in my life now.”
I smiled wider. “I’ve been thinking that to myself for a while.”
“I’m serious,” Louis said, sitting up. I sat up too, adjusting my body so that I was turned towards him.
“I don’t think I can recall the last time being around someone so much makes me so happy. Your laugh is contagious. The things you say, the way you say them… whenever someone else says them, I can’t help but think the way you say it is better. I love the atmosphere of ease that comes with being around you. I love when you come wait for me at rehearsals, and when you randomly text me something you found funny or send me a picture of something you knew I would like. I love just seeing you smile everyday. I can’t imagine being away for three or four months without seeing that. I can’t even go a couple weeks without feeling like I’m going insane.”
I smiled, genuinely touched by that. “You know I feel the same, Louis. I want more than anything for you not to leave me alone, really. I’m going to miss you. I’m going to all of you, but I’m really, really going to miss you in particular.”
Louis smiled, taking my hand with one of his own and using the other to reach into his pocket. “I’m glad you said that. I have a question to ask you, and I’m hoping you’ll say yes. It’s a little late notice, but…”
He pulled out a little box, and my eyes widened. What in the world was he doing?!
“Ashley, I don’t want to have to miss you as much as I would if you stayed here and I left. That’s why I want to know…”
He popped open the box, and in it was a wristband. I relaxed, glad it wasn’t a ring or anything crazy, but I was still confused.
“Will you be the person who goes with me on tour?”
My mouth dropped open in surprise. “What? Are you really sure? What about your friend Stan? I thought he was-“
“He still is, but he’s flying down on his own to see me instead of coming as my guest. He understands that I need you with me… the boys and Danielle do, too.”
I couldn’t contain the smile spreading across me face, one that was a mixture of shock and pleasure. “Wait… you want me to go with you… on tour?”
Louis nodded enthusiastically. “You’d be with Danielle, and you girls would come visit us together. The bracelet gets you to every concert and into backstage, as well as our tour bus. That way, we can be around you lovely ladies as much as possible. It’ll be like we’re still here, except you’ll get to see many more places and be with me… and the other boys.”
“But what about my work? My flat rent?”
Louis smiled. “Already taken care of. Your boss said he’ll hire his nephew for a while, until you return. And I’ve gone ahead and paid for your rent for the time we’ll be gone.”
“You didn’t have to do that.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “I wanted to. I really do want you to be my guest. I don’t want to have to miss you, and I don’t want you to be alone. Will you do it? Will you come with us… for me?”
I was so surprised that I was barely able to stutter out a reply. After a few tries, I finally got the word that I wanted to say out of my mouth. “Yes! Yes, yes, yes. One million times, just… yes!”
I threw my arms around Louis’ neck, knocking him over. The box snapped shut and the bracelet, thankfully, stayed inside of it.
Somehow, I got turned around as we fell and ended up laying flat on the ground, Louis’ grinning face hovering over mine.
“You’ll really come?” I bit my lip to contain my giddiness and nodded. “Great! Danielle can pick you up and you guys can meet us at out first venue.”
I nodded again. “Of course I’ll really come. I want to be with you… and the other boys, of course. I’m just glad I don’t have to miss you so much now!”
Louis smiled, but there was this tinge of something in it that I couldn’t understand. “I’ll miss you anyway, you know. You’ll be out seeing everything and I’ll be seeing fans. Not that I’m complaining about that, but I wish I could do both.”
I laughed lightly. “Find your look-a-like then! I’ve heard everyone has a look-a-like.”
He smiled, shaking his head. “You’re one of the most random and cutest people I know.”
I blushed, but I didn’t look away. “You’re one of the sweetest and handsomest that I know, Louis.”
In that moment, something changed. Before, I had always just brushed aside his comments. I had looked away and blushed. But this time, I answered his comment with my own. It knocked down my wall of protection, and it made me vulnerable.
In that moment, everything was finally clear for Louis to see. And I could see everything, too.
Louis had still been leaning over top of me, but he sat up straight at my words. Gently, he offered me a hand, pulling me upright.
Slowly, he cupped his hands against my cheeks again. His thumb rubbed my jawline subconsciously, and he stared deep into my eyes.
I was afraid to blink, because I felt like I might miss something. I wasn’t sure what had changed, but suddenly Louis was really close to me, and our breath was coming out from our parted lips and mixing in the space between us.
The odd feeling of my stomach tightening happened again, and I could almsot feel the butterflies flying around inside of me. It suddenly occured to me that the tightening I felt weren’t just regular nerves.
“I know you said you weren’t ready back then… but it’s been a few months now. Those months have kind of felt like years. If I kissed you now… would you object?”
I understood what Louis meant. I had once said I wasn’t ready to be kissed, not yet. He promised that our first kiss would be one I’d never forget. Louis promised it would be amazing.
I bit my lip gently, tugging at the soft skin of my bottom lip. When I opened my mouth again, my answer surprised me as I hadn’t thought about it at all.
“No. I wouldn’t object.”
With that, Louis leaned in, rubbing my jaw with his thumb still, and pressed his lips lightly against mine.