Leave me some love(1D)

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4. Chapter four

 

Chapter Four  

 

 

Exhausting. There was no other word to describe it. It was physical torture, organized by the devils of the music industry. Nothing I had ever done in my entire life had been as physically strenuous as this boot camp.

“I’m beat,” Harry feebly stated as he collapsed onto the seat next to me. He peeled off his grey t-shirt to reveal his pale skin. He wasn’t exceptionally toned, however, simply by being shirtless, his level of attractiveness rose tenfold. I sunk lower into the hard plastic chair, momentarily attempting to relax my severely aching muscles. Closing my eyes, the rows upon rows of black seats instantly disappeared and I escaped into my own little world.

“Scar, wake up!” Harry’s warm hands were shaking me and I stirred slightly, feeling disorientated. Apparently my body had been unable to take anymore of the exhaustion. I turned to Harry.

“Whutsgoinon?” Rubbing my eyes, I tried to focus on the image in front of me. The world had apparently tilted 90 degrees to the left. I sat up. Harry was laughing at me.

“You fell asleep and I kept talking, looked like a massive fool. That Liam guy and some other dark skinned guy walked past and looked at me really oddly,” Harry mentioned, now chortling at my dishevelled hair. Scowling, I got up and began to walk away. However, with his added 3cm advantage, Harry managed to catch up pretty fast.

“So, how has your day been so far?” Harry inquisitively asked, as he tried to put his shirt back on while we walked. We had been split up earlier in the week due to our gender differences and due to our separate groups, we hardly saw each other during the day. Nevertheless, we saw each other each night as we passed several hours discussing what we had done during the day as well as stalking out respective future boyfriends and girlfriends.

Today was the third day, signalling our half way point. At the end of the first day, the group had been cut in half and I had been secretly glad to see Reanne, the girl who wouldn’t stop texting, leave. Unsurprisingly, her phone was in her hand. Liam had caught my eye and we’d had a silent laugh about it. The second day had been focused on dancing, and that had been the most fun. At this stage, I had met many girls my age, however, due to the large number of people, the names had escaped me. I made a mental note to discover their names once more.

“Today’s been okay, but all the vocal couching is getting to me. They’re doing my head in!” We had reached the doors leading outside and not knowing whether we had permission to step outside or not, Harry and I sneakily looked around before slipping outside. The warm air greeted me and I sighed, fresh air was exactly what I needed. I stripped off my warm furry jacket and hung it over a nearby wall.

“Have you performed your song yet?” I nodded my head in reply, confirming that I was done for the day. He informed me that he had just performed as well. Considering that our tasks were done, we discussed whether or not we should leave. In the end, we waited for the rest of the contestants to finish before taking the bus back to our hotel.

The fourth day was given to us as “a rest day” in order to recover from the strenuous three days and prepare for the life changing news that we would receive tomorrow. The majority of contestants took this day as an opportunity to sleep in and relax. It seemed, however, that there were several individuals who would do anything possible to ensure that I did not get to sleep in.

Now, I loved sleep. Sleep was my best friend. Well, almost. I suppose Harry came first. Nevertheless, Sleep and I were in a relationship and when people tried to come in between Sleep and I, well, they landed themselves at the bottom of my “people I like” list.

Yes, I actually have that list.

Anyway, on that particular Thursday morning, a group of 3 boys and 1 girl came into my room sans permission (Harry had stolen my hotel card a few nights before so that he could come in whenever he wanted) to wake me up. This group of 3 boys consisted of Harry, Liam and Aiden Grimshaw and the young men were accompanied by Cher Lloyd. Cher and I had briefly chatted the day before and she seemed like a lovely person who I wanted to get to know more.

The day was spent frolicking around London, checking out the tourist sites and doing a bit of shopping. I spent equal amounts of time with everyone there, which allowed me to get to know Aiden and Cher a little bit. We exchanged phone numbers and I knew that even if we all were rejected the following day, we would remain in contact.

At the thought of the decisions being made by the judges at that exact moment, my stomach began to feel queasy. Excusing myself from the table we were seated at in the petite French café, I stepped outside for a moment. Harry and Liam both appeared worried, but Cher and Aiden continued on their conversation with a few of the other contestants we had met whilst out site seeing. The two boys appeared on either side of me as I leaned over the railing that overlooked a busy alleyway below.

The rustling of the people below us momentarily drowned out my worries.

“Scar… lett,” Harry finished my entire name and I looked up at this odd behaviour. He was eying Liam, who was now looking at me. My face must’ve remained confused, because Harry continued, sidestepping the slightly awkward moment.

“What’s up?” I considered claiming nothing was wrong, but I knew that both boys were intelligent and would see through my lazy lie. I dragged my fingers across the cold metal railing and picked at the green paint. The wind blew in our faces slightly and I shivered. Liam’s hand covered my right hand whilst at the same time, Harry covered my left. I felt comforted, yet slightly awkward. I delicately brushed both their hands off, before turning around so that my back was facing the overhang. Looking back into the café, I saw the contestants laughing and having a good time. My sad mood deepened.

“Just worried about tomorrow, I guess.”  Both boys sharply inhaled. Apparently, I had directly hit their worries in the heart. It was comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one who was scared, yet this thought did nothing to alleviate my fear. The tension had settled around us and I found it suffocating. Fidgeting with my jacket, I turned around to look at the street again.

The people below us continued walking, not realising that there were three vulnerable teenagers standing above them. They had their own lives, they had their own families. The worries of a sixteen year old meant nothing to them. Yet, tomorrow meant everything to me. And to Harry. And to Liam. And to all the girls and boys sitting inside the cramped café covered with French paraphernalia.

“Scarlett, that’s a scary thought, I must admit. But I can assure you that you have done everything possible and the rest is out of your hands.” Liam, rational as ever hugged me and silently assured me that things would be okay. I smiled at him and whispered a quick thank you into his ear. As he walked off to leave me and Harry alone for a moment, I couldn’t help but smile as I admired his fluffy hair which had suddenly become ever so appealing. Harry flicked my head and smiled.

“Hey, how is it that Liam can make you feel better, but I can’t,” he pouted. I socked him lightly in the jaw and poked my tongue out at him. I knew he was only joking, but I felt the need to reassure him. Harry, who seemed to have the ability to read my mind, placed a gentle finger on my lips to stop me from talking. I smiled and closed my eyes whilst I felt him kiss my cheek.

“You’re going to get through, no doubt about it. And if they don’t put you through? Well, the judges will need a lot of make up to cover the bruises that they’ll receive from me.” I laughed out loud and admonished him for being so violent. The clouds shifted and I felt a drop on my nose. From Harry’s gentle urging, we made our way back inside. There, I abandoned my best friend and stole the only remaining seat next to Liam, before taking his hand under the table. Squeezing it, I wordlessly thanked him for his help. He smiled at me and I felt my heart jolt. I had a slight premonition that he would soon become my new love interest.

*

The next day on the bus, the joyful relaxed atmosphere had vanished only to be replaced by a more sombre one. Nobody was talking, everyone engrossed in their own iPods, refusing to talk for the fear that their nerves may overcome them. Honestly, I didn’t know what I was expecting. The standard was amazingly high and everybody was fair game.

Harry nudged me on the bus and I took out my headphone from my ear. He noticed that I was listening to “Isn’t she lovely” and his face lit up.

“Our song.” It wasn’t a question, rather a statement. Nodding in reply, I pulled his headphone out of his ear. We were sitting at the back of the bus, two seats crammed together. He was next to the window, forcing me to sit next to the aisle. My knees up against the seat in front of me, I asked him what he wanted.

“Do you fancy Liam?” I almost dropped my iPod and my mouth opened into a wide “O”. The bus was immensely quiet and I was worried somebody else had heard. Then I realised Harry was in my ear and his thoughtfulness became obvious. Nevertheless, making sure Liam was as far away as possible, (which he was as he was sitting at the front of the bus) I slowly nodded. Harry smiled.

“I can’t believe you fancy someone!” This time, all consideration vanished as he shouted this phrase at the top of his lungs. Unwillingly, my eyes jumped to Liam’s who had twisted around to stare at Harry. His eyes flitted down to mine and I could see the confusion in his brown orbs. Pulling my gaze away from him, I slapped Harry hard. The people around us laughed and then continued to listen to their iPods.

“Later, okay? I promise. Tomorrow, on the way back home, I’ll tell you everything. I really don’t think now is the time though.” My hand cupped around Harry’s ear, I whispered this information to him. His disappointment was evident, but he eventually resigned and sat back down, purposely ignoring me for the rest of the trip. I retaliated by shoving my legs on his lap and leaving them there for the remainder of the journey.

*

“Scarlett Thomas, you need to go on stage now please.” The tanned stagehand who had a hoop threaded through his left ear was pointedly staring me down, impatience etched into the hard lines of his face. However, it wasn’t my fault that I couldn’t move. My legs had actually glued themselves to the side stage. I physically could not put one foot in front of the other. Mr Earring Hoop audibly sighed. I glared at him.

“The stage. Now. Go.” He pointed at the stage on which the majority of the girls were lining up. My eyes widened. I had to move! Yet I couldn’t do it.

“Oh my god, you cannot be serious. Who is this nutcase?” Mr Earring Hoop muttered to himself. I opened my mouth and was about to get angry at him, when I felt two warm hands gently pushing me onto the stage. Liam’s handsome faced appeared in my side vision and I smiled, before moving forward. I glanced behind me and saw Harry standing behind Liam, giving me a thumbs up. Bless that boy, he always knew exactly what made me relax at the right time. Nervously, I took my position on stage, in between Cher and another older woman who I didn’t know.

The judges began to call out names and with each name that was mentioned, my heart jolted. My palms began to sweat and I could feel tears pricking at my eyes. I began to play with my scarf in an attempt to calm myself down slightly.

“Okay, we have one more girl’s name to call,” Simon said. His eyes were grazing over everyone standing. My mind had gone into overdrive and I desperately glanced over to side stage. Liam was staring at his feet and Harry had his back facing towards me, but I saw his crossed fingers. I looked back to the front and anxiously awaited the name to be called out, my fingers crossed as well. The tears were now threatening to overflow.

“And that girl’s name is…” tantalizingly pausing, at that moment I wanted to launch myself at Nicole and cat fight with her. I restrained my fists, however, and waited patiently.

The worry and tension in the room was inescapable. It pressed down suffocatingly and I closed my eyes.

‘Please, god, please. Put me through,’ I thought.

“Scarlett Thomas. Congratulations!”

My breathing hitched. The tears fell over and I stepped forward, my hands covering my face. Ecstasy caroused through my veins and I almost collapsed. Cher, who had also gotten through, held me up and we cried tears of happiness into each others’ shoulders. I watched the other girls dejectedly walk off stage and felt immensely sorry for them. After the judges’ instructions, we left the stage, and walked into an empty room. I assumed that the boys had had to go line up and abandoning Cher, I quietly snuck back onto the side stage. Mr Earring Hoop glared me down again, but I stuck my middle finger up at him. He rolled his eyes, but thankfully he left me alone.

The boys lined up on stage and a few of the recognizable ones caught my eyes. I gave them the thumbs up, silently reassuring them. They smiled at me. Similar to the girls’ process, the guys’ names were called out and I watched as Aiden was called forward. I smiled for him.

When there was only one name left to be called, my heart sank. Neither Liam nor Harry had been called yet. Fearing that my legs would collapse, I sat down quietly, drawing my knees to my head. Harry was my best friend, and unfortunately for Liam, who I didn’t know that well yet, I was rooting for him. I crossed my fingers.

Harry had to get through. We had promised each other that we were in it for each other. He had to get through. There was no other option. My worries from before returned and my tear ducts began to well up again, despite the fact that I thought I had run out of the salty drops just before.

The judges went through the same agonizing process of waiting to call out the last name. My fingers were so tightly woven into each other that they could’ve snapped. I closed my eyes tightly, hoping that the next name they called out would be “Harry Styles.”

“Tom Richards.”

My heart stopped. Sadly, I glanced up and saw Harry, dejectedly looking at the ground. I wanted to go out there and hug him and hold him, reassuring him like old times that everything would be okay. But I couldn’t do that. Firstly, Mr Earring Hoop was physically holding me back and secondly, I couldn’t tell him that everything would be alright because his primary dream had just been shattered. My tears began to soak Mr Earring Hoop’s t-shirt and he pushed me off him.

After what seemed like years, Harry finally came off stage and I instantly captured him in a hug. His arms limply found their way around my body. I held him for as long as I could, but eventually he pushed me off, saying that he had to go to the toilet. He wouldn’t meet my eyes, but I knew he was in pain.

I watched him walk off and in the same line of sight, I saw Liam leaning against the wall, tears streaming down his face, his beanie in his hand. I considered walking over there and comforting him, but then I realised that my success would do nothing to help him.

My heart ached. X-Factor without my best friend didn’t seem like X-Factor at all. Despite the happiness I should’ve been feeling, sadness had overcome me. I didn’t know what to do. Taking one step at a time, I put one foot in front of the other and went and sat down on one of the many black plastic chairs. During the week, I had thought that these chairs were incredibly uncomfortable, but now discomfort was exactly what I needed. Head hanging low, I stared at the intricately woven carpet. A few moments later, I heard a large group of people coming near me.

To my immense displeasure, it was all the rejected hopefuls. I felt guilty and almost ashamed for being good enough as I saw the tear stained faces. However, only one caught my eye. The puffy eyes of my best friend were staring at me.

I looked back. His eyes were pained, both happiness for me and sadness for himself were entangled with feelings of jealousy. I didn’t know what to do, I felt hopeless. Dermot O’Leary joined them with a camera crew. My interest peaked and I looked up.

A few of the rejected contestants were called back onto stage and when both Harry and Liam were called up with three other boys their age, I stealthily followed behind. Once again, I came in contact with Mr Earring Hoop, who avoided me after he realised his t-shirt was still tear-stained. I smirked at him.

The nine young men and women walked onto stage as I remained backstage. The judges began talking, this time skipping the agonizing wait.

“We think it would be a great idea to have two separate groups. A girl group and a boy group.”

My only reaction at that stage was to beam. The boys began jumping up and down and Harry was uncontrollable. He leaped onto Liam and they hugged each other, smiles reappearing on their recently dejected faces. Simon explained that their voices were too good to pass up and that they would be formed into two groups, if they so desired. Of course, Harry took charge and insisted that they would like to form a group. My smile was now permanently etched onto my face. Mr Earring Hoop was still there and rolled his eye at me. I swear I heard him mutter that I was “unbelievable”, but my happiness for my best friend was enough for me to be the bigger woman and ignore it.

Harry untangled himself from his new band mates to come and give me a big hug and kiss on the cheek.

“We’re both going to the judges houses!”

And I smiled, as the ecstasy from before returned to my body and adrenaline took over.

 

 

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