“Guuuuuuuys,” one of my best friends in the entire world whined, “Can we pleaaaaaaaase go to the London Eye now? It’s almost sunset!”
“Luce, I love you I really do, but the sun doesn’t set for another hour at least, and it’ll only take us half an hour tops to get to the Eye. What do you plan on doing for half an hour once we get there?” I said to her patiently.
My friends and I had just finished taking our HSC exams and our results weren’t due for another month, so rather than spending all our time stressing until they came, my three best friends and I had opted to vacation out in the UK for a few months depending on how we were feeling. We had over a year to do whatever took out fancy, having taken a gap year in our studies. And we had always wanted to visit this beautiful city ever since I told them all about how I used to live in Doncaster and come and visit my uncles here during the summer break. I didn’t tell them everything though. There was only so much they knew.
I kept most of my childhood to myself. All anyone really knew about me before I moved to Australia with my parents was that I used to live in England. You see, I didn’t have a very happy childhood and when I was twelve, things got a little out of hand, ensuring that my parents and I made the big move to Australia. We still kept our old home in Doncaster and my parents would fly back every once in a while to keep check of everything. They never really told me about anything though. Never even mentioning him, despite the fact that they knew I would see him everywhere I went. It was hard not to. Not when he’s become so worldwide famous.
It sucked because as much as I wanted to forget about him, all I could do was dwell on the past we shared.
I had been living in Australia for over 5 years and I had managed to quite successfully develop the Australian accent. When living in Australia, I found out that most of the Australians didn’t like their accents, but I found it fascinating. It sounded so care free that I wanted to be like that too, so every day after school, I’d come home and practise my own Australian accent. Within a few months I had perfected it and it came so naturally these days. Sure I could change to my English accent without a second thought, but I usually just used my Australian one.
Over the years I understood why the accent was so appealing to me. I felt that if I developed the Australian accent then I could pretend that I didn’t have the past I had. I could simply immerse into my surroundings and just create a brand new past for myself. This worked during the days; the nights were a completely different matter though. I’d wake up some nights in a cold sweat from all the nightmares, sometimes I’d wake up screaming and the urges would come back. I refused to act on them though. I wouldn’t let the memory of him affect me the way it used to. I’ve been off my medication for 3 years now and I wasn’t planning on going back on it.
It was hard though. Even harder now that I was back here. Sure the chances of me running into him were slim, but that didn’t mean the memories weren’t back. I knew I had to get over everything though, and spending time here and maybe even back in Doncaster, could give me the push I needed to move on.
“OMG Scar, Luce, Soph, come look at these! They’re so pretty!” Said one of my other best friends, Ella, pointing at four matching charm bracelets all with a single charm; The London Eye.
We all looked at each other and grinned. It was perfect.
Luce called over the small antique shop owner telling her what we wanted and she took the bracelets out. She had a smile tugging at her lips as if she recognised me, when me and my friends walked out heading over to the Eye.
I used to come into this little antique shop a lot with my uncle and just walk around looking at all the knick knacks that had arrived the night before.
I don’t see how she could have possibly recognised me though; I used to be quite chubby, wore really nerdy glasses and had braces back then. But not the type of braces that would be on your teeth, these braces were the type that came with headgear. I used to be made fun of for having them. When I was 11 though, they were removed. Not that it was any use; I was still the acne covered, nerdy fat girl with bushy hair and lips that were too big for my face. I was still bullied.
After our move to Australia, I started to grow into my body which was good because I wanted to make a good first impression on my new home. For a year my parents had me home schooled deciding that I wasn’t fit to return to school yet and so during that year I decided to take up kickboxing. I really enjoyed it and after a while I was pro. I would win all my competitions and it was where I had met Ells, Soph, and Luce. Luce, Soph and I were the new girls to kickboxing and we immediately were glued at the hip because of this. Ells on the other hand was the daughter of our instructor and on our first day we walked in and saw her sitting on a ledge drinking from a juice box. When she saw us, he eyes lit up and she jumped down to say hi. From then on, the four of us would be together wherever we went.
Sophie Nichols, or Soph as we all called her, was tall blonde and was the typical Australian girl. She had a beautiful tan from spending so much time on the beach surfing or swimming. She was the athlete of our group and everyone adored her. She had boys crushing on her left right and centre yet she was oblivious to it all. It wasn’t that she didn’t want a relationship; it was just that she was yet to feel the spark you read about in romance novels. Sophie was big on love and she was waiting for ‘the one’ as she liked to call it. She had gorgeous hazel green eyes which were always shining with mischief and smiles. There wasn’t a single person who didn’t like Sophie. It was hard not to, she was one of the most genuinely nice people you’d ever meet. She was absolutely stunning and we would always push her to take up modelling, but she was adamant about finishing university to become a P.E teacher. She worked as a volunteer lifesaver on the beach whenever she could.
Lucy Merrins, or Luce as we all called her, was my best of best friends. We had immediately clicked from the moment we had met. She knew the most about my past and even about him. Only his name was one thing I kept to myself. I felt like if I admitted his name, then it would all become too real and Luce accepted this without question. She was sweet like that. If we ever needed anyone to confide in, Luce was the one. She was just as tall as Soph, with dark brown hair which had killer natural red highlights that everyone was so jealous of. There had been many occurrences of people trying to copy her natural hair but it just wouldn’t look right. She had an olive skin tone which looked perfect with her features. Lucy came from an Italian background but both her parents were born in Australia, as was she. She had chocolate brown eyes that were to die for. Lucy was constantly telling me, as were the other two that my eyes were stellar, but I couldn’t help but admire Lucy’s brown pools that seemed to go on forever. Like Soph, she too had boys chasing her.
Then there was Ella Mathews or Ells as she was known. She was always hyperactive and would never be able to stay still for longer than a few minutes. She never failed to make any of us laugh and was constantly moving. We had learnt long ago to never give Ells any coffee, not when she’s as hyper as she naturally is. Ells was the brains of our group and she basically knew everything there was to know. Unlike the rest of us, Ells was petite. She knew how to flaunt her body though, and like the rest of us, she too had curves. Ells had wavy dark chocolate brown hair that reached halfway down her back and was the envy of almost our entire year. She was smart but popular. Everyone liked and trusted her knowing that if they ever needed any help she would be there to assist them. But if anyone tried to take advantage of her, they had to face not only her wrath, but the rest of us as well. No one dared to though, not after they found out that her father was a kickboxing instructor. Ells was always smiling and laughing and helping out strangers. She was aspiring to be a social worker after university. She knew what it was like to be placed in foster care as when she was younger; her parents hadn’t been able to provide for her until she was about 5. They would always come and visit her wherever she was though and tell her all about the life they would have. When she was five she was pulled out of the system by her father. He had started up his kickboxing business and it had taken off. Ells and her father had always been close, and after her mother passed away when she was 10, they were even closer. She had stunning grey eyes which were always smiling. She too had boys chasing her, but would always turn them down, claiming they just weren’t for her.
Finally there was me. Scarlet Archer, but I preferred to be called Scar as it fit me more. I was as tall as Luce yet slightly shorter than Soph and I had jet black hair that made its ways down my back in ripples. I don’t know how, but the bushy hair that I had when I was younger had disappeared to be replaced with the natural curls I now had. As I grew up, my lips became more proportionate to my face and a lot of people thought they were fake. I didn’t mind though, I was beginning to like my lips. I had ice blue eyes which was the only feature of my face that had stayed the same. I had loved my eyes ever since I was a little kid, I had never seen anyone with eyes like mine and that made me feel special. It was also the one feature that people had complemented me on. My skin had cleared up, and I had a naturally tan skin tone which was unusual for someone from the UK. And thanks to all the sports I had taken up after moving to Australia, I had lost all the baby fat to have it all replaced with muscle thanks to Ells father. He would help me, Soph and Luce better our skills whenever we were over Ells house and she would always tease her dad about stealing her friends. My braces had been removed and I had perfectly straight teeth now and rather than wearing glasses I had opted for contacts. I still had a pair of glasses though and would wear them every now and then. I loved reading and still do. It was a way for me to escape the world and my favourite series of all time would have to be Harry Potter. It was the type of place I wished I could live, in the magical world of Hogwarts. Whenever I felt alone or sad, I would pick up Harry potter and be taken to a different world. I was very disappointed that it was coming to an end this year and was hoping that by being here I might be able to score some tickets to the premiere.
It took us a little over thirty minutes to reach the eye and by the time we had, Luce was practically doing jumping jacks. This was behaviour we all expected from Ells but seeing Luce so excited made us all laugh. We had been planning on coming to see The London Eye ever since we arrived here a few nights ago. We were all staying in a five star hotel and had barely left our rooms from jetlag. This morning though we had made our way out into the city and done plenty of shopping. At 4pm we had all returned to the hotel and dropped all or bags in our suite, had some lunch and headed out again where we bought our charm bracelets and now here we were here, at The London Eye.
We all bought our tickets requesting the top view, and were waiting, just chatting excited at the prospect of watching the sunset from the top of The London Eye. It had been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I had never had the chance to watch a sunset from here and I was just as excited as my friends.
The weather had gotten quite chilly as the night was beginning to fall and we all put on our jackets. My friends all had their One Direction hoodies which sent a sharp pang through my heart as they put it on. It would happen every time they talked about the band. They were all huge fans. Me on the other hand, I wasn’t that fond of them for personal reasons. I think Luce suspected a few things but she kept whatever they were to herself. I had a simple Milkshake City hoodie on which I had bought earlier today.
I pulled my hood up slightly so that it was covering my hair but my face was still visible. It had become a little windy and it was whipping our hair in different direction. Ells decided to make the most of it and pretended to be a model making us all laugh and pretend to take photos. I decided to take it one step further and took actual photos of them acting like goofs.
I was laughing so hard at a face that Ells had pulled in one of the photos, that I didn’t notice they had all gone silent. It wasn’t until Luce nudged me that I noticed them staring off at a group of four guys. They looked shockingly like Harry, Zayn, Niall and Liam from One Direction and it wasn’t until the operator of the eye pointed at us that they turned around and I realised that it was in fact them.
All colour drained from my face. It couldn’t be. Not now. I was meant to be on holiday. I didn’t want to run into them. And although I thought this was terrible, my friends probably thought that this was the best thing to have happened to them. They were huge fans. Not the type that would squeal and yell in your face, they just loved their music.
The boys caught us staring at them and hesitated before making their way over to us, which in turn made me panic. I took a slight step back and pulled my hood up higher to cover my face. He wasn’t here yet, so maybe he wasn’t with the others. Maybe he was out with his dad. I knew his dad had moved into London after his parents split. Perhaps I was safe and he was having a family night out.
“Hello ladies.” Said Liam speaking to us.
“Hey,” Smiled Soph, Liam was by far her favourite. She loved his voice and character.
It was clear that the boys were taken aback by such a confident greeting. They probably expected squealing and giggling and asking for autographs. Boy were they wrong. We didn’t see the point in getting the boys autograph. What was the point of having someone’s signature?
“Don’t let the hoodies fool you boys,” said Luce smiling, as if she read my mind. “Sure we’re fans, but we’re not going to jump on you anytime soon asking for pictures and autographs. So what’s up?” she encouraged smiling.
“Um, well we, uh, we were just wondering if it was possible for you pretty ladies to share the top view you had requested with us?” Asked Liam, confused with our reaction to their approach.
“Sure thing mate!” Said Ells making them take a step back with her enthusiasm. “As long as you don’t hog the view, we’re cool to share it.” She said smiling a little too big.
“Don’t mind Ells,” I whispered just loud enough for everyone to hear, still keeping my face hidden, “She’s just a little excited. We’ve always wanted to see the sunset view from The London Eye.” I said from behind Luce. There was a slight awkward silence which everyone but Ells seemed to be aware of. She was still in her own little world.
“Uh, well thanks.” Liam said awkwardly.
“You ladies aren’t from around here are you?” asked Zayn attempting to make conversation.
“Nope! We’re from the land Down Under, better known as Australia.” Soph said with a smile. Liam was staring at her and she seemed to be well aware of this fact, due to the slight blush creeping up her neck.
At that moment, the cabin which would take us to the top arrived and all conversation ceased as everyone made their way on, while the boys looked around furiously as if searching for something… or someone. This site had me in jitters, so I turned to look out into the beautiful city praying that the cabin would leave already. But just as the doors were about to close I heard someone rush into the cabin and I hoped to hell that it wasn’t him. I shut my eyes as the memories threatened to spill through the barrier my mind had so carefully built. My hopes were in vain though because just then he spoke up.
“Sorry lads, the tea was taking a while.” He said. So he still liked tea. He always had a strange fascination with the beverage being the only one our age to drink it. The other students used to think this made him more mature and this in turn made him more popular.
“Lou, mate it’s about time you got here! We were just about to take off!” said Niall in his thick Irish accent. From the corner of my eye I could see the girls all casually leaning against the railing they had in the cabin and watching the boy’s conversation.
“And who might these lovely ladies be?” he asked in that voice of his filled with happiness. Hearing him speak made me freeze and tense up. I grabbed my elbows protecting myself from everyone. I was on the verge of panicking but I knew that was no good so I tried to just stay calm. Perhaps he wouldn’t recognize me. I mean there was no way he would surely. Not when I had changed so dramatically. Sure I wasn’t stunning like my friends, but I wasn’t ugly either.
“Oh, they were lined up before us so we asked if they would mind if we joined them. I’m sorry we didn’t catch your names though,” said Zayn smiling at my friends while I kept my back turned. Well I was turned until Luce spun me around to face the others and in doing so, my hood fell off. I quickly looked to the ground so that my hair fell forward and hid my face as they all introduced themselves.
“You ladies all know who we are I assume with the hoodies?” Louis said turning it into a question towards the end at which my friends all nodded sheepishly while I kept looking down. I could feel everyone’s gazes burning into my skull. I wasn’t a shy person and my friends didn’t know what was up with me. They probably though that I was star struck or something. Little did they know. This amazing getaway was slowly turning into a nightmare.
“I’m Sophie, but please call me Soph.” she smiled.
“Ella, but call me that and I’ll kick your ass. It’s Ells.” She said grinning jokingly at them.
“I’m Lucy, but everyone just calls me Luce” Luce said calmly also smiling.
I could feel them all waiting for me to introduce myself, and I was slowly starting to panic. I wasn’t ready for this. Just then, Luce elbowed me unexpectedly and it was quite hard too. I was off guard and so looked up accidentally.
I saw the recognition pass through his eyes.
He knew who I was and this was not good. It was not good at all. My eyes darted around the room looking for an escape, but there was nothing. I was trapped and I had nowhere to go but face my demons from the past. I had nowhere to go but face the guy who had put me in hospital for so long. The guy who had taken the one thing that had been good in my life here… Himself.
“Red…” Louis Tomlinson whispered looking stunned.