Second Chance

Emelia Richardson is on the X Factor. She wasn't meant to make it; she was the extra extra person, added to the girls competition. Emelia is just trying to survive and prove her place on the X Factor.

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12. Chapter 12

I pressed my face against Liam's arm. I had been silent ever since our encounter with Josh. Unfortunately, I couldn't say the same about my stomach. My stomach sounded like a dying walrus, and it didn't seem very inclined to silence itself.

"You must be very hungry," Liam commented. I nodded to him, looking up at him. I cursed myself, not for the first time, for being so short. I could be seen as a child next to Liam and the boys. Liam towered over me, almost a foot taller than me standing at six feet tall. "What's wrong?" Liam inquired. I sighed. I was clearly much more upset than I thought I was letting on.

"It's Josh," I said. "And I'm wondering whether or not we're a couple." I turned my eyes from him. I felt stupid saying what was on my mind. I heard Liam take in a breathe.

"Do you want to be a couple?" Liam asked, sounding quite tentative. I hesitated. "I'm sorry, I rushed into that," Liam spluttered, clearly embarrassed. "You probably don't even want to-" not for the first time that day, I pulled Liam down to me so that I could kiss him.

"Why wouldn't I want to?" I asked him with a grin after I pulled away. "What I'm afraid of is the press."

"We can lie low," Liam said quickly.

"With that PDA, I'm not so sure," Louis called from in front of us.

"Oh, shut up Lou," Zayn said. "Can't you see that the happy couple is in love?"

"I'm just saying that, especially with all the time she's spending with us, people are going to start asking questions," Louis pointed out. "We have to keep that in mind."

"And when the rumors start, they're going to be true anyways," Harry said. "I don't quite understand what the big deal is. If they want to become a couple, then they should be able to become a couple." My phone buzzed in my pocket. It was Trey.

Hey Sis. Congrats on last week. I was overjoyed to receive his message. I hadn't had time to speak with him in a long time and talking to him now brought a new sense of homesickness.

"Who is it?" Liam asked.

"My twin brother Trey," I replied, replying to both of them, telling Trey Thanks! I was so nervous that I wouldn't go through!

"Is he a midget like you?" Louis joked, but I could tell that he was quite serious.

"5'2" is a perfectly reasonable height," I said, indignantly.

"As a fellow short person," Niall said, "I find that to be quite offensive."

"To answer your question," I said with a giggle, "no, he got all the height. He's about Harry's height."

"What happened to you?" Harry asked, horrified. "How are you so tiny?"

"I just am," I said with a shrug. "I'm a whole head shorter than my mother."

"I think she's an adorable height," Liam said. "It makes everything she wears even cuter." I blushed at his comment.

"Well, of course you do," Louis said. "You worship the ground she walks on," Liam's face burned. "For God's sake, you obsessed over her galoshes!"

"They were pretty posh galoshes," Liam said, defending himself.

"But posh enough to go on and on about for hours?" Louis asked. "That's absolutely mad!"

"Well I think it's quite adorable," I announced, "if a guy can obsess over me about little things like that."

"I'm in love with you," Liam sang, "and all your little things." The boys all groaned.

"That was pretty cheesy," Harry admitted.

"Even I have to admit that that was quite the display of affection," Zayn added. My phone buzzed again.

With that incredible performance? You've got to be absolutely mad! I giggled at that. I didn't expect him to like it so much! It was gratifying to know that my brother was proud of me. My phone buzzed again. Mom and I are both very proud of you! I felt my eyes sting with tears. I hadn't realized how much I missed them until this moment.

I miss you guys I wrote, blinking back the tears that were threatening to escape my eyes.

I miss you too Em the text came back, greeted by a nice throb of my heart. "Are you okay Emmy?" I looked up. Liam was looking at me, his big brown eyes looking concerned. I grinned at him.

"My brother's very proud of me," I replied, feeling my eyes swimming in tears. "I miss them so much." Liam grinned down at me and pulled me to him in a hug.

"Of course he is," Liam said. "When he has a sister as talented, beautiful and amazing as you, I don't see why he wouldn't be proud of you." The boys groaned in front of us again.

"Can't you save it until, say, when we're not around?" Niall asked.

"Where are we going exactly?" I asked while texting my brother. I forgot how much I missed my best friend until now!

"We are headed to The Diner!" Louis said. "The most delicious fast food you can find in this place!"

"Sounds delicious," I commented.

"Not as good as Nando's," Niall added glumly. "But it's food so I don't really mind." I giggled at that. My phone buzzed. 

As if I'm your best friend! You've got plenty of friends from school! I laughed.

They only talk to me now because I'm somewhat famous! I texted back, laughing in spite of myself. We finally got to the diner, and it looked amazing. As we slid into the vinyl seats of the diner, the scent from the delicious food wafted towards us, causing my stomach to growl. Liam laughed grinned down at me.

"Don't worry," he assured me. "Food is on the way!" I giggled at him and checked the menu.

"What's a hard shake?" I asked. Louis hooted in laughter as the other boys snorted. Liam just looked somewhat embarrassed.

"Think hard lemonade," Harry snickered. I looked at him blankly.

"Look at what's in it," Liam said, reaching over to point it out. Bourbon was the first ingredient.

"Oh!" I said, realizing, feeling my cheeks burn.

"It's alright," Liam said kissing the top of my head. "You didn't know." He pointed to my pocket. "You're rumbling." It was a text from Trey.

You know that's not true. I've got to go, but know that we love you. We'll be watching Em! I smiled at my phone and slid it back into my pocket.

"You can order whatever you'd like," Louis said. "It's on us."

"May I suggest a Vanilla shake with Peanut Butter and Nutella to satisfy your shake craving?" Zayn said, winking at me. "I hear it's a lethal combination."

"Sounds delightful!" I said, grinning at him. The waitress came at that time.

"May I take your order?" She said, sounding bored. Her pen was poised over her pad, but she was clearly still focused on something on there. She hadn't looked up yet and noticed who she was addressing.

"I say," Louis said, sounding offended, but I glanced at him and saw a mocking squint on his face, assuring me that he was concocting another joke. "The service here is terrible! What do you think lads, should we find a more welcoming place?"

"I'm sorry," the girl muttered. "What I meant to say is-" she cut off abruptly when she looked up. "Oh Lord!" she said suddenly. "Oh my God!" She started breathing hard, almost hyperventilating. She looked like she was about to scream.

"Love, what are you going on about?" Louis joked.

"You're... You're...!" the waitress looked as if she were about to faint.

"I'm Louis," Louis said, patiently, sounding almost patronizing.

"Don't mock the girl!" Liam said smacking Louis's hand.

"I'm not mocking her!" Louis protested. "I'm just teasing her!"

"Oh, leave the poor girl alone," Harry said. "I'm quite hungry."

"Of course!" The girl exclaimed. She whipped out her pad and poised her hand, ready to write whatever we would order. "What would you like to order?" she now said with gusto.

"Large Diner Chicken Wings," Zayn said, "and a Root Beer Float."

"The Diablo and a Diner Dog," Niall said, "and an Orange Cream Soda."

"Where are your manners?" Louis asked in mock-horror. "This behavior is quite disrespectful!"

"Oh, Louis!" I said with a laugh.

"That's right!" Louis exclaimed. "Oldest to youngest!" I stuck my tongue out him, but he ignored me. "A Cuban with an order of fries and a Cherry Coke."

"Loco Moco with Fries," Harry said, "and Coke Float."

"That's what I forgot, Fries!" Niall exclaimed. "I want that too!"

"And one for me," Zayn added. I looked at Liam, expecting him to order, but he looked at me and nodded for me to go.

"Lumber Jack Breakfast," I said, looking straight at Zayn, "and a Vanilla Shake with Peanut Butter and Nutella." Zayn laughed and reached over for a high-five. I obediently obliged with a grin.

"That's my girl," Zayn said.

"You mean mine," Liam teased, putting an arm around me.

"Whatever happened to lying low?" Louis muttered. I kicked his leg, causing him to grunt in pain, narrowing his eyes at me.

"Steak and Eggs for me," Liam said, setting down his menu. "With fries and a 7 Up."

"That will be out for you in just a moment," the waitress said. "Remember, my name is Halley, and I will be your server tonight if you have any questions!" she quickly scurried away, causing me to giggle.

"I'm sure it will be just a moment," I chuckled. "How long do you guys usually wait for food? Two minutes?"

"No, three," Louis said. I shook my head, still chuckling.

"The perks of being famous," I said.

"Well, I suppose you should get used to it," Liam said.

"Why?" I asked. "I'm noting special. I doubt I'm going to get very far in this competition. Even afterwords, no ones going to remember me."

"Everyone's going to remember you!" Harry exclaimed. "Don't even joke about that! Just because your win isn't guaranteed, it doesn't mean that no ones going to remember you when your done."

"Take us, for example," Zayn said. "We didn't win, we got third, and it hasn't changed anything."

"Well, that's because you guys are a hot group of guys," I mumbled, looking down at my tiny, baby-like hands.

"And you are a hot girl with an outstanding voice," Liam said. "Don't underestimate yourself." I felt my face go up in a hot blush as I kept my eyes down in my hands. "Please look at me Emelia." I looked up at his brown eyes. "Please listen to me." I grinned at him.

"You're a very memorable person Emmy," Niall noted.

"Thank you Niall," I said, I would've continued if the waitress hadn't chosen that moment in time to bring our food.

"You're in for a treat Emmy," Louis said, his eyes bright. "You're about to treat your stomach next to the best food in the city." And he was right.

It was delicious.

"This is amazing!" I commented, biting off a piece of bacon. I had ordered myself enough to feed an army, or, as it would seem, enough to feed the boys of the table. They were each tearing through their meals, like gentlemen, no less, and had started up on mine. I didn't mind; there was no way I could finish the plate I'd ordered. After that strip of bacon, I'd given up on trying to eat anything else. I picked up my shake and slurped, watching the boys in awe. Niall lifted his head and squinted at me.

"You don't eat much," he said. I laughed.

"I eat more than the average girl," I pointed out. "I've got nothing compared to you guys." I scanned the table. "I will not try to one up a group of teenage boys," I said indignantly.

"Smart choice," he said, before going back to his food. The boys somehow remaining free from stains, even though I know that I would have all of that food across my face and my clothes.

"You guys are tearing through your food like wolves!" I commented, looking over them. Liam leaned back, seemingly full. He grinned over at me.

"I'll let those boys finish of the rest of it," He said. He signaled the waitress over. "Check, please," he said, his voice expectant.

"Oh, it's on the house," the waitress said with a huge grin on her face. Liam nodded and looked back at my quizzical face.

"You get used to that too," Liam said. "It's a perk, but at the same time, I find it kind of annoying." He shrugged. "We have the money to do pay for our food."

"Maybe it's a sense of gratitude towards you and your music," I guessed. At that time, the others had finished all of the food on the table.

"Could be," Zayn said. "I don't mind much, but it does get pretty annoying at times."

"Let's go," Harry said. "I think that Emmy needs to get back to practicing her piece."

"Which, by the way, you still haven't told me what it is!" Louis exclaimed, jabbing a finger into my side, causing me to giggle.

"And you won't know, until live shows," I said, proudly.

"I bet she'll tell Liam," Harry muttered.

"No I won't!" I exclaimed. I turned to Liam. "Sorry; I have to be fair." I dropped a shrug. "And I'm not sure of what those four will think of to get the answer out of you." Liam laughed.

"On that account, I think you're right," he said, putting an arm around me. We got up from the chairs and I grabbed my shake. I hadn't finished it yet, despite its yummy-factor. I followed as the boys led me back to the street.

 

We were walking and laughing down the footpath, passing around my shake, so that everyone could experience ecstasy, when I suddenly stopped.

"What's wrong?" Liam said, stopping too. He looked at me, clearly concerned, while the other boys stopped with us.

"I just thought of something," I said, feeling a grin come on my face. Liam looked relieved.

"And I suppose that you're not about to tell us," Louis said, squinting at me. "Are you?" I shook my head at him, haughtily raising my chin.

"It has to do with my performance," I said. "Of course, that's as much as I'm going to tell you."

"Killjoy," Louis muttered.

"Don't worry," I said, putting a hand on his arm. "You'll see it soon enough." I looked up at Liam. "Speaking of which, are you guys going to be at the live shows?" Liam looked doubting.

"I'm not sure," he admitted. "But at the same time, I don't think so. We only have so many days that we're supposed to be there, and I don't think this next week is one of them." I felt a pang lance through my body, but I kept a now wavering smile on my face. "I'm sorry Tiny. We'll try to make it, and we will for sure watch if we don't."

"Don't you have a doubt about it," Zayn added. "We will for sure watch you perform in some way shape or form."

"It's okay," I said. shrugging lightly. "You guys don't have to be there. It'd just be nice, you know? As long as I get to see you guys again before the show finishes."

"That, we can guarantee," Louis said. "We have many different gigs in the London area. I'm sure we can pop over here at least a couple times." He hooked his thumb over to Liam. "If not, this wanker will for sure drag us here unexpected at least ten times." Liam blushed, but stayed quiet.

"See that?" Harry asked, amused. "He's not reacting because he knows it's true!" The boys all laughed as Liam turned an even darker shade of red. I giggled and grinned up at him. He looked back down at me.

"I would hold your hand if I didn't want the media to see," I said, giggling. Liam's eyes crinkled in amusement as he placed his hand on the small of my back. I grinned and took his arm in mine, pressing myself against it. I took my shake back from Zayn. "You know what I don't understand?"

"What's that?" Louis asked, plucking the shake out of my hands and taking a huge slurp.

"How come we, rather you guys, aren't getting swarmed by fans," I said, taking back my shake with a mock-irritated squint in my eyes.

"Because it's the middle of the school day," Harry answered, taking my shake from me again. He took a reasonable slurp from it before handing it back to me. "Think about it: if you weren't in the X Factor, you'd be in school right now." I took a slurp from my shake while I pondered over that.

"Okay,"  I said, accepting that fact, as Niall took the shake from my hands. "How come you guys were able to leave Paris so early to come back to London?"

"And that is a question for your hubby over there," Louis said, amused.I looked up at Liam, who was blushing again. "Go on, Liam. Tell her the reason you gave to Lou."

"What did you tell Lou, Liam?" I asked him. Liam sighed. He narrowed his eyes at me.

"You're lucky that you're cute," he said, pulling me to him. "I told her that I had an emergency back in London that I had to take care of. I told her that it was life or death." I laughed.

"So I'm life or death?" I asked, incredulously. Liam nodded.

"Of course you are," he said, adoringly. I don't see how you could be anything less."

"Well, I regret every bite I took back at the Diner," Louis said. "Because I'm about to puke."

"Same here," Niall said with a groan. I rolled my eyes at them.

"Oh, sod off," I said, sticking my tongue out at them.

"I love her scouser accent," Zayn said suddenly. "It makes everything sound better, somehow." By this time, we'd reached the hotel and we were walking up the stairs.

"Another question," I said, taking back my shake. I slurped it, but nothing came out. I shook it to find that my shake was now gone.

"Sorry," Niall apologized sheepishly. "It was a pretty amazing shake." I rolled my eyes at him.

"Anyways, what I wanted to ask was do you ever see your friends from before anymore?"

"Of course!" Harry said.

"Does the paparazzi ever ruin that time that you spend with your old friends?"

"It's strange having them there, because usually when you're with them, you don't expect people to be filming you, but you get used to it after a while," Zayn said, with an easy shrug.

"It's more so the camera catching something that no one was ever supposed to see that is weird for us," Niall said. "I can't pull pranks on people without other people knowing first." I pondered on that for a bit. I opened my mouth to speak, but I was interrupted by a dry voice.

"There you are," Ella said, her voice sounding irritated.

"Ella!" I said, more surprised than anything.

"Where did you go?" she asked. She sounded a bit angry, but I knew that there was nothing I could do about that.

"I couldn't find you guys," I said, defensively. "And then the boys brought me to lunch." She narrowed her eyes at me then scanned the group. It was as if the boys could feel the uneasy tension between Ella and me. They were being deathly, and unnaturally, silent.

"I heard what you did to Josh," she said, icily. "I hope you're bloody proud of yourself. I'll be in the studio, for choreography if you decide to be normal for once." And with that, she left. I sighed.

"What was that about?" Louis asked, stunned.

"I wish I knew," I said, sadly.

"I don't think I've ever heard Ella sound so..." Zayn trailed off at a loss for words.

"Cold and broken," Niall said, finishing Zayn's thought.

"I have to talk to her," I said, taking a step forward, but Liam caught my wrist.

"Are you sure you want to do it alone?" Liam was clearly concerned, and I felt my heart throb for him.

"I'm sure," I said, firmly, taking a step towards him. "Don't take this the wrong way, but I think it'd make it worse." Liam's face slightly fell, but he nodded understandingly. "I think I have an idea of what she was talking about," I said with a nod. I pulled him down to me and pressed my lips on his. Not quite a kiss, but very close. "You've already done so much for me, you guys," I said, looking across the group. "You should go back to work, stop wasting your time on me."

"This time is not a waste, I can assure you that much," Niall said, hugging me. Then Zayn came, followed by Harry and Louis. When Louis came, he leaned down to whisper in my ear.

"This won't be the last you hear from me today," he said, sounding impish. I laughed, and slapped his abdomen. Liam hugged me then also leaned down.

"Text me the second you get everything sorted out with Ella," he said, sincerely. "I'll call you." I nodded up to him. He put a hand underneath my chin and raised it up so that he could kiss me. "See you soon, Tiny," he said with a grin. I grinned up at him, feeling giddy from his kiss.

"Ugh," Louis said. "It's do precious that it's sickening."

"I want to say how cute that was, but I feel like I can't," Harry said. I laughed at him.

"Well," I said, feeling upset that they'd be gone. "See you guys soon." I, surprised, felt my eyes sting in sadness. I turned and walked towards the studio.

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