The Official Boyband Handbook

The world's biggest boyband has met the world's biggest problem.


1. Chapter One: The Reality

Dedicated to our boys for making it so far. We are all so proud of you.

• • •

Chapter One: The Reality

There is a mess of people in the hotel lobby, pushing past to the front desk. A stout man stands worriedly, wiping away the stray drops of sweat speeding down his cheeks. He is flustered, much in similarity to the group of people next to him. They all want to escape the chaos and return home to their loving families. But, unfortunately, they cannot because in this moment...the world had changed.


"We want to see them!" A girl shouts from the crowd, her piercing voice cutting my eardrums. "We want to see One Direction!"


Another man, whom I recognize straight away, emerges from the back. He carries with him, a cardboard box with no label. My eyes furrow together as he searches the room. When his gaze lands on me, he lifts his hand and rapidly signals for my attention. I nod and pull myself away. It's difficult to navigate a route through the massive crowd without being poked, pushed or kicked, but I try my best and finally make it to where I see Simon Cowell.


"Hi, Uncle Si." I greet, sending him a small smile as if it were the right time to perform such an act. No matter how many times I met the man, I still found myself to be awkward in his prescence.


"Frances." He spoke, using my full name, which not to mention, I loathed. He pushed open a door behind him, holding it wide for me to enter through. I had not realized he was leading me to the employee lounge till I faced the strangers dressed in matching green uniforms. "Please, sit down."


I did as I was asked and looked up at him. "Everyone's gone insane out there."


He sighed, dropping the box on the table as the few employees in the room gathered around for a better look. It confused me as to why they were there and if I my estimate was correct, Uncle Simon seemed pretty scrambled too.


"This room is private now," he told them all sternly, his voice bringing both shock and annoyance to their expressions. Either way, they all packed up themselves and headed out, more than a little curious now. When they were gone, he turned to me once again. "Frances, there are some important things that I need to discuss with you."


I nodded. "Yeah?"


He pulled out a chair and sat himself down in front of me, his eyes seemed to be glazed over, as if he was trying hard to contain himself. To tell the truth, it was a difficult state to see him in. On the telly, he was always the collected, calm and mature individual whom many both feared and respected. No one could ever imagine him so sad and bewildered.


"As you know, the boys were in an accident last evening."


Of course I knew. It had been all over the papers, the news, and every social networking site in existence. Not one person in the world was unaware. The crash had been severe and I spent hours upon hours in the hospital crying and praying. It was morning now and we all were meant to hear how they were.


"They are going to be okay...?"


He sighed. "Not entirely. They've hit a bit of a predicament."


"Which would be?"


Not answering my inquisition, he blindly handed me a piece of paper.


"What is this?"


He nodded towards it, silently telling me where the answer to that question lay. Gulping, I fixed my stare on the writing, taking in every bit of it. It was scribbled, more or less written by their doctor. When I was done, realization dawned on me and my eyes widened to the size of baseballs.


"Y-You can't can't be serious!" My grip on the paper tore loose and it gently fell to the ground as I stood up. I rubbed my temples, pacing hurriedly. "Uncle Simon...this can't be it."


He stood up as well, grabbing hold of my arm. "Frances, you need to focus. I have a plan."


I snickered, knowing all to well how that never settled well with him. But I was scared and he must have noticed because he didn't retaliate. "What?"


"The doctor says all hope isn't lost. If we work hard to help them recover, they will. We just need to take it one day, one step, at a time."


By now, he had dropped my arm while I remained completely motionless with my brain running a million miles a minute. I didn't know what to think, what to believe, what to do. One moment, everything was fine and dandy. The boys were happy, working away at their third album, their world tour had ended with great please and all the storms had wilted away. Then, like the piece of the sky fell on Chicken Little's head, everything they knew, disappeared.


The memories of their lives vanished.


"W-What can I do?" I stammered, bringing my tear filled eyes to meet his. "Please tell me there's something I can do. I can't lose them like this. They're my best friends."


As if in recollection, his body perked up as he swivelled around and showed me the box. When I looked inside, there was a collection of video tapes with dates and titles written on them. Everything from the first X Factor auditions to the making of their very first music video to their sold out world tour. Even though I had spent the majority of my growth in this day and age, it still astonished me how advanced the world was when it came to technology. Moments could be captured within seconds and locked away for years to come.


"Use these." He pushed the box into my hands. "They will be let out of the hospital in two days time. Afterwards, the doctor has instructed they remain with their families till they fall back into normal, everyday life. You are allowed to spend time with them, given they accept and remember you. Which, could be difficult, so I suggest you prepare yourself for it."


Fresh tears brimmed in the corner of my eyes and I fought hard to keep them there. I need not cry more in front of one of the biggest names in the music indsutry. Once was quite enough. "Alright."


Uncle Simon nodded and picked up his coat which was dangling off the edge of a chair. With the box in the hands, held tightly against my chest, he ushered me out the back door where the crowd of people in the lobby could not reach me. As I was leaving, a thought struck my mind and I turned harshly.


"Do you reckon' they'll remember anything?"


He bit his lip and shrugged. "Depends. They're all different, but they're strong. Remember: time is key."


With that, I was sent out to my car where I was finally able to breathe. I placed the box in the passenger seat and slid into the driver's. At first, I grasped the steering wheel firmly, allowing myself to come to reality with all the words spoken minutes ago. When they did, I buckled down and cried. Salty tears fled down my cheeks and I didn't bother wiping them away. On usual circumstances, if I did cry, one of them was there to comfort me.


But now, I was all alone.


Like the first time I came here, I had no one.

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