Tatum has never had much luck when it came to people. In the course of three years, she's lost her best friends, her father, and her sister. But maybe this year, things will be different. Maybe this year, she will meet someone who will help change her perspective.


3. Chapter Three

Chapter Three

"I propose we do some sight-seeing today!" Louis said early the next morning. He had been the first one awake and at the moment, the only one with energy too. His usual brown hair was a tousled mess, but he did not mind. Rather, he enjoyed it like that. "What do you lads say?"

"I'm all for it." Niall nodded. Who knew what special restaurants they would see while on their trip?

The other boys eventually nodded in unison. They were in Sydney for a few weeks before they had to get to America. Jared had been lenient this time with the amount of days they stayed in one solemn place. With their fame sprouting like flowers this way and that, and now, not a single country existed that did not know their name, One Direction's vacations had become nearly non-existent. Sydney was going to be their first stay this year that lasted longer than a few days.

Before leaving the hotel, Liam knocked on Jared's door and told him of their plan. Their manager reminded them to be careful and to not get into any mischief. To that, Harry and Louis grinned at him.

"We won't!" They exclaimed at the same time, clearly hinting otherwise. Jared only rolled his eyes and shook his dark head at them, shutting the door behind him.

Outside the hotel, all the boys huddled into a very nice rented car, courtesy of their management. They were not too sure what it was yet, but something was definitely up. First the hotel, then the rented Range Rover, what was next? Being told that management bought them a beach of their own?

"Lets get this baby out on the road!" Louis exclaimed, revving the car up. "But wait a second, who knows where we're going?"

His friends just stared at him.

"Are you serious, Lou? You didn't even bother to grab a map before we left?" Zayn inquired, raising his eyebrows.

Louis sent him a innocent look. "I thought my magic map might do the thing."

"For the last time, Lou, you are not Dora the Explorer!" Harry shouted, making Niall turn over in a fit of laughter. "You can't even speak Spanish!"

"Oh, but that's where you are wrong, senor." Louis replied, chuckling and backing the car up. "Whatever. We'll just figure out where to go somehow."

Not wanting to argue any longer with the eldest member of their band and clearly the most immature, the four boys buckled their belts and sat back, not wanting a repeat of last night. Louis drove out onto the main road, figuring out the traffic as he did so. It was not much dissimilar to driving in England, but a newbie could never be too sure. They made it as far as an ice-cream shop, much to Niall's begging. Louis parked the car as easily as he could manage and soon enough, they were walking inside to an air conditioned building, the bell chiming softly overhead.

"You want me to order?" Niall asked his friends, already lining up. He couldn't wait to taste Australian ice-cream. It probably tasted the same as the rest of the ice-cream he had eaten in his life, but it was more the thrill that he was searching for than the actual flavor.

"No thanks," Liam shook his head. "None for me."

Zayn nodded in agreement. "Yeah, I'd rather have breakfast before I have ice-cream."

Louis raised his eyebrows at him. "We ordered room service this morning. Why didn't you eat?"

Zayn opened his mouth to speak, but Harry cut him off. "He was asleep. As always."

Barely shocked, Louis play-hit the dark haired boy on the shoulder. "You went to sleep before the rest of us! You sleep too much. And your voice is starting to lack."

"Is not." Zayn countered back, already growing annoyed.

"Is too."

"Is not."

"Is too. Haven’t you noticed? You can't reach the high notes as well as you could before. It's all this sleeping that you're doing."

Then all hell broke loose as Zayn nearly jumped on top of Louis. They were not fighting in reality, more like trying to put on a funny show. But there were not enough viewers. Finally coming in after five minutes of non-stop tackling, Liam pried the two boys apart and set them far away from one another. Louis only grinned at Zayn as he flicked him off and retreated to a seat in the corner of the shop. In time, Niall was rung up for his order.

"One chocolate sundae with sprinkles please." He asked the man serving him. "And a banana split." Harry nodded at him, having heard his order. He wasn't planning on having too much ice-cream, but he knew he'd have to share with Louis anyways, so why not a banana split?

The short man quickly fixed together his customers orders, aligning the two cups side-by-side at the counter. Niall pulled out his wallet and handed the man ten Australian dollars. He gladly took it and slapped the paper into the cash register. Niall had just taken a single step away, when the man stopped him.

"Hey, you boys are from that boy band, aren't you?" He asked, his eyes becoming slits. "What's the name? Oh, if my daughter was here, she'd blow a gasket for me having forgotten."

Niall chuckled, cradling both ice-creams in his hand. He gently shook hands with the stranger and smiled. "I'm Niall Horan." He turned slightly to point at his group of friends. "And that's Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik. We're called One Direction."

The man nodded. "Ah, now I remember. Did you not have a show last night?"

"We did." Niall answered, smiling again at the thought. "One of our best yet."

"Good to know you're following your dreams, lad." The man returned Niall's friendly smile. "Don't ever give up on them."

"I won't."

When the Irish boy returned to his table, he quickly set Louis and Harry's banana split in front of them, chuckling when Lou started to hog it. Liam and Zayn, having not ordered anything, were deep in conversation. Niall sat himself down into a seat next to Harry who was now flicking Louis across the shoulder. For a long time, all the boys just shared peace and quiet without screaming fans for once. However, that moment did not last very long as two strangers walked into the shop, talking rather loudly.

"Chocolate chip cookie dough." One boy with blonde hair said, smiling cheekily to the dark haired one. "You promised Eli."

The boy, Eli, sighed and shook his head, walking straight up to the counter and placing his friend's order. While Elliot was busy with that, Denver's eyes roamed the shop until they landed on the boys' table. His mouth hung open and he instantly began pulling at Elliot's arm, urging him to turn around.

"What the hell, Den?!" Elliot said, glaring at his friend. He paid for the ice-cream and let his eyes drive over to where Denver was blatantly staring. "Is that…?"

"You're One Direction, aren't you?" Denver quickly asked, walking over to the group of five boys. They all looked up at him in unison.

"That we are," Louis replied, smiling at the strangers in front of him.

"I'm Denver Hills," the shocked seventeen year old said, sticking his hand out. "We're huge fans of you guys." He twisted slightly to point at Elliot who was brining the ice-cream over. "This is Elliot."

"Hello," Harry greeted. "Do you want to join us?"

Denver and Elliot glanced at each other, stunned at such a big boy band as themselves would even say more than two words to them. And now they were offering them a seat? It was crazy to think about, but it was happening. So the excited boys pulled two spare chairs over and sat down. Conversation was not hard to start up. It began with ice-cream preferences and quickly slid to music.

"Our manager is trying to get us signed," Denver explained, smiling at the thought of Tatum. "She's great. She's actually the one who put us four together in the first place: me, Elliot, Tommy and Parker."

One Direction were quiet as they listened to what Denver had just said. It was then Louis who broke the silence.

"She? Your manager is a female? And she's the same age as you?"

He was flabbergasted that any teenage girl had it in her to commit to such a thing. Managing musical talent was not a quiet walk in the park. It required much patience, will, and support. How was a seventeen year old girl able to manage both a band and keep up with school? He had not met her yet, but Louis was already impressed. And as far as he could tell, so were the rest of his friends.

"She's actually---" Elliot's sentence was cut off as a tall strawberry blonde haired girl and two boys walked in. They all looked around for their friends and when they caught sight of them, all three of their expressions changed from indifferent to surprised.

"Uh, h-h-hi," Tommy stuttered, speaking for the two people behind him while they sent Elliot and Denver daggers of astonishment. "I see you've met Elliot and Denver. I'm Tommy." He did similar to Denver and stuck his long arm out, hoping at least one of them would shake it. Liam leaned over and smiled at him.

"Nice to meet you," he said. "I'm Liam and I guess it's safe to assume this is the rest of the band?" His question was directed at Denver who nodded.

"This is it," he smiled at his friends and grabbed chairs for the three of them. "Oh, and our manager that we were talking about: Tatum Ryder."

"You were talking about me?" Tatum asked, whipping her head around to face the boy.

"Only good things," Niall piped up, taking in the girl sat a few ways away from him. "I'm Niall, by the way." He leaned across his spot and shook hands with the awe struck girl. There were not any sparks, or metaphoric electricity that passed through them, but when they looked at each other, something changed.

"How the hell did these two idiots manage to have ice-cream with One Direction, of all people?" Parker finally put in. It was the subject that was on everyone's mind, well on Tommy, Tatum and his at least.

"It just sort of happened," Elliot smiled, glancing over at his new-found friends. "We were getting ice-cream when Denver noticed them sitting over here and we all just got talking."

"We're not that bad, Parker," Denver gave the older boy a stern look, "that people would hate the sight of us."

Parker shrugged, leaning back in his chair. "Yeah, it's probably just me that gets turned off at the sight of you all."

The table laughed in unison. They all sat together and without realizing it, an hour had passed.

"You know, we better get going," Tatum said, scrambling out of her seat. "We've got important things to do today and I'm sure you're all probably busy as well. We'll be going now."

The band looked at her in sadness, as if saying, "do we have to?" Tatum returned their looks with one of her own, "yes, we do." With that, Tommy, Denver, Parker and Elliot all got up out of their seats and shook hands once more with One Direction. Louis insisted they swap numbers, in case they ever decide to meet up again. Elliot was thrilled, as he was one of their biggest fans, although he would never admit it to anyone but Tatum. She saw the huge smile on his face from the door as he repeated his number for the boys who quickly added it to their phonebooks.

"Ready to go now, Eli?" She asked, smirking at the young boy.

"That I am, m'lady," he held the door open for her as they were the last to say goodbye to the British/Irish band and escort themselves out.

All the way to the car, Tatum could not help but to beam in happiness to herself. She was glad Old School Groove and One Direction had gotten along and sure as might, have become friends as well. Maybe this was some kind of message from above; some message that was telling her that things may work out for the best after all. That all the suffering and pain will eventually vanish and she could finally breathe the air of her home town again without choking.

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