Scoundrels (One Direction Fanfic)

. “What are we playing for?” Quinn asked.
“Fame, glory, bragging rights,” Niall listed, counting the items off on his fingers with a cheeky grin. Quinn rolled her eyes and shoved him lightly, prompting him to shove her back. “Loser buys the winner dinner?”

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20. Dance With Me

20

Dance With Me

Time flew by, and before anybody knew it, the first leg of the tour was over and the Scoundrels and One Direction had parted ways for a few months, returning to their regularly scheduled lives. It wasn’t quite the same as usual, though; Simon Cowell had wanted endless meetings with the Scoundrels, keen to sign them to his label before they got too big. They’d agreed and signed the contract, naming Quinn as their stylist so she’d have a reason to stick around for the rest of the tour without having to deal with the business end of things.

Then there had been the publicity; the radio shows, the TV interviews, meet and greets, album recordings- never ending. Quinn had tagged along for the ride and it made the few months turn into a continuous blur of smiling, talking and kind of missing the more laid-back routine of being on tour. With no nightly shows, their days were unpredictable and often long.

Throughout the break, Quinn had seen One Direction a handful of times. There had been an interview with Harry and Zayn and she’d been in London at the time; they’d agreed to meet up for lunch with Louis and Eleanor, who had skived out of working to spend the day together. Liam joined them with Danielle and Perrie made an appearance from the studio via facetime; for the first meeting of the girlfriends, Quinn thought she’d done okay. She’d come away with six- Little Mix, Danielle and Eleanor- new girlfriends and invites to the next girl’s night, which she eagerly accepted.

The only thing missing, though, was Niall who was back in Ireland to spend some time with his family. They’d spoken on Skype and on the phone a few times but it wasn’t the same. She felt almost guilty meeting up with the others when he wasn’t there, though they assured her Niall wouldn’t take offence. Still, the night of the party- which was scheduled for a free night in the middle of the break- couldn’t come fast enough.

Quinn spent the morning preparing; getting Danielle and Eleanor’s advice via facetime, dressing up more than she usually did, and fending off suggestions that she’d developed a crush on Niall. It was only when that subject came up did Quinn realise, with a sickening feeling, that she’d barely spoken to or thought about Evan. At all. She desperately tried to contact him and invite him to the party, but had no response, and a large part of her wondered why she was even trying anymore.

The arrival of One Direction brought her mind off these dark thoughts; Niall had arrived an hour after everyone else and Quinn couldn’t deny that she had been hugely delighted to see him. The group of them had spent the afternoon walking around Sheffield before returning to the house; the pop stars were not excused from helping set up, and Louis did manage to convince Quinn to show them her bedroom. They all crammed on her bed when Liam suggested a Twitcam, an idea which quickly took off as Xavier, Tyson and Ben joined the pile and Quinn feared her bed would break.

The cam had been a success, and had only ended when the first of the guests- Nadia and her sister, Elena- arrived. Ben had flown down the stairs to his girlfriend, though they’d seen each other that morning, and the group convened in the lounge room as Eleanor, Perrie and Danielle trickled in. Dinner was served, laughter was heard, and as soon as the food was gone the music was on and the beers came out. They were all under strict instructions not to go wild, but a few wouldn’t hurt.

“You okay, love?” Niall asked, nudging Quinn’s shoulder. She’d barely moved all night, and her smile had slowly faded to a worried frown. She looked away from the phone in her hand, the one she’d been checking compulsively every two minutes, and gave a little half-smile, half-grimace.

“I just…” she sighed, trailing off, and shrugged. “Evan.”

Niall’s fist clenched beside him and he gingerly set his beer down on the table beside her, careful to get a coaster under the glass. He knew all about Evan, had accidentally overheard some of Quinn’s conversations with him, and though the boys had never met Niall wasn’t impressed with how Evan treated Quinn. “He knows about tonight, right?”

Quinn nodded and looked down at her hands in her lap, lighting up her phone screen to find it desolately blank. She hated feeling like this, always wondering what she’d done wrong. She knew she hadn’t been the best girlfriend lately, as being on tour had taken up a lot of her time. But she’d always, always made the time to call Evan when she could. “Yeah… he sounded really happy on the phone and now…” she gestured to the room in general, which was full of boys girlfriends and music and the faint smell of roast beef and beer. It smelled homey, but Quinn was still so lonely.

“C’mon, get up,” Niall said abruptly, taking the phone off her and sitting it beside his beer. He grabbed her hand and dragged her to her feet, heading to the radio to turn the music up. Both of them laughed when Up All Night started playing, and Niall span Quinn under his arm to elicit a giggle from her. “Dance with me.” It wasn’t a request, but Quinn knew she was free to walk away if she wanted to. She almost did, before Louis bounded into the room and pushed the lounge suite out of the way, clearing a space on the floor.

“Dance party!” he hollered, arms waving madly as he snatched drinks out of everybody’s hands and pulled them into the small lounge, creating almost a mosh-pit environment. Niall rolled his eyes and Quinn giggled, pushing her worry about her relationship away and starting to dance. She wasn’t a brilliant dancer, but she wasn’t so bad either, and soon the music and movement eased her mind. Niall apparently couldn’t dance at all and the fact that he didn’t seem to care only made her feel better about her own lack of co-ordination.

She’d seen him on stage, though, had seen Niall dance before and knew he could if he put his mind to it. He was purposefully making a mockery of himself… why? To cheer her up? Her cheeks felt heated and her smile was genuine. Somebody bumped into her back- Zayn, by the following laugh- and she stumbled closer to Niall. He caught her and both stopped moving for a moment, Quinn to regather her feet and Niall to raise one eyebrow, quietly asking if she was alright. His gaze flicked to someone behind her, narrowing slightly as he shook his head.

Quinn laughed aloud when Niall grabbed her hand and lead her away from Harry and Louis, who were making idiots of themselves by trying to dance properly and tease Liam that they were better than Danielle. The teasing went right over Liam’s head, as it usually did. As Quinn ducked a flailing arm- Louis’, probably- she glanced at the window and froze, her gaze locked on a gloomy figure standing on the other side of the glass. Her phone vibrated on the table and she leapt to grab it; she saw Niall glance at her, but he didn’t try to but in.

Come out. –E.

She held up one finger to the boy at the window and slipped away from the party, out into the cool evening air, hugging her arms around her to stop herself shivering.

“So, you and Kyle,” Evan asked, arms folded across his chest. Quinn closed the front door behind her, shutting the rest of her family in so they couldn’t overhear. She didn’t want any of the boys- in particular her parents- to hear this. She knew Evan hated One Direction… the fact that she’d been hanging out with them for the last month had only solidified his hatred.

“Niall,” Quinn corrected quietly, glancing back through the front window. Evan had texted her while she was dancing with the boys- with Niall- and she could see how, from his angle, it would look like more than it was. A bit of stupid fun, a way to let off steam because nobody knew they were here and inside that house was a sanctuary for Quinn and for everybody else, too. “I didn’t think you were coming,” she continued, trying to step closer to Evan but he stepped back.

“I can’t surprise my girlfriend?” he asked indignantly, but there was no joking playfulness to his tone, only subversive anger that made Quinn want to cry. “Apparently, this is what you do when I’m not around. Tart around with some Irish-“

“No!” she interrupted sharply, her voice a little louder than it should be. Evan broke himself off and scoffed, rubbing the back of his neck. He stayed quiet though so Quinn took the chance to put her two cents worth in. “What you saw- you’re not getting the whole story. Me and him- them- we’re just friends, Evan,” she whispered, reaching for him. He jerked away and hissed at her under his breath.

“Friends,” he spat, throwing his arms up in the air. “Because it sure looked like friends to me! God, Quinn, I thought you were different! I thought faithfulness would actually mean something to you- you really meant it when you said you didn’t take us seriously, didn’t you?”

She blinked, hurt, and felt her frustration rising. “I didn’t say anything like that-“

“I can see now that I’ve been wasting my time on a prudish little liar like you. Bet you spread for him, don’t you?” Evan sneered, jabbing a finger in Niall’s direction with a look of disgust. Quinn flinched at the accusation, hot, angry tears gathering behind her eyes. “You keep up your good girl act for me but as soon as some faggot with money-“

“Stop it!” she shrieked, furious at the slur against Niall and the implications. Evan stopped, but he was grinning. He knew he’d struck a nerve and Quinn shuddered to see that expression on his face. He’d always been a bit moody, a little bit bitchy, but he’d never been like this with her. Never. “I don’t know how much of that you saw, how long you were standing by the window, but I can tell you right now that there is absolutely nothing between me and anybody in there! Niall was just trying to cheer me up because I’ve been so preoccupied thinking about you!”

“Bullshit!” Evan spat, throwing Quinn’s hand away when she tried to grab his and stop him leaving. “I don’t want to hear your lies, Quinn! You go enjoy yourself and your little party, go on. Sure looked like you were missing me.”

“I was!” she shouted at him through the tears, following him down the road now. Evan wasn’t going to stop and Quinn didn’t want to catch up to him; she wondered briefly if this was the end. The thought made her sad because she did like Evan. Maybe not love him, and she certainly didn’t feel strongly enough to forget her beliefs on sex before marriage… but that didn’t mean she wanted the relationship to end. He’d said he understood, that he respected her, that he’d wait. “Evan, please, just wait- listen!”

“Fuck off, you slag!” he shouted, and then rounded the corner as Quinn came to a stop. She felt her world tilt and spin and had to sit down for a second or two to catch her breath, crying uncontrollably to the empty street. A minute or two passed and she heard someone calling her name; she stood up quickly, wiped her eyes, and turned to jog back to her house. Niall stood on the sidewalk, Liam two steps behind, and Quinn ducked her head to hide the tears and ran inside, up the stairs and into her room.

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