In Your Shadow

Not only are Taylor and Louis twins, they're also best friends.
But with Louis getting even more perfect everyday, will Taylor manage to escape his shadow?
Or will she always be known as just 'Louis' twin sister'?


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6. The Audition

It's been a few weeks since the day of the multiple-rambles-which-turned-into-a-kiss, and Harry and I have been inseparable ever since. He waits for me after class, he accompanies me to piano practise, we walk home together and he sleeps over most weekends because of Louis, anyway. And somehow, despite being considerably closer, Louis hasn't noticed a thing. I thought he was meant to be really observant, because he always seems to be watching me like a hawk, but somehow he has missed the glances across the dinner table, and the times when Harry has pulled me into the coat cupboard and kissed me until I couldn't feel my lips, and the sharing of a blanket when we all watch a film. So we've gotten away with it.

 

I'm scared of how he would react, I guess. Because it's his best friend and I feel like he'd suddenly feel really awkward whenever we all hang out together, and I'd hate to make him feel like a third-wheel with his best friend and his sister. But then again he did say that 'Out of everyone, Harry, I'm glad it was you who she had her first time with' meaning my first kiss, and you know not anything else. So maybe he would be okay with this... but that's not something that either Harry or I want to gamble with just yet.

 

“Come in!” I shout in response to three short knocks on my bedroom door.

 

Harry comes in, dressed down in a plaid shirt and jeans, smirking as he locks onto my gaze. He instantly walks over and cups my face, placing his lips on mine and kissing me just like the first time. I start to get lost in the kiss until reality dawns on me.

 

“Shh Harry, Lou's downstairs... he could come up at any point,” I say in between kisses. But my words contradict my actions as I pull Harry closer, craving him even more.

 

There's something about the risk of being caught that makes kissing Harry even better; my heart hammering against my chest with both adrenaline and love, and listening out for doorhandles turning or voices coming.

 

“Haz?” Louis calls up the stairs, his voice getting closer. “Are you up here?”

 

Despite Louis coming up the stairs, Harry and I continue to kiss, almost lost in the moment, and I'm sure that Louis will walk in on us and our whole secret will be blown. But just at the last minute we rip apart and sit innocently on the bed when Louis walks in, seemingly oblivious to our red lips and slight panting.

 

“Oh there you are,” He smiles. “The footy match is about to start. Tay, are you coming to watch it too?”

“Actually Lou I was thinking of going to Jemima's, but thanks for the offer,” I say as I gather things into my bag.

“Who's Jemima?” He asks, frowning as I freeze.

 

Shit. I didn't think he'd actually question the existence of Jemima... I thought he'd just assume that I finally made a friend.

 

“Erm, a friend... I met her the other day, when I was- when I was shopping.” I ramble.

“When did you go shopping? You barely leave the house.” Can he stop interrogating me? I'm pretty sure if Jemima did exist she would be offended that Louis wasn't sure about her existence. And thanks for practically telling my boyfriend that I'm a fudging hermit.

“Yeah I um went shopping on Saturday. Bought some bras and stuff, and some tampons. You know, just lady things.”

 

The words are out of my mouth before my brain can I even process them. Yes, I just told my twin brother and my boyfriend that I bought 'lady things'. But hey, it seems to have done the trick because now Louis looks really uncomfortable and the interrogation will probably be over.

 

“Okay well er have fun with- with Jemima, I guess.”

“Thanks, I will. Bye.”

 

And I'm out of there before he can say 'wait is Jemima even real?'.

 

~*~

 

When I sit down at the comfortingly-familiar piano stool, I'm filled with an unruly nervousness – something I've never experienced before. Usually, I'm calm and collected when I play, and everything just comes naturally. From my fingertips dancing along the keys to my foot pressing down the sustaining pedal; everything is normally in time and flows from within me. But today it's as if I have no coordination between my eyes, and my ears, and my fingers, and my feet. My attempt at playing my audition pieces ends with my groaning in frustration and slamming my hands down onto the keys.

 

My audition is fast approaching, in fact it is three days away, so I should know my pieces so well that I should be able to play them with my eyes closed- no, I should be able to play them even when I'm sat backwards on the piano stool while someone throws peanuts at me. I can't be making small yet fatal errors.

 

I have one shot at making it into The Royal Academy of Music, and if I mess it up then it's goodbye to my dreams of becoming a professional pianist and making my family proud. Because without a scholarship to RAM, there is no chance of me doing anything successful with my life. I'm not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed so it's going to be a struggle for me to even get accepted by a university.

 

I sigh as I pack up my sheet music, giving up at attempting to practise the pieces as it clearly isn't going to happen today. Leaving the dusty room behind, I return home from 'Jemima's' house and join the boys on the sofa, pushing away the lump in my throat and the wandering thoughts in my mind.

 

~*~

 

Goodbye Louis,” I say for about the 79th time as he continues to block the front door. “Will you let me leave already? I'm running late as it is!”

 

I start to do that thing where my voice comes out in annoying shriek, but to be fair to my voice box, it is necessary right now. Because fudging Louis Tomlinson, aka the human wall, has been blocking my way for the past five minutes. And it's not like I'm just sneaking off to another practise, I'm trying to sneak off to my bloody audition. And this time Louis isn't letting me get away with the whole 'I'm just visiting Jemima because her pet goat has gone missing' thing.

 

“I don't get why you sneak off somewhere every single day. Where do you even go?” He says, crossing his arms at me as if he is a lot more older, and not just 3 minutes and 36 seconds older.

“I'm not sneaking off!” I continue to shriek. “I told you, Jemima called me and said that she lost her pet goat, and then she started crying so I said I'd be right over!”

“Then how come I've never met this Jemima, hm? Why don't you call her right now and let me speak to her?”

“You haven't met her because...” I rack my brain for possible explanations. “She's allergic to the sun.” Shit. “I mean, not really allergic. Just um a little bit allergic- and oh my God is that Liam falling off our shed roof?!”

 

And in that brief second that Louis turns away to check if Liam really is falling off our shed roof, I make a dash for the door and successfully get past Louis-the-human-wall.

 

I run the rest of the way to the bus stop, just in case Louis is running after me. But of course he isn't, and of course I look like a mad woman as I stumble onto the bus, out of breath with my red hair blowing violently in the wind. But I don't care, because I'm finally on my way to Wigmore Hall to play the piano and possibly change my life.

 

The bus journey is only short, and I quickly find myself standing in front of the elegant building that is either going to break or make my dreams. With a deep breath, I push through the doors and wander into the large building, taking in my surroundings as I do so. I at once feel completely out of my depth as I walk through the large halls, passing by tall, stern-faced musicians holding violin cases and intently discussing Mozart.

 

“Erm, Taylor Tomlinson,” I say when I reach an old, unsmiling lady. “Piano.”

“You're the third musician of the day. You have now until your audition to practise your pieces in the small practise rooms down the hall.” She instructed, her thin lips never curving into a smile and instead staying firmly fixed as a perfectly straight line.

“Thanks,” I say as I head almost aimlessly in the general direction she pointed in.

 

Come on Taylor, pull yourself together,” I whisper to myself, as I count the minutes and the seconds until my audition. “You've practised all the pieces, and you know them off by heart. You just need to go out there and play.

 

I pace around the small room, desperately wanting to be in my usual practise room – the room I've played in ever since I first placed my hands on the ivory keys of that ancient piano. I wring my hands together nervously, trying to ease my nerves and stop my hands from shaking.

 

“Next!” A voice calls from the large auditorium.

You can do this,” I finally say before taking the short walk from my practise room, and then onto the stage.

 

I take a seat at the polished grand piano, and take a few deep breathes before speaking.

 

"Taylor Tomlinson. Piano. Beethoven's Rondo Sonata in C minor, J.S. Bach's Prelude in F minor and Bedrich Smetana's Polka de Salon.”

 

And then, all that is left for me to do is play.

 

I run through Beethoven's Rondo Sonata in C minor and J.S. Bach's Prelude in F minor as if I'm playing a simple nursery rhyme; the notes flow from my fingers, and I barely have chance to get nervous as I'm so focused and so absorbed by the music. And now all that is standing between me and my dream is Bedrich Smetana's Polka de Salon – the shortest but, for me, the hardest of the three pieces.

 

Thirty seconds in, and I'm playing each note perfectly. I can feel myself getting lost within the music and I start to smile; at the rate this is going, my audition can't have gone any better. But then I hear the sound of the auditorium doors opening and distant chatter gradually getting louder. I try to remain focused on the fast-flowing notes, but I feel my crowded thoughts getting in the way.

 

I take my eyes off the keys for a split second, wanting to see who has entered the auditorium, and that is my most fatal mistake. As my eyes land on not only Harry, but Louis, my mother, my father and my little sister, my hands come to an abrupt stop, causing a crash to echo through the now silent concert hall.

 

My mother gasps, as I sit with my eyes closed, frozen with disappointment and anger. I eventually open them, revealing the woman with the clipboard shaking her head disapprovingly and scribbling something down on her her piece of paper.

 

“I-” I begin, but I can't find the words to say – there are no words to say.

 

I've messed up my chance of going to The Royal Academy of Music, ultimately messing up my chance of achieving my dream.

 

With a final look at Harry through tear-filled eyes, I hurry off the stage as my heart beats at the speed of sound. And it's only when I'm in the privacy of the small practise room, when my legs crumble and I collapse onto the floor, my head falling into my hands as tears spill from my brown eyes.

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