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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5. The Confession

“Well go on then,” I say pathetically. “Go tell Louis.”

 

I take a seat on my bed, waiting for Harry to run off and tell Louis that he found out what I was hiding. But he doesn't do that. Instead he joins me on my bed.

 

“So this is what you've been hiding...?” He asks, uncertain. “You play an instrument?”

“Yeah, the piano to be exact.” I mumble to which Harry just bursts out laughing. And when I say laughing I mean like crying with laughter and clapping like an awkward seal.

“What's so funny?!” I ask, starting to get annoyed because, as far as I am concerned, Harry knowing this will ruin everything.

“You don't know how worried Lou has been! He thought you were meeting up with a dodgy guy or smoking or clubbing,” He says as he wipes some of his tears away. “You've really been hiding this from him?”

“Yes!” I snap. “You don't understand, do you? If Louis knows then my family will know and then...” I trail off.

“And then what?” He persists.

“And then they might add loads of pressure on me and I'll just crack! Or worse, they'll take it away from me!”

“Why would they take this away from you?” He asks, genuinely confused.

“I don't know...I'm not the brightest bulb in the world, and they might view it as coming in front of my studies. I just- I don't want them to know. Please Harry, don't tell Lou or my family or anyone. This is really important to me.”

 

Harry looks up into my pleading eyes and sighs before agreeing.

 

“Okay, okay. I won't tell anyone... On one condition.”

“No. I know what you're going to say and the answer is no.”

“Why?!” He whines. “Would it really be that bad?”

Harry, no I'm not going to give you sexual favours-”

“What?”

“What?”

You thought I wanted sexual favours?!” He asks, amused.

“No?”

“But you just said-”

“WHAT'S THE CONDITION?” I interrupt him. I do that a lot.

“You let me hear you play.” He seems to forget about the whole sexual favour thing and answers my question.

“Oh, okay.” I reply simply before hopping off my bed and skipping down the stairs for some food.

 

“What do you look so happy about?” Louis asks me when I enter the room.

 

Fudging hell, he really has been watching my every move and interrogating me a lot recently. I know we're twins and all, and we shared a womb for the first nine months of our lives, but that doesn't give him the right to watch me like a flipping hawk. And he's definitely going to get stress lines if he continues to worry about me, and then maybe he won't be so perfect any more.

 

Harry walks into the room and starts digging into the food while I just ignore Louis and grab a plate myself.

 

Oh I see...” Louis says, looking between the two of us with a 'knowing' look on his face. Except, he really doesn't know anything because there isn't anything to know. “I was wondering why you two were taking so long. Out of everyone, Harry, I'm glad it was you who she had her first time with.” And then he begins digging into his meal as if he hasn't just said one of the craziest things in the world. I, on the other hand, start choking on my spring roll.

“What?!” I shriek. God, I hate it when I do that, because it is actually really bad for my vocal chords, but I think it is necessary here. “Harry and I- we didn't- what- no!” Rambles just spill out of my mouth.

“You think that we just- just,” Harry shrieks. At least I'm not the only one shrieking.

“Yeah, I think you just gave her her first kiss...” Louis says in a 'duhh' kind of way. “You can see it all over her face.”

 

Oh. So he didn't think...that. I swear that I've started having dirtier thoughts. First the sexual favours, and you can't forget about the 'hole' incident and now this. I blame it on the few sentences I read of 'Fifty Shades of Grey'.

 

“Wait, you haven't had your first kiss?” Jasmine laughs, and I turn a deep shade of red. Nearly as deep as the colour of my hair, and that's saying something.

Yeah, of course I have..” There is no way that I'm letting Jasmine think that I haven't because she will probably use this to taunt me for the rest of my life.

“Who?” Louis and Harry both ask, clearly surprised. Well thanks guys.

“Niall,” I blurt out.

 

Wait. What did I just do? Did I really say that out loud? Please say that I didn't. Oh fudging hell, I've really done it this time. How the hell am I going to talk my way out of this when they confront Niall about our non-existent first kiss?! We did share orange juice that one time...that counts, right? Oh shit, of course it doesn't! I'm screwed.

 

“You kissed Niall?!” Harry asks. Yes Harry, I've already said that. Even though I can't believe it either (because it's not even true).

I knew you liked him but I didn't even know that he knew who you were.” Louis adds, making my self-confidence shoot even higher. (Note my sarcasm.)

“You know what? I'm going to eat this in my room because I like my room better than all of you,” I say, leaving the room as Louis shouts that it is his room too but I just ignore him.

 

Is that true, what Louis said? Does Niall not even know who I am? He's spoken to me before, and we shared my juice and we had eye-sex that one time. Well, it probably wasn't even eye-sex but I'm still going to pretend that it was.

 

But Louis is one of his best friends, and my brother so I think, out of anyone, he would know if Niall knew who I was or not. But, hey, maybe it's a good thing that he doesn't know who I am. Because then he can't know about all of the crazy and creepy shit I've done, so technically I have a better chance with him. Wait, who am I kidding, of course I don't have a better chance with him if he doesn't even know that I bloody exist.

 

I collapse onto my bed head first and sigh into my pillow.

 

It feels like I've been lying to Louis a lot lately. Obviously I've been keeping the whole 'I love playing the piano and I do it all the time, and hey I'm actually okay at it' thing from him for around seven years, but throughout those seven years I never had to actually lie to him. But now I've been lying about where I am, and about my first kiss. And it's gotten to the point where I'm pulling other people into my web of lies; I should never have asked Harry to keep this from Louis because, after all, they're best friends. Niall is now part of my lies, as well, and it feels like everything is just spiralling out of control.

 

We used to tell each other everything, and we knew each other inside out. Louis used to be the person who I trusted with everything – from my deepest, darkest secrets to embarrassing things that happened at school – but now I don't even tell him about anything. I've drifted away from him these past few years, and that's no fault of his own. He's done nothing wrong; he's the same Lou just more popular and more...perfect. I always thought that it was him who had drifted away, that him becoming popular had changed him, but it seems that it isn't Lou who has changed. It's me.

 

I start to breathe quickly and unevenly, as thousands of thoughts collide in my mind.

 

I used to like who I was. I knew I wasn't perfect but I was me, and I was pretty happy with that. But now, realisation hits me harder than a slap in the face; I'm completely different to what I thought I was. My parents never thought I was useless or talentless, although that's what I thought it was, they just saw the person I had become - a liar, and a shit daughter and sister – before I had.

 

All this time I had been looking in the mirror, but I hadn't really seen myself. I hadn't seen the cracks in my family that I am slowly causing. I hadn't seen the twisted lies that are gradually becoming my life. I hadn't seen any of it. Well, until now. Now I look in the mirror and all I feel is hatred; hatred for my lies, and who I have become.

 

I've been too busy trying to be as perfect as Louis, to be stronger and to make my family proud of me. But whilst doing that I've lost who I really am inside. I should be me and no one else. Yeah, sometimes Louis overshadows me but I've always been my own person, and not just his twin sister. I never had to change or lie to try and fit in with my family, I should have just been myself. But now I've lost that girl – the one who really did belong after all – and instead I've become something monstrous, something that is even more hidden by Louis' shadow.

 

With shaking hands, I stuff the loose sheet music into my satchel and run down the stairs. I ignore the calls from Louis asking where I'm going and if I'm okay, and go straight out the door without even saying as much as a goodbye.

 

I just need some oxygen for my suffocating lungs. Something to make the overwhelming thoughts in my head disappear. I need my piano.

 

~*~

 

When I arrive at the music block I instantly take a seat at the familiar piano, and try to calm both my racing heart and my unsteady breathing. I take deep breaths and rest my shaking hands on top of the cold keys. I start to play but I'm not as good as usual; my playing is messy and disorganized, not calm and collected like it should be. The more I play, the worse I become until I barely even hit any of the right notes of Chopin's Prelude no.15.

 

I can't afford to make mistakes. My live audition is less than a month away and that's barely enough time to perfect the pieces that I'm going to play – which I'm still unsure about, anyway – without any mistakes. But if my playing continues to go downhill I have no chance of even getting through one piece without being set away straight away. This is my chance, and I'll never forgive myself if I let my tangled thoughts get in the way.

 

I take a few more deep breaths and let myself calm down before attempting to play again. This time I don't go for the agonizingly long, complicated classical pieces that will help me achieve my dream of going to The Royal Academy of Music, and instead start off by playing simple chords. When I work out a chord pattern that I like, I start to add a melody line, letting myself explore the piano as a composition flows from my fingertips.

 

I'm losing myself trying to compete,” I sing gently, testing the words with the melody I have created. “with everyone else instead of just being me.”

 

I get out my manuscript paper from my bag and write down the first few bars I have played and sung before continuing.

 

Don't know where to turn. I've been stuck in this routine. I need to change my ways, instead of always being weak.” I quickly scrawl down the words and notes.

 

I don't wanna' be afraid, I wanna' wake up feeling beautiful today. And know that I'm okay cause everyone's perfect in unusual ways. So you see, I just wanna' believe in me,” I finish softly, writing the last few notes down.

 

“Wow,” I hear from behind me as a single set of claps ring out into the echoing room.

 

I quickly turn around in my seat to see Harry stood in the doorway, leaning casually against the door frame.

 

“Just wow. You never said you were that good,” He smiles at me.

“That was nothing...” I say, embarrassed. “There are a lot of better pieces that I know- and you know I could show you if you want. Wait, no it doesn't matter. You probably don't want to hear stuff like Chopin and-” I ramble, talking faster and faster.

“No,” Harry cuts me off abruptly. “You promised you'd play for me. Unless, you know,” He smirks at me, wiggling his eyebrows. “you want to go with your first suggestion, sexual favours.” Damn, I thought he'd forgotten about that. Clearly not.

“I think I'll go for Chopin,” I say jokingly. “I mean- I don't want to give Chopin sexual favours. He's dead, anyway, and I'd rather not give a dead guy sexual fav-”

“Woah, Taylor. You don't have to be so nervous around me,” Harry laughs gently, joining me on the two-person piano stool. “Not that it's not entertaining,” He adds.

“I know, I'm sorry. It's a habit: my rambling and awkwardness and weirdness.” I begin to ramble. “Oh look, I'm doing it again. You know what, I'm just going to start playing and then we can pretend that none of this conversation happened.”

 

I place my hands on the piano and start to play Chopin's prelude no.15, the piece I attempted – but failed miserably – to play earlier. This time, though, the notes are flowing and the familiar peaceful feeling takes over me. I'm not stumbling over the repeated quavers or hitting off-notes, I'm actually doing it! I smile as my flow continues, and my smile remains until the song has finished. I take a deep breath and look up at Harry to judge his reaction.

 

His piercing green eyes are boring into my chocolate-coloured eyes. I don't falter under his intense gaze, and instead I match it. I don't ramble or shift uncomfortably or do something weird, I just stare back.

 

Is this what eye-sex feels like? Because it's a lot more intense and it feels completely different to how my supposed eye-sex with Niall felt like. There's something in Harry's eyes that makes my heart beat a lot faster than it was beating before.

 

You're like a completely different person when you play,” Harry finally says. And all the intensity between us vanishes. Maybe it wasn't eye-sex, because I am pretty bad at judging situations.

“Yeah, I'm not creepy or weird when I play,” I laugh, somewhat embarrassed by Harry's comment.

“You're not creepy or weird,” Harry says, leaning in closer until I can smell the minty-ness of his breath.

 

God he has nice lips, and obviously good dental hygiene. And wow, I never noticed how green his eyes are; they're like the fudging sea- Wait, is he about to kiss me? Is he about to kiss me?

 

“You might be a muppet at times, but you're not weird Taylor. You're beaut-”

 

CRASH!

 

The sound of multiple piano keys sounding makes both Harry and I jump. And just like that the moment is ruined. Damn my clumsy arms. I think I was mesmerized, and then- slip, my stupid clumsiness brought me crashing back to reality.

 

“Sorry, my hand- erm my hand slipped... erm, what was I saying? Oh wait it was you talking, sorry,” So the rambling and awkwardness is back, I see. Well, it was a fun five minutes without it.

“I meant what I said, Taylor,” Harry gently tucks a stray piece of bright red hair behind my hair, his hand lingering slightly on my cheek.

 

And I get that instinct again: the instinct that he's going to kiss me.

 

Would I mind? If he kissed me, I mean. I like Niall... don't I? Does Niall even know I exist, and do I even know Niall? Like, truly know him, or do I just like the idea of him? Because they are two very different things: the idea of a person and the reality.

 

But Harry... I do know him. I've know him ever since we both joined high school seven years ago. I've know him ever since him and Louis became best friends, ever since we started walking home together. I've known him since we were paired up in geography, having to do a project on earthquakes – which consisted of me rambling at the front of the class about how earthquakes explode and then Harry demonstrating this by nearly blowing up the whole school. (We got an F+ by the way. And yes the '+' on the F is definitely important.). I've know him ever since he called round to the house and stayed even though Louis wasn't there, choosing to hang out with me instead. I've know him ever since he told me I wasn't invisible to him, ever since I told him something I haven't even told my own twin brother. I know Harry. And I hadn't realised that until now.

 

I grab onto Harry's hand, keeping it in place on my cheek, and watch as Harry bites his bottom lip.

 

“Would you mind if- wait no I can't ask. Wait, just forget any of that, okay? So, erm-”

 

I lean in straight away, cutting off Harry's adorable ramblings, and press my lips softly to his. He responds almost immediately, cupping my face in his hands as he kisses me back. It's short, and sweet and perfection.

 

“You don't have to be so nervous around me,” I say Harry's words, smiling softly at him once we pull away.

 

And that is rewarded with one of Harry's big, adorable grins.

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