Change Your Life

“Holy shit,” I breathed out, feeling sick with excitement and nerves. Louis Tomlinson was in our hotel... Co-authored by Lozza (author of Laura's POV) & MisfiredSynapse (author of Kate's POV).


21. Kate's POV

The front door shut behind us and Niall was already by the front seat of Louis’ rental, which was behind mine. For a moment, I considered going back in to get him to move it, but in the next second, couldn’t be bothered. It was just easier to use the BMW instead; besides, he had more petrol than I did, and it was a fancy-ass car. I liked fancy-ass cars.

The ride to the shops was quick, occupied by the music on the radio. Can We Dance played and Niall showed off his pipes, while I showed off my tone-deaf abilities to ruin any song on cue. It didn’t seem to matter and the parking lot was in view far sooner than it should’ve been, in my opinion. As I pulled into a space near the doors, I turned the radio right down.

“Before we go in,” I said seriously, switching off the car. “I, um… I work here, and I haven’t told them, um, about you, so-“

“Do you want to?” Niall asked, already reaching for his beanie and sunglasses as if he expected me to say no. For a moment, I bit my lip while the two situations bounced around in my head. There had been rumours about the boys ‘hooking up with’ Australian girls and a few blurry photos of Laura in gossip columns online, but whatever the press had managed to get with me wasn’t worth selling. I’d been very careful- and so had Niall- to make sure I wasn’t exposed before I was ready to be connected to the band. Should I let the secret out and no doubt be bombarded with attention, or should I keep it and let Niall think I didn’t want to be publicly connected with him?

“Don’t,” I muttered, before he could put the beanie over his hair. “I don’t mind.”

“You sure?” His expression was concerned and it occurred to me that if I was exposed, then so were Laura and Louis. If people figured out I was friends- well, not-really-just-friends with Niall Horan- then they’d likely make the connection between Louis’ mystery brunette and my best friend. “Kate,” Niall said quietly, giving me an understanding smile. “If you aren’t sure, then I don’t mind. It’s not easy to be friends with us.”

“Well then,” I said with a small smile, taking the beanie from his hands and tossing it in the back seat. “Just as well we aren’t friends, then.”

Grinning, Niall slipped his shades on and followed me out of the car, towards the doors. Halfway there, I felt his hand slip over mine and he shot me a reassuring grin, making sure I was okay with the contact. “We were going to take you both out for lunch,” Niall remarked casually. “But then Louis mentioned a movie night, and I couldn’t decide if I wanted food and publicity or food and cuddles… so we decided to combine the ideas.”

“Combine them, how? Public cuddling?” I asked, only half sarcastically. Niall raised an eyebrow at me and spun me under his arm and into a hug, as I laughed and waved to a few of my colleagues who were looking over. The moment they recognised me, they waved back and a few of the girls gestured for me to come over and distract them from the boredom of a slow day at work. I held up two fingers and dragged Niall through the entry gates, only stopping to grab a trolley.

“Indoor picnic,” Niall said, in answer to my earlier question. “No risk of my photo being taken so I can eat like a pig.”

“I could take your photo, mouthful of food and everything,” I teased, and he held a hand over his heart in mock-hurt.

“You cruel thing!” Niall gasped, pouting until I poked his cheek and brought back the smile. “I’ll make you a deal. You can take my photo only if you’re in it with me.”

I pulled a face- he knew I hated my selfies- and shrugged. Our progress around the shop was slow, and punctuated with insulting jokes and near breathless laughter. Halfway round, Niall hopped on the end of the trolley as I struggled to push it, before we swapped places and I held on tightly while he drove like a rally racer, both of us shrieking with laughter. At least I wasn’t in uniform; they’d probably be pissed if I was acting like a five-year-old in the store uniform.

Two hours later and with only fifteen things in our trolley, Niall and I finally made it to the checkouts. I purposefully chose someone I knew and liked, as opposed to the other girls. For the most part, I got on well with everyone that worked with me, but there was always one or two who acted like they were better than the rest of us, and they were people I didn’t particularly want to see.

“Hey, Kate! I haven’t seen you in ages!” Bec beamed as she scanned our stuff through. Her gaze flicked to Niall and I could see the wheels turning in her head; she recognised him, I knew she was a fan, but believing that it was actually Niall Horan was proving a little difficult.

“You’ve been working the wrong shifts,” I replied with a small grin. “Bec, this is Niall. Niall, Bec,” I introduced them and watched her eyes widen and her breathing stop.

“Well,” Bec huffed after a moment or two to collect herself. “Now I see why you’ve been so distracted lately.”

Flushing, I tried not to show how guilty I was. I had been totally preoccupied after he left, but I’d no idea how obvious it had been. “I haven’t,” I replied quickly, a little panicky, trying to sound casual about it.

Niall squeezed my hand. “To be fair, I’ve been pretty out of it since September, too,” he smiled, nudging my shoulder and smiling at Bec. Before I could stop him, he’d swiped his card and paid for the shopping, and grinned as I glared at him.

“We’re stopping for a milkshake, then, and I’m paying,” I muttered, poking his ribs. “Are you working on Tuesday?” I asked Bec, who nodded and looked excited at the fact. “We’ll have lunch together.”

“Yes, we definitely will,” Bec wriggled her eyebrows at me and stepped around her checkout to hug me. Niall hugged her too and we left, smiling and waving, and when Niall wasn’t watching she pointed at me and mouthed the word ‘details’. Making sure nobody was watching, I discreetly flipped her off and she laughed, shaking her head. This was the usual interaction between us- completely mocking but totally joking.

“She’s gonna interrogate you, isn’t she?” Niall grinned, and I nodded.

“I’ll manage,” I replied dryly. “So, um, next month- I’m gonna need to get time off. How long were you planning on kidnapping me?”

“It’s not kidnapping if you’re willing,” Niall retorted, following me to the courtesy desk where my supervisor was working. “How long do you wanna stay? Personally I’d love you to stay forever.”

I rolled my eyes, but felt my stomach flip over in delight. “Unreasonable,” I replied, bumping his hip with mine.

“Pity,” Niall muttered, his face a little upset before he shrugged. “A month? A week before the Brits, three weeks after- we’re filming the video for the singles, so we’re technically rounded in the UK.”

“Sounds good,” I grinned. Niall hung back while I booked the time off, running into a bit of trouble but digging myself out of it by promising to work double shifts and six days instead of five in the lead-up to my leaving. My bones ached at the thought of the extra work but at the same time, the more spending money the better. Niall and Louis had offered to pay for our flights, but I planned on paying half now and then the rest back as soon as I could.

Back in the car, Niall stopped me from driving off with a hand covering the gear lever, and as I looked up to ask him what was wrong, his fingertips brushed over my cheek. “I can’t wait to show you around,” he smiled, and instead of replying out loud, I closed the distance and kissed him.


Louis and Laura were waiting outside when we got home, both sitting on the outside loveseat. Louis was engrossed in a book and Laura had her Kindle, her feet in his lap and smiles on both their faces. They didn’t even look up when we pulled up and Niall grabbed his phone to snap a picture.

“Aw, they’re so cute,” I cooed, following Niall through the front door. Neither of them looked up but I heard Laura say something; inside the door, I stopped short, staring in amazement at my transformed lounge room. Our Christmas lights were strung up around the walls and criss-crossed from the light fixture in the middle of the ceiling, hanging down and twinkling like stars. The lounge had been pushed up against the window and every single pillow and blanket we owned was on the floor, creating a sort of nest of blankets underneath the indoor stars. The TV was set up and the coffee table was set for four, fake candles burning and everything.

“Holy shit,” I breathed, blinking to wash away the sights.

“Louis did good, didn’t he?” Laura asked beside me, as I jumped and nodded, still stunned speechless. “He practically locked me in my room for half an hour.”

“Worth it,” I mumbled, feeling the shopping bags leave my hand as someone took them. I stared for a minute or two longer before yanking myself away and joining the others in the kitchen. It wasn’t big enough for four people to occupy and it didn’t take long for Louis to get bored and start throwing raw rice in Laura’s hair. She started flicking the chocolate pudding mixture at his face… and I shooed them both out before they made a mess.

Niall held his hands up innocently when I turned to him, wooden spoon held like a sword, and I grinned as he stood and started being actually helpful.

It didn’t take me long to make the dinner, and within ninety minutes, the four of us were sitting in Louis’ blanket fort with bowls of chicken risotto, carbonara and the chocolate pudding waiting in the fridge. Laura started the movie- Final Destination- and grinned at me when I groaned.

“Yes, I did pick all horror movies,” she answered my unasked question.

Glaring, I shuffled away from the TV to half-hide behind Niall. “Of course you did.”

“Hey,” Niall mumbled, so quietly it was clear what he was about to say was only for me. “Food and cuddles, remember?”

If anything could make me feel better about a night of horror movies, it was that.

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