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).

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25. Kate's POV

The house was lonely and quiet. I’d never really had it all to myself for so long before- a night or two, maybe, or a few hours during the day, but never an entire week. At first I sort of thrived in it, playing the music I knew Laura would roll her eyes at as loud as I could and taking a two hour bath. As the time rolled on and I started getting hungry, I found myself staring blankly at the fridge as the realisation that I could have anything floated into my brain. For once, I didn’t feel like cooking and I grabbed the stack of take-out leaflets and headed for Laura’s room to ask her what she wanted… until I realised she wasn’t there.

The realisation that I was well and truly alone sent me on a spiral of misery that ended with me watching Sherlock with pizza and ice-cream until 2am. The upside to this was I could shout at the telly like they could hear me and not have anyone make snippy remarks on my sanity- there was nothing wrong with me, thank you- and fall asleep on the couch without being told I was being lazy.

I spent the week in much the same fashion, missing my best friend and preparing for the day I’d also fly out of Australia. I’d done the journey before- last year to visit my great-uncle- so knew what to expect, which made the actual packing so much easier. Other than packing and moping, I spent most days at work and acting like I wasn’t the girl who’d been spotted with Niall Horan. My colleagues knew the truth of course and snickered when I’d claim to be someone else and then say something like “she looks like a bit of an idiot really”.

Two days after she’d left, Laura sent me a video of surprising Louis. It started with her huddled into a jumper in the snow outside his parents’ house, on Christmas Eve. Jay opened the door and gave her a hug- they were good friends already, I figured, glad that things had worked out well in that sense- before the two walked into the lounge room. Louis was buried under his sisters and playing Mario Kart, and didn’t look up until Jay cleared her throat.

“Laura’s sent you a present too, Louis. It’s just arrived,” Jay announced. Louis’ head whipped around and his eyes were wide, excited… and Laura stepped out from behind his mother. I swear there were literal tears in his eyes as he jumped over the coffee table and tackled her onto the couch, both of them screaming with laughter. “Happy Birthday!” Jay shouted, and the video ended with Laura shooting the thumbs up at the camera- held, I now realised, by Lottie. It made me miss her more than strictly necessary, but I was delighted that her surprise had gone well.

Aside from the video, I didn’t really talk to anyone other than my family; we all met up in my hometown for lunch, and for Mum to lecture me again to not talk to strangers and please explain why you’ve been unofficially dating a celebrity without telling me?

Yeah. That conversation wasn’t exactly comfortable… and ended with me leaving the lunch early to retreat back home. Mum herself wasn’t the problem, she was wary but excited for me, but my Dad had never really been the supportive type and always found the right buttons to push to have me pissed off in seconds. He always knew just what to say to cut my self-esteem at the knees and never had a problem in actually saying it. Hence why I’d moved out at 19.

Anyway. The day of my departure arrived, and I spent the morning of it at work for a final three-hour shift, then cleaning the house and doing a sweep to make sure I’d packed everything and turned off all the power. One of my workmates promised to look in every now and then to make sure everything was alright, and with my final sweep completed, I drove my car into the garage and dropped the keys into my carry-on bag. The taxi I’d ordered pulled up just ten minutes later; the drive to the airport was spent with me reassuring my mother that I’d be fine and no she didn’t need to book an emergency trip to London to chaperone.

Before I knew it, I was giving Adelaide a goodbye glance from a plane window, my heart hammering in my chest as excitement and homesickness washed over me. In less than twenty four hours, I’d be back with my best friend and- more excitingly- with Niall.

After four hours in the air, I was asleep with a smile on my face, and blonde, blue-eyed Irishmen ruled my dreams.

-[-]-

Dubai Airport had to be undisputedly one of my favourite locations in the world. It was huge, for starters, and bustling like New York City even at 5am local time. I had four hours to kill, though half of that would be spent waiting in queues. The shopping here was fabulous but I avoided most of it; anything I brought I’d have to carry and my handbag was heavy enough with all the miscellaneous chargers and paperwork I’d crammed into it at Adelaide. Despite myself, I browsed the sparkling jewellery stores and inwardly died at the price tags, before skipping on to the booze and grinning when I spotted some names I knew from home. My final stop was food, glorious food, and I bypassed McDonalds for something a little more exotic- they had a Shwarma Palace!

I’d been dying to try it since I’d seen the Avengers (shameless nerd-girl here!) and the smells wafting out the door had me hooked already. With my food balanced on one arm, I curled up in a booth in the corner to eat, and was not disappointed. No wonder Tony Stark wanted some; it was bloody delicious. I was even tempted to get some more, and probably would have if I hadn’t noticed the lack of time I had to get back through customs before my connection left.

As it was, I had barely enough time to make a side-trip to Starbucks and find the appropriate gate. This flight was only a seven-hour one and for the first time I utilised the in-flight wifi to log onto twitter. I’d never felt weirder than I did tweeting from 30,000ft, but it was a brilliant feeling that sort of made my stomach feel all light and fluttery.

The realisation that the flight-tracker with its’ little ‘countdown to destination’ was practically a ‘countdown until Niall’ made me grin like a moron and whittle away the time tweeting at Laura. She’d probably be sick of my username by now, but I couldn’t care less.

@stillsassmasta I’ve just left Dubai. Shwarma is excellent #callmetonystark #kateisannoying

@stillsassmasta I’m currently somewhere above an ocean. Can’t see shit for clouds. #whiteout #kateisannoying

@stillsassmasta Clouds gone. Ocean is blue. #nowyouknow #kateisannoying

@stillsassmasta I CAN SEE THE GROUND HOLY COW BATMAN WE ARE HIGH AS A KITE #notreally #kateisannoying

@stillsassmasta Apparently that’s Germany below. Guten tag! #germany #kateisannoying

@stillsassmasta Is it snowing in London? Coz it’s white as paper in Luxembourg #snow #kateisannoying

@stillsassmasta Should I ask if I can get off early to visit Paris? #paris #kateisannoying

@stillsassmasta Flight attendant said no L #damn #kateisannoying

@stillsassmasta I GOT THE WORST SEAT ON THE PLANE MY LEGS ARE NUMB MY BACK’S IN PAIN #arrogantworms #kateisannoying

@stillsassmasta WE. ARE. OVER. THE. ENGLISH. CHANNEL. #hellyes #kateisannoying

@stillsassmasta Flight attendant just found my Nytol. Suggested I sleep the last 3 hours. #amithatbad #kateisannoying

@stillsassmasta WE’RE LANDING IN AN HOUR HELL YES #gonnakisstheground #kateisannoying

@stillsassmasta pic.twitter.oaz70 Long line is long #deadonmyfeet #helpme

@stillsassmasta just got randomly selected for drug test. Positive for caffeine #noshitsherlock #notarrested

Emerging from the Customs line was the best feeling in the world and I grabbed my suitcase with a sigh of relief, heading for the open doors and freedom outside Heathrow. I hadn’t spotted any crowds of rabid fangirls and assumed Niall was playing it safe and keeping himself out of sight- but I hadn’t spotted Laura either, which made me slightly nervous. I did hope she hadn’t completely forgotten me while she’s been playing celebrity over here- I’d seen the pictures on her twitter feed, and seen them reblogged a million times on tumblr, and the trend ‘#shiploura’ had been in Australia’s top ten for the last week.

I wondered if my name would appear on twitter like that. How would my name and Niall’s be combined? Kiall? Nate? I’d ask him. Maybe we could pick a name before the fans did. Mind, whomever had picked ‘Loura’ did a good job. It was nice. Loura Thomplinson? I’d ask them, too. Shipping names made me happy.

“Kate!”

The shout made me cringe and turn, inwardly praying I wasn’t about to be attacked by anyone I didn’t know. The chances were small but there’d been pictures of Niall and me online; I had no idea if people had seen them enough to memorise my face.

“Thank god,” I muttered, throwing my hands up in the air as Laura sprinted my way. I’d learned not to try and meet her halfway, because that would result in both of us on the floor, and I didn’t feel like getting horizontal anytime soon. “LAURA!”

“KATE!” she screamed in my ear, tackling me so hard I stumbled back a few steps, laughing my head off all the same. “Oh my god how was your flight? This week has been insane! Niall’s in the car waiting for us and Louis drove- he didn’t break the car this time, it’s his mum’s BMW, you’re gonna love it, it’s been snowing for the last three days and what the hell were you doing on twitter?”

I blinked, trying to get my jet-lagged brain in gear to translate her super-speed-talk, and finally cleared my throat before pointing at Starbucks. “Coffee,” I said, marching off as Laura followed me. “The flight was long, I’ve seen the pictures on twitter, not the silver BMW, I’ll honestly cry if it is, yay snow! And I was annoying you, didn’t you read the hashtag?” I replied, having to take a deep breath once I’d finished and turned to order my coffee. Laura already had a frappe in her hands- madwoman, it was snowing and single-digit weather outside and she’s drinking ice?!- so I simply took my macchiato and started following her to the car.

“It is the silver BMW by the way,” Laura replied, and I nearly choked on my coffee in delight. “I promised Jay you wouldn’t turn into Clarkson, though.”

“Fuck,” I muttered, already planning how I’d sweet-talk my way into the driver’s seat. “Can I be James May?”

“And drive at ten miles all the way through London?” Laura replied; I inwardly laughed at how easy the word ‘miles’ slipped out, as if she’d been using it for years. Someone spent far too much time watching British YouTuber’s- and I thought I was bad, with my Sherlock obsession.

“It’s London, we’d be lucky to hit ten miles,” I replied, and Laura snorted with laughter as she nodded, scowling slightly. “You know what they say about fast drivers. They don’t live in England!”

“That’s from Vine,” Laura scoffed, and I just shrugged; it may have been, but it was no less true. I’d seen the traffic conditions last time I’d been a tourist here, and wasn’t planning on driving in London if I could help it. Let the cabbies do it; and the Tube was brilliant, anyway. “So, we’re going out to dinner tonight, at Bella Italia. Niall said it was your favourite?”

“One of,” I added, scouring the car-park for a familiar face. “Slug N Lettuce is also particularly good.”

Laura rolled her eyes and shuddered a little at the name; I made a mental note to take her there. I had a particular desire to try their cocktails, no matter how expensive they were. “Anyway, we’re going out at seven. Did you bring any dressy things?”

“It’s three degrees out,” I replied with a dry laugh. “I brought jackets, jackets, and thermal socks.” Laura rolled her eyes and I shoved her gently, my head whipping around as a sharp whistle split the silence and echoed through the car park. Four rows over, a pair of familiar boys were bouncing in excitement and the moment they saw us, one of them took off running like a shot.

Laura grabbed the handle of my suitcase and caught my handbag when I dropped it. I couldn’t help but run too, like an invisible magnet was pulling me blindly towards him. Niall jumped over the bonnet of a Skoda, stumbling a little before regaining his feet and stopping still to catch me as I reached him and skidded to a stop, just half a foot of space between us.

“Hi,” he breathed, eyes wide and almost disbelieving as he reached for my hand.

“Hi yourself,” I replied, and flung my arms around his neck. I felt his laugh more than heard it as he hugged me back, so tight I could barely breathe, though that might have had more to do with the tears on my face than the tightness of his hold. If I was honest, I’d adore it if he never, ever let me go again. “I missed you,” I mumbled into his collar, snuggling closer as the wind chilled the moisture on my face.

“Me too,” Niall muttered, his lips fluttering over my pulse point. “So much, you have no idea.”

I thought of the lonely week I’d spent on my own, lazing on the couch and staring at pictures of him on tumblr, just like I had before I’d known him, and recalled the aching in my chest with every moment we were apart. I’d never, ever, fallen so hard and fast for someone before and the words played on my lips, the three words I’d never meant as much as I did when I thought of him… “I think I do,” I said instead, pushing Those Words away into some deep corner of my heart. Now was not the time for them, not yet.

“Oi, lovebirds!” Louis shouted, breaking us apart. The hug felt like it had lasted for hours- and God, did I wish it had- but he was just shutting the boot on my suitcase and heading for the driver’s seat. The silver BMW was indeed the car of choice and I laughed, stroking my hands over the paintwork as I slid into the back seat with Niall. “Alright, Kate?” Louis asked from the front, and I chuckled as I leaned forward to awkwardly hug him from behind, kissing his cheek in a friendly manner.

“Alright,” I replied, falling back in my seat and blushing like a fourteen-year-old with a crush when Niall’s fingers threaded through mine. Better now, I thought, and gave him the most genuine smile I could muster.

Although he didn’t say a word, I could see his reply as plain as day on his face.

Me too.

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