Steal a Kiss

Charlotte has a past.

Hadley doesn't quite know what to do with her future.

But the two friends since middle school always seem to know how to get through everything.

Charlotte takes a leap and takes a job as One Direction's stylist that will bring her face-to-face with a past lover, while Hadley decides to leave college altogether and join her best friend on tour, despite the secret she's harboring that could ultimately ruin their friendship.

Will the girls be able survive the strain and struggle of broken trust and instant fame, or is all that will remain stolen kisses?

*Hadley written by Lexie Spencer (Official1DLuv), Charlotte written by Haley Randolph. Check out the story, here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/9563703-steal-a-kiss*

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5. Two- Hadley

 


H a d l e y

Time was frozen.

There was no doubt in my mind of this latest revelation, as I furiously tapped my pencil against the desktop. The petite brunette sat next to me glared, before noticing the light reflected off my ring and going wide-eyed. She stared at it for several minutes, the familiar look of envy plainly visible in her brown eyes. I'll admit it was an extravagant ring, but it was given to me for all the wrong reasons. I knew I could not ever love it as much as the student beside me did, and for a brief moment I wished our lives were swapped. Everything would be easier if you could just change your life at your every whim.

At the sound of the professor’s dismissal, I quickly gathered all my scattered materials and rushed out of the hall as quickly as possible. I did not retain any information from the lecture; the professor's voice was so monotone I could not focus, and the topic was just as insipid. University was boring.

Going to uni had always been in my future; not attending a prestigious academy was simply out of the question. To my parents, the idea of me not furthering my education at one of the top schools in the world was as preposterous as showing up at a black-tie event in a hot pink gorilla costume. They wanted only the best for their daughter, their only child, hence why I was studying pre-law at Cambridge University.

But not for much longer.

My mind was made up, and I would not suffer through this dull, endless cycle any longer. I couldn’t. I didn’t know how my parents would react to my dropping out, but I felt no rush to inform them of the news. No rush whatsoever.

"Hadley? Hadley Charmaine?" A faintly recognizable voice called out, halting my exit from the admissions office.

Slowly, I turned around, wondering who could recognize me and what they would want.

"Yes?" I greeted politely, forcing my nicest fake smile to stay intact, despite my lips twitching with the urge to face downward. It was a smile I was frighteningly familiar with; it was a smile I have used countless times on my parents colleagues.

All pretenses dropped and a true grin bestowed my lips once I caught sight of the familiar dyed hair running towards me.

"Roxanne?" I said, confused and surprised to see my old friend here at Cambridge University. Unlike myself, Roxanne was never headed on the path to a higher education. While I enjoyed having fun, Roxanne was twice the partier I ever was.

"In the flesh, baby," Roxanne joked, winking while reaching forward to pull me in for a hug.

"It's been so long; I haven't seen you in forever! What brings you here? Are you studying?" I inquired, knowing full well that Roxanne possess the intelligence to be accepted to whatever school she desires, but lacks the drive; the ambition. It's not as if I possess much ambition either, though, in all honesty. I did just drop out of University.

"Oh, god no," Roxanne snorted, shaking her head. "I'm dating one of the professors here," she added, casually picking at her nails.

"What?" I cried out, picturing my professors in my head - all of which are at least forty or older - and cringing at the thought of being romantically involved with any of them.

"God, get over yourself, Hads. I'm not actually dating a professor... well, not anymore anyways," she confessed, causing my eyebrows to raise, although I shouldn’t have expected anything less. Same old Roxy.

"But seriously, my new stepdad is a professor here. I was just dropping something off for my mom. She's on her third husband now, you know," Roxanne rambled, rolling her eyes. Mrs. LeBleu had always struggled in the romance department.

"She keeps asking me when I'm going to bring home a ring for myself, but I'm still so young, you know? I can't imagine limiting myself to one man at this age..." Roxanne drifted off, catching me trying to subtly remove my ring.

"Oh, Hadley, you're not... Are you?" Roxanne gasped, her eyes widening dramatically.

"What?" I questioned, shaking my head in confusion.

Roxanne motioned towards my stomach, forming a baby bump with her hands, and it all clicked into place.

"No, I-" I began to defend myself, but Roxanne cut me off.

"But you're still so impossibly thin! And to think that everyone thought I would be the one to get knocked up, ha. How far along are you?" she questioned, eyeing my figure.

"Roxanne, I'm not pregnant!" I exclaimed, earning looks from random passerby.

But what if my parents do expect Evan and I to have children? It was bound to happen sooner or later in our marriage. Just the mere thought of it was enough to make me sick. I absolutely adored kids, but I couldn’t comprehend the thought of being responsible for another life. Not now. Not even soon.

I knew that night would be sleepless for me; I'd be tormented by these fears that Roxanne unknowingly planted in me.

"Oh, good. I was worried I would have to murder someone," Roxanne sighed, visibly relaxing.

"Just know that you can always come to me if you need anything. I'm always here for you," she offered, smiling at me. She could truly be an amazing friend when the situation called for it. I would know.

"Of course, Rox, but I'm not, and nor do I plan on being anytime soon, pregnant. I am in a bit of a predicament however," I confessed, explaining everything to her, beginning with my arranged marriage and ending with my dropping out.

"Don't worry, babe, we can handle this. The Dream Team is back in business,” Roxanne concluded, raising her thin arm for a fist bump.

Somewhat reluctantly, I touched my fist to hers and knew that as our knuckles collided, a new chapter of my life had already begun…

"I'm freezing my ass out here," Roxanne complained with a shiver, ruining my moment of self-enlightenment.

"Alright, alright, let's go inside someplace and get something warm to drink," I relented, hiking my bag up my shoulder and preparing to leave. I tightened my own coat around my waist, suddenly feeling the bitter winter air for all it's worth and wanting to escape it.

"Something… alcoholic?" Roxanne asked with a smirk.

"Sure," I said with a laugh, smiling at my insane friend.

"Perfect, I know just the place," Roxanne replies, grinning back at me. I allow Roxanne to hook my arm in hers and lead me down the street, not once looking back at the university I just left behind.

* * *

"That was crazy," Roxanne mumbled drowsily, her head falling limp on my shoulder.

"You're crazy," I responded without hesitation, propping the half-conscious girl up as I rummaged for her keys to open the front door of her flat. Grinning triumphantly, I held up the key and unlock the door, grateful to get Roxanne's dead weight off me.

It was just getting dark out, and when Roxanne heard about my predicament she immediately offered for me to stay with her until I gathered the nerve to face my parents. At first, I adamantly refused, not wanting to be a bother, but in typical Roxanne style she was insistent and broke me down until I finally agreed. Arrangements were made. Now I was here.

"Oh, for Jesus sakes, Jerry. What the hell are you doing here?" Roxanne demanded, rolling her eyes at the older man clad in a robe standing in front of us.

"Roxanne-"

"Not tonight, Jerry. Maybe another time," Roxanne cut him off, stumbling past him without another word.

"Roxanne, I thought you said you were joking about the professor," I hissed, eyeing the older man warily. Subconsciously, I moved to pull the hem of my dress down, despite the tights I was wearing underneath.

"Chill, Hads, he's just my cheap-ass neighbor who never has hot water at his own apartment, because he's too lazy to pay his bills. Sometimes when I'm feeling nice, I let him take a shower here. Today is not one of those days," Roxanne explained, her face pale, before promptly running to the toilet Jerry just exited and disposing the contents of her stomach.

Awkwardly, I offered a small smile to Jerry- who I then realized did not have the appearance typical of a professor at Cambridge, or anywhere, really- as he sullenly made his way to the door. He swung the door open, still in nothing but his robe, and came face to face with a tall guy who appeared to be around our age, if not a year or two older.

"He is my boyfriend," Roxanne informed me, popping her head out  of the toilet for a second before quickly retreating.

The boy- Roxanne's boyfriend- pushed his dark brown hair out of his face, smirking down at me.

"Hi, I'm Liam."

"Hadley," I said, with a nod of my head. "Nice to meet you.”

"So, you're the famous Hadley, huh? I've heard a lot about you," Liam smirked, looking me up and down with a quirked eyebrow, as if sizing me up to see if I matched his expectations of me.

"Please, you're the famous one here," I said with a laugh, recognizing Liam from his various ads. Roxanne was dating a male model.

And I can see why he is one, I thought to myself, noting the sharp lines of his face and how the thin white t-shirt strained against his muscles. Not overly bulky, but toned enough to see the strength he held.

"Sure, my face might be around town, but from what Roxanne recalls, you're loaded," Liam said, moving out of the doorway to settle on the couch. Propping his feet on the coffee table in front of him, he leaned back and placed his hands behind his head.

Yup, definitely muscular.

"My parents are 'loaded', not me," I informed him.

Jerry made a sound in the corner of the room, startling me as I remembered that he has yet to leave.

"Leave the poor girl alone, Jerry," Liam scolded, shaking his head with a grin on his lips. "I'll see you later, dude," he continued, dismissing his admittedly slightly-creepy neighbor.

"Dude?" Roxanne suddenly scoffed, her head peeking out from the bathroom once again. "How many times do I have to remind you that you are not American," she rolled her eyes, emphasizing the last words.            

"Sorry, babe, I just wanted to be like you for once," Liam replied, a teasing glint in his eyes.

Roxanne was born in America- New York to be specific- and moved to England when her mother met her first boyfriend since the divorce. The short-lived relationship ended badly, but her mother decided to stay in the UK rather than relocating once again. Roxanne had lived here and been one of my closest friends ever since. Her brother, Brandon, was in his first year of med school at a university in America. Roxanne was, no doubt, the "black sheep" of her family.

I may have been an only child, but compared to my other relatives, I felt as if we had that in common.

"Shut up," Roxanne groaned, slumping against the door-frame. "I have not had a night like tonight in a while," Roxanne said, but her face was not as ashen as before, and she looked a bit better overall.

"Babe, you went out last night," Liam said, smirking. He did that a lot.

"That is beside the point," Roxanne huffed, standing up and grabbing her toothbrush. Liam got up after her, moving to stand behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist, grinning down at her.

"Then what is the point?" he asked, leaning down to give Roxanne a quick peck on the cheek, and in that moment, I knew he was completely and utterly in love with my best friend.

Here Roxanne was, looking worse for wear and just generally ill, yet Liam had no hesitation in being around her; kissing her, even. He may have tried to play the tough guy, but I could see through his facade.

I was genuinely happy for Roxanne; I was so so glad she had found someone who could treat her the way she deserved to be treated, but yet I still felt a pang in my chest.

I could act out and behave outrageous every once in a while, but in the end I’d always be weighed down with expectations and regulations.

I was jealous.

"Hadley? Hadley!" Roxanne shouted, snapping her fingers in my face.

"You zoned out for a minute, there, Hads. I was just getting ready to show you where you'll be staying," Roxanne said, now looking refreshed as she leaned her back against Liam's chest.

"We have a guest room you can sleep in, the bed is already made and everything," Liam informed me, smiling.

"Thank you," I chirped, following them down the hallway to my room. Quickly surveying the medium sized room, I placed my suitcase on my bed and turned to face the happy couple.

"I honestly cannot thank you two enough for letting me stay here," I said.

"It's no problem, Hads. I'm glad to have my main girl back. Now get some sleep, we have a big day tomorrow," Roxanne winked, closing the door behind hers and Liam's retreating figures.

I moved my suitcase off the bed and placed it on the floor in the corner of the room. The rest of my possessions would be delivered to me once I found a stable place to live. Making a promise to myself that I would begin searching for flats tomorrow, I changed into my pyjamas and crawled into bed.

I was restless for a while, not used to the new bed I was lain on, but soon enough fell into a deep - and relatively peaceful - sleep.

Everything would be alright. 

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