Numerous voices fill my ears as I sit nervously in Ellen DeGeneres’s studio, beside my twin. Luckily for the boys, Ellen had two spare seats. Unluckily for them, they were in the back, making an escape much more possible because we’re barely visible due to the poor lighting. I have a bad feeling about this.
I glance at my sister. She’s looking around us, almost anxiously.
“Anne?” I murmur. Her eyes meet mine. “You’re not going to try and run right?” I question. “They’ll think it’s my fault.”
“No I’m just looking around,” she supplies. “I’ve always wanted to come to one of Ellen’s shows and it’s strange to finally be here.”
“Really?” I frown.
Her declaration calms me down slightly. If she’s not going to run away, then I shouldn’t have any problems and Harry won’t be mad. Yet the nagging feeling doesn’t leave me alone.
The show finally starts and the boys take a seat on the couch beside Ellen. Harry’s gaze meets mine briefly. And so does Niall’s, Zayn’s Liam’s and Louis’s. But then their heads turn towards Ellen as she starts asking them about their tour, about their families and about how their life is going.
I lose track of what she says when the man beside me grabs my leg. His hands immediately clamps over my mouth as I open my mouth to shout.
“Don’t scream,” he spews angrily under his breath. The voice... I’ve heard it before. My head flips around to see the dark-dressed figure. He has a cap and sunglasses. It’s my father. My eyes grow big.
“Don’t think about doing anything too rash alright?” He whispers harshly. “I’m only here to talk.”
I turn to my sister but his hand latches on my arm, stopping me.
“Only to you.”
I look at my twin once more. She’s too engrossed on what’s going on the stage to even notice I’m talking with our father.
“You’re fucking crazy,” I declare, also whispering.
He rolls his eyes.
“I’m not the crazy one. Now stop looking at me, your boys are going to start suspecting something is off if you keep staring at me,” he warns lowly, facing forwards.
Every single cell of my body is begging me to yell, to tell Anne, to let the boys know, but I end up looking at him expectantly, then back at the show, ignoring the warning lights in my head.
“What do you want?” I seethe, crossing my arms over my chest. “Because if you’re here to take me away, I swear I’m making a scene,” I warn, looking at Harry. Mentally, I beg him to look over at me but he’s listening intently to what Ellen has to say.
“I’m here to strike a deal with you,” my father continues, still speaking quietly.
“I don’t trust you. You fucking drugged me and almost killed me,” I snarl as the studio laughs at Ellen’s sayings, including my sister.
“See those are good reasons for mistrust,” he acknowledges, looking at me briefly. “Why doesn’t Harry trust you?”
My heart clenches.
“I don’t know.”
“Hmm,” he nods, the shadow of a smile on his lips. My fists clench.
“Fuck you. I know what you’re trying to do and it’s not going to work. You won’t manage to lure me away from them,” I state firmly. “They love me. Harry loves me.”
“I’ll prove you they don’t really love you,” he counters.
Harry’s eyes meet mine briefly and he shoots me a smile, which I return. The lighting isn’t great so I doubt he sees it. He probably only knows I’m there.
“You don’t know a single thing about love, nor do you know a thing about how I’m treated,” I reply under my breath.
“I do know you were tied up backstage several times. You were also locked in their bus and in their hotel room. Tell me Soph, do you like the way you’re treated?”
“It’s all because of Anne,” I retort, feeling frustration build. “She can’t help giving them reasons not to trust us. It’s her fault,” I mumble, looking briefly at my sister to make sure she didn’t hear me. Her eyes are still glued to what’s happening in front of us.
“Is it really? Or is it because Harry is afraid to lose you? Afraid you’ll finally wake up and realize everything is terribly wrong?”
“He’s scared to lose me to somebody like you!” I shout. The studio roars in applause simultaneously, silencing my scream. Anne though, turns to look at me.
“Did you say something?” She questions, her brow furrowing in worry.
I shake my head, hiding our father with my body. “I was simply talking to myself,” I chuckle, turning my gaze back on the five boys. I feel her gaze on me for a few other seconds before her eyes also drift.
“I want you to try something tonight Sophie,” he says quietly. “From what I’ve heard, you’re all going to be going to a club for Zayn’s birthday, am I right?”
I don’t answer: I simply nod.
“Get Harry to drink tonight. Enough to be buzzed. Then, when you two go back to the hotel room, put some revealing sleepwear, but don’t let him touch you―”
“No,” I shake my head. “I’m not doing that. Mind your own fucking business.”
“Just test him,” he continues. “If he really does care for you like he says he does, he won’t go against what you want.”
“It won’t be fair. He’ll be drunk!” I seethe a little too loudly.
“Exactly. Drunken words speak sober thoughts dear,” he concludes, standing up. “I’ll be waiting for you and your sister when you’re finally thinking sanely,” he ends, leaving without another word. I watch him leave and scoff, looking back down at the boys in irritation.
“Sophie are you okay?” Anne enquires beside me, looking around us worriedly. “Is something wrong? You seem mad.”
“I’m great,” I huff, trying to calm myself a little. My father’s proposition seems to be engraved in my mind. “I just really need to go to the bathroom,” I lie.
“Then go? No one’s stopping you,” she remarks.
“The boys. I can’t go: they’ll panic if they notice I’m gone,” I grimace, the word ‘mistrust’ blinking in flashing red lights in my brain.
“Can you hold it for two minutes? It’s almost over,” she suggests.
I nod. It’s not like I truly wanted to go to the bathroom anyways. I just need to vent out my frustration because the whole situation is getting under my skin.
After the whole studio sang a happy birthday to Zayn, Ellen finally wraps it all up, thanking them for their visit and wishing them luck on their tour. Liam comes and fetches us from the back seats, taking us backstage where the other four boys currently waited.
“So? Did you like it?” he enquires as we walk.
“It was nice to finally be somewhat free,” my twin agrees. “Now Sophie here needs to go to the bathroom.”
“No I’m good―”
“Nonsense. We have a long road until the hotel. You need to go now,” Anne denies.
“I’ll take you,” the brunette proposes.
“I’m going too. Therefore, there’s no need for your gentlemanly accompaniment.”
“Anne, this isn’t a suggestion. I’m going with you,” Liam ends dryly. “I’m giving you seven minutes tops. I’m waiting right here,” he says, as he leads us in front of the women’s bathroom. Anne smiles sarcastically before she urges me inside.
“Wait,” she says, walking to the sink and opening the tap to let water run, dimming the sound of our talking.
“Anne I don’t have to go―”
“I bloody know that,” she responds, placing her hands on her hips. “But you’re not okay. I have no idea what went through your head during Ellen’s, but it didn’t seem too joyful.”
“I’m fine; I just let my mind drift.”
“You are not fine Soph,” she shakes her head. I stare at her blankly, still not saying a thing. “But alright. If you don’t want to talk to me, no problem. Just know that I’m always here for you okay? We’re on the same side.”
I nod and she sighs, shutting off the sink.
“I need to go to the bathroom for real though,” she points out, locking herself in a stall. Should I tell her about my discussion with Dad? No. She’ll say he’s right. But what if she’s really on my side...
“Thank you,” I mumble once she’s done her business and washing her hands. “For noticing my distress.”
“It’s no big deal,” she responds, shutting the tap shut and drying her hands. “I’m going to keep fighting for you Soph. I’m not giving up just yet.”
I smile and she smiles back.
“Come on. Liam will be waiting,” she finishes, squeezing my hand once before we both step out of the bathroom.
“You two ready?” Liam asks, looking at us briefly before returning his gaze on his phone. “When we get back at the hotel, you’ll have about an hour before we’re leaving for the club,” he informs, pushing himself off the wall.
“Where are the other four bozos?” my blonde replica enquires.
“Already waiting for us in the bus.”
“So what’s the plan for tonight?” Anne enquires once we’re back at the hotel.
“The plan is to get drunk and have fun,” Zayn answers, dropping down on the couch.
“You do know Sophie and I aren’t legal in the States, right?” she frowns.
“It’s not the first time we’re going to buy our way through bouncers...” Liam trails on.
“And what about clothes? Are we going to wear your sweat pants and a t-shirt again?”
“I have some clothes for tonight,” Harry supplies. “Dresses. I brought two in my suitcase for this very occasion.”
“And Sophie and I went to buy some underwear in Atlanta,” Niall adds. “You should be okay.”
“Good. So hand them over: we’re going to get changed,” she decides, taking all of us by surprise. Something about her attitude seemed off. Harry’s next words seem to show he’s noticed it too.
“What’s got you so happy?” he frowns. “You do know one of us is going to be by your side at all times right? It’s not because you’ve proven yourself today at Ellen’s that we’ll loosen our surveillance.”
“I know that,” she spews, her joyful mood disappearing rapidly. “I’m just glad we’re going out. It’s been awhile since I went dancing,” she retorts. “Now, dresses,” she demands, holding her hands out.
The curly-haired boy huffs and heads into our room, returning with a bag seconds later. He hands it over to me.
“There. You should have all you need,” he says. “The bag from Atlanta is in there too.”
“Thank you,” I smile. As Harry bends down to kiss me, Anne intervenes.
“Chop chop Soph!” she states, “We don’t have the time for this right now,” she continues, grabbing the bag and dragging me into the bathroom. She locks the door. Almost immediately someone knocks.
“You’re unlocking this right away!” Harry demands.
“You won’t be coming in Styles!”
“Doesn’t matter! I don’t want any doors to be locked!”
Anne rolls her eyes and does as asked, sending him the middle finger behind the door. I chuckle.
“Thank you!” he replies.
“Fuck you,” she grumbles under her breath, before emptying the bags contents on the floor. “We even have shoes and jewelry? Shit,” she states, incredulous. “So, what do you want to wear?” she questions, holding out two dresses.
“Oh I don’t mind,” I begin.
“Just pick one Soph.”
“The dark one,” I say after a moment of thought. She nods and hands it to me. I look at it longly before speaking. “Did you find Harry awkward in the bus?” I ask her quietly, placing the dress in front of my body.
“Not more than usual. Why?” she questions.
“I don’t know...We we’re cuddling on the couch and it felt weird.”
“Well if you omit the fact that you’re cuddling with your kidnapper...I don’t think it was that weird. You’re the only one who seems off.” She pauses. “Now that I think about it, Niall seems off too. Did you notice how he was acting at Ellen’s?” she whispers, face etched with worry. “Clearly, he had something on his mind too.”
It’s my turn to frown.
“Yeah. He had a blank face the whole time. Louis even had to shake him when it was his turn to answer because he wasn’t paying attention.”
“Talking about Louis, is there something going on between the two of you? Things seem tense since last night’s sleeping plans,” I counter, ill at ease with talking about Niall.
“There’s absolutely nothing going on between the two of us. He fucking shoved his dick into my mouth yesterday,” she grimaces. “And things aren’t tense. I just decided I would talk to him when it’s absolutely necessary,” she concludes, sliding into her cream dress. I blink as I take in her appearance. The cream dress fits her perfectly, the golden designs at the front of the dress gleaming. The dress is short, but not short enough to reveal her behind.
“How do I look?”
“I bet you’d look wow too in that dress,” she points out, motioning the marine fabric I still held between my fingers. I smile faintly. “Come on. I’ll help you prepare.”
After a little more than half an hour, both of us are ready, hair done, heels on and jackets in our hands because the weather is a little chilly. Harry wolf whistles once we step out. The boys are also changed into clothing that’s a little more formal, yet still appropriate to go clubbing.
“Love you’re breathtaking,” Harry says, walking over to me. “You’re perfect,” he mumbles. My eyes drift momentarily to Niall who’s sitting on the couch, tapping on his phone next to Zayn.
“Very nice indeed,” the darker boy approves. “Does the birthday boy get a special gift?” he continues, approaching my sister.
“In your dreams,” Anne scoffs, placing one hand on her hip.
Harry’s hand clasps mine.
“I love you,” he whispers in my ear. It’s then I decide to stop doubting him. My father is wrong about Harry. He’ll respect me no matter what state he’s in.
Our eyes meet.
“I love you too,” I reply, before be bends down to join our lips for a kiss.
Louis clears his throat and we pull away.
“Shall we go?”
“Great because this lovey dovey shit is boring,” Zayn scoffs, standing up. “It’s time to party. Hard.” That statement alone sends a warning to my brain, but I decide to ignore it.
Bright lights and loud music greet us once we arrive at the club. Just like Liam had predicted, Anne and I easily bypass the bouncer.
“Let’s go dance!” Harry whispers in my ear, hand gripping mine tightly. I follow him; fingers clenched between his like a life vest as I’m blinded by the lights.