I grimace and rub my stomach, feeling particularly nauseous after the flight.
“Harry I think I'll be sick,” I mumble, looking at the green-eyed boy worriedly. He frowns, looking around. There's a crowd of people surrounding us, all people who'd boarded the plane with us,
“I'm guessing you don't want to throw up in front of everybody huh?” he enquires, trying to add a little humour to the situation without much avail. I shake my head negatively.
“Can I go to the bathroom please?” I beg, still holding my tummy,
“If you go, I can't go with you,” he objects.
“Then stay right by the door... But Harry please,” I whimper, knowing I'd hurl any second now.
He nods and takes my arm, noticing the urgency.
“We'll be right back,” he tells the other boys before helping me to the closest women's bathroom as quickly as possible. He lets go of me once we reach the door. I run inside and head for the first available stall I see, I drop to my knees and grab the edge of the toilet seat, feeling bile rise rapidly up my throat. I bend over and empty my stomach. I can't help the tears as I hold myself over the toilet.
Hands pull my hair away from my face, holding it behind my head. Shit. What is Harry doing in here?!
“Harry go-” I'm stopped by another wave of nausea, followed by more throwing up.
“Nope. Not your Prince charming. But close enough,” Anne's voice sighs behind me, still holding my hair. I'm surprised to see her there. After what I'd put her through following my secret discussion with our father, father whom she trusted would've gotten her out as soon as he could, I thought she wouldn't even want to look at me. And I wouldn't blame her. Better to be alone with yourself than surrounded by people who won't hesitate to backstab you when they feel like it.
I throw up one final time before I begin crying, crumbling down on the disgusting bathroom floor. She rapidly pulls me up and out of the stall, flushing the toilet with her foot. “Come on Soph. Get a hold of yourself. Are you crying because you hurled?” she enquires worriedly, looking into my eyes.
I nod, rubbing my eyes with the back of my hand.
“I'm fine,” I mumble. “Throwing up does that to me. I just can't help crying,” I trail on, a small pitiful laugh escaping my lips. “I'm a ridiculous mess,” I shake my head, looking at my teary-eyed reflection in the bathroom mirror. I get numerous looks from the other women washing their hands but I ignore them.
“How are you feeling now?” Anne questions, paying no attention to my rambling.
“I'm...” I pause, the nausea I had barely a minute ago, gone, “good.”
“Really?” my twin frowns, giving me a quick, dubious look over.
“Yeah I'm much better,” I insist, also surprised.
“Here,” she hands me a piece of gum from a pack in her pocket.
I nod and take it in my palm, washing my mouth once with the tap water before shoving the small piece in my mouth. The taste of mint fills my mouth pleasantly.
Anne's gaze is analytical once I turn back around to thank her.
“You don't have motion sickness huh? You don't usually get sick in cars and on planes?” she enquires, her frown deepening.
“No... This is a first,” I admit. There's a long pause.
“Sophie, I really don't want to probe into your business here, but have you been careful with the boys?” she asks worriedly. It's my turn to frown.
“Condoms Sophie,” she provides, slightly distressed.
It's like I’m hit by a brick. I wobble backwards. Anne is quick to hold me in a steady grip but I'm in a haze. I look down to my stomach, then back up to my sister's face.
“It's just a theory Soph,” she reassures quickly. “I'm probably wrong alright? But it's―”
“A possibility,” I end, the truth dawning on me: I had sex without protection with both Harry and Niall. Oh my God. “Shit! Shit, shit, shit―”
“Hey there's no point in panicking right now,” Anne intervenes swiftly. “We're not sure yet. Like I said, I'm probably wrong. It could’ve been a simple stomach bug or something else that caused your nausea but there's no way for us to be certain that you're pregnant.”
The bathroom is practically empty now, everyone gone quickly following my vomiting.
“The only way to be sure would be to buy a pregnancy test. Which we can't do because the boys are watching us like hawks,” she continues. “Unless you want to ask them to fetch one―”
“No way. Not happening. No need to worry them about that if it's only a hunch.”
“So what? You're simply going to wait and cross your fingers, hoping you won't show? Hoping your belly won't grow abnormally big? Sophie-”
“I don't have another solution!” I declare, distressed. She stares at me, biting her lip.
“I do,” she sighs. “Ask Louis to fetch the test. He'll go.”
I look at her incredulously.
“You want me to ask Louis.”
“I think he's the only one who'd react appropriately to this demand. Besides, he needs someone to talk to. He knows that he and the rest of the band don't have the same opinion about us so discussions have been tight.” I notice her voice is straining to stay steady. “He's lost the brotherly bond that kept him animated. And I well I-I-I can't bring myself to talk to him anymore either.” My heart wrenches painfully as I watch my sister break down in front of me. “I can't stand to look at him anymore Soph. All I see when I look at him is a rapist and I loathe it. I can still feel his hands on me and I'm sickened,” she sniffs, fat tears rolling down her cheeks. “I'm sickened because just the night before, these same hands seemed unable to harm me,” she sobs, her whole body shaking.
I watch helplessly as the repercussions of Zayn's unholy demands unfold violently before me. Knowing nothing I would say would erase the very vivid images which were undoubtly clouding her mind, I step up to her and wrap my arms around her quivering body, hugging her with all the love I can muster. She returns the hug, digging her face into my neck. I start crying once more, caught in her emotions.
“I know Zayn wanted you to feel alone but you aren’t okay?”
“Dad left me. You left me. Louis did even worse...” Her teary eyes meet mine. “I’m alone.”
“I'm sorry for your father,” I mumble sadly. “If he would've had come for you at Ellen's, I would've let him leave with you. But he's an ass Anne. He doesn't deserve to have you defending him all the time. And you don't deserve to keep hoping for someone who clearly has other priorities than you,” I continue, squeezing her. We break the hug softly, both of us wiping our tears with the back of our hand. “You're my priority from now on alright? I'm going to help you escape the boys,” I decide. “You've always been on my side, now it's my turn to join yours. Okay?”
“Sophie―”Anne stops in mid-phrase, looking behind me. I turn around as Harry's head pops in the bathroom. His eyes meet mine urgently.
“Are you two almost done? Paul is absolutely furious: the cars have been waiting for us for twenty minutes and there’s a crowd forming around them.”
I shoot a rapid glance in Anne's direction.
“Yeah we’re good,” she supplies, any sign of previous crying gone. “Just finishing up,” she ends.
“Are you okay?” Harry enquires, wrapping one arm around my shoulder once we’ve stepped out of the bathroom. His hand reaches over and touches my stomach.
I flinch, reflexively pushing his hand off. I look up at him fearfully. Did he hear us? Does he know I may be pregnant?!
“Sophie?” The British boy frowns, worry creased on his forehead. He doesn't know.
“It hurts a little for some reason,” I lie, realising I’d panicked for no reason. “But yeah I’m much better.”
“Let’s head to the hotel and find you some painkillers,” he sighs, kissing the side of my head.
It was near eleven at night when we were all properly installed in yet another hotel suite. Due to the uneasy circumstances, Louis ended up sleeping on the couch in the living room whilst Liam slept in a sleeping bag beside Anne's bed, Niall and Zayn were alone and Harry and I shared a bed.
Harry proved to be a very caring lover that afternoon. He made some tea, gave me some painkillers and even asked to cuddle in front of the television. It was as if nothing had happened a couple of days ago, just like we had agreed. We avoided mentioning his drinking incident and opted to put it in the past. I didn't go into detail with my day with Niall either, knowing it'd piss him off more than anything.
When Harry finally fell asleep, I slipped under his arm and got of the bed, wanting to talk to Louis. Needing to talk to Louis. I knew there was no way I could sleep peacefully if I wasn't 100% certain that I wasn't pregnant.
“Lou,” I mumble, shaking his shoulder whilst the Doncaster boy snored softly on the couch. “Lou wake up,” I mutter, shaking him a little harder. He stirs awake slowly, blinking a few times.
“Soph?” he croaks, voice heavy with sleep. “Why are you awake?” he sits up carefully and rubs his eyes before his gaze focuses on me.
“I-I uh well...” My demand gets stuck in my throat, not so sure anymore if I should ask him to go fetch the test at the pharmacy after all. What if he reacts badly?
“Are you okay?” he probes.
“I'm fine,” I nod, playing with my fingers. “I had a favour to ask you.”
“Had as in you don't anymore or have as in you have one right now?” he enquires, emphasizing on each tense.
“Okay... What is it?” he questions, his eyebrows furrowing.
“I-I-I need to know how bad I messed up Lou,” I begin, looking around awkwardly.
I bite my lip, uneasy. What if he goes and rambles to the other boys? What will they say then?
“Soph,” he says, taking my hands into his, “I'm unable to emit any judgement regarding others following what I've done to Anne... So please, if I can do anything to make life better for you, I want to know,” he asks. I take a deep breath.
“I need a pregnancy test,” I whisper, shutting my eyes.
I can't help it, I start crying.
“I know it sounds bad-”
“Shhh love,” he coos, taking me into his arms. “No no no it doesn't sound bad at all,” he continues. “I was positive you were asking me to help you hide a body or something,” he reassures with a chuckle, rubbing my back. I sniff and hug him back. “But why are you crying love?”
“I don't know, because I'm scared and I'm ashamed I have to ask you this-”
“You shouldn't be ashamed or scared: it's not entirely your fault. Harry has never been cautious enough,” he says calmly, still rubbing my back in slow, soothing motions. “I'll go get the test alright?” he decides, breaking the hug and standing up. “I'll go get it right now and that way you'll be able to sleep peacefully tonight knowing that you were worried for nothing. Everything will be alright.”
I watch him as he puts some shoes on and grabs a key card from the counter.
“I'll be back in 15 minutes tops okay? You stay right there,” he finishes, shooting me one last smile before heading out.
“Told you he'd help,” Anne sighs, emerging from the shadows in her pj’s.
“How did you know?”
“He slid this on my lap on the plane today,” she continues, handing me a folded piece of paper. She takes a seat on the sofa across mine as I open it.
This must be the hundredth copy of this letter I've attempted to write for the past few days and I'm hoping this time I'll manage to make it sound right.
I know you want nothing do to with me. Heck, it’s a miracle if you even manage to read these lines without crumpling the whole thing into a ball and burning it. I wouldn't blame you for doing that. But if I'm lucky and you actually have the willpower to read this letter until the end, I swear to God I'm going to obey your every demand until the day I die. No matter the demand and the moment you make it. I'm not saying I'd kill for you, because then I'd be even more psychotic than I already am, but I'd try to make a mountain move if that's what you wanted. I'd quit the band. I'd stay out of your sight. I'd do anything. For you and your sister. It’s the very least I can do for the psychological and physical scars we’ve inflicted on the both of you.
That being said, I wanted to let you know how things are going to go tomorrow for your birthday and especially for your escape. I would've told you face to face but heaven knows you don't want to hear me talk. And again, I don't blame you. So here's the plan: I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen for you and Soph’s birthday tomorrow but something IS happening. I got a whisk of it from Harry last night. But as for tomorrow evening, both of you get to go to our show. You have first row tickets, closest thing to the stage possible due to Harry's demands. All you need to lookout for is the signal: the fireworks at the end of the concert. When they begin, I want you to be prepared. I've asked one of the security guards to take you at a special spot near the stage and close to an exit. He'll give you an envelope. Don't open it until you're out of the stadium. Niall and I will distract the others whilst you run.
Lastly, I just want you to know that I hate myself for scarring you. But please know that this was the last time I ever touched or even looked at you without your consent. You deserve someone who'll care for you more than they'll care about themselves and I've proven repeatedly that this isn't me. That this can't be me because of the other boys.
I'm truly sorry,
PS: The thing I cherish the most is in the envelope the security guard will give you. Please take good care of it because I’ve failed to do so.
I look up from the letter, glancing at my twin.
“He’s helping you get away?” I mumble, processing the thought.
“In L.A he promised he’d help,” Anne acknowledges as I hand the letter back to her. She slips it in her back pocket. “Want me to stay with you until we’re positive my theory was false?”
“Please,” I ask.
We wait for Louis’ return silently.
“What do you think is in the envelope he’ll give you?” I question after a couple minutes.
“I don’t know. Probably money,” she shrugs. But I know she doesn’t believe that. She knows Louis doesn’t cherish money the most.
Louis walks in the room a minute after, holding the small box that had the ability to appease my worry.
“Here,” he says, giving it to me, all while avoiding to even look in Anne’s direction.
“Thank you,” I whisper, hands shaking as I take it. “You won’t say anything to the others right?”
“If that’s what you want, then my mouth is sealed Soph,” he agrees gravely.
I head to the bathroom, Anne shadowing me. I read the instructions. Urine sample. Wait 5 minutes. Two lines I’m pregnant, and one I’m not. Simple enough.
Four minutes later, I’m pacing anxiously in the bathroom, waiting for the result. Anne’s right beside me, attempting to calm my nerves. I know Louis on the other side of the door, waiting for the both of us to return to our rooms before he can go back to sleep. My fists clench and unclench as I hope that Anne’s theory’s wrong and that I only had a moment of nausea earlier today.
The five minute mark strikes.
“You check it,” I tell Anne urgently. “I can’t do it.”
“Whatever the result Soph, everything will be okay,” she reassures, reaching for the test. “Promise me you won’t break down if it ends up positive,” she asks.
“It won’t,” I deny.
“I know. But promise me. Please.”
“I promise.” The words are sour in my mouth.
She looks at it and bites her lip.
“You’re pregnant,” Anne murmurs softly, her eyes meeting mine.
“No. No it can’t be,” I shake my head. “You’re lying.” My hands are trembling as I grab the pregnancy test. The two lines are clearly visible. “Oh my god.” Pregnant. My heart is racing; my emotions all over the place. I look down at myself, staring at my stomach. There’s a live being in there right now. And he’s my responsibility. His life is in my hands. The intensity of this revelation knocks me off my feet. I fall to the floor and hug my knees to myself. I start crying.
“Soph it’ll be fine―” Anne tries to calm me down but a pained hiccup escapes my lips.
“I’m pregnant Anne. Nothing is fine,” I sniff. “You know why? Because there’s a baby inside me and I don’t even know who his father is! It could be Niall or it could be Harry!”
“Shhh,” she says softly, sitting down beside me. I find myself imagining life with a child. My child. My heart skips a beat.
“Not only that, but I can’t raise him or her,” I realise, my hand on my stomach. “I can’t raise this baby. Not if I’m around the boys.” I start weeping. “Can you imagine raising a baby in our fucked up situation?! Oh God Anne,” I cry, taking my head in my hands. “I need to leave with you tomorrow. I have to. For the baby’s sake.”
“And for yours too,” Louis sighs, entering the bathroom. “I’m sorry I couldn’t help overhearing,” he continues looking at me. “Sophie you need to get away from us,” he persists, squatting down in front of Anne and I.
“Can you do that? Can you secure her escape too?” My twin asks Louis, taking to him for the first time in four days.
“I’ll see what I can do okay? It complicates things a bit but I’m pretty sure I can manage something with Niall’s help,” he nods, looking at her briefly before his gaze falls back on me.
“And you won’t tell anyone about my pregnancy? Ever?” I enquire, voice still shaking with sobs.
“Not until you ask me too,” he says.
I nod and hold my stomach, looking down at it. Love for this unborn baby invades me and I find myself caressing it softly.
“Don’t worry, little one. I’ll make sure you’re safe,” I mumble.