“Thank you Memphis! You were amazing!”
The dimmed sound of cheers mingled with excited screams comes to my ears as I wake up slowly. Eyebrows pulled into a frown; I sit up slowly, opening my eyes to notice I’m in a dressing room. Wow. Déjà vu.
Shutting my eyes briefly, I take a deep sigh and stand up. My gaze lands on my sleeping twin sister. Laid on the couch, the ghost of a smile is drawn on her lips as she sleeps peacefully. I can’t help remarking that nothing is restraining her. Nothing is tying her down to the couch, yet both of us are alone. She could leave.
I take a step forward, my hand lifting to wake her but then I recoil. I bet Harry’s testing me. He wants to see if I can be trusted or not. He’ll persist with his overprotective measures if she gets away.
Exhaling loudly, I back away, regaining my initial seat. My gaze fixes on the clock in front of me. A minute passes, then two, then three, climbing up to 10. I try convincing myself I’m doing the right thing, moving uncomfortably as a pit forms at the bottom of my stomach. I need to show Harry he has nothing to worry about. My eyes shift between the changing numbers and my sister’s sleeping form. Guilt starts eating at me. She might’ve had the time to run away if I’d woke her up. I should wake her up. Maybe she still can―
The boys barge inside the dressing room as I stand up to wake my sister. Escape.
“Soph! You’re awake!” Harry cheers, his hair clearly sweaty from jumping up and down on stage. “We didn’t think it was right to wake you and your sister up when the bus
“And you stink,” I reply, the body odor of five men assaulting me at once. I grimace, holding my hand out to stop him from hugging me. He gives me a pouty face.
“You know what means, right boys?” Louis states, cocky his eyebrow upwards, a devilish smirk plastered on his face. Group hug!” he shouts.
“What no! Ahhh!” I shriek as the five boys suddenly jump on me, enveloping me into a massive embrace. “Eww eww eww!” I protest as their sweat drenched bodies press against mine. “Guys I can’t breathe!” I plea, giggling nonetheless as Harry nuzzles into my neck. “Mercy!” I laugh, pushing them away as much as I can.
A sharp knock at the door makes them freeze.
“Oi boys! No time for fooling around tonight! We have a plane to catch!” An angry voice yells from the other side of the door.
“We’ll be out in five!” Liam shouts back.
“Five minutes? Liam―”
“You heard me, five minutes to pack our stuff,” Liam cuts Louis’ whines. “Chop chop!” Reluctantly, the four boys stop hogging me, Harry staying latched on me the longest. The other four start picking up their belongings, Zayn, Niall and Liam shrugging out of their shirts and into comfortable sweaters
“What about Anne?” Louis enquires, looking at my slumbering sister. “Do we wake her?” He asks, his finger ghosting over the skin of her cheek.
Harry and Niall speak at the same time.
“We shouldn’t wake her,” Niall persists. “I’m pretty certain it’ll be easier for us to bring her through the airport if she isn’t awake,” he reasons, placing his snapback on his head. “I mean, it’d be so very easy for her to simply create a scene and spill the truth.”
“Plus sleep might make her less irritable,” Louis points out. “I mean, we did wake her up early this morning.”
“But what if she sleeps until tomorrow morning?” Harry shakes his head.
“Then what?” Louis shrugs.
“I’ll lose the bet.”
“And oversleeping isn’t good,” Zayn intervenes.
“Seriously Harry? The bet is all you care about?” I roll my eyes.
“No...Oversleeping isn’t good. You heard Zayn,” he shrugs, also picking up his belongings.
“I say we wake her once we’re in the plane,” Zayn proposes. “I mean, clearly she’s tired: we’re speaking loudly and she’s still asleep. If we wake her after the airport drama, everything will turn out fine,” he reasons, slinging his bag on his shoulder.
“Yeah that can work out,” the curly-haired boy acknowledges.
“Five minutes is up!” Liam calls. “Everybody out!”
Barely a few seconds later, we’re ushered into a limo, Louis holding a sleeping Anne in his arms. As I’m sat in the far back of the vehicle with Harry and Liam, I can’t help noticing how Louis looks at my twin while she’s sleeping. Careful not to wake her, he’s got her cradled against his chest, trying his best not to move. His blue eyes scarcely look away from her sleeping form, as if he’s scared she’ll wake if he looks away. I wonder if Harry looks at me like that when I sleep... My gaze shifts to the other passengers. Liam is looking out the window, clearly lost in his thoughts. Niall and Zayn are typing away on their phones and Harry, to my surprise, is looking curiously at my sister.
I sigh softly, leaning my head on Harry’s shoulder. His arm wraps around my shoulder in a loving manner before he gives me a slight squeeze.
“Is something wrong?” he enquires quietly. My eyes meet his soft ones full of concern.
“I’m fine,” I nod.
“Is the flight stressing you?” he enquires, rubbing my arm in slow circles with his fingers. I frown.
“Well now that I think of it, my cat and Padgett are in your bus. Are we―”
“The bus is going to join us in L.A,” Niall supplies, lifting his eyes from his phone briefly. “The only reason we’re flying there is because we have a concert tomorrow night and the ride would’ve been too long. You’ll see them again,” he ends before his gaze returns to his electronic device.
“Talking about Padgett,” Liam butts in. “Do you think Anne would like something like that?” He questions, his eyes still staring at the city outside. “I mean, maybe if she―”
“Liam I hate to burst your bubble, but A, Anne is not like that at all...” I pause, choosing my words. Sure I love Padgett to bits, but one thing I noticed during the last month or so is that Anne doesn’t cling to things like I do. It wouldn’t have the same impact on her than it did on me. “I think the orphanages ruined her childhood and a stuffed animal might disgust her and B, well I was sixteen when you gave it to me... It kinda just stayed because I was younger. You’d give me one today and I’d be looking at you weird,” I explain him with a grimace.
“I was just asking,” he huffs. “I just feel―”
“Guilt?” Zayn responds.
“Yeah whatever,” he retorts. “It’ll pass.”
Once we arrive at the airport, we’re lead to the security procedures in a secluded area of the airport to avoid the fans. Questions are asked by security agents when they see Anne.
“How old is she?”
“Eighteen,” Louis answers.
“Why is she sleeping?”
“She’s had a long day and she just dozed off in the car...”
“Is she under the influence of drugs?”
“No, of course not,” he scoffs, rolling his eyes.
“Does she know she’s about to go on a flight?”
“Yes, bloody hell,” the Doncaster boy huffs, losing his patience. “We didn’t force her to be here with us―”
“Well I’m sorry but this has happened a couple of times very recently,” the agent replies dryly. “We now have strict policies. You must wake her so I can question her myself and make sure she’s indeed embarking this flight with her consent.”
“Ma’am if you’d please―”
“Please wake her,” she demands, cutting off Zayn’s protests.
There’s a movement of unease between us, our eyes all saying the same thing to each other: this might be it. This might be the moment where it all comes crashing down.
Apprehensive, Louis places Anne so she’s sitting on a chair before he’s shaking her lightly.
“Hey Anne? Wake up love,” he speaks softly, squatting beside her.
My hands wrap nervously around Harry’s as she wakes up.
She blinks a few times, groaning as she looks around. Confusion rapidly fills her eyes.
“Where am I?” she croaks, her voice heavy with sleep. My grip tightens and everyone is holding their breath.
“Where do you think you are?” The security agent replies.
She frowns, still looking around.
“At the airport? I don’t know I’m supposed to be taking a plane, I think,” she starts, unsure. She turns to face me and the rest of the band. “Weren’t we going to Los Angeles?” she continues, surprising all of us. “We had to get on a flight after tonight’s concert,” she continues before grimacing, “why’d you wake me?”
“I asked them to. I had to make sure you knew you we’re embarking on this flight with your complete permission,” the agent smiles. “See there was a call this morning about a passenger on one of today’s flights that might not be here willingly. We were asked to check for anything out of the ordinary and passengers who we’re carried on board asleep or looking sick.”
A call? Who’d cal about a passenger―Shit. Dad. He must’ve been following the boys’ tracks.
Clearly Anne has made the same connection as me, both our faces mirroring our shocked thoughts.
The security agent turns to us. “I’m sorry again if this process has bothered you, I’m just respecting the procedures here. You can all head towards your plane. Have a safe flight,” she ends, motioning us out of the room.
Not a single word is pronounced until we’re in the small private jet.
“What was that?!” I ask my twin.
“You should thank me. All of you,” she retorts, taking a seat aboard the plane. “I fucking saved your arses.”
“Did you hear me?! I saved your ass. You don’t get to punish me for swearing right now,” she snaps at Zayn, crossing her arms. Zayn rolls his eyes but doesn’t add anything grumbling as he also takes a seat.
“Thank you,” Niall says, passing his hand through his blonde strands. “We certainly didn’t deserve what you just did.”
“You bet you didn’t,” Anne states.
I watch in awe as Liam sits down beside her and hugs her. Actually hugs her.
“Thank you,” he tells her. She’s as astounded as everyone else, awkwardly returning the hug whilst looking at me in confusion. I shrug my shoulders.
Guilt, I mouth.
Oh, she mouthes back.
“Why?” Louis enquires, frowning. “Why save us? They would’ve believed you if you’d told them what we were doing to you.”
My sister opens her mouth, but shuts it almost immediately. She shrugs her shoulders, getting Liam off her at the same time.
“Hey Soph do you think there’s any ice here? I think I stepped on my leg a tad too long: my knee is killing me,” she says, ignoring Louis’s comment as she rubs her sore knee.
“I’ll go get some,” the British boy sighs, heading at the far end of the plane. There’s a short moment of silence.
“Louis asked you a question, aren’t you going to answer it?” Harry scoffs, breaking the silence.
“Nope. I’m not talking to him.”
“That lacks a little respect don’t you think―”
“I think what lacks a little respect is how you treat Sophie,” she comments cutting me off.
Harry stiffens beside me. I keep my hand clasped with his, trying to cool him down a little.
“I treat her very respectfully thank you very much,” he snarls.
“Then clearly you and I don’t have the same definition of the word ‘respect’,” my twin responds simply.
Harry grits his teeth, his fingers tightening around mine.
Louis gives her a bag of ice, before sitting across from her and beside Zayn. We all watch the scene in complete quiet, the tension in the air thick. I shift my weight from one foot to the other as I watch her place the makeshift icepack on her knee, the sound of moving ice too loud for my taste.
“I’m only tolerating this,” Harry gets out finally, “because you ‘saved our fucking arses’ as you so nicely put it.”
There’s a short beeping sound in the cabin.
“Please buckle up and take your seats, we’re clear for takeoff,” a man’s voice declares on the speakerphone. Sighing, I move and take a seat, imitated by Harry, before the other five also buckle up in their own seats.
I glance up at Harry. His face is blank, his lips pulled into a tight line as his eyes gaze directly in front of him.
“Harry,” I mumble, tugging on his arm a little.
His eyes drop to meet mine.
“I love you, you know that right?”
He nods, but doesn’t add anything.
Once we can stand up from our seats, I walk over to my sister and plop down beside her.
“Hey,” I sigh.
“So why’d you do it?” I enquire silently. She looks around. The boys are either looking through the window or playing on their phones. Except Louis. Louis’s staring right at us.
“Maybe prison’s not what they deserve,” she responds quietly, so only I can hear. “Maybe they deserve much worse.”