“So how have you been?” I ask, turning around to face him in the bed.
“How have I been?” Harry questions, frowning.
“Well how were you during my unplanned absence?”
“Mostly angry and hurt,” he admits. “I had to cancel all the plans we had done for the weeks to come and that pissed me off the most, apart from the fact that I thought you had used my love for you as an opportunity to escape,” He exhales, his saddened green eyes locked with mine. “I was depressed for a while actually... We all were kinda off to be honest.”
“Yeah I saw that when I got the chance to watch you on the television,” I acknowledge but Harry keeps explaining.
“You were gone and suddenly, something was missing between the five of us. It just wasn’t the same. And it hurt even more to think that you had escaped out of your own free will, after all the things we had decided to change for you.”
“I’m so sorry to have put you through this,” I mumble, digging my face into his neck. He pets my hair.
“It wasn’t exactly your fault,” The British boy reassures. There’s a short pause. “What about you? How were you with your father and sister?”
“God I was so angry after them,” I recall, grimacing. “They kept me tied up to a chair daily and every time I’d talk about how I wanted to be back with you guys, they’d silence me saying that you had modified my train of thought. That my feelings weren’t real. And the worst part was that at some point, I actually considered the fact that they could be right. I mean, it was like you didn’t even try to get back to me.”
“We couldn’t. We had to take care of the media who had started following us again and then there was Simon who was also on our backs with the new album and all and it was just too complicated. Time was lacking. Last time, when we found you in Mullingar, we had no precise schedule since it was between tours so we did have the time.”
“Plus, Zayn thought it was a good idea to let you breathe a bit before taking you back,” Harry adds.
“So you were planning on finding me again..?” I ask carefully.
“Yes. Of course.”
“But what if I really would’ve wanted to leave... Would you have let me?” I probe, curious. The curly-haired boy cocks his head sideways.
“Why are you asking me this? You don’t want to leave now do you?” He enquires, slightly stiffening.
“No... But what if I would’ve wanted to? Like really, really, would’ve wanted to?”
“Sophie... what ifs are unnecessary questions that aren’t helpful to anybody,” Harry answers, kissing my forehead as he relaxes a little. “So please stop making me think you’ll be leaving again, or I might break something,” he ends, hugging me tightly. “I don’t want to lose you again.”
His answer nags me. Does he love me so much he doesn’t want me to leave, or does he not love me enough to let me make my own choices and be completely free? I keep rerunning his response in my head, trying to decipher what it really meant.
“Soph... What are you thinking about?” He asks worriedly.
“Can I go shower?” I reply after a few seconds. “I just feel really yucky right now...” I explain.
“Yeah like sweaty and smelling like sex,” I continue, getting out from under the covers.
“Was there something I said that upset you?” Harry furrows his brow, sitting up in the bed.
“No. Not at all,” I smile. “I just feel really dirty,” I persist.
“Okay then... You can go shower and I’ll find you something to wear for afterwards,” he nods, before looking at his watch. “Oh and please don’t be too long... I’ll have to shower again after you; I have to be ready for an interview in less than forty-five minutes and the one I just took was obviously pointless,” he chuckles.
“Yeah okay fine,” I agree, before heading to the washroom. I sigh happily once the hot water touches my skin, relishing the feeling of being able to shower freely. For once, Anne isn’t on the other side of the curtain to check on me, I scoff, passing my hand through my wet hair. Thinking about her, I realise I’ll have to ask Harry how they’d gotten her and how she had taken it exactly. Not wanting to dwell on the thought much longer, I search the shower for body wash. I end up using the one provided by the hotel.
There’s a soft knocking at the door as I finish up rinsing my body.
“Yes?” I ask.
“I left your clothes on the bed,” Harry’s voice states. “Are you almost done?”
“I’m finishing up,” I answer, washing the remains of soap off my body before cutting off the water. Stepping out the shower, I grab a towel and walk out the bathroom. “It’s all yours,” I tell Harry, walking to the bed.
“Are you sure everything’s alright love?” Harry mumbles behind me, wrapping his arms around me as he bent down to kiss my neck.
Still clutching the towel, I turn around to face him and lean in to kiss him softly on the lips.
“Everything is perfect Harry,” I assure, breaking the kiss. He acquiesces, before leaving me alone to go shower. Sighing, I look at what he’d given me to wear. Sweats, a t-shirt and a pair of boxers. Hmm... I guess they didn’t bring women’s clothes this time. Shrugging, I put them on, and lay on the bed before immediately standing up. Pulling the curtains aside, I peek outside the window. There’s a Target just outside the hotel... Hmm. Maybe I could convince Harry to let me go get me something better to wear.
Harry emerges from the bathroom a couple minutes later, all dressed.
“We’re going to have to go buy some girl clothes you know,” I tell him, turning around.
“Why? I think my clothes suit you well,” He smirks, eyeing me up and down.
“Maybe but being bra-less isn’t as pleasant as it looks,” I inform, cocking my eyebrow upwards.
“You really want underwear?” He sighs.
He looks at me longly before nodding.
“Fine. We’ll go as soon as we have the time,” he agrees. He looks pulls out his phone and looks at it. “Which is not now. I have to be downstairs in three minutes or Paul will rip my head off.”
“Wait Harry two things,” I stop him as he opens the door. “First, where’s Anne?”
“She’s supposed to be in Zayn’s room, but maybe one of the other boys has her now.”
“Okay and also, I was thinking that maybe Anne and I could go to the Target in front of the hotel and―”
“Not happening Soph,” he refuses before I can finish my phrase.
“We’d only buy proper clothes!”
“No for two reasons: A, Anne can’t be trusted and B, I told you we’d go when we’d have the time.”
“Just me then?”
“Nope. Sorry love, I don’t want you to leave the hotel.”
“Why not?” I protest.
“Because I love you and I don’t want you to leave me again,” He turns around to leave but stops. “Come with me Soph,” he decides after a moment of thought.
“Where? Why?” I frown.
“We’ll put you and your sister in the same room for the length of the interview... It’ll be less complicated for Andy.”
“One of our bodyguards. We’re leaving him in charge of keeping you two put,” Harry explains as he tugs me out of his room. It might be best not to argue. He knocks on the door right beside ours.
“Harry,” Zayn answers, his shirt halfway from being on him. I catch a glimpse of his inked chest and look down briefly. “And Sophie,” he adds, smiling when his gaze meets mine. “How can I help you two?”
“I’m pretty sure she’s with Louis,” he answers carefully, nodding towards the door facing his diagonally. “If she’s not, then Liam might’ve tied her to his bed. Why?”
“I thought we could put her and Sophie together while we’re at the interview, that way Andy will only have one room to survey and the girls will have somebody to talk to.”
“Because my sister and I are on such great terms,” I mock, rolling my eyes.
“You think that could be a good idea?” Zayn frowns. “Two minds can do better than one...”
“Are you implying that I’ll try to leave?”
“But even if I do leave, I have nowhere to go,” I deny.
“Your sister does... And I think she can be very persuasive.”
“I’ll ask Lou what he thinks,” Harry concludes. “See you downstairs in five.”
“Don’t be late this time Harold!” Zayn chuckles as Harry knocks on Louis door.
“I won’t,” He winks, before knocking again on Louis’s door. “Lou?” No answer. “That’s odd...” Harry mumbles before knocking harder. “Louis?!” He raises his hand again just as the door opens, revealing a steaming Louis. Clearly all the boys thought it was a good idea to shower...
“No need to break the door down,” The older boy whispers, rolling his eyes as he adjusts his towel. “Or shout for that matter. Oh hey Soph.”
He stays immobile for a second.
“Yeah I’d hug you but I’m naked under this towel,” He speaks softly inviting us inside the room.
“Why are you whispering?” I enquire.
“And?” Harry shrugs.
“Well I don’t want to be around when she wakes up,” Louis says guiltily, motioning the bed. I look at my sleeping sister. She was sleeping soundly, though her wrists were bound together to the bedpost.
“Why not? You only tied her to the head of the bed...You’ve done worse,” Harry says.
“I also undressed her...She’s as naked as a worm under the sheets,” He admits.
If there was one thing I knew about my sister, it was that she absolutely loathed anything where too much skin was exposed. A few weeks ago, during the times before we settled in the apartment in New York, we had jumped from one hotel to another. There was that one time when I had managed to convince the man I used to call my father to let me go in the pool one of them. Anne had categorically refused to take off her t-shirt and shorts to swim.
“It’s easy to get sunburnt in Australia... The more skin you cover, the more your chances of having skin cancer decreases,” she had told me when I had questioned her on her abnormal bathing suit. I easily figured out she was lying since every time I started taking about my multiple escapades with One Direction, it made her uncomfortable.
“Oh boy you’re dead Lou. Why did you even undress her?!” I giggle.
“She was going to end up being hot!” He protests.
“In January? I doubt that,” I scoff, still chuckling.
“Well she is from Australia and she had some sweats on so I figured she’d end up suffocating from the heat.”
I laugh some more.
“I really think it was a bad idea anyways... You’ve just lost her trust, if you had any of it.”
“Then I’ll just―”
Harry’s cell phone rings. I watch him carefully as he answers.
“Hello? Yeah we’re coming down in a minute. Bye.” Harry ends the call. “Louis hurry up and get dressed, they’re waiting for us.”
“I would’ve been done if you two hadn’t come barging in,” He mutters, digging into one of the open suitcases. He grabs a couple articles and walks back to his bathroom.
“How exactly did you get a hold on Anne?” I ask Harry, both our gazes on her.
“You should ask Niall. He’s the one that brought her in.”
Seconds later, Louis’s ready.
“Let’s go mate,” he huffs.
“Give me a goodbye kiss?” Harry proposes before leaving. I smile and lean in to meet his lips. His hands place themselves in the back of my neck, bringing me closer. “I love you,” he mumbles, our foreheads touching.
“I love you too,” I respond.
He kisses me again but the Doncaster boy interrupts us.
“It’s not like you’re leaving each other forever,” Louis scoffs. “We should be back in about three hours,” he adds. “Maybe you could get your sister to calm down and not want to strangle me?”
“I’ll see what I can do,” I nod.
“Thank you Sophie...” he pauses. “It’s good to have you back Soph,” he smiles. “You’re more considerate than your sister about all this.”
“I’m not considerate, I just learned to live with it,” I reply simply. “I think it’s easier that way.”
He winks and walks out the door. I see a bald man near the doorframe. And that must be Andy the bodyguard. More like babysitter for their prisoners.
“Stay here...I’ll see you soon,” Harry sighs kissing my head one last time before following behind Louis.
“I can’t go anywhere because Andy will be in front of the door,” I mutter bitterly once they’re gone. He only wants your good in the end, I try to convince myself. Huffing, I pull out a chair and sit in front of my sister’s bed, waiting for her to wake up. We were going to have a serious talk.