Chapter 8: Voices
Three hours later I was back in front of the mirror looking at my outfit for the concert. Ashton and I had picked out a very light pink shirt that had black hearts with ruffles and a bow, a black scarf, a pair of dark wash skinny jeans with high top black converse. It was really casual but super cute. My hair was now in a slicked back low ponytail with the hair hanging out curled.
I was slightly nervous to go to the concert. For one, I was meeting One Direction for the first time. That was insane. They were all very attractive and talented. For two, it was going to be the first time that I saw 5 Seconds of Summer play. What if I didn’t like their music? But I was anxious to see Ashton play and to see Luke’s musical talent that he apparently had.
My mom had arranged for a car to come pick me up at 4:30 to take me to the concert since she was already there as were the other boys. I looked at the clock, 4:23. Time to head down to the lobby.
I arrived at the O2 Arena a little bit after 5 and was hustled back stage by a busy looking man. I got a look into the arena. It was HUGE! I couldn’t believe how many people were about to be in here watching Ashton and Luke perform. Insane. I wondered around backstage, trying to find someone I recognized. I saw a sign that said ‘Dressing rooms- One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer’ with an arrow pointing down a hallway. That seemed to be a good place to start. I walked down the long hallway but still no sign of people. I came to a door that said game room. Then I heard it; music playing, a bunch of male voices yelling, and in between the yelling, a ball hitting a table repeatedly. Well looks like I found the right place.
I knocked on the door but I don’t think anyone heard me over the music and yelling, so I opened it.
Inside the room were 9 boys, gathered around a Ping-Pong table. Ashton was playing against none other than THE Liam Payne. He looked so real, it was weird. It was so strange to see him in person. I then looked around the table to see the other four members of One Direction; Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Harry Styles. They needed no description. Wow they were all so incredibly good looking that it made me lose my train of thought.
“Rylie?” I heard a voice say. I snapped out of my daydream to see Calum turned around from around the table and looking at me. The other 8 boys looked at me at the sound of Calum’s voice.
“Oh um, hi. I didn’t mean to intrude. I knocked but I don’t think anyone heard me.” I stuttered, looking down at the ground. A second later I pulled my head up to directly make eye contact with Luke. He quickly broke the contact and looked at the back of Ashton’s head.
“That’s okay love. Come join the party,” Louis said with a British accent and a cheeky smile.
I walked over to the table and the boys of One Direction took turns introducing themselves. Even though I knew who each of them was, I pretended I didn’t so I wouldn’t freak out. They were all so nice! I looked at Ashton and he gave me a huge smile that said, “told you” and then served the ball to Liam.
The next hour and a half were a whirlwind of ping pong balls flying everywhere, food being thrown at each other, boys wrestling each other, and me sitting on the couch by myself being completely entertained by the whole thing. I was in shock at how immature these boys were but it was so hilarious that I couldn’t even be annoyed. At about 6:45, the One Direction boys were taken to hair, wardrobe, and to vocal warm ups, leaving me with the four boys of 5 Seconds of Summer which I learned today can be shortened to 5SOS.
Ashton was still playing ping pong but now against Luke. As I watched them volley back and forth, Michael and Calum came and sat on either side of me on the couch. I looked at Calum who was closing his eyes and humming a song.
“Uh Calum? You alright dude?” Michael asked before I could. Calum’s eyes snapped open to look at him.
“Uhh yeah. I’m fine. Just a little nervous.” Calum said.
“We’ve rehearsed this set a billion times. You know it. We’ll do great.” Michael said.
“But what if no one likes us?” Calum said.
“That’s insane. Of course people are going to like you guys. You were picked by One Direction for a reason. And hey, if you feel nervous on stage, just look down at me in the front row. I’ll be your biggest fan!” I said trying to help. I was glad to see Calum smile at my words.
Just then my mom came into the room. “Hey guys, I need you in your dressing room to go over last minute details and to make sure the outfits you’ve picked out are appropriate.” She said. The boys noisily left the room and I was again seated on the couch by myself. Then I saw my mom poke her head back in.
“Rylie sweetie, there is guards out here to take you to your seat with Eleanor, Louis’ girlfriend. The boys’ families are all out there in your section as well.” She said quickly before backing out of the room again.
I got off the couch and headed out the door to see two beefy men standing with a very petite, very pretty girl that looked to be about 20. She was seriously gorgeous, with long light brown wavy hair, piercing green eyes, prominent cheekbones, and pink pouty lips.
She smiled at me, stuck out her hand and said, “Hi, I’m Eleanor, Louis’ girlfriend! Which one are you dating?” sweetly.
“Me? Oh no. I am not dating any of the boys. My mom is 5SOS’s tour manager,” I said with a nervous laugh.
“Oh I’m sorry! I just assumed! Well it’s nice to meet you! What did you say your name was?” she asked.
“Actually I didn’t. It’s Rylie. And it’s a pleasure to meet you as well,” I said with a smile.
We then were told by the security guards to follow them to our seats. After what felt like forever winding through backstage, I recognized where we were. We were just under the stage. And then I heard a roar of screams. It was so loud. This concert was going to be insane.
We followed the guards from under the stage to the floor level. I saw two empty seats right in the middle. That must have been for us. As we were making our way to the seats, I looked up. Every single seat in the arena was filled. I was completely impressed.
We took our seats in the front row and patiently waited for the show to start. A little after 7:30, lights started flashing onto the stage. The entire arena erupted in screams and everyone around me stood up. I joined, and waited for 5SOS to take the stage. I saw a video playing on the screens but it was impossible to hear if there was any audio. Finally I saw the boys take their places. Ashton way up high on his drums, with Michael being to the left of him, Luke in the middle and Calum on the right.
The song started with Ashton banging the drums and the other three singing “Na na na na” over and over again. Hmm this was catchy so far. Then Michael started strumming to the beat and the “Na na’s”. Then they all started jumping around while playing their instruments. Then Calum started singing. He had a really good voice. It was really clear and smooth. He sang a verse and then Luke sang the lead on the chorus.
I was in shock at his voice. It was so different than anything I had ever heard. It was strong, deep and had an amazing tone. I was in disbelief. I watched him strum his guitar and sing and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so happy. How could I not know that he was this talented?
Suddenly I saw him look down at me from the stage. We made eye contact as he was singing and for a second he looked at me the way he used to. I felt my stomach contract in longing for him. Then he looked away as if nothing had happened.
Through the rest of the set, I lost myself in their music, in Luke’s voice. Feeling like I was seeing him for the first time, but at the same time, realizing that he was just the same Luke that I’ve known my entire life.
Suddenly I felt an immense sadness at the thought of the boundaries that were between Luke and I. I felt like I was suffocating in the extreme feeling of missing him.