It's early as we make our way through the streets of London on our way to yet another interview. We're all tired from last night's performance at the O2 Arena and the early morning interview we have today. Zayn's head is resting on Liam's shoulder and his eyes are closed. The rest of us are making small talk watching the city fly by out our windows.
"North America after we finish our next album, mates...", Niall says.
"We've only just finished the Uk tour and I'm already fried..." Liam says.
Harry leans over and turns the radio on. We're all silent as he flips through the different stations. "Oh, I love this chick...", he says, stopping on a radio broadcast. Liam shifts and shrugs Zayn off his shoulder. Zayn's eyes pop open. He yawns and gives them a rub, as we all listen to the program.
"Welcome to the Natashia Silversides Show, broadcasting live from London. On this morning's show we're talking about wishes and dreams."
"Caller, you're on the air...go ahead."
"My name is Alexis... but my mom calls me Lexi..."
How old are you, Lexi?
"You're up early... Ok, Lexi...What's your wish?"
"My mom needs a boyfriend..." The car breaks up with laughter. We'd hate to be in her shoes right now. How embarrassing.
"You don't like the one she has?"
"She doesn't have one... I think she's lonely..."
"Have you talked to her about this?"
"I tried this morning, but she says she's happy with our life the way it is... but if she's happy then why does she cry at night when she thinks I don't hear her..."
"Lexi, is your mum home? Can you ask her to talk to me?"
"No! She'll be angry..."
"She won't be angry when she hears how concerned you are about her well being..."
"Wanna bet? Mom, there's someone on the phone for you... Her name is Faith..."
"Hello? Faith are you there?"
"You called a RADIO STATION?!"
"Her wish is that you find a boyfriend. She's worried about you. She thinks you're lonely..."
"ALEXIS GRACE, get out here... I'm not going through this alone!"
"Faith, it's her wish. When was your last relationship?"
"Um, not sure really..."
"It's been at least 8 years...cause I'm 8..."
"Lexi! I thought your wish was to meet 'One Direction', you can't have two wishes, that's greedy!"
"What's holding you back Faith?"
"Um, I don't really know. I just don't have the time I guess..."
"Where's Lexi's dad?"
"He's not in the picture. Wasn't ready to be a dad... But that's ok, we're fine. I'm fine... We'll both be fine, just as soon as I break her radio..."
"Maybe Lexi's right, maybe it's time you got out there... We'll be back after an important word from our sponsors, with our listener response segment."
"And we're back... Let's take a call from one of our listeners now. Go ahead you're on the air..."
"I'd like to have her telephone number. I'd take her out..."
"We're not that kind of program... Faith, can I ask you a question?"
"Can I stop you?"
"Faith, are you afraid of letting someone get close because of you might get hurt?"
"I'm a single mom, who's just trying to get by and give my daughter the best possible life I can... It's not about me anymore."
"What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to get out of bed every morning, go to work and bust my tail to make enough money to put food on our table and to give my daughter a good, happy life, and breathe in and out all day, and after a while I won't have to remind myself every morning that I have a reason to do it."
"And there you have it folks, you've been listening to the Natashia Silversides Show, broadcasting live from London. A special thank you to Faith and Alexis for being with us this morning. From myself and everyone else, I wish you future health and happiness."
By now the laughter in the car has subsided and we're all quiet. "I feel bad for laughing...", Niall says, after the interview is over.
"Me too...", Liam adds.
"Hey, isn't the little girl who won the bowling contest with us this afternoon named 'Alexis'?", Zayn asks.
"I've got the paper right here...Hold on...", Liam says, digging it out of his back pocket.
"Harrison, Alexis age 8", he reads.
"Is the mom's name there?" Harry asks. Liam reads down a bit further before looking back up at us and smiling.
"Faith. Faith Harrison". The car is quiet. I think we're all looking a little more forward to this afternoon now.
Liam's phone rings and he fishes it out of his coat pocket.
"Simon! What's going on? Uh, huh... He's willing to come here and work with us? Ok, I'll pass the word along. That's weird. Simon wants us to collaborate with some big time songwriter on our next album...", Liam says, hanging up the phone.
"Ok, I'm waiting for the weird part...", Louis says.
"Well, apparently this guy is an eccentric. He'll only work with a band if..."
"If...", Harry urges.
"If at least one of it's members is married and has a family...", he finishes.
"Huh?! You're right mate that is weird... So one of us has to get married and have a kid?!", Zayn laughs.
"Well, it'll be between you, Liam and Louis because Niall and I are footloose and fancy free!", Harry chuckles, high fiving Niall.
"Simon said he was going to take care of it... He was going to find us a family...to borrow...and since the fans already know that we have Perrie, El and Dani, I guess that leaves...", Liam finishes, grinning from ear to ear, as he, Louis and Zayn share high fives.
Both Niall and Harry groan. This is going to be a disaster.
After a shower I feel a bit better. I throw on my favorite ripped blue jeans and a white t-shirt, pull my hair back in a high ponytail, and make my way back out to the kitchen. Lexi's still sitting at the table, her plate is empty, but she's still pushing her fork around on her plate. Her head is propped up against her other hand. "What's wrong?", I ask.
"Are you mad at me?"
"No Lexi, I'm not. But please no more calls to the radio station, ok?", I answer, clearing her plate. "Go grab the nail polish..." I say, offering her a small smile. I watch as she bolts down the hall to the bathroom.
Our doorbell rings and I cross over to answer it. I groan when I see Mr. Mason, the building superintendant, standing there.
"You're rent was due last week... I'm here to collect it, now...", he snaps.
"Um, right. Payday's friday. Can you give me until then?" I ask, hopeful.
"If it wasn't for that kid of yours I'd of kicked you out months ago..." he snaps at me again.
My mouth dries and tears sting my eyes again. "I promise, Friday..."
He mumbles something under his breath and turns on his heel to walk away. "This day just keeps getting better and better", I mumble to myself.
"Everything ok mom?" Lexi asks from behind me.
I shut the door and turn around plastering a fake smile on my face. "Of course it is honey, let's get your nails done." I say, trying to change the subject. I just have time to finish the first coat on her nails when my phone rings. "Hello? Mr. Marshall. Now sir? But today's my day off. My daughter and I have plans. Oh, ok. I'll be there in about an hour."
"No mommy, you can't go to work?! We have to be at the bowling alley for 4 pm,"
"I know Lexi, but I can't lose my job either. I'll go for a while and we'll still make it to the alley for 4 ok? I promise. Go grab something to keep you busy while l work."
I watch as she takes off running to her room. She comes back a few minutes later carrying a coloring book and crayons. "I'm ready", she mumbles, clearly unhappy about our sudden change of plans. I work at 'Harrods' department store as a cashier. They sell everything there. I hate it. Long hours, minimum wage, no benefits because my boss won't give me full time even though, technically, I work more than 40 hours a week. Lexi grabs my hand as we head out the door together. God, how I wish my life were different. "Are we taking our car?"
"No Lexi, we're walking. The exercise will do us good", I answer, not wanting to tell her the real reason we can't take our old beater is because I haven't got any money for gas. She doesn't need to be burdened with my problems. After about 45 minutes, we arrive at the store. I set her up in the back office with her crayons and book and make my way up to the front to grab a till. I work steadily until about 3:30 and just as I put the 'Next Cashier Please' sign up on my lane, Mr Marshall walks over and takes it off.
"I need you to stay late...", he snaps. I shake my head.
"No I can't sir. I have plans with my daughter. They're important", I explain.
"More important than your job, because if you walk out the door now don't bother coming back."
"I can't break a promise to my daughter sir, I'm sorry", I say, feeling the bitter sting of hot tears flood my face. I turn on my heel and walk to the employee lounge to gather my belongings. I just can't seem to catch a break. I pull all of my things out of my locker, slam it shut angrily and lean my forehead against it, trying to compose myself. I've never broken a promise to Lexi before and I'm sure as hell not going to start now. I did the right thing. Why is my life such a disaster! What the hell am I going to do now...