The rest of the vacation sped by in a heartbeat, a blur of memories. Lena spent the days with Sarah and One Direction, and the nights with Louis. They'd gone sightseeing finally, and Sarah hadn't even complained when they'd gone walking all day! Probably because Lena had made her wear sneakers and given her an ice lolly at the end, but still, she was impressed.
Lena rose with the dawn like she always did, naked with the sheets tangled around her legs, his fingers still entwined with hers.
Smiling, she kissed his shoulder and back, cool and exposed to the morning air. A sunbeam drifted through the windowpane but it had not yet reached the bed. He murmured some nonsensical things and rolled back over into a deeper sleep, so grabbing her panties and his t-shirt, she went for a shower, and to make breakfast.
Lena awoke in the hotel bed, rubbed her eyes, and groaned. She missed him already, and they hadn't even left London yet. They were leaving tomorrow, but today, she had to do a press release with Louis about their relationship. Her mouth tasted sour.
These sorts of things made her nervous. Very nervous. She wasn't much of a public person, and she'd already seen things about herself in the tabloids that she didn't like. They were labelling her as a gold digger, showing the photos from the shopping trip. They were labelling her as a teen mom, even though Sarah wasn't her daughter, she was her little sister. Lena didn't even look old enough to be a mother!
"Sarah, remember what I told you last night," said Lena as Sarah brushed her teeth.
"Yaaah," said Sarah with a mouthful of toothpaste froth.
"Ok. I'm leaving now, you can get breakfast in the hotel and they'll charge it to the room which is free, so eat whatever you want. I will not be eating because I-" she shuddered, "feel like I'm going to throw up."
Sarah spat out the toothpaste.
"Awww Lenny!" She gave Lena a bear-crushing hug, and Lena felt like crying in the small child's embrace. "You're the best girlfriend Louis could ever ask for. Look at how well you've taken care of me. Don't worry. Even if you mess up, I'll still love you, and I'm sure Louis will too."
"Really?" asked Lena half-jokingly. "I hope so, because you're stuck with me, Silly Sarah, whether you like it or not!"
Dressed in the Louboutins that she could barely walk in and a dress from Chanel, both of which Louis had insisted on buying for images sake, she wobbled down the steps to the waiting limousine. She hadn't argued. Somehow she got the impression that this press release could either make or break the public image of her and Louis, and she didn't want to mess it up. She was terrified of messing it up. Louis greeted her and kissed her on the cheek.
"Good morning, beautiful."
"I'm gonna hurl," said Lena, and she did, right on the steps, right on his freshly-shined Italian leather shoes.
"Are you ok?" he asked. She started crying.
"I've r-ruined your shoes!"
"No matter, they're just shoes. I've got a spare pair in the car and a spare suit too, always just in case. What I want to know is are you ok?"
Lena wiped at her tears, sniffling.
"Good thing we're doing makeup at the studio," she joked. "I feel better, just sick to my stomach from nerves. Sorry, I've never been good at interviews. I was lucky I did well on the ones for college and work, but they were one on one. This is going to be broadcast to the world. I don't deal with stress very well."
"It's ok," he said, ushering her into the car before throwing out his shoes in the nearby bin. "Remember what you told me? We're a team." He grasped her hand and kissed her fingertips. "They're going to love you, I promise. First, we're going to have my publicist issue a press release and I'll make some statements, and then the press are going to ask us questions."
He handed her a set of papers.
Louis Tomlinson: I met Lena Ioanneu and her sister Sarah Ioanneu ten days ago. Sarah won a radio contest hosted by Radio Disney. During that time, we began dating and are now in a committed relationship.
Lena Ioanneu: Even though we've been together for only a short time...
The rest of the lines began to blur. They sounded cold, official.
"I just have to say this?" she asked.
"Yeah. Just freestyle the press' questions. If you don't like them you don't have to answer them. I usually joke around a bit."
"All right," said Lena uncertainly.
"Have fun with it," smiled Louis supportively. "It's always kind of a rush to know that people will be tuning into you."
It wasn't a rush for Lena. She felt paralyzed, and as she sat down in front of the room filled with journalists, she wondered how the hell am I going to pull this off?