Block. Kick. Block again. Uppercut. Each noise of skin hitting padding made a resounding thud until Louis collapsed in a sweaty heap.
"Nice work," praised Coach Kazinski, his trainer. "You need to work on blocking more cleanly though. You seem a bit distracted today."
"I just got off a plane last night from Tokyo," Louis mumbled, pouring some of the water from his bottle onto his face. He hated being sweaty. After concerts he usually laid in the tub for an hour relaxing.
"That's normal for you," said Kazinski skeptically. "Whatever it is, I don't care. Don't bring it into the gym though. You could get hurt."
Louis was silent, muscles tensed.
"I'm out for today," he said suddenly.
"Sounds like a good idea," softened Coach. "You've been working rather hard lately. And you're still quite young..." He paused. "It's not my place to say it, but maybe you need a day off."
"I've been thinking about it," admitted Louis as he gathered his things. "I'll see you next week, sound good?"
"All I ask is you don't bring your problems into the gym next time, you lowly, wimpy, pathetic excuse for a human being!"
Louis laughed. Coach's no nonsense attitude was back. He waved his hands in goodbye as he headed towards the private locker room. Usually the gym was closed when he trained in the morning. No members allowed in.
Coach had offered to train him at a more flexible time at his estate in Hertfordshire instead of at four-thirty in the morning, but he had declined. He needed to be out of the house. As much as he loved it, it was a bit stifling. It just had felt so big lately, so empty. Too big. He could hear his footsteps echoing, and as an adult his parents and his little sisters didn't visit too often. He usually did call his mum every night though.
He rummaged through his things, knocking over his phone. Shit. He checked it. There was a text from "Crazy Zaynie". Zayn had entered his phone number in his address book himself and thought he'd been real witty with the nickname. Louis smiled at the memory.
Yo you left early m8 before they could give you instructions for today. Everything ok?
As he got dressed, he heard the ping of his phone replying.
Yeah remember that radio contest for fans called Vacation with 1D? That's today.
Louis groaned. Guess I get my vacation after all, he thought glumly. Just add fans. And his bandmates. As much as he loved being the one to goof off and make everyone laugh, he was too tired for the facade.
What is it, a tropic resort fantasy where we massage white musk oil into two eighteen year old backs? Or what about where we teach some underage fans what the true meaning of love is on a deserted island?
He was only partially joking. Some of the things written about him and his bandmates on the internet sent shivers down his spine. He was a little paranoid, it was true. But when a photograph of him with a friend from back home getting coffee could elicit gay rumors, nothing was sacred. Not to the public.
Hahahaha m8 good one. Nah, its this ten year old and her guardian. We gotta meet at the Four Seasons Canary Wharf.
Great. He bet the guardian was obese, like most of his older American fans, and had thighs like cottage cheese. He bet the ten year old smelled like macaroni and cheese with makeup smeared on her face. She would probably pull on his hair and shriek in his ear.
What are we doing? he punched back as his limousine drove him to Starbucks.
Nothing much, really we gotta have dinner with them a couple of times, they're driving to see our music video set, and we gotta take a bunch of promotional photos with them. Something about shopping too. Really, for the most part though, they get a lot of free time in London as the "vacation part" and we're actually going to be working.
A non-vacation disguised as a vacation. Wonderful.
"Sir, what would you like?" asked his bodyguard.
"Ummmm...." thought Louis out loud. "Get me a grande caramel frappuccino, extra whipped cream and extra caramel."
His bodyguard raised his eyebrows.
"So sue me, I like sweets, and I worked out," he said defensively. The bodyguard kept his eyebrows raised.
"Oh alright, get me the goddamn cappuccino," he grumbled.
"Will that be grande or....?" asked the bodyguard.
"Just make it tall," he sighed, defeated. Can't even get my own Starbucks order, he thought wearily. As he sat in the limousine watching the streets of London fly by, people rushing to work and having breakfast on the streets, he began his mental preparation. The facade was up, kept firmly in place by expectations and reputations. He was his usual, goofy, cheery Louis Tomlinson™ self.