Sunday morning strangely mimics Saturday morning. In all fairness, the boys typically only practiced on Sunday mornings and some evenings, but yesterday’s session was impromptu because of the show last night. When I walk downstairs and see my mother dressed in her church clothes and my father laying on the couch, I know that he is sick almost instantly.
"Liliana, dear. Your father has a headache from staying up so late last night.” She says this accusingly, which slightly offends me. “And those boys are making a huge racket. Again. Please go tell them to take it elsewhere."
Unfortunately for my parents, the Hemmings' garage, where the boys usually practice, is actually much closer to my living room than to their own living room, so it's not too loud inside of the Hemmings house, but in ours, the noise is colossal. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still pretty loud inside of their house, just not as much so.
As I did yesterday morning, I walk over to their house. Instead of going to Liz, however, I go straight to the garage, where the door is already open. When the boys see me, they stop playing. "Too loud?" Luke asks, his eyebrows raised slightly.
"You guessed it," I respond with a chuckle. "Because you boys kept me out so late," I say accusingly, this time, "My dad has a massive headache this morning. They request that band practice be not held today."
Calum shrugs, "Alright, why don't we head out? Go swimming?" I watch as the other three mumble something along the lines of yes, and they begin to put their instruments away.
I turn to exit the garage when I'm stopped by Luke's voice, “Lil, we can use your pool, right?”
I chuckle. “No. My parents would kill me if I let you boys use my pool.”
Ashton cocks his head, confused. "Aren’t you going to be with us?"
"Oh, no. It's Sunday. I have to study."
"What do you mean you have to study? It's the weekend," he says, smiling in that adorable way he smiles. I’ve spent a total of seven hours around Ashton and already found that his smile makes my heart melt. He’s got really cute dimples and a wide grin.
"No. Friday and Saturday are the days that I don't study. Sunday is a study day. It's the rules."
Luke chuckles, "And Princess never breaks the rules," he adds a wink, ensuring that I understand he's insulting me.
"Shut up, Luke," I snap, feeling angry. I understand that I follow rules meticulously, even if they seem like unfair ones to others- and, admittedly, sometimes to me- but it's gotten me so far. I value a lot of things that others don't and it's setting me up for a successful life, even if it may be a miserable one.
"Oh, come on," Michael complains, rolling his eyes dramatically. "When's the last time you did something without your parents knowing?"
"Last year I bought a laptop," I say, smiling widely, only to see that the boys' faces are all very confused and/or unimpressed. "I'm not allowed technology- you know that, Calum!" This causes laughter to erupt from all of the boys, with me yelling at them. "Shut up, guys. It's not funny," I mope.
"Listen, Princess, what time does your mom get home from church?" Luke asks, wiping a tear from his eye, still sort of laughing.
I look at my digital watch, it currently reads 9:45. I know that worship starts at 11 and the sermon typically ends around 1:30. "She gets back around 3- after she's gone grocery shopping and all," I start, "But I don't know if it’s a good idea. My dad is home-"
"With a headache-" Mikey interjects. "We'll get you back home by 2:30, okay?"
"I don't know," I say, hesitantly.
"Come on, Lil. Lighten up and live a little," Calum says, holding out his hand for me to grab and follow them to the band van. I debate for a second, but take hold of his hand, and we all walk to the car together.
It surprises me, even half an hour later, that I'm in a hidden lake, wearing only my bra and shorts, with four boys who, until yesterday, I had hardly ever spoken to.
"Isn't it fun to rebel?" Ashton asks, wiggling his eyebrows.
"No!" I cry. "I'm so anxious. What if she doesn't go grocery shopping today or what if your car breaks down or-“
"You worry far too much, Princess," he says, winking. They’ve all taken up on calling me that since Luke heard my dad called me by that nickname last night.
"I hate that nickname and I hate all of you!" I shriek, as Luke splashes the cold water at my face, and I splash back.
"That's why you're swimming around half naked with us," Mikey laughs.
Calum adds, "Because you clearly hate us," emphasizing the word clearly.
"It's exactly like a swimsuit!" I argue, but can't help the grin the breaks out on my face. I can’t even pretend to be upset with the boys right now, as I’m having far too much fun.
I feel someone pull me close to them from behind. "Except more intimate," Luke whispers, his lips touching my ear, and he shakes his body in a fashion that he is nearly grinding on me, which causes a fit of hysterics from the entire group, as I yell for Luke to get off of me.
The lake is surrounded by woods, which is why it was hidden to me, and that, unfortunately for the boys, means that I continually insist that we leave by 12:45, so that we have enough time to get out of here, sneak me into my house, shower, and begin my studying so that my mother thinks I've been at home all day.
When I finally convince them to leave- which included me having to walk into the surrounding woods by myself until they got out of the water- they're all complaining that I ruin all of the fun, but still laughing about how we should all do this again sometime.
As we're walking to the van, I realize for the first time, that I actually didn't know Ashton two days ago. "Hey, what school do you go to?" I inquire.
"Oh, I graduated from Richmond last year," he laughs, and falls into step with me.
"Oh, so you're eighteen?"
"Yup," he says, popping the 'p' sound. "I'll assume you're a baby like the rest of the lads? Seventeen?"
"Sixteen, actually. I skipped sixth grade," I say proudly, but, Ashton is seemingly unimpressed. "I turn seventeen next weekend." This is quieter, and less proud. I’m starting to realize that the boys are not impressed by this sort of thing.
The ride home is pretty silent, only with the occasional banter between the boys causing noise. When we arrive back at Luke's home, I go to my backyard, and enter quietly through the back door. I go upstairs and quickly shower, scrunching my hair, so it looks as though I could have showered ages ago, and throw on some light makeup, to ensure that my mother suspects nothing of me.
I begin to study for my Biology midterm that is on Tuesday and time flies quickly, because it doesn't feel like long before my mother calls up to me, "Liliana, come help get the groceries, dear."