30 Days Of Summer

One year. Twelve months. 365 days to find myself and live on the wild side in Australia. It seemed like a long time at the start. I made friends, learned how to surf, got a nice tan. The usual. Then I met five crazy Australians who changed my life. It wasn’t just the fun, the laughs, the risks, the love. They showed me a part of myself I didn’t even know existed. And suddenly, one year didn’t seem so long anymore. {http://www.wattpad.com/story/11732664-30-days-of-summer}

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7. Chapter 7

{ A/N - vote, comment and enjoy. }

♥ ♥ ♥

 “Do you think this suits me?”

Beau held up a pink dress, adorned in frills and appliquéd with hundreds of sequins. It was a death trap.

“The colour really goes with your skin tone...” I replied sarcastically.

“Yeah. Hot pink and orange-dorito are a match made in heaven,” Luke agreed, grinning. Beau pouted, holding the dress up to his body.

“I think they’d look great with some silver heels,” James said. Beau shoved the dress back on the rack.

“Nah. I think neon green is more my colour,” he said.

“Come on. I want to get some Uggs!” Skip moaned, scuffing his feet against the clothes rack. His current Uggs were worn and scuffed at the soles. He bent down and investigated them; picking at the heel.

“Mm,” I agreed. “And I’m desperate for that milkshake.”

The boys huddled around and headed for the door, smiling at the shop assistant politely. She was a stodgy woman; with long nails and greasy black hair. She had been eying us warily the second we stepped into the shop, nursing her sweaty palms and leaning over the counter, shooting us dirty glares at every chance she got. It was as if we had ‘criminals’ written on our foreheads in red ink.

I’d seen what the boys are like in shops on their videos – wild and loud and uncontrollable. She was escaping lightly. All they did today was put a bra in a man’s shopping cart...and spray random people with a tester perfume in the make-up department.

Jai trailed behind as we wandered out of the shop, his eyes glued to his phone. I’d come to learn that always being on his phone was one of Jai’s traits.

“Stop being so antisocial,” I scolded. He looked up dazedly.

“You sound like my mum.”

I grinned brightly at him and scurried over to join the rest of the boys. Daniel was striding ahead in the lead, guiding us towards the Ugg store. We clambered onto an escalator single file.

“So. Won’t we get spotted by one of your millions of fans?” I said, poking Jai playfully.

He grunted in response, tapping a few more keys on his phone. I riffled through my only shopping bag, feeling the soft material of my new purchase. I’d bought a new midnight blue skater skirt I’d spotted whilst shopping with Tiffany a few weeks ago. Nestled underneath the dress was a new tub of surf wax for my board.

We reached the ground floor and followed Daniel into the Ugg store. A man with greying hair and bony wrists jumped out of nowhere, flashing Skip a thin-lipped, toothless grin.

“Hello! Welcome to the Ugg store. How can I help you?” the shopkeeper said in a thick, hoarse accent.

“I’m looking for a new pair of Ugg boots,” Daniel said. He pointed towards his feet. “Like these. Except new.”

“No shit, Sherlock,” Beau mumbled under his breath. “Like they sell old shoes here.”

We were out in less than ten minutes, Skip clutching his bag containing his new Uggs proudly. I couldn’t help but glance at my new friend. Daniel really knew his fashion sense. Dressed in khaki print shorts, Uggs and a red sweater, he looked like a clown. But that’s what made him Daniel.

We marched past Hollister and a strong scent of SoCal cologne teased my nostrils. I glanced into the shop, taking in the dim interior and the music blaring out. There were two guys outside, sporting snapbacks and flip flops with ‘Hollister’ printed on, dressed only in swimming shorts. Their washboard stomachs and hard pecs were on show, and the second – a young model with sparkling blue eyes – smirked at me playfully.

I smiled back, letting my eyes linger on them.

A warm hand touched my elbow, both gentle and insistent. I tore my gaze away and glanced at Luke.

“Come on,” he growled lowly. He shot the Hollister models a glare which could compete with my famous death scowl.

“What’s the matter?” I asked innocently. He glanced at me, his jaw tense.

“Nothing,” he said, dropping my elbow and striding forward. “Let’s go get that milkshake we promised.”

I slowed down, falling into stride with Jai. “What’s his problem?”

Jai bit his lip, glancing at me warily. “I don’t know. Just don’t do that to him again.”

“Do what? Look at another guy?” I replied, my tone sharp.

“Something like that,” Jai mumbled. There was a disguised firmness in his voice which told me to drop the subject.

We reached Shake Shack and instantly I was hit by a wave of the sugary, sweet scent I adored. I glanced at the menu board greedily, my gaze scanning the vast selections of milkshakes available.

“Haribo and Malteaser?” Beau read questioningly. “I’d have to go to the gym everyday for a month after that.”

“You would have to go to the gym everyday for a year if you had the waffles and double chocolate-chip one,” I replied.

Luke appeared by my side. “What are you having?”

“Same as usual. Strawberries and cream,” I informed him.

“I think I might go for the ‘Tropical Whirl’ shake,” he replied with a grin.

The boys all fussed about deciding what to get, and I slipped my purse from my bag, counting my change. Suddenly, Luke’s hand touched mine.

“No. I’m paying,” he said softly.

“Nice try,” I brushed him off, sliding out a ten dollar note.

“Seriously. This one’s on me,” Luke insisted.

“I told you. Let me pay for myself at least,” I protested.

“Lilly,” Luke sighed melodramatically. “You don’t have a choice.”

I put my hand on my hip. “I can go on in some kind of feminist rant if you like.”

“I don’t doubt you would,” he said, so seriously I didn’t think he was joking. “But seriously, it’s fine. I’ll pay.”

“Yeah, but...”

“But nothing,” he told me firmly, pushing the ten dollar note back in my purse. “I’m going to pay and you’re going to say thank you, and then we can enjoy the milkshakes you’ve been craving.”

He handed me a fresh ten dollar note, but I stepped back.

“Uh, uh. I’m paying for myself, at least. And you can’t move or you’ll lose your place in the queue. Then I won’t get my milkshake.”

“Damn,” Luke said, rolling his eyes in defeat. “Expect this tenner back by the end of the day.”

“Are the Lovebirds fighting?” Beau said, grinning cheekily. He poked my arm.

“Shut up, Bew,” I scoffed.

James jumped out of nowhere, his lips shaped in a wide beam. “What’s going on?”

“Luke and Lilly are fighting,” Beau mused with a wry grin. “Is it because that Hollister model winked at Lil?”

“Leave them, Beau,” James said. His voice was soft and caring. Then he smirked. “Jealously does strange things to people.”

“Shut the fuck up!” Luke snarled, a muscle in his jaw jumping in frustration.

“Can I help you?” the lady on the till asked. Luke thrust the ten dollars onto the counter before I could object.

“A Tropical Whirl, a Strawberries and Cream and whatever the rest want,” he grunted. I watched as the lady blended up the ingredients and poured them into a cup. She handed each of the milkshakes to us and we thanked her politely.

Jai bumped his shoulder against mine as we went to sit on the breakfast bar stools which were placed by the window, looking out on the other shoppers as they scurried about the mall. “You and Luke argued?”

I forced a smile. “No. I said I’ll pay and he said he would. Then Beau and James started calling us ‘lovebirds’ and he got angry.”

“He’s really protective over you, Lilly,” said Jai, his accent thick. I sipped on my milkshake thoughtfully, letting the sweet, sugary goodness coat my tongue.

“Mm,” I answered vaguely. Daniel pounced onto the stool beside me.

“Were you making Luke angry?” Skip said. I set my drink down, nursing my forehead. I felt like the past few minutes had escaladed like a whirlwind. The boys were like brothers; extremely protective over each other (and I don’t just mean Beau, Luke and Jai). Despite arguing and fighting with each other constantly, if I upset Luke, I’d end up as their punch bag.

“I didn’t mean to...” I mumbled. Suddenly Beau poked his head over my shoulder.

“Don’t worry, Lilly. There’s going to be arguments between even the most loved-up couples,” he said. I felt myself tense.

“Yeah. Me and Daniel fight all the time,” James piped. I knew it was only banter, but I was starting to feel claustrophobic and frustrated.

“Hey! Leave her alone,” Luke said, his arm snaking around me. “There’s no need to tease her.” He pulled me close and I couldn’t help but rest my head against his shoulder. It felt right being in his arms; like I was the missing piece to a jigsaw puzzle which had finally been found.

A piercing scream reached my ears. Every head snapped towards the entrance were a blonde in her early teens was stood, her jaw dangling around her ankles and phone poised.

“It’s the Janoskians!” she screamed. Her hands were shaking as she aimed the phone at where Luke was stood, his arms wrapped around me. Then the camera flash went off and for a split second I was blinded by its brightness.

“Oh shit,” Luke murmured.  

♥ ♥ ♥

My blood ran cold. My skin was icy; contrasting with the heat the laptop scored against my bare legs. I stared at the screen blankly, feeling numb inside.

I didn’t mean to upset them. I didn’t mean to make them angry. I didn’t mean for this to happen.

“Lilly,” Jai’s voice dragged me back to reality. He was staring at me, his expression unreadable.

“What?” I said, my voice faint.

The rest of the boys had rushed home, stressed and angry. I’d failed to understand why at first. But Jai was more sympathetic. He came home with me and explained everything.

The boys had a good relationship with their fans. Their ‘Janoskianators’ meant everything to them. That also meant that their fans didn’t like it when the boys were with girls.

A fan had taken a photo of Luke with his arm around me. We couldn’t deny it. As soon as that photo was taken it would be put on the Internet for the world to see.

“Look, we love our fans more than anything. They’ll forgive us. Drama passes,” Jai reassured me.

“I just don’t want them to hate me. I don’t want them to be mad at you,” I whispered. Jai sighed softly and stood up from the beanbag by the window. He walked over to be and sat down on my bed, pulling his arms around me and wrapping in a tight hug. I rested my head against his warm, muscled chest, listening to the faint thud of his heart through his t-shirt.

“Stop it, Lilly. It’ll be fine,” he murmured. He wriggled one arm away and tap at my laptop, closing the tab which showed a stream of hate towards me on Twitter. Not fast enough for me to see one particular comment which sent a pang of guilt and pain straight through my heart.

RainbeauMilk: I hate that whore who was hugging Luke. She better not hurt my baby, he’s too precious.

I came to Australia to find myself and to live a little – something I was deprived of back in London. It seemed like there everyone judged me and the world was a harsh, unforgiving place. In Australia, I learnt not to care. I found myself. I know who I am now.

But everything relates back to the fact that I only have nineteen days left in Melbourne. It’s not that I’m afraid of hurting myself by returning. I’m scared of hurting my new friends.

I glanced up at Jai. Tell him, I told myself. Before it’s too late.

But his eyes bored into mine, dead and sad. I didn’t want to upset him even more. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’d tell him.

“Are you okay...Jai?” I asked hesitantly.

He shrugged and shot me a half-hearted grin. “Yeah. Are you?”

“I’m fine. I’m just worried I’ve upset everyone.”

“We all make mistakes,” Jai said. “And our fans are our life; without them we wouldn’t be here. But that doesn’t mean they can control us.”

I nodded solemnly, snapping my laptop closed. “I suppose...”

“Haters only hate the things they can’t have and the people they can’t be,” Jai mused, ignoring my offer. He titled his head to the side thoughtfully. “They’re just jealous.”

“What’s that saying again...?” I paused. “Oh yeah! Haters gunna hate, potatoes gunna potate, tomatoes gunna tomate, dogs are gunna-”

“Bark,” he finished with a small smile.

I returned it brightly. “Are you calling your fans haters?”

“No!” he exclaimed. “I’m just saying. They’re probably jealous.”

“Of what?”

“That Luke hugged you and not them.”

I bowed my head, staring intently at my hands crossed in my lap. “He didn’t hug me...”

Jai was silent for a moment. Then he reached for my hand and squeezed it tightly. “We’ll sort something out.”

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