An engine that had stood the test of time relatively well coughed and shuddered into an enormous city that whirred with an electrifying buzz.
A dizzying metropolis swept across the blacked out windows of the 5 Seconds of Summer tour bus. Towering skyscrapers full of busied business wannabes stretched towards a bleak blanket of white clouds. There was colour injected in small doses of crimson red, such as an alarming amount of public buses, as well as a profound quantity of soldier-like post boxes. This was the big city. This was London.
“I am so excited like you would not believe” Ashton giggled like a child as he came to perch next to Mikey.
“We’d never have guessed.” Michael sarcastically replied.
“Alright, keep your hair on, quite literally, it’s falling out more than the Kardashians.”
“Like you can talk, at least mines not like a middle-aged milfs vagina.”
For a split second a serious look passed between them, before they burst into fits of giggles.
“Stop guys, you’re making Calum jealous” smirked Luke.
“Totally, Malum for life.” Calum rolled his eyes, emerging from where they had their kitchen unit- clutching a slice of cold pizza.
“Calum, you know how much I love you” Mikey winked
“And you don’t let me forget it”
“Jesus, get a room!” Ashton smiled
“Now you’ve given Ash a dose of the green-eyed monster” Luke grinned
“Such a man whore Mikey” Calum chuckled “but I love it”
“Clearly, anyway, I just spoke to the bus driver, we’re nearing the venue of our meet and greet for the week as well as the place we’ll be playing two shows at in the next fortnight. We’re having meetings and interviews here so let’s hope this place is decent.” Luke announced.
Brakes screeched with an eerily lethargic resonance. The ‘tshh-ing’ sound was unmistakeable.
“Crap! We’re here! Let’s go boys” said Calum, jumping to his feet. His band mates followed him out of the bus. To greet them was one of the guys from their management team, who they hadn’t spoken to in person for a while.
“Hi guys!” the fairly averaged height man spoke. He had greying brown hair and a stubbly beard that carpeted his face like short astro turf. His stomach stuck out a bit- but only because this man was middle-aged- other than that he was in pretty good shape. Crow’s feet lined the corner of his periwinkle blue eyes that showed signs of age and happiness. No cheek bones stuck out like daggers as his face was mildly chubby- giving him a constant air of joy.
“Hi Gary!” they chorused.
“What’s the plan?” continued an eager Ashton.
“We’re going to enter the building-”
“I gathered that much” muttered Mikey
“You’ll need these” he handed out four lanyards with cards on.
“They’re restricted access, but will identify you as well as allowing you to pass through all the areas of the building you’ll need to.”
“We’ll go in and get you used to the rehearsal space that you’ll be using. So, if you’d like to follow me.”
The boys were happy to oblige and followed Gary into a large silver building with an encircled R tattooed on it.
Laura greeted them as they walked in, taking glances around the beautifully rebellious and modern décor of the foyer. Shooing a crease out of the corner of her blazer, she shook their hands.
“Laura Marsh, I’m Harry’s assistant and go-to-girl of this whole operation.” She chuckled at that last part and the band grinned along with her.
“Hi I’m Gary Godfrey from the bands management team. I assume this space is well equipped for our Australian masterpiece?”
“Oh most certainly, I’m sure you’ll find that Revolt Record’s rehearsal suites and performance lounges are up to the highest of standard.” She flashed a toothy white grin that reminded Mikey of the lady who had interviewed him the day before they flew to England… Melissa Darby. Except Laura was much younger and prettier. This last thought made him blush as their song English love affair briefly passed through his mind.
His mild trance was broken as a shouting match echoed down through the corridor. Laura readjusted her collar and grinned pleasantly again.
“What’s that?” Gary quizzed
“Oh just a few minor technical issues, I assure you that your time at Revolt Records will run smoothly.”
As Gary continued to press Laura for answers, Mikey strained to hear what was being yelled up ahead. The voices were growing nearer, near enough so that he could vaguely make it out.
‘But it’s our time, ask Mr Davis, he told us yesterday’
‘I’m sorry Miss Jefferson, but we have some special guests with us and they will be needing the guest suite for this time today, come back next week.’
‘Don’t cause a scene Elle, we haven’t even got the deal yet, we can’t ruin it now’
The voices were now extremely close; Mikey could hear them as clear as day.
Gulping, he caught a quick glimpse of a girl with dark hair being held on the shoulder by a large butch man with a balding head and crinkled eyes as black as scuttling beetles boring into his skull. Then he turned his head away, but the girl, Miss Jefferson, made it almost impossible for him to keep his eyes off her. A burning sensation scorched the back of his cranium and he knew that she was staring at him, willing for his head to turn back around. He couldn’t look away anymore. Embers burned in her empty eyes as she glared directly into his, not even blinking. Almost…soulless.
The two stopped in front of them. Michael managed to break eye contact with the girl, who must have been only a few years younger than himself. It was then brought to his attention that three other kids were following awkwardly behind the pair.
“Oh, sorry Miss Laura, didn’t mean to interrupt, this one was rather reluctant to leave.” He pat the girl on the back and she shot him a glare that would have turned Joseph Stalin to stone.
“No problem Trevor” although her smile faltered ever so slightly, which briefly revealed that actually there was a slight problem. She made to walk away and lead them into the suite, but was abruptly stopped by the girl talking.
“This is the special guests you were on about” she scoffed “we’re getting thrown out for a boyband”
Michael hated that term. With an extraordinary passion.
“Ellen, meet 5 Seconds o-” Laura began
“I know who they are. Girls at school go on about them all the time. Can’t say I understand the… hype.”
“Okay that’s enough Miss Jefferson, let’s go.” Trevor pressed on.
“Whatever Trevor” Ellen shoved his hand of her shoulder by jolting away and went to follow her troop out the door. But just as she passed Michael, their eyes met and locked on to each other. It was unbreakable. Neither could look away. The power of the gaze was too overbearing.
Finally, she left.
“Sheesh, what was her problem?” voiced Ashton. The band proceeded to stroll through the foyer to the rehearsal suite.
However Mikey could not deny what travelled through them as their eyes fastened on each other. Animosity. Bitter and intense dislike. Something told him that wouldn’t be the last he’d see of her.