Rylie Higgins was just a girl. Just a girl looking for her place in this harsh world, and she found it in the heart of the only person that ever mattered.
Most people knew Paul Higgins as the manager of the most famous boyband in history: One Direction. When Paul came to his daughter, Rylie, and told her that the struggle was over, she was ecstatic. No more living paycheck to paycheck. With no money coming in from her mother, and Paul having an insufficient job, it was hard. Finally, and Paul called it out, he would manage a up and coming band straight off the X Factor. The first time she met them, their strikingly handsome selves caught her off guard, and she knew, right then, they would top the charts.
When they announced their tour, she offered her skills. She played piano...and sang. She wasn't bad. She was talented, and finally had a use. She had a way with words, and she could write their songs. Everything was coming together. So she packed up her suitcase, and she followed her father onto the bus. She grew close with the boys. They were brilliant guys who she grew attached to. She finally felt like she belonged. She spent so much time with them that she herself became well known among the fans.
Her love affair with a member named Liam Payne only added to the fame. They grew so close that they admitted their feelings, and made it official. He was her first love. They dated for so long that it became routine to wake up to good morning texts, even though he was a bunk away. They did everything together, and she found herself unknown to the strange feelings. She knew she loved him, and she thought she could never feel the same for anyone ever again.
He grew distant. Things were changing, and Rylie feared for the worst. Then the rumors started, and she confronted Liam. He had been cheating. He met another girl named Sophia, and he loved her. He tragically dumped Rylie so hard that she left the tour and headed home to an empty apartment in London. Even though she had grown up in America, she considered Great Britain her home.
She cried, and cried. Her heart was broken, and sometimes you can never go back to a broken heart. It hurt knowing she had loved him so much and he didn't feel the same back. She was a fool... She excluded herself form everyone and poured herself in her music. She didn't talk to the guys anymore...she didn't talk with anyone. A solid year went by that she wasted tears on him. She barely finished high school, but she did. She stood on that stage in that cap and gown and got her diploma. That was the day she decided it was time to get over a pathetic relationship.
She packed up her bags, and climbed onto that all too familiar bus to begin another adventure on a new tour. Their third. She would not let a foolish relationship affect her friendship with the greatest guys on Earth. She was blessed to know them as well as she did.
Everyone welcomed her inviting smile with open arms, but Liam saw her as a threat. He thought she would ruin the relationship he had with his new love, but he had know idea she would fall for a lanky rocker with blonde hair and big blue eyes....
Rylie opened her eyes, feeling a fit of unawareness pass her mind. She jumped up, unfamiliar with her surrounding, and the top of her head collided with the confinement of her bunk. She nearly yelped in pain, but took a deep breath, and soothed the soreness by gently rubbing. She remembered where she was. She was on a bus...One Direction's to be exact. She had reunited with them only days before, but she felt so excluded. They were practically strangers, and she was ashamed she let her heartbreak take her to such a bad place, away from the people she loved. When she had met Liam's eyes, they were filled with loathe, when hers were filled with regret. Perhaps there was no starting over with him.
She shuffled out of her bunk, and examined the small space as her eyes focused from the sudden light peeking through the skylight. It was pretty late in the afternoon, she decided, so she pulled back her best friend Niall's, curtain, and shook him gently.
"Niall?" she whispered, poking his back with her index finger.
The only answer she received was a groan.
"Niall!" Rylie raised her voice slightly, and couldn't help but giggle when his shaggy hair appeared from behind his blanket, and squinted at her with unforgiving eyes.
"What?" he mumbled angrily.
"It's the first day of your tour, and you promised after I graduate, you would show me how to play the guitar."
"That was like...forever ago..."
"So? You promised..." Rylie begged. The truth was, she had plenty of time to learn the guitar, but she wanted to do it with her best friend. Niall had always planned to teach her whenever the time was right, and the time was surely right.
"Fine..." Niall exhaled loudly, showing his slight annoyance at her, and scooted her away from his bunk so he could climb out. He jumped from the top, and pushed the shaggy hairs away from his crystal blue eyes. Rylie loved him and missed him, but she only saw him as a brother. Nothing more. At the same time, she couldn't help but scroll her eyes down his toned chest, and stop at the plaid boxers that had an extensive bulge protruding.
She smiled at him with appreciative eyes, and wrapped her arms around his warm body. "You're the best."
Niall patted her back, and answered, "I already know this..." he chuckled at himself but pulled her away to meet her brown eyes. "I'm glad your back...with a smile."
She smiled again, showing luminous teeth, and tugged him out of the tiny hallway. Surprisingly, there was no one in the front part of the bus, when usually there were tons of middle-aged men going to and fro to do whatever it was they did. The bus was parked, probably outside of some park and it was the perfect opportunity to learn an instrument. She played piano, so a guitar shouldn't be that hard.
"Today is the first day of our tour, and you just had to wake me up..." Niall's voice drifted as he rummaged through his suitcase for a shirt.
Rylie looked away, promising not to drag her eyes down his figure again. "Don't you want to bond? Like old times?"
Niall shot her a look reading she could not play the bonding card on him. He looked around the space to make sure the other boys were no where in sight, and leaned closer to her. "Don't go off on Liam, okay? The past is the past..."
Rylie nodded, and rolled her eyes. "Yea, yea. I'm over him."
Niall glared at her to make sure she was telling the truth, and once he decided she was, he fiddled for his guitar case, and opened it to reveal a shiny object made of wood and lots of love. The strings were so crisp, and it was smooth to the touch. Rylie cooed at the gorgeous Gibson, and offered her love and appreciation for musical equipments.
Niall set it down on the small, leather sofa, and began tuning. Rylie sat down beside him, and watched in admiration as he became lost in his own world.
"By the way, you do know we're meeting with that new band today, right?" he asked.
She nodded. "Yea, your opening act. The boys from Australia...whatever their name is."
"5 Seconds of Summer..." Niall clarified. "I like them."
Rylie didn't really want another wannabe band coming onto the cluttered mess of a tour, and trying to take their own fame. She heard one song, and they had potential, but it was just revolting that management thought they had a chance. She saw what the boys went through; getting told what to do all the time, what to wear, what to say. They never got to really live, and that was the price of fame. The boys from Sydney didn't deserve such a hard job.
Rylie and Niall lost track of time as he showed her the basic essentials, like the chords, and how to strum. They were lost in the time spent together while everyone around them shuffled around the small bus, with boys screaming, and women and men entering with boxes and instructions, and the entire mess of stuff. It was chaotic, but there was a peace to it that helped her focus.
"Okay, now all you have to do is play this simple line." Niall showed her another set of notes, but Rylie couldn't do it. Her blood boiled as the frustration built. It was not an easy task, and she was a fool for thinking she could master in an hour. She attempted to move her fingers and read the notes at the same time, but when the screeching noise hit her ears, she pushed the guitar away from her body, and stood up, allowing a yell of anger to escape her.
"It's fine!" Niall assured. "You'll get it."
Rylie shook her head as she tried to calm down, but she hated to fail at something, and the aggravation devoured her insides.
Rylie turned to see one of the security guards motion everyone on the bus to get outside. She knew why. The boys had landed, and they had to be introduced.
"We'll work on this later, okay?" Niall got up, and touched her shoulder as she nodded. She watched him walk away, and looked down at the Minnie Mouse pajama pants she had on, reminding her to change. She retreated to the bathroom, and took a quick glance at her powder less face, and deranged hair. She quickly dressed in some fitting jeans, and flannel before touching up the flaws on her skin, and giving her chocolate hair a messy, but decent, shaggy look.
She tried to stall as long as she could because she did not want to meet the guys. She was already annoyed at them, and she had no idea why. They looked young in their videos, but she knew they would be grown and all done up for the tour, with their hair styled and their wardrobe updated. It was all a sick game. She would see them, and be forced to smile when really, she had enough people to deal with.
Rylie exhaled and climbed out of the empty bus into a bright parking lot, the sun beating down on her skin. She saw the big building ahead of her with white, paneled walls.
Dread filled her. She had an overwhelming feeling that her doom was near. What was with that? She couldn't control her body, and it was times like this that she wished she could ask it what was wrong and get an answer.
She walked alone up to the large door, and opened it slowly, immediately seeing a crowd of people surrounding something, or more like someone. When people caught her eyes, they moved, making a line for her to walk up to...
Her heart stopped. It literally stopped for a millisecond, and she could feel her chest tighten with apprehension.
That was the dread she had been feeling. The dread that someone would make her heart scream for passion again. She could not fall for another member of this tour, but yet, her feelings betrayed her as she met blue eyes. The bluest of eyes. Her heart leaped with joy, and a smile played across her face.
She savored every breath as she stepped towards him. Why hadn't she gotten more dressed up? She looked horrendous, and he was a glowing angel. His skinny jeans fit tightly around his thighs, and the loose t-shirt dangling from his chest, revealed a prominent collar bone. She remembered this feeling from her past relationship, but she wanted so desperately to go away. She could not like him. She needed time to readjust. She had to pull herself together. Hopefully, it wasn't too late. Hopefully, no one had seen the hearts flutter by her eyes.
Rylie titled her lips down slightly in a serious tone, and straightened her flannel as she took strides over to him, and opened a hand. She looked down, too afraid to meet his ocean eyes. If she did, her knees might give way before her.
"I'm Luke..." she heard him say. His voice. It was deep, but still had youth left to it. It was strong, and charming with just enough Australian. She could get drunk off his voice.
She exhaled as she met his confused eyes. They were so gorgeous. She bit down hard on her lip, trying not to squeal as his large hand wrapped around hers. Such strong hands. They had such a story as she held them.
"My name is R-Rylie." she stuttered, and mentally cursed at her shyness. She wasn't a shy person, so it perplexed her to feel so shy around Luke...what a perfect name for a perfect guy.
She traced her eyes over his handsome face. Perfect, plump lips. Dark lip ring. Blue eyes. Eccentric jawline. Pale cheeks that she wanted more than anything to hold as she kissed him. His blonde hair set styled back on his head. He made Rylie's heart melt. Even Liam hadn't done this to her. He was so tall; so limber; amazing....
"It's nice to meet you, Rylie.." Luke examined her too, obviously trying to decide how he felt about her. He smiled, revealing a smile that lifted to the side, and award-winning teeth that nearly blinded her. "Are you our pianist?"
Rylie was transfixed by him, and she paused, trying to remembered what he said. "Uh, yes! I am...that's me..." she smiled shyly at him, and un-gripped his hand from hers. Her hands were clammy with sweat, and she rubbed them on her pants.
Luke grinned at her awkwardness, and motioned for her to meet the other guys.
Rylie tore her eyes from his, and examined the others. They were handsome too, but were hard to compare to the man she had just seen.
She exchanged hellos as she walked down the line.
"I'm Ashton." Ashton was more muscular than the rest with his shirt fitted tightly around his biceps. His hair was in loose, caramel curls on the top of his head, and his eyes were a majestic shade of green. His smile ignited large dimples. "I'm the drummer."
She smiled at him, saying a quick, "Rylie," before stopping in front of the tannest of the group. Was he Asian? No, he was more of a Hawaiian, perhaps. His eyes were a deep shade of brown, and usually brown wasn't intriguing, but his were. He had a thick clump of jet black hair styled messily on his head, and the first she had seen with a tattoo. "I'm Calum. Bassist." The Australian slightly caught her off guard from her initial assumption of his nationality.
She smiled at him, and took another step beside the...oddest of the group. He was handsome...in a unique way. Michael, he said his name was. He was the palest. His rosy cheeks were chubby along with certain parts of his body, but yet, it had a firmness to it. She found herself oddly attracted to him. Just a tad. His green eyes eyed her with an air of tranquility, and his smile warmed her heart. HIs hair was a bright red, which made the rest of his face pop with color.
"Hi, I'm Rylie. " she smiled at him, hoping to befriend him as a new friend.
"Wow, you're beautiful..." Michael's eyes widened at the statement, and he clasped a hand over his mouth. "I mean..."
Rylie chuckled at him. "Thank you..." she blushed, but her attention was soon directed back on Luke. The whole room faded from view, and grew blurry as he focused. He was a sight.
"Honey..." Rylie turned to see her dad. He was surely handsome in his time, but a dad in her eyes. His beer gut wobbled as he walked, and it always made her chuckle. "Hey dad." she said. It felt good to be around him again after not seeing him for a solid few months. He occasionally stopped by to check on her at their apartment in London, but he was such a busy man with the boys that it was hard.
"How do you like the new boys?" he wrapped an arm around Rylie's shoulder, and she leaned in.
"I have a feeling this is going to work out..." she smiled, watching Luke's every move as he mingled with other people.
"Don't get too carried away. No more boyfriends..." Paul whispered in her ear, she could tell he was serious. She agreed completely with his words, but she couldn't help the smile Luke brought her. Plus, she was 18. She could legally do whatever she pleased.
Paul left her to stand alone as she stood frozen. She had to just gather the courage to go talk to him. He seemed like an easy-going guy. He seemed friendly. She willed her legs to move, and she found herself standing awkwardly at his side.
He noticed her instantly, and smiled. "Hey..."
Rylie grinned, feeling her cheeks flush with red. All he said was hey, and she was blushing. She was ridiculous. "Hi..." she pushed a strand of hair behind her ear, and tucked her fingers into her pockets as she swayed back and forth on her heels.
"You wanna go sit down?" Luke asked, feeling the tension. "We should get to know each other a little more since we'll be spending a lot of time together."
Rylie nodded at his words, and nearly tripped on her own two feet as she followed him to the few chairs waiting patiently to be sat on. She admired Luke's back as it extracted with every step.
"So what brought you here?" Luke asked as he seated himself. Rylie said down beside him, and shrugged.
"Well my dad is the manager. " she pointed over to her father across the room. "So I've practically grown up with these boys..."
Luke's eyes widened as he looked over. "Paul's your father?"
Rylie nodded, fearing at his reaction. What was the big deal?
Luke tilted his head to examine his lap. "Well I was planning on flirting with you, but 'm scared he'll beat me up or something..."
Rylie's heart leaped. He wanted to flirt? A smile crept onto her lips, and she searched in her mind for something to say. Anything.
"You could still flirt. I doubt my dad would do anything." She mentally scolded herself as the words slipped out. What a perfect thing to say to a hot boy?
Luke stifled a laugh and he shot a small wink Rylie's way. She held her breath as her stomach did another flip. "So..." she tried to relieve the tension, and it dwindled away the more comfortable she got with him. She honestly felt like she had known him her whole life. "Where'd you get the name 5 Seconds of Summer?" she questioned, proud of her small talk.
Luke shrugged. "Michael came up with it. We just went along..."
Rylie nodded, waiting for him to take his turn.
"So where'd you get those beautiful brown eyes?" Luke smirked.
Rylie felt tingly inside. No one, not even Liam, made her feel like such a love crazed girl, and they were supposed to be forever. Luke's eyes traced over every detail of her face as she spoke.
"Um...my mom, I guess...." she smiled at his cheeky personality.
Luke bit down on his lip ring, and Rylie had to practically will herself not to lunge at his body.
"So, Hun, you mind if I call you Hun?"
"N-No, not at all."
"Let's talk about music..." Luke stated, and he leaned back in his seat. Rylie loved music; all genres, and that was the perfect topic to lighten her shyness. If her and Luke could talk about music together, then he was a keeper. She hated herself that she had thought so harshly of them when they turned out to be amazing. She already knew it. Luke had an amazing voice.
Calum walked by them, and sent a smile her way. "Don't chastise the girl, okay?" he said to Luke, and Luke laughed.
"Chastise? Is that on your little 'Word of the day Calendar'?" Luke threw back.
Luke and Calum finished their fit of quirky and cute chuckles before Luke turned his attention back to her. His eyes bore into her soul. "So where were we?"
They stayed in that spacious building...just talking. Talking about everything. She learned a lot about him. He learned a lot about her. Everyone around them talked about their own things, but they...they got lost in each other. It was so easy to talk to him now. He had such an easy persona.
She really liked him. She admitted. She didn't want to like him, but she did. Her heart pumped out of her chest every time they met eyes. He made her feel things she hadn't felt in a long time. She had a crush...
"Yea, I've been singing since I was 7....I used to sing as a little girl in church." Rylie nodded to him. She had told him so much about her in the past...however long they had been talking. Not enough though.
"How old are you now?" Luke asked.
"18. I turned 18 about a month ago."
"I'm 18 too!" Luke exclaimed. He reached his hand and it rested gently above hers. The touch exchanged sent shivers up her spine. "It's meant to be..." he smirked, something he had been doing a lot.
He was very confident, Rylie observed. He had been so forward with her, and not that she was complaining, but it was weird.
She smiled warmly at him, and turned her head, noticing someone looking their way. It was that Michael guy. The look of envy on his face made her furrow her brows in confusion. Was he jealous of Luke talking to her? No...it wasn't like she pulled all the guys. She was shocked she had such a hold on Luke.
Her eyes trailed over, and they met big brown ones. Brown ones that she had looked into often. Brown eyes that she had loved, until the thought of seeing them again mutilated her mind with sickness. Liam. He grimaced as they made eye contact, and quickly looked away. He was upset that she was so happy. Was it such a crime that she was happy? He broke her heart, but didn't want her to move on. He was cruel...news flash. She moved on.
Suddenly, Luke leaned closer to her, and forced her to look at him. He stared at her for a moment, taking in all her features, and he smiled. "I'm just gonna say it...I like you."
Rylie felt her stomach do another ecstatic flip. She bit down on her lip, incapable of speaking. He liked her. She liked him. What could she say? Should she just tell him?
"I like you too..." she decided, and blushed as he breathed out in relief.
"Then go on a date with me. Tonight." Luke said. It was more of a statement then a question, but she answered anyways. She didn't have to think about it.
"I would like that..." Everything was happening so fast. She hadn't expected when she walked into the building to end up with a date. Her mind started overthinking. It could be great and they could really hit it off. It could end badly, and it would be awkward the rest of the tour. Her emotions toyed with her stability, and she bit down on her lip, feeling nervous. She had planned to wait before getting into a relationship, but of course, she had to crush on the new companion of the tour. So much could go wrong, but it never felt more right. She had a good feeling...
"Cool..." Luke let out an exasperated laugh, like he was out of breath.
Rylie smiled at him quickly, taking another glance at his mesmerizing eyes before she looked up to see her fathers. Her smile vanished. His hazel orbs glared at her, and she straightened her back in a scared confusion.
Paul lifted his finger, and pointed towards the door, indicating to meet him outside.
Rylie gulped. "I'll be right back, Luke.." she notified him as she stood up, and dusted off her pants.