The Tennessee concert was over, but everyone stayed an extra day because Louis wanted Summer to be able to party with them. The preparations for Louis's Christmas Eve birthday party was insane. People were coming and going, trying to collect their late presents and gather up some decorations. The party was in the club part of the hotel, and all inhabitants were restricted to their rooms for the night. No one was allowed in the building after 8, so the hotel was basically off limits to anyone not associated with One Direction. Everyone was planning on getting wasted, and the boys preferred to not have their fans see them that way.
Rylie was in the club, trying to hang up a banner in the dim light. She balanced on a ladder, and stretched to hook the banner corner around a loop. If she fell, there would be no one around to catch her. Things were so hectic, and everyone had cleared the area except her.
She hummed independently, and enjoyed the time to herself. She was stressing about what would happen in the next couple hours. She told herself she was ready, but she wasn't sure.
"Rylie..." Louis called, walking through the swinging doors. "Could you get the alcohol together?" he smiled, excited for the amount of alcohol he would consume. "I have people flying in, and we will need a lot of booze."
"Yea..." Rylie stepped down from the ladder, and walked over to the bar, and climbed behind the tables. She started organizing the alcohol under the table shelves, and waited for people to come in and join her. She had been everywhere in the hotel and she was ready for some tequila to relax her nerves. She didn't know who Louis had invited, but she knew Louis went all out in his invitations. She wouldn't be surprised if she saw some Kardashians running around.
The alone time started to bore her, and she gave up trying to figure out which went went first: tecate or tequila. She opened the double doors into the lobby, and the bright lights blinded her for a second. She searched for Luke in the crowd of people.
She spotted him helping unload some crates from a van outside, and followed behind others on their way out.
"Luke!" she called out, trying to get his attention.
His eyes glanced over to her and he smiled a warm smile as he sat a box down, and trotted over to her. His arms engulfed her, and he buried his head into her neck. Rylie wrapped her dainty hands around his waist, and looked out at the sun on the horizon. It was almost sundown, and everyone knew what that meant.
"How's everything going?" Luke asked, pulling away. His stature gloomed over her, casting a shadow on her body. She looked up at him, and wondered how someone so tall could maneuver with such long legs.
Rylie breathed out a long, heavy sigh. "Things are crazy."
"Yea, but aren't you excited?" Luke exclaimed a joyful squeak, and grabbed Rylie's shoulders. He smiled big. "I can't wait to give you your present!"
Luke had told Rylie last night that he had to give it to her at exactly 10 o'clock. She wondered at all the possibilities of what it could be. She planned to give hers right after, and she had a feeling Luke would be ecstatic about his. It was a big present, and Rylie wanted to be ready. She didn't want it to feel forceful. She wanted it to be romantic, and loving, but at the same time, pushing it upon someone as a present wasn't the best way to give it. What if Luke rejected? What if he knew it wasn't time? It didn't matter. She had something to fall back on.
Rylie allowed herself to worry over the possible outcomes, but smiled an unconvincing smile to Luke. She was worried, but it was Christmas Eve. The next day would be Christmas, and nothing can go wrong on Christmas.
People were rounding up in the lobby, and heading to the club doors, indicating the party had started.
Dusk had automatically fallen over Luke and Rylie as they were the only ones remaining outside.
"C'mon." Luke grabbed Rylie's hand, and pulled her towards the door. "We don't want to get locked out and miss all the fun."
The music boomed over them, and even being not even a foot away, Rylie and Luke had to scream at each other. The party was chaotic. So many people adorned the large room, and so much alcohol was being passed around. The cake was fixing to be released, and it was so large that Rylie had a feeling someone would pop out.
Rylie and Luke sat at the bar stools, and chatted among their friends. Rylie drank some unknown drink foreign to her, but she liked it. She was chipper, but it was the chipper that drunkenness gave you. It was the feeling where there were no worries or no disappointment. The life they were living was right now. There was no future. All that was on anyone's mind was drink, and dance.
Rylie struggled for her inner sober self to stay at surface, and not be buried by her current mindset. Se felt the fuzzy feeling that intoxication gave you if you tried to grasp for memories, or thinking.
People danced all around her, and did stupid things they wouldn't remember in the morning.
Louis walked over to them, and enveloped them in a hanging hug. His breath smelled strongly of liquor, and it was difficult for Rylie to breathe, even though hers probably smelled the same.
"There's the birthday boy!" she yelled, grabbing his hands, and tossing them off of her shoulder.
"Where's my cake?" he asked, searching around the room.
"Here it comes now!" Harry, who sat in the seat beside Rylie, yelled. He pointed to a clearing being opened, and a huge cake rolled into the room. It was twelve tiers of multi-colored icing, and a huge sign that sparkled with little lights on top read, "Happy Birthday Louis!" A big One Direction logo was planted on one of the tiers, and each layer had a different pattern. That cake was extravagant, and must have taken forever to make. Louis had high expectations, but he deserved them.
Louis wrapped his arm around his girlfriend, Eleanor, and screamed into the air as he catapulted into the cake, dragging her along with him.
There went hours of labor.
Eleanor staggered to her feet, and tried to pull chunks of cake out of her hair. It was no use. She was covered in icing, and so was Louis. He bathed in the cake, and refused to get up. He started making snow- angels in the icing, and it received a laugh from the people gathering around. He scooped a chunk of his shirt with his index finger, and seductively licked it off. "Tastes good!" he laughed.
Everyone erupted into laughter around him, even though nothing was remotely funny. Rylie sipped on her drink, and tried not to choke as she laughed along. Tears brimmed her eyes, and she grasped her stomach for breath. She hadn't planned to get so drunk; It just happened.
Luke gulped down the remainder of his drink, and grabbed Rylie's arm as he hopped of the stool. "Let's dance!" he shouted over the music.
Rylie nodded enthusiastically, and strode along with Luke towards the dance floor. Music pounded in her ears, and she gave up on trying to hear herself think.
Luke grabbed her waist, and Rylie threw her hands up to the air as she grinded her body on his. Sweaty people surrounded them, and Rylie felt the tingles of sweat emitting from her pores. She looked heated and filthy, but the music just reeled in her ears. Luke's hands on her body made her feel...alive. She gripped his hair, and tugged, breathing out heavily. She slowly felt that familiar feeling of want forming a lump in her stomach. She felt that feeling she had on the rooftop that one night.
Time went by, and Rylie and Luke continued to feel the music and feel the touch of each other. Rylie pushed her thoughts away, and let the music take her to places no one or nothing else could.
Her mind was pulled to reality as a giant body fell to the ground in front of her feet. She suddenly felt sober, and quickly moved out of the way, horrified at the sudden outburst. Everyone else seemed to gain their humanity back, and a dead silence formed in the room. Rylie placed her hands on Luke's chest, and watched Ed walk slowly and intimidatingly up to a fearful Niall on the ground beneath. Rylie had known this day would come.
"She's mine!" Ed screamed, his face contorted, showing different frown lines. His face was red with anger and his nose crinkled as he showed bright teeth growling down at Niall.
Niall hugged his body with both arms to protect himself as Ed grasped the collar of his t-shirt with knotted fists, and pulled him up violently, only to throw him back down on the hard dance floor again.
"You can have her!" Niall screamed, and turned to the side. He gripped his stomach and burst into a fit of coarse coughs.
Ed moved down towards him again, but Rylie jumped on top of Niall, and put her hand up to shield his next blow.
"Leave him alone!" Rylie yelled. "You've had a few hits. It's time to move on." She hated to see Niall in pain, and she would do anything for Niall. She would've taken a thousand hits for Niall. He was her brother in every way except blood. She stuck up for him, and was always there for him. Always. She couldn't stand around and watch him get beat to death by an angry ex-best friend. Sure Niall wasn't perfect. Sure he made mistakes, and it really was his fault that started the fight, but that didn't matter. People made mistakes, and Niall got the effects of the mistake he made. It was time for the drama to stop.
Ed looked surprised, breathed out, and opened his bloody fists. He peeked around Rylie to make eye contact with Niall. "You got lucky..." he said, and turned on his heel, leaving the party and stunning everyone.
Rylie watched the doors swing closed before she turned around to Niall, and grabbed his cheeks to examine the wounds. Niall's lip was busted, and drops of blood dripped onto the glistening floor. Other than that and a few bruises, Niall was alright. He shook with fright, and Rylie rubbed his cheek, trying to comfort him.
"You d-did a st-stupid thing back there." Niall stuttered, holding his chest.
Rylie smiled, and nodded, glad Niall was semi-okay. She knew he had never gotten in a fight before, and it hurt her to think how scared he was. On the other hand, she was glad the brawl happened. Hopefully, Niall had learned his lesson and will think twice before he goes sleeping around with girls. Maybe he would be ready to settle down, and have a steady relationship with someone other than Thea. He had been mad at her for punching Thea, but Rylie knew he was over it now.
Luke helped Rylie pull Niall up to his feet, and carry him over to one of the stools. She asked someone nearby to get a first-aid kit, and they waited.
Luke looked down at his watch suddenly, and gasped. He grabbed Rylie's arm, and shook it vigorously. "Rylie, it's 9:46! We need to go upstairs to your room or my Christmas present will be ruined!"
Rylie's eyes grew wide. So many things had happened in the past few minutes. She didn't think she was ready to go upstairs with Luke, and shut the door, giving them the perfect private space to do what Rylie intended. She at least needed time to calm down, and let the alcohol that was slowly leaving her system, relax her.
"But Niall-" Rylie argued, reluctant to leave Niall's side.
"Go!" Niall waved his hand in the air, shooing them towards the door. "Go do whatever it is you want to do with Luke." he smiled weakly, already out of breath again.
Rylie touched his arm. "Are you sure you'll be okay?"
Niall nodded. "Go..." he laughed.
Rylie gathered her thoughts, and let Luke drag her out the door, and into an elevator. The doors closed, and he tapped his foot against the marble floor impatiently.
Rylie loved his nervousness. She loved the way his eyebrows knitted together, and how he chewed on his lip ring.
The elevator doors opened wide, and Luke grabbed onto Rylie again, pulling her quickly down the skinny hallways, and they stopped before her room door. He turned the doorknob, and the door swung open, revealing the contents of the inside. Luke dragged Rylie over to the window seat, and motioned for her to sit down. He checked his watch again, and pulled back the window curtains, and sat opposite Rylie.
Rylie sat in wonder and anticipation, curious to why they sat looking out the window at the starry night.
Luke smiled wide, and reached for a decorative box over to his side. The present was bright green, with a red bow wrapped around it. He handed the box to Rylie.
Rylie waited quietly, ready to open it, but nervous of its contents.
"Go on! Open it!" Luke urged, and Rylie tore the bow open and threw it to the side. She pulled the top of the box up, and peeked her eyes inside. She furrowed her brows in confusion.
Rylie pulled a piece of calligraphy-adorned paper out of the box.
"What is it?" she asked.
Luke gasped. "It's a certificate for your own star! See?" he pointed at the paper and Rylie read a bunch or intricate numbers before she saw her name printed in bold letters, and the words basically saying she had her own star. Now that she realized what it was, her heart filled with happiness. That was the most thoughtful gift she had ever received. It wasn't something thrown together. It was from the heart.
"I remember you told me you liked stars." Luke smiled, referring to the night they laid in the snow, staring up at the vast sky. "So I bought you your own..."
Rylie felt her eyes water, and tears streamed, drop by drop, down her cheek. "Luke, this is the best gift anyone's given me!" She threw herself at Luke, and hugged his chest, gripping him firmly. She cried out joyfully, and pulled away, giving Luke quick kisses everywhere.
"Thank you!" she kissed his forehead. "Thank you!" she kissed his cheek. "Thank you!" she made her way to his warm lips, and let her lips linger on his, making the moment more intense and passionate.
Luke reluctantly pulled away, and pointed to the sky. Rylie ripped her eyes from his, and looked up to the sky, glancing at every star.
Luke checked his watch again, and smiled. "It's 10."
Rylie gently placed her hands against the window, and tilted her head. "How do I know which one is mine?"
Luke pointed to the very last star on the right. "That's yours." he smiled, proud of his accomplishment. "On the 24th of every month, Taurus's stars align perfectly at ten. Yours will always be the last one on the right. The NASA dude told me this."
Rylie admired the glistening of her star. She noticed it seemed to shine more bright than the others.
"I picked that one because it stood out. Just like you..." Luke looked at his lap shyly, almost embarrassed by his words. "It gleamed and it...reminded me of you...every time you smile."
Rylie tore her gaze from the star, and stared wide-eyes at Luke. He always knew what to say, and he was truly taking Rylie's heart every word he said. He was now in control of Rylie's heart, and she would never get it back. Her stomach lurched with powerful butterflies, and she wished she hadn't drunk so much so she could experience the full force of her emotions. Luke was amazing; in every way, in every form, in every part of his body. Rylie hadn't imagined a more thoughtful gift, and she would never forget that very moment.
Luke looked at her with the most loving eyes, and three words almost slipped from her mouth. "I lo-"
"I know it's not the best gift..." Luke looked ashamed.
"Are you kidding?" Rylie almost laughed at his words. "It's...amazing." she held the back of Luke's neck, and pulled his forehead to hers. Their foreheads touched, and they waited in that position a moment, breathing each other's air.
Rylie was ready to give part 1 of her present. "Luke...what I am about to show you stays between us. I know how badly you want to hear it, and I need you to know that when I wrote it, I was in a bad place. It's a great song, but the emotions I felt are no longer there. I don't want you to worry about the meaning, but I want you to hear what came from my heart those 2 years ago."
Luke cringed, already knowing what she was talking about.
"Luke..." Rylie breathed out, scared, nervous, and excited. "I'm about to play you Amnesia."