I surprise myself by sleeping a total of one hour that night. Yes, you heard it, one whole hour. Maybe tomorrow I'll get lucky and add a whole ten minutes onto it!
In case you couldn't tell, that was sarcasm. My eyes snap open, as if ashamed for the unnatural occurrence. Even though I only slept for an hour, I feel fully rested. I don't expect anymore hallucinations for a while.
For several hours I lay on the couch, staring at the ceiling. Only when several alarms go off at once do I 'wake up'. I feel like keeping my condition a secret between me and Calum.
The guys all get up, forgetting I am here, and get dressed. They have more trouble fitting into their skinny jeans than me, and I almost chuckle at the fact. Yes, not giggle, chuckle. If you think I should only giggle then fuck you.
"Morning." I let the words roll off my tongue lazily.
"hoLY SHIT!" Michael jumps, trips over his suitcase, and falls onto the bed behind him. I can't help myself. I laugh. Hard.
"Fuck, you nearly gave me a heart attack." Calum holds his hand over his chest, and Luke sits on the bed, trying to steady his breath. Ashton leans against the wall, touching his fingers to his forehead.
"You saw my underwear." Luke's face flushes, and I cover my mouth with my hand in an attempt to stop laughing.
"Tacos." I grin through my fingers, and Ashton smiles with me.
"You do have some interesting underwear, mate."
Then they all spread out to do their own thing; shower, brush their teeth, fix their hair, shave, or in Calum's case, talk to me. He squats beside the couch.
"Did you get any sleep?" He whispers, and I nod.
"One hour." I reply, and tap his forehead. "Hey, don't tell anyone, okay?"
"Not even Michael?" He raises an eyebrow, and I think for a moment.
"No. If I decide to tell him I will. But for now I don't want anyone to worry about me." I say finally. "Now go comb your hair or something."
"I don't need to." He shrugs, and I chew my lip to hide a devilish grin.
"What?" He narrows his eyes, and I reach out, as if I'm going to cup my hand around his ear and whisper something. Right before my hand hits the side of his head, I move my hand up, and ruffle his hair.
"Hey!" He falls onto his butt, and covers his hair with his hands.
"Go comb your hair." I repeat, and he checks his hair with the front camera of his phone.
"Actually, it looks kind of nice this way. Thanks." He cheekily grins, and leaves to go bug Michael.
"So where are you guys going?" I ask when they all sit on the floor with their phones, more or less groomed for the day.
"Sound check. Then later tonight we play, and we leave to another city after that. I can't remember where though." Ashton answers, and takes a band selfie to put on Twitter.
"Can I come with? Maybe we can convince security or something." I ask, hopeful.
"We'll have to do a lot of convincing." Calum chews on his cheek.
"Please!" I beg, my voice straining. I don't want to stay here. As much as I hate to admit it, I'd rather end up doing some fisticuffs with some security dude than have to stay here, alone.
"We'll see." Michael gives in, and the others look at him.
"We don't do this very often." Luke adds, quietly.
"I can tell." I say, and we all sit in silence. After about a minute, I speak up again. "When does sound check start?"
"In an hour." Calum swallows.
"Let's get some breakfast or something then. Jesus, do you guys even know how to function in the morning?" I roll my eyes, and stand up. They get up with me, and I lead them down the hallway, into the elevator, and into the lobby, where they serve free breakfast.
I grab a chocolate muffin, and a bagel. By the time I finish eating, the others have eaten about five times that I have, and are ready to eat more, before one of the employees remind us that we 'may not eat all of the food, or we will have to start paying a fee'. Which would be no problem, but it defeats the purpose of free food.
And so, we depart for the venue ten minutes early. There we are greeted by security, and I get the 'hairy eyeball' from a few guards, but the guys convince them to let me in.
I sit in the front row while they play, and almost smile again. They're good. Like, really good. Michael jumps around on stage, even though there's nobody but me in the seats, and they all give it their best.
By the end of their performance, I'm clapping.
"Did you like it?" Michael strums his guitar, then looks at me.
"It was garbage. I can't believe you're a band." I scoff, and make a disgusted noise for effect.
"Noelle." Calum frowns.
"Smart-ass." Michael mumbles, and I allow the beginnings of a smile appear on my face.
"You called my name?"
I have to sit backstage during their actual performance, since the seats sold out, and I didn't buy a ticket. So, I listen from a leather couch in the dressing room.
I take the time to realize that in a day, I turn 18, a minor no longer. I recognize a song that they sing, a song they didn't play at sound check.
In fact, I actually sing along, and drum on my thighs. to what song? 'What I Like About You' by The Romantics. I suppose that they own rights or something to the song now, so it's currently 'by' 5 Seconds of Summer, but to me, it's by The Romantics. Sorry, lads.
After an hour or two, they say goodbye to their fans, and regroup with me.
"What I Like About You, huh? I bet half your fan base doesn't know that song isn't actually yours." I point out, and Ashton nods.
"It's a good song though."
"So what now?"
"I guess we have to argue with our security." Calum sighs.
"Thank you so much." I do the unthinkable. I......hug....yes, the mighty H-word. I hug him. Surprised, he stiffens, then pats my back, and I let go, shocked at myself.
"Oh my fucking god I'm so sorry." I stand there, awkwardly. I catch Michael giving Calum a look. Is that....no, I'm just seeing things. But I could've sworn I saw......never mind.
Things didn't go too well with security. The entire band had to actually refuse to get on the bus until they allowed me to follow.
And so, we sit on the bus.
"So what now?" I ask, and everyone shrugs.
"We usually take our pants off." Calum admits.
"Hey me too!" I say, without thinking, earning myself several odd looks.
"What? Taking off your pants is, like, the best way to relax. Don't give me that look, because you said yourselves that you do it too." I defend myself, and Michael raises his hands.
"Okay, okay, fine." The bus starts moving, and Ashton offers me a Pepsi.
"Want one?" He asks, while the others get their own drinks. I take the Pepsi, even though Luke offers me a RedBull, and Michael and Calum try to give me a beer, despite me being underage.
"Come on, you'll be old enough in a day!" Michael tries to convince me.
"Not in America I won't." I reply, and add "Beer tastes horrible, anyways." I start pulling off my shirt, and they all freak out.
"WHOA WHOA WHOA!" They scream, and I roll my eyes.
"I'm wearing a tank top, Jesus..." I roll up my shirt and toss it onto the ledge behind the couch across from me.
"As much as we might enjoy seeing a girl in her bra, you were about a second away from having to call 911." Ashton rubs his eyes, and I pat him on the shoulder.
"We should go to sleep. Got a blanket?" I stretch, and Michael leaves into the area with the bunks. He returns with a blanket, and tosses it at me. It smells like burgers and guy.
"It's mine, but it's kinda all we've got. I can live without it for a few nights." He plays with the hem of his shirt.
"We'd better get to sleep, or we won't have enough energy to celebrate tomorrow."
"Celebrate what?" I ask for the rest of us.
"Your birthday, stupid." Michael smiles, and turns around, to climb into his bunk.
"Night." Ashton and Luke follow, but Calum stays with me. I lay down, and he sits beside me, in the curve between my boobs and my hips.
"So....how are you doing?" He asks, after a long silence. I think before replying. I decide that there's no point in being snarky, and I actually feel quite content at the moment.
"Almost eighteen, I guess." I say, and take off my skinny jeans under the blanket. Not the easiest feat, but possible. I drop them on the floor in front of me.
"We wrote a song about wanting to be eighteen."
"Yeah I heard. I wish I was eighteen and all that jazz." I pick up his hand, and focus on how warm it is.
"Sorry, I'm being weird. I just have a lot of things on my mind." I instantly drop his hand in realization, and stare at the ceiling.
"I know the feel." Calum mutters, so quietly I almost can't hear him. "You're a girl. Can you give me some advice?" He takes his lip between his teeth, and I nod slowly.
"You know I'm not the average girl, and probably not the best to ask. But yeah. Ask away." I sit up, and bring my knees to my chest. He sits the same way as me, on the opposite end of the couch.
"I like this girl, like a lot. But I'm not sure if I should ask her to go on a date, or just leave it alone or not, y'know? She's so perfect to me, but I don't know if we'd be right together." Calum plays with a hole in his jeans. I stare at his face. He looks genuinely scared, and hopelessly unsure.
"What's her past time?" I ask, and he looks up, thankful that I chose to help him, but confused.
"You heard me. Her past time activities."
"Well, I think she goes shopping or out on walks. Sometimes she likes to browse instrument stores to see if they have anything really nice." He smiles slightly, the more he talks. Even though I can't see his whole face (he is back to picking at the hole in his jeans), I can tell he's in love.
"She seems nice. Do you know if she has any..y'know, guy friends?"
"No, not really."
"Ask her then. If you're falling in love with her, try it out. You're only getting older."
"Thank you." He leans forward, then hugs me. I can smell his cologne, and feel his biceps flex, as he tightens his grip. This girl he likes is damn lucky.
"Oh, and Calum?"
He stops hugging me. And sits back in his place again.
"Just remember something. I'm not a love expert, but I know enough to say this. Don't let her drop your heart on the floor because she's bored. Don't let her break you. Because, it will happen. If you let her have all control over you, the real Calum will be gone. You'll be an empty shell. I don't want that." I snuggle into Michael's blanket, and he nods.
"Sleep well, Noelle. More or less."
"Live your life well, Calum, and stay happy." I exhale loudly, and he leaves. I close my eyes, and empty my brain of thoughts.