~“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! Look, Charlie, its One Direction’s debut album!” My dark haired best friend Vanessa squealed from behind me, drawing the attention of practically every Christmas shopper in the HMV store. I almost joined in, but I’d rather not draw even more attention to myself.
“Ness, calm down. How much is it?”
“£8.99,” she responded excitedly. “And I’ve got just enough coins.” She squeaked again and pulled a copy of ‘Up All Night’ off the shelf. I rolled my eyes at her.
“But you have to get a Christmas present for your brother, still.” I told her pointedly. She rolled her eyes at me and giggled evilly.
“Nah, he can get like… a handmade card from me or something!” I laughed.
“Well, you’re funeral.” I pushed a bit of my blonde, shoulder-length hair behind my ear as I followed her to the front desk. I adjusted my glasses and scanned the room, noticing a poster that hung on the wall. I pinched Vanessa on the shoulder and she jumped in surprise.
“What?” she asked angrily. I shrugged, pointing to the poster.
“Look, One Direction’s apparently coming here today to perform.” She shrieked and once again bought the whole store to complete silence, all the older shoppers giving us funny looks and a few of the younger teenagers smirking at us. I sighed and quite literally face-palmed. Ness could be such an idiot most of the time and that’s why I loved her, but honestly, sometimes I think she just does it for a reaction out of me. The woman at the checkout gave Ness the bag with her CD in it begrudgingly. She was a smart one, and she knew things wouldn’t be quiet with the teenage girl in front of her around. She also knew Ness would be sticking around for One Direction, whether she liked it or not.
“I wonder if I’ll be able to talk to Zayn… oh my god he is soooo hot!” she ranted as she took a seat across from the shop.
“Maybe, Ness… maybe.” I commented, trying to calm her down. Seriously, she was so close to losing it and hyperventilating. “You know you’re crazy, right?” I told her with a giggle. She nodded like it was obvious.
We sat for a while in silence, waiting for One Direction to make their appearance. Suddenly, my phone rang, playing ‘Gotta Be You’ loudly for the world to hear. Even above the din of the crazy shopping centre, the voices of One Direction could still be heard by people on the level above. I got a few weary glances from people around my age about the music choice. But, as always, I shrugged them off, not caring at all for their opinions. If there was one thing I hated most, it was people dissing other people’s music choice. I listened to a bit of everything myself, from the alternative rock of Fall Out Boy to the more mainstream stuff like Lady Gaga. Oh, and of course One Direction.
My favourite member, well, crush if you like, is Niall Horan. Niall is originally Irish, just like me. I had moved to England four years ago partly for dad’s work, but also partly because my parents wanted me and my sister to have a solid, British education. Obviously I never grew up with the young star, but I knew if life had been different, if we had both grown up in the same Irish town, Niall and I would have been the best of friends. We had similar personalities, a similar background, and similar likes. I may not look it, but I sing in the school’s choir. I have trouble performing in front of people unless I’m performing with others.
For me, music is a way for people to express themselves, to share personal experience with other people, acknowledge their memories, both good and bad. Music with a good beat was also easy to dance to, and this of course was even better because it meant I got to have fun with friends and create for myself new and fun experiences. Music was my life. I practically had a soundtrack for all my life experiences. I didn’t care what people think. My parents don’t believe going into the music industry is an amazing feat, but I believe it is. I think I’ll be able to make it one day. I grabbed the mobile out of the back pocket of my jeans and stuck it to my ear.
“Charlie, its me!” my other friend Camilla greeted excitedly. “Apparently One Direction’s going to be at the shopping centre. Wanna meet up?”
“Yeah, I’m already here! And Ness is here too!” I told her, shouting over the sound and flashing lights. Ness gave a shout from behind me and Camilla laughed loudly in my ear.
“Meet at the front of HMV, yeah?”
Camilla got there just in time. As we marched over to greet her, familiar, famous faces pulled in beside us. Being spatially challenged as I was, I accidentally marched right into Liam Payne and managed to pull a stack of CDs down on top of us both at the same time as we went to enter the store.
“Crap… sorry!” I squeaked at him, trying to help him up. He chuckled and reached for me, only to trip over on something else and send us both tumbling back into the CDs. I laughed nervously.
“Um… sorry! I’m such a klutz sometimes.” I blushed, watching as the members of One Direction stood around the two of us, either looking down at us in shock or laughing crazily. Niall was there, but he stood apart from the rest. He looked down at me in surprise, but didn’t speak a word. Great, I thought, now I’ve embarrassed myself in front of the whole of One Direction.
“Nah, its OK,” Liam told me with a laugh and a smile. “Seems you know who we are,” he motioned to Ness’ CD. “Are you here for our performance?” I nodded.
“So, what’s your name?” He asked politely, lifting me up. I dusted myself up.
“Charlie,” I told him, shaking his hand. “But everyone calls me Char, as in Charmander... you know, the Pokemon…” I trailed off. He nodded.
We all marched over as a group to the side of the store that had been set up before with a small stage. The boys from One Direction all got up on stage and left us to form the first layering of the crowd. Throughout their performance, I kept feeling eyes upon me. I looked up to find him staring at me. Niall Horan. His blonde hair was messily flicked to the side and his blue eyes were gazing intently at me. I gave him a small wave. Harry seemed to notice his friend’s attention on me and gave me a knowing wink. They began singing a song from their new album called ‘I Want’. I couldn’t help but sing along with them. The boys looked down at me in surprise and I gave them all a warm smile. Both Ness and Camilla joined in with me.
At the end of the concert, the boys let us come with them and ride in their limo. I texted dad and told him I might be a little late getting back. Liam sat with an arm wrapped around Camilla, Ness sat between Zayn and Harry and I sat with the two quieter members of the group, Louis and Niall.
“So, you girls are pretty big fans of us, huh?” Harry asked playfully. I sighed as Ness began attacking his eardrums with her rants and Camilla happily sat their with her hand and Liam’s enlaced. If only I could be courageous and outgoing enough to be able to talk as openly as Ness and be as forward as Camilla. Curse my shyness!
“You’re very quiet!” a voice came from beside me. I jumped involuntarily and turned to a chuckling Niall. “Sorry if I scared you.” He said. I shook my head and looked out the window, wondering vaguely if the people outside could see inside and assess my situation.
“Uh… yeah. She’s usually quiet around new people!” Ness cut into our short-lived conversation. I blushed and looked down, now more interested in the carpet of the limo than any of the boy’s faces.
“You know, you don’t have to be quiet around me!” Niall commented, poking me playfully on the arm. I flinched and almost whacked Louis in the head. All of the boys laughed.
“Don’t do that!” I whined at him. He looked taken aback at first, but stopped as I requested. Instead, he took my hand in his and held it for the rest of the journey, until we all hopped out of the limo and into Ness’ house. I was sad to feel his warmth leave my hand.
“Ma, we’ve got company!” Ness shouted down her hallway. A middle-aged, short and round looking woman marched up to greet us at the door.
“Ah, Nessie. And we’ve got Camilla and Charlie here too!” she said happily. Ness’ mum was always happy to see us, even when we came by uncalled. After her husband had died five years ago, the woman always filled up the room with her optimistic and accepting personality. It had been hard on her, but Ness’ mum had so much strength.
“And who have we here?” she asked, looking down at her daughter’s hand entwined in Zayn’s, and then up to all of the boys. “You didn’t say you had a boyfriend, Nessie!” Ness giggled and let go of Zayn’s hand, a blush staining her cheeks. I smirked as her mum fussed over her daughter and led us all into the kitchen. “I suppose you’ll all be staying for dinner then?” she asked.
“Only if that’s alright with you.” Of course, Ness’ mum had already reached the phone and let Camilla and my parents know we would be staying a little longer. None of the boys could even say no to her, and she was off into the kitchen, preparing dinner.
“Now, run along! Go and play outside in the garden. It is such a lovely day!”
After a few games of soccer and hide and seek, I had finally opened up a little to Liam, Harry, Zayn, Louis and Niall. Ness’ mum made a small bonfire by the edge of the garden and pulled out some old, rusty chairs to sit on. Zayn sat with Ness, Liam sat with Camilla, and Louis and Harry sat together on the side. That left Niall and me together on the opposite side of the fire. I took off my shoes and propped my feet up close to the fire. Camilla pulled a few long sticks from the garden and began poking around in the embers. We each took a stick off her and grabbed a few marshmallows from a packet that sat on a low table. It was a beautiful autumn night. It was close enough to winter to be chilly, but the snow hadn’t begun to fall yet so we weren’t entirely freezing either. I watched in silence as the marshmallow on the end of my stick turned into a sloshy, gooey mess. Niall was so close to me right now. Never had I even dreamed of sitting with him like this, hands entwined, sharing a large wooden bench chair together. I thought perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me, but when I pinched myself this was obviously reality.
“You have a really pretty voice, you know that?” Niall told me. I glanced up at him, his blue eyes watching me intently. I blushed and turned away from him.
“No. My voice is nothing compared to yours,” I told him sheepishly. He exhaled and pulled me closer.
“No. I mean it.” He began stroking my blonde hair. “I really mean it. Your voice is really beautiful.” He cupped my chin with his hand and brought me closer to him, his lips grazing my ear.
“Your voice is as beautiful as you are.” I practically melted into his sweet, accented words. As if trying to prove his point, he brought his lips away from my ear and to my face. He trailed a lingering kiss on my left eyelid and dragged it down, kissing my nose before moving to my mouth. I sighed into the kiss, silently begging for this to never end.
“Niall?” I asked as he pulled away. He wrapped his right arm around my head and pulled me into his chest, careful not to crush my glasses.
“Charlie… I think I really like you.” I nuzzled into his neck.
“I like you too, Niall!” I squeaked. We sat there a while longer, content to be in each others arms. I looked over and saw the Ness was in the same position with Zayn, and Camilla and Liam were kissing each other. Harry and Louis sat in the corner talking together ignoring what was happening around them. However, none of it really mattered to me. For once, I felt open and content with my situation. It was such an amazing feeling to be taking in Niall’s rich scent. It reminded me so much of home in Ireland. One thing was for sure, we’d be together forever.