A year later, One Direction was coming to our favorite city again. Neither Traci nor I lived in Nashville. But it was kind of a central location between our home states of Kentucky and Alabama. So we ended up meeting there quite frequently for various concerts. God bless my mother, who never minded keeping my kids for a couple of days here and there to give me the freedom to do so. She's the absolute best. And the kids have always loved spending time with her.
To be honest, we'd kind of grown out of our 1D phase a little by this point. We still liked them, but weren't so in love with them. But we'd already bought the tickets many months in advance, and we weren't going to pass up an opportunity to hang out together.
I'll just straight up say that we were concert snobs. If we weren't in the first few rows, we questioned if it was even worth going. I blame NKOTB for that. We got hooked on those coveted VIP ticket options that they offered, and kind of spoiled ourselves. What started out as, "We'll do it just this once" quickly became "every time." So we ended up with 11th row seats for this show, which wasn't bad.
We were both completely aware of how ridiculous our spending habits were when it came to concert tickets. It had slowly gotten worse over the years. I totally changed the subject on more than one occasion when someone asked how much I paid for front row seats, because I didn't want to hear the shocked and appalled comments. The way I saw it, I was a damn hard working single mother and I didn't buy shit for myself otherwise. So if I wanted a little escape from reality, and I had the spare money, I did whatever it took to be happy. And music, mixed with having a good time with my friend, made me happy. Traci and I were both nurses, so we made decent money. And we were tight with it, except when it came to concert tickets. Therefore, we were fortunate enough to able to splurge on occasion.
Sitting in the horrendous traffic on the way to the stadium, this song came on the radio. Traci pointed out that it was by "that 5 Seconds Of Summer band that's opening for 1D again."
I recognized Amnesia as a song I'd heard once before on the radio. I didn't know it was 5SOS, though. The only songs I knew of theirs were the ones on the She Looks So Perfect EP. I had bought it a few weeks earlier just so I'd be familiar with a couple of their songs. I hate going to a concert and not know the lyrics to songs. After listening to it a few times, I told Traci that I kind of loved the EP. Her response? "I hate that stupid underwear song." Well, it was kind of lame. But like I said, I love cheesy pop songs. So it was right up my alley.
Traci pretty much blended in with the older teenagers at the show. She was barely five feet tall, had perfect blonde highlights in her shoulder length hair, gorgeous brown eyes with lashes so long and thick it looked like she wore false ones even when she didn't apply mascara. But her makeup was always perfectly done. She was cute as could be, bubbly, sociable, and easily likable.
I, on the other hand, was basically the opposite. I was also a little on the short side, but had the most drab hair color. Kind of a dark blonde/light brown mix, and dull green eyes. I've always been pale. Not that pretty porcelain skin pale. More of a sickly, tired pale. I guess I wasn't ugly by any means, just kind of plain. Personality wise, Traci and I had a lot in common. We thought so much alike it was scary. We loved the same things and shared the same morals. I didn't fare as well in social situations as she did, though. I had way too many insecurities, even though Traci always told me they were unwarranted.
But, hey, at least I didn't look my age. I could easily pass for 21 or so, as most people usually guessed my age. But I was actually 29. Traci had just turned 24, but looked no older than 18. We were often told that we didn't even look old enough to be nurses. Not that we minded. Our youthful appearances worked in our favor when it came to showing our love for bands like 1D, Emblem3, MKTO, and Midnight Red.
For whatever reason, the show didn't start on time. So we were forced to sit there and watch videos on the big screen while we waited. I remember they played Katy Perry's Roar, and something by Ollie Murs that made the girls squeal.
Then, it happened. The video for 5 Seconds Of Summer's She Looks So Perfect appeared and those girls went nuts. Traci and I looked at each other like "Seriously?" We sat there and watched quietly. In my head I was thinking, "Puberty has been kind to those boys." And I'm 100% positive Traci was thinking the same, because she didn't look away from that screen.
It got to the point where the videos were repeating, and once again, everyone went ape shit when 5SOS's video played.
I was a little excited myself, so I figured I'd go ahead and say it. I turned to my friend. "Traci?"
"Yes, Aubree?" she replied quietly, her eyes glued to the gigantic screen ahead of us.
I hesitated and couldn't help the smile that crept up on my face. "I think I, um... I like the ugly one."
That pulled Traci out of her trance. She shot a bemused look at me and burst out laughing. She managed to ask, "What the fuck?!"
Before I go any further, I must explain why I would say such a horrible thing about that sweet angel. I didn't actually think that he was 'ugly.' If I did, I sure as hell wouldn't have been attracted to him. It was just that I knew her taste in guys, and I knew without discussing it that she probably found Michael to be the least attractive of the group. And, since I didn't know their names, I knew that she'd know exactly who I was talking about if I described him as the 'ugly' one of the group. I know, I know. I still punish myself over it on a daily basis, even though I didn't mean it. But let's be honest. If I'd said the same thing to you around that time period, you'd know which member I was talking about as well, right?
When Traci finally stopped laughing, her response was, "That doesn't surprise me. You always like the weirdos."
I didn't get offended, because it was true.
"Well," Traci said, "are they at least legal now?"
So there we were once again, Traci searching names and ages of these somewhat more grown up 5SOS band members. And they were all legal. We were free to love them as fangirls are meant to love boys in bands. Praise the Lord.
"So, the drummer's name is Ashton," she informed me. "He's cute."
"Oh my god, yeah, I forgot that. I could never be attracted to someone with the same name as my son. So awkward. But I guess he is cute."
"Well, good thing you like 'the ugly one,' then. His name is Michael. And he's 18. He'll be 19 in November. That's better than that blonde boy in the middle. He's a baby. Just turned 18 last month."
"Good grief. How come 18 year old guys didn't look like that when I was a teenager? It's so unfair. But what about the bass player? I remember he had an unusual name. What was it?"
By the grin that crept up on her face, I knew he was still the one she was fancying. "Calum. Eighteen. Damn he's hot."
We once again had a good laugh at ourselves. Of course it was always about more than the looks. We truly enjoyed the music of those groups we paid mega bucks to see, and meet, when possible. But the fangirling part was how we bonded. It was what brought us happiness and allowed us to escape to a place of persistent contentment in the crazy game of life.
So there were those boys up there, singing a few songs I was slightly familiar with, but mostly didn't know at all. But I enjoyed it, nonetheless. I really enjoyed it.
They were goofy and messed around, all while giving a performance that showcased their talent. It amazed me that they were so young, yet so talented. And, hot damn, they were so gorgeous. Michael had blonde hair then. It suited him well, but he was super sweaty, and it was a complete mess, bless his heart. But his hair wasn't what I was interested in. It was just him. I didn't know why. I couldn't put my finger on it then, and I still can't even now.
So that was the beginning of our downward spiral into the deep, dark depths of the 5SOS fan life. We had no idea what was to come. No. Freaking. Idea.
A/N: You'll notice that some chapters are defined with dates. I tried to stick with actual tour dates, and thought it would help you keep up with the story timeline easier.