Changes

"This isn't the end, it's the beginning of a whole new chapter. We just have to learn to define ourselves this time around." | Happily ever afters are just the beginnings of new stories, at least that's what aspiring PR agent Reagan Bailey is learning. After seemingly getting it right with international pop star and 1/4 of One Direction, Harry Styles, things begin to fall apart within the band and in the boys' live as everything begins to change. While the boys are in the midst of their indefinite hiatus and are beginning to pursue other interests, Reagan must try to hold the group together before they decide they're better off going their separate ways.
*Sequel to "Labels"*

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19. EIGHTEEN

EIGHTEEN

"Okay," Reagan said, setting a mug and an asprin before Louis, "Spill."

He sighed, "Give me a minute to process everything that's happened."

"This isn't a social call." She said as she watched him gingerly swallow the pill. Just as he was about to take a gulp of his tea, she warned him, "It's hot."

He didn't listen though, unsurprisingly. "Christ." He yelled out, slamming the mug against the table. 

"I warned you."

"Blah, blah, blah." He said, now taking a more cautious sip. 

Reagan looked at him as she sat down, studying him for the first time in a while. She had only gotten quick glances at him, and even those were telling enough. But looking at him head on now, she could tell that something was seriously wrong. 

Louis was unkempt. Not in the charming, boyish way, but in the "I haven't showered in a week" way. He hadn't shaved, his hair was greasy and curly, even his devilish blue eyes had lost their sparkle. He wasn't himself, not in the slightest. She didn't know what to make of him, and it was obvious.

He looked at her as she studied him, used to the cautious glare. Even the boys had had the same look on their faces when they had seen him. There was no point in hiding it, he was pretty close to hitting rock bottom. 

Reagan's phone began vibrating once more, and as she was about to flip it over to look at the screen, Louis put his hand upon hers, "Put it away." He commanded.

"Excuse me?"

"You get my side of the story first, or we don't talk at all."

"Seriously? What are you, five? You think I'm going to take sides."

"You always do."

"Really? Who's side do I take."

"Whoever's not me."

"Touche." She said, grabbing her phone and turning it off. She would give him her undivided attention for now. 

Louis tried to take another sip from the mug, this time blowing gently before carefully taking a small sip. Reagan simply rolled her eyes, knew that it took Louis getting burned once to learn his lesson. 

"So?" She asked, clearly getting more irritated by the second.

"For the love of god, Reagan. Being so impatient is unbecoming."

"Either you spill or you leave, it's that simple."

"Fine." He huffed, "We had a row yesterday."

"A fight?"

"Yeah."

"About?"

"Stuff."

"Could you be more vague?"

He smirked, "Maybe I started it. Might have, not on purpose though."

"Started what?"

"The end of the band."

"That's not funny."

"I'm not laughing." He said, looking straight at her.

"Details."

He rolled his eyes.

"Details, Louis, or I'll just get them from someone else."

Louis huffed, "We had a fight about what's going to happen during the break. Liam wants to stay with Modest, I don't, and I don't think the rest of us should."

"But haven't you guys had this discussion before?"

"Yeah, but not seriously. Not when our whole lives are about to change."

Reagan eyed him carefully, not quite knowing what to say. She took a sip from her own mug to buy her some time. 

"Reagan?"

"Yeah?"

"I don't know where we're going from here. Hell, I don't know where I'm going from here."

"I thought that was the exciting part."

"Yeah..." He smiled melancholicly, "So did I."

"You really don't want to stay with Modest?"

"Why do you sound surprised? You know how I feel about those pieces of shit."

"Sometimes you're just all talk is all." She said, slightly raising her eyebrows.

"Excuse me?" He said, obviously taken aback.

"Louis, you always threaten to do something and then never go through with it."

"I did the 'Drag Me Down' video."

"Yeah, but think of all the things you've never done."

"Reagan, I'm a different person now."

Reagan sighed, "Louis, please."

"What?"

"The last thing you boys need is a falling out."

"What, do you want me to go kiss and makeup?"

"Well...."

"I'm not apologizing, Reagan."

"I thought you were a different person now."

"Don't patronize me."

"Then don't make empty threats."

"They're not empty!"

"Louis! Get a grip! I don't know what in the hell is up with you lately, but come on. You can't take it out on the boys."

"You think I'm taking it out on them!?"

"You just said you might have started the fight!"

"So what!?"

Reagan took a breath, knowing that yelling would not solve anything. Something was seriously bugging Louis. Well, other than the band going on hiatus. He had never acted this way. He was so incredibly moody, distrought, drank more than usual (which normally is an alarming amount), and was going through boxes of cigarettes as if they were going out of style. She didn't know what to say, much less what to do. And if felt like the boys were kind of looking to her, as always, to figure it out. But for once, she just didn't have the answers.

"Louis?"

"What?" He said in an apologetic tone. 

"You will get through this."

"Oh, don't start with that cliched rubbish."

She put her hand over his, felt the extreme radiating warmth no doubt attributed to the alcohol coursing through his system, "I think someone just needs to say it to you, so I'm saying it."

He didn't pull away, not this time. Simply let her small hand cover his, "Whatever."

The table began to vibrate, Louis looked pointedly at her.

"It's not mine, I turned it off."

He finally took his hand back, and flipped over his phone to see who was calling. His face paled, his demeanor changing from anger, to something else. Something Reagan couldn't quite place.

"Aren't you going to get that?" She tried.

He nodded, getting up from the table, "Yeah, I should get going anyways."

"Alright, I guess."

"Thanks for the cuppa." He said, tilting his head toward  the now empty mug.

"Anytime."

"Yeah," He smiled slightly, "I know."

And then, just like that, he was gone. Leaving Reagan to wonder what it was that she had seen flash across his face, and what had caused him to change so much in so little time. She wanted to believe it was simply because of the band, because of the baby, because of the fact that things were all going to become so different, so fast. But she knew it had to be more than that. It just had to be. 

---

Louis didn't even make it to the car before he hit redial. The feeling in the pit of his stomach told him to expect the worst, but all he trying to tell himself was to just hold on. He kept trying to repeat it to himself, over and over again, just as he did when he was little. Just like his mother had taught him to when he thought the world was falling apart around him. 

"Louis?" Asked the voice on the other line.

"Yeah," He said shakily, hoping that his whole world wasn't about to be thrown off its axis once more.

"It's about mum."

He didn't even have to hear the rest. He already knew, nothing was ever going to be the same again. 

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