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. *For the Battle of the Fandoms Competition* *Sequel to "Labels"*

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15. FOURTEEN

FOURTEEN

It was about two in the morning when the boys finally arrived back in LA. There was something about the cool darkness of the night that made Harry felt alive. Or was it the fact that he was finally back in a place he considered home? Well, it could actually very well be that it was the three Red Bulls still coursing in his system. But he knew better than to acknowledge that fact, it would just ruin his ridiculously cheery mood.

Looking over at the rest of the boys, he knew he was probably the only one smiling at that moment. Liam and Niall were now completely (and begrudgingly) awake, and Louis was fighting off his own slumber until he could be dropped off at home. They were all irritable, cranky, and silent. Oh god, they were silent. Any other day it would unnerve Harry, but he happened to be off in his own little universe waiting for their car to pull around. So of course he didn't notice the slight shift in the atmosphere when Niall said, "So what are we doing tomorrow?"

"I'll be sleeping." Liam said, rubbing his temples and obviously avoiding eye contact.

"Same." Louis said, clearly trying not to pass out.

"Harry will probably be with Reagan, then." Niall said with a sigh. Harry didn't even respond."What about later this week then, should we get together and play a round of football?" Niall asked, even though it was quite obvious what the answer was going to be.

"Mate, let's just take the week to ourselves, yeah?" Louis tried.

"Oh." Niall said, clearly deflated, "Yeah, yeah."

"I have to take Briana to the doctor, and I think she wanted to start buying things for the nursery."

"You pick out a house yet Tommo?" Liam asked, just to fill the silence.

"No, you know how indecisive she is."

Actually, they didn't. They had only met Briana once, and even that was kind of in passing. Which yeah, that should be worrisome considering that they all kind of knew each others' significant others (when they had them). And Briana was kind of more than just a girlfriend or a fling, she was going to be the mother of Louis' child. Shouldn't they have some kind of relationship with her by now? But, oh yeah, Harry wasn't worrying about those kind of things at the moment. He was going to play the oblivious card until at least the end of the week. Or as long as Reagan would let him...

"Yeah, I get it." Liam offered.

"Crazy though..." Niall said shaking his head. He didn't need to elaborate.

"Yeah, that it is." Louis said, nodding.

Liam looked at his watch impatiently, the car had yet to pull around and it had been at least ten minutes. They were stuck on the plane until then it seemed.

"You have any plans, Haz?" Liam tried, even though Harry was clearly not paying attention to them. He was clearly trying to will time to go faster by filling it up with trivial small talk.

"Harry?" Louis said, bumping him with his shoulder.

"Oh, oh sorry." He said bashfully, a dimpled smile sprawling upon his too flushed face, "Not really, just gonna spend some time at home."

"With the missus?" Liam said with a smirk.

"I-I...yeah." Harry replied, knowing there was no use in hiding it.

"That's nice."

Harry looked at Liam and felt his smile falter, that melancholic look in Liam's eyes were obviously telling him that he was not over Sophia. And that while he was happy for Harry, he was still envious of the fact he had someone to come home to, while he was rushing to get home to...well...nothing.

Liam felt a tad off. He hadn't felt this way in a very long time. In fact, he wasn't sure he had ever quite felt this way at all. Not even when they were first thrown together as a group, not when they spent their first year away from their families, not even when Zayn had left. He didn't quite understand what was rolling around in his brain, and he didn't know why he couldn't get over the crippling fear of being alone. He wasn't. He wasn't alone because he had the boys. At least, he hoped he did. The way things were going, he didn't even know if he had them. And although it was a horrible thought to mull over, the reality was that everyone was eventually going to move on. Zayn did, and look at him, he's thriving. So would it really be a bad thing to get over the whole band thing?

"We doing the James Corden show next week?" Niall asked interrupting Liam's thoughts.

"Yeah. It'll be ace, James always does right by us." Liam nodded.

"Think we'll do that karaoke thing in the car?"

Louis laughed, "Knowing him he'll even make us wear matching outfits."

"But we'll be in a car." Niall said.

"Has anything ever stopped him before?" Louis responded, referring to the dodge ball tournament they had last time they had gone on the show. It hadn't even been that long since they were on, but bless Reagan's heart, she knew that the only interviews the boys would want to do would be with either James or Jimmy Fallon, and she somehow managed to book them again in the span of a few months. Definitely the best promo season schedule wise, just not dynamic wise.

"I still couldn't believe how short Haz's shorts were." Liam said, shaking his head.

"Quite comfortable." Harry said, fondly remembering the red knit bottoms, "Nice and breezy."

Louis made a face, "They were so fucking tight, there was literally nothing left to the imagination."

"It was a very breathable material."

"Ugh, bloody gross. I don't know how you're able to wear such tight clothing. Even now, look at you. One look at Reagan and your zipper will probably burst open." Louis said referring to Harry's uniform of too-tight black skinny jeans and a too unbuttoned sheer shirt.

Niall laughed loudly, even Liam chuckled. Harry rolled his eyes, already used to the jeering about his style of clothing.

"Can you at least wear men's jeans?" Louis asked.

"Women's are just so much more comfortable." Harry pouted.

"Harry."

"Oh come on, you're going to tell me that it bothers you that I wear women's jeans? Who cares, as long as they look and feel good I will wear them. Besides, lots of women wear men's clothing. Why can't clothes just be clothes, not everything has to be gendered."

"You tell him, honey." Niall said tipping his bottle of water towards Harry.

"You really don't care what the tabloids say, do you?" Louis said, a smirk starting to grow upon his unshaven face.

"Nope."

Louis was about to respond when they heard a car blare its horn. Liam jumped up, "Finally."

Niall looked around shyly and said, "So, guess I'll see all of you next week then."

Louis nodded, swinging an arm around the clearly saddened Irishman, "Come off it mate, we need some time off. Even from each other."

"Yeah, I am sick of your twattish face."

Louis head locked Niall and messed up his hair.

"Oi! Get off me." Niall said trying to fight back.

"Oh just let him go." Liam said chuckling as he grabbed his bags.

"Fine, fine." Louis said, relenting. "But I better not catch you moping around your house for a week. No fucking snapchatting that you're bored and shit! And stop blowing up the group text."

"Yes, please." Liam nodded, in total agreement of what Louis was saying.

Niall was notorious for bombarding the group text that the boys had until someone responded. So much so that at one point, everyone just ended up turning off their notifications. Not that Niall noticed, he just kept texting until finally someone responded back.

But that was just the kind of person he was. He firmly believed that he and the boys were brothers. That's why Zayn's sudden departure was so hard on him. That's why he's trying so hard to keep the group together. He was scared that eventually everything would fall apart, and that the family he had come to know would surely disintegrate if something didn't change fast.

"Fine." He muttered, pushing Louis off of him and grabbing his knapsack.

"We're going home!" Harry said excitedly, skipping off the plane in quite the comedic fashion. Louis and Liam smirked at each other and shook their heads. While right now they weren't in the best place, at least they could agree on one thing, Harry was clearly smitten with Reagan.

"Let's drop the idiot off at home, make sure he gets there in one piece." Louis said, swinging his checkered knapsack onto his shoulder.

"Drop me off at Rae's!" Harry said as he threw his bags into the back of the shiny black SUV.

"Harry it's nearly three in the morning." Liam reminded him.

"I have a key." He said with a grin.

Liam and Louis looked at each other again and shrugged.

"Whatever, let's go." Louis said, knowing he'd probably get yelled at by Reagan in the morning for letting Harry sneak into her apartment in the middle of the night, but at the same time he knew she would secretly love it.

They were just two crazy kids who were obviously too in love with each other to know what to do with themselves, and for some reason Louis hoped it would stay that way. He needed at least one reminder that true love did exist, and if it meant he had to deal with an even more annoying Harry, well he'd take it.

Louis closed the trunk as the boys finished getting settled. He exhaled and finally said, "Let's go home boys."

---

"Rae?"

Reagan opened her eyes, sleep still clouding her mind and her thoughts. But she knew that he was home, that somehow he had gotten into her house and into her bed and that the arms around her were his, and for that brief moment in time everything was exactly as it should be.

"Welcome home." She whispered, turning onto her side to kiss him on the forehead.

Harry smiled to himself, and he had to really restrain from chuckling because Reagan fell right back asleep. Her blonde head was upon his chest, and within seconds she was lightly snoring. She hadn't been joking when she told him she was a heavy sleeper.

But she was so warm, so much so that he felt a radiating warmness spread from the spot where head laid upon his chest, to the tips of his toes.

He was such a loser, he knew that. He was so blatantly and unashamedly in love with this girl that he had been reduced to this. But did he care?

Nope, not at all.

Harry was Harry, he was always unabashedly himself. And now, well now he was obviously a tad more embarrassing and maybe a bit more annoying, but he couldn't give a fuck. He had a home, and that home was currently drooling upon his tattooed chest. Rest assured, he'd tell her in the morning.

But for now, for now he'd hug her tightly and take in the fact that he was fiinally right where he was supposed to be.

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