Life changes, it's that simple. You graduate, you change jobs, you lose friends, your band goes on an indefinite hiatus; it's always a never ending list of reasons as to why things can not and ultimately do not stay the same. Yet we are so scared of change. Even though it is a normal and clearly everyday part of life, we are resistant to the disruption of our routine. We try and try again to keep things exactly as they are, preserved in time. We always want the security and safety of the same people and the same places. But as we get older, we learn that life just is not that simple, that there is some beauty in the chaos that ensues and wonder in the abyss of the unknown. Twenty two year old Reagan Bailey, on the cusp of having her entire life turned upside down once again, understood that change was a necessary and unavoidable part of life, she truly did. What she didn't understand was how she was once more stuck underneath a One Direction billboard, in front of Columbia records recording studios, staring at Harry Styles' endearingly smug face.
"Take a picture it'll last longer." A balding man in a suit said as he rushed by her, obviously frustrated with the fact she was taking up half the sidewalk simply to stare at the massive ad. Reagan rolled her eyes, and simply took a step forward. She looked up at the billboard once more, uncaring of the fact that it looked like she was basically ogling the polished picture of the band. They looked older, a little more rugged and as if they knew what they were doing. She knew that wasn’t the case, but as long as they looked it they could fake it until they made it. That was the case for most people her age anyways she supposed.
Reagan contemplated this as she continued expecting the image before her. She was close enough to see the air bubbles caught under the image of the boys and ran her fingers over them, trying to smooth them out. Ever the perfectionist, even now she attempted to make sure everything was done as it should be.She had managed to complete her first major media campaign for one of the world's biggest boy bands. As a once self proclaimed size sixteen nobody, she was now most definitely a somebody. A lot of it was of her own accord, after all she had managed to help the boys get their fifth number one album, helped them wade through messy scandals, and most importantly had done it all while avoiding her own downfall and still ending up with the boy she kind of maybe was really fond of. If only the world saw it that way though.
She had designed their artwork, the billboards, the entire campaign. It had been months of stress, tears, and hard work, but it had all finally come together. Yesterday was the last day of the boys’ On the Road Again Tour, and the album was about to be released in less than a month. The album that she had promoted as if it were her own child. But all people could talk about was the fact that she, Reagan Bailey, was now the girlfriend of Harry Styles. She went from being a size sixteen nobody, to a size sixteen girlfriend of a famous pop star, and as much as she loved Harry, she didn't seem to think the switch in titles was something to be excited about. Being a somebody was not everything it was cracked up to be. The kind of somebody she wanted to be was not the girl she was now being presented as. She knew who she was, what she wanted. Now more than ever she felt as if she was finally getting it all together, but god, the boys hadn't been exaggerating when they told her that it was impossible to beat the labels.
She took a breath and started on her way, feeling some kind of melancholic whimsy within her, pushing her forward but just as equally holding her back. She was a different person now. They all were. But still, she found herself walking the same street, to the same job, with the same four pairs of eyes on the billboards following her as she entered the building. But she was on the brink now; change was upon them, that was for sure. Today perhaps was the last day they would all be reunited in the studio for who knows how long. After today the boys had no reason to have to come back to Columbia records. After today, it was only her and the boys’ PR manager Lydia managing everything remotely.
“Good morning Miss Bailey.” Nodded the security guard as she walked through the large, glass doors. Her heels clacked slightly upon the reflective tile as she smiled and waved, hurriedly making her way to the elevator.
The last time Reagan had worn these particular heels were the day that she had met Harry. She wore them because they were kind of broken in and because it felt right, even though she had sworn she would never wear them again. But she figured what the hell, they made her legs and butt look absolutely incredible.
She may have still been a size sixteen, but she felt better than ever. She and Harry had taken up going to Soul Cycle twice a week —when he was actually in LA,—and well, it was actually kind of fun...even though it maybe felt like she had joined a cult. Did she ever think she’d call exercise fun? No. But for about the hundredth time Harry had proved her wrong.
“Reagan? Finally.” Lydia said as she watched Reagan make her way down the hallway of the 22nd floor.
“Good morning to you too, Lydia.” Reagan said, walking towards the wooden door, already prepared to be yelled at. She hadn’t exactly done anything wrong, but the boys probably had telling by Lydia’s tone of voice. And of course, now that she was so close to them it was as if she had committed an unholy sin against the label and her boss Lydia, “What did they do this time?”
Lydia dramatically threw a tabloid onto Reagan’s desk. Reagan sighed before looking at the cover, bracing herself. Whatever it was, it was not going to be pretty.
“The Downfall of One Direction” Reagan tilted her head, “What? We knew this was going to be a thing, why is this so bad?”
“Read the article.”
Reagan flipped through the pages, finally reaching the page long expose on the boys. It was nothing out of the ordinary, at least from what she had read on blogs and tweets. But it was the first time a well known tabloid had published that the band was going to break up, “Huh.”
“We’re going to need the boys to keep reiterating the fact that the hiatus isn’t permanent. Everything is going to be exactly the same, except they’re going to be on vacation for a little while. But they just need to keep telling people that their relationship isn’t going to change.”
Reagan nodded, but it was going to be hard to convince people that they weren’t breaking up. Especially since the eldest member, Louis, was going to be a father. Fatherhood tended to change everything. And the boys were pretty much tired of having to repeat the fact that the hiatus wasn’t permanent, especially when they didn’t know if that was exactly true. All that the boys knew was that they were basically being released out into the wild for the first time in five years. They were finally going to stop passively existing in their own lives, they were finally going to start living them. But that was incredibly overwhelming, without a doubt it was something they just couldn’t face yet.
“They should be here by now.” Lydia looked at her watch, shaking her head, “Their flight came in hours ago.”
“Maybe they’re jetlagged?”
“They’ve come in worse conditions.”
“They’re going to show, they have to.” Reagan sighed. She knew there was no way the boys wouldn’t come. Well, she hoped that was the case anyways.
Things had certainly changed between the boys, the dynamic seemed off. They all seemed to be anxious to go off into the world on their own. They had all grown weary during the last leg of the tour, Louis especially. He just wanted to start nesting. Okay, so nesting was more of a mom thing to do, but Louis was definitely in nesting mode and just wanted to get things ready for when his baby arrived. Plus none of them were looking forward to promo season, Reagan included. College was hard enough without the added pressure of having to take care four boys who apparently had no filter and were scheduled for more than a couple of live television shows.
“Why don’t you call them?” Lydia asked.
Now that Reagan was officially dating Harry, Lydia believed that meant she could get the boys to listen to her, Reagan, and in turn the label. She was wrong, obviously she was very wrong.
“I already texted Harry.”
“He said they were on their way.” She shrugged.
Reagan hesitated before she answered, “About an hour ago.”
Lydia stayed silent for about a minute before finally speaking,“Reagan?”
She exhaled as she sat down for the first time that morning, “Think long and hard if this is the career you really want to pursue.”
“Because, you might get stuck with a lot of boys who have no appreciation for your health or wellbeing.” Lydia said, shaking her head.
Reagan smiled wearily, as much as it pained her to be their campaign manager, she was pretty sure she wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. At least, not yet.
It had been weird to say the very least. Harry tapped his fingers upon his thigh, watching the boys from the other side of the car. They were silent, not unusual but definitely an indicator that something was up.
"How about that weather?" Harry tried, smiling nervously. Nervously, yes really. For the first time in a very long time he felt nervous around the boys. It was some kind of indescribable tension that he just couldn't discern.
The four boys of the world famous band One Direction sat in the back of a luxurious SUV, being touted from their jet directly to the studio. While they had managed to convince the driver and security to pull over for breakfast, they couldn't seem to swing an extended break. As soon as they were done eating, they were pushed back into the car and onto the road.
"Shut up, Harold." Louis scowled from the seat in front of him. He sounded incredibly sleepy, which wasn't surprising seeing as he hadn't slept a wink during the ten hour flight. It was out of pure stubbornness of course, convinced he could beat the jet lag if he didn't succumb to sleep. He wanted to get his sleeping schedule back on track simply because he knew they were going to be run ragged until the album was dropped, and the last thing he needed was to spend the whole week they had off before the chaos tossing and turning till the wee hours of the morning.
Harry frowned, "I'm just trying to make some conversation."
"And I'm trying to sleep, so please, just keep quiet for the rest of the ride."
Liam sighed, looking up from his phone and out the window, "Louis, we're already here."
"For the love of God." Louis cried.
"Just two more months, mate. Two more months." Liam said, clasping his shoulder.
Niall snored loudly next to Harry, and as Louis threw his empty water bottle at the slumbering Irishman to rudely wake him,"Fuck, what the hell?" Niall cried, rubbing his forehead.
"Wakey, wakey." Louis said with a fake smile, "We're here."
"Already?" Niall said, stretching out in his seat.
"Already." Liam said matter of factly.
Harry smiled as he watched the three of them bicker and came to the conclusion that his nervousness was stupid. They didn't have to be all buddy buddy all the time. It made sense that they were all cranky and sick of each other considering they had just spent almost nine months on the road, on a cramped tour bus, sometimes at each other's throats because of the album. But it also made sense that he was nervous, considering that their former bandmate had left without any kind of indication that he was unhappy. Harry figured that maybe this was one of those things he would just have to unwillingly let go and see what happened.
"Alright." Said the driver as he came to a stop in front of Columbia records, "We have arrived at our destination."
Louis turned to look back at Liam and Harry and smiled widely, sleep clearly forgotten, "I have a proposition."
"Oh boy." Liam said, not even bothering to look at Louis.
Louis completely ignored him, "Let's do something fun, lads."
Reagan's sat at her desk, twirling a strand of hair around her finger, reading a copy of Pride and Prejudice. For once she wasn’t crippled by the workload from Lydia, but that victory was short lived as she realized she had an English midterm due next week. And then of course her mood was ruined as her phone dinged and she read the message Harry had sent,
come to the parking garage, we're here
I almost didn’t dignify this with an answer. But I’m going to just to tell you that you guys said you would be here at 9:30, it’s now 10:30. So no, you come here, I’m not coming to you.
either you come to us or we don't come at all.
Reagan almost screamed. Why the boys couldn't just come up to the studio, she had no idea. It was always something with them though. She muttered to herself angrily as the phone dinged once more,
reagan, come on get a move on. i thought you missed me ;)
Being the diligent campaign manager that she was, she had to oblige to her wonderful clients, didn't she? She knew they just wouldn't get out of the car if she didn't come, that's just the game they loved to play. But they were fucking wrong if they thought she was going to be complacent, no, in fact she was going to go down there to prove a point. She was going to make sure that they never pull something like this with her again. Who did they think she was? She was Reagan Bailey, she was one of the best emerging PR agents in the industry. There was no way they were going to treat her this way, no way in hell. This would be the first and last time she would ever be summoned in such a way, that they were going to be sure of. She was seriously starting to reconsider what Lydia had said earlier about choosing her career. If it entailed more clients like One Direction, she was truly going to tread more lightly.
"I'll be back." Reagan hollered into Lydia's office. She grabbed her ID and wallet just in case, knowing that with them, anything could happen.
It didn't take long for her to make her way into the garage. Anger tended to make you walk with a purpose and at a faster pace, regardless of how short your legs may be. Unfortunately though, she didn't see the boys anywhere in sight. She walked down the inclined slope, wondering if perhaps they had just parked around the corner because there were so many cars around. It wasn't until she turned the corner that she heard a car coming at full speed in her direction. It was a fancy SUV, something very similar to—
"Oh my god, no." Reagan said, her eyes widening. She prayed that it wouldn't be.
"Stop! Stop them!" She heard men yelling from the other side of the garage.
"No, no, no." She said, frozen to the spot. Almost as if she was willing herself to melt into the ground just so she wouldn't have to face this horrid reality anymore.
All of a sudden she heard breaks screeching violently, and a car door opening.
"Go! Go! Go!" Louis yelled from the driver's seat as Harry jumped out to grab Reagan and pull her into the back seat.
"Hey!" Reagan yelled as she was thrown into the car, her wallet falling out of her grasp, and Harry's hip digging into her own as he got back into the car and slammed the door shut, his long limbs clumsily tangled as he kind of just fell over into the backseat.
"We're losing them!" She heard the guards yell once more as the car jolted into action.
Yeah, this is what she was succumbed to. Almost one year later, and the only thing that had changed was that instead of just being chased out of the building with Harry, it was with the entire band. She didn't know if that was better or worse. What she did know what that this had to be the last straw for Lydia, without a doubt.
"Nice to see you love." Harry said, wrapping his arm around her, almost as if completely oblivious to Louis' erratic driving as he attempted to go down the four floor parking garage.
Reagan grasped the side of the door, praying for their safety and well being...and mostly praying for her job, because per usual, the boys were out to get her fired. Best case scenario? Louis would realize what he had done, Liam would talk him into going back before it was too late, and they would make it back to the studio before Lydia ever found out what they had done? Worst case scenario? They get pulled over for stealing this SUV, get arrested, and get their pictures plastered in every single tabloid across the world. In other words: Reagan was once again in deep trouble thanks to One Direction. Some things surely will never change.