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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17. SIXTEEN

SIXTEEN

"That's such rubbish." Harry said, lazily running callused fingers through his long, wavy hair. He shook his head slightly, "There's no way you wouldn't land a solo deal." 

About two hours later, the boys were already congregated in Louis' less than lived in living room, finishing off their first...or third...round of drinks. Slightly buzzed and a touch melancholic, they began pondering out loud what the next few months held for them. Maybe it was the fear of being apart for the first time in five years, but that sinking feeling began invading each and every one of them. While they attempted to make light of it, they just couldn't. Those folders they had recieved were just one more reminder of how much things were about to change. 

Louis shrugged, "All I'm being offered is reality show appearances." He tipped his bottle back and finished it off.

Niall, getting up to get another plate of food noticed and asked, "You want another one, mate?"

Louis nodded, "Thanks."

Liam all the while sat upon the sofa, looking as pitiful as ever. The boys had grown weary of attempting to grapple with whatever he was dealing with, so they just let him wallow. Well, wallow with alcohol, which probably wasn't the best idea.

"I wasn't offfered any solo deal either." Liam shrugged a tad tipsily. 

"You're a DJ." Louis retorted.

"We're all allowed side projects. Just look at Harry, obviously he's going to be an actor, or a model, or something."

Harry played the aloof card, "What? Me?"

"Oh get off it, we all know you're going to land some breakout role in a huge movie or on the cover of a magazine. Who doesn't want Harry fucking Styles' name attatched to their project?" Liam said, a tad bitterly. 

"I don't know, mate." Niall said, walking back into Louis' spacious living room, "This twat right here would turn into a total diva."

"Me!?" Harry said, a hand flying to his chest indignantly.

"You're doing it right now!"

"I am not!"

"Drama queen." Niall muttered, handing a new, cold bottle to Louis and reclaiming his seat on the recliner. 

"I don't know. I just...I dont think that those folders are our best options." Louis said, "Maybe we shouldn't stick with syco."

"But they didn't offer us a new contract, how could we stick with them anyways?" Niall asked, unsure of what Louis was trying to imply. The other two boys caught on immediately though. 

"You think they didn't offer a new contract for the group because they want to sign us on as solo artists?" Liam asked.

"I don't know, but it seems rather suspicious that they're already lining up work for us when we have no obligations with them.Why would Lydia give us those folders if Simon didn't have some alterior motive?"

Niall shrugged, "Why is that a bad thing, though? Aren't these things we talked about doing with them at some point?"

Louis shook his head, "I don't know, mate. It's just giving me a bad vibe, you know?"

"What do you think, then? Should we get new agents?" Liam asked.

Niall's eyes immediately widened,"What, you mean like our own individual ones?" 

Louis cleared his throat, "If we really want to pursue our own thing, then we have to go our own ways." 

"Yeah, but...don't you think that we're maybe overracting?"

"Niall, you know all of the shit we've been through with Simon. Do you really think he's going to allow us to continue on seperately without still belonging to him? Look at Zayn for fucks sake. He belongs to Simon for three more years! Do you really want that?"

"No."

"Then we all have to agree."

"On what?" Harry asked skeptically.

"We're not going to work with Modest! or SYCO any more. This is it. From now on, we're all going our own seperate ways."

Liam exhaled, "Isn't that career suicide? They could literally blacklist us if we go against them. What about the fees and shit we have to pay to them if we don't sign on?" He slurred a tad, but for the most part he was coherent.

"Considering how much you've had to drink I'm surprised you're even concious, let alone forming sentences." Louis muttered.

"What, did you get me drunk to convince me to ruin my own solo career?"

"I'm not telling you to ruin your career. I'm simply saying-"

"What you're saying," Liam said, sitting up, "Is that we should all risk our own potential careers just to spite Simon Cowell."

"Are you fucking kidding me Liam?"

"No, I'm not fucking kidding you, Louis. I don't know what the fuck has been up with you lately, but you're not dragging me down with you. You've had this insane vendetta against Simon since Zayn left, and I'm not letting you wrap me up into whatever problems you're trying to cause. I'm done. If we're going our own seperate ways soon, then that's it. You're not going to drag me into whatever mess you're making just because you're pissed Zayn beat you to leaving the group first."

Harry could literally hear Louis' anger bubling within him. Liam didn't care though, his anger, sadness, and of course the alcohol all coursing through his body didn't allow him to think. 

"You think I'm pissed because I wanted to leave the group first?" Louis said in an even, eerily steady tone of voice. 

"What other reason could there be? Unless, hmmm..." Liam said, pretending to look pensive, "You were in love with Zayn? Because clearly this is a passionate vegence you're attempting to enact. There has to be some alterior motivation to it."

It took Louis three seconds, three long seconds, before he jumped up and attempted to deck Liam. Harry and Niall sprung into action though, already anticipating this argument getting physical. 

Harry restrained Louis while Niall stood in front of Liam. That didn't stop the other two intoxicated boys from continuing their argument though.

"What Liam? You get offered some shiny new deal from Simon? Did you get more fucking folders than us? You think you're going to be able to make it out there on your own?" Louis shouted from behind Harry's broad shoulder.

"Fuck off. As if you're big shit. You could never land a solo deal with that voice."

Louis glared, "Excuse me?"

"Hey now," Harry said, placing a hand on Louis' arm, "Let's calm dow-"

"I know I'm drunk, but I know I didn't stutter. You're a background voice at best, no one's going to give you a solo deal. That's why Lydia only probably gave you, what? Like two folders?" Liam asked, lifting up two fingers and laughing loudly to himself.

Niall grimaced and pleaded with Liam, "Mate, maybe you should take a deep breat-"

"Who do you think you are?" Louis started, attempting to take Harry down even though Harry was clearly a head taller and not nearly as drunk, "You didn't even make it through on your own the second time you got on the X-Factor. You would've been cut if it wasn't for this fucking background voice you ungrateful twat!"

"You know what!?" Liam shouted, "Fuck you! From the first day you wanted to be in charge. You still fucking think you're in charge. Well guess what buddy, you're not! Zayn left! You couldn't even keep your best mate here, could you!? What makes you think any of us are going to stick around!?"

"He doesn't mean that." Harry whispered, "He's just mad."

"If you don't want to fucking stick around then fine! I don't give a shit. You think you think I need the lot of you?" Louis said, pushing Harry out of the way.

"You think you can make it out there on your own, buddy?" Liam said, getting up and attempting to shove past Niall.

"What Payno, you think I was born with the lot of you? You all are nothing to me. We're nothing. After this album releases, it's over."

"Louis." Harry said, "You're drunk, you don't really mean tha-"

"Don't fucking patronize me. I know what I'm fucking saying." Louis said taking a breath, "You know why they didn't renew our bloody contract? Because they knew this would fucking happen. They knew that after someone left the group, the rest of us would be too preoccupied with starting our own careers instead of focusing on the fucking band!"

"You think I don't care about the band?" Liam said from behind Niall.

"You don't care about anything other than yourself!"

"Really? Have you looked in the fucking mirror, mate?"

"Have you checked yourself out lately, Liam? No wonder Sophia dumped you! You're a worthless piece of-"

And that's when all hell broke loose. Liam shoved Niall aside with one swift push. In two large strides he was jumping over Harry to connect his fist to Louis' nose. 

"Fuck!" Niall cried. 

"You piece of shit!" Louis said holding his face. He was about to retaliate when Harry threw himself between the two. "Get out of the way, this isn't about you!" 

"You're both drunk. You're saying things you don't fucking mean and you're going to end up doing more than giving each other some bloody noses. Enough is enough!"

Niall held his breath, hoping that Harry's level-headedness would calm the situation.

"Get the fuck out of my house before I fucking kicking your ass!" Louis said, still holding on to his nose, but allowing Harry to hold him back. 

"I wasn't planning on staying." Liam said, grabbing his phone off the couch and heading to the door. "And don't worry, after the album drops we're done."

Niall grabbed his arm, "Come on Liam, don't say things you don't mean."

Liam shook him off, "This is it." He said, his fists shaking and his eyes blazing, "I'm done. I've had enough."

"Liam, what are you saying?" Harry said, trying to keep himself calm.

Liam opened the door before saying, "We're done. One Direction is over. I'm not putting up with him anymore."

"Hey now, you've both clearly had a bit too much to drink. Just go home and sleep it off." Harry said approaching him.

Liam could see the sadness in Harry and Niall's eyes. He knew how much this hurt them. But he just couldn't do it anymore. He had stood by Louis for so long, and now, when he needed him the most, he just couldn't be there for him. He was tired of always having to keep the group together, of having to be the mature one that made all the right decisions. He couldn't do it any longer, he knew it was time to move on and focus on himself for once. 

"No, mate. I'm sorry." Liam said, his eyes softening. "I can't do this anymore. We all want different things, and we just can't give them to each other. I'm sorry, but this is it."

Liam knew that Sophia had left him because he refused to settle down, and as much as he pretended it didn't phase him, it did. He just couldn't do it though. There was so much more he wanted to do. As much as it hurt him he knew that he needed to do it alone. Just like now. As much as he would always love the boys and the band, their time was over. They couldn't keep doing this to each other. They deserved so much more. 

And just like that, he understood why Zayn had left. 

The epiphany though was hidden from the rest of the boys, who were clearly still in a state of denial. 

"Liam." Niall said, his voice shaking, "It doesn't have to end like this."

"I'm sorry, mate." Liam said guiltily before finally leaving.

Niall looked at Harry, who exhaled and shook his head. While he could understand where Liam and Louis were coming, at the same time he just couldn't. If it were up to him they'd all live in a little loft like they did that first year for the rest of their lives. He didn't understand why pursuing their own dreams meant leaving each other behind. 

"Fucking good riddance." Louis said from the other side of the room, chugging his forgotten bottle of beer.

Harry sighed, "It's going to be a long promo season."

 



 

 

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