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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11. TEN

TEN

Louis arrived at the cafe that Kennedy had told him to meet her at about twenty minutes early. He was never early to anything.

He sighed loudly, wondering why he had even gotten himself into this mess. He didn't owe Kennedy any kind of explanation. He figured she must have known about the baby by now, who didn't? So why did he have to explain himself? He didn't even explain himself to his own family or to the boys. So why did he feel the incessant need to continually justify his actions to this girl? This girl who was the same age as his little sister Lottie. Who was just beginning to understand the world around her, and who undoubtedly still had so much more to learn.

He told himself that he was unnecessarily getting into trouble. That he shouldn't be there right now, that he shouldn't meet up with her like this. What was the point? All he was going to do was get her hopes up....and his? Wait.

"No." He said out loud to himself, shaking his head, "No, no, no."

He was not about to fall for this girl, there was absolutely no fucking way. He could already imagine Reagan's reaction, and he could already see the look on Harry's face.

"Fuck me." He said, once more out loud in the silence of his car. He wasn't typically one to talk to himself, but the circumstances obviously permitted an exception.

As if he didn't have enough to worry about, the last thing he needed was to fancy Reagan's little sister. It just could not happen, it would not happen.

He put the keys back in the ignition, and just as he was about to start the car he heard a frantic tap at his window. He looked up to see Kennedy standing before him, smirking. She signaled for him to lower the window, "Were you about to ditch me?" She asked, when he had managed to find the button to roll it down.

"What? Me? No."

"Really, because it looked like you were about to leave."

"Well, I was early," He said, "And I thought I'd drive around for a few minutes. Can't stay in one spot, you know? The paps and all that shit."

"Maybe coffee wasn't the best idea then?" She said, biting her lip and looking obscenely gorgeous. Louis literally had to look away.

"I mean if you really want to..."

"Oh, no. No, not if you have to do the weird camouflaging thing."

"What?"

"You know when you put on the baseball cap and the sunglasses and have to basically go incognito?"

"Oh. Well, I'm used to it."

"You shouldn't be."

"That's life, Kenz."

She shrugged, and the air quickly grew awkward between them. Louis relented though, unlocking his car, "Get in."

Kennedy smiled, "Yeah?"

"Yeah, get in already, before we get papped."

Louis shook his head as Kennedy got in. He kept telling himself that nothing was going to happen between them, that nothing could happen between them. That right now his priority was his baby. That he had to get his shit together. 

She buckled herself in, her hair swaying over her shoulder as she did. He was kind of staring at her at that point, his bright blue eyes intent on trying to figure out what it was that was pulling him toward her, what spell she was casting on him. He couldn't figure out why he was on a mission to sabotage himself, not now.

Kennedy furrowed her brow as he continued staring intently at her, "You okay?"

"Me? Yeah, yeah. It's nothing, sorry." He finally turned the car on, trying to shake away the feeling in that was growing in the pit of his stomach.

"Where are we going?" 

"I don't know, you have anywhere in mind?"

"Don't really care." She responded. She didn't have to finish her sentence, he already knew what the end of it would be; as long as its with you. The fact that he knew just made his hands shake even worse. He didn't know what was happening to him, but he didn't like it one bit. This visit was supposed to be closure, it was supposed to be the last time that he saw her like this. But as he saw her mindlessly looking out the window, a strand of brunette hair twirled around her index finger as she hummed along with the radio, he had an inkling it wouldn't be. 

---

Reagan paced. She paced back and forth, her heels clacking upon the floor. She paced so much that Harry eventually got up, put his hands on her shoulders, and tried to anchor her down before she could manage to make a dig a path from the living room to the kitchen.

"What?" She snapped as she looked up at him. She was dressed, dressed rather nicely Harry noted. He loved it when she wore the particular dress she had on, couldn't bare to look away when she did. So of course he wasn't opposed to the pacing at first. After all, that meant getting to see his beautiful Reagan from all angles as she was obviously too preoccupied to notice his stare following her. And don't get him wrong, he wouldn't have stopped her—he was really that selfish—but he noticed her face beginning to crease with worry and her steps becoming more furious, so he knew he had to interfere—even though he kind of didn't want to.

"You okay?"

"No."

"I had a feeling."

"Really? How intuitive."

He smirked as she pushed him away, "Rae, come on now. It's just dinner, what can he possibly do?"

"Let's see," She said, beginning to pace again, "Revoke my lease, not pay my college tuition, murder you."

"Eh, all things we can work with."

"Really?" She was clearly not in the mood for what he thought was witty banter.

"I'll just leave everything of mine in your name, so that way you can keep your apartment and keep going to school."

"Harry."

"What? Everything is quite fixable. Just let the pieces fall where they may."

"What time is it?" She said, completely ignoring him.

He sighed as he pulled his phone out his pocket, "Quarter to six."

"We should go."

"I thought dinner was at six."

"I told Kennedy we'd get there later since she had to go out."

"Where?"

She looked at Harry as she grabbed her purse, "You don't know?"

"No."

"Louis invited her out for coffee."

"Really?"

She squinted at him, "What did you do?"

"Me?"

"You think I'm stupid?"

"Love, of course not."

"Then why are you lying to me?"

He was truly befuddled, as far as he concerned he didn't directly tell Louis to ask her out, did he?"I'm not lying!" And then it clicked, "Well, okay...I might have told Louis to respond to her texts." Reagan crossed her arms in front of her chest and glared, so he continued digging himself deeper into a hole, "But I did not tell him to ask her out. Is it even a date? I mean maybe he just wanted to talk to her in person, maybe you're just-"

"I'm just what?" She snapped, "Finish your sentence."

He gulped, figuring he probably shouldn't tell her that she's overreacting, "I-I Just think that that maybe you're being a tad too overprotective, love. Louis wouldn't do anything, you know that."

"Do I? Have you seen the way he looks at her?"

"He hasn't seen her in like three months."

"That's beside the point."

"Rae, you really need to learn how to let things go."

"Whatever."

Harry looked at his phone once more, "Shouldn't we get going?"

"Yeah, I guess. Don't want to be late on top of everything else."

"Alright then." He said, placing his large hand on the small of her back, "Just so you know, my last will and testament are in my safe at home."

"Harry."

"I'm just saying."

She smirked, "What's the combination to the safe?"

"Oh, see, so there's some cause for concern."

"I still don't hear you giving me the combination."

"I still don't hear you reassuring me it'll be fine." He said as he pushed her out and closed the door behind them.

"It'll be fine."

He smiled, "Our birthdays."

"Really?"

He bashfully looked away, "Yeah."

"You're ridiculous." She said, trying not to blush and give herself away. Instead she began walking to the car.

Harry rushed in front of her, just to open the passenger side door. As much as Reagan pretended not to care about the little things he did just to prove how much he truly loved, she did. It showed in the way she took his hand as he offered it to help her into the car, in how smirked at his awful puns, and above all, just in the way she looked at him.That look gave it all away.

In fact, she was giving him that look as he put on his seat belt. He noticed it, of course he did, but he said nothing because he knew better.

They drove in silence, mostly because they didn't feel the need to fill the air between them. They were past that, and quite honestly Reagan wasn't up for Harry's musings at the moment, as much as she may have loved him.

It was six thirty on the dot when they arrived, but Reagan just couldn't get herself to get out of the car. She didn't even know if Kennedy was back yet, she should've been.

"Rae?"

"Yeah?" She said, trying to breathe in and out.

 "Just don't listen to anything he says, okay love? In one ear, out the other."

"It's not that simp-"

"Yes it is." He said, interrupting her before she could finish, "This is your life. This is what you have chosen to do. Don't let him take that away from you."

"I just...I know that I've let him down."

"Forget about him right now, forget about me too. Just think about yourself." He said, shifting in his seat to look at her, "Is this how you imagined your life?"

She laughed, "No fucking way. I never imagined my life to be...this."

"But are you happy? Are you in love with your life?"

It didn't even take a second for her to nod, "Yeah."

"Then fuck everything else. This time around you define yourself, you do you Reagan Bailey." Harry gave her his dimpled grin and suddenly everything just kind of seemed to fall into place. Yeah, her dad was probably inside, plotting Harry's demise. And maybe she wasn't everything her parents wanted her to be, but she was happy. For the first time she could honestly say she was happy. That she had made choices for herself that were selfish and egotistical, but that they were necessary and crucial to this whole 'defining yourself as a person' deal. We all make our choices, and sometimes they're not the best, but other times they totally are. And the best part? They're all yours. You got to decide what happened, you didn't let life passively pass you by. So yeah, she was okay with this. Whatever her father said to her, she would take with a grain of salt. Like Harry said, she was finally just going to do her.

She reached for her door and Harry beamed, "That's my girl."

"Shut up before I change my mind."

"We both know you won't." He said, opening his own door. But he didn't say anything else, not as they approached the door, not as she rang the bell. What he did do was hold her hand. He interlocked his fingers with hers and squeezed tightly as he felt her tense.

As they heard steps approach, and the doorknob turning, Reagan squeezed back, as if saying thank you. He smiled to himself, knowing that things were going to be just fine. And if they weren't? Well, they had each other. That's all that really mattered.

 

 

 


 

 

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