About three hours later, right around the time their meeting was supposed to be over, Reagan and the boys were finally walking down the hallway to the studio.
"We are going to walk in, you all are going to stay completely silent, and you are going to let me do the doing the talking." Reagan said as the boys trailed behind her. They were a bit sunburned, a tad tipsy, and very, very happy. It was quite the sight to behold, and Reagan, albeit scared to death about entering the room and facing Lydia, was quite pleased about the fact that the boys had actually had a great time.
"Of course, boss." Louis said, giving her a two finger salute, "Whatever you say."
"You say that now..." She muttered.
"We won't say a peep, promise." He said smilingly. He was clearly past a little tipsy, Niall was about the same. Liam was brooding as he had been the entire day, and Harry, well, Harry was being his normal self, no alcohol necessary.
"Thank god this is almost over." Reagan muttered as she opened the door. It was quiet...too quiet. It was almost as if no one was there, but Reagan knew better. She knew that Lydia had to have been in her office, angrily drinking her coffee, counting the minutes until the boys appeared.
"She says that now," Louis whispered to Niall, "But just wait a month or two, she'll be crying to have us back."
"I can hear you."
"Good! I intended for you to hear me."
"Shhhh!" She said, eyeing the door to Lydia's office. Per usual it was closed, so she couldn't exactly tell whether she was in or not.
"Did she just shush me?" He turned to look at the boys, completely astonished, "She seriously shushed me!"
Reagan was about to respond to Louis, even though she knew she shouldn't engage him, when Lydia appeared. She swung her door open in one angry motion and within an instant stood before all of them, arms crossed in front of her chest. Reagan was always amazed by how much fury Lydia carried in that petite frame of hers, quite an astonishing sight, really.
"What did I expect." Lydia simply said, shaking her head before them.
"Lydia, love," Louis started, "You see the thing was-"
"You stole a car, ran off, and have now come back clearly intoxicated."
"Well, I didn't drive back, Reagan did." He said with a wide grin, "Never drink and drive and all that responsible shit."
"Oh, well, if you had Reagan drive back of course you did the responsible thing. Never mind the fact that you're four hours late, might have cost your body guards their jobs, and have about pushed me to my limit."
"Oh no, not John. John isn't leaving, is he?" Harry asked in his typical slow drawl.
"Shut up." Reagan said in a low voice, shoving him with her shoulder.
"I liked him. He actually let us eat breakfast after getting off the plane."
"John was ace." Niall said nodding his head.
"Not very good at driving though, ay mate?" Louis said laughingly.
"Enough! I have had enough!" Lydia said, raising her voice the highest they had probably ever heard it. "John and his entire team have left. Do we know what that means?"
"We have to drive ourselves around?"
"We have to hire new bodyguards!" Lydia exclaimed, ignoring Louis. "Ones that will actually put up with the lot of you! We've probably been blacklisted by now with the amount of guards we've gone through!"
"Paul technically came back." Louis tried, referring to their head of security who had technically left because of Zayn, not them.
Paul grunted from the corner, he had managed to slip in unnoticed in the middle of the spat, "Mate, just stop making it worse for yourself. Shut your trap and let the lady speak."
"John was overrated anyway." Louis shrugged.
Paul rolled his eyes, grabbed his mug, and saw his way out of the studio. He knew better than to stay when Louis was on a mission to make Lydia explode.
"We have a million things to talk about." Lydia said rubbing her temples, "And you're all flying back out this weekend."
"We're fine." Niall said reassuringly.
"No, you're not fine." Lydia scoffed, "You're about to go out and start your last promo season. We have plans to discuss and things to address."
"Lydia, love, really. We just want things to be laid back this time. For once, just let us do it. We've got this." Louis tried. And really, he wasn't lying. They had already gone over how they wanted to approach the promotion for the album with Reagan. They had meticulously planned every step.
"You don't trust us. After all this time, Lydia? Come on now." Louis said, prodding her.
"You stole a car this morning."
"That's not music, love. Our music is serious to us, you know that. We don't mess around with our music. I mean, unless you just want us to go behind your back like we did when we dropped 'Drag Me Down'."
Lydia shook her head, "How, how do you always manage to do this. It's astounding."
"So is that a yes?"
She turned to look at Reagan, "You're in charge. I want them prepped, ready, and for the love of god keep them from making fools of themselves."
"I'm good, but I'm not that good."
"Hey!" Harry exclaimed as Liam smirked.
"Well, you're going to have get better then." Lydia said, starting to head back into her office, "And I want the final cuts of all the songs on my desk, by six pm today."
"Already ahead of you." Louis said, pulling out a cd from his back pocket and wiggling in front of her.
"It's all done?"
"All of it."
She nodded, "Well then, you have your schedules. I'll be flying out every once in awhile just to check in. But, as you all know this is really the last time you'll have to be here."
"Aw, Lydia. Are you getting sentimental?" Louis said chuckling.
She ignored him, "Reagan, I want to see their talking points. Make sure they overlap but that they aren't all saying the same things. Also, we have to discuss questions that they may not be asked while on live TV or radio."
"Are you just going to ignore us?" Louis asked.
"Oh, and before they all leave for the day, just make sure they all have their schedules synced on their phones, I don't want any excuses."
"Got it." Reagan mumbled, taking notes on her own phone.
"Really?" Louis quipped.
"What, Louis?" Lydia sighed from her doorway.
"This is it? You're just going to leave us like this?"
She rolled her eyes, "Don't be stupid, it's not like this is goodbye."
"But it's our last day here. Why were you making such a big deal if this isn't goodbye?"
"Goodbye boys, I'll be seeing you in New York in a couple of days." Lydia said with a very apparent finality. Louis took it, at least she had said goodbye.
"Bye." The boys mumbled, nodding and watching as she finally closed the door behind her.
"Is this really not such a huge deal? It's our last day here." Louis pouted, crossing his arms in front her chest.
"Why are you being such a baby?" Reagan asked, walking over to her desk and powering up her laptop.
"I just thought, I don't know, maybe this was a bigger deal."
"Is that why you stole a car?"
"Can we drop the car thing? I brought it back in one piece didn't I?"
"Technically, I did."
"Does it matter?"
Reagan signed, "Louis, come on. What's really wrong?"
Louis looked over his shoulder to see that the boys had already dispersed, each one of them busy collecting their things and making sure they didn't leave anything behind.
"Really? Because you've pulled some stupid shit in your day, I know, but you've been rather reckless lately."
"You're having a baby."
"Yeah, I got the memo."
"I know you're pretty dim-witted-"
"I resent that." Louis interrupted.
"But," Reagan continued, "I know this isn't you."
"So you know me?"
"I know enough."
"You think that coming in and working with us for a while means you know me inside out?" He asked, rather defensively.
Reagan took a step back, "Woah, tone it down. I simply meant that we're friends, because we are, aren't we?"
He nodded hesitantly, "Yeah."
"Then as a friend, let me be the first to tell you that you're being a complete and total asshat."
"An asshat, huh?"
"A drunken asshat."
He chuckled, "I should sober up I shouldn't I?"
"I'm going to bet you've been saying that for weeks."
"How far along is she?"
He flushed, "Five months."
Reagan locked eyes with him, wanting to make sure he understood how serious she was when she said it, "You're going to be a great dad."
His face reddened once more, "I hope so."
The nice moment though passed the moment that Niall exclaimed, "I knew I left a burger here! I was looking for it the night before we left. I was starving." He stuck his arm in the fridge and pulled out the paper bag in utter victory.
"That was a month ago." Liam said with a furrowed brow.
Niall shrugged, "Have you never seen those things on the youtube that they do with all the fast food burgers? You know they keep for like years, mate? I pretty sure this one's just fine." He said waving the bag in front of Liam.
"You're not going to eat that, are you?" Harry asked, clearly trying keep from throwing up.
"Just got to warm it up is all."
"Niall, for the love of god, just stop by In-and-Out on the way home." Liam pleaded, it was the most vocal he had been all day.
"But there's a perfectly good one here. I need a snack anyway." He said walking toward the microwave.
Harry shook his head, and Reagan had to keep from laughing. Louis on the other hand just looked distracted, exactly like Liam. Seemed like these days the boys were either aloof or distant, and even though the situation was typical, Reagan still found it weird that there was no middle ground anymore. She didn't know what to make of it. She just hoped it would pass. After all, they were heading in different directions, it was clearly going to take some getting used to. They were all going to grow to be their own person, it was inevitable. People just cope in different ways. Some refuse to acknowledge what's happening around them, some find unhealthy outlets, and others just disconnect from the world completely. She hoped it was a phase, the boys were too close to actually let something like this end their friendship. At least, she very much hoped so.
"Niall, so help me god if you heat up that thing, I'm going to kick your ass." Louis said, heading in the direction of the miniature breakroom.
Liam went back to sorting through his journals, and Harry looked up at Reagan, winking at her discretely. She rolled her eyes, trying to play off the flush he had brought to her cheeks, and went back to looking at her laptop.
Just a few more hours and the boys were officially done at the studio, what a ride it had certainly been. But now it was time to put all of those months of planning into action. There was still the album to promote, the last songs to be performed. They still had work before them. But this was definitely monumental, without a doubt. No matter how much Lydia tried to play it off.
They were done. The boys would no longer be enclosed in a studio, they would no longer be up writing till three in the morning, planning melodies and playing with chords. The last monotonous routine of the last five years was coming to an abrupt end. And as much as they were told to not worry about it, they had. They had to.
It's going to be weird, and it's going to be hard, but Reagan was pretty sure that if anyone could handle it, it would be the boys.
"Niall! Don't you bite into that thing!" Louis warned.
They heard a slapping sound a loud, "What the fuck!" A few seconds later.
Louis came out triumphantly, dramatically throwing the wrapped mass in the trash can.
"Did you seriously just slap the burger out of my hand!?"
"It was for your own good, mate."
"Seriously!? You owe me a burger!"
"I don't owe you shit. If anything you owe me because I just saved your life!"
"What!?" Niall said indignantly, "That's such bullshit!"
Reagan stopped listening at that point, knowing that the spat would just drag on until either Liam or Harry broke them up. So she continued typing away, knowing that there were in fact things that would always stay the same, and that maybe that was for the best.