Three months ago, Carol and I met online. It’s kind of embarrassing, but we met on a 5 Seconds of Summer fanfiction website. We started talking and realized we had a lot in common apart from our love for 5SOS. We also came to discover that we only lived just over an hour away from each other, which was exciting to say the least. We Skyped too and once we did that and starting calling and texting on a regular basis, it was official. We had become best friends and we had only known each other for a couple months.
At this point we knew we had to meet in person but it was figuring out when, that was the problem. I had school Monday through Thursday and most weekends Carol would stay at her sister Cecilia’s house to help take care of her nieces and nephews. We ended up deciding on just over a month from then on April 3rd, a Friday where Carol knew she wouldn’t be going to Cecilia’s and obviously I wouldn’t have school. As for where, it made the most sense to meet halfway. And the halfway point between our houses is Chicago, Illinois.
It seemed to take years for April 3rd to come around but once it did, we were both ecstatic. My mom gave me a ride to the train station, I hopped on the next train to Chicago and when I arrived, I found Carol waiting for me. Meeting was like one of those cheesy romantic movies where the couple runs to each other in slow motion, only even more awesome. After a long hug, we left the station and walked to the bean to take some pictures. I specifically remember me pulling out my phone to take one, when Carol stopped me and got out a Polaroid camera. She told me it’s a pastime of hers to take pictures with it and put them in a scrapbook. I’ll have to see that sometime.
It was after being there for a while that we wanted a drink. After looking on my phone for the nearest coffee shop, we found the closest we could find which was a Starbucks a few minutes up Michigan Avenue. After making the trek there, we walked in and went up to the counter to order. I got a java chip frappe and Carol got Tazo black tea with lemon. I remember, because our drinks are the last things I saw before the moment I will never forget. We turned around to find seats when my eyes landed on what looked like the guys of 5 Seconds of Summer, who had just rushed into the shop. I looked to my left at Carol who looked at me with the same thought going through our heads: Is that actually 5 Seconds of Summer?
We looked back and it was them, unmistakable. From the looks of it, they came in to hide from a swarm of fans that spotted them. Carol and I decided to check outside to see if they were gone as the guys sat at a table away from the windows, and when we gave them the all clear, they laughed slightly and thanked us. We really wanted to formally meet them and maybe even talk a little, but instead we started to head to a table to let them be alone. Before we could get far though, they offered for us to sit with them. …This had to be a dream. But the crazy thing is, it wasn’t.
We took two chairs from another table while the guys moved their chairs back a little around the circular table forming a kind of arc. We placed our chairs in the now empty space at the front of the table and sat down, having no clue what was going to happen next. Surprisingly, we had normal conversations. We asked them why they were in town and they said it was to do some last minute promo for ROWYSO, which they would be starting next month. We talked about their music and music in general, Carol and Luke figuring out they have similar music tastes.
The whole time we were there with them, I knew that Carol was trying not to freak out that she was sitting next to and talking to her biggest crush, Michael Clifford. I could see it on her face that she was in heaven. I could say the same thing about Ashton though. The fact he was actually next to me and we were talking about TV shows was insane to me. I did find out that we both love How I Met Your Mother, Luke too. I remember thinking, I wish we could watch it together sometime. Little did I know it would happen, and soon. Calum was pretty quiet. He didn’t say much but he would chime into our conversations every once in a while. I felt kind of bad because in some way it seemed like we were ignoring him. He didn’t seem fazed though, he just smiled away.
We probably spent a half hour in that Starbucks talking. After a while, I almost forgot that it was them I was talking to. It was easy and natural to talk to them and it didn’t seem like I was talking to celebrities. At the same time, they were probably relieved we didn’t go crazy and ask for photos. It was a win-win. Eventually they said they had to go, but before they did, they actually asked us if we could have a way to get in touch with each other after that day. They thought we were chill and wanted to be able to see us again when they came back in town. Of course we agreed and we ended up exchanging numbers. We got hugs from all of them and they left, and once they were out the door, you better believe that we fangirled hardcore.
Carol and I spent the rest of the afternoon roaming around Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park before I had to catch my train back home, and when she took me to the station, it was the hardest goodbye I had ever gone through. After all, we had the best day we could have dreamed of and now we didn’t know when we would meet again. I got on the train home and kept replaying my conversations with 5SOS all the way there, pinching myself convinced that none of this was real, and I was overjoyed when I knew it was.
The weekends that followed mine and Carol’s first meeting, were nothing we could have ever foreseen. Ever since that day, her and I had been texting with the guys almost every day. And the weirdest part was they started it. They wanted to know the next time we were free so we told them weekends were the only option with our schedules. After that, they asked if we were free the next weekend! We could not believe it. 5SOS wanted to hang out with us? We accepted right away and I bought my train ticket immediately.
When I told my mom about us meeting them and actually keeping in touch, she didn’t believe it at first. But I showed her the contacts in my phone and our conversations and then she was really happy for me. She knows how much I love them, so she was all for giving me a ride to the train station again. I will never stop being thankful for her. My father on the other hand, was not convinced. He thought I was making it all up as an excuse to go to Chicago again. I tried to explain everything to him but he wouldn’t listen. The difference between my parents is ridiculous.
Anyway, that weekend we hung out again but for longer. The weekend after that, we hung out again for even longer, and by the end of the weekend after that, friendships had been developed. The more we spent time with them and texted when we weren’t together, the closer we got. It was so surreal. We did think it was suspicious that they kept on being in Chicago every weekend of April, but we got over it real quick. We were hanging out and becoming friends with 5 Seconds of Summer! That’s all we cared about. However, on Saturday the eighteenth, we did confront them about it. What they confessed to us, we never would have guessed. They bought a house there!
We asked them why and they explained that Chicago is their other favorite city in America besides LA. Since they have a house there on the West side of the country, they thought they might as well get a house here too on the other side. They also said that they didn’t tell us at first because they wanted to make sure we weren’t going to spread it all over social media. They don’t want word to get around that they have a house in Chicago at all, so we were sworn to secrecy. We understood and swore we wouldn’t tell, and then they asked us if we could see them again the next weekend.
At that point, we still hadn’t told them that Carol and I don’t actually live in Chicago. They had no idea that each weekend, I spent money to take the train there and back, and Carol was spending copious amounts of money on transportation too. Not to mention the money we spent wherever we went with them. We didn’t want to make them feel bad, but now that they told us their secret, we had to tell ours. They couldn’t believe that we not only didn’t live in Chicago, but that we lived in two different cities and wouldn’t see each other much, if it wasn’t for them. Then Ashton came up with an idea.
He said that on May first, they would be leaving here for ROWYSO, and they felt like they shouldn’t leave the house unattended while they were gone, seeing as they have people who look after their LA house for them. Ashton Irwin suggested that Carol and I temporarily move in and watch the house for them during the tour. We looked at each other in disbelief. Did Ashton seriously offer us a house-sitting opportunity? We were about to accept when Michael did one better.
“Why temporarily? Just move in. Then you guys won’t ever have to have a long distance friendship again, and whenever we aren’t touring, doing promo, or in LA, we’ll get to see you guys all the time.” That is what he said. I remember it word for word because it was the best words that I ever heard spoken at the time. I knew that I would need to talk to my parents and see what I would do about school, but I told them I was all for it if Carol was. Carol was too and so we made it official. We were going to be house-sitting for 5SOS the next several months, and then living with them.
Upon getting home that night, I figured out what I would do about school first before attempting to talk with my parents. There is an off-campus building in Chicago where I will be able to take my classes for the university I go to, so staying in school won’t be a problem. Honestly, my parents had no right to say no to this. And they didn’t. Well…my mom didn’t. She was so excited for me and knew that I would be ecstatic about finally getting to leave home. Of course my father was completely against it. As far as he knew, I was lying about meeting and hanging out with 5SOS all these weekends and he didn’t believe I would be living in their house if I moved to Chicago.
What he didn’t seem to get, was that moving into that house would be my ticket out of my parents’ house. I had wanted to get out of there for years and now I finally had the opportunity. I was going to take it no matter what he had to say. I was twenty years old and could make this decision for myself. And that is exactly what I told him. Was he mad? Oh yeah, totally pissed off yelling and everything. What did I do? After a good cry, I texted Ashton asking if it would be okay if I started moving some of my stuff there, starting the next day. He said yes without asking questions and I was so relieved.
I only brought a few things Sunday the nineteenth, and explored the house getting familiar with where everything was. I also visited with the guys a little before Carol made her way over and she joined us for a while. The six of us were sitting in the living room talking and laughing, and I couldn’t help but get a warm feeling inside. Soon this would be my new home, and I couldn’t wait. It was that day that we decided the weekend before the first, Carol and I would officially move in. We went upstairs to pick out our bedrooms before we called it a night and left them for the week.
Saturday the twenty-fifth, Carol and I packed up all of our possessions, and we were driven to the house. We spent the day bringing everything to our rooms and the next five days were spent partly unpacking, but mostly enjoying living with the guys. There was something so strange about waking up, coming down to the kitchen, and seeing Luke Hemmings at the table eating breakfast. I would go into the living room to watch How I Met Your Mother and Ashton Irwin would walk in and join me on the couch. And we only lived together five days, but in that time, it’s like we all got even closer.
By the day before they left, it was clear that Carol and Michael had a little bit of a flirtation going on and Ashton and I did too. We would cuddle on the couch and spend most of the day together. Carol would play Minecraft with Michael all day, spend the day in bed listening to music with Luke, or talk with Calum. I didn’t see Calum much, but whenever I did see him, he would be jokingly thrusting behind me without my knowing. It was a weird experience living with these guys I used to fangirl over. Now they seemed like normal guys to me, just my friends who I saw every morning and every night.
But now it’s the day they’re leaving. We all knew this day was coming, but I think we secretly hoped it never would. They would be gone for six months before we would see them again. Even after the tour ends in September, they’ll be doing promo for their second album, it will be released, and then they’ll be getting ready for and hosting their second Derpcon “The New Broken Scene.” We’ve already gotten so used to being with each other that not being together is going to seem so foreign. We are all at the door with the guys and their suitcases, preparing to say goodbye.
“The taxis are here. We need to go.” Calum says turning from the open door. Hugs start being exchanged and I hug Ashton last.
“Bye, Ash. I’ll miss you so much.” I say giving him a tight squeeze and rubbing his back.
He squeezes back tighter saying, “I’ll miss you too, munchkin.” That’s a nickname he gave me after the second time we all hung out. It was his way of playfully making fun of my height. I’m 5’3” but next to all of them, it looks like I’m four feet tall, especially Luke.
I laugh a little before we finally let go. I’m also gonna miss hearing him call me that. Michael finishes hugging Carol as the other guys carry out their suitcases and head out to the taxis. Michael is the last one out and Carol comes to the doorway with me to watch them load up their luggage, wave to us one more time before they pile into the vehicles, and drive away.
Watching that happen was more painful than I would care to admit. We talked about keeping in touch with our phones while they’re gone just like we did before we moved here, but with their constant time zone changes and hectic schedule, we probably won’t get to hear from them much. That will take some getting used to. Even though the taxis are out of sight already, it seems that our eyes are fixed on the end of the street where they turned the corner. It has been silent all this time until I finally speak up.
“They’re really gone, aren’t they?” I ask her.
““For a whole six months?” I elaborate.
“…Well what the hell do we do now?” I ask, as if lost.
“Uh…we could finish unpacking.” she suggests.
“Unfortunately, that’s probably the only thing that will distract me enough right now.” We turn and start walking to the stairs. “Gonna blast music for us to work to?” I ask.
“Of course, brat.” she answers.
“Yay!” I exclaim. “Thanks, boo.” Brat and boo; those are our nicknames for each other. It’s silly, I know. I don’t remember how we came up with them, but they work for us. “Living with you for the next six months is gonna be so much fun.” I say smiling as we go upstairs.
“Oh yeah, the best.” she agrees. We get to the landing and go to our rooms and I hear music not too long afterwards, blasting out from Carol’s doorway.
I can’t help but smile as I resume my unpacking and arranging, dancing around the room to the music. True, our boys just left us for half a year. But knowing that I am going to have Carol to keep me company and help me through my times of depression, is giving me immense comfort. And I am beginning to feel giddy already about the chapter of our lives that will begin six months from now: officially, long-term, living with our idols and newfound friends: Ashton, Michael, Calum, and Luke of 5 Seconds of Summer.