That Direction

How exactly do we pick our favorite boys in boy bands? Its weird, if you think about it. We just point at a face on the album cover and say that one is mine. With no real claim, having never met the boy, we choose. And then we fall in love. And then we obsess.

We thought we were getting too old for One Direction, but still we shamelessly listened to their albums and bought tickets for their tour we simply could not afford.

I don't know if I believe in fate, or true love, or any of the other crap that is written about in my favorite novels. They said we had a one in a million chance of meeting them, and a one in a billion chance of them falling for us. But I guess, sometimes, you just get lucky.


9. Chapter Nine

“Will, take a picture of us!” the little blonde from our class, Jessica, squeals.  She runs over to Will and hands him her phone, getting just a little too close to him for comfort and then runs back to pose with the rest of us in front of the Eifel tower.  It is a very classic white girl travel shot but we all want it because, well, we are all classic white girls.


“That is definitely going to be my header image,” Laura squeals after we all receive the images Will took of all of us.  The pictures make me laugh because after the first two, Mariah and I both start making faces at the camera while all of the other girls in our class continue on with their perfect smiles.  Behind us, the Eifel tower is glowing with the millions of twinkling lights in the night.


This is why this is one of the most romantic cities in the world.


My phone rings as I point out the faces to Mariah, Liam.


“Hey babe,” I say without thinking and then suck in a breath.  I just called him babe and had no intention of doing so.


“You two are already calling each other babe?”  I am confused for a moment; the voice on the other end of the call is deeper and has a raspy tone to it, definitely not Liam.  I take a few steps away from the other girls and luckily Mariah distracts them by pointing out the photo bomber in one of the last photos.

“Harry?” I say, hugging my torso with one arm as I whisper into the phone.


“Yes,” he laughs.  “Shut up Liam!  Kayla, would you like to come meet us for drinks.  You can bring your friend.”  


“We are kind of in Paris for the weekend,” I laugh at him as I listen in to the chaos that is going on that end.  I wonder what they are doing, where they are that has them all together and bored enough to steal Liam’s phone.


“Well that doesn’t work for me,” Harry slurs a little and I realize that they are totally drunk.  “Liam, STOP!  No, I want to talk to her.  You have been talking to her all day.  Sharing is caring Liam!  Kayla?”


“Yes Harry?” I say, trying to mask my laugh.  Mariah and Ella both fall behind the group and try to listen in on my conversation.


“Is that Liam?”  Ella asks.


“No, Harry,” I tell her and both Ella and Mariah get all excited, leaning in closer to try and here whatever Harry is going on about.


“Do you love Liam?”




“What? It is a legitimate question and you know you want to know,” Harry speaks to Liam.  My face, I’m sure, is beat red but I am laughing uncontrollably.


“They’re drunk aren’t they?” Mariah laughs with me and I nod.


“Well do you?” Harry presses the question.


“Harry, go home you’re drunk.” I laugh into the phone.  There is some more arguing on their line while I laugh at all of them and then Liam is on the phone.


“Ignore him,” Liam tells me.  “Are you having fun?”

“You know I am,” I laugh.  I am exhausted after a full day of hitting up every single tourist attraction Paris has to offer.  Mariah, Ella and I ran around taking videos of us being idiots as Will went on and on at each stop on our tour.  I have to hand it to him though, Will knows his history and knows where to bring all of us.  The place we had lunch at, the name of which was French and I couldn’t pronounce correctly no matter how hard I tried, was probably the most well proportioned and tasty meal I have ever had in my life.


“Kayla, I hope whoever is on the phone with you is more important than one of the most important landmarks in France,” I look up to see Will’s eyes boring into mine.


“Who the fuck is that?” Liam asks, sounding ever bit of the jealous boyfriend he is.


“I have to go, love you!” I hang up and then bite down hard on my bottom lip while Ella and Mariah both stare at me with their jaws nearly hitting the floor.  “Holy fuck, I did NOT just say that.”


Will and the rest of the class are now glaring at me while I mentally kick the shit out of myself.  What the hell was I thinking saying that?  I mean, hopefully Liam is drunk enough for the too quick confession to just slip his mind before he heads to bed.  I try to pay attention as Will goes through a detailed history of the Eifel Tower, but find it extremely difficult while Liam begins drunk texting me.


*when will you be back*


*liam loves you too!*


*that was hary ignore hum*


I giggle as I read through the texts that come faster than I can respond. 


“Who is she texting?” Jessica asks, coming up to walk in line with Mariah, Ella and I.  “It’s a boy isn’t it?”  I slide my phone back in my purse before these girls see the name flashing across my screen with each new, and less legible, text.


“It’s a booty call,” Ella snickers, winking at me.


“Oh my god, speaking of which.  I have got to tell you about something,” Jessica’s mouth springs up into a huge smile and Mariah, Ella and I all roll our eyes at one another.  I’m sure our sexy professor is about to be brought up.


When we are nestled into our hotel room after a late dinner, I take my phone out again and scroll through all of the texts I received from Liam.  And then I scroll through the ones from an unknown number, Harry.  The texts are pathetic and prove that Harry will remember hearing what I said to Liam as I hung up the phone.


*don’t say anything about what I said to Liam*  I text him, knowing that they are all probably passed out by now.  I plug my phone into the charger and slip the phone under my pillow after a few minutes with no reply.  Hopefully Harry checks his phone more than he tweets and hopefully he’ll respond to his band mates girlfriend when sober.




“Have you talked to Liam yet?” Mariah asks when we get onto the plane the next night.  I shake my head and sigh.  I have kept my phone away so far today, and he hasn’t texted me all day.  The thought that I ruined this entire thing is starting to eat at me as the time without talking to him flies by. 


My phone vibrates in my pocket just as the air hostess is coming around to tell us to turn off our electronics.  A text from Harry:


*your secret is safe ;)*


I sigh and slouch down into the blue chair, feeling more relief than my big mouth deserves.


“I still cannot believe you actually said that,” Mariah chuckles, her eyes closed as she tries to fall asleep for the quick flight.  “That’s not you at all.”


The plane ride goes smoothly and before I know it, I have listened to all of One Directions first album and we are landing back at Heathrow airport.  Getting through the airport and to the bus waiting for us turns into hell as we all try to get out as quickly as possible.  It seems as though all of London is flying home at the same time as us and the halls on the way out are crowded to the max, making getting home and into bed quickly next to impossible.


“God damn,” Mariah groans when we finally throw our shit through our red door.  I am absolutely exhausted and will probably leave my suitcase right here by the door.  We both separate into our rooms without a word and I fall onto my bed.


My eyes close and I am right at that stage of final sleep when there is a loud knock on the door.  My eyes pop open and I get ready to kick whoever’s ass has decided to show up at our door this late.  I know Nadia wanted to see us if we got home early enough, and it is only ten, but I am exhausted and so not in the mood to entertain anyone.  Or socialize at all.


I look through the peephole and cannot believe what I see until I open the door all the way.


Harry and Liam are both standing there, Harry smiling like an idiot, and they both scream.


“Bienvenue à la maison!” Liam pushes past Harry and wraps his arms around me, crushing his lips against mine as if he has never kissed me before.  He takes my breath away until he releases me and lets me wobble on my feet.


“What does that even mean?” I ask, looking at Harry with what I am sure is a dazed expression. 


“Welcome home,” Liam explains, still holding onto me.


“What the actual fuck is going on?” We all turn around to see Mariah walk out of her room, wearing only a large t-shirt.  I turn back to see Harry’s eyes bulging out of his head as he takes in my hot mess of a best friend.


“Harry, Mariah,” I introduce quickly, desperately wanting to go crawl into bed with Liam’s arms wrapped around me. “Mariah, well you know him.  I am going to bed, get to know one another if you must.”  I grab ahold of Liam’s hand and lead him to my small bedroom.


“You trust the two of them out there alone?” Liam raises an eyebrow at me while I kneel on my bed and reach for the buttons on his jeans.  I unbutton his jeans and let them pool around his ankles.  He steps out of his jeans, with a small smirk, as I lift his white t-shirt over his head and discard it on my floor before pulling him into bed with me.


“Yes,” I laugh as he wraps his arms around me and I curl up into his side.  Since spending the night with him, I am always looking for him to hold onto me as I drift off to sleep.  “She is the one who told me to wait so she should have no problem following her own requests.”


There is a quick silence, one in which I nearly fall asleep before Liam’s voice brings me back again.


“Wait what do you mean she told you to wait?” he asks, putting his finger underneath my chin and lifting my gaze up to his.


“Wait to have sex with you,” I shrug.  “I don’t just want to be another girl so I agreed I should wait to make sure we both want this.”  Liam’s hand goes to my hip and he presses my hip back into the bed so that I am on my back as he hovers over me, propping himself up on his elbows.


“You and your friend decided that you and I cannot have sex yet?” he is smiling down at me and it sounds even more ridiculous coming from his lips.  Since when do I stop and think through decisions like this one?  Since when do I make informed decisions to wait on sex?


“Yes?”  He sighs dramatically after my unsure answer and then his hands go to the hem of my shorts.  “What are you doing?”


“Shut up,” he mumbles against my skin as he kisses across my collarbone.  He rubs his hand against my thigh, softly caressing the skin there and then into my inner thigh.  My body reacts to his touch almost instantly and my breathing catches as his lips move up my neck and over my jaw line before they meet mine.   “Be quite or they will hear us.”


I nod, unable to say anything, to make him know that I understand and I bite down on my lower lip as he slides a finger into me.  His palm is pressing against my clit as he pushes his fingers in and out, in and out.


Why was I waiting for this?  Why does anyone wait for this?  His lips are against my skin, his hands exploring the parts of my body they have been denied as my fingers press into his back.


“Fuck,” Liam mutters, the hardness in his boxers pressing into the side of my leg.  I want him so bad.  I have wanted him this bad since he grabbed my hand that first, random, Saturday.  I wanted him this bad since he showed up at girl’s night and danced with me until I couldn’t see straight.


I reach for the hem of his boxers and he helps me get them off of him by kicking them off.


“Holy fuck,” I moan as I take in his length and realize that, creepily, this rumor was completely true.  I grab ahold of him and move my hands up and down his length; gently squeezing to the same rhythm he is pressing his fingers in and out of me.  “Liam, Liam I need you in me now,” my voice is pathetically shaky and comes out as a beg while his lips continue trailing over my jaw. 


I once again cannot think straight, cannot think of anything other than the way he is making me feel.  The way his touch pulls me from reality and further into this dream life I never thought I could be apart of.


“Liam!  Don’t worry about–” Harry barges into my bedroom, the door flying open and no body moves for a long second.   “Shit sorry!”  Harry shuts the door quickly just as Liam and I finally react, pushing away from one another like we have just been caught by our parents.  I can hear Harry’s laughter from out in the living room and my hands instinctively reach up to cover my now lobster red face.


“I’m going to kill him,” Liam mutters.  I move my hand to the side to see Liam sitting up on my bed, hand holding his hair back from his sweaty face and a look of pure torture on his perfect face.


I start laughing, because what else is there to do?  


“Sluts!” I hear Mariah yell at us from the living room.  Damnit Harry Styles.  I know that tomorrow I am going to be tortured about this entire thing and I am sure Mariah will want to share the amusing story with our friends at some point.  The embarrassment.  Not only did someone walk in on Liam and I the first time we actually fooled around; that someone just happened to be Harry Fucking Styles.




There is nothing to do but sit around and sip my coffee while my three friends on this side of the Atlantic Ocean make fun of me.


“Why don’t we talk about Harry being all over Mariah?” I throw out there, not believing that it will have the intended affect.  They all start laughing at me again so I just sit there sipping my coffee and complain to Liam over our text conversation but even he is laughing at me.


*damn you styles* I text Harry because, really, this is all his fault.


“You did not just text Harry!”  Mariah teases some more after looking at her phone.


“How do you know I texted him?” I ask.  I didn’t show her my phone, I didn’t tweet the cryptic message so there is honestly no way she could have known that I texted the heartthrob.


“He just told me!”


“You’re texting him!?” the topic of conversation is finally switched over to Mariah and I could not be more grateful.  Nadia is smiling, looking between the three of us like she is a big sister listening to her much younger sisters pathetic drama.


“Well the little fuck decided he had to meet me last night after we flew home and we were exhausted,” Mariah starts explaining.  “And then Kayla and Liam went to bed and Harry and I just stayed up talking.  And then Harry went in to tell Liam not to worry about him, he’ll just stay the night as well, he caught them fucking–”


“We were not actually fucking yet!” I defend myself; and I just want to get it out there. 


“Whatever.  And then we laughed and talked some more and we were up until about five this morning.”


“It’s love,” Ella sighs with a Disney worthy smile, folding her hands over the table like a Disney princess.


“My life sucks,” Nadia laughs, taking a huge sip of her coffee and then laughing.  “So now when are you going on a date with him?”  Mariah shrugs as we all still giggle about Nadia’s previous statement.




*ditch class* I giggle at the text from Liam, hiding my phone under the desk like when I was back in high school.


*i’m not ditching class* I text back quickly and tuck the phone back under my thigh as Will eyes me skeptically.  Since our Paris trip, he has taken a certain liking to Mariah and I along with his fan club.  My phone vibrates against the seat and it takes everything in me to ignore it for a minute or so while Will rambles on about Spanish history.


I took Spanish for three years in high school and took another class last semester, I know all I need to know thank you very much.


*but im bored*  The next second I get a crying emoji and I roll my eyes at him, pathetic.

*you’re coming to the press conference with me later right?*  The press conference, I completely forgot about it. 


“Come to this press conference with me,” I nudge Mariah.  She looks at me and rolls her eyes as if I am physically torturing her by making her come to this with me. 


“I already told Harry I would be there, he has been badgering me all morning,” she rolls her eyes again but is smiling slightly.  I smile at her and she just sticks her tongue out at me, she is keeping her cool as always but I know her better.


Meeting Liam.  Harry hitting on Mariah.  This is all just one huge dream coming true.  One that started when I downloaded What Makes You Beautiful and pointed to the album cover claiming Liam as my favorite.  In my wildest dreams he would choose me too and this entire thing truly is too good to be true.


Shouldn’t these boys at least be pompous assholes?  Or have a bigger ego than Justin Bieber?  I mean, they are constantly being compared to the greats like The Beetles and Mick Jagger and yet they are so grounded.  Liam was beyond scared that I would run in the opposite direction after being attacked by fans and paparazzi but his reaction to the limelight is one of the things that keeps pulling me towards him.


After class finally ends, Mariah and I try our best to get the hell out of the room and too Liam and Harry waiting in the north parking lot.


“We were wondering if you guys wanted to grab lunch with us,” Jessica and Laura stop us as we pass their table, skillfully blocking the path to the door.  Mariah and I exchange looks because these girls have not had any interest in anything other than William Middleton since the first day of class.


“Maybe another time?” I offer because I am willing to bet I will be grabbing dinner with my secret boyfriend and then probably having desert at his place afterwards.  I think it has been long enough.  The girls give each other a look before smiling and walking out the door and out of our way.


“That was weird,” Mariah comments when we are out of the building and out of earshot.  We walk across one of the main roads and into the parking lot where the black SUV is waiting.  As we approach the car Harry opens the door and leans his head out slowly so that we know we have the right car.


“Hey gorgeous,” Harry says, smiling at Mariah.  Even I am smiling as I climb into the car after her; Harry couldn’t be more of a dork.  Since it is just Mariah, Harry and I we have a lot of room to spread out.  I climb over the middle bench seat and lay across the back seat while Harry and Mariah sit as close to each other as possible.


“Now don’t forget that I am back here!” I tease as the driver starts moving.  I close my eyes as the two of them chuckle and allow my body to relax for the ride.




“Who wrote the most for the album?” a stuffy reporter asks, his belly rolling over his belt.  If we lived in the nineteen twenties this man would be wearing one of those hats with the crooked rim, and a pinstriped suit.


The boys all exchange looks like they have before answering each question before Louis decides to take the reins.


“We all were really involved in different ways,” he says, his voice slightly horse from the last hour of questioning.  “We all had different ideas and different stories to tell so it was really a group effort.  This album was really another learning experience, for me at least, and I feel a lot more confident about writing.”


I have to hand it to the boys, and the management team, the public relations lessons really paid off.  Each question is answered perfectly.  A mix of something personal with the cookie cutter answers leaves the press with little to whine about.


“I think that’s why this album has such a different feel to it,” Liam adds to Louis’ answer.  “We are all different and I think that really comes through in our lyrics.”


The room erupts in another fit of questions before one of the boys points to a small woman in the back, jumping with her hand in the air trying to catch someone’s attention.


“Hello, Tammy Davis–Siren Magazine,” the woman stands on a chair with the help of the man next to her and thanks him before turning back to the boys.  There is a feeling in the room as we all listen in to what the woman has to say.  “Liam you worked a lot on Better Than Words, is that song about the new girl you have been spotted around town with?”


The smiles on each of the boys faces are enough for the woman to go off of, she starts scribbling in her legal pad before Liam can even begin to respond.


“While I wish I could say yes,” Liam glances at me quickly and I notice a few people follow his gaze.  “I did not yet know her yet, so no it was not.  Better Than Words is not about anyone in particular.  Louis and I worked on the song and we really just wanted to write about what it feels like when you first meet someone and how there is no way to explain those initial feelings that are changing into something more and you can’t even keep up.”


“It’s really something everyone can relate too,” Niall says, looking over at Liam.  I watch as he wiggles his eyebrows at Liam and Liam rolls his eyes.


“So it’s kind of what you are going through right now?” Tammy Davis, of Siren Magazine, asks again, pausing from writing for just one second.


I can tell that the question takes Liam off guard for a second.  He looks over at me with a smile as he answers: “I think so.”  The room erupts, and suddenly the room of professional journalists is uncontrollable.  Harry attempts to get everyone’s attention but fails miserably as question after question adds to the chaos. 


The staff begins to back everyone up as Zayn announces that would be the end of the press conference.  The boys are lead off to the side of the raised platform by three security guards and then through a back door.


Mariah, Eleanor and I take that as our cue to get out of the room as well and we try to make a quick and unnoticed escape as well. 


“Excuse me,” out in the lobby of the hotel, none other than Tammy Davis catches up to us and taps my shoulder as we try to make it to the elevators.  “Hello, sorry.  I just wanted to know if you would like to make a statement or anything?”


I glance at Mariah and she just shrugs.  I think about every ‘statement’ I have ever read written in a magazine.  I do not know what Siren is so I don’t think it is a huge, international magazine just yet.


“Why would I have a statement to make?” I go for the confused and innocent path, telling myself that I really need to talk to Liam about how to handle these types of situation.  I am not naïve, I know that our relationship is going to make headlines and my name will be attached to his and half of the fandom will love me while the other half will hate me.  The attention is inevitable and I would be ridiculous to think that we could live in this secluded bubble for the rest of our lives.


“I think you know why,” Tammy laughs.  I think I actually like her.  “Can I at least get a picture with you and your name?”


“I’m not sure I have that clearance yet, I’m so sorry! Nice to meet you Ms. Davis.”  We skip away, past the front desk and too the elevator bay, leaving poor Tammy to ponder over my response.


“Quick thinking,” Mariah laughs when the elevator doors close.  “I can see it now.  ‘Liam Payne’s mystery girl plays it cool without the clearance to disclose her identity.’ God our life is cool right now.”




“I cannot believe you have not had this yet!” Niall exclaims as he holds the door open for me.  Liam is somewhere behind us, talking animatedly with Louis about something, and Niall is pulling me to the front counter and ordering me nearly everything off the menu.


“We all share,” he informs me as he pays.  I turn around to see that everyone else has gone to find seats that are all relatively close to one another.  “You have to try everything though, you are going to love it.”


“I don’t doubt it,” I say as we go to take two empty seats.  Liam is sitting with Louis at a table set for two and makes a face when he realizes there isn’t a seat for me.


“Oh it’s okay, I didn’t want to sit with you anyway,” Niall puts his arm around my shoulders and Liam rolls his eyes while he turns back to his important conversation with Louis.  A few different servers bring us our trays of food, splitting up the food as evenly as they can amongst our three tables.


Eleanor and Mariah decide to pull their table next to ours so that Louis and Liam are the only weirdo’s sitting on their own and we all dig in.  Niall waits patiently while I take a bite of every item of food, asking between bites if I like it.


“Niall its good, she likes it, relax!” Zayn throws a chip at Niall, who impressively bends slightly to catch the chip in his mouth.


“Are you sure you two aren’t dating?” Harry teases, pointing between the two of us with a chicken tender or whatever they call it in England. Eleanor giggles, covering her mouth with her tiny hand and nearly chokes on her soda.


When we finally get through all the food I am ready for bed even though it is not even six.  I take a look at my phone and my heart drops when I see a follow notification from twitter.


@sirentammy is now following you.


When I open the app, I am not at all surprised to see the little blue verification icon with the bio reading: Chief Editor of Siren Magazine. London, UK.


“Damn her,” I chuckle.  Only a journalist could have the stamina to search through twitter and find me.  There are at least fifty accounts claiming to be Liam’s new girlfriend and yet she found me.


“What?” Niall asks, leaning over my shoulder to look at my phone.  “Who is sirentammy?”


“The Better Than Words question,” I explain.


“I have never heard of Siren Magazine,” Eleanor comments quietly.  Heard of or not, Siren Magazine is about to gain a huge following.  I just hope there is some kind of legal matter that keeps Tammy from publishing anything about me without getting official statements from…someone official.

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