End Up Here: 5SOS Series Book Three

Hailey Greene always feels like she's along for the ride in her best friend's story. To her, she's always been Bailey's sidekick. While on one of Bailey's adventures, Hailey meets the illustrious Calum Hood of 5 Seconds of Summer. When she first actually sees him, she's struck by how good looking he is, and can't seem to speak much, but as time goes on, she becomes a lot more comfortable with him, and begins to discover herself in a brand new way.

Cover by zireee

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1. One.

Imagine you’re watching one of those old television daytime sitcoms where the main character is in the middle of running away from something, in an awkward situation, or doing something entirely mundane. The frame freezes, the record scratch plays, and you hear the voiceover saying “Yup, that’s me. I bet you’re wondering how I ended up here.”

Well, that’s basically the position that I’m in right now.

Picture this: a pretty blonde girl stands smiling a triumphant smile. Her short stature is made much larger by her projecting confidence. Her mouth is open, as though she had already planned out what she was planning to say to the two boys in front of her. In front of her is the gorgeous front man for the world-famous band, 5 Second of Summer. His eyebrows are up, he’s already loudly expressed his displeasure at this girl. Beside him, his friend and fellow band member, Calum Hood is bent down, reaching out to help a girl. Unlike his friend, Calum’s face shows more concern, as if this girl might be hurt. She’s taller and darker than her blonde best friend. Along with generally more awkward (both in movement and in speaking) and plainer. She had just thrown herself through the same window that her best friend had. But while Bailey had gracefully slid in, I more fell in with a thud. That’s right, my best friend and I are in a freeze frame moment with two of the members of 5 Seconds of Summer, Bailey’s favorite band. I bet you’re wondering how I ended up here, huh?

Like most stories that I end up telling, this one all started with Bailey.

I met Bailey when I moved to Jackson in the third grade. Even then, she was outspoken, confident, and pretty. Back then, I wasn’t any taller than her at all. Bailey had always been used to being the center of attention. Her rich parents had basically spoiled her (an only child) for her whole life. Kids in class, even back then, knew that Bailey was a really pretty girl, so they also looked at her like she was the sun. Until I moved into the school district.

My dad had, for all of my life that I could remember, been a single parent to me and my two siblings, Colton and Jack, AKA the twins. He didn’t have a super great job, and we’d never been on the verge of going homeless or hungry, but the pay he had always gotten wasn’t too great. That is, until he got a job offer to teach at Dalton Academy. It’s a private school in a small area that doesn’t have a lot of students. My brothers and I got in on discounted admission because of my dad’s new position. On my first day of class, everyone wanted to be my friend. I was new and quiet, which even to kids made me somewhat mysterious. Bailey didn’t much like that. I remember now that she had walked right up to me at lunch, a girl on either side of her, and said, “Is your name really Hailey?”

I’d nodded, “Why would Ms. Higgins lie about my name?”

I remember that Bailey had smiled at that. She’d later tell me that she liked that I didn’t take her crap the first day that we met. I don’t remember seeing her hang out with either of those other girls again, because from that point on, Bailey stayed right beside me.

Bailey and I remained best friends throughout all of school. We’d even chosen to go to the same local branch university and majored in the same thing: Communications. After graduating college, we both picked up jobs at a start-up company in the suburb area outside of our smaller town and got a two-bedroom apartment together in said suburb community.

One of the important things to this story is about Bailey. After all, like I said, she’s the reason that any of this story happened in the first place. In any other story, she’d be the main character, and I’d be just along for the ride. The thing about people like Bailey (as in, good looking and confident) is that they can all get away with doing or liking uncool things and no one makes fun of them for it. Bailey’s poison had always been boybands. In middle school she had been in love with Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers. In high school, she pined after Harry Styles from One Direction. And in college, her new love interest was the drummer in 5 Seconds of Summer, Ashton Irwin. Turns out (as a look at any of her boyfriends would tell you), that Bailey has a ridiculous sweet spot for boys with curly hair. So, Bailey had always been out and open about her love for 5 Seconds of Summer, which is why, for her graduation present, her parents bought her two front row tickets and back stage passes for meet and greet with the band. I’d originally rolled my eyes at this because my dad hadn’t even thought that I deserved a graduation present. He had been too busy trying to finish out the twins’ senior year of high school in one piece. I felt a little less annoyed when I realized that Bailey, naturally, would be taking me with her to the concert. I wasn’t a die-hard fan of 5 Seconds of Summer, but Bailey listened to enough of their music in the apartment, car, wherever, that I knew most of their songs and didn’t hate all of them. Besides knowing who Ashton is (again, he’s “the love of her life”) and that we had seen them once before when they toured with One Direction, I didn’t know much about the band.

“Are you so excited for the concert tonight?” Bailey asks me, for what is probably the eightieth time just while we’re sitting at dinner. Bailey and I go to a lot of concerts because she is so in love with music. I’ve even gotten her to come to a few smaller, less known bands with me, though she complained that we didn’t get to meet them afterwards. With every artist that we’ve seen that her parents have bought tickets for, we’ve always gotten to meet them. Except for One Direction, which was a big letdown to both of us, because even I can’t deny that Harry Styles is gorgeous.

“Oh yeah I’m really excited that we’re going to see One Direction again,” I joke. She tilts her head in a sort of annoyed way with me. Between the two of us, I’m the one constantly making witty remarks. It’s a quality that is sometimes good, especially around guys because they tend to think that it makes me funny. But, it also has always meant that girls generally hate me because they don’t understand me. Bailey always says that other girls are just jealous of how gorgeous I am, but we both know that that has to be her trying to make me feel better, because Bailey is the most gorgeous person I’ve ever met, and everyone wants to be friends with her.

Instead of replying to me, she says, “I hope that the waiter brings our check soon. We’ve got like five minutes before we have to leave.” I want to point out to her that there is one of those small kiosk things on our table, but Bailey is someone who has always hated technology, and claims she can’t figure it out. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that she just has so much money, I’m pretty sure that she’d always carry cash because of how “confusing” ATMs are to her. This is funny to me, because literally eighty percent of her classes in college were dealing with some sort of software, and Bailey made excellent grades. I think she just hates technology. She truly defies the beliefs of baby boomers everywhere.

Ten minutes later, we’re back on the highway, heading to Pittsburgh for the concert. Despite the fact that we’re going to see them live tonight, Bailey insists on playing their music the entire way to the venue, just like she does with every other concert. I’ve always found it a little bit annoying, so I can’t help but feel relieved when she pulls into the parking garage.

We get into the venue and immediately go to get beer. My favorite thing about Bailey always driving everywhere is that I typically can get pretty trashed when we go places. My least favorite thing is that places like this (a concert) typically only serve beer, which sucks because I don’t really like beer. My choice of liver destruction is wine.

“Can I get an IC Mango Light?” I ask the man behind the counter. He looks about my age and is pretty cute.

He smiles and brings it to me. I grab out my wallet, but he stops me. “This one is on the house, gorgeous. So long as you promise to come back for another one.”

I smirk. Before I can answer, the guy in line behind me says, “Come on, stop flirting. Can’t make it through this damn show without a drink.” When I turn to look at him, I notice his daughter standing beside him, her face red from embarrassment.

“I’ll think about coming back,” I say, offhand to the guy behind the counter. I see the twinkle in his eyes as he thinks I’m playing hard to get. Which, isn’t too surprising. My default mode seems to be unimpressed (outwardly) and my voice is low and flat, so I often sound like I’m not interested in anything. Boys, for some odd reason, like that. Bailey always tells me that she wishes she could be more mysterious like me, but I don’t think that that’s true. Bailey thrives off of her extravert ways. Plus, with me, boys are only ever interested in the chase. As soon as they find out that they’ve piqued my interest, they’re done. Which is fine by me, since I’ve always been to scared to commit to anything real.

“Took you long enough, Hails,” Bailey says (shouts) to me when I’ve finally taken my seat. Another thing about Bailey is that she’s perpetually late. Usually, for concerts, we arrive around the time that the opening act is just starting. Bailey generally doesn’t care if we miss the opening act, but I do, since one of my favorite activities is listening to new music. It’s basically the only aspect of my life in which I am adventurous.

“Sorry, the guy getting my beer was flirting.”

This gets her attention. “Ooh, was he cute?”

I nod and smile. “Very.”

“Did you get his number?”

I shake my head. “He told me that this beer is free as long as I come back for another.”

“I’m actually not sure if you’ll go back or not. I’m unsure if your want to get drunk is higher than your fear of cute boys.”

I roll my eyes and don’t respond. Clearly, I’m not afraid of cute boys. I sip my beer slowly, mostly because the walk to the concessions area is really long and the fact that I have the bladder of a squirrel. I’m about to get up and get another one when the main act comes on. I watch as they walk out and realize that the only one I know is the drummer, because of Bailey’s obsession. I stand with the rest of the crowd, watching as the four of them make their way onto the stage. First Ashton, then a boy with a guitar walks to the right side of the stage, then the front man, and then, as if the stars themselves had set this up, the most handsome person I’ve ever seen walks almost directly in front of me and Bailey.

“Whoa,” I say, suddenly feeling dazed and Bailey looks over at me, her eyebrows lifted in question. “Who is this in front of us?”

She rolls her eyes at me, but I simply shrug. “I’ve told you about him a million times, Hails. That’s Calum. He plays the bass, obvi.”

“Good god, that boy is gorgeous.”

 

After the concert, I’m feeling slightly buzzed. I had to pee about fifteen minutes into the band’s set and decided to grab another beer while out there. The boy at the counter mentioned that he knew I’d come back and asked for my number. I gave him a fake one, only because he never even asked for my name, and hurried back to my seat to look at Calum once again.

I’m more excited than usual to go to the meet and greet, but I’m careful not to show this to Bailey. I don’t want her to think that I’m geeking out over a boyband (“they’re a real band, Hails,” I can hear her say in my head) and expect me to obsess with her all of the time. When we get backstage, I immediately notice that Bailey and I are way older than any of the other girls back here. Unless, of course, we’re counting the moms that are back here, because there are a lot of moms. Secondly, I notice that I can see Calum Hood’s face a lot better now and realize that I am completely smitten.

“Okay, Hails, act cool. I’m about to meet Ashton. Do you think I might be able to sleep with him?”

I laugh, but my voice sounds weird. Immediately, scenarios of me being stuck in Pittsburgh, alone without Bailey run through my mind. Ashton, of course, would be a fool to not want to sleep with my best friend. She’s fun, gorgeous, and not the clingy type at all, which seems to be exactly who someone like Ashton Irwin might want. When it’s out turn to go and meet the boys, I can’t help but notice that their gazes all linger on Bailey for slightly longer than they should. I can’t bring myself to look Calum in the face, but I assume he’s the same way.

“Evening loves,” the long-haired front man says to us. “Did you enjoy the show?”

Bailey nods excitedly. “Oh yeah, we had great seats.”

I silently agree as I finally bring myself to look at Calum again. His face is practically begging me to stare at it. I kind of jump when I notice that his full attention is on me. “And you?”

“Oh, uh, yeah. Great seats.” I mentally facepalm as I note that my voice sounds higher than normal. Is this the feeling you get from actually being attracted to someone? God, I never want for it to happen again.

“Where were you at?”

“Right in front of you,” I say, shrugging, feeling the tightness in my throat finally begin to ease. He smiles at me, now. A weird kind of smile that makes me think that maybe he had known that I was seated right in front of him. Well, probably recognized that Bailey was right in front of him the whole show.

Someone to the left of me clears their throat and I realize that Calum and I had been staring at each other for a weirdly long time. “Hate to move this along ladies, but we do still have a few more fans waiting to meet and greet, so we can go ahead and take our pictures now.” I recognize this as Ashton talking, and note that he looks generally uncomfortable with Bailey so closely touching him. Yikes.

She, however, doesn’t seem to notice. “That sounds perfect! I’d love one alone with you,” she purrs in a quiet voice.

We all take a few pictures together. I try to focus on looking nice in them so that I can post them to my Instagram later, but I can’t seem to center my attention anywhere but the burning warmth on my lower back where Calum Hood’s hand is placed. When we’re done, I thank them hurriedly for putting on a great show and manage to steer Bailey away from the group before any of them can respond. Though, I did quietly hear Ashton say, “Thank god.” when we left, which made my cheeks burn red with embarrassment.

“Okay, I need to try harder,” Bailey says when we’re far enough away from the group.

I shake my head slightly. “What are you talking about? Odds are we’ll never see them again.” Well, I’ll see Calum’s face all night on my computer screen as I research every known fact about him that is out there.

“Oh, no. While I was putting the moves on Ashton and Calum was drooling over you, I overheard Luke and Michael talking about their sort of after party that’s happening tonight. And you and I, my friend, are going to crash it.”

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