Cats and Carrots (A One Direction Love Story)
This is a group story by me, KeadyKi, and my amazingly talented friend ElMundoEstaLoco. She knows relatively little about 1D and I'm a huge fan.
This story is told from the POVs of twin sisters, Hazel and Delilah. Hazel hates 1D but Delilah's a directioner. What happens to them is totally amazayn!
Rate and comment! :)
Just Take Me Home Already
After dancing to and from the bathroom and the bedroom for a few moments, collecting herself, Delilah tosses me a few scraps of clothing and busies herself with pulling tubes and bottles of makeup out of her bag. "Go put those on and let me seeâ€”goodness knows the last time I've actually seen your legs!"
Humming the tune to "Popular" from the Wicked soundtrack, I turn around and start to pull on the clothes she's given me when I realize that all I have is a pair of shorts and a thin tank top with spaghetti straps, which I can tell from looking at it will be too small.
"Are these supposed to be socks?" I ask, and she heaves an overdramatic sigh.
"No, but if they absolutely don't workâ€”like if you haven't shaved your legs and we don't have time for you to do thatâ€”then I'll get you a skirt or something." I bite my cheek.
"And whatâ€”is shaving some part of a social contract now? Is it written somewhere that girls can't where short-shorts without shaving, so as not to offend the eyes of others? It wouldn't kill anyone if I didn't shave; there's no hygienic value to doing it or not doing it. Honestly, if men don't shave, there's no logistical reasonâ€”"
Her face red as a beet, Delilah hissed, "Hazel Pierce, do NOT tell me you are participating in No-shave November during January! Especially not THIS January!"
Rolling my eyes, I retort, "No-shave November is a cancer awareness idea, for one thingâ€”"
"It doesn't matter! Whatever, we can fix this, we'll make time," she mutters to herself, and I go back to trying on her clothes. The pair of white shorts, not even as long as my wrist to my finger, shows more leg than I've allowed in public sinceâ€”well, probably since I was an infant. The tank-top is skin-tight, with a design that kind of looks like outer space in purple and greenâ€”it rides up my stomach when I move, and every few seconds I subconsciously tug it down. Next, I wonder what she'll do to me in terms of shoes.
When I turn around, Delilah looks me up and down, deeming me presentable with a single nod. "Now sit. I don't want to put too much makeup on, because you'll probably rub your face or something, but you do need some."
"What are you gonna wear?" I ask, leaning back in the kitchen chair and closing my eyes as she washes my face off with a wash cloth.
"Oh, never fear. I have something special in mind for me, just wait," she says with a wink, then bursts into giggles.
It turns out "special" meant a partially unbuttoned, transparent blouse with a one hundred percent visible hot pink bra underneath, with a sparkly purple skirt just as short as my shorts. As for shoes, I have flats, and she's in the same heels she could barely stand in when she first met One Direction. I ask her how she's planning to dance.
"Or are you just going to pass off all the wobbling and tripping as dancing? I'm sure that in their inebriated state, no one will tell the difference," I smirk.
"Very funny," she laughs, obviously too nervous to respond as irritably as usual. Flipping her curled, shiny blonde hair out of her lightly makeup-ed face, she purses her lips and says, "Are you ready?"
"No," I respond automatically, biting my cheek. Out of habit, I touch my now bouncing, wavy hair, to which Delilah has imbued an almost sparkling quality, and correct myself: "Sure. Let's get this over with."
It's ten past nine (not as "fashionably late" as Delilah would like) as we make our way down the hall to where the boys are already outside room twenty-eight, each in various states of fanciful dress. I find myself wondering vaguely how many clothes they each have, and if they would wear the same things clubbing as they do onstageâ€”but then again, because (like Harry said) their fan base consists of mostly twelve-year-old girls, probably not.
"You look nice," Liam states, nodding at me. The rest of the guysâ€”except maybe Louis, who is obviously captivated by my sister, or Harry, who looks like he is attempting to shrink into the backgroundâ€”are staring at me, amazed at my transformation, so I shift my gaze uncomfortably to the floor, fingering the hem of my small tank-top. This is a bad idea. Clubbing is Delilah's thing. I could've just stayed behind. I should have just stayed behindâ€”
"So do you," Louis remarks to my sister, who blushes ferociously.
"What, in this? I feel like I've just stepped out of bed," she simmers, batting her eyelashes. I could vomit. Before Louis can flirt back, Zayn (who I don't think I've heard speak this entire trip) interrupts, "We have to get going; we don't want to be out too late."
"Right, the concert's tomorrow night, we need to get at least some sleep," Liam agrees. "Let's go."
Louis and Delilah keep sharing looks and giggling as we all squeeze into the elevator, and I get the feeling that tonight will be more hellish with them being all cutesy.
"So, Hazel, have you ever been clubbing before?" Liam asks once we step off the elevator and head towards the parking garage. Blood rushes to my face when I realize that I technically lied earlier, and of course nobody bought it.
"Uh...no," I admit, shivering in the frigid garage. January. Paris. Sleeveless. Bad idea.
Niall grins at meâ€”I decide that he's not bad; he's cute, funny, cheeky, and has been the only one so far not to take any of my embarrassing moments too seriously. "Don't worry 'bout it; a club's not really a place where experience matters." I grin back (his smile's a little contagious), but the thought makes me feel a little queasy.
A stretch limo arrives to drive us. I know I shouldn't be shocked, but...a stretch limo. We're going clubbing. At my bemused expression, Liam hurriedly explains that they have other cars and, in fact, they are available on call, but with the limo, their studio knows where they are and can keep them out of trouble. The bodyguard who let me in at the signing back when Delilah fainted is sitting up front next to the driver, I noticeâ€”my stomach churns angrily, and I bite down hard on both cheeks to fight back the nasty feeling.
"Stop that. It makes you look sick," Delilah snaps under her breath, sliding gracefully into the limo next to Louis. Flopping myself into the car after her, I do the mature thing; I stick my tongue out. Harry sits down next to me, the closest he's dared come since the bus ride to the L'AOC, and I can tell he's biting back a smile; what, is my tongue blue?
"If we can convince the DJ, I dare Zayn to sing one of our songsâ€”Hazel'll back me up, right?" Niall's mocking voice breaks me out of thought.
"No, I'm not singingâ€”I'm going to rest my vocal chords," Zayn shoots back haughtily, and Louis pipes up, "We'll sing a song together and dedicate it to the ladies!"
"Ladies! What song should they sing?" Niall asks, cackling.
I narrow my eyes, but Delilah squeals, "Ooh! Let me think!" and starts mumbling song titles to herself.
"What about 'Little Things'?" Harry suggests quietly.
"Perfect!" Louis bellows. "Now you have to sing with us!" Harry mumbles something that sounds like 'resting my voice'. "Oh, you're full of it!" And he reaches around Delilah and me to wrestle Harry into a choke-hold. Zayn, who is next to Louis, grabs them both from behind and musses their hair, while Niallâ€”next to Harryâ€”is trying to find where Harry is ticklish.
It's so strange, being around a group of boys who act so much like a familyâ€”Delilah and I have only ever had each other, and she's obviously never been anything like a brother to me. They banter and bicker and laugh and joke and tease one another for the rest of the ride, and there's not a single moment when I'm not being squeezed close next to someone elseâ€”either Delilah or Harryâ€”but not a single moment feels uncomfortable. It's doubtful they see me as a real girl like Delilah is, anyway; God knows Cameron didn't for the longest time....
When the limo pulls up to the side of the club, Delilah (who is still quivering about Harry's suggestion that they dedicate the song "Little Things" to us) exits with her hand on Louis's arm, something at which Niall wolf-whistles. Harry offers me a hand out, but I shake my head; my shoes are functional, at best, but I don't need help out of a stretch limo that's not even a foot from the ground.
Entering the club is like stepping into an alternate reality in which all senses are heightened; the first thing I notice is everything. The lights are blaring in patterns fit to cause seizures: bright, spasmodic, and colorful. Despite that, I can hardly seeâ€”bodies are packed tightly to one another, throbbing, bouncing, writhing, and all-out pumping themselves to the music, but the most you can see of them in the random lighting is a silhouette unless you're close. It's deafeningly loud, with the bass turned up higher than the vocals, which are indistinguishable; I feel that if you could see sound waves, they'd be thick and heavy in the air here, and even so I can feel the bass pumping through every inch of my body like a second, more compelling heartbeat. I almost want to dance; I don't know how to dance.
The proximity here is uncomfortable; there's no more room inside than there was in the limo, except here the air is stale, smelling of alcohol, sweat, and an intoxicating mixture of sweet women's perfume. I'm biting my cheek hard, and in the back of my throat I taste blood, mixing in with the other confusing, overwhelming sensations.
Immediately, Delilah and Louis are on the dance floor, and after a moment I lose sight of themâ€”Delilah is trying to impress him with some of her sexiest moves, and I'm almost glad to have lost them. Liam and Niall are the next to disappear; wading through the crowd, dancing to the musicâ€”"dancing" here is mostly just jumping up and down as well as you can without landing on your neighbor's toesâ€”they find partners and vanish.
I turn to Harry and Zayn, who looks just as uncomfortable as I feel, and shout, "What are we supposed to do here?" but my voice is drowned out by the music. Fabulous.
Harry is into the music, bobbing his head up and down and drumming his fingers along his hip, but somehow he seems to have understood what I said, even if he can't hear me. He and Zayn steer me to the bar, which is almost completely dark and crowded. Jamming ourselves between people in order to get a place at the bar, Harry takes up a conversation with a woman who evidently does not speak English and Zayn orders something to drink.
"What do you want?" he asks me, yelling over the music. So much for preserving his vocal cords.
"I'm underage," I shout back, my own voice a little hoarse. This sucks, I decide, misery washing over me. I'm in a Parisian club with my stupid twin sister who is probably going to find a way to come home alone with a member of her favorite band tonight, one of the guys next to me is about to get drunk, the other is flirting with someone way older than him, and the only people I'm actually fond of have disappeared. I should have stayed home; senior year is way more important than One Directionâ€”how am I going to explain that this is why I want my diploma late?
Zayn, blissfully unaware of my internal self-loathing, leans in closeâ€”to shout in my ear unheard by anyone else?â€”saying, "They're pretty lenient, and besides, you look a lot older." A warm flush creeps into my cheeks.
"Really, I just want some water," I respond, hoping my voice is loud enough to hide the tremor I can feel in it. Let's revise: this sucks, I'm in a Parisian club with a dumb twin sister who's in love with One Direction, my two closest chaperones are busy doing things I find undesirable, the two other chaperones I liked have vanished, I have no idea if I can graduate when I skipped most of senior year to see a band I don't like in Paris, and I'm dressed like I'm at least twenty-one. In a club. In Paris. And French is my worst subject.
A glass of amazingly clear liquid arrives thankfully into my hands, and I take a quick gulp, expecting the water to soothe my throat and my nerves (maybe I could use it as an excuse to escapeâ€”say I need to use the bathroom or something). However, it burns going down, and I can feel the course of every drop of it like a warm, liquid fire down my esophagus. I gag, thinking it must have gone down the wrong pipe, and take another gulp; the second sip is easier, the warmth spreading to my fingers and toes, leaving me feeling tingly. I take another sip, then two more.
Suddenly the glass is empty, and then I have another oneâ€”I don't know who gave it to me, but I assume it was one of the boys. The colors and lights in the club are swirling and spiking even more vibrantly, and the dancing people don't look so scaryâ€”they're pulsing, they're puppets to the music; happy forms that come alive only at night. It's almost mystical. The music pulses through me, too, and I think about how I could be a puppet, so I start to sway....
"Hazel!" yells a voice in my ear. I turn to look; Harry has abandoned the older French woman. Shame, she looked nice. "What are you drinking?"
I look down at my drink, and then back up at himâ€”except not really up at himâ€”he's not that much taller than me, is he? His hair is much curlier than mine, though. His lips are fuller. He has a bigger nose than I do. And his eyes are brighterâ€”are blue or green, I can't tell, the lighting is really awful! Why would they have a room with so many people like this and light it so poorly? I can't see anyone's faces! "It's just water Zayn gave me." I smile and hold it up to him. "It tastes good, d'ya want some?"
He takes the glass from me and takes a small sipâ€”ew, from the same place I sipped!â€”and, wrinkling his nose, says, "Hazel, this is vodka, not water. How much have you had?"
Vodka. That's Russian, right? Right, I'm right, I think dazedly. "A few. Ummm, maybe three...." Three what? What is three? I start to wonder, but then I take a step forward and trip into the French woman he was just talking to. "Whoops! Is this your girlfriend?"
"Hazel, you ought to go back to the hotel before something bad happens," Harry suggests with his eyebrows turned down. He looks kind of sad that way. I hope he's not talking to meâ€”I hope I'm not making his eyebrows do that.
"I'm not taking the limo!" I announce, suddenly struck by brilliance. "If I gotta go...then I'll walk, dammit! There's no flipping reason...why I gotta take a huge stretch limo! Killing the environment! We're causing the global warming, and Earth's magnetic field decay, or whatever."
"Yeah, you've gotta go," Harry shouts, grabbing me by the elbow. I don't object, because his hand is warm, like water. No, like vodka, vodka is Russian and warm, I correct myself. I'm right.
When we walk, Harry keeps his hand on my elbow, and I keep tripping into people so I have to stop and apologizeâ€”but it's so funny, 'cause I'm being so clumsy, but Harry wants to keep walking so we push through the puppet-crowd, and I try to dance like them, but all the colors swirl around and my head starts to throb with the music instead of feeling good. Soon we're outside, waiting for a car Harry calls, and the night air smells so good and clear and French, so I start talking in French and Harry tells me that I ought to stop because people are staring and God what a lightweight I am. That makes me laugh. I am not quite sure what a lightweight is, but I do remember thinking about it when I get into the car, and then I remember all of the colors of Paris swimming by in the windows until I pass out.
"Hazel, love, you've gotta wake up, or do you really expect me to carry you all the way up to your roomâ€”" Harry's voice wakes me, and I stumble obediently along as he pulls me out of the car and we ride up the elevator to room 22. The only thought I have is, wow, I really need some more water, but when Harry guides me into my bedroom, I decide it can wait.
I sit down on the fluffy, white down comforters and Harry asks, "Will you be alright here until morning? You won't try to leave the room, will you?" For some reason this makes me giggle. This room is so comfortable; why would I leave?
"Why wouldn't I be okay?" I ask, though my voice doesn't sound like my thoughts do, and I bite back more giggles. Harry sighs and sits down next to me.
"You're really drunk, Hazel. Someone slipped you vodka and you thought it was water. You need to stay here and sleep it off." The room's too dark in here, too, and the lights from the club keep swirling into my vision, so I still can't tell what color his eyes are.
"Are you staying too?" I ask instead, because I just know that if he stays, I can find out what color his eyes are. It's very important, for some reason. Maybe if I lean my face closer to his, I can find out....
"What?" And then I kiss him. It was very important that I do it, and when I do, I feel warm, like I am drinking more vodkaâ€”except I know I won't be any drunker once I'm done. So I kiss him more, and I weave a hand through his hair because the curls feel soft, and, wow, is he kissing me backâ€”
No, he's not; he pushes me off and jumps off the bed, and his eyebrows do the sad thing again. "Hazel, I am not kissing you when you're drunk. Okay? You don't really mean to kiss me, and you'll be angry about it when you're sober. Just...just sleep it off, I'll, um...I'll be in the living room, okay?" And then he leaves. Darn. I didn't think I was that bad of a kisser, but then again, I've never kissed anybody before....
I crawl farther up the mattress and curl the white sheets around me, thinking about Harry's eyebrows and lips and warm water and the sad-happy puppet-dancers and Delilah and Louis and the older French woman and eventually I fall asleep after dissolving into a mess of giggles.