It was our last night in London before we did a stint in the States, and of course we had to finish out with a bang.
Not like that, you perverts. We were just partying.
And okay, judging by the corner that Harry had disappeared off to with some nameless girl, maybe it was like that for 1/6 of us.
“SMH,” I told Liam, who just snickered and shook his head at me. We were technically at an event called the Young Brits Gala (though I wasn’t British, I was grandfathered in), but once the alcohol had been introduced, it had somehow turned into an all-out rager.
“You can’t blame him,” Liam reasoned. “He did just go through a break-up.”
This was true. Harry had been dating a sweet, older lady named Maude who we had met while doing a charity performance at a Bingo Hall a few months ago. The two were immediately taken with each other, and it had been relatively sweet, despite the couples fifty-year age difference. But just the other week, the 67 year old had broken up with Harry because he just couldn’t empathize with all her health problems.
Harry had tried to act like he was totally unfazed by this, but all of us could tell that it was really bothering him. And his behavior tonight just confirmed that, though granted, he was usually a manwhore in general. It was something I was working on with him.
“Well, I at least hope that chick isn’t old enough to be his grandmother,” I said with a small snicker, getting a smirk out of Liam.
“Who said it was a chick? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Louis,” he joked and now that he mentioned it, Louis was nowhere to be found as I did a quick scan of the area. Liam and I seemed to have the exact same thought at the same time as we met each other’s eyes, waggled our eyebrows, then burst out laughing.
“Larry Stylinson forever!” I chanted loudly, but it was drowned out by the general British cacophony that was surrounding us. Still amused, Liam just shook his head...then I watched as his face dropped suddenly.
“One of your ex’s approaching at 10 o’clock,” he muttered under his breath.
I looked to what “10 o’clock” actually would be, and the only person I saw was the British kid who did the voice of Ferb from “Phineas and Ferb” (also known as the adorable child from Love Actually who played Liam Neeson’s son, but perhaps that’s a movie before your time). I gave Liam a confused look to get a sheepish one in return.
“Sorry. I said ’10 o’clock’ to sound cool. She’s actually right behind you. And approaching real fast, so - “
“You suck at giving me a sufficient warning,” I muttered with a grimace as Liam shot me a genuinely apologetic look. Bracing myself, I plastered a smile and turned on my heels to face what would surely be an incredibly awkward conversation.
Before I reveal the secret identity of this ex, here’s a little bit of exposition. Being in a boy band came with magical powers. At least, that’s what all of us in the business liked to joke; what else could explain all the money people felt compelled to spend on sugary (but so delicious) pop music? Or the weird spell teenagers all over the world seemed to fall prey to the second any of us opened our mouths? The only explanation was magic powers.
I joked that Harry’s power was his seductive hair whereas Zayn’s talent was the ability to make terrible tattoos look somehow non-douchey. My power - something I’m not sure I would have had I not been in a boy band - was the incredibly handy ability to turn girls gay.
Of course like with most magical spells, it seemed to have an expiration date and would only last for a limited time, and without fail, I’d eventually end up getting dumped for a boy (that is, if I chose to pursue a relationship with whatever girl had been affected). The boys always tried to get me to use my abilities for evil and just hook-up to avoid the heartbreak, but I had to be the respectable one in the group.
Plus Harry did enough hooking up to last for all of us by far.
(Just to clarify: I’m not Hermione Granger - these aren’t actual magic powers we possess. Just uncanny abilities in how we influence those around us that probably do correlate with our boy band status).
Anyway. Other than the slew of angry “fan letters” I got from disgruntled moms complaining that I had turned their daughters gay (not my fault that I’m so good-looking, hilarious and charming, but I would always write back to assure them that I was probably just the exception and their daughters would be back to dating tools in no time), I did enjoy the fruits of my power, plus all the opportunities my fame gave me to use it.
And one result of said power was standing in front of me.
Looking so cute, too. I gave Liam - who had stepped up in line with me, his arms crossed fiercely across his chest - an exasperate look, which he returned sympathetically.
“Hey Cher,” I finally said, finding it much easier to shoot her a sincere smile, despite my internal turmoil. Her super short shorts probably helped with that...I mean, what?
(But, like, girl got legs, ya know?)
“I was hoping One Direction would be here,” she said with a little grin; I could never tell if her tone was flirtatious, though. Her accent was too Cockney that any seduction just got lost in...all of that. But I found the Cockney oddly endearing, so I just smiled brighter, ignoring the warning look that Liam was shooting me.
“All of One Direction?” I couldn’t help but ask slyly. “Or perhaps there was a particular member you were hoping to see?”
Biting her lip, she shrugged coyly. Yes, she might have dumped me for a boy, but it still seemed that ultimately, my powers were still working just fine. So I gave a little chuckle, which she returned as we made direct eye contact briefly...then looked away.
The one red bull and vodka I had had earlier was making me think that I wanted to make her reconsider her previous decision to break up with me.
My voice of reason (a.k.a. Liam Payne) clearly did not think that was a good idea as he tugged on my arm.
“Well, it was nice seeing you, Cher, but we must be going,” Liam said tensely, practically beginning to drag me away from my ex - dang those boys and their strength. I managed to remain rooted to my spot as Cher’s voice caught my attention.
“I like your tank.”
I wrestled out of Liam’s grip, ignoring his exasperate sigh.
I was wearing an ironic tank top (so hipster of me) that read “One Direction Is My Lover” that some girl on Etsy had been selling and I couldn’t resist buying. I smirked at Cher’s amused look, but shrugged humbly.
“A little incestuous, I know, but I couldn’t resist.” Then I frowned. “Polygamous, too. Oh well.”
Cher laughed, “Well. Looks cute on you.”
“Isn’t that Niall’s tank top?” Liam interjected, and I’m not sure if he was trying to kill the mood or if that was a genuine question; Niall and I did tend to wear the same tank tops, though mine were smaller and more fitted.
“No, Niall has that one that says Niall&Zayn&Liam&Harry&Louis&Chanel,” I corrected, before grinning at the Cher, who was chuckling. “What? So Niall and I occasionally share a wardrobe. He thinks that since it looks good on me that it’ll look good on him. And he’s wrong.”
“I don’t know...” Cher drawled. “Niall’s cute...”
I gave her an exaggerated aghast look, which succeeded in getting a cute giggle out of her.
“I’m so much cuter, though.”
“You are,” she confirmed in a near serious tone that had the heat quickly rushing to my cheeks.
“Yeah, well, I’m not the only cute one here,” I said, giving her a pointed look as I raised an eyebrow, satisfied when she got a little bashful herself (something uncharacteristic of her that only I seemed to be able to accomplish). “We should totally catch up.”
“Yeah, we should!” Liam interjected loudly, and I had no idea why he was even still standing there. “How’s your fiance doing, Cher?”
I did not hesitate in shooting Liam the dirtiest glare I could muster as Cher quickly became very awkward as she was suddenly no longer looking at me.
“Oh, uh, he’s fine,” Cher said, taking a step away from me and casting a glance around. “He couldn’t make it out tonight.”
“Oh, that’s a shame,” Liam continued, shaking his head. “I bet he really misses you.”
“Oh, he sees you all the time,” I quickly interjected, hoping to save this conversation from going down. “Some of us haven’t seen you in forever.”
Cher managed a small smile, but I could tell that the moment and opportunity had been lost.
“I know,” she admitted quietly, becoming recovering with a forced, cheery demeanor. “it was good chatting with you, Chanel. Liam. I’ll see you around.”
And before I could get another word, I was watching Cher retreat. Not that that view was entirely bad (like I said - legs), but I’d rather be interacting with her face at the moment.
With a huff, I turned towards a smug and entirely unapologetic Liam.
“Your mum should wash your mouth out with soap!” I whisper-yelled. “For dropping the f-bomb like that!”
“You mean fiance?” he asked innocently, wincing when I landed a punch on his shoulder. “Hey! I was trying to help you out here!”
“You were cockblocking! Figuratively, of course, for obvious reason. Because I wasn’t planning on sleeping with her, of course. And I don’t have a, well, you know. But if I did - you’d be a total cockblock!”
“No, I was keeping you from potentially making out with Cher, which would of course make her a cheater but also just leave you heartbroken when the next day she was back to her fiance,” Liam explained calmly. “You’re usually smarter than this, Chanel.”
“But, but - “ I started with a girlish whine, glad that I was able to keep some of my femininity with all the time I spent with boys, “she looks so cute tonight, Liam! And her tattoos, Liam! Her tattoos!”
He scoffed, though I could tell he was a little amused by my pouting.
“I have tattoos.”
“But you don’t have boobs.”
“Touche.” he sighed. “Look, deep down, I know you know you would’ve regretted it had things gone any farther. I know you think it was just flirting, but with your history, something else could’ve happened. That wouldn’t have been any good.”
I let out a sigh, knowing that he was right. After all, I was known as the “traditional”, monogamous one in the group. I didn’t even like kissing unless I was in a committed relationship, and I certainly was not the one to get with someone who had a boyfriend or girlfriend.
“I just miss her, I guess,” I admitted, shooting Liam a pitiful look. He wasted no time in slinging an arm around my shoulder and bringing me in for a quick, but firm hug. “You remember how many times I listened to 'Want U Back' last month. Damn that song for not only being ridiculously catchy, but speaking exactly to the situation.”
“I thought you were over her?”
I shrugged, “I was until I saw her again. You know how it is.”
Liam nodded, “I know. Just try to avoid her. In the meantime, let me make it up to you for ‘cockblocking’ and get you another drink. Red bull and vodka?”
I grinned at him as he started to retreat towards the bar.
“You know me so well, LP.”
He shot me a sweet smile before disappearing into the crowd, and I let out a sigh. I was appreciative of Liam for looking out for me in that mature way that only he was able to, but I did wish I had more of a chance to talk with Cher. Not even flirtatiously - it would’ve just been nice to catch up with her.
Though really I should’ve been bothered by the fact that though she had dumped me and was currently engaged, she had been particularly flirtatious. I guess it went back to those magical powers of mine. It was my gift, it was my curse.
Interrupting my thoughts of the lyrics and grunts of “Want U Back” as well a snippets of memories of all the things she and I had done first was the vibration of my iPhone coming from the back pocket of my skinny jeans. Part of me was hoping it was a text from Cher.
It wasn’t. I did smile when I saw who it was from, though.
Demi Lovato Skype??
Demi was one of my closest friends, and I hadn’t seen her in weeks since I’d been overseas. Every so often we’d tried to video chat, but our conflicting schedules made it very hard - as it was now.
Me Can’t :( Buttttt I’m back in LA tomorrow!!
Demi YAY! I better be your first stop!
Me Not unless you’ve moved into an In ‘n Out lol
Demi lol bitch.
Me Yeah, but I’m the baddest one (that’s a good thing, right?)
Demi lol yeah but no one said you were a bad bitch
Me :( you’re killing me, Lovato
Demi aww you poor thing lol what are you doing?
I was so immersed in my text messages with Demi that I didn’t notice Liam appear with my drink until he spoke up.
“You texting that Lovato girl, too?”
“Yeah,” I said, glancing up from my phone to accept my drink before doing a double take. “Wait, what do you do ‘too?’”
“I was just talking to Niall at the bar - he’s texting with her, too.”
And there went the bit of the my mood that Demi had managed to build back up.
“Ugh, seriously?” I sighed exasperatedly as I took a sip from my drink. “Who texted whom first?”
Liam shrugged, obviously not caring, “I dunno. Ask him.”
“I’m not talking to that three-leaf clover,” I pouted. Liam laughed though still managed to shoot me a disappointing look.
“You can’t really blame him - “
I held out a hand, not really wanting to be lectured again by Liam. I had heard it time and time before, and I still didn’t agree with it.
You see, though I had been friends with Demi for years, I had developed a pretty big crush on her back at the beginning of the year. Of course I could never tell her because we were close friends (I didn't want to make things awkward), plus I think the fact that we were friends negated my magical powers’ effect on her. Stil, I had been a melted puddle of mush around her nonetheless because of it.
Of course all the boys knew, and they even brainstormed with me how I could get myself out of the friendzone with her, though they had never met her before. But then one interview, we were asked about our celebrity crushes. Of course I couldn’t come out and admit that Demi was mine, so I said some weird thing about Mila Kunis, but then Niall did the ultimate back-stabbing move by saying that Demi Lovato seemed pretty cool.
He claimed that he wasn’t serious and wanted to throw her name out there on my behalf, because I couldn’t say it, but I think he had ulterior motives since I got to play the guitar during an acoustic set we did for a radio station the day before instead of him.
Things got worse when Demi was asked who her favorite member of One Direction was in an interview. Because she and I had been friends since even before I joined the band, I don’t think she really even considered me as an option (she just didn’t think of me as a member of One Direction), so she said Niall was her One Direction crush.
Somehow that led to them getting each other’s contact information, and they started Skyping each other regularly. Of course I would interrupt the video chats as much as I could - either by playing pranks with Louis that disrupted them or just interjecting with jokes so that Demi would pay more attention to me and laugh more at me than at Niall, but it still didn’t change the fact that she was calling him.
Ultimately, my crush pretty much faded, and Demi repeatedly rejected all of Niall’s “more than friends” advances (quite hilariously, too), but I still couldn’t help but feel a little bitter towards my bandmate. He knew how much I liked Demi; I was crazy for her! Yet he still completely infringed by trying to pursue her anyway.
So it kind of stung that Demi was apparently texting both of us at the same time. Of course she was oblivious - she viewed both of us as purely friends, so it wasn’t her fault. But Niall and I both felt like she flirted with us sometimes regardless, and we both were still attracted to her (how could one not be? She was gorgeous!) so there was a little bit of that competition, admittedly.
In fact, though I had given up completely on ever being more than Demi’s friend and was now totally satisfied with our friendship the way it is, a small part of me would probably always like her just a little bit.
Liam took in my frowning face with a sigh.
“Seriously, Chanel - it’s not like they’re dating! So c’mon, throw back that vodka and let’s do what we came here to do!”
“Hook up with rando’s?”
With a smirk, I pointed to the corner where Harry had disappeared off to - this time it seemed like he had an entirely different girl in his grasps. Liam laughed as he shook his head.
As if fated, the DJ started to play “Whistle” by Flo Rida at that precise moment, and though I had no desire whatsoever to blow anybody’s “whistle” (in fact, the only rape whistle I'd be blowing if Flo Rida personally propositioned me with that offer was a rape whistle), I couldn’t help but immediately get into the groove of things once that jam hit the speakers. So I resigned, threw back a large gulp of my drink and let Liam pull me to the center of the dance floor.
I couldn’t help but sneak off one more text to Demi, however.
Me Isn’t one member of One Direction enough for you? Why don’t you and that Irish kid date already?
It was teasing (and referring to myself as the member of One Direction that should be enough for her instead of texting two of us simultaneously) - I think she knew me well enough to know that, even through text. And as Liam pulled us to the middle of the floor, where a wasted Zayn was flailing his arms in the air, almost taking out an unsuspecting Louis, I received a text back that confirmed it.
Demi Oh, you know you’re my favorite member of 1D ;) lol and ugh, you also know there is NOTHING going on with Niall and me so stop that!!
Feeling quite triumphant from that text, I couldn’t help but shoot Niall a smug smile as he wiggled his body to the beat across from me. Of course he was oblivious as he raised a confused eyebrow at me, but it didn’t matter. Little did he know, I had at least sort of won this battle.
So I let myself enjoy the moment, watching my best friends with absolute no rhythm though plenty of charm as they shuffled awkwardly about, we did our signature dance routines from our music videos and Louis attempted to “twerk.” Soon I forgot all about my disdain towards Niall, the awkwardness of running into Cher and the fact that Harry could be impregnating a girl at that very moment and just enjoyed the party, the friendship and okay, the booze.
Also, I got to dance with Emma Watson, which was obviously a plus. And sometime after I had finished off my vodka and red bull, I somehow ended up in a grinding train with all of the boys, but it was all in good fun.
And really, that wasn’t just our last night in England before we went to Los Angeles, but little did I know, it was the last night of normalcy before things got completely crazy.