Chapter 15

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"You really should eat healthier."

Lauren blinked at the amused face on her computer screen. She chewed deliberately on her pretzels and shrugged.

"Or at least at regular intervals." Camila pressed. "It would be better for your metabolism."

The image froze briefly, with one of Camila's eyes half-open and her mouth twisted on the word "metabolism," and Lauren snorted lightly.

"Niall and Normani take all my food."

Camila leaned playfully towards the camera, eyes sparkling. She was in her trailer, lounging on a couch that she complained was too firm, too clean, and too empty, waiting for Harry to call her to rehearsal. Lauren smiled at her lifted eyebrow.

"They wouldn't steal your food if you had some carrots, maybe a selection of fruit." Camila tapped her screen. "Whole wheat toast is nice too. And there's a wide variety of cereals that do not have cartoon animals on the box, in case you didn't know."

Lauren patiently allowed Camila to talk at her. She sat lazily back in her chair, feet propped on the coffee table, and chewed on her pretzels, delighting in the new, powdered cheesy variety Niall had purchased. Camila's voice was always so chipper, even when listing the benefits of Rice Chex over the Cap'n Crunch Niall would always buy.

Some might think it was piercing. Lauren just smiled at Camila's ebullience.

"And I know you like peaches." Camila said sternly. "Don't even try to pull that face."

Lauren stared blankly at her screen.

"I'll tell Niall to buy some the next time he goes grocery shopping."

Lauren finally spoke up, shaking her head. "No, no Camila. I'll just go with him and pick out some things."

Camila watched her for a moment, lips pressed together. Lauren was halfway through her bag of pretzels. She realized that she'd spent the first twenty minutes of their limited Skype session talking about food.

"You don't have to if you don't want to, of course." Camila amended, staring at her own picture on the screen. "Just...you know, eat what you like, I suppose."

Lauren held two pretzels over her eyes. "I do like peaches." She drawled. "Maybe I'll teach Niall about the food pyramid. I think he only knows about the top part."

Camila chuckled.

"I'll show him a few new aisles at Publix. It'll be a whole new world."

Camila nodded, pleased. She watched Lauren lick the cheese from her fingers and scrunched up her nose. Lauren purposely slowed her actions and smiled mirthfully. Her teeth were a shiny white block on Camila's screen.

"That is not attractive." Camila scoffed.

Lauren tipped her head back against the chair and ran her tongue along her index finger. "I don't know what you're talking about."

Camila's gaze was unblinking, entranced by the sharp curve of Lauren's jaw.

"It's probably mostly sand, anyway." She managed, remembering how Lauren's hands would always be glinting with specks of grit that would never fully wash off.

Lauren hummed and winked at the screen. "Delicious, delicious sand."

Camila rolled her eyes. "How was the surf this morning?"

Lauren sat up immediately, eyes bright. She rolled up the pretzel bag and tossed it onto the coffee table and then ran a hand through her wet hair. Camila laughed at her reaction.

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