Chloe and I sat a tall table on bar stools as we watched the boys set up on stage. Luke had been jittering the whole drive here, his leg was bouncing so much that I ended up driving instead of him so that we wouldn't crash. I couldn't believe how nervous he was. They all were, but he was worse. I watched him connect his guitar to the amp, strumming it a couple times before making a disgusted face and tuning it.
"I've never even seen them practice" I say to Chloe, sipping my lemonade. I didn't feel like drinking tonight.
"They do all the time. I've only ever been to one practice, though. Whenever they have a spare few minutes, they are always practicing" She tells me. I guess a lot goes on while I'm at work.
I looked back up at Luke and he raised his head at the same time, grinning when our eyes met. He poked his tongue out at me and I did the same back to him, and I smiled as he laughed to himself, shaking his head at me.
"So, what happened on your little date?" Chloe asks, eyes sparkling as she sips on her girly drink.
"We drove out to his friends paddock in their ute and then there was a mattress and blankets set up in the back so we cuddled and ate and listened to music and talked and looked at the stars. Chloe, it was, like, the most amazing thing I've ever experienced. He makes me so very happy" I sighed in content.
"Did you kiss?" She asks and my cheeks heat up. "You did!" She squeals.
"No! We didn't! Well, we almost did, but we both sort of pulled away at the same time. It was kinda awkward at first but after a few seconds it went back to normal and we pretended like it didn't happen"
"Why did you pull away, you idiot!?" She almost yells.
"I was scared, Chloe" I confide.
"Of what? Him eating you?" She says in disbelief.
"No! I don't want to rush this. He just got out of a long relationship, not to mention him being cheated on, and I really don't feel like I'm in the correct mental state for dating at the moment" "It's only a kiss" She says, her voice a lot quieter now.
"But it's not 'just a kiss'. Everything means so much more when it comes to Luke and I don't want to mess this up"
"I can't believe I'm hearing you say this" She laughs and I smile at her.
"Shhh, they're starting!" I say excitedly, watching as the boys stand in their positions and introduce themselves.
"Hey, we're 5 Seconds of Summer and this is Try Hard" Luke announces, looking to the other boys and they all exchange small nods before beginning to play.
I had heard them play before, that night that we first met, but I wasn't really paying attention then. But right now, it was so different. I knew the boys behind the instruments, and it made their music all the more appealing, as well as a little more understandable. I felt an undeniable connection with them as energy radiated off of them, almost bringing me to my feet todance along.
They were good. No, they were better than good. They were fan-fucking-tastic and I was ecstatic that I had become so close with such talent. It felt so weird to be complimenting someone this much, even if it were just inside my own head, and my head still spins whenever I think about how much these boys have changed me so much in such a short amount of time but I'm glad nonetheless.
"They're so good!" Chloe exclaims, gripping my arm tightly and I wince.
"Chlo" I say and she looks at me for a second before quickly retracting her hand, mumbling a sorry with an ashamed look on her face.
"Hey, it's fine, at least you aren't constantly thinking about it" I smile at her softly and put my arm over her shoulder, tapping my leg against the bar stool in time with the music. I watch Luke as he sings his heart out. I've never seen him look so at home, so happy. It makes my heart flutter just seeing the smile on his face as Michael walks over next to him and pulls a face.
Luke looks up and his eyes meet him, his left eyelid dropping into a wink before he looks away again, strumming away happily on his guitar.
"You guys were fucking perfect!" Chloe shouts, running over to wrap her arms around Michael's neck and pulling him down for a kiss, the smile evident on both of their faces. I give Calum and Ashton tight hugs, congratulating them and they thank me before walking away to get drinks.
"What'd you think?" Luke whispers into my ear and i flip around to see him sporting a goofy grin.
"I think you are very sweaty" I laugh, looking at his black shirt that is sticking to his skin, his hair slightly damp.
"All the more reason for you to hug me" He laughs, pulling me into his arms before I can protest.
"You guys were pretty good, I guess" I admit, trying to avoid all the sweat on his chest but I give up after a few seconds, figuring it was hopeless as he is absolutely covered in the stuff.
"Thanks" He says, rolling his eyes at me before flicking my nose. "The boys are just gonna get drunk, so do you want to stay and celebrate while I watch you and sip my juice box, or do you want to ditch?" He asks me, a small smile on his face.
"Let's get out of here" I say and he nods, putting his hands on my waist before leaning over me towards Michael who was in an in-depth conversation with Chloe about God-knows-what.
"See you at home" He shouts over the music that has started up again.
"You taking Katie?" Michael asks and Luke nods, waving at the happy couple before moving one of his hands to the small of my back, his other dropping to his side as he leads me through the pub until we found an exit. Once we get outside, Luke leads me to their van and unlocks it, grabbing a spare shirt and a towel out of the back. As he dries off his hair and fixes himself up, basically showering himself in deodorant, I ask him a question.
"Yeah bub?" He says as he swaps his shirt over, making my stomach whirl. I'd be lying if I said I didnt take a sneak peek as he changed tops. I'd be crazy not to, I am only human, after all.
"How are the others getting home?" I ask, watching him fix his hair in the reflection of the back window before he slips on a thick red and black plaid flannelette and a black jacket over the top.
"Ashton isn't drinking so he'll drive. And us, well I thought we might walk. It is a lovely tonight"
"Did you just use the word lovely in a sentence?" I say, quirking an eyebrow at him.
"Maybe" His mouth spreads into a toothy grin and he takes my hand in his, walking us through the car park and out onto the footpath lining the almost dead street, only one or two cars coming past every so often as our arms swing together between us.
We walked along in a comfortable silence, nothing but wind between us as our hands were clasped together tightly. The cool air nipped at my nose, undoubtedly making it redden, and I got goosebumps over my mostly bare arms. I thought it would be hot in the pub, so I resorted to covering everything with lots of bracelets. The boys helped me out, donating most of them. I couldn't wear too many though, so they only came up to half way along my arms, leaving me with the responsibility of keeping the scars as unseen as possible. I had been doing it for so many years now, it was almost as easy as breathing.
"You're shivering. Here, take my jacket" Luke says, untangling his hands from mine and slipping off his black jacket.
"Luke, not this" I groan at his cliche actions, even though I wanted his jumper badly.
"Just take it. I don't want you getting hypothermia just because you wanted to be different" He sighs, slipping it over my shoulders and holding it out so I could slip my arms in.
"You're not cold?"
"I'm perfectly warm" He smiles and I hug the jumper closely to my body, breathing in the scent and revelling in the warmth. "You hungry?" He asks me.
"A little bit" I admit and he nods, leading me off the path and down the driveway of a gas station.
"Sit here" He instructs, pointing to a little cement step just off the side of the front door of the gas station's shop. He walks inside through the automatic glass doors and I watch the cars that come through, making up stories for the people inside, as I waited for Luke to return.
Just as an older guy, maybe 40 something with greying brown hair, who I had decided just came back from a trip to Thailand where he picked up a girl who ended up not being a girl after all, walked past me and inside to pay for his petrol, Luke came and joined me finally.
"I have coffees, pies and these weird things. I'm not really sure what they are, but they were colourful and cheap so I bought them anyway" He says, sitting down next to me. He hands me a coffee and a pie and I thank him, kissing his cheek. When his face reddens, mine does the same, and I look away from him, my pie becoming very interesting all of a sudden. I tear off a chunk of the meat and gravy covered pastry, shoving it in my mouth and closing my eyes at the amazing taste. There's nothing like servo pies.
I open my eyes to the sound of spluttering and look over at Luke, his tongue out and his eyes watering as he webs at his mouth.
"Hot, hot, hot, hot!" He yelps, the words distorted by his lack of tongue. A tear escapes his eye as he continues to wave his hand frantically.
"Have one of these" I say, handing him the brightly coloured round thing that he had bought a whole packet of. He pops it in his mouth and spits it out almost immediately.
"That is horrible!" He gasps, pulling a disgusted face.
"Try one!" He says, grabbing one and shoving it in my mouth before I can protest. His tongue must be better, I guess the taste must have been so horrible it was distracting. They can't be that bad.
I bite down on it, no point in backing out now, and it's out of my mouth as quickly as it was in there.
"What is that?" I yell, patting at my tongue, trying to escape the horrid taste.
"I would tell you, but I can't read Chinese" He says, pointing to the foreign language printed on the packet.
"Why the hell would you buy something that is in another language, and that you've never seen before?" I ask him and he shrugs.
"It looked pretty"
"You don't go jumping off of huge ass cliffs just because the water looks pretty"
"I probably would. I'm a sucker for pretty things" He smiles, a dimple carving it's way into his cheek.
"Apparently you are a sucker for cheesy lines, too" I laugh and he shrugs once again.
"I think we all are"
"Where do you get all these weird ideas and cliches from anyway?" I ask him and he looks at the ground.
"I may have studied" He says, his eyes not leaving the spot on the ground.
"What do you mean?" I ask him, taking another bit off of my pie. After Luke's reaction, I had decided to just leave my coffee to cool for a while.
"I watch girly movies sometimes, so I know how to act around you" He says quietly.
"You're kidding?" I ask, trying not to laugh, even though he looks like a tomato and it is absolutely hilarious.
"No. I didn't want to mess this up, whatever 'this' is. I mean, my last relationship didn't go too well, and you were too amazing so I had to try harder"
"Your last relationship wasn't your fault. I mean, you can't blame yourself for the fact that your ex-girlfriend is addicted to cock" I shrug and he laughs quietly.
"I guess not"
"Tell me your story, Luke"
"Yes. Your story. I hardly know anything about you, other than the trivial stuff that really doesn't matter" I explain and he nods.
"Well, what do you want to know?"
"Everything? Okay, well, I used to love playing guitar when I was younger, and I sort of realised I could sing a bit when I was about 12. I didn't think I was that talented, but my mum assured me I was. Which sounds a bit sad when I think back to it.
'Anyway, well I went to high school and all that, and I hated it. I wasn't horrible at it, I just couldn't stand being there. With my mum being a teacher and all, she had all these expectations and it was too stressful.
'So, as you can expect, when I told mum I wanted to be in a band when I left school, she wasn't pleased but she let it go. I guess she put it down to being a phase or something.
'Her and dad decided they wanted to kick me out of the house when I dropped out of school. I guess I don't blame them, really, I mean, I left school mainly for the band, but also because Natasha said she wouldn't date someone in high school.
'She thought it was weird, because she had graduated the year before, so I dropped out to stop her from breaking up with me. We had been together for only a year and I thought it was true love. I would've done anything if she said the word.
'So mum and dad kicked me out, so I moved out here, where the other 3 already were. I got a job, we had the odd gig here and there and although I should, I don't regret a single second of it. I mean, sure I wish my parents still talked to me, and my brothers didn't hate me, but I'm here and I'm doing what I want to do.
'I haven't spoken to any of my family since I left, and they haven't tried to contact me either so I guess I'm probably officially out of the family"
"You could probably call them, if you wanted to" I hadn't been aware that Luke had been given up on by his family. We were much more similar than I thought. I had always wondered how he was living away from home at the age of 17, but I had just figured that maybe he was old enough to do so.
"I mean, I miss them like hell, but I just sit think they would want to hear from me. You should've seen how furious my mum was. I still remember the pure disappointment in her eyes so clearly." Luke sighs, picking at his pie.
"I think they haven't spoken to you only on principle. I'm sure they would be so happy to hear you. They just have too much pride. I know you miss them, and they probably miss you just as much"
"Maybe one day" He smiles, sipping on his coffee, his face visibly relieved when it didn't get singed by the hot liquid.
"Well Luke, I feel like we may have just gone up to level 3 of best friends" I tell him, leaning my head on his shoulder. We have been sitting out here for ages, just watching the people pass by in all their different cars, but I don't mind at all.
"I would say that, too" He says, and he reaches into his pocket, pulling out a plastic spoon and grabbing one of the colourful balls, also known as the spawn of satan. He puts it onto the spoon an pulls it back, flinging the bright hell-ball towards a pole. "Dammit, I missed" He mumbles, loading up and shooting at it again.
"Can I have a go?"
"Here, use this" He says, pulling yet another spoon from his pocket.
"Why do you have plastic spoons in your pockets?"
"You never know when you might need one" He smiles, and I take my head off of his shoulder, aiming for the same pole.
I'm not sure how long we sit there, but after a while there is only one ball left and Luke and I are laughing our guts out.
"Luke Hemmings, lines up the shot. Can he finally get it on target? Will he be the first ever man to hit the almighty pole with the booger-balls?" Luke says in his best commentator voice.
"He takes the shot, and he's hit it! Luke Hemmings has hit the pole!" He shouts, jumping to his feet and pulling his flannelette and his shirt over his head before running around in circles with his hands in the air while I sit on the ground and clutch my aching stomach, laughing harder than I ever have. And then he runs into the pole.
"2 shots on target in a row!" I yell, howling with laughter once again as he drops to the ground, groaning in agony.
"I've been shot!" He yells. "Oh the horror! I'm too young to die" He screams dramatically, before clutching his heart and going still, making a weird noise that he obviously thinks is a sound effect of dying. He jumps to his feet, putting his shirt back down, and he walks over to me with a huge smile on my face, as I continue to laugh, and laugh, and laugh. "This place is dangerous, lets get out of here" He says, holding his hand out to me and I take it. He hauls me up and pulls me into a hug.
"You are a pretty cool dude" He tells me.
"Thanks?" I say, still laughing.
"Hop on" Luke instructs, spinning around so his back is to me. I pick up all our rubbish and jump onto his back.
"To the bin!" I yell, pointing at the wheely bin a few metres away.
"To the bin!" He repeats, trotting like a horse in the direction of the garbage. I hold my breath and open the lid, chucking in the rubbish and shutting it before slapping Luke's arse and yelling at him to move.