Chapter 31

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Lights and cameras, makeup artists and hairstylists, wardrobe changes and uncomfortable poses, people pleading with him to give them more pout; that was what the day had consisted of. They shot the photos in an enormous white room, their only props a record and back issues of NME. The concept was that this was the music issue, and Arctic Monkeys were presenting the reader with the past while taking their place as the future.

Alex was uneasy about the idea but he didn't let on. It was an opportunity he imagined musicians all over the uk and the world would kill for; he didn't take it lightly. To the contrary he went against his shy nature and assumed his stage persona; confident and cool. His demeanor and ease with himself and his surroundings impressed those around him; he had all the qualities of an amazing frontman. The passion, the hair, the eyes, the pout; he also had talent and a way with words accompanied by a singing voice that captured the heaviness and speed of the Northern English accent, but with a smooth and soulful quality filled with emotion.

The consensus was that Arctic Monkeys were a jewel NME felt lucky to have found. Matt did most of the talking in the interview but Alex's answers, with his long pauses and soft spoken tone, were always intelligent even when they hardly seemed to make sense. They had it, whatever it was and the only thing anyone could find to question about them was how they'd gone undiscovered for so long.

It was refreshing and he was relieved by it; they all felt validated as though the approval of these industry folks meant they had arrived. They left the shoot with a sense of accomplishment and better still a few business cards and phone numbers and a few gigs lined up as well.

As he reflected on it all lounging on the couch in his apartment, completely exhausted after the length of the day he couldn't help wondering why he wasnt smiling, why he wasnt positively giddy with joy and excitement. Breakthroughs come in all different ways through all sorts of means, and this was surely a breakthrough for the band. Their profile had just skyrocketed, they were like water in a pot, they'd gone from at best lukewarm to simmering. They would be bubbling just under when the article went to print with a chance to boil over once it landed in the right hands.

They were well on their way. Alex should have been with Matt and the others at the warehouse celebrating but instead he'd rode the large red bus home to his flat and hoped the girl across the hall would be just stepping into or out of her apartment as he arrived at his door. He would tell her all about the day and the possibilities it had offered and he would thank her again for being the reason that it all happened. It was entirely her doing, she had accomplished in one night what he had not been able to in ten years, to get his music to the right pair of ears.

He doubted that she realized it but she had changed everything. He wanted to express his gratitude. He denied to himself that he wanted to do much more than that. He wanted to see her, to apologize for running out on her and acting like a fool the night before. He wondered what she thought of him, if she thought of him. He wondered why she didn't seem to feel as flustered or perplexed by whatever what happening between them. Why was he the only one with a rapid heartbeat and a mind racing with thoughts of relationships and titles? Why was he the only one who couldn't keep things casual?

If she had been there he'd have asked her all of this and said all of this to her so in that respect it was a good thing that she wasn't. He had however had her on his mind and could not get her off and so he decided to stop trying. The table in his kitchen area was old and wooden and circular, only big enough for two people to sit at. The table top was littered with scratches and rings from wet glasses and beer bottles, but at the moment it was dry and despite its shabbiness Alex was keen to keep it close. It was the first thing he bought himself and had been with him since moving out of his parent's home in Sheffield.

H. A Harry Styles A.U.Where stories live. Discover now