The Man Wearing a Hat

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The Man Wearing a Hat, in which we take a little girl to a signing and overwhelm her.


This little girl reminded me a lot of myself; curly hair, very cheeky, slight smirk, but also vulnerable. At the same time, she was like Zayn; you think she's quiet, but she isn't; she's a bit snarky; she's a master at the art of correcting grammar. Or, even still, she can remind me of Liam; cares about everyone, finds everything exciting, likes childish things but acts like a mommy at the same time. Then there's the Niall factor; love of food, tapping rhythms on her knees, generally carefree, hungry. Lastly, there's a bit of Louis; sassy, funny, fidgety, but mature when necessary. To think, I've picked up all that from sitting in a car with her for six minutes.

AJ. Her name is AJ. She won't tell us what it stands for, but Liam thinks it's cute, so we're going to leave it for now. She's listing all her favourite animals now, twirling her fingers around in her curly ginger hair and staring off into space. She seems content drinking one of Liam's juiceboxes and sitting next to Louis in the only seat with a seatbelt in the entire limo. Her eyes keep flitting over each of us, like she's waitng for us to do something.

Zayn and Niall are munching away on the animal crackers we offered her, but she quickly rejected, saying she doesn't eat animals, which of course made Liam say, "Bless you," and look at her as if she were the sun and moon.

Then, being a seven year old girl, she said in reply, "I haven't even sneezed." Liam just about lost it when he heard her say that. He's got too much of a soft spot for all things cute.

"Haz, are you okay?" Liam asked, waving a hand in front of my face. I turned to smile at him, nodding slightly. 

"Where are we going, Louis?" AJ asked, poking Lou's knee. I smiled. She looked a bit tired, her eyelids droopy. Each time she blinked, her eyes stayed shut for a full second, opening seemingly in slow motion. Louis smiled softly at her before glancing up at Liam and me for the answer.

"Uh, well the boys and I have to work, but right after we do what we have to do, we'll take you to the police to find your mum, alright?" Louis asked.

AJ nodded. "Are you lot firefighters? Dancers? Painters? Scientists?"

"No, we're singers," Zayn says happily before biting the head off a lion. AJ frowned at the decapitation, making Louis chuckle a bit and watch her expression change. She was pretty small, even for her age, but she seemed a bit too sassy for her own good. She seemed the most like Louis, which was sweet because he seems to have taken a very sweet liking to her.

"What do you sing? Rock music?" AJ asked, looking at us as if we were a bunch of trouble makers.

"No, we sing pop music," Niall said matter-of-factly, tossing a giraffe into his mouth with a grin. He began chomping away, swatting at Zayn's hand each time he tried to get more. It was amusing to watch, but AJ already moved on and was now studying Louis as he tapped away at the screen on his phone.

"Can I play a game?" AJ asks, leaning over to peek. 

"You're just like Niall; much too curious," Louis commented, gently moving her head away from him. "What game, little lady?"

AJ played with the fabric of her shorts. They looked to be two or three sizes too big and made for a boy, but she didn't mind. She smelled good, like soap and honey, and her hair was clean, but uncombed and frizzy, like she got ready on her own, but doesn't typically.

"The one with the man that's being chased by monkeys," AJ said brightly, smiling. Louis nodded and handed his phone over, re-adjusting his position in the car. AJ's eyes were glued to his phone then, allowing us to debate with each other, using hand signals and mouthing words to one another. Slowly, we came to a consensus that going to the signing first was the way to go, and the moment the limo caught up with our security and we could start to hear the screaming, quiet and far off, but still there. "What's that noise?" AJ asks, perking up as we get even closer.

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