Chapter 10 ~ Lately

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"Oh, very funny," Louis smiled, strolling towards the back of the van and grunting as he heaved his enormous suitcase, gasping slightly as gravity kicked in and the luggage came tumbling down onto his foot.  Cursing heartily under his breath, he wrapped his knuckles and began dragging it roughly through the dirt to the porch.  "We're the first ones here?" he asked in confusion as he looked around for a sign of life, yet there was none to be seen.  

"Looks like it.  The others should be arriving any minute-" Mitchell began, but he cut himself short as the humming of a second vehicle bit the quiet.  Louis looked round to see a small car pull into the lot beside the black SUV, and a moment later, two figures, one tiny and pale and one large and curvy, stepped onto the ground.  

"Nialler!" Louis grinned, a smile stretching his cheeks as he caught sight of the blonde Irish lad and waved wildly overhead.  

"Louis!" Niall screeched eagerly, and Louis chuckled as he came barreling up the steps of the porch and collided into Louis's side, hugging him tightly and grinning into his chest.  

"Blimey, don't kill me," Louis exclaimed with a laugh, mussing Niall's shaggy, blonde hair playfully.  

"I missed everyone," Niall whimpered as Mary Byrne came walking happily up the front steps, a large, red handbag hanging from the crook of her arm.  

"Me too, buddy," Louis grinned, sighing happily as he realised that, in a few moments, he would be reunited with his band- with Niall, with Liam, with Zayn, and with Harry.  God, it had been a long, long month back in Doncaster, filled with seemingly endless days of ticking down marks on a calendar and feverishly typing away on his laptop as he messaged the others.  Lately, his mother had been very busy, arguing with her husband over the phone, arguing with her attorney, arguing with Louis himself when he complained about watching the twins for a couple of weeks while Lottie and Fizz were attending summer camp... 

Needless to say, he was thrilled to have left behind his normal, boring life in Doncaster once more and return to his growing success as a performer with his four best friends.  

"Liam!" Niall bellowed at the top of his lungs, his mouth significantly close to Louis's ear, and Louis yelped with mingled alarm and reproach as he winced, clamping his hand over his ear.  

"Niall, what the-"  

"Liam, I missed you!" Niall hollered as he tore himself roughly from Louis's side and, ducking his head, began charging in the direction of the lot as quickly as he could towards a very white-faced, startled looking Liam Payne.  He gasped, pained, as Niall's head delved squarely into his stomach, causing him to double over.  

"Niall!  Don't kill him either!" Louis shrieked, his arms flailing spastically about his head as he scampered down the steps of the porch and scuttled eagerly to the pair of lads.  

"Agreed," Liam gasped, cheeks inflating as he clutched his middle while Niall threw his arms around his neck, smiling as if he had just been handed the heavens.  "Hey, Lou," Liam added, smiling weakly, and Louis grinned, clapping Liam on the back in a friendly greeting.  

"Is this everything, Mr. Payne?" Liam's escort called to him from the car Liam had just vacated, his arms full with two large duffel bags.  Louis blushed on the spot as his eyes darted back and forth between Liam's things and his own comparatively monstrous set of luggage.  

"Can we go inside?" Niall asked keenly as he stepped away from Liam, clasping his arms behind his back and gazing pleasedly around the area.  

Louis himself began to more thoroughly inspect his surroundings.  It seemed as if the house was the only building to be seen for miles; blank, dry country-side stretched from every angle.  A dense, shady thicket of woods fringed a hilltop crowning the small, shallow valley a few hundred yards from the house.  Overall, the land held a secluded, peaceful aura, and, after living in the busy, cramped city for so long, Louis had a feeling that he would absolutely love it.  

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