When morning rolls around I wake up with Joe’s arms coiled around my waist. He looks so peaceful when asleep. Even with his face smooshed against the pillow he looks practically perfect. His fringe flopped down over his closed eyelids. His lips pursed slightly as he breaths in and out slowly. I can’t help but reach over and brush the hair from his eyes. He catches my wrist, chuckling slightly under his breath as he brings my hand down, pressing kisses to my palm. 9 His eyes flutter open and he smiles sheepishly, “Morning,” he says, his voice was a little croaky which I’ll admit was pretty hot.9 “Morning.” I respond before remembering why Joe was in my bed. “Joe, I’m sorry about last n-” I begin but he presses his index finger to mouth, cutting me off.2 “It’s fine.” he simply says. He glances at the clock. “I think I’m gonna go grab a shower.” he says, “We have to leave in 45 minutes to get you to school on time.”16 School. I forgot about that.10 He slowly gets out of my bed and pads over to the door. “Get dressed.” he instructs before disappearing into the hallway, closing the door behind him. I groan as I step out of the bed. The morning air is crisp. Coldness bites at my bare shoulders as I grab my school uniform from my closet.10 It certainly was not the most attractive school uniform and that’s for sure. I pull on my navy blue jersey over top of the light blue blouse. I tug at my school skirt. It tends to ride up during the day which is bothersome. I put on my blazer over top and reach down to lace up my shoes.82 I tug my hairbrush through my hair before tying it up in a loose ponytail. It’ll do.8 I head out into the hallway and towards the bathroom. I could hear the water running so I knock loudly on the door. “Who’s in there?” I call through the door. “It’s me, just a minute.” Joe responds and a minute later the water shuts off and the door opens revealing Joe.4 He wore only a towel around his waist and his hair was dripping water down his face. “I could’ve waited..” I say, admiring his toned physique. 3 “Checking me out are you?” he jokes and I blush. “It’s okay, I was just getting out anyway.” he says, edging past me and heading down the hallway. “You wish I was checking you out,” I retort as he walks away. Just as he is turning to walk in the lounge he glances at me, “Oh, you were.” he says confidently before disappearing. Most would think he was being egotistical but even I know I was though I wouldn’t admit it. It’s like there are two sides to Joe. Sweet, caring Joe. And confident, slightly cocky Joe. I like both equally.20 I go into the bathroom and do my business. I then brush my teeth and apply a little bit of mascara before heading towards the kitchen. I grab an apple and sit at the table with Joe, Zoe and Alfie.3 They were busy discussing some YouTube stuff which I have no interest in. I take a bite of the apple and immediately spit it out. Maybe brushing my teeth before I eat is not the best plan.12 Joe cracks up and I glare at him. “I just brushed my teeth, it’s not even funny.” I grumble. Getting up and dropping it into the bin.1 He apologises as I sit back down, not paying any attention to their conversation. “What do you say Riley?” Zoe asks, looking at me expectantly. “Huh?” I ask, turning my attention to her. “Were you listening at all?” she asks jokingly. I shake my head, “No.” I admit and she laughs. “I was just saying we are having a get together with some of our YouTube gang, are you keen to come along?”7 “Will Tyler Oakley be there?” I ask, he is one of the only YouTubers that I watch and it would be amazing to get to meet him.40 Zoe grins, “He will! He’s visiting from the US at the moment.” I clap my hands excitedly, “Count me in!” “Yay!! You can be my little piece of arm candy!” she says eagerly. I laugh, “Isn’t that what Alfie is?” She waves her hand through the air, “Alfie is old news. You’ll win over all the guys with your gorgeous little face and awesome accent!” I see Joe stiffen slightly in his seat out of the corner of my eye but I choose to ignore it.21 “Well, I can’t wait.” I say, getting up. “I’ll just go grab my school bag and we can get going.” I say, heading off to my room. I hear the two siblings bickering again as I walk down the hallway. I swear they are always arguing. I collect my school bag from my bedroom floor and my cellphone before returning to the others. Joe was obviously sulking over his and Zoe’s disagreement. He spent the entire car ride staring out the window with his arms folded across his chest. Zoe paid him no attention, chatting away about how excited she is for Saturday night and who was going to be there.5 Most of them I didn’t know. My subscribed list consists of Tyler Oakley, Jack and Finn Harries and Troye Sivan. And of course, now I have Joe, Zoe and Alfie on there too.168 When we get to school I bid everyone farewell with no response from Joe. I really hope he is in a better mood by the time I get home. “Why are you being such a dickhead Joe?” Zoe whines from the front seat as soon as Riley closes the door and heads towards the school. That damn Harry kid is waiting for her again. 22 “I’m not the one being a dickhead.” I retort as she turns in her seat. “Why are you even angry at me? I did nothing wrong!” she argues back. “Why am I angry?” I scoff, “You shouldn’t be offering to show her off to guys.” I say, referring to Riley. Zoe laughs, “Seriously Joseph? She’s young and single, I am just trying to help her out. Not like you’re her boyfriend or anything. You don’t have control over her.” “She’s sixteen Zoe, everyone at that thing will be way older than her.”26 “Joe, you’re 22. Jack and Finn will be there and they’re only twenty so your argument is invalid.”22 Fuck. I messed up there. “That’s not the point.” “Yes, it is. Stop acting like a jealous twat”3 “I’m not jealous! Why the hell would I be jealous?” “Because she doesn’t like you.” she says bluntly.15 “If she doesn’t like me then why did she let me take her to dinner last night?” I argue back. “Joe, I told you to take her to dinner after you picked her up from her friends house dumb-ass.”11 “She didn’t go to her friends house though! I picked her up and we went to a movie. I just told you she went to her friends because I knew you would give me a hard time.” I admit and Zoe cracks a smile. “Joe, you should’ve told me!” she says excitedly, her attitude the polar opposite of what it was two seconds ago.5 “I thought you’d get pissed off..” I mumble. “Pissed off? Why would I be pissed off?” she says with a laugh. “Did you two have fun?” I shrug, “It was a horror and she was absolutely terrified.” Alfie laughs from the drivers seat. I had almost completely forgotten he was there.12 “Should’ve seen her when I forced her to watch Nightmare on Elm Street with me when she was eleven. She slept with her light on the rest of the time she was visiting.”3 “Did she clutch onto your hand the whole time? Hide in your arms?” Zoe asks excitedly.2 I shake my head, “No. We left after twenty minutes and got some McDonalds then went to the park.” “McDonalds? Joe! You cheap bastard!” Zoe exclaims.28 I raise my hands defensively. “I offered to go somewhere else but she wanted it. Not my choice.” I lie. Not wanting to tell them about her confession. I wonder if Riley’s mum told Alfie about Jack. It was obviously what her nightmare was about last night. The look in her eyes as I held her. He’s dead she had spluttered as I stroked her hair. I can’t help but wonder how he died and why on earth she would think it was her fault. A part of me wanted to ask her but the more sensible part of me knew that it would only hurt her to have me ask such personal questions. Zoe’s voice interrupts my train of thought. “I won’t set her up with Caspar then.. They would’ve made such a cute couple..” I shoot her a glare and she is the one to raise her hands defensively this time, “Just kidding!”74 The car returns to silence for a moment before Zoe pipes up again. “Have you told her that you are going back to Bath next week?”23 I frown, “No, why would I?” “Well.. Because you won’t be around everyday. If you intend on asking her to go out with you it may be a good idea for her to know that you actually aren’t living in London permanently.”2 I shrug, “I’ll be back soon though. My apprenticeship is almost finished. Anyway, you and Alfie will come home for Christmas so she’ll probably tag along too. Won’t she?” “I don’t know. She might go home for Christmas. See her family..” Alfie shakes his head, “Her parents normally work over Christmas. She wouldn’t want to go back there.” “That’s so sad!” Zoe exclaims, “Imagine not having the whole family around for the best holiday of the year..”7 “So she will come, right? Anyway.. It’s not like I’ll never be back. I’ll probably come to London to hang with you guys on the weekends.” “I suppose so. All I know is you better ask her out soon or someone like that Harry is going to get her first.” Ugh, don’t even mention Harry. It’s obvious he is into her. Every morning they meet at the gate and after school he walks her out of school. Like a little stray puppy dog.12 If I don’t act soon I will end up being the stray puppy and he will be the loyal, purebred show dog. Always by her side. But, dogs are territorial and there is no way he is going to snatch her from me. Not without a fight.32 1 “I was thinking maybe I could pick you up around 5 tomorrow?” Harry asks as he picks at his sandwich. 1 “What for?” I ask, confused. “Sight-seeing?” he says it more as a question than a statement. “I asked you yesterday, remember?” I had actually completely forgotten but I nod, “Oh yeah. Umm, five will be good I guess.”1 He grins, “Awesome! I can’t wait to show you around.” “What kind of places were you planning on going?” I ask. Curious as to what he plans to do. He smiles, staring up at the clear blue sky. The weather had completely turned around into the best it has been since I arrived here so we were eating lunch outside. “I was thinking we could do the regular tourist stuff. I could practice my foreign accents.” he finishes off sarcastically, “I could be an American tourist,” he says in a stereotypical Californian accent.20 I crack up, “Well, I’ll stick with being a Kiwi.”27 I watch as the rest of Harry’s main friend group makes their way across the courtyard. There was quite a few of them and all with very diverse personalities. There was, of course, Liam and Niall. Zayn and Perrie, they were a couple and were very close. Zayn is what most would consider a ‘bad boy’ and Perrie is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met. Then there was Louis. He is in our drama class and is extremely outgoing. Always bearing a grin on his angelic face. Of course there was Ed. He’s a muso. A very good one from what I’ve been told though I have yet to hear him play anything. And last but not least, Eleanor. Her and Louis are going out and they are possibly the most loved up pair I have ever seen. Always together.129 “There you two are!” exclaims Niall, sitting down on the grass. Everyone else sits too. Forming a semi-circle. As they begin a full-winded argument about what flavour of pizza is the best my phone buzzes in my pocket. I pull it out to find a text. Sorry for being rude this morning. I was pissed at Zoe. How’s school? It’s Joe. A smile spreads across my face as I reply. Good. Boring, but good 🙂 I press send and his response comes seconds later. Boring because I’m not there?5 I can imagine the cheeky grin on his face as he typed it. You wish 😉 I respond with a chuckle. He’s even cheeky over text. I don’t know how on earth he manages it. “Who’s Joe?” Perrie asks, reading my phone over my shoulder. 5 I quickly hide the screen from her view as I feel my cheeks flush red. “Joe?” Niall asks, “What are you texting him about?” he says curiously. Leaning in my direction.24 When I don’t respond Perrie pipes in. “They were totally flirting.” “We were not!” I defend myself. Perrie laughs, “Yes! You were sending little winky faces. I don’t even send Zayn winky faces.”7 “Winky faces aren’t flirtatious!” I argue as my phone buzzes in my hand. “Go on then, read it out loud.” Perrie says, “I dare you.” I glance down at the phone and my cheeks flush again. I can’t read it out. It proves her point well and truly. “Go on.” I take in a deep breath before reading the text. “Stop flirting with me Templeton. Winky face.”9 Perrie grins, “Perrie Edwards is never wrong.” she boasts. Damn Joe. Why couldn’t he send something that worked for me, not against me. Everyone returns to their conversation except for Harry who sits quietly. Looking, if I’m honest, quite pissed off. Everyone seems to be moody today. I am woken by someones hands on my shoulders. “Riley! Wake up. We are going shopping!” Zoe says loudly, shaking me. 13 I groan and slap her hands away. Turning over and pulling my duvet over my head, thinking it will deter her. That was wishful thinking. In seconds the blankets are being ripped away from me.4 “Zoe!” I exclaim, scrambling for them but she pulls them out of reach. “Come on!” she whines, “Louise is coming over and we are going shopping. Just the three of us.”14 “I don’t want to go shopping,” I complain. Normally I would be more than happy to go shopping but I would rather sleep in at the moment. Today is already busy enough for me. I have sight-seeing with Harry and the party tonight. I’m a teenager. I’m supposed to just sit around the house all day in my pyjamas not go out. Who does that these days?37 I chuckle slightly as Zoe heads to my closet. Picking out clothing for me.1 “Here, put these on.” She says, shoving a long black singlet top, dark blue skinny jeans and my black booties towards me. She turns back to my closet and searches through my coats. She pulls out a white coat.2 “Is this Alexander McQueen?” she exclaims. Admiring it.29 I shrug, “I don’t know. I got it for Christmas last year.” It wouldn’t surprise me if it was. My parents always bought me lavish gifts to make up for the fact that they were never actually home for Christmas. “You are definitely wearing this.” she says, carefully placing it on the bed. “But it’s white..” I complain. “Actually I think you’ll find it’s more of an ivory.” She replies cheekily. Cheekiness obviously runs in the Sugg family. “I’ll leave you to get ready. Louise will be here very soon.” she says, leaving the room and closing the door behind her. I sit in bed for a moment before dragging myself out, pulling on the clothes she had picked. I’ll admit, for something she picked in just thirty seconds it was pretty cute.8 I sit down in front of my mirror and apply a light layer of makeup. I’ve never been the type of girl who cakes the stuff on, enough to cover my blemishes and I’m good. I put on a bright red lipstick to counteract my rather bland outfit and grab my red purse, shoving my wallet, phone and lipstick inside. I run my brush quickly through my hair not bothering to tie it up or even attempt to do anything else with it. I sigh heavily before heading to the lounge.3 Zoe and Louise are waiting for me when I walk in. We leave and walk to the nearby shopping centre. Zoe insists on going into every single shop which is exhausting. I would much rather be at home in bed than following Zoe and Louise through every shop in the place. As Zoe searches through rack after rack of Christmas jerseys my phone rings. I fish it out of my bag. The caller ID reads Mum. It’s kind of weird really. She hasn’t bothered to call me since I arrived. I know she has been speaking to Alfie but she hasn’t even attempted to speak to me until now.5 “Hello?” I say into the phone. “Riley sweetheart! It’s Mum.” she says cheerily. “I know.” I plainly reply. I don’t mean to be cold towards my mother. I love my parents, I really do. But, after being overlooked for my entire childhood, coming second to the business, I have never really been close with them. I wish I had been able to but they have always been so career focused. I don’t mind really. It’s just when you’re a kid you don’t notice as much. But now, I see it. I see how I was never shown proper affection from them. It breaks my heart really but I suppose you can’t miss something you never had. She ignores my curt comment and replies, “I was calling to ask what you plan on doing for Christmas. I need to know whether to send your gifts to England or not.” Oh, it wasn’t an actual invitation. If she had asked me to come home for the holidays I would have said yes for sure but it’s not about spending time with me. “I figured I would stay here if it’s okay with Alfie.” I respond. “Okay, I’ll have your presents shipped then. Have a good Christmas.” she says, effectively ending the conversation. “Bye.” I say and hang up the phone. That was pretty much a business call. Not so much as a how are you in sight. No wonder I used to feel so alone all the time. My parents never really cared too much about my feelings. Sending me to a shrink every week was their only attempt at helping. Never bothering to actually have proper conversations with me about everyday things.2 “Who was that?” Zoe asks as I catch up with her and Louise. “My mother.” I reply, pretending to look through the jumpers on the rack. “Oh, I wouldn’t have guessed that.” she says, obviously referring to how cold and short the conversation was. “What did she want?” “Uhh, just wondering if I was coming home for Christmas.” “You’re not?” she asks. I shake my head and continue to ‘browse’. “You’ll be tagging along with Alfie for Christmas with the Suggs then?” she asks excitedly. “Only if that’s alright. I don’t want to be a party-crasher.” I say, finally looking at her. “Of course it’s fine! Joe will be thrilled.” Louise nudges her in the ribs and give her a pointed look. “Ouch!” she yelps and Louise cracks up. “I found the perfect jumper for you.” Zoe changes the subject.6 She flicks through the pile of clothing across her arm and pulls out a dark blue top. It’s covered in a white snowflake print. It’s actually quite cute.1 “I’ve never had a Christmas jumper.” I admit.12 Zoe gasps, “That’s outrageous! You have been doing Christmas wrong!” she exclaims and Louise laughs. “It’s summer in New Zealand chummy.”27 “Ohh! I forgot that.” Zoe says and laughs. “Well, I shall buy you your first Christmas jumper!” “You don’t have t-” I begin before being interrupted. “No arguments.”

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