Whilst we were out shopping the boys had gone to pick out a Christmas tree so when we arrive back at the apartment Zoe insists that everyone gets into Christmas jumpers to decorate the tree.10 Of course, being a house full of YouTubers, we could not decorate the tree without multiple cameras. Once there is one big camera set up we start decorating. About halfway through the process I am in fits of laughter on the ground with Zoe”s vlogging camera pointed towards me as Marcus wraps Alfie and Joe together with a string of flashing fairy lights. As they struggle to untangle themselves Zoe whispers in Marcus” ear before shooing him away. What on earth is that about?2 As the boys finally break free Zoe turns her camera on again and starts talking. “Now, we have a bit of an early Christmas present for the newest member of this crazy household. All four of us chipped in and..” she turns the camera towards the door as Marcus walks back in. “Here it is!” she says excitedly as he holds out a box wrapped in red and green paper to me. “Merry Christmas!” they all shout surprisingly in sync. I feel my cheeks flush as Zoe turns her camera to me and I take the box. It”s quite heavy. I give it a little shake and no sound escapes so it must be pretty tightly packed.6 “Go on, open it!” Zoe grins. I carefully pull open the side of the paper, careful not to rip it. “My goodness! Just rip it open!!” Joe says impatiently a smile shows that he too is quite excited. What the hell could it be that has them this excited? I give in and rip into the wrapping. Tearing it all off in a second. On the box was a picture of a camera. A rather fancy one at that. CANON EOS 700D Single Lens Kit was printed across it. It looks expensive as hell.27 “You guys didn”t hav-” I”m cut off by Zoe who is still recording me. “It”s for you to start your own channel. It was Joe”s idea. Because you have to live with this crazy lot he thought you might fit in more if you made videos too.” I feel my eyes begin to well up slightly. Never have I felt more at home than I do here. Back home I was more of a nuisance than a family member. Sure, they bought me gifts, but they were only really to keep me preoccupied while my parents were busy at the office.1 “This must have cost you so much though..” I say, wiping the stray tear that has fallen down my cheek. “It”s not about the money.. We just want you to be a part of this crazy YouTube fam love.” Zoe says, a grin plastered on her gorgeous face.26 “I love you guys, I really do.” I say, really, truly meaning it. They are the closest thing I have to a family and I feel incredibly honoured to be a part of this crazy mismatched group. “Group hug!” Alfie shouts and pulls us all in for a hug. We are interrupted by the doorbell. I glance at the clock on the wall. It reads 5:05. “That must be Harry,” I say as we break away from the hug. “What the fuck is he doing here?” Joe asks loudly and Zoe whacks him on the arm. Joe glares at her angrily. Why is he even angry? Harry is my friend and it”s none of his business really. 7 “He”s taking me sightseeing.” I say, heading towards the door and down the hallway.8 I open the front door to find Harry. He”s dressed warmly in a long black coat and white scarf paired with a pair of extremely tight black skinny jeans.1 STORY CONTINUES BELOW “Hey!” I say cheerily. “Hi, you ready?” he asks, smiling, his dimples indenting his cheeks. “Almost, I just need my jacket.” I reply, “Want to come in?”1 Joe”s POV2 I can”t help but be jealous of the kid. He gets to hang out with her around London while I am stuck here with my sister who is being annoying as fuck.35 When she walks back into the room with him trailing behind her something deep inside of me flares up, begging me to tell him to leave. I push the urge down, and watch as she grabs her coat, pulling it on over her jumper. “Don”t forget, the party starts at 8.” Zoe reminds Riley as she bids everyone farewell and leaves. I would give anything to run after her and pull her into my arms, kiss her in front of him to show that she is mine. But she isn”t. And, I promised myself I would take things slow. The last thing I want to do is push her too far.14 “Joe. You are doing it again.” Zoe says, interrupting my chain of thought. “I don”t know what the fuck you”re talking about.” I say, trying to dodge past her. “Joe, please listen to me.” Zoe begs. I sigh heavily before crossing my arms across my chest, “Fine.” I huff, throwing myself down on the couch. “You can”t go acting like a dick every time another guy shows slight interest in Riley. It”s wrong. She”s not your girlfriend. If you want to act like that then you need to grow some fucking balls and ask her out. Stop being a wuss.”8 I laugh, “Are you being serious?”1 “I”m dead serious.” she says, cracking a smile. “Well, I”m working on it,” I say, getting up and leaving the room. Grabbing Riley”s new camera on my way. “I”ll put this in her room.” I walk down the hallway and into her bedroom. It certainly looks a lot more homely now that she has settled in. Posters cover one of the walls. Some clothing litters the floor and the bed is unmade. I chuckle to myself, she”s definitely not a clean freak.9 I put the camera down on the desk. A book lays open, the page covered in messy scrawls of writing. Wait. This is no book. This is her diary. Every bone in my body tells me not to read it. To walk away, respect her privacy but I ignore my instinct and sit down at the desk, resting my head on my hand as I try to decipher her sloppy handwriting.8 Dear Jack,1 Things started to get bad again. You don”t want to know how close I got to doing it. I just wanted the pain to go away. But then I thought of you. You wouldn”t have wanted me to hurt myself. You would”ve told me to harden the fuck up and move on. You were my rock. My one and only. You were the only one who cared about me and I will be forever grateful. You know that guy I mentioned in my last letter? I think I really like him. I know that I shouldn”t because I promised you my heart but we were only 15 years old Jack. I wasn”t entirely sure of what I was committing myself to. And now I”m left wondering if you would mind if I was to fall for someone else because Joe, well, Joe is different.4 Holy crap. I shouldn”t be reading this. But I can”t help it. I can”t stop myself, …I”m not going to say I love him. Because I don”t. Not yet at least. But I would love to have the opportunity to get to know him except I can”t help but feel like you”re in my way. What am I supposed to do? If only you were here. You would know exactly what to say. But you aren”t. I love you Jack. Rest in peace sweetheart.1 Riles. So he wasn”t just a friend. They were “in love”. Fuck. This complicates things immensely. At least she like me I guess. Except what use would that be if she can”t get over him. She”s writing letters to her dead boyfriend for Christ”s sake.43 What the hell am I supposed to do? This is absolutely breathtaking,” I say as I stare in awe out of the side of the pod. There were a few other people in our pod on the London eye including a Japanese couple. “すごいね! (Isn”t it awesome!)” I say excitedly to them.15 This is such a different way to see the city. All the hustle and bustle is minuscule. Seeming insignificant in proportion to the scale of the many buildings. Little ant people scurry across streets. Weaving between the matchbox cars, dodging mini bicycles. The sun is beginning to set on the horizon. Casting pink and orange shadows across the wintry sky. Just when I think it couldn”t possibly get any more stunning small flakes of snow begin to fall from the sky.1 “Harry, it”s snowing!” I shriek, jumping up and down like a small child on Christmas morning. Harry laughs and joins me at the side of the pod. We are about three quarters of the way into the ride and I have spent the entire time staring out at the streets of London. I see him glance at his watch in the corner of my eye. “Hey, didn”t that girl say your party thing is at eight?” he asks. Pulling my attention away from the gorgeous landscape.1 “Uhh, yeah. What time is it?” “Quarter to eight.” “Shit,” I curse, “I still have to get the tube back home. Zoe might murder me if I”m late. Wanna tag along? She won”t kill me if I have company.”50 Harry grins, “Sure!”67 As soon as we reach the ground Harry and I rush off to catch the tube back to the apartment. I am already late and Zoe is going to be pissed. I”m supposed to be her “arm candy”. When we arrive back at the apartment everything is rather quiet for a party. I suppose it”s a Christmas party but you”d at least expect some Christmas carols. As we walk into the living room Zoe claps excitedly. “We were just about to play never have I ever! Are you two going to join in?” 2 I glance around the small room where a group of people sat in a circle all staring expectantly at me. All of the furniture has been pushed up against the walls to make room for them to all sit. I glance at Harry who just shrugs. “Uhh, sure.” I say, slipping off my jacket and sitting down beside Joe. Harry sits beside me and the game begins.5 It starts out pretty innocent and funny. “Never have I ever rode a kangaroo.”, “Never have I ever been to Zimbabwe.” and, “Never have I ever cooked a full meal” were just a few.8 But all of a sudden they started getting more personal and the one thing I had prayed would not come up came out of the mouth of a person three places over from me. “Never have I ever self-harmed.”31 My mind flickers to the faded scars on my left wrist as it is gripped by someone. Before I can think I am being hauled to my feet and out of the room. “Don”t think about it, please.” begs the voice of the person who is dragging me as far away from the lounge as possible. “Joe?” I mumble. He shushes me as he leads me to my room and locks the door behind him.4 “I was really hoping no one would say that.” he admits, sitting me down on the bed, “None of them know. I promise.” he says, sitting beside me and stroking my hair.14 We sit there for a couple of minutes in complete silence. To be honest I had stopped thinking about the game and was more concentrated on the fact that I was sitting on my bed in my locked room with Joe Sugg, perhaps the cutest human being I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.7 “What are you thinking about?” I mumble, glancing up at him. I see his cheeks flush slightly. “N-nothing.” he lies, staring at his lap like it is suddenly the most interesting thing in the world.2 Without thinking I rest my hand on his thigh, “Don”t lie to me Joseph.” I mutter, shifting awkwardly to face him.7 He shifts his gaze to meet mine and his breath catches slightly. I chuckle, never have I had the effect on anyone. He always acts so confident but right now he seems as far from it as possible. “Joe?” I breathe, pulling myself up onto my knees to equal his height. “Kiss me?” I ask.28 He gulps and his lips part slightly as I watch him debate his answer. He reaches up and cups my chin in his hand before leaning in and pressing his lips to mine. This is the first time he has kissed me since the incident in the bathroom a couple of weeks ago and it is absolutely amazing. His lips are soft and tender as they move against my own. It ends too soon as there is a knock at the door. “Riley? Joe? Are you guys in there?” It”s Marcus. “Yeah, we”ll be out in a minute.” Joe calls. “Okay.” Marcus says and we listen as he walks back down the hallway. “Riley?” “Yeah?” I look at Joe who is back to looking nervous and flustered. He gently rubs the back of his neck with the palm of his hand before looking me square in the eye. “Will you- erm, would you like to be my girlfriend?” he asks quietly. His eyes flitting back to his lap.64 I wrap my arms around his waist and pull him in tight. “I would love to.” I mumble into his shoulder.14 I really like this shy Joe. He”s even more adorable than usual. “Now, we”d better get back out there before Zoe goes ape-shit.”15 Shit, I left Harry out there in a room full of strangers.” I mumble as I fix my hair.+ “Why do you even hang out with him?” Joe asks, waiting by my door. “He”s nice. He is my best friend here.” I reply, straightening my sweater and turning to Joe. “Is there something wrong with that?” A frown sits upon his face, “It”s obvious he likes you.” he states, “I just don”t like him.” I chuckle, “Joe, do you want me to change my answer? I told you I would be your girlfriend just two minutes ago. I”m not interested in Harry. I promise you.” He lets out a short puff of air and the corners of his mouth raise. “Okay then, lets go back out. Zoe wants you to meet Tyler. Since you”re a fan and all.” he says, reaching for my hand.1 I pull it out of his reach, “Can we just keep this on the down low for now? I think if Harry does like me I should tell him. And Zoe! What will Zoe and Alfie think? And what about Mar-” I am silenced by Joe”s lips on mine.15 “God, I love that I can do that now,” he breathes as he pulls away, leaning his forehead against mine. “Stop stressing. No holding hands. Got it.” 8 He reaches out and opens the door, disappearing into the hallway. I follow closely behind. We enter to find that the game has ended and Harry is sitting awkwardly on the couch with Zoe and Tyler Oakley(!!) talking to him.23 A look of relief spreads over his face when he sees me walk in. I sit on the other couch and Joe sits next to me. “Riley! There you are,” Zoe says when I sit. “Where”d you get off to?” “I had to ask her something.” Joe says and gives her a pointed look. Zoe”s eyes widen and a grin spreads across her face, “Ohhh!!” she says exclaims. “Got it.”5 So Zoe was in on it. “You are even more adorable in person than in video!” Tyler exclaims and everyone cracks up. “Tyler Oakley by the way,” he says, holding out his hand.22 I shake it, “I know. I”m Riley Templeton.” Tyler grins, “Zoe said you are making your own channel. We definitely have to collab before I head back home. I dibs being your first!” “That”s not fair!” Zoe exclaims. Tyler laughs, “What? It”s only fair. I”m going home soon.” “But Joe going home soon t-“2 I look at Joe who is now giving Zoe a death glare. “You”re going home?” I ask quietly. Joe”s face drops as he looks to me, “Shit.” he curses, “I was going to tell you. I swear I was.” “When? As we dropped you off at the station? When you were on the train?” “Wait, am I missing something here?” Harry interrupts. “Shut up.” Joe snaps, “I just haven”t found the right time. And you seemed so happy when I asked you. I couldn”t very well go, “Hey! Wanna go out with me? By the way, I”m going back to Bath on Monday!” Could I?” 36 So much for keeping it quiet. “Monday?” I choke out.1 Harry starts to get up, “I”m just gonna-“1 “Sit the fuck down Harry!” I yell without thinking. “God Joe! Our relationship hasn”t even started yet and we”re already fighting.”83 “I-I”m sorry Riley, I had completely forgotten about it to be honest.” By now my yelling has attracted the attention of the other occupants of the lounge.2 “Maybe you should just forget about me too.” I say, getting up and leaving the room.56 What is the point of us even going out if he isn”t going to be around. Fucking hell. We didn”t even last thirty minutes before fighting. 19 “Ugh!” I grunt as I pull my stupid jersey over my head and throw it to the ground. I just want to punch a wall or something. Anything to get the frustration out.2 Anything.. I storm over to my dresser and yank open the top drawer, digging out the small black and white box and flip it open. I shudder at the familiar feel of the cool metal blade between my fingers. I turn it over and over between my fingers, taking long, deep breaths.84 Am I seriously going to do this? I can”t. I have lasted so long without it. I will be letting myself down if I do. I shuffle from foot to foot trying to make the decision. Just as I start to lower it to my skin I am interrupted by a knock at the door. I jump and the blade slips out of my hand, clanging onto the hardwood floor. I drop to the floor and clumsily clamber for it. Shit, my finger. I gently suck on it as blood begins to surface.2 “Riley?” Joe”s POV “What are you doing?” I ask, crossing the room and kneeling at her side. I gently pull the finger down that she has in her mouth to examine it. “How di-” my eyes flicker to the small pencil sharpener blade lying on the floor in front of her.5 No. No. No! “Fucking hell Riley! Please say you didn”t.” my hands grip onto her forearm and flip it over revealing nothing but faint, old scars. I let out a brief sigh of relief as I pull her into my arms.2 She resists for a moment, refusing my affection. Determined to stay angry at me. Can”t say she doesn”t try but eventually her arms find themselves wrapping around me. Pulling me as close as possible. “I”m so sorry Riley. I should”ve told you.” “I”m sorry too. I overreacted.”39 “You have to promise me you won”t even think about doing that again. Okay? I don”t know what I would do if you did that because of me.” I couldn”t live with myself. She nods which brings me some kind of reassurance but I know that she cannot simply promise me that. It”s an addiction. It”s not something she can guarantee but I hope she will try. “You”re really going home on Monday?” she murmurs. “Yeah, but I promise I will come and to visit on the weekends. And you”re coming to stay at our place for Christmas next week. We can make it work.” I assure her. We can. I feel her smile against me. I can”t see it because her face is nestled in my chest but I can feel it. “We can make it work.” she repeats. “Zoe is completely blaming herself.” I say with a slight chuckle. Even though I know it isn”t entirely her fault she is partly to blame but if I had left it any later things could”ve been much worse. Riley hits me lightly, “Don”t be so insensitive! She”s probably beating herself up about it.” she says, wriggling free of my grip. “I”m just gonna go say bye to Tyler and Harry.”1 “Harry left.” “Shit. I don”t blame him really. I swore at him, didn”t I?” I chuckle under my breath, “You were really fired up. I actually feel kind of sorry for him.”7 “Really? I thought you hated him.” “Well I don”t really like him but I know how I”d feel if I found out that you were going out with him without actually being told.” I admit, standing up and stuffing my hands deep into my pockets. “Aww, so you do have feelings!” she jokes as she pulls her jumper back on. “Ha. Ha.” I reply sarcastically. It”s amazing how her mood can change so drastically in such a short amount of time. “Do you have a sticky plaster? For your finger.” I ask.38 She walks over to the dresser and grabs one. Holding it up, “Got one!” she announces with a laugh. “Well done.” I say sarcastically and hold my hand out for it. “I”m pretty sure I can put a plaster on by myself. I”m not a baby.” she says, a grin set on her face.1 I pout and bat my eyelashes jokingly and she laughs before handing it over. I gently put it on her finger before planting a kiss on it. “Oh look! It”s miraculously healed! You kissed it better.” Gosh. Does she ever stop being sarcastic?11 I laugh. “Doctor Joe to the rescue.”4 She frowns slightly, her forehead creasing. “I think I hurt my lips too..” I crack up, “Could you be any cheesier?” She glowers up at me before a grin spreads across her face, “It”d b-” she cracks up before she even finishes. “Are you seriously laughing at your own joke before saying it?” I exclaim, laughing at her.22 “Just give me a second,” she manages to choke out, attempting to compose herself. “Okay. I was going to say,” she chuckles, “It”d be Gouda you to help me.” she manages to spit out before bursting into fits of laughter.28 My goodness. Is this girl seriously making cheese jokes? What a dork. My dork.5 “Well I can”t deny someone who has resorted to making cheesy cheese jokes, can I?” I say, pulling her close and planting a kiss on her lips.

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