Things in England That Are Absolutely Positively Nothing Like America

I started writing this post with the intention of having it be completed in England, but now I’m in Edinburgh, Scotland, and it still hasn’t been written, so here I go. 

A quick update of my life:

This coming week is my last week studying at Oxford and I CAN’T LEAVE! WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE?!?! The week after I will be spending time in Dublin, Galway, and Paris before returning home to the states. I currently just arrived in Scotland, and after taking a really cool walking tour of the city (which is beautiful by the way–shout out to Dave our awesome tour guide!) I decided I should probably edit my Medieval Lit. paper that’s due tomorrow.

Except I got about two hours of sleep last night and now I’m dying. My screen is becoming very unfocused; or maybe that part’s my eyes. 

Well, anyhoot, I thought I should at least make this post while I’m still in Europe. These things aren’t supposed to be all negatives or all positives, just stuff that I randomly realized about London/Europe when I came over. 

Oh, Oh, also–before I start–the pub where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry P novels is here in Edinburgh and so is the graveyard where she “borrowed” many of the names for her characters, including the ever-ominous Tom Riddle. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) also wrote here at one point in time. 

Eeek! *Squeal of excitement*

1) What happened to all of the trash cans? They just don’t exist in the UK. I have found this is true in both England and Scotland, but unlike the US where there is LITERALLY a trash can on every corner, there are hardly any waste bins here. You have to go on the hunt for those suckers. And you would think this would lead to more littering, right? Wrong! They zamboni their sidewalks. No, really. Those things that clean the ice at ice rinks? Yeah, they drive those things around at all times of the day and night to clean the sidewalks. There really isn’t much trash anywhere. 

Which begs the question: where is everyone throwing away their garbage????

2) People are very quiet in public. Unlike Americans who can’t wait to talk over one another (and I think we’ve startled our British professor more than once–we’re quite boisterous in class. Not obnoxious, just opinionated. There’s a difference.) You can walk down to the London underground and everything is silence–so silent you could read a heavy novel or textbook if you wanted to and actually comprehend the words! Magic.

3) Everything closes at 6 o’clock at night (18:00 here). Except the pubs. Those close at midnight. Whaaat??? In what world does every store close at 6 in the evening? It boggled my mind when I first arrives and it continues to do that to this day. I’m so used to having everything stay open until 8 at the bare minimum. 

4) Drinking is something you do to socialize, not to get drunk. It is not the drinking culture of any of the countries within the United Kingdom to go out and get smashed. Do people do that? Of course. But that isn’t typically why people go out. Most people go out to a pub with friends or co-workers after work to relax, have a pint, and catch up. Are there clubs? Absolutely, England isn’t some alien planet (though sometimes I wonder… How can everyone really be that pretty. And I’m not kidding. I was going to make this it’s own separate number–

5) London breeds pretty. I don’t know what it is, but beautifully dressed men and women who look so proper and elegant–yeah, they swarm here. 

Back to #4: my point is that, yes, while England does have a club scene (though it is fairly mild compared to the ones in America (you get way more space to yourself because people invade your personal space far less often)), it is more of a stress reliever than a “let’s go get drunk!” kind of party-time. I’ll be honest, I’ve never really understood that concept anyway. Oh, so I’m not cool? Well excuse me if I want to remember what I did last night! 

6) Air conditioning. The UK doesn’t have it. And it has recently been in the high 80’s here (that’s in Fahrenheit, sorry but I still don’t really understand Celsius). I’m dying a little bit every day. Here in Scotland it’s more comfortable because we’re right next to the ocean so the breeze is really nice. In Oxford, England–in the middle of the country–it’s really, REALLY H.O.T. 

Don’t get me wrong, this lack of AC totally makes sense. We’re in the middle of a freak heat wave, something peculiar for England, so typically year-round air conditioning is not needed, you just have to open a window. 

But. It’s. So. Hot. Now.

7) Finally, starches. Everything is a starch. Now, I’m sure for those living here they are better equipped for both eating starchier food, and knowing where to go for non-starches. But as for me, I’m getting most of my meals from the college I’m living in and breakfast, lunch, and dinner happen to be VERY carb and starch heavy. I am not used to this whatsoever because it’s something that my mother has always tried to avoid when cooking meals for my family, and besides, I love my green vegetables. 

But it is really hard when my options for lunch and dinner are 3 types of meet (usually red meat), french fries, cauliflower, corn, or some second form of potato. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those things, but not one of them is green. Not even a little bit. 

I can feel my body beginning to expand. I’m going to come home looking like Violet Beauregard from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: all blown up like a blueberry! I only wish I got to experience the magic of that super cool gum instead of getting chubs the old-fashioned way :( 

Okay, that’s the end of this post, I have to run to dinner! I will try to post more frequently in the next week, but it’s the last week of class and I have something going on every day, so I’m sure how much good I’m going to be able to make on that promise. 

Cheers!

Mel

 

Christ Church College and Harry Potter

There is currently a gnat flying confusedly in a small square around my room. He’s been following this same path for about an hour now, and a second gnat friend just came to join him… Now they’re flying in a couple square. How cute. 

Now if you could both just please find your way out of my room. Two windows are open, there’s plenty of space. 

In other news, today my Oxford group visited Christ Church College, one of the many under the title of Oxford University. This one houses several hallways (including the Great Hall) which the Harry Potter sets were based specifically off of. It’s one of the biggest, oldest, and wealthiest of the colleges here and is pretty elite as far as the students it accepts. All though, I don’t think you can get any more elite than All Souls College which accepts only graduates and higher ranked academics doing research. They are selected (for the most part) from the highest ranking students within Oxford, and you do not apply. They pick you. 

Oh. Snap. 

Here are some pictures from Christ Church. A few of them involve Harry Potter in some way. I wonder if you can guess the scenes. (I mean, it doesn’t really matter, I’ll just end up telling you anyway.) 

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This is what the Great Hall was based off of on some level

 

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Here is where charms class was held. Wingardium Leviosa and all that jazz! 

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I’m not sure if you can tell from my poor picture-taking ability, but this is the hallway that they pass through pretty often–the one where McGonagall stands off to the side and is always telling Ron and Harry to get to class. I know that’s a super vague description, but I’m not a super huge Harry Potter buff, so that’s the best I can do as far as description. 

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This doesn’t have to do with Harry Potter, but I thought these stained-glass windows were super amazing. They are all over the church, and with the exception of a few that were redone in a more modern style, most of these are still standing from the building’s foundation in the–and this might be wrong, my date remembering ability is a little sketchy–the 12th century? If not, it was the 13th. Either way: it was a REALLY FREAKING LONG TIME AGO! The paint itself has faded over the years, making the newer additions (windows they had to fix) actually look a little gaudy in comparison).

My Medieval World professor (who is the medievalist here at Brasenose College) is the one who toured us around Oxford today, pointing out all of the buildings and locations that applied to all things medieval (and to my class, which is really cool too!)

He will be taking us to London next week to further the medieval tour, and we will be visiting the Tower of London and the torture museum there, so expect pictures and cool stories :)

Side note: A massive protest for the freedom of Palestine just passed my college; I could hear them chanting even though I’m down an alley off of the main road. That’s something I’ve noticed about England: they love to protest. I find it fascinating, because it’s not something I often see in the States (at least not where I’m from) and certainly nothing that large and/or organized. Usually what I see in the U.S. is just silent marching. This is much more exciting. 

Okay, that’s it for this post I think. I will be continuing to provide updates and pictures, though my schedule is kind of a “whenever I get a chance to type it out” thing right now. Hopefully in the next couple of days I will also be able to provide the next chapter of the fanfiction for those who are interested. 

Kay, Bye!!!

Mel

 

London Called, It’s Scarf Season

I would like to start off this post with a pr-story admission of how dumb I am. I know I have said this before, you know, that common sense really isn’t my forte. But I thought I would just restate it before I begin; so we’re all clear. Not the reddest apple in the barrel sometimes. 

P.S. I would also like to apologize for the fact that this post was supposed to come with pictures, but I am having a super hard time getting them transferred to my computer :( Pictures will come, though! Fear ye not, they are on their way! (Just not exactly in this post… Except for the pictures I found on the internet in order to prove my point(s).)

We voyaged to London yesterday as a kind of “field trip” (if a bunch of 20-somethings can have a field trip), and, though exhausting, it was awesome. This was my first time in London–as for many people in my study abroad program–so of course we had to go watch the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace. 

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Let me just say: I am so glad I am not one of those guards. I have no patience, as many of you might know, and thus would literally start swatting at tourists with my gun/bayonet if given the opportunity. And they want those guards to stand straight, emotionless, and poised? No, I would be fired. If that’s even something that can be done. But since I’m not an English citizen and I’m a female, this is all purely speculation. Obviously–duh, what am I writing? 

Plus, I could never ever, never ever, ever never pull off that hat. 

Swag.

(This photo is the only one I didn’t take, so if it looks impressive compared to the others, that’s probably because it is. Hehe.)

After this we ventured off to Westminster Cathedral which was absolutely stunning, and I may have um, *cough*, teared up a little bit in Poet’s Corner. It’s near the end of the Cathedral (away from the space used for service and where weddings, funerals, and coronations are held. Some of England’s most influential authors are either buried there or have plaques commemorating their achievements; there were even names from other countries–some American–that are honored there. T.S. Eliot, Lewis Carroll, Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and the Brontë sisters are some of the names of the outstanding authors that are both buried and acknowledged there. It was amazing! 

20140710_150855 20140710_145945 20140710_150458 Sorry, not pictures could be taken inside the cathedral, but here are some of the outside!

It was then lunchtime, and we had originally planned on grabbing some sandwiches and sitting out on the steps of the National (Art) Gallery, but it was raining and the gallery was closed. Why was it closed? Because of the protest!!! And I’m not talking about your basic picketing protest; there were hundreds of people there in an organized rally against education and budget cuts. This all happened in Trafalgar Square right outside of the museum and we watched this for a short while as we ate our sandwiches in the rain. I’ll be honest, it was kind of depressing. The rain thing, not the protest. 

We then had the option of visiting another cathedral and the Tate Museum (art), but a small group of us decided to get dinner and sit down instead. A few hours later we attended the Globe; a place modeled after the one where Shakespeare plays were originally performed, only that building burned down in the 17th or 18th century, and so this new one stands (as close as possible to the true blueprints) where the old one used to. 

We were groundlings which meant that we stood. All three hours of the play. After an already eight hour day of doing nothing but standing and walking around. I’m going to be honest with you. It was truly a struggle. The play, however, was beyond fantastic! We saw Titus Andronicus which was well-acted, hilarious at times, and full of gore. There were awesome special effects where blood spurted from slit throats and hands were cut off (though, sadly, the audience did not actually get splashed. Well, except those groundlings standing directly in front of the stage who got splashed with wine a few times as part of the comic relief).  

In order to lighten the mood at the end of the play (because the play itself is pretty heavy and depressing–hint: everyone dies–almost), the cast did a jig to music performed by the live band. It gave me just enough energy to make it back to the bus station before we all collapsed in exhaustion! 

So, yeah, that was my day yesterday. My brain is still not working 100% and I have a paper to go write, so I’ll be honest and tell you that I’m probably not going to edit this. If there are mistakes I’m really sorry. 

I’m also not a huge fan of blog posts like this, only because I really hate the notion that I might be coming off as braggy. A lot of people from home asked me to post, though, so I feel some obligation to keep those folks updated. Let me know if this came across to you weird and maybe I’ll try a different format in the future. One with WAY more pictures as soon as I can get this freaking camera to work! 

P.P.S. I figured out how to make the pictures work, so please disregard anything I said previously that may contradict that. Kay, cool.

Mel

 

P.P.P.S. The title and intro of this post was because it was freezing in London yesterday and I did not dress appropriately. I really need to make the weather forecast my friend, but I’m not that smart. And for some reason I couldn’t find a scarf anywhere when I really needed one on the street by the Globe Theater. Now I see them everywhere. They haunt me.

 

In a State of Denial: Chapters 4 & 5

As aforementioned, my posting schedule isn’t very glorious, but here are the next chapters in Rupee’s requested fanfiction. Enjoy :) (And once again, don’t judge me. I tried. It was weird.)

Mel

~~~~~

FOUR

 

FIFA reruns are playing on the television and you hear the crowd groan as the Netherlands make the winning goal against Mexico. Niall sits sprawled out on his bed which is unkempt from the few hours of sleep he had been able to get.

After dropping you off Paul had quickly mumbled something about working with the Boston Police Department and needing to be present at a meeting, leaving you alone with Niall and an immensely uncomfortable silence.

Every once in a while a voice emerges outside of the door, a member of security maybe or an agitated guest shocked at the sudden surprise of fifteen intimidating gentlemen lining their hallway. Then the silence comes back and only the voices on the television—reviews of plays made in the most recent soccer games—can be heard.

You sigh, positioning yourself by the wall near the door. At least here you are somewhat shielded from the blonde boys’ eyesight. Not that it’s important, you remind yourself, but you are here to observe and protect, not to…

To what? Could you have spewed a more cliché line? “Observe and protect.” Even your own thoughts are annoying you now.

“You don’t have to just stand there,” he says. You turn your head to peak around the corner. He is still lying flat on his bed, but his head is angled so that he can see you over the mound of pillows beside him.

“It’s my job to stand here,” you respond and he shrugs into his sheets, eyes retreating to the television screen. He must only be half-watching because his gaze every so often wanders to you; like he can’t quite make you out.

After about fifteen minutes of this you sigh loudly, turning so that you are facing him, arms crossed over your chest. “Why did you ask for me to be your guard?”

Niall slowly moves into a seated position, his body stretching forward so that his feet are pressed against the floor, elbows leaning against his knees. “I don’t know.”

Your eyes narrow and you take another step forward. “Then why couldn’t anyone else have babysat you?”

Jaw muscles twitch beneath his skin and he presses the backs of his thumbs to his mouth, sighing. “I didn’t want anyone else.” You are about to ask again what his motive was for requesting you, but he interrupts you. “You’re interesting.”

“I’m…interesting…” The words are absurd. You’ve been working with One Direction for almost two months now, but your interactions with the boys have been extremely limited. He had barely seen you let alone had time to think you were interesting. “What?”

His mouth curls up into a half smile. “You’re always so serious.”

You try to keep from laughing out loud. “I’m a bodyguard. It’s kind of the job.”

“Hm.”

That’s it, that’s all he says, and you can feel your fingers itching to ball into a fist. Maybe it is the lack of sleep or the fact that you have little-to-no patience on a good day, but you find yourself growing more and more irritated at Niall’s lack of explanation.

“What’s your favorite color?” he says suddenly.

You scoff. “You must be joking.”

“I have to get to know you somehow, right?” He bites down on his lower lip, probably to suppress the smile you can see rising to the surface of his face. “We’ll start with an easy question.”

This isn’t going to end quickly; you’re not sure how you know, you just do, and you lean your head back against the wall, sighing. “What’s yours?”

“Green. Now you.”

“Black.”

His eyebrows narrow, pulling together. “Black is not a color.”

“Sure it is.”

He crosses his arms. “No it’s not.”

You let out a breath in exasperation. If he isn’t going to take your answer seriously then why ask?

“Fine, fine, fine. What’s your favorite movie?”

Your fingers tap against your dark jeans, drilling a bruise into your thigh. “I don’t really have one. I like action comedies.”

“Like Titanic?”

You blink, momentarily silenced. “You’re not serious, right?”

He chuckles; it’s a throaty sound and you can’t help but find it rather pleasant, though you would never admit it to him or anyone else. You feel the concerned expression begin to coat your face. “Is that your favorite movie—Titanic?”

“No, I’m not much into the whole ‘everyone dies at the end’ kind of ending.”

“So that’s what turns you off by that movie? Not the fact that a disaster was turned into a fantasized romance plot?”

“Yes, but Kate Winslet is in that movie, and she’s—” He pauses and you lift an eyebrow. “Fit,” he says quickly.

You have no idea what that means and an obvious frown etches itself into your face. “Leonardo’s not so bad either, but it’s not going to make me change my mind.”

Suddenly he’s on his feet and across the room, standing so close to you that it forces you to look up and meet his eyes. The movement startles you and you find yourself struggling to wrap your mind around what is happening.

A sudden noise—a muffled voice—calls out in the hallway causing you to jump, and you take a step forward in surprise, bumping into Niall’s strong shoulders. His hands come up, fingers gripping your arms in support, and you feel the heat of his body sink through the fabric of your thin jacket.

“Careful,” he murmurs. His voice is deeper than before, thick, and feelings of dread and anticipation tie knots in your stomach.

Oh no. No, no, no. This is not happening.

 

 

FIVE

 

“What did you become a bodyguard for?” Niall’s voice tears you from your thoughts and you flinch.

“I, uh…,” you mumble.

Niall doesn’t move back to give you space—he doesn’t move at all—and judging from the way his shoulders are slumped forward toward you, like a wall between you and the rest of the room, it doesn’t look like he intends to. “So, why did you do it?”

You bite down on your lip and something in his face changes, his eyes dropping down to your mouth, watching your every movement. The blonde in his hair is highlighted by the lights in the ceiling, and it makes his face look softer.

“I’ll tell you if you back up.” The words are hard to get out and you’re not quite sure why.

“Why?”

“Because this is immensely inappropriate.”

“No.” He smiles. “This is immensely inappropriate.”

His head dips down just far enough so that his lips brush up against yours. They’re soft, softer than you would have thought, and your heart nearly stops in your chest.

“No,” you mumble against his lips as they shape around yours, soft kisses pulling you in to even deeper ones. You lift your hands to his shoulders, pushing against him to make him step back but he doesn’t.

Niall’s movements are slow, deliberate, and you back up until you feel the rough wallpaper press up against you.

“Niall, you’re tired. Neither one of us got much sleep last night, and you—you really shouldn’t—”

He lifts a hand up, the tips of his fingers trailing over the edge of your hair, brushing softly against the shell of your ear. Finally his palm comes to rest against your cheek as he lowers his head to close the space between you.

That look—the one from the other night in the recording studio—is back; his eyes dark, watching you with such intensity that it is making it difficult for your breath to escape your lungs. “Do you trust me?” he breathes, and you can feel the heat from his body brush up against you; warm breath ghosting over the bridge of your nose.

Honestly, you don’t know. You’re his bodyguard, this is explicitly against your contract, and you hardly know him. Not that you wouldn’t like to get to know him.

He must take your silence as some form of confirmation, because the edges of his lips curl up into a partial smile, the vivid blue of his eyes such a dazzling contrast to your dark ones.

He kisses you again and this one is slow, gentle, as if he’s not quite sure of himself or you, but it quickly turns into something more urgent. His tongue brushes against your lower lip, a request, and you allow him to take full control of the kiss as his tongue rolls over yours.

The fingers of one hand lock onto the fabric of his gray t-shirt as you tug yourself forward, your other hand burying itself in his thick, blonde hair. The breath is knocked almost completely from your lungs as the weight of his body forces you up against the wall until there is no longer room for you to move around him.

Your thoughts become muddled—the dangerous repercussions of your actions and the delicate warmth of his skin twist together—but you know you made your choice the moment you stopped trying to push him away, and you’re too distracted right now to think about whether it was the right one.

Niall’s mouth continues to press up against yours, parting only to trail soft kisses down the outline of your jaw before dipping even lower as he brushes his feather-light lips along the soft skin of your neck.

His grip on your waist is tight, bruising, like he’s afraid you’ll pull away if he does not hold you tight enough, and for a moment you think maybe you will, but it’s not like you have any room to move anyway.

“Niall—Niall stop,” you say when you’re finally able to pull away, breathing hard.

Thankfully, the flood of kisses relents, but he does not move. His chest, rising and falling rapidly, is pressed tightly up against yours as he buries his face in your hair.

“This can’t happen ever again,” you say slowly, pressing your lips tightly together. They still taste like him, sweet. There’s a tray with an empty tea cup sitting near the door. He probably put honey in it.

“Mmm.” You can feel him nodding into your shoulder, and this time when you push against him he actually moves back. The circles under his eyes have grown deeper, you notice, averting your gaze from his, and a feeling of guilt starts to creep into your chest.

You edge sideways toward the door and out of the confines of his arms, stopping only when there is at least three feet between you and enough spare oxygen that you can finally think clearly. You feel a blush begin to creep up your neck and it quickly claims the space on top of your cheekbones.

“Why—?” There’s a way to finish that question, to fill it in with one of the hounding thoughts flying through your head, but you can’t seem to come up with the words to do it.
He shrugs, also refusing to meet your eyes, and though he won’t turn and look at you, you see his cheeks are a vivid pink. “I don’t know…I just…” His thought fades out in a mumble and for the first time it occurs to you that he may be just as surprised as you are.

Tense silence fills the space between you, broken only by the roar of cheers coming from the television and a sudden heart-stopping screech as the fire alarm begins to wail.

Don’t Be an Embarrassing Tourist!

After having my first full night’s sleep since arriving in England yesterday morning, I feel I am finally capable of filling you guys in on all of the crazy things that have occurred! 

So far England has consisted of tons of fabulous architecture, a lot of walking, and some embarrassing tourist-like actions on my part. 

Here’s a tip for anyone planning to spend a significant amount of time in a foreign country: learn how to count their change. It sounds rudimentary and incredibly insignificant, but you do not want to be the person who just stares at the guy behind the register when he would like to know if you have exact change.

I’ve also experienced larger crowds here due to tourism than I have anywhere else in my life. (Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but it’s still a lot of people). You have to understand, Detroit, Michigan does not have tourists, so this is different for me.

Yesterday was Alice’s Day; a holiday (kind of) that is celebrated by many of the Oxford patrons–and a bazillion tourists–about Lewis Carroll’s work Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, which he wrote during his time at Oxford. It was adorable; with people walking around like the Mad Hatter, March Hare, and Alice. They had tea on the lawn of the church next to my college, and thousands of people came to spend the day in Oxford. 

 According to my instructor, this is the busiest time for Oxford as far as tourism goes, and I’ve learned this in more ways than one. I have a room facing out from Brasenose College toward the road; this means that I have a lovely view of the church and grounds that are outside of my college. This ALSO means that it can get very noisy during the day as tourists pass through the small commons in waves. 

That church that I was talking about a second ago is a huge stop for tour groups. I have heard the exact same C.S. Lewis spiel given about 4 times today alone. Normally I wouldn’t find this bothersome seeing as how I do not plan to be in my room for much of the time, but every once in a while at night a drunk fellow or two will pass by screaming pub songs. 

I need to learn some. Maybe then I can sing along :)

Also, DO NOT walk on the grass. That’s a super huge big no-no (unless, you know, you want to offend the world). Grass: no walking. Not on the university grounds, at least. 

The other huge difference I noticed between England and the U.S. goes as follows: 

In England, bathrooms, lavatories, and showers are three completely different things (in three completely different rooms). Where in the United States saying “I’m going to the bathroom” means going to the same place as “I’m going to take a shower” or (if you’re really blunt) “I’m going to pee”, in England these three things take place in three separate locations. This, of course, cannot apply to every single restroom in all of England since I have not been to every single one, but I was completely turned around after my sleepless night on the plane when I walked into the shower room and could not find toilets for the life of me!

Okay, that’s it for right now. The next chapter(s) of the fanfiction will be coming either later tonight or tomorrow (English time). Sorry if this post was kind of abrupt but I’ve written it like three times because of wi-fi interference and I’m about to pull me hair out. Plus I need to start on my homework :)

Later gators,

Mel

 

Mini Post About Nothing #21: It’s My Blog Birthday!

I’m currently writing this from the Boston airport as I wait for my connection to London.  I just received a text alert from WordPress that it’s my blogaversary (is that spelled wrong? Yeah, I think it is.)

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me since the creation of this blog two years ago!!!

To all of you lovely readers, followers, visitors, and the like: you are all super amazing and I love you all! It would be kind of awkward to only write for myself :) I’m so glad you chose to stop by my blog even if it is only for a short jaunt!

If I can write one thing that helps you or amuses you in a world that isn’t always so fun then I think I’ve done my job. This coming year will hopefully allow me to share with you some new writings (starting with this fanfic *wince*).

Thanks again for reading and I’ll speak with all of you lovlies sometime tomorrow after my flight!

And YES that also means YOU stranger that has never been to this blogsite before :)

Wish me safe flying! (But actually because there is a hurricane coming this way. But of course there’s a freaking hurricane!)

Mel

In a State of Denial: Chapters 2 & 3

As promised here are the next chapters. Because I will be travelling between now and Saturday, I have included Friday’s chapter in with today’s! I hope you enjoy. Also, as stated before Chapter One, if I have made any mistakes regarding One Direction facts please let me know! I’ll fix them :)

Mel

~~~~~

 TWO

 

The next morning begins with a breach of security.

Your phone blares next to your head and you grimace, turning over in your undersized bunk and tugging the thin comforter forward until it nearly laps over your ears.

But not quite.

With an effort that is like climbing out of quick sand, you force your body to fight against the restraints of the sheets clinging to your body. You reach for your phone which sits inside a pouch strapped to the railing of your second-level bunk bed (who knew hotels even had those?) You are one of only three female guards, so you have the small room nearly to yourself. Almost. Stifled grumblings come from the bed beneath you as the ringing persists and you whisper apologies.

“Hello,” you croak into the speaker, wincing at the sound of your own voice.

“Wake up, we have a problem.” It’s Paul. You pull the phone away from your face just long enough to glance at the screen. 5:04 a.m.

That’s fine, who needs sleep?

“You hear me?” he demands, his deep voice ricocheting through the phone wire, causing feedback to blare in your ear.

“Yep. A problem. We have one. What is it?” You yawn, pulling yourself into a seated position. One of the other female guards is currently on the nightshift, however Elaina—the oldest female member of the security team—got back only a few hours before you did. As the youngest female (and currently the youngest member of the security team at the ripe old age of 20—you’re dad is a cop; it runs in the family) you probably shouldn’t be complaining.

Still, seven hours of sleep is better than four, you think bitterly.

“We caught a fan attempting to break into the boys’ bus a few minutes ago. Judging from her response when we questioned her, there are more people in the hotel. They know room numbers and it sounds like they may have a key card to one of the rooms, though she could have been lying.”

You sit up a little straighter, mind suddenly becoming focused. “Which room?”

“401.”

Niall’s room.

“I have security lining the hallway,” Paul continues, his voice is tainted with fatigue, and it occurs to you that he’s had even less sleep than you—possibly none at all.

“So, what, we need to search the building? Is that even allowed? The other guests—”

“No we’re not,” he says in answer to your question. “We are limited to the floor the boys are on and that’s it. We can’t prove that any of these people intend harm, so there really is nothing we can do at this point.”

Paul is clearly irritated, you can tell by the sharpness of his tone, the short way he chops off the end of every word. You haven’t been working with him for long, but it isn’t hard to tell that he severely dislikes situations that are out of his control. Something you both have in common.

“So why are you calling me?” you ask. If you didn’t have the hotel’s permission to search for the other so-called fan-felons then what was the purpose of waking you up so early? The thought makes you even crankier, and you dig your fingernails into the palm of your hand as you wait for his response. If it’s something stupid, you are going to lose your mind. Sleep is already a rarity. Being woken at five in the morning for some useless story that can wait until dawn is unforgivable.

“I’ve decided to place a security member in each of the boys’ rooms just in case, that way I know for sure they’re not leaving and no one is coming in.”

“And you’re calling me for…what reason? To say ‘hey’?”

“It’s five a.m. and I’m not in the mood for jokes.” Paul’s voice is gruff and you feel slightly bad for your own shortness; but only a little. “You will be stationed inside room 401. Be dressed and ready in five minutes.”

“Wait, you’re putting me inside the room? Why?!”

“Niall’s request.”

 

 THREE

 

 “Don’t you think this is a little inappropriate?” you ask as Paul gestures for you to follow him down the hall. It’s still too early and none of the other guests have begun to stir. (Which is good for you because you had only just rolled out of bed, tossed on your uniform—black on top and bottom—and called it quits. You probably look like ten piles of crap.)

He turns suddenly, blocking you from moving forward. He’s large, his broad shoulders hovering at your eye line; you are tall, but he is that much taller. “Do I have a reason to be concerned?”
Cold chills run up your arms and you’re relieved that you chose to put on a dark jacket along with your other clothes. At least he won’t see the goose bumps this way.

“Of course not,” you say, and you mean it. “But if you were right about those other fans being in the hotel—if they do have key—wouldn’t a female guard create, I don’t know, a scandal?”
He frowns. “I think the bigger scandal would be that we are so inept at our jobs we allowed fans to break into the boys’ rooms. After that a female guard is nothing.”

You nod. Touché.

~~~~~

            Room 401 is located at the very far end of the hallway next to a window with a view of downtown Boston: skyscrapers, cars, concrete jungle—not that you can see any of it in the five a.m. darkness. It is also directly across the hall from the vending machine room, and you can see Harry jabbing at the buttons on the candy machine, mumbling curses as it refuses to deliver him his—you glance over his shoulder at the machine—

“Sour Patch Kids, huh? Good choice.”

He starts, his eyes flashing to you as Paul grumbles something in annoyance behind you. The atmosphere is instantly uncomfortable; after all, it’s not like you have ever had a reason to talk with him. You mostly work with the other security members, once in a while guarding the boys when all hands are needed, but even then it isn’t as if you have a relationship with them. You are a temporary guard in charge of making sure traveling from one location to another goes smoothly. Paul is the one that works with the boys.

You clear your throat, jamming a foot into the side of the black machine and avoiding the glass face; the last thing you need is a bunch of shattered glass and an injured One Direction member before the show tonight. The candy slowly begins to climb its decent before landing in the tray at the bottom.

Harry looks at you, one eyebrow cocked, and you nod silently before stepping away. Yes, you are all about keeping it cool. Not.

Paul is already waiting outside of room 401 and you meet his eyes as they wander between you and the British boy behind you. They are heavily lidded, underlined by dark circles, and you wonder how he’s still managed to remain on his feet.

Harry must have the same thought because he passes the small pouch in front of Paul’s nose. “Want one?” he asks.

The bigger man shakes his head but his eyes seem a little less strained as he grabs hold of the Harry’s shoulder, steering him in the direction of his room. “I don’t want you boys coming out yet, we still don’t know…” He trails off and Harry bobs his head up and down in understanding.

“I’ll just watch some cartoons or something.” His eyes land on you again as if it is finally occurring to him that it’s strange to find you at this end of the hallway. “What are you doing?”

Behind you the hotel room door opens silently and you to jump when a deep voice laced with exhaustion says, “She’s here to see me.”

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