My sister and I always joked in high school that we'd marry someone famous. We were very specific about it too. It was going to be Luke Hemmings of 5 Seconds of Summer for me while she got Ashton Irwin of the same band. It was always in jest; we knew we'd never get to actually meet them, heaven forbid marry them. They were in Australia anyways and my sister and I were stuck away in Iowa in a whole different country thousands of miles and an ocean away! When I went off to college we still joked that it would happen, it was fun and we knew the truth; we never expected anything major. Even when we heard that 5SOS would be having an American tour and one of the local radio stations had a drawing for two front row VIP tickets to their LA concert, backstage passes, ins to the meet and greet, and a day to spend with them. I entered my name a few times, but didn't get my hopes up. I almost forgot about it, to be honest. But when I got a phone call from the head DJ telling me I'd won, I'd be lying if I said I didn't freak out. I'll never forget that day. That day was when my life changed and I knew it would never be normal again. No matter how hard I tried.
"Lana!" My sister ran into my room and jumped on my half-sleeping figure excitedly. "Lana, are you awake?" I groaned as she took my face in her hands and shook it, making me more annoyed than I already was with being woken up.
"Amorra," I said groggily, "if you don't get off me right now I swear I will throw you off this bed and into the wall." She quickly hopped to the floor on her own and I pulled the covers up over my head.
"Come on, Lana," my sister whined. "I'm freaking out! Our plane leaves in less than two hours and then we'll be on our way to Los Angeles! LA! California! I'll finally be able to leave this tiny town and see something other than cornfields when I wake up in the morning." She kept rambling on and on and I eventually decided to just get up. I threw the blankets down and fixed Amorra with an icy glare.
"Only because I am fully awake now," I say coldly, "will you please get out so I can change and we can get ready to go to the airport?" Amorra squeals and hugs me hurriedly before running out of the room and shutting my door. I quickly pick out something comfortable enough to wear for the long flight but doesn't make me look like too much of a hobo.
I walk upstairs from the basement of my childhood home to eat something before we leave to find Amorra sitting at the counter munching away happily on some cereal, and half of a banana next to her bowl.
"Are you going to yell at me some more, Lana?" she questions with her mouth full.
"Only if you keep eating really gross like that." She smiles at me and I roll my eyes at her, pouring my own bowl of Cheerios and swiping the rest of her banana to cut up in my cereal. She glares at me but can't hold the stare and laughs at herself. I smile and continue to make my breakfast.
"Glad to see that you're not cranky anymore." I pull the now empty spoon from my mouth and give her a look that she returns with the same type of expression. I laugh and we continue eating in silence. After we're both done, we go back downstairs to get all our luggage together. When I found out I had won the tickets I decided that instead of just having a few days for a vacation, and because Amorra had just graduated high school, that we'd take a few weeks off and spend it together in LA. So to say that we had a lot of luggage was an understatement.
"Do you girls have everything?" I hear my mother's voice as I zip my second suitcase shut and fling my duffel bag over my shoulder. She peeks her head around the corner to my room and I smile at her while trying to grab everything at once. "Let me help you, Lana," she says while laughing at the same time. I gratefully hand her a suitcase and we struggle together trying to carry the heavy loads up the stairs to the living room.
The next 40 minutes are spent making sure everything is together and put into the family SUV before speeding down the highway to the airport. Once there it seems to take forever to check our bags and we finally make it to the point where Amorra and I have to go on alone.
"This is it, Mom." I turn back to the rest of the family and see that she has tears in her eyes. "Mom..." She waves me off and smiles, wiping her eyes.
"Oh, don't start. My girls are going to Los Angeles together for three weeks! I'm allowed to get emotional." I laugh and pull her in for a hug. "Just promise me that you'll keep each other safe," she says in a very serious tone. I smile and pull back, keeping my hands on her shoulders. "Just promise me, Lana." I nod my head and move on to say goodbye to everyone else. After a seemingly long 10 minutes, Amorra and I wave our last goodbyes to everybody and head towards our gate, which was now boarding. We link our arms together as we walk through the tunnel to the plane and I can't take the goofy smile off my face.
"Amorra, guess what?" She turns to look at me and her smile is just as big. "In five and a half hours we're going to meet Ashton and Luke." She squeals and does a little jump while keeping our arms linked together.
"I know! I'm trying so hard to keep it together right now, you don't even know," she says and we skip the rest of the way. We find our seats quickly and as soon as the plane takes off, we get out my laptop to listen to some music. After I start it up, I saw my message light flashing on my phone so I check it out. It was from an unknown person with the longest phone number I had ever seen. I open it cautiously, not knowing what to think about it.
'To Lana Alicea: 'This is the tour manager for 5 Seconds of Summer. We are hoping that you get this message in enough time that this is possible. The boys would like you to Skype them while you're on the plane so they can get to know you before the concerts and day out with them. Please message the following number when you're ready to see them and then they will help you set up their Skype contact information. Enjoy your flight and try not to freak out too much, remember that there are other people on the plane with you! =)'
I sit trying not to freak out and I think Amorra tries to say something to me because next thing I knew she's shaking me and I look at her in confusion.
"What?" I ask her.
"You were completely zoned out and you dropped your phone. Was it a mean text or something?" I laugh and shake my head while picking up my phone from the tray.
"It wasn't a mean text, it was from the manager of 5SOS." Her eyes go wide and I nod in agreement. "They said the boys want to get to know us before we see them so we're supposed to Skype them from the plane." She takes a huge breath and I slap my hand over her mouth while she screams excitedly. "Calm down!" Her screams stop and I remove my hand. "There are other people on this plane, you know. We can't freak out like we did at home." She nods and whisper screams, making me laugh.
"When?" The simple question makes me swallow nervously and I respond with excitement.
"I have to text the number management sent me and then we'll set up their Skype contact stuff." She nods her head, signaling me to text the number, which is probably one of the boys.
'From Lana Alicea: 'Hey! This is Lana Alicea; management told me you guys wanted to Skype while we were on the plane and to tell you when we were able to do that. So, yeah, that's it.'
Amorra reads the message and laughs at my awkward ending. I send it and we wait in anticipation for a response. It's still really early, only about 7 am, so that means it was about 5 am in LA where they were.
"I hope they're awake, Amorra," I say after a few moments. She nods her head and then my phone dings with a new message. I jump in excitement and fumble to open the text to see a response from the one and only Ashton Irwin.
'To Lana Alicea: 'OMG!!!! I didn't actually think you'd want to talk to us on the plane. I kind of thought you'd like sleep the whole time or something. Oh, this is Ashton btw...' he went on to explain what we needed to do and I messaged him back telling him I'd open Skype on the laptop we had with us and call him in 5 minutes. I opened the program and typed in his name, inviting him to be friends with me and he accepted right afterwards.
"Alright Amorra, how do I look?" She moved a few pieces of hair around in the messy bun I put up this morning and gave me a thumbs up. I fixed her part and a bit of smudged mascara from under her eye and then took a deep breath. It was now or never. I clicked the video call button and we didn't have to wait long at all before they answered and we were greeted by our celebrity crushes for the last 5 years and the best band in the world. 'Please don't fangirl too hard' I tell myself and put a smile on my face as they speak.
"Lana!" They say my name in unison, and I have to say it sounds pretty gosh darn cute with their accents. Amorra and I laugh at their big smiles and they all scoot closer to the screen with surprised faces.
"Okay, who's Lana?" Ashton asks, confused.
"Yeah, you guys are like twins! How will we tell you apart?" Amorra and I laugh again at Calum's comment and I can feel my face heat up as I blush, which happens whenever I'm nervous.
"I'm Lana guys," I say while waving. They all wave back at me and I motion to Amorra. "This is my younger sister, Amorra. She and I have been fans since your EPs came out. We've been wanting to meet you forever and now that we finally are I feel like, really old. You know? It's not really that bad, but it was when I was a junior in high school and now I'm going to be a senior in college. That's like, what, 5 years?" I ramble on, another nervous habit. I look to Amorra for confirmation on the number of years and she nods.
"Just about. I'm glad you remembered, normally you don't remember anything," she jokes with me and I can feel myself blush an even deeper red.
"Hey that's alright, Lana." Michael assures me. "Luke does the same thing. We're just lucky he doesn't do that with our lyrics!" We all agree and then Amorra bursts into laughter, looking over to me. I give her a confused look and she smiles, making me realize what she's about to say.
"What's so funny?" Luke questions, thinking it's about him. I glare at Amorra and she quiets down slightly in order to tell my secret. It's not even a huge secret, I just think it's the fact that we're giddy on being able to talk to them that's got her so crazy.
"It's not you, Luke, it's Lana." The boys raise their eyebrows, waiting for the secret. "She sucks at remembering song lyrics. Like, it's the worst thing, even to her favorite songs. Well, except Black Widow she can rap that pretty well." I shake my head slightly before agreeing with my sister.
"It's true," I say softly.
"Which part?" Michael asks.
"Both. Actually, I think it's worse for my favorite songs." We all laugh and then I hear a familiar sound playing in the background of their hotel room. "No," I whine at Ashton who's now got his phone up and playing one of the only rap songs I can do well.
"You told us about it, now you've got to own up to it!" he argues. I growl a few more times and then the verse comes up and I unconsciously join in with my girl Iggy.
"This twisted cat and mouse game always starts the same
First we're both down to play then somehow you go astray
We went from nothing to something, liking to loving
It was us against the world and now we just fucking
It's like I loved you so much and now I just hate you
Feeling stupid for all the time that I gave you
I wanted all or nothing for us ain't no place in between
Might, might be me believing what you say that you never mean
Like it'll last forever but now forever ain't as long
If it wasn't for you I wouldn't be stuck singing this song
You were different from my last but now you got it mirrored
And as it all plays out I see it couldn't be clearer
The song continues to play and Amorra and I jam out while the boys sit with huge grins on their faces, joining in occasionally. Once it's done, we're met with applause and Ashton saying, "Again, again!" I laugh and look down at the keyboard in embarrassment at what just happened.
"Nope, that's never going to happen again." They pout but I stand firm. "Unless you can come up with something I can get in return, it's not going to happen." I smile up at them, thinking they'll give up and drop the subject. I'm surprised when Ashton speaks up to play into what I just told them.
"Okay," he says, "what do you want?" I stutter to come up with something.
"Ummm, I don't know. I'm not really good at coming up with stuff like this. I honestly thought if I said that you guys would just drop it." Ashton shakes his head and smiles.
"You're definitely not getting off that easy," he says. I sigh and Calum speaks up.
"What if we came up with something?" The boys nod their heads and Amorra does too. I look back and forth between the computer and my sister and finally decide to give in.
"Fine," I say. "It'll be better if you guys do it anyway. Give it a go." They all do a little cheer and then gather in a tight circle. I look over to Amorra with wide eyes. "I don't think this was such a good idea," I say. She smiles and pats my arm.
"It'll be fine, Lana," she reassures me. After a few moments of them discussing, they all turn back to the screen.
"So," Ashton starts, "we've decided on what you'll get if you rap for us again." I nod, spurring him on and he smiles. "You will win an entire day with all of us!" I laugh and Amorra puts a hand over her face.
"Try again, guys," Amorra says. "We've already got that."
"We couldn't think of anything!" Michael says throwing his hands in the air. "We'll think of something, don't worry." He winks and I roll my eyes.
"Well, it better be good," I say. "I told you I wasn't going to do this again, and I don't do it often. There are a select group of people who know about my rapping obsession." Amorra punches my arm and I laugh. "Okay, it's just Amorra who knows. But you guys know now too and if you tell anybody," I trail off, not knowing how to continue my threat.
"Wait!" Ashton says suddenly. "I have a question to help decide what you get." I laugh and gesture to him to continue. "Do you guys like us just because of the music or is it because we're incredibly good looking as well?" I choke on the sip of coke I just had and Amorra places a hand on my back as I get my breath back. "I'm going to take that as the latter option," Ashton says with a smile. My cheeks get red again and the rest of the boys smirk too.
"It's not a bad thing, you know," Luke says quietly. A grin makes its way to my face and I look at him giddily. "We like to know our fans think we're attractive."
"I know someone who thinks you're pretty attractive," Amorra says passively. I look to her sharply and she winks at me while the other boys try to catch on to her meaning. "Well, considering we've got about four more hours on this plane and you don't think we're too weird since you're still talking to us, let's get to know each other more."
They all cheer, but I see Ashton giving Luke a weird look for a few seconds. I think he's figured out what Amorra meant earlier, but the look is confusing me. It's almost like a glare, but Ashton doesn't glare at anyone. He looks back to us and I write it off as a trick of the light from the plane and tune back into the conversation, answering the questions Michael and Calum come up with for us.
"Everyone please turn off your electronic devices and fasten your seatbelts, we will be landing shortly," the captain's voice sounds overhead.
"What was that?" Calum asks. Amorra pouts and I frown.
"It was the captain saying that we're about to land. You guys are on your way to the airport right?" We had continued to talk the entire flight and they had talked management into letting them come get us. I'm pretty sure they were in the back of their car right now, but I couldn't be sure.
"Yeah, we're about 5 minutes away," Ashton says smiling widely and letting out an excited giggle. "Have I said how excited we are to see you in person and not through a computer screen?" Amorra and I smile and nod.
"Yes, Ash," Luke says distractedly. "You've told them like a million times." Ashton laughs again and we get a glare from a flight attendant near the front of the cabin.
"Looks like we're going to have to sign off for now guys," Amorra says. They whine and she shakes her head. "I'm getting the death stare from a flight attendant and she's about to head over. You don't want us getting in trouble now do you?" They all shake their heads and pout some more.
"Hey," I say, "you get to see us again in like 15 minutes! And it won't be through a computer screen." They've all got smiles on their faces now and nod with me. "Okay, we'll see you soon. Bye!" They all chorus a goodbye to us while waving so I press end call and shut off the computer right as the flight attendant walks to our aisle. I slip the computer and my phone into my carry on bag and smile up to her.
"We're landing soon, you need to put everything away," she says snottily. I buckle my seatbelt and she glares at me.
"Thank you." I tell her sweetly. "But I've already put everything away, so there's nothing to worry about." She raises an eyebrow and spins on her heels to walk back to check on everyone else. Amorra and I snicker quietly and settle down to wait for the plane to land. After about 10 minutes, we've made it into the airport so we begin looking around for the boys. We hear our names being called and we turn in unison to see all four members of 5 Seconds of Summer grinning like mad men and speed-walking over to where we are.
"Lana and Amorra Alicia!" Ashton shouts and waves his hands in the air frantically. I look at Amorra who's grinning from ear-to-ear and grab her arm while pulling her in the boys' direction and meeting them halfway. We're engulfed in a group hug and I'm practically lost underneath everybody. I randomly hug something and look to see that I've got one arm around Luke's waist and another on Amorra's back. Everybody laughs and pulls back so we can get hugs individually. All of them are at least six feet tall so I feel a little weird hugging them since my face is where their chests are.
"You're just so short." Luke laughs as he walks up to me for my last hug. I glare at him and cross my arms, denying the embrace.
"She's really sensitive about her height," Amorra explains. "She's the shortest one in the entire family and has been since like her sophomore year. Of high school." Ashton bursts into laughter and I can't help but smile at his giggles even though I'm still mad. "But remember the advantage of your height, Lana?" I raise my eyebrows and she pushes me closer to Luke so I bump into his chest, causing my arms to come uncrossed. "You can wear your heels and still be shorter than everybody." I laugh and squeal in surprise when Luke puts his arms around me and lifts me up for a hug in the air. He sets me back down and I turn around letting him hug me properly. I have to purse my lips to keep from screaming out in happiness and keep smiling when the hug lasts longer than everyone else's. Somebody coughs and we both awkwardly laugh and pull away, but he moves himself so he's standing right behind me. Amorra raises her eyebrows at me and smiles. I glare at her and then decide to break the uncomfortable silence we've all fallen into.
"Amorra, we need to go get the rest of our luggage at baggage claim." She nods her head and we begin walking. I can say right now, the fact that Luke is walking so close to me is making me the happiest person ever. I freak out internally but try to keep up my composure on the outside. Amorra gives me a knowing face and I shake my head, trying to get her to stop. She just laughs and turns around again. We get our bags and since there are so many of them the boys help us out so we're all struggling together.
"Why do girls always have to take so much with them?" Michael says. "You're only here for what, a few days?" The other boys laugh and I frown playfully.
"Actually, Amorra and I are taking a three-week vacation together. Winning tickets to see you guys in concert and to meet you was just more motivation to go in the first place," I say.
"Wow, three weeks?" Luke asks. We nod and he whistles. "You're just spending it in LA, though? Why not go around to some other places, you know? Make a road trip of it."
"Because genius," Amorra says, "we don't have the money to just hop on a plane every few days to go somewhere new. We saved for months to be able to come here and our parents still had to chip in."
"Yeah, I don't think you realize you're talking to a full-time college student and a high school senior. We don't make much more than minimum wage and eating food that isn't terrible is expensive." Everybody laughs at my comment as we walk out of the front doors of LAX. A big black SUV is waiting for us along with a giant bodyguard who opens the back for our bags. "Wow," I say quietly.
"Yeah, it's pretty hardcore, huh?" We throw in our bags and then Ashton runs back over to me to grab my hand and shout, "I call sitting next to Lana in the backseat!" I smile and we hurry into the very back of the 8-seater with him by the window and me in the middle seat. I am then surprised by another boy jumping in the back section with us and sitting on the other side of me.
"Luke! What are you doing?" Luke just smiles and puts his seatbelt on. Ashton looks at him and scowls.
"Mate I called backseat!"
"Yeah, but there are three seats back here and nobody wanted to sit up in the very front," he argues back. "Plus you can't be a Lana-hog. It's not fair to the other people who want to talk to her." I smile at their argument and can't help but let a little laugh slip out. They both turn to me and Ashton raises an eyebrow. "What?" he asks.
"You guys are fighting over who gets to sit next to me," I say, somewhat in awe. They still look confused. "I've always wanted to have this happen ever since I started listening to your music. Literally all my dreams are coming true on this trip, well, except meeting the boys of One Direction." They laugh at the last part and Luke puts an arm around me.
"You know we could just call them up and have them meet up with us at one of our shows." My eyes get wide and then realize something.
"But we're only going to one show and it's in two days," I point out. "Plus they've got their own stuff to worry about, I don't want them to have to take time out of their schedule-"
"They're basically like our brothers, Lana," Ashton says while laughing. "Plus, once we tell them how awesome you and Amorra are, there's no doubt in my mind that they'll want to meet you." I smile and settle into the comfy seats for our short ride to the hotel.
"Can I tell you something?" Luke asks me suddenly. I look up to him and nod. "I didn't know what I was going to think of you when I heard that we were going to talk to you guys before you got here. I kind of thought you were going to be a stereotypical fangirl who was going to be really crazy about us." I laugh at that and he smiles at me. "But you're not, and I really like that." I can feel my face heat up and look down instinctively. "I guess what I'm trying to say is that you're much better in person than even when we Skyped earlier." I look back up to him and we're both quiet for a little bit until I feel someone else breathing on the back of my neck. I turn around and see Ashton leaning in really close to me with a big goofy smile on his face.
"It's true," he says happily. I smile and he leans back in his seat, crossing his arms. "Luke made it sound all sappy and stuff because he likes-" Luke cuts him off with a short cough and Ashton chuckles to himself. "You guys did kind of surprise us. We thought you guys would be really crazy, but you're not." The whole car is listening in now and Michael and Calum agree with the other two.
"Yeah! You guys are really chill and honestly much better in person like he said." Michael nods along with his statement and Amorra snorts before giving a short laugh. We all look at her and I give a quick shake of my head so she won't say anything. "What?" he asks.
"I'm just glad that's what you guys think," she says. We all sit in silence for a few moments and then an Iggy Azalea song comes on the radio, causing everyone to rap along as we continue driving to the hotel.
The car stops in front of an immaculate hotel and Amorra and I walk inside in complete awe.The lobby is huge and even has a double staircase that lead to a balcony area in front of the restaurant. We must have stopped walking or something because the next thing I know, the boys are laughing at us and pulling us to the elevator.
"You guys are acting like you've never been to a hotel like this before," Calum says. Amorra and I scoff.
"That's because we haven't," she says. "The last time we were in a really nice hotel was for our sister's wedding in Florida. But that wasn't nearly as nice as this one." I nod in agreement and we situate ourselves in the tight box going up to the 15th floor. We practically fall out when the doors open again because of all the people and the 6 bags of luggage between us.
"I've never understood why girls have to carry so much stuff with them," Luke says for a second time today, while struggling with the bags. "I mean, you guys have a legitimate reason being gone for three weeks and all, but even still," he cuts himself off as he looks up to Amorra and I giving him the stink eye.
"Watch what you say in front of 'said girls', Luke," Ashton says.
"But I mean, really," Michael says, "what do you have in these bags? A dead body?" I wink at him and smirk.
"Wouldn't you like to know," I say. He's slightly taken back by my comment. We walk out of the elevator and to our room and the boys set our bags down with a thunk.
"Okay, what should we do first?" Ashton asks. "We've got the rest of the day today to do whatever and most of tomorrow before our concert." He looks at us expectantly and I look to Amorra blankly. She shrugs and sits down on a bed.
"Well," she says, "what is there to do?" We look back at four of our idols and they smile.
"Are you putting us in charge?" We both nod and the boys immediately look at one another, smiling with the same thought. "Meet us downstairs in the lobby in 15 minutes," Ashton says. They all walk to the door and go into the hallway, but Michael comes back in before the door fully closes.
"Make sure you bring your swimming costumes!" The door shuts and I look to Amorra in confusion.
"Does he mean swimsuits?" I ask her. She shrugs and looks up swimming costumes on google to find that it's just Australian slang for swimsuits. "Okay then," I say while going over to where the boys threw our luggage. As I begin to unzip one of my suitcases in hopes that my swimsuit is in it, I stop suddenly, freezing where I am. Amorra looks in her own suitcase and turns back to me, bikini in hand, when she realizes I haven't moved in a while.
"Lana?" she says quietly. I turn to her with wide eyes and she raises her eyebrows, waiting for me to explain. "What's wrong?"
"We just became friends with 5 Seconds of Summer," I say under my breath. Her eyes get wide as well and her suit drops to the floor. "We just became friends with 5 Seconds of Summer," I repeat louder. My lips curl into a smile while she and I squeal and jump around in a circle chanting, "We just became friends with 5 Seconds of Summer!" over and over again. This goes on for a while and then we hear a loud knock on the door. We immediately stop and I look through the peep hole to see all four boys with confused looks on their faces standing outside the door.
"It's them," I breath out. We compose ourselves and I open the door with a smile on my face. "Hey!" I try to say it casually, but it comes out rushed and high-pitched. I mentally slap myself and Amorra giggles.
"We heard screaming from next door and were wondering if one of you guys died or something?" Amorra and I shake our heads vigorously and try to play off what obviously just happened.
"No," she says, "nobody died, I just realized that," she pauses and looks to me discretely and I make a gesture I hope conveys something about a swim suit. "Uhhh, I, well-" I cut her off seeing she doesn't get it.
"She forgot her favorite bikini!" Amorra smiles and then quickly frowns, as if very disappointed.
"Yeah, I meant to pack it and I was looking for it when I remembered leaving it on my bed before I finished packing." She throws her arms in the air in frustration and the boys frown as well.
"That's too bad," Calum says. The other boys agree and we all grumble for a bit before silence overtakes us all.
"We should probably go and get ready," I say after a minute. Amorra nods and we begin to back up into our room. "You said the lobby, right?"
"Yeah," Ashton says smiling. "Oh, guys?" We look at him while still backing up. "That was a really good save with the bikini." The rest of the guys smile with him and my eyes go wide in embarrassment. "It's kind of obvious what you guys were doing since you were screaming at the top of your lungs, just to let you know."
"Don't worry about it, though," Luke says. "It's nice to know you're human enough to freak out. It was good entertainment too." My face gets hot and by the looks on their faces, we're both blushing really badly.
"We'll see you guys downstairs?" Amorra and I nod, our faces still red. "Alright, bye friends!" They all walk away laughing and I close the door quickly.
"That was honestly the most embarrassing thing I've ever gone through in my entire life," Amorra says quietly. I nod in agreement and we eventually go back over to our suitcases to get ready.