(A/N) Bravo to self for getting my lazy self to work again. Enjoy and sorry for the long wait!
Sorry for any mistakes, that's what happens when there's long periods of time between the chapters.
Time sometimes seemed to pass quickly, sometimes slow, but sooner or later it was noticeable that the band was growing more and more famous.
Their single had soon moved up in the top100 list, and the hits on YouTube kept growing. No one had ever expected this amount of popularity, but they were all happy to see how well it was going.
But the sudden popularity also had its downside; the guys were constantly working on their new songs, an album that would be released in a few months even, and they could not walk into pubs anymore without be recognised instantly.
Elisabeta was doing a great job as a manager by supporting them with tips and new ideas, and booked them for several TV shows. She said this would increase their popularity and would get the people to know them a bit better, as they were all new.
Arthur couldn't deny that he liked it all. Sure, it could be a bit of a bother when he wanted to spend time with Alfred, but instead ended up working at the studio 'till early in the morning, and the paparazzi was more than annoying, but it was wonderful to see how the band was finally gaining more attention. They had been working hard and the change, the reward, was more than welcome.
So far there hadn't been much rumours about them too, though Elisabeta told them it had to do with the fact that they were relatively new. After a while there should be rumours popping up, but for now they could live a relatively peaceful life.
Gilbert seemed to enjoy it all, though even he sometimes reached the limit with the paparazzi and wanted nothing more than to leave the flashing lights and have some nice time at home. He'd normally invite Matthew over, which made Francis somewhat suspicious by now, but the rest of the band didn't seem to care. They figured it was none of their business.
Alfred was happy to see how well it was going with Arthur and the band, and it cheered him up to see how happy Arthur actually was. The Briton seemed to be fond of talking about his new 'adventures' as a rock star, even though he wasn't even near the top. All Alfred could do what grin goofily at the other whilst hugging him close at one of the fewer and fewer evenings they had together.
But he did have his doubts. Sometimes he got the feeling Arthur wasn't fully prepared for it all, that he was still too naïve and might even drift off to a less-awesome path. But he decided to trust his boyfriend and be happy for him, despite having less time to spend together. After all, he was still super proud when Arthur showed up on the TV and would do anything not to miss a show his boyfriend was on.
Currently, the band was testing out and recording a few of their new songs. They still had to decide on what to change with them or what lyrics would go best with the music. Sometimes, like right now, it would result into small arguments.
"No," Arthur said, "I do not think 'Nous soyons en amour' tops 'I'd like for you and I to go romancing'."
"Why not?" Francis said, "It's just French, it'll make the girls melt and it fits better with the melody."
"Because it's bloody French!" The British blond replied, "And we can arrange the melody, I will make it fit."
"I think the French would indeed add to the song," Elisabeta said whist walking into the studio, holding a few cups of coffee and tea for the band, "After all, it works in a lot of songs. Just for example, Denis by Blondie."
Arthur sighed but could not deny the fact. So he wrote down the French sentence with agitated movements, without even noticing the sound of the studio's door opening. It was only when he looked up that he noticed the person who'd made their way into the room.
"Hello," Roderich's calm voice greeted them, "I passed by to give you all a quick status update." He made his way towards s chair near a small table in the room whilst rummaging through a few papers.
"Let's see," he started off, "So your first single was a downright success, make sure to get something just as good out for a second single or you will lose all fame you get and it'll be difficult to crawl back up. This is where it often will go downhill for artists as they get too excited and end up producing horrid songs. I'm sure Elisabeta assists you in this," He gave an approving nod towards Elisabeta, "Also there are, as you know, some small concerts planned. Don't expect it to be super big, but it will good for promotion of the ban and songs. I've arranged a schedule for you all about when the recordings, practises and concerts will all take place for the upcoming months. Please make sure you follow them closely if you want your fame to stick."
"Hereby I also announce that you will have to find a sponsor that fits you. We have a small amount of sponsors arranged for you to choose from, but it's important to choose one that fits with the band. For example, as a rock band one would not likely want to be associated with a children's clothing brand, whilst a decent guitar company or the like fits much better with the genre. Of course it's up to you, but make sure that the choice will stick with the band and its members for the rest of its life. That's all."
He handed Elisabeta a few sheets of paper, probably the schedules, and gave a small nod in goodbye. The Hungarian woman started to hand out the big amount of paper, before explaining which sheet was what.
"As you can see it's a big package of paper, and I know it sounds troublesome but be sure to read it all through. It has your schedule in it, details about several sponsors, a contract about the concerts and the sponsors, dates for photo shoots, details about certain TV-shows and overall information. Don't lose these for some are made individually." The band nodded almost mutually, "Your practise for today is almost over so I suggest you pack up and make use of your spare time whilst you still can." And with the same type of nod, though a bit more cheery, she left the room for the boys to finish up.
And so, the boys did.
Arthur was sitting on the couch as his annoying boyfriend suddenly hugged him from behind the sofa.
"What are you reading?" The American asked, "Ye've been readin' that all evening, what is so important about a few sheets of paper?" He tried to swiftly steal the papers from between Arthur's hands, but the other had foreseen the action and moved them out of the way.
"Band stuff." Arthur replied shortly, pushing up his reading glasses without moving his eyes from the paper.
Alfred puffed his cheeks. It had been like this a lot, lately. Arthur was busy with the band, no matter what. Whether he was recording in the studios, attending a photo shoot, or just at home, he was always busy. Even around Alfred and that's what annoyed the American.
He liked his boyfriend being into it all, he enjoyed seeing the cheery way the other would come into the apartment on his free evenings, accomplished with that day's work, and he loved seeing how proud and excited Arthur could become over the band even if he himself thought he hid it really well, but Alfred couldn't stand this.
And with 'this' he meant the way things were going as of lately. Arthur would come in, all cheery, and would give Alfred a kiss and might even snuggle up to him on the couch, but he'd still be working. Whether it was reading through assigned papers or thinking up new songs or lyrics, he would always be busy. Alfred didn't mind at first, but by now he was close to his limit.
He wanted to have an evening for them alone, all together, without the busy band-related stuff. He wanted an evening to cuddle up to his boyfriend, to kiss him, to act tender, but he didn't get the chance.
Despite all that he couldn't bring himself to tell Arthur in a harsh way. Sometimes he had urges to do so, but he wouldn't. He knew Arthur wouldn't do this on purpose, he'd not try to ignore Alfred on purpose – unless he was mad of course- and Alfred was sure that if he'd noticed it himself he'd also be craving for love.
Alfred suddenly realised they hadn't even had an argument about anything as of lately. They had barely gotten the chance to speak, let alone argue, and despite what he wanted to think; he missed it.
It was part of their relationship, and they had been doing so since even before the dating started. And come to think of it, they hadn't even changed much since dating except that kisses and hugs were now accepted and returned. It had been a wonderful feeling and Alfred could tell he had been on cloud nine, thinking back now, but it all seemed to have faded.
Not that he didn't love Arthur anymore, far from that even, but he'd started to notice the downsides of the whole relationship idea.
Back when he'd dated a couple of girls in college, they would've broken up by now, realising they'd just gotten together in excitement without even really loving each other, but now it was different.
Alfred didn't want to leave Arthur, he wanted to stay together no matter what, but he couldn't bring himself from getting agitated over the idea that he seemed to put more effort in their relationship than Arthur. At first they had been all lovey-dovey, in love and perfectly fine, but now that the first excitement had toned down a bit, they both went on with their normal lives without seeing everything with pink glasses on.
Finally Alfred understood what people had meant when they said 'the honeymoon phase won't last forever'.
Snapping out of his thoughts, the American got back to trying to grab the sheets of paper, in which he now succeeded.
"Give it back!" Arthur said, holding out his hands.
"Why?" Alfred asked. He knew he was being childish, but after trying to tell Arthur nicely about them drifting apart, this was all he could think of, "Ye've been readin' that all evening already, how 'bout you continue reading tomorrow and we'll watch a movie together? Ye can even choose which one." A hopeful smile formed on Alfred's face as he tried to tone down the tension in the air.
"Because I've been assigned these," Arthur said, "It's important that I read this through really carefully, and I don't have the time to do that when I've got other work to do. Now please hand them back." Arthur stood up from the couch to reach for the sheets of paper, but Alfred stepped back.
"Then, if ye planned on readin' this all night, why did ye even come here? Ya might as well had read it in yer own apartment. I thought ye'd have come here to, I dunno, spend time with yer boyfriend?" Alfred noticed his tone had gone from friendly and joking to a frustrated one. He didn't mean for it to happen, but he couldn't hide his emotions now that he finally got the chance to express them.
"That's why I'm here," Arthur's voice also showed a bit of irritation, "To spend time with you! But that doesn't mean that I am forbidden to work. It's my free evening, so I can do what I want with it."
"Then why don't I notice anythin' from it? Why don't ye show a bit more affection? Am I the only one supposed to put effort in our relationship?" As the words were said, Alfred realised it wasn't completely true. Arthur had shown him love over the past months, by brining small presents and coming over whenever he could, but still Alfred couldn't keep himself from saying it. He wanted Arthur to know how it felt to be pushed away for work, even if he had to exaggerate. "Ye've been comin' over every free night ye've had, and I'm grateful for that, but it's nothin' more than comin' over; nothin' more than spending the night readin' whilst I play games."
Arthur tried to say something but Alfred continued on, trying to calm down the emotions in his voice a bit.'
"I didn't mind it at first, but as of lately all you seem to care about is work. I love it when I see you on the TV, I find it wonderful to be the boyfriend of this awesome and famous guy, but please understand that the band isn't the only thing in the world!"
He looked Arthur in the eye, hoping the other would understand. Would understand that he didn't meant to be angry or anything but that it had just piled up and that he was still willing to fix it, no matter what, but that that feeling had to be mutual.
Arthur jus stood there, looking back at Alfred. He didn't know what to say.
He hadn't meant to hurt the man by it all, but he suddenly realised Alfred was right; he'd been working hard lately and kind of forgot about his social life. But then again, Alfred had to realise that it was hard for an upcoming band to gain popularity. That they had created one good single didn't mean that they would stay popular forever. They had to work hard, they had to attend shows, they had to write new songs.
And despite the TV-shows being minor, the late night radio interviews being barely listened to, they were still important to attend. It was the only way to gain more popularity, even if it meant focussing less on the social aspect of life. It was a cruel choice to make, but there was no other option.
He wanted to tell Alfred, but the worlds wouldn't come out. It all just seemed like a lame excuse and he didn't want it to come across like that. He knew he should trust the other more for his honesty, but he couldn't bring himself to do so. Instead he stepped towards the other, gently grabbed the sheets out of his hands and then made his way towards the door.
"I'm sorry," he said whilst grabbing his jacket and turning around, "I will have to think about this, I don't want it to sound what I was about to say like a stupid excuse. I'm sorry." And he walked out. He knew there had been many more ways to finish this conversation and get on with life, probably even ending up on the couch together with Alfred, hugging each other, but he needed some times alone to think. He wanted to be honest to Alfred, but it was already difficult to be honest to himself about it all. It was hard to admit that he had, indeed, neglected the relationship as of lately, and that he would have to back down a bit considering the band stuff.
Meanwhile Alfred was staring at the closed door, not sure what to do. Arthur hadn't seen angry with him. To be honest, he'd seem confused, confused as if he just realised his mistake but wasn't sure how to fix it yet. Alfred didn't want to be bothered over it, he knew and understood Arthur would probably want some time to think about what to do next and how to keep this from happening again, but he still felt a feeling of guilt settle in his stomach.
After all, if it hadn't been for his words, Arthur wouldn't have noticed and would still be around. Reading, yes, but at least he'd be here and he'd might have fallen asleep against Alfred's shoulder and would've even shared a small bit of his lyrics with him, but there was no chance of that this evening.
Alfred just hoped it would be alright, ad he turned around to play a video game. He needed to have something to distract his mind from the guilty feeling; he had been right to say it, and he hoped Arthur would understand.