Spent this weekend making a label for a beer my friends brewed up. The Closet Brew brand stems from the beer having been brewed in one of their closets, and the Hourglass name comes from the dark character of the beer, which makes it take a while to drink.
My design intent was to emphasize the hand-made, low-yield nature of the product by giving the label a rustic and faded look, along with putting all the graphics at mismatched angles while painstakingly maintaining an alignment grid.
“Jacquelyn,” you hissed, desperately grabbing for your agent’s sleeve as she slipped into the crowd, “Jacquelyn!”
You were completely in a panic.
Your rise to fame had been a short one. You’d started with this small off-the-grid record company, hoping to make an EP that would at least get your sound out there. However, the company, Meroman Records, was on its own upward spiral. They’d been working in private with some new rapper who blew up as soon as his single hit the charts. As the company grew, so did its assets and you were pulled along for the ride–landing a spot opening for 5 Seconds of Summer. The nationwide tour caused your iTunes sales to skyrocket, putting you at the top of the Billboard and claiming you the May 2015 cover of Teen Vogue.
In a matter of months, you’d become a star.
You were nominated for a VMA–MTV Artist to Watch. It wasn’t like you were going to win it, you were up against some serious competition, but it was your first award show. You were on edge despite the potential prize. That’s why you were so terrified to be left entirely alone in this sea of fame.
Your breath caught no matter which way your head turned. Ariana Grande was four rows in front of you, hair pulled up in a huge voluptuous ponytail. To your left, Fall Out Boy was lined up, with Paramore not much further down. Walk the Moon occupied the four seats directly to your right. Drake and Usher were laughing hysterically in the isle. You were drowning in celebrity sweat.
“Hey, uh, ‘scuse me,” a muffled voice came from over your shoulder.
You turned quickly, backing up into the cushioned seat. Your knees bent awkwardly as the plastic frame dug into your flesh, “I’m so sorry,” you squeaked, pressing your glittering gold clutch to your chest.
“It’s alright,” two pink chapped lips answered you, “Aye, uh, you’re (Y/N) right? You opened for Luke and ‘em?”
“Uh, yeah,” you blinked, trying to collect yourself. You weren’t yet accustomed to your name on strangers’ lips, “And you are?”
There was an idle second of confusion as his eyebrows wrinkled, but he continued on, unfazed, “Niall Horan, nice to meet ya,” he stuck out his hand, “I’m in One Direction.”
Your lips formed a little ‘o,’ “I’m so sorry. I’m so tired, I didn’t recognize you,” you were shaking your head frantically, “Usually my agent is here to help me out, I’m so new at this, you see–”
“Hey, hey there,” he smirked, “Deep breath. It’s fine. It’s nice to not be recognized at first sight. Refreshing.”
You chewed on your lip nervously, “Okay.”
“Now, how’re ya liking the scene? A bit overwhelming, yeah?”
“Definitely,” you rocked on your heels, “Good, though. Really, really good.”
“M’glad,” he nodded, “I remember my first round. Nearly fainted.”
“Yeah? I feel like I’m going to puke,” you regretted it the moment you said it. A cute, talented, fun guy was talking to you and you had to bring up vomit. Classic.
“Reasonably so,” he chuckled, “But don’t worry, s’not as bad as it seems.”
“Whatever you say,” you shrugged, “I’m only worried that I’m going to fall on my ass. These heels are–”
“Hey, so sorry, but I gotta go find me seat,” his eyes had shifted behind you and you resisted the urge to turn and look as he waved, “Nice meeting you, though. We should talk again soon,” but his words fell flat.
“Of course,” you nodded, your voice getting smaller, “It was nice to meet you, too,” but he had already squeezed past you.
You felt your heart sink. For a moment there, you’d felt a little hope, a little something. Behind your starstruck awkwardness and ignorance, you thought you might’ve had a chance to keep the conversation going, if anything. But in a moment, that light had faded and he was gone. One more boy who was out of your league.
It wasn’t until three or four weeks later that you saw Niall again. It was a Tuesday morning, you were in New York City for a week before flying back out to the west coast for a miniature tour. Summer was beginning to fade away but it was still a pleasantly warm morning.
You were aimlessly scrolling through twitter, iced tea in your open hand, as you strolled down the sidewalk. It wasn’t too crowded so you weren’t paying too much attention to where you were going, simply trying to walk in a straight line and hope for the best.
You were on a fairly good streak, dodging the few pedestrians you crossed paths with and only wandering off the sidewalk once. You were practically a pro…until you completely collided with a stranger with a loud, ugly grunt.
Your sunglasses went flying from your face, iced tea crushed against your chest, spilling freezing liquid down your shirts. You heard phones clatter to the concrete and the scuffling of shoes as you desperately caught your balance, “I am so sorry–” you cupped your hands to your mouth.
“No, no, it’s my fault–” a familiar husky voice mumbled.
“I wasn’t paying attention, I should’ve been looking,” you shook your head, finally calming down enough to focus on the person in front of you, “Oh, hey. Niall.”
His eyes were vacant for a millisecond before he recognized you, “Y/N! I didn’t know you were in the city!”
“Uh, yeah,” you tried to laugh nonchalantly, “Taking a little break.”
“That’s good,” he nodded, “Anyway, my fault. I got distracted.”
“No, really–” you started, but he wouldn’t let you finish.
“Do you want another iced tea?” he swiped his tongue across his lower lip, “There’s a place down the block, let me buy you one–”
“It’s fine, really,” you shook your head, taking an instinctual step back.
“C’mon, let me buy you a new one,” he insisted, “We can catch up.”
“I, uh, I really should be getting back to my apartment, you know, things.”
“Things, right,” he nodded, a tiny crease forming between his eyebrows, “Of course.”
“It was nice seeing you, though,” you offered.
“Yeah it was,” he nodded, and you began to turn away, “How long did you say you were in the city?”
“We should grab lunch,” he nodded.
You blinked, surprised by his invitation, “I mean, sure. Okay.”
“Thursday is good.”
“I’ll see you then.”
You were surprised by his restaurant choice. Its natural tendency to assume the people who can afford lavish lives will always follow lavish lives. People who have enough money to buy designer clothes wear designer clothes. People who are wealthy enough to eat gourmet always eat gourmet.
That’s not the case.
You ended up in a tiny, rundown Italian place somewhere so deep in the city that you hardly knew where you were. If you really squeezed, the place could hold maybe 20 people, and that was a stretch.
Niall knew the owner, greeting him with a huge hug and warm smile. It was sweet. You felt at home.
You were seated in a booth in the very back corner, as far away from the floor to ceiling windows looking out on the street as you could be. You felt relieved. Paparazzi had begun to trail you as well. You were paranoid of cameras.
You relaxed easily into the green pleather seats. There was something comforting about the cheap material. It reminded you of the pre-fame, when silk chiffon and patent leather were almost unreachable. You inhaled the faint smell of cigarettes and red sauce, feeling your senses tingle with familiarity.
“How have things been?” Niall stretched backwards in the seat, holding back an apparent yawn.
“Good,” you nodded, “Tiring.”
“Welcome to show biz,” he smirked.
“Great,” you groaned sarcastically, “What about you? The band?”
“Good, good,” he sighed, “Also tired. All of us.”
“I can imagine,” you chewed your lip.
Awkward silence fell as the waiter delivered two glasses of ice water.
“You’d think with millions of girls swooning over me, I would be a little bit better at this,” he admitted.
“With dates and stuff, I mean,” he shrugged, “I’m a mess,” he chuckled.
“Dates?” you raised an eyebrow, “Is this a date?”
“I thought it was–wait, what did you think was happening?”
“You asked me on a date?” you leaned backwards, pursing your lips with confusion.
“And dis a shit job apparently,” he wouldn’t meet your eyes, “Considering you didn’t even realize it was a date.”
“No, no, no,” you shook your head, realizing what you must sound like, “No, you did a great job. I just didn’t realize that you–um, liked me that way?”
“I mean you’re a pretty girl and you seem very nice–”
“And all this time I thought you thought I was an awkward,” you blew air through your nose in a half-hearted laugh.
“God no,” he shook his head, “Far from it.”
“Well that’s a relief,” you rolled your lips, smiling to yourself.
“We’re both bad at this, aren’t we?” he laughed, his blue eyes crinkling sweetly.
“Very, very bad,” you agreed, “Embarrassingly bad.”
“How about we forget all this ever happened,” he rolled his lips, “And start right here. The first date.”
“No better place to start.”
This is a long one! Hope it makes up for the huge lack of updates lately. I once again apologize for how inactive I’ve been. Also, I don’t have time to edit this tonight so please forgive any grammar/spelling errors!