Saving Each Other

"I can't keep doing this Niall!" she screamed, as I held her firmly. I ran my fingers through my hair, pushing the damp strand out of my face, locking our gaze. "Em, please." I whispered, and I doubt she heard me over the thundering rain. It was killing me to see her like this. "I can't do this! I can't keep being the strong one!" she cried out. "I-If I have to be strong for you, how am I supposed to be strong for me Niall? How am I supposed to..to-" she struggled to find words, but all I heard was silence after that.
It was me. It was all me. The reason she was like this now. It wasn't because of her dad. It was me. my heart sank. I was killing the girl that I, now realized, loved. I loved her, and I was the reason she was broken. I wasn't going to push it away anymore. I wasn't going to hide from it. I loved her. I loved Emily Payne. And I was killing her.

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5. Just Friends?

My eyelids fluttered open, light flooding my blurred vision as my body began to awaken. I tried to stretch, but something held me in place. Confused, I tried to rub my eyes, but it was then I realized my left hand was occupied. Laying on my side, someone's hand was wrapped securely around my torso, fingers threaded loosely through mine.I pushed back to feel my body press against another, hard and firm. I listened to their heavy breathing, realizing we were the only two in the room.

I heard voices and laughter floating in from the kitchen. Careful not to wake the person, I untangled myself from their grasp, turning to see it was Niall.Well..that just made things a lot more awkward. Me and Niall were sleeping together..alone. A smile spread across my lips before I could stop it. He just looked so..adorable. He looked very similar to a little kid, sound and innocent and..happy. An ache hit me as I realized all that happiness would fade once he woke up and was bombarded by hate. I released my hands from his and made for the kitchen, my footsteps silent against the carpet as I shook my body groggily.

"Hey.." I heard his deep voice that was surprisingly..well hot in the morning. I spun around to see him sitting up, the covers falling off his body. "Hey." I repeated. Laughter erupted from the kitchen and I heard a girl shriek. Girl? We both snapped our heads around at the sound of a female. "Who's-"
"Sounds like-"
"You're as immature as the last time I saw you." I heard a deeper, older voice chuckle. Getting up, Niall followed me into the kitchen, both of us rubbing our eyes sleepily. We walked into the kitchen,where we saw the guys and..Simon? "Morning, love." Liam said walking in behind us as he wrapped his arms around shoulders. Instinctively I wrapped mine around his waist, leaning my weight against him. The other guys greeted me and Simon nodded in my direction as Niall dug through the fridge. 

I gave Louis a questioning look. Before he could respond a girl entered the room(girl in picture), a sheepish smile across her face. "I think I broke your...Um, hey." She stared at me, cocking her head to one side. She glanced from me to Liam, and she scrunched her eyebrows, a very faint frown begin to form. Liam loosened his grip on my shoulders. "Sage, hey." I looked up at Liam, still very confused, but his glassy brown eyes were locked on her hazel ones. They seemed to be distant, only seeing each other. I rolled my eyes. Yep, he was in love with her. And of course, being Liam, he couldn't be more obvious. I punched him and he jumped.

"So this is Emily Payne." Simon noted, looking me and up and down. He nodded as if giving me his approval, a feeling I was honestly not used to. As my name registered in the girl's mind, she grinned, realizing Liam and I were siblings. " Sage Cowell, Simon's niece. It's great to meet you." she extended her hand and I shook it. She offered me a polite smile, but I could sense mischief in her eyes. She seemed carefree, the opposite to Simon, and I liked her already. "It's great seeing you guys again." she said to the boys, but she never broke her stare on Liam. 
"Y-Yeah. It's really great." Liam mumbled, stumbling over his words. Oh, he had it bad. "Not that I don't love seeing you, but why are you here?" Niall asked, shoving the sandwich he was making in his mouth. Simon faced us, and a silence fell over the room. I noticed, Liam had moved further from me, and was now standing closer to Sage. Uh..alright. 

"Have you been on the internet lately?" He asked us. Harry hopped up onto the counter as the boys shook their heads. "You mean Twitter?" I noticed his accent made Twitter sound like "Twi-a".  He nodded his head. "A fan posted some pictures of your signing and well, there have been some pesky rumors going about. I came over to confirm the truth, and the sight I saw in the living room was not helping it." Simon explained, his eyes flickering to Niall and then me. The boys shared the same puzzled look. "Oh for-" Sage rolled her eyes and pulled out her phone, her fingers moving rapidly on the keys. She shoved the phone at Harry, who's eyes narrowed. A smug look crossed his face as he passed it to Louis. Louis grinned at me and passed it to Zayn, who did the same when passed to Liam. Liam didn't smile though as he passed it to Niall.

Niall's eyes widened, then glanced at me uncomfortably. He cleared his throat and Liam glared at him, tapping his foot impatiently. "Care to explain?" I grabbed the phone from Niall and gasped. There, was a picture of Niall and I at the signing. I was leaning close to him, whispering something, my hand on his. He was smiling in my direction, and if I hadn't known better, I would've thought exactly what the caption said: Niall's New Crush?

The fans didn't know that I was comforting him. And by the big grin on Niall's face, of course they'd think differently. I hadn't even noticed the way he was smiling. And come to think of it, it looked really cute. I peeped up at Niall, who stood, staring anxiously at me. Was his smile always that cute? I shook the thought away, reminding myself that there were more important things right now. I looked at Liam who was practically fuming at the thought of his best friend and sister were dating behind his back. Even Sage was forgotten for a moment. "Li, they got it all wrong. I promise." I turned to Simon. "This is all a huge misunderstanding, sir. You have nothing to worry about." I dismissed it as Sage gently placed a hand on Liam's shoulder. He blushed beet red and I smiled. Liam blushing? I liked this girl.

"Okay, I know that, you know that. Does the rest of the world know that?" Simon asked. There was another silence. "Don't we have another interview tonight with Alan?" Zayn said, referring to the "Alan Carr Chatty Man Show". I handed Sage back her phone.
"We'll fix it tonight." Louis stated.
"Yeah, and he probably wouldn't have heard of it yet anyways." Harry added. Liam slowly nodded in agreement, trying to convince himself rather than Simon.Simon stare uneasily at the boys. "Okay...And just to finalize, you two have no feelings for each other whatsoever? At all?"

Niall and I turned to each other, facing the question we'd both been avoiding since we met. I stared into his electric blue eyes, his lips parting slightly as he gazed back at me. My stomach flip flopped. I would never understand why people would call him ugly. He was, honestly, the most beautiful person I have ever met in my entire life. "No..No feelings at all." he said slowly, and I looked away quickly, nodding in agreement and feeling a tinge of sadness, knowing he didn't feel the same way. Liam's face softened and he exhaled.

"Wait..If we're going to the interview, where's Emily going to go?" Liam asked. I watched Sage as her face lit up. "Hey, I was going to watch it at my house...maybe, if Uncle Simon is okay with it, I could stay and watch it with you?" she said it more as a question, with pleading eyes to Simon. He seemed to ponder on the idea as Liam mouthed a "Thank you" to her. She reddened slightly. "What will you eat though? I'm sure Niall's eaten the whole house out. And what if-"
"I'll be fine mother. Please?" He sighed. "Fine, but call if you need anything. Don't hesitate. In fact call me every hour or so, just so I-"
"Thank you, thank you!" she squealed pouncing on Simon. She then used it as an excuse to leap onto Liam, hugging him tightly, for a little longer than she needed to. "This is going to be the best night EVER!"



___________________________________________________________

Emily's POV
"So..like, how do you know Liam?" I asked her. We were sitting on the couch, sprawled out, waiting for the interview to come back from commercial. We had spent the night getting to know each other, and she seemed really cool. Not at all like Simon. Sage was free and out-going, without a care in the world. She was spoiled to death, but she stayed down to earth. She was level headed, and I liked that. She blushed at the question and I giggled. "Uncle Simon." she replied simply. 
"So..are you guys like a thing or-"
"Why, what'd you hear?" she suddenly jumped at me and I laughed at her reaction. 
"Nothing I just..He seems to really like you." I told her and she beamed, though doing her best to hide it. "You..You think so? 'Cause I always thought he just thought of me as a friend. I mean, sometimes more friendly than others, but  never really thought about it. I mean, of course-" she blabbered on as she became more and more flustered just thinking about him. I smiled. Yes, they would make a lovely couple. Because she talks too much and he doesn't speak at all. "People think we're together all the time, but I just feel like...and you really don't have to keep listening to me." she cut herself off.

"Enough about me. What about Niall?" she said smugly and I felt my cheeks heat up. I reached for the popcorn. "What'd you mean?" I asked, playing dumb. 
"Oh please, love. No one looks at their 'friend' the way Niall looks at you." I shook my head. 
"You're delusional. Hush up, it's back on." We listened to the audience's applause as the camera zoomed in on the boys. I couldn't help but stare at Niall who, for some reason, looked extremely handsome tonight. 

"So, we were talking about Liam's quite corny pick up lines weren't we?" Alan said.
"Yeah, I do recall Liam telling a girl 'Do you have a plaster? I think I bruised myself when I fell for you.'" Harry laughed and the audience joined in. Liam brought his knees to his chest, rocking back in his seat, shoulders shuddering with laughter. "On the topic of love, Liam, you know Sage Cowell?" Alan said, grinning. Liam nodded, shrugging as if she didn't really matter to him, and if I hadn't known better, I would've believed him.. Sage chewed the inside of her lip, her face reddening by the sight of him close up on camera. I wondered how she contained herself so easily when she was around him in person, and here she was staring with dazed eyes at him on TV. 

"Here we have a picture," Alan paused as a picture filled the screen behind them. There was Liam with his hands on Sage's waist at what seemed like a party. It was blurry, but it was clear who was with who, and who's hands were where.  Liam blushed, then regained his cool. "Yeah, she's a good friend. Really cool." he flashed a smile and I swear Sage swooned a little. "So just friends?" Alan asked once more. 
"Yes, good friends." Liam confirmed. 
"Not your type? Yes, she's a bit pushy, isn't she?" Alan smiled. Sage rolled her eyes. "Come say it to my face. I'll show you who's pushy.' she muttered under her breath.
"No, she's not. She's quite pleasant actually." Liam said firmly.
"Defensive about their friends? Alright."  Alan turned to Niall.

"There's a girl living with you guys right? Liam's little sister? Remind me of her name." he said snapping his fingers, as if he honestly didn't know. 
"Emily." Niall and Liam responded immediately.  
"That was her name. Emily. And Niall, you and Emily. You're...friends?" he hinted and Niall's eyes widened a bit as he understood what Alan was getting at. 
"Yes, of course." Niall said slowly. He turned to the monitor behind them where a picture from the signing came into view. We were walking into the mall, but from that angle, you saw my back, where Niall's hand was gently pushing me on. "You're hands quite low there, isn't it?" Alan noted, a smile playing upon his lips. Laughter and a chorus of "oohs" erupted and Niall smiled along with them, shaking his head. "No no, I was just pushing her along." he forced a smile. 

"Okay, what about this one?" he asked, and the same picture from Twitter filled the screen. He blushed, trying his best to keep it hidden, but Alan saw. "You seem  very friendly in this picture, don't you?"
"She's a good friend. I mean, don't get me wrong, she's beautiful and funny, and smart. She's a nice lady, and any guy would be lucky to have her.." his voice trailed off for a moment, but he seemed to realize he'd said the wrong thing as "awws" began from the audience. "But we're just friends." he quickly finished. My heart skipped a beat.

"Yeah, of course. Just friends. I was foolish to think otherwise." Sage smirked and turned back to the TV.

 

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