Forever Young

They're best friends, always have been. But she has secrets that she hides underneath long sleeved sweaters. She has secrets that she hides behind back handed comments and the six strings of her guitar. She has secrets that she hides from her best friend.


6. Bagel

I woke up, my legs tangled in the sheets and sunlight streaming through the gaps in the curtains. Niall's arm was heavy on my hip, but I loved it there. Even in sleep it was like he was protecting me. I smiled and closed my eyes again, just enjoying the fact that I was lying next to the single most important person in my life. Loving the fact that, at least for now, there was absolutely nothing that I needed to be doing.

Niall's hand stirred against my waist, "Zo?" he mumbled, his voice heavy with sleep. And goddam sexy. But I quickly shook the thought out of my mind. I couldn't think of him like that. At least I shouldn't.

"Morning sleepy head," I said smiling and turning to look at him. I chuckled softly, he had a serious case of bed head.

He frowned, "what?" he grumbled.

"Nice hair," I ruffled it.

He pouted, "shut up..."

I laughed, "no I like it... very birds nest chic"

He poked his tongue out at me, "well in that case I'm gonna go fix it," he pulled back the covers and I made an effort to remember how to breathe as he padded across the plush carpet in just his boxers. How did he have this power over me?


Niall looked at me seriously as he walked back into the room barefoot, drying his hair with a towel. He was wearing a pair of soft grey trackies and a light blue t shirt, "don't think you can avoid what happened last night," he said softly, "I wanna help..."

I shook my head and looked down at my hands that were knotted in my lap, "You can't Niall..."

He sighed and sat down next to me so that our hips were just touching, "Zo, please talk to me."

I took a deep breath and tried to think of a way to sum up everything in one sentence, "I just feel like the whole world is against me sometimes..."

He looked at me very seriously, "Darling, the world's not against you, the only thing that's against you is yourself."

Maybe that was true, but the fact of the matter was that I couldn't eat without it making me want to cry and I was just nowhere near skinny enough. I sighed, "maybe... but the mirror never lies..."

Niall looked at me for a moment, there was a sad look in his eyes like he'd lost something and then he pulled me into a tight, warm hug.

"I don't wanna hurt anymore," I whispered, "but I do and I'm sorry..."

"Don't be sorry," he said, pulling me in even tighter. I wanted to cry, he was so perfect. He still didn't know everything though. If he saw the scars on my wrists, if he knew that I cut would he still even like me? The problem was that I wasn't so sure about the answer. "Remember, Zo what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

No, what doesn't kill you will probably try again.

I sighed and buried my face in the crook of his neck, he smelled like his usual musky cologne. Why did I have to be in love with him.


"Chop! Chop!" Paul said clapping his hands together and frowning slightly. "We're already running late, you guys are gonna have to eat breakfast in the car." He took my bag off me and slung it over his shoulder.

I smiled gratefully, my head was spinning uncomfortably and I was sure that they could all hear my stomach rumbling. It felt like my stomach was eating me from the inside out. Which was a good thing. I couldn't even really remember the last time I ate a proper meal. I couldn't remember the last time I had eaten until I was full.

The boys continued yelling and rushing and and throwing socks and hairbrushes as Paul clearly became increasingly more impatient. "Are you even listening to me?" he asked. The boys didn't even pause. Paul frowned and looked at me, "well at least you're listening. So, I'm gonna go downstairs to check us out, you better be down in five."

"Gotcha," I grinned as Paul turned and walked out of the door.

"Guys?" I said hesitantly. Niall appeared out of our room with a pair of jeans on his head. This was a little bit ridiculous, we'd only been here one night... Niall winked and ran across to Louis and Harry's room. I could hear Gangham Style playing loudly and a lot of thumping, they'd be dancing of course. I sighed and put my two little fingers in my mouth and blew, hard.

The music stopped abruptly and five heads stuck around the door, "what the bloody hell was that?" Harry asked shocked.

I chuckled, "guys we need to be downstairs in five minutes. So just hurry up, okay? Otherwise we miss the plane to New York."

Zayn groaned, "fine..."

"And please put your pants on your legs," I said raising my eyebrows at Niall.

"Yes, mother" he laughed.


Finally we were all bundled up in the van, with all our pants on our legs and our shoes on our feet.

"Okay, here's breakfast," Paul smiled handing out bagels in paper bags styrofoam cups of tea. I took the tea and bagel carefully. I took a small sip out of the cup, the tea was warm and sweet but it still wasn't enough to stop me from feeling hungry. I could smell it, the bagel, it was rich and hot and the golden butter in the centre was melting into all the little crevices and all I wanted to do was take one giant bite and another and another and another until it was all gone. But I wasn't allowed to.

"You gonna eat that?"Liam asked eyeing off my bagel, his mouth full, "coz if you're not could I have it?"

I looked down at it and smiled, "sure," I said passing it over to him and purposely trying to avoid Niall's glare. He'd be annoyed.

"Thanks babe," he smiled.

"Please just eat," Niall whispered, "you're gorgeous okay?"

I sighed, "but I'm not skinny..."

Niall groaned, "firstly, yes you are skinny, I can see all your bones and secondly, weight doesn't define beauty anyway. I can't stand seeing you hurting like this. Please just eat."

And I wanted to. I really did. I wanted to be strong, if not for me then at least for Niall. But I couldn't. All my hard work would go to waste then. I'd gain like 3728 pounds and then I'd really be a whale. I'd be disgusting.

I shook my head, my lips pressed tightly together and Niall turned his head away angrily and started talking to Zayn.

I lent against the window and looked out, it had just started to rain and I couldn't really see all that much, just dark shapes of buildings and cars passing us by. I sighed and stared instead at the raindrops racing down the window, silently egging on the largest, most clearly dominant raindrop that I could see, to win. So that at least for once something that I believed in could win.


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