The Perfect Match 15+ (Completed)

Summary: Niall Horan is the epitome of bad news. After his mother passes away, he finds himself in the battle with drugs and alcohol. With jeopardy of not graduating his senior year, his teacher Ms. Aleman pairs him with tutor Aubrey Osborn, daughter of a man who may know Niall a bit too well. Ms. Aleman thinks Aubrey and Niall are the perfect match, but their histories beg to differ. On top of it, Aubrey is applying to the most competitive schools in the nation, while Niall could care less about a higher education. Two teenagers. Two hearts. Two stories. Will it be the perfect match?

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19. Chapter 19 (:


Niall’s P.O.V

“Hey leprechaun, can you hand me the stapler?” the girl whines. She pushes her purple thick-rimmed glasses higher and lays her palm flat. I place the stapler in her hand obediently, and she secures the side of her banner. Down the hallway, Aubrey drills her stare into me while stepping on a piece of paper. In her over-sized sweater and disheveled hair, she let herself go, but I still find her irresistibly sexy. With a shake of her head, she turns away from me and stalks down the hallway angrily.


“Who is she?” the girl probes turning her head to Aubrey. We both gaze down the hallway as she heads to class with her hips swaying the way I like. I hope no other man has their hands on them when she goes home. Despite being broken up for a month, I still claim Aubrey as mine…am I pathetic or what?

“No one,” my voice manages, “no one.” I want to pull Aubrey into my arms and kiss her sadness away. I see the happiness drained from her. She never smiles. She never laughs. Even in the newspapers, her smile is gone and replaced with a failed attempt to appear happy. The sunniness I fell in love with is gone. The new Aubrey is emotionally drained and…broken.

The girl adjusts her glasses and shrugs her shoulders indifferently. She runs her palm along the banner reading, “A Winter Wonderland – Dance it up with your fellow Mustangs! Tickets on sale by the cafeteria!” When the bell rings, I grab my backpack off the floor and run to class. I run into a few students who hiss for me to watch it. I know Ms. Aleman is going to give me shit about being late. She gives me shit about being early. Basically, Ms. Aleman gives me shit.

“Thank you for the help!” the gawky girl shouts behind me waving.

I turn my head and give her a well-mannered nod. When I open the door, Ms. Aleman is facing the board writing the formulas we learned the other day. The coast is clear. I weightlessly stride to my seat, and suddenly, Ms. Aleman turns around with her world-famous death glare.

“It is a pleasure for you to join us, Mr. Horan,” she declares sternly.

“Sorry,” I apologize, “a girl needed help with the banners in the hallway.” I take a seat and pull my journal out for class.

“If I needed excuses,” she snarls tossing her floral scarf over her shoulder, “I would have asked.” The class snickers in response, and I sink lower into my seat in response. No one is going to give me a break, huh? The entire period is a haze. I don’t retain the information as well as I did when I had Aubrey being proud of me as motivation. Now, the information is a buzz in my ear. In fact, the only time I learn is when I’m with Liam. Tutoring with him is fine. I mean, he’s not Aubrey, but he’s a good tutor anyway.

I wonder if my mother would be proud of me, you know, despite the mistakes I’ve made. I mean, she should be proud now. I haven’t done drugs since Aubrey and I broke up. I see no point in it anymore. It not only hurt me, but it hurt the girl I loved, too. My last wish is to see her precious lips turned into a frown. I wonder if she wears her usual vanilla lip gloss. I remember savoring the flavor on my tongue after our first kiss. I didn’t want to taste another flavor for days. I wonder if she’s found anyone worth her time. I wonder if she’s…happier without me.

When the bell rings, I realize I’ve retained no information again. In no time, the entire room empties leaving me and Ms. Aleman alone. She leans her bottom against the front of her table and lowers her glasses to the bridge of her nose.

“Niall, you have been losing focus lately,” she notes, “are you alright?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I lie, “I’ve been a bit tired is all.” I mean, I am tired. All I do is wake up and find new ways to win Aubrey over. I’ve messaged her. I’ve called her. I’ve even called her father, but every time he attempts to pass the phone over to her, she’s “in the shower.” I know her better. She’s obviously avoiding me.

“Ah,” she nods, “well, are you going to the dance?”

Yeah, right. Why would I go? Another boy probably invited Aubrey as her date already, and the mere sight of another man’s arms wrapped around her will be the death of me. I have to face it: Aubrey is never going to forgive me. Another man will love her. Another man will be her first. Another man will steal her heart, and I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it.

“No,” I say shaking my head. I rise out of my seat and sling my bag over my shoulder. “What is the point?”

“Well, you deserve it!” she beams. She hands me a sheet of paper marked with an A. I gape my mouth open when I realize I made an A on my lab report. “You have worked very hard this semester, Mr. Horan, and I heard about your admission into Campbell University.” She returns my smile proudly and nods her head. “Very impressive. Does Greg know?”

“No,” I answer, “I haven’t told him, yet. I’m not even sure I’m going to college.”

“Why not?” she asks. Ms. Aleman reminds me a lot of my mother: always worried. In fact, after being in her class for a semester, she resembles my mother in a lot of ways. She’s taught me a lot, and surprisingly, she cares about me. “Many students would die to go to Campbell University. In fact, a lot of our top students were denied. How did you win them over?”

“I don’t know, really,” I shrug, “Aubrey helped a lot.”

“Ah, I should have known,” she laughs. I cock an eyebrow confused. She crosses her arm and smiles proudly. “This is about Aubrey. It all is: why you’ve been tired, why you won’t go to the dance, and why you don’t want to go to college.” I swallow a lump in my throat and turn to the door. I want to leave. I don’t want to talk to Ms. Aleman about Aubrey. It’s like talking to my mother about her, and I haven’t, yet. I don’t necessarily know how. I’ve never talked to my mother about any girls. “You know,” she sighs, “I’ve never liked you, Mr. Horan.”

“Um, thank you?” I stammer.

“Oh, hush,” she laughs swatting the air with her hand, “but I see you with Aubrey, Niall, and I see how you die to see her happy. You do all you can to curve her lips up, huh?” The thought hurts like hell. I miss her smile. I miss her. “It makes me proud to be your teacher. Underneath your bad boy persona is a gentleman who fell in love with the beautiful girl. Am I right?” I tear my gaze away from her and shift my feet awkwardly. “I bet Aubrey is dying to talk to you, too. Have you talked to her?”

“I’ve called her every night,” my voice manages, “but she ignores me, Ms. Aleman. What do I do?” Talking to Ms. Aleman is both soothing and miserable. She reminds me a lot of my mother, and I wonder if I’d go to her for advice if she were alive. I wonder what she’d say.

“You go to her house,” she hoots, “and you better have a dozen roses with you, too! Women love roses.” I merrily join her laughter, and she scoots off her table. “Come here.” She pulls me into a warm hug and pats my back. “You are going to be alright, Niall.” I heard those words before. My mother. Oliver Twist. The memory returns to me. Instead of it piercing my heart, the memory fills the gaps in my heart. I may not have my mother, but I have people willing to love and help me. I should be happy, but I can’t be unless Aubrey is by my side. I need her.

After school is over, I head to my locker as the other students rush to their buses to go home. Before I know it, the hallways are lifeless. No one is here. No rumors. No drama. Silence. I grab my coat from its hook and toss it on when I hear a sniffle echo through the hallway. From the corner of my eye, I see a figure on the floor with his face buried in his knees. I close my locker and carefully join him on the floor. My back clangs the lockers behind me causing him to turn his head to me. In his sapphire eyes is emptiness. The confidence is replaced with loneliness.

“Are you alright, Louis?” I ask. He tears his gaze from me and laughs coldly.

“How did you do it, Niall?” his voice manages. He swallows his tears and lowers his eyes to his feet.

“How did I do what?”

“How did you go on without your father?” he gulps. “I heard he left you and your brother when you were toddlers.”

My eyes focus on the wall in front of us, and I fiddle with a loose thread on my coat. I’ve never talked about my father with anyone before. Not Aubrey. Not Greg. Not even my mother. “He did,” my voice cracks, “and it hurt, Louis, but I replaced his love with the love my mother gave me. It was hard.” Surprisingly, I’m not crying. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been before. It scares me, actually. “Greg and I, we used to complain about not having a father, but after a while, you deal with it. You teach yourself how to shave. You teach yourself how to drive. You teach yourself how to pull a girl.” We both laugh as we think about Aubrey. “In the end, you learn a lot about yourself.”

“Thanks, lad,” he smiles, “I needed that.” Though the both of us are here, the hallways are lifeless. We aren’t fighting for once. It’s an odd feeling, but it feels…nice. “My parents are divorcing.” I nod my head understandingly, and he hugs his knees closer. “I worry about my sisters…you know, how they’re going to deal with it, and more importantly, my mother, especially with me moving to New York in a few months. I’m beginning to wonder if Columbia University is even the decision for me.”

I rise from my seat and sling my backpack over my shoulder.  “It is,” I declare. “You’re stronger than you think, lad. We all are.”

Before he can respond, I march out of the door, and breathe in the newly fallen snow. It smells of new beginnings and courage. I wonder if Aubrey loves the snow, or if she lets the pearls melt on her tongue. I journey to the familiar streets of Marbury. The laughter of children playing in the snow echoes from the nearby neighborhood. It reminds me a lot of playing in the snow my mother. I stop in front of a floral shop near Pizza by Mario. I used to come here a lot when my mother was alive. As the pearls of snow bustle along the glass window, I tug my coat tighter and smile when the florist sees me. She welcomes me inside with a wave and pulls me into a hug as soon as I step foot into her shop.

“Where have you been, lad?” her frail voice shakes. “Oh my, I have not seen you or your brother in years. How has he been doing?”

“Fine,” I laugh patting her back. “How’ve you been doing?”

“Fine as always,” she laughs, “stop worrying about me! Are you here for someone special?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I nod. I examine the endless aisles of flowers, and I remember Ms. Aleman’s advice. Women love roses. There are an assortment of colors, but I figure red will do. “Do you have a dozen red roses?”

“Ah,” she smiles proudly, “right over here.” She leads me to the aisle of roses and places an index finger on her lips as her eyes explore for the best dozen. “Here we are!” she beams. She grabs a bouquet of supple red roses and hands it to me. “This one is on me, sweetheart.”

“Are you sure? I have the money for it, I promise—” I say digging for my wallet.

“Take it,” she laughs heartily, “before I change my mind. Now take it to her fast, do you hear? Tell her I send my hellos.”

I nod and pat her shoulder gratefully before running to where I need to be. The roses are tucked beneath my arm securely as I run along the pavement. My shoes rhythmically beat along pavement, and when I finally find her, I fall to my knees in disbelief. The leaves crumple under my knees and I inch closer to her. I haven’t been this close to her in so long.

“Hey,” my voice cracks. I place the roses gently along the bottom of the white stone. “I know I hardly visit you nowadays.” The wind blows, and I close my eyes to avoid the piercing cold breeze. “The lady from the floral shop says hello.” When I hear a whistle from the wind, I know she’s listening. Be strong, I remind myself. “We miss you, Mom.” I swallow a lump in my throat, and with all of the courage I have, I tell her about the girl I fell in love with.

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