Starring One Direction

You've heard the story-girl meets boy, girl meets another boy, girl meets a third boy and has to choose between them, meanwhile dancing backup for their tour and having to deal with blackmailing manipulative psychos.
Okay, so maybe this isn't your typical story.
Emily is back, finally settled into her new life as Niall Horan's girlfriend.
She has it all: the guy she knows she loves, the best friend she can't live without, and a new movie on its way as she pursues her acting career.
But when Emily is confronted by her past, things get turned upside down.
Will her love with Niall stay strong, or will she be forced to leave behind everything she's come to know?

*A Threequel to "More Than One Direction" and "Choosing One Direction"*

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16. Something About The Way You Look Tonight

I take a few minutes to clean myself up, wiping my smeared mascara off my face using the overhead mirror.
He waits patiently, which I'm really grateful for considering my current predicament.
Sniffling, I turn my head to face him.
"Thanks for coming."
"Of course."
His hand reaches out as if it's about to grab mine, but he pulls it back.
The thought that we can't be friends anymore punches me in the gut, and I start crying again.
"Oh, please don't cry again, Em."
"I'm so stupid- I shouldn't have called you. Niall will be pissed if he finds out."
"I know Niall hasn't seemed the best lately, but it's only because he's afraid of getting hurt again."
"I'm not gonna hurt him again."
"I know. But he doesn't. He really loves you."
I sniff again.
"Ya think so?"
He nods his head silently, now facing forward.
We're stopped at a red light, and the gleaming beams coming through the windshield reveal a clenched-jawed Harry.
"Then why do I feel so shitty?"
"Because you love him too."
"Oh, right. That."
"What, you don't love him?"
I can't help but notice a hopeful tone.
"No, I do."
A sigh comes from the back seat, and I'm scared half to death when I hear it.
Turning, I see a silent and weary-faced Liam.
"What the hell is going on?" I scream.
"Sorry Em, Liam was at my place."
"Were you planning on telling me?"
"Not until I got some info out of ya, doll."
"Harry, you just made me so much more pissed at you."
"You're pissed at me?"
"Of course I am! You kissed me!"
"Yeah, I'm really sorry about that and all, but can you at least give Liam a nice hello?"
I slump in my seat.
"Liam hates me."
"That's not true," the brown-eyed puppy pipes up from the backseat.
"I really can't deal with this right now. Can you take me home?"
"I though you wanted to talk."
I glimpse at Liam.
"I did."
"Liam's a good guy; you can trust him."
"I don't doubt that. What I doubt is your loyalty to me. I was about to spill my guts and you were gonna have Liam sit there listening in!"
"Em, I'm sorry."
"Just take me home, Haz."
He pulls up to my apartment not too long after, and with a mumbled farewell, I exit the car and head up to my apartment, snagging my flowers from Sal on the way up.
I call Niall again and again, but only get his voicemail.
I send him a text.

'Niall, he means absolutely nothing to me. I love you and only you. Please forgive me.'

When the message shows up as unread half an hour later, I figure he's already asleep and tuck myself into a lonely bed.
Visions of Irish boys dance in my head.

*        *       *       *      *      *      *       *

The next morning, I awake to several unread texts.

'Harry: wake up doll face, I wanna talk to you'
'Harry: you lazy bum, even I'M up.'
'Harry: you act like you're unemployed. Oh, wait...'
'Liam: I'm sorry about last night'
'Zayn: are you okay?'
'Louis: hey'

But no texts from Niall.

I reply to each of the boys.

'To Harry: I'm still mad at you'
'To Liam: idk what to say Lee'
'To Zayn: whatdoyathink'
'To Louis: hey what's up'

I'm a little confused by Louis texting me, but flattered as well, so I owe him a reply.
While I don't want to get too much into things with Liam, I figure the present is as good a time as any to lay things out. My life's already a mess as it is.
I'm really glad Zayn texted me, but I hope it's not just out of obligation because he avoided even looking at me the previous night.
And Harry- I'm still pissed.
While getting ready to do absolutely nothing all day, I receive a text.
Thinking it's from one of the boys, I open it, and am pleasantly surprised.

'Jake: hey. I'm sorry I never checked up on you last night. Passed out as soon as I got home. Did you get home safely?'

I smile at his friendly text and decide to reply accordingly.

'Trapped inside my apartment. Forgot the number for 911. Wrote "jake's fault" on the walls in my own blood ;)'

'HA, very funny. Just for that, I'm not giving you the number for 911.'

Our texts continue like this for a while, and I find myself enjoying talking to a good friend. It reminds me a lot of my friendship with Harry. Well, until he messed it up by having feelings for me, which Jake seems to follow too.

'Jake: Are you doing anything tonight? I was thinking of seeing a movie. Not a date, I promise'

I think a while before responding. On one hand, I could have a great time with a friend who genuinely wants to spend time with me. On the other hand, this could just be another attempt at getting me to give him a chance. And on the somehow existent third hand, Niall could see us together, making things even worse between us.
I of course love Niall and don't want to risk it, so I suggest something else.
I don't know where all these hands are coming from.

'How about some of my friends come too?'

I'm surprised by his reply.

'Jake: of course. Just have them meet us at the theater.'

I instantly call Harry, hoping he'll answer quickly.
"Hello love. Finally awake?"
"I'm still mad at you Haz, but I need a favor."
"What is it now?"
"You're on thin ice here, bud. I'd quit now if I were you."
He laughs, so I continue.
"Wanna go see a movie tonight?"
"Me and you?"
"No, me, you, the boys, whoever."
"My big favor is going on a group date?"
"It's not a date. The guy I was with last night- the reason Niall won't talk to me- asked me to the movies. But I wanna go with all of you."
"You were with another guy last night?"
"Something I tried to tell you, but- never mind, will you get the boys together?"
"You mean so you can see Niall?"
"Is that so bad?"
"Em, we're still having major issues. Niall refuses to be in the group."
"But he was with Zayn and Lou last night."
"He was?"
"Yeah..."
"So it's just me he hates."
"Please, Haz. Just get whoever you can."
"Okay, Em. I'll try."
"All right. I'll text you with details later."
After we hang up, I try calling Niall, but I still get nothing.
I try a second time, this time leaving a voicemail.

"Hey- it's me. I know you're really mad at me and I know Paul's told me to stay away but I really need to talk to you. Can you just call me when you get the chance? I love you, Niall. Bye."

Without my noticing, a single tear slides down my cheek. I wipe it off and hold in the rest from falling.
I turn the television on, trying to distract myself from my own emotions.
I spend the whole day sitting on my couch, watching tv until Jake calls me.

"Hello?"
"Hey, I'm outside. You're still going, right?"
I check the time- 7:03.
It's that late already?
"Yeah, just let me get ready."
I hang up and quickly text Harry to leave then to meet us at the theatre.
Before waiting for a reply, I throw on a pair of jean capris, a blue tee, and some flip flops- a perfect non-date outfit. I brush my teeth and pull a comb through my tangled mess of hair.
When I sprint downstairs, I find a red convertible parked outside.
Jake is sitting in the driver's seat.
"What is this?" I ask in complete awe.
"It's my car," he replies with an amused smile on his face.
"I thought you didn't have a car," I say, reaching down to rub my hand across the bright exterior.
"No, I just prefer walking."
"But it's so nice."
He laughs, "Thanks."
I get in the car, and he takes off at the speed of light, the engine making a beautiful purring sound.
"So are we meeting some of your friends?"
"Yeah," I say.
"I see you've cleaned most of the blood off."
I laugh, "Yeah, most of it."
We talk the whole way to the theatre and everything seems like it'll be friendly and okay until we walk up to the building and see Harry.
Just Harry. No one else.
I have to see a movie with two guys who confessed feelings for me within the last two days.
Neither of which are my boyfriend.
Now I know how Bella feels in that scene from New Moon where she sees a movie with Jacob and Mike.
I'm secretly hoping I'll be the one to throw up this time.
"Can you excuse me for a moment?" I say to Jake, but I walk away before he replies.
"Harry!" I yell-whisper, "Where the hell is everyone?"
"You're looking at 'em, love."
"Please say you're joking."
"They've all picked Niall's side. Except Liam, he just doesn't wanna see you."
"Of course," I say, but then something clicks, "wait- LOUIS chose NIALL over YOU?"
"I guess so. When I asked him to come, he sounded disgusted that I would even think about asking. Zayn was just like 'Do you really think that's a good idea?'"
"What'd you tell him?"
"I said it's not like I kissed his girlfriend."
"Great."
"Sorry to interrupt," Jake says as he approaches us, "I'm just starting to look like a real loner."
"It's all right," Harry says, reaching his hand out, "I'm Harry."
"We've met," Jake says, shaking his hand anyway.
"We have? I thought you looked familiar. Was it that one night in Beverly Park, because I don't remember anything from that night."
"No. No, Harry. It's my ex. He works on the movie."
Harry's jaw drops.
"That douchebag? The fuck you doing hanging out with him? If I were Niall, I'd be pissed too."
"So now you care about Harry's feelings?"
Jake clears his throat, standing uncomfortably beside Harry and me.
"Are we gonna see the movie?"
"Shut up, douche," Harry snaps.
"Harry!"
"Have you completely forgotten what he did to you?"
"That was a long time ago, Harry."
"Shouldn't you be more focused on, I don't know, maybe talking to your BOYFRIEND so we can get on with our lives?"
"It was your fault in the first place!"
"You're right, and I apologized. But you're the one who's making it worse."
"Paul won't even let me talk to Niall."
"Is that really what's stopping you?"
"What the hell does that mean?"
"It means, maybe you have feelings for someone else, or still have feelings."
"Fuck you, Harry."
"No, really, maybe you still like Louis. Or Liam."
"What?" Jake tries to keep up, but he's not my main concern.
"No, Harry. I love Niall. I want to be and I need to be with him."
"So what are you doing here?"
The realization of what Harry was trying to do sinks in, and I find myself mentally facepalming myself as I figure out what I should be doing- getting Niall back.
"Jake, bring me home."
"Are you serious?" he replies.
"It's fine," Harry says as he starts to walk towards his car, "I'll take ya."
"No, no," Jake stands between Harry and me, "I will."
"I'm sorry Jake," I say as we walk to his car together, "it's just something I need to do."
"It's all right," he says as we both get in, "but you owe me."
I'm glad he's being such a good sport.
"Nuh uh, you didn't give me the number for 911."
He drives me back to my house, and I apologize about twenty more times on the way home, but he keeps insisting it's all right.
When we finally pull up to my house, Jake kills the engine and turns to me with a look of nervousness.
He rolls the windows and the top up, then looks back at me.
"Em, I know you're going through a tough time,but...there's something that's been bugging me...I don't know...I think it's just...something about...the way you look tonight, makes me want to-"
And he kisses me.

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