Lost

Jamie McLaren lost her entire family in the shooting last year—even her twin brother. Nobody knows why the McLarens were targeted, or why Jamie is the only one who survived, but they all think she’s next.
Niall Horan is worried about Jamie. Ever since her brother—his best mate—passed away, she’s been avoiding him and getting herself into all sorts of trouble. Niall blames the crowd she’s been hanging around, but Jamie insists that she isn’t good enough for anything better.
All Niall wants to do is protect Jamie and maybe even make her laugh again, but all Jamie seems to want to do is avoid Niall as much as possible.

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1. Ch. 1

  Another endless hallway

  More florescent lighting

  More cement walls. It was just like any other backstage he'd ever been to.

  The tour was in Mullingar for the weekend and the boys had gone down to the arena to check out the venue. Niall wondered if he was going to get to see her this time, but so far she hadn't replied to any of his texts.

  It was as if she'd jumped off the face of the planet when she moved to Belfast. She never called anymore, and when she did text, it was short and troubling--things like, "can't talk, but hope you're doing well." or "thanks for calling. I'll try to call you back this week." He worried about her. Ever since last year, she hadn't been the same.

  They turned the corner and were greeted by the sound of a violin somewhere down the hall. The notes bounced off the walls and tumbled across the floor, making it hard to tell where exactly the sound was coming from. Zayn wandered ahead of the group and poked his head around the doorpost.

  "Vas happening, Jamie!" he shouted.

  Jamie? She was actually here??

  The music stopped suddenly and Niall heard her voice.

  "Oh my gosh!" she gasped. "Zayn! You can't just go around scaring people like that!"

  "Well sheesh, it's good to see you too."

  "Oh my gosh, it really is Jamie!" Harry said excitedly and ran to catch up with Zayn. Niall quickened his pace with the others and turned into the room to see Jamie surrounded by the boys with a violin tucked under one arm, giving Harry a hug with the other.

  She was wearing shorts and an oversized hoodie that looked like it had once belonged to one of her brothers. Her auburn hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she didn't appear to be wearing any makeup. In appearance, Jamie McLaren hadn't changed at all since he last saw her.

  "Niall." she said looking at him. The smile on her face slowly faded.

  "Jamie." he walked towards her. "C'mon, give me a hug." He wrapped his arms around her and buried his face in her neck.

  "Umm.. I'm sorry I didn't call you or something," she mumbled into his shirt.

  "Hey, don't worry 'bout it. It's good to see you again." he smiled. In truth, it hurt that she seemed to be avoiding him, but now wasn't the time to bring it up. For now, he was just glad to see her safe.

  "So what are you doing here?" Louis asked her.

  "I had orchestra rehearsal." Jamie said as she unzipped her music case. "I stayed behind to practice more. Apparently I haven't been playing any of this right." she sighed and held up five pages of music, all taped together, with lots of angry red pencil marks all over the pages.

  "Well it sounded pretty good to me." Liam said, trying to sound encouraging.

  "Yeah." the other boys chorused. Jamie gave a half-hearted laugh and let the case slam shut with a thud.

  "Thanks, guys." she said. "But it's a work in progress." 

  "Are you coming to any of our shows this weekend?" Liam asked.

  "No, I can't." Jamie furrowed her brow. "I'm busy."

  "Aww, c'mon, we can sneak ya backstage." Louis smiled.

  "No, I really shouldn't--hey! Get off those crisps!" she swiped the bag from Niall. "This is all I've had today!" she complained.

  "Sorry." he shrugged. "So what're you so busy doing this weekend that you can't come out and see us?" he smirked.

  "School, work, music. I don't know I'm just busy." she was getting flustered. "I've got a bunch of deadlines." She huffed and scowled.

  "Wait, where're ya off to so quickly, Jamie?" Harry asked as Jamie slung her case over her shoulder and smacked Niall's hand away from the crisps again.

  "Gotta get home," she said. "Places to go, people to see."

  "Like who?" Louis grinned impishly.

  "Like nobody." Jamie snapped.

  "Nobody?" Louis scoffed. "Then you don't have people to see." He sassed.

  "Sure. Well, I'll be seeing you boys later."

  "Wait! You mean that, right?" Liam asked with a raised eyebrow.

  "Sure. Sure I mean that." Jamie freed her hair from the straps on her violin case. "One of you text me!" she waved and bounced from the room. Just like that--like she hadn't even missed them. Niall frowned and followed her out to the hallway.

  "Jamie, wait." he called after her. She skidded to a stop in her Nike flip-flops and turned around.

  "What, Niall?" she sighed.

  "I know who you're seeing tonight."

  "I don't care if you know or not." Jamie shrugged.

  "You know how I feel about him--you know how Damian felt about him." he regretted saying this as soon as if came out of his mouth.

  "Well Damian's not here anymore, ok?" she shouted, her voice echoing through the hallway. The others had gathered around behind Niall to see that the commotion was about. Niall opened his mouth to say something.

  "And I don't need you to protect me!" she cut him off. "I've been doing fine on my own this past year, so stop worrying 'bout it!" she turned and ran away, her flip-flops smacking against the concrete floor. Niall stood and watched her go, trying to think of what to say to make things better, but she skidded around the corner before he had a chance to say anything. A few seconds later the angry sound of a slamming door echoed through the building.

  He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned around. Zayn was standing behind him.

  "Alright, mate?" he asked.

  "Yeah." Niall grumbled.

  "Don't worry, I'll convince her to meet up with us this weekend."

  "Good luck with that." Niall sighed. It was a challenge to convince Jamie of anything these days.

              

                                                                               ***

 

  Jamie ran down the alleyway to where her car was parked. She threw her violin on the backseat and then just sat there with her head on the wheel, a million thoughts running through her mind at once.

  Damian. Her brother. Her twin.

  Just hearing his name out loud again brought back so many memories. It hurt. It was one thing to lie in bed at night and think about all the good memories. In the dark, it was like she was just replaying a good day in her head. She would wake up and they would all be there--Damian would be there, and the two of them would get through the day together and have wild adventures with Niall.

  In the daylight, hearing his name spoke out loud reminded her of the harsh reality that her brother wasn't there anymore, and that she wouldn't wake up the next day in her old home, she wouldn't be walking to school with her brothers, and nothing would ever go back to being the way it was before.

  Jamie almost hated Niall for mentioning Damian, but it was so hard to hate Niall. After all, he had been very close to her brother as well...

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