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.


2. Ch. 2

  Jamie would never forget the night it all happened. It was about 10pm last July. She'd just gotten home from work and was wandering through the kitchen, humming softly to herself. The rain beat steadily against the windows. Her older brother Ryan and her twin Damian were upstairs making a terrific racket about something. Not one to miss out on the fun, Jamie shut the fridge and kicked off her shoes before running upstairs.

  The phone rang. She stopped halfway up the steps.

  "Jamie, get the phone!" Ryan shouted.

  "You get it!" Jamie whined. "There's one closer to you anyways!"

  "I'm busy!" he shouted back.

  "Damian, you get it!" Jamie yelled.

  "I can't!" her twin shouted down the stairs. Muttering, Jamie shuffled back into the kitchen and picked up the phone.

  "Hello?" what happened next, she couldn't exactly remember. Words, urgent voices, and a sudden feeling of fear were all she remembered.

  "...just shot ten minutes ago...didn't survive..." were the only clear words, but they were enough.

  "Ryan! Damian!" Jamie's voice shook with panic. "Guys!" the fighting upstairs stopped and her brothers came thundering down the stairs.

  "Jamie! What's wrong?"

  "Who's on the phone?"

  "...not safe at home...backup on the way..." the voice continued.

  "Mum and dad--they've--I think they've been sh--" Jamie struggled to keep her voice steady. "We're not safe here."

  "Jamie? What are you talking about?" Ryan was now obviously worried.

  Out of the corner of her eye, Jamie saw a shadow dart across the sunroom window.

  "Get down!" she screamed. She reached out for Damian. There must have been a silencer on the gun because the bullet came from nowhere and lodged itself it Ryan's neck. He clutched Jamie's arm as he went down, pulling her to the kitchen floor.

  "Ryan!" she screamed.

  Barely half a second after the first shot, another bullet came tearing through the air and hit Damian in the chest just as they were ducking behind the counter.

  "Oh God, Ryan no!" his eyes were wide as he kept clutching Jamie's arm, blood gushing from his neck. "Please don't go! Don't leave me!" she shouted. But a second later his eyes went motionless and his grip on her arm loosened.

  "No! Ryan, no!" she sobbed. Another gunshot went off and bounded off the counter. Sirens sounded outside. Jamie turned to Damian. He was breathing heavily and had his hand over the bullet wound in his chest.

  "Jamie." he gasped.

  "Don't." Jamie whispered as tears ran down her face. "Don't you dare, Damian. I need you to stay."

  More gunfire.

  Paramedics flooded the kitchen and before Jamie could do anything, they'd loaded her brother into the back of their ambulance and were gone. Somebody came and put a body bag over Ryan. Someone else told her to stay down. One last gunshot, flashing lights, sirens, and radio static. Everything was happening too fast for Jamie.

  The gunfire had stopped and some of the sirens had drifted away.

  "Leave me alone!" Jamie screamed when someone tried to approach her. She reached for the phone again and frantically dialed a number--Niall's




  Back at his house, Niall was stretched out on his bed with his feet on the headboard. The TV was on, but he wasn't really paying attention to it. His phone rang. He looked at the screen. It was the McLaren's home number. Strange.

  "Uhh, hello?" he answered.

  "Niall, you need to get over here. Now." It was Jamie and her voice sounded funny. Niall sat up quickly and flicked the TV off.

  "Jamie? Are you ok?" he asked. There was a pause before she finally answered. He could hear a lot of commotion in the background. What was going on?

  "N--no I'm not!" she sobbed. Niall frowned. Something was seriously wrong. He grabbed his keys and slipped his shoes on.

  "Ok, just hang in there, kid. I'll be right over." And he hung up without even waiting for a response.

  In the car on the way over he kept trying to think of what had happened over at the McLaren house. What had happened that had made Jamie McLaren his best mate's tomboy twin who wasn't afraid of anything to cry like that? He imagined all sorts of horrible things, but he hadn't expected any of them to be true as he pulled up at the bottom of the driveway. Bright yellow crime scene tape and police cars surrounded the McLaren's house. Lights were flashing and people were running around everywhere.

  He got out of the car and ran towards the house, ducking under the tape before anyone could catch him. He bolted up the porch steps and into the kitchen where he found Jamie on the floor with her head in her hands, sitting next to a body bag covered object.

  "Jamie?" he touched her shoulder and she jumped.

  "Niall." she looked up. He sank down on the floor next to her.

  "What's happened?" he whispered with shock. "Who is that?" he indicated the body bag. Jamie's eyes were squeezed shut like she was trying to imagine it all away.

  "it's Ryan. Shot." her eyes were still closed. "My parents too. I don't know where they are."

  "Wait, both shootings happened at the same time?" he asked. Jamie nodded, her eyes still shut tight. "And where's Damian?" he asked.

  "Hospital.I don't know what's going to happen to him." Jamie covered her mouth to muffle the sobs. Niall put an arm around her shoulders.

  "C'mon, let's go find him." he said gently. Jamie's eyes flew open and she moved her head to look at Niall. There was a startled, fearful look in her eyes.

  "But...Ran." she whispered. Niall put his head close to Jamie's and whispered into her hair.

  "You'll see him later." Jamie knew what he meant: the wake. "Right now we need to get to Damian." he continued. Jamie nodded. "C'mon, kid." and he helped her to her feet.


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