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.


5. Ch. 5

  The storm which had started earlier in the day had only grown stronger. Thunder rolled and the wind threw the rain against the windowpanes with angry hissing noises that echoed through the quiet house.

  The doorbell rang.

  Jamie heard her cousin move through the house and open the door.

  "Hello! Oh...hang on a mo, let me get--Jamie!" Sarah called up the stairs. Jamie sighed. It was probably Niall. Jamie swung her feet off the bed and shuffled down the steps.

 "Liam." she was surprised to see him standing there dripping in the foyer. Sarah had already disappeared to another part of the house.

  "Hey, Jamie." he smiled warmly.

  "What're you doing h--?" she started to ask, but he held out her phone to her instead.

  "You left this at Nialler's house and he didn't want you to be without it." Liam explained. "He would've delivered it himself, but...well, he thinks you're upset with him." Jamie took the phone and sighed.

  "Yeah." she mumbled. Liam dipped his head slightly to try and look her in the eye.

  "Why is that, Jamie?" he asked. Jamie ignored him and flicked through her inbox, pretending to be interested in her old messages. Liam reached out and covered the screen with his hand. "Jamie." he said sternly. Jamie looked up and saw her friend's familiar brown puppy dog eyes looking down at her with concern. Frowning, she closed her eyes and sighed.

  "Please don't look at me like that, Liam."

  "Why are you mad at Niall?" he asked again.

  "Oh, I don't know he's just--he's too--I just don't want any damn sympathy!" she finally burst out.

  "Jamie, Niall thinks the world of you. He always has." Liam said calmly. "And he's worried about you...we all are."

  "Well you guys don't have to, I'll be fine--ow!" she gasped. One hand flew to her chest, the other leaned against the door frame for support as she struggled for breath.

  "Jamie! Are you ok? What's wrong? Is it your heart?" Liam put an arm out to catch her. Jamie mentally cursed and wished she could have more control over these little episodes.

  "Mmph." Jamie gritted her teeth. "I'm fine." She had suffered from asthma and various heart problems her entire life. For some reason, the darn thing just didn't want to work properly. The boys knew nothing about it until last summer when she and Damian had been riding four-wheelers with the boys. Jamie had gotten a random dizzy spell and drove off the road into the ditch. After that, her twin and all the other boys had kept a close eye on her, which annoyed Jamie beyond belief. Liam was by far the worst.

  "No, you're not fine." Liam insisted. "C'mon, let's go sit down." he quickly wiped his muddy shoes and took off his drenched jacket before taking her arm and guiding her into the living room.

  "Liam, you don't have to do this. I'll be fine. Don't you have to pack? What time does your flight leave tomorrow?"

  "Stop talking." Liam instructed. They say down and he started to rub her back in small circular motions.

  "Liam, just--"

  "Do you need your inhaler?"

  "No!" Jamie said crossly and shook her head.

  "Can I get you anything?"


  "Would you just shut up and let me worry?"


  "You're like a little sister to me! Now what kind of big brother would just leave his sister gasping for breath like that? Hmm?"

  "Ryan might have." Jamie laughed, which only sent her into another fit of ragged breathing. Liam's eyes crinkled into a smile as he watched her laugh.

  "Easy, now." he soothed as he continued to rub her back. Jamie felt tears forming behind the laughter. Oh, how she missed Ryan. She would've buried her face in her knees, if she weren't already having trouble breathing. Instead she just closed her eyes as the smile faded from her lips.

  "Hey, you ok?" Liam whispered. Jamie opened her eyes as her breathing returned to normal.

  "Yeah." she nodded.

  "How you feeling? Better?" he asked. Jamie nodded again. "If I leave you now will you be ok for tonight?"

  "Mmm hmm."

  "Ok, I'm gonna go back to Niall's place, but if you need to, don't hesitate to call me or any of the boys."

  "Ok, ok. I know." Jamie rolled her eyes.

  "You'll be at the airport tomorrow?"

  "Sure will."

 "We'll see you then."

  "Wait! Liam." he stopped and turned around.

  "Yes, Jamie?"

  "Th-thank you." she mumbled sheepishly. Liam grinned.

  "No problem, little sister."


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