Without a Clue

Trigger Warnings: reference to/ mention of domestic violence, reference to/ mention of sexual abuse, reference to/ mention of substance abuse, descriptive depictions of self harm and suicide, death, abortion, and mental illness.

Niall's secretive, always has been, but the world is in utter shock as the news is released that Niall has a son. The two year old blond, Grayson Finn Horan, is simply the most important thing in Niall's life, but when a stunning American popstar, Demi Lovato, starts to work her way into his heart, he doesn't know how to react.

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9. Chapter Nine: The Thoughtful Boy

I hate work. There is absolutely no way around the entire situation I just completely and absolutely hate work. Why, you might ask? Because work has officially made the most adorable child in the entire world cry.

Of course, I didn't expect to simply fly to London for the week to do nothing; I just don't think anyone should be required to go to work if it makes Grayson Horan cry. It wasn't even a big thing, just a quick radio interview, but that had no effect on the amount of waterworks reaching for the Niall's apartment door caused.

"Where you go?" Grayson simply asked me, and the moment I said I have to work: that's when the tears started flowing. I didn't even know what to do; what does one do when single-handedly causing a two-year-old's meltdown?

Of course, Niall was there and managed to get Grayson to calm down enough to where I could leave feeling slightly less guilty. There's no way to describe how his little pout managed to make me feel all the way here, and I'm not sure I can even focus on the task at hand without my mind falling back to him.

"What have you been doing with your time off here in London?" Don't you just love radio interviews? I do; they're far less stressful than on-camera ones. That is, unless they ask you what you've been doing, and your entire weekend has consisted of sleeping in the same bed as Niall Horan and playing dinosaur with his secret toddler. I'm sure the random girl sitting in the seat next to me must think I look like a deer in headlights, because I might as well be. 

"Oh, just hanging out with some friends, taking it easy." My voice wavers a bit, but I think I've got a handle on the obvious nervousness that I seem to be oozing. This whole interview has been utter chaos, I think. I haven't been able to fully pay attention to anything the girl has asked me, and, when I do, the question just leads me back to thinking about how much of mess I've managed to stir up in a single weekend.

Why, just, why did I have to go and mess everything up with Niall. I can't believe that I actually slept in the same bed as him. Twice. Who does that? I don't even know what this is. Niall's obviously still not over his wife, and I'm not making it any better by coming in and getting too close.

What am I even thinking? He doesn't think of me like that, which is why sleeping in the same bed isn't really that big of a deal, right? He doesn't have a guest room and he was doing me a favor by letting me sleep in his room. Okay, there was minimal cuddling, but it was very, very minimal. I shouldn't even be thinking about him like this. God only knows that he isn’t thinking about me this way, he's got so many more important things going on in his life right now. What right do I have to come into his life and make it any more horrible than it already is? I just can't help it that my heart seems to flutter a bit every time I see him smile.

The one thing I seem to like far more about radio interviews on channels like this is that there seems to be an infinite amount of breaks for music. Yeah, it takes more time in the long run, but I'd never trade the breaks to collect myself for anything else on days like this.

"Are you okay?" The interviewer asks softly and glances at me, the current song covering my slight hyperventilation.

"Yeah. All good here." It's a quick reply, but she seems to accept is as she shifts to lay back against her chair. Then, just when I think I'm in the clear, Niall has to come fuck it up.

"Miss Lovato?" I hear an unfamiliar voice question just as the current song is coming to a close, both the interviewer and I turning around in our chairs to investigate. I don't know the man standing there, but it's evident he works here, his jacket sporting the station's logo and an earpiece visible. He gives me a gentle smile when he realizes everyone in the room is staring at him, and quickly does what he was sent to do. He pulls a bag out from behind his back and hands it to me, an obviously confused look on my face. It looks as if it’s from some sort of restaurant, but I'm not really sure if I can place the name of it. The interviewer looks at me, evidently just as confused as I am as to why a bag of food has been delivered to me in the middle of a live radio interview.

"What do you have there?" She asks me with a gentle laugh, pointing at the bag of food. I'm confused for a second, but then I realize there's a small piece of paper taped to the bag.

 

For lunch, -Grayson

 

He didn’t. Niall did not bring me lunch. Why would he do that? I guess I wasn't really thinking about what I would have for lunch, or even that it was that time of day yet. It's kind of sweet that Niall thought of me, I suppose.

"For all those listening, Demi's lunch has just been personally dropped off by someone named Grayson." The interviewer smiles, looking at me softly, a gentle laugh in her voice. God, I'm so glad Niall thought to put Grayson's name instead of his own. That would have given both of us hell in the media. Nonetheless, I'm sure she can see the slight blush on my cheeks as I place the bag on the floor.

"Who's Grayson? Have a new man in the wings?" I laugh at that assumption, and give her a dramatic shrug. Of course, Grayson is my new boyfriend. He can finger-paint at least four different animals and can correctly label every species of dinosaur, what more could you ask for in a boyfriend?

"I can't say." I mention lightly, the joking tone in my voice hopefully evident. What was Niall thinking, though? Honestly, someone could have seen him or Grayson, and that would have been terrible. I'm not even sure how he managed to drop the food off with complete anonymity and still get it delivered to me. I guess the only explanation is that he's Niall Horan, and I think he's proved to the world, to me, that he can do whatever he sets his mind to.

 

 

Niall is a master at singing the itsy bitsy spider. I'm sure all parents have to master it eventually, but there's something about the way that Niall sings it that simply screams pop-star. I guess after years of his voice being corrected and poised to perfection even the itsy bitsy spider has to sound like it's come right off a studio recording.

It feels nice to be back at his apartment. Something about it, despite its extreme lack of personal touch, feels like a home. After this week, I honestly don't know how I'll ever feel at home again without the giggles of a two year old around.

At the same time, I can't help but feel as if I've overstayed my welcome. I'm pretty sure Niall's invitation to sleep at his apartment was a one-night offer, and if that's the case, I've gone over by quite a bit. I do have a room booked at a hotel, and it wouldn't really make sense for me to never check in, wouldn’t it? Wouldn't people start to question where I was? I wouldn't really be able to tell them, would I? I was sleeping in the same bed as Niall Horan with his secret two-year-old in the other room; that would explain everything.

I guess that's what really makes me start packing up my things. I don't want Niall to get sick of me, which I'm sure he has now that I've taken at least half of the space on his bed every night, sometimes his whole bed. I know his knee has been bothering him, and he doesn't need me taking any of the focus away from him relaxing and taking care of Grayson, along with himself.

What I don't expect is Niall's face when he sees my luggage by the front door.

"Going somewhere?" He questions softly, his eyes sharply glancing at my things. I'm confused for a second, wouldn't he like to have his space back?

"My hotel?" He doesn't seem to register what I've said, like he wasn't expecting that.

"The Intercontinental?" He questions softly. I suppose he must have remembered the name of the hotel from when he attempted to drop me off. He seems to focus a little too completely on my response as I nod, and his eyes immediately widen with a dramatic flair. He shakes his head instantly, walking over to my bags and picking them up. He instantly starts to walk towards the back of his apartment with my things and I’m incredibly confused, so I don’t really have any other option but to follow him.

“I heard some crazy stuff about that Intercontinental. They’ve got bed bugs and termites. That’s no good.” He tells me exaggeratedly. His tone is completely joking, so I’m not really sure what he’s implying. Maybe this is his way of telling me I should stay? I don't think I'm mistaken; the laugh in his voice is absolute. I guess there’s one way to find out if that’s what he’s trying to do.

“Guess that means I’ll have just have to stay here for a few more days.” I mention softly, testing the waters to see if that’s what Niall’s going for. The smile on his face instantly confirms my suspicions, and he’s quick to agree.

“Guess so.” He sighs dramatically and walks out of the room, most likely in response to Grayson screaming something about how another dinosaur has tried to bite Leo the ankylosaurus for the seventh time today; what are we gonna do with that velociraptor? I honestly love that kid. Niall really got lucky with whatever god decided to give him a son like that. Yeah, he has his tantrums, but what kid doesn’t. Grayson looks at Niall like his father put the stars in the sky himself. Who knows with someone like Niall, maybe he did.

Although, it’s kind of hard to determine why Niall wants me to stay. I’ve been at his house, eating his food and accidentally making him cry for days now. Wouldn’t he be tired of it? I know I would. How can he not be annoyed if I’d be annoyed with myself? In the long run, I guess it doesn’t really matter because I most likely won’t ever find out what goes on in that head of his.

 

 

At the moment, it looks as if both Niall and I will be sleeping on the couch tonight. That is, if Ollie continues to stay here. He showed up about an hour ago, and there’s no telling what he was going on about. Whatever it was, it must have been pretty bad considering moments after opening the door, Niall was tucking Ollie into his bed. No amount of consoling managed to stop his tears, and even after a half an hour of me distracting Grayson in the living room, Niall is still nowhere to be found. Every once and a while I’d hear a few pieces of their conversation, but now there’s complete radio silence.

“Fuck you, Harry!” Is the first thing I hear from Niall as he walks out of his bedroom, his eyebrows furrowed in anger and his phone grasped in his hand. This doesn’t sound like Niall at all, especially with the scene he made about making sure Ollie didn’t say that around Grayson just this morning. He walks into the kitchen, opening a cabinet, which makes a loud crashing noise from the force exerted inadvertently by his anger. It makes me flinch unintentionally. Unexpected loud noises do that, don’t they? Nonetheless I can’t help but listen in on his conversation. Maybe Harry is the reason Ollie is so upset. I just can’t imagine him ever doing something that would hurt Ollie that much; it’s his baby brother after all.

“You need to grow the fuck up.” Niall mutters, evidently trying to keep his voice down after already dropping the word in front of his child once tonight.

“He’s seventeen! You’re the adult!” I peek over the couch into the kitchen, Grayson joining me in attempting to see what Niall’s doing too. Whatever he’s talking about, he probably should be a bit quieter about it. I don’t want Grayson to be scared of Niall raising his voice, especially like this. The next thing I hear after that makes me question if I can really hear what Niall’s saying as well as I think I can. After all, I couldn’t really have heard this correctly. Definitely not.

 

He’s dying, Harry.

 

Even if I did hear him correctly, it probably doesn’t mean just that. I mean, it couldn’t. Ollie looks like a normal, healthy teenager. He’s probably dying for an apology, or something. Niall has to be using some sort of figure of speech.

“Get over yourself. He wanted to tell you something important and you just dismissed him.” At this point I know it’s wrong to listen, but I can’t help being curious. Teenage boys probably have the biggest pride out of the entire human race, and it takes a lot for them to cry in front of a random girl like Ollie just did.

“Since when is Hayden more important that Ollie? Olls is angry at himself for not being there when you should be angry with yourself for not caring about what’s going on in his life.” Niall pauses with a cup in his hand and turns to the fridge, me instantly turning around so he doesn’t see me staring, but I still listen wholeheartedly as he speaks.

“None of my business? He needs someone to give a shit about him!” Niall finally turns towards me and it’s then that I blow my cover. He manages to make eye contact with me, and his eyes immediately soften, an emotion in them I can’t quite decipher, the anger gone for just a moment. However, it doesn’t take long for his glaring features to return when I hear quiet babbling coming through the phone speaker.

“That’s bullshit. Where were you when Hayden found out he needed surgery? Right there by his side. And where were you when Ollie was at his appointment? I can damn well guarantee you weren’t there because he told me no one showed up. I don’t care how fucking preoccupied you were, there’s no excuse for him going alone. Do you really think he can handle something like this by himself? Why don't you fucking be the great big brother everyone always makes you out to be? You know what? Don’t call me back unless you’re going to apologize for all the shit I just heard.” Niall sits his phone down on the table not long after that, his features softening once again. I can tell I wasn’t supposed to hear any of that, it’s obviously a very private subject. Nonetheless, I did hear it. There’s no going back now, and the look on his face shows that as he walks towards me.

“Sorry about that.” He whispers, sitting down on the couch and placing his elbows on his knees, fingers on his temples. This is evidently stressful for him. I want to come out and just ask if what I’ve gathered from this conversation is actually correct. I know, I know it’s none of my business, but I can’t help but worry about Ollie. I don’t know what’s happened but it’s obvious he doesn’t have the support he needs.

“Did you say Ollie’s dying?” I say, and immediately regret it. Why do I manage to have word vomit at the least convenient times? I suppose it wouldn’t actually be word vomit If it happened at a good time, but that’s beside the point.

“Yeah.” Niall whispers, not glancing at me, but at his child. I suppose that’s really the easiest thing to do. Kids never understand things like this. They’re in their own little worlds and it’s nice to look at them and see the good things at times like this.

“I’m sorry.” I whisper softly and Niall nods, I know this can’t be easy for him, any of them really. Now, I just can’t believe that Harry’s done what it sounds like he did.

“We knew it was gonna happen eventually. I guess I was hoping eventually never came, but now it’s here and I don’t know what to do to help him.” Niall sighs softly and leans back against the back of the couch, rubbing his hands over his face and groaning dramatically.

“What’s wrong with him?” There I go with the word vomit again. Good job, Demi.

“His kidneys are failing. He’s not gonna make it long enough to get a transplant. He got one when he was little. Guess it just wore out? He’s just. He doesn’t want people to treat him like he’s sick. So just, act like you don’t know. Please? And I know I shouldn't be telling you any of this, It's not my place to. I just really need someone to talk to. Grayson's not very good talking about things like this.” He talks quietly, and I know that there’s nothing I can do to really make him feel better. No one ever feels better when a kid isn’t going to make it. Even if you don’t know them, it’s still hard to hear about. I can’t imagine what this family is feeling.

Before I can even respond to Niall’s there’s a knock at the door, and I can tell Niall’s too annoyed to answer it, but he gets up anyways, walking over to the door slowly.

I glance towards the door from my position on the ground playing with Grayson. It’s hard to see from the angle I’m sitting at, but I do notice whoever it is, is tall, very tall.

“I’m looking for Ollie?” The boy questions as I move to get a better glance.

“What’s your name?” Niall asks. I’m sure Niall’s used to people saying things like that. He can’t just let anyone into his home.

“Elliot.” The boy, Elliot, is a strikingly tall, strikingly beautiful boy. He’s no older than twenty, but his height could be throwing me off on that guess. His brown hair is styled perfectly away from his face, much like Niall’s. I can tell he seems confused, almost as if he expected us to simply let him in, almost as if we should know who he is.

“Olls! You expecting an Elliot?” Niall less-than-gracefully yells in the general direction of the bedroom, and not moments later Ollie appears in the far side of the room, looking dreadful. His eyes are bloodshot from his tears and he’s in simple black basketball shorts and a red sweatshirt. He looks miserable.

Nonetheless, he nods, and Niall is quick to move out of Elliot’s way, and not thirty seconds later, both Ollie and Elliot have disappeared into Niall’s bedroom. I would ask about it, but it’s clear that Niall knows just as much about this person as I do.

 

I don’t really remember much after that. Somewhere between now and then Ollie left with his friend, and I fell asleep on the couch. Now, you’re probably thinking that’s not right. Niall would never let me sleep on the couch, would he? Well, I thought I finally had come up with a way for Niall to finally sleep in his own bed with Grayson. It just makes more sense for that to happen anyways. Niall’s knee is hurt and it’s a part of Grayson’s routine.

My plan was that if I fell asleep on the couch before I could argue with Niall about him sleeping in the bed again (he’d win, as we have all witnessed countless times before), that I would fall asleep on the couch. I would think that he wouldn’t dare disrupt my sleep if he cares so much about me sleeping in a comfortable bed.

 

I was wrong.

 

I was pretending to be asleep on the couch and had successfully been lying still for about twenty minutes before I heard Niall walk into the room. Putting Grayson to bed was the perfect distraction for the inaction of my plan, (thanks, kid). However, my plan had one fatal flaw, Niall apparently is very comfortable with picking people up. I was gone from the couch and tucked into his bed in a matter of seconds, and he didn’t even give me time argue about it, which isn’t fair in the slightest.

“You suck” I mumble as he pulls the cover over my body, and he just laughs. Of course, he knew I was awake. He’s such a little shit.

“I know.” He says dramatically, throwing his arms up and rolling his eyes theatrically.

“You’re supposed to sleep in your own bed, Niall.” I frown as he flicks the light off. He shuffles around a bit, and then I feel the covers lift up. Before I know it there’s a large man child lying next to me, his eyes closed softly as he sighs.

“Better?” He mumbles and I shake my head.

“I don’t want to mess up Grayson’s routine anymore, Ni.” Niall groans loudly in response to this, and just looks at me, a small pout on his face.

“Fine.” He whispers as he rolls out of bed. He’s gone longer than I would expect, but when he does come back, it’s with Grayson, who’s whining slightly and rubbing his eyes. He seems content, however, when Niall places him on the center of the bed. He looks absolutely adorable with his sleepy little eyes and dinosaur onesie. I don't know how Niall manages to have so much dinosaur themed clothing for Grayson. It seems as if he's wearing a new species every day.

Grayson crawls up next to me under the covers, and lays his head against my chest. I suppose that's what he's used to with Niall, so he just went to the person closest to him, that would make sense after all. Not long after that I feel an arm wrap around me. I didn’t even notice Niall getting on the bed, but he seems to pull me into his arms in record time. It's nice sleeping here with Niall and Grayson. There's a certain peace about being with a family, a sense of completeness. Of course, I'm not a part of their family but it's nice to just experience the love they have for one another. With Niall's arms around me and Grayson in between us, his dinosaur pacifier glowing radiantly in the dark, there's no place I'd rather be.

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