“Niall?” the word finally came out of Dad’s mouth after having stared at him for a long while. I saw Niall nodding, a smile starting to appear on his face. But I closed my eyes, not wanting to see the way Dad would ignore his own son. I expected to hear him yell or push Niall aside to get out but to my surprise, I heard nothing like that. I slowly opened my eyes and started to cry at the sight of my brother and my dad, hugging each other while sobbing rather loudly. They stayed in each other’s arms for a long time with Harry and I watching them. But after a while, I saw dad releasing Niall and turned around to stare at me with puffy eyes. At first, I got a shock; I had never seen Dad crying before. He made me a sign to move closer to him and I slowly did so. I reached his side, wondering what he would say when he suddenly embraced both Niall and me, crying loudly on our shoulders. Meanwhile, he whispered a few sentences I didn’t understand but I caught the words ‘children’ and ‘back’. Then, he let us go and smiled widely through the tears still flowing down his cheek.
“I am really sorry, Ciara,” he managed to say between two sobs. I squeezed his forearm lightly and shook my head, “I forgive you, dad.” He was so surprised of my answer that he stopped crying. I smile awkwardly and caught sight of Niall looking with wonder at the both of us.
“I think I’ll leave you. You must have things to tell each other,” he said, smiling. I nodded slowly and Niall suggested going with him to his car so they could talk a bit. Dad agreed and they started to go out of the flat. But dad stopped dead when he noticed Harry standing in the corridor. The latter greeted him with a smile but got ignored by dad who looked daggers at him before keeping going away. Niall shrugged his shoulders at Harry before following dad down the stairs.
“Come on in.” Harry nodded and smiled at me while entering the small flat once they both were out of sight.
“So the matter was so urgent that you had to come here?” I asked him who now was looking around at the living-room. But he didn’t seem to have heard me as he replied he found I had a nice flat. I rolled my eyes but he didn’t notice. Then, he started to walk around the small room but almost fell down because of one of the magazines lying on the floor. He grabbed one and stared at the cover, cursing. After staring at it with an angry look, he threw it away.
“They published it...” I heard him muttering to himself. He looked up a while afterwards and our eyes met. Both sadness and anger were written all over his face but he looked away quickly and an awkward silence followed. I knelt down and took another magazine before stepping closer to him. He kept looking away as I asked him, “It’s the reason why you are here, isn’t it?” He nodded slowly before sighing,
“The reason we came here mainly is because we had to tell you goodbye.”
“But we didn’t forget to say goodbye!” I replied slightly amused. But when his green eyes looked with intensity and sadness at mine, I understood. And collapsed on the couch, head in my hands, right when Niall came back.
Then, I felt arms around my shoulder and Niall’s voice whispered, “I am really sorry, Ciara. It shouldn’t have happened that way. Believe me, it’s not our decision.” I looked up at him, my sight starting to get blurred by the tears forming in the corner of my eyes.
“Not your decision?” I repeated rather sharply. He nodded slowly and carried on,
“It’s better for you. No one knows who you are and our management thinks it is better to leave things that way...” I shook my head violently and stood up.
“Is it what you think too? You came here just to tell me that?” I yelled, completely beside myself. “I didn’t spend all these years looking for you to be left aside a few days later because of a stupid picture!” I started to cry of anger. “I don’t care if every knows I am your sister! That’s the truth and I am proud of it! Whether you’re famous or not doesn’t matter to me! I finally found you and those stupid tabloids can publish whatever they want I do not care!”
A weak smile appeared on Niall’s face as he spoke, “You can say that you don’t care. But when it will get worse, you won’t be able to stand it. It can destroy you...”
I collapsed on the floor and whispered while shaking my head, “I thought you were happy to meet me again...” To my surprise, he stood up quickly and came to kneel down in front of me.
“I AM happy to see you again. But I don’t want you to get hate! I care about you because you are my sister! Don’t say something like that ever again, please...” he whispered the last sentence, looking sadder than ever. I nodded and hugged him, crying on his shoulder.
“Please, Niall. Don’t leave me... I don’t want to be thrown out of my brother’s life because someone told you to.” I cried harder, waiting for him to answer me.
“I won’t leave you! You’re right! I am really sorry I had doubts... I don’t want to lose you once again.” I smiled widely and hugged Niall tighter, still unable to stop the tears from falling down my face.
“Thank you, little brother,” I whispered and he chuckled between two sobs.
Then, we heard Harry laughing gently in the corner of the room. We both turned around and he smiled at us, looking slightly amused. He looked at Niall and teased him, “I’d never have thought you had enough water in your body to cry that much!” Niall looked daggers at him before bursting out laughing.
But suddenly, he stopped laughing and jumped because of his phone which had started to ring. He took it out of his pocket and swore loudly.
“I forgot to tell Ali I was going to Ireland!” And he rushed into the kitchen to answer. Harry and I stared at him, still laughing.
Then, the latter came closer to me and sat down beside me. He sighed, “I am sorry, Ciara. I know it’s all because of me. I should have thought we would be followed...” I giggled.
“Don’t worry! It doesn’t matter because I really spent a wonderful evening!” He smiled widely.
“So did I!”
“But I’m sorry too because there are rumours about you now...” He nodded but replied cheekily,
“I don’t mind because there is one of the nicest and most beautiful girl I’ve ever met with me in this rumour.” I just stared agape at him, not really knowing what to answer. I finally replied a quick thank you and he smiled widely, winking. To be honest, I was glad not being able to see my face at this moment because I’m sure I must have turned as red as a tomato.
“Oh and can I ask you something?” he seemed to change subject. I nodded and he carried on,
“Would you like to be my partner at Niall’s wedding?” he asked slowly, wondering what my answer would be.
I smiled and exclaimed happily, “I’d love to!”