A/N: THIS IS NIALL'S HAPPY ENDING. IF YOU WANTED SOPHIE TO END UP WITH HARRY, READ THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER! I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU DONT READ BOTH BECAUSE THEN YOU MIGHT END UP DISSATISFIED, BUT DO AS YOU PLEASE! THANK YOU! xXX
I zip up my son's coat.
“Zip, zip, zip,” he giggles, his blue eyes sparkling as his grubby hands pulls the zipper of his coat upwards even though it’s already at its highest.
I laugh with him and help him put on his mittens and his hat. I reach for his boots.
He doesn’t object, balancing himself on my shoulders as I lift his feet one at a time and slide them into his boots. He then proceeds to grab his scarf and wrap it loosely around his neck. Elliot starts pouting as it slides down his shoulder.
“Help me Maman,” he requests in French and English, holding the scarf out for me to take.
“Only if you tell me what it is called,” I tell him.
“Sé pas,” he shrugs in French, a mischievous smile on his face.
“Elliot, you know what it’s called,” I sing-song. He shakes his head still grinning. “Will I have to tickle the answer out of you?” I taunt, holding my fingers out.
He nods. Immediately, I begin tickling him lightly. His laughter suddenly fills the house, making me laugh too. Elliot gives up after mere seconds.
“Scaff,” he says finally, still giggling.
“A scarf. And in French?” I enquire, knowing French was harder for him.
“Foulard,” he states proudly. I chuckle and take the scarf from him, before placing it around his neck and tying it.
“There. All ready to go,” I smile, looking at my two year old son. He’s going to be three in barely 6 months and already, his words are improving.
When Anne and I first decided to make him learn both languages, we were a bit worried it would be too hard for a toddler. But very quickly, after numerous stories and kids TV shows, he started grasping words. He likes speaking English much more than speaking French, but I can’t let him speak only in English. He needs French due to the fact that Quebec is a French city: communicating with the other kids at daycare is much easier when you speak their language. And as for his English, well he needs it because Aunt Anne still has difficulty learning French and it will also undoubtly end up being useful for him someday.
“So when will you two be back?” Anne questions from the kitchen.
“We only have a couple of things to grab at the grocery store. Shouldn’t be too long,” I answer, keeping my eyes fixed on my son as he arranges his mittens. “We’ll be right on time for his nap.”
“Story avant dodo?” Elliot questions, hearing about his nap.
“Story in French,” I nod.
He huffs and agrees.
“Well I’m leaving for work in...” she looks at the time, “ten minutes. So you should bring your keys because I won’t be back until at least 5:30 tonight.”
“Yeah okay,” I nod, putting on my own coat and boots. The tinkling of the keys in the coat’s pockets ring loudly. “Dans mes bras?” I ask Elliot, holding my arms out. He stands on his tippy toes and he climbs into them, nuzzling in my neck. I place him on my hip, opening the door.
“See you tonight!” I call out to my sister.
“See ya!” She calls back as I step outside with Elliot, the cold Quebec weather nipping my exposed cheeks.
Elliot is sitting silently in the cart as I push it around the grocery, adding the missing food as I walk down the lanes. Basically, we were out of milk and cereal, but a little bread and juice weren’t going to harm the bill immensely.
I hum softly to myself, as I add milk to the cart, feeling content. I’d come a long way to finally be this tranquil. To finally be at peace with everything. Thanks to Anne and a psychologist, every single one of my thoughts had been cleared up and fresh for Elliot’s arrival, giving him a shot at a perfectly normal life with a stable mother and a very loving aunt.
“Hey Elliot we’re done,” I tell him once I’ve placed the last article in the handcart.
He claps happily.
“Maison?” He enquires, anxious to go home for his story.
“Yes,” I nod.
I jump in surprise, my elbow knocking boxes off the shelves.
My heart skips a beat as the voice stirs things inside me. My head pounds as I hear his steps nearing me. I turn around slowly, shielding Elliot with my body. My eyes meet the very ones my son has inherited.
“Niall,” I breathe, hands clenching the cart’s handle tightly. My heart beat accelerates and I reflexively back away.
The Irish boy also takes a step backwards, holding his hands up in surrender. “I don’t want to scare you Soph,” he says, hurt present in his eyes.
“Niall I-I-I-” I stammer, not knowing what to say. I take a good look at him. His hair has almost returned to their brown color, the only blonde remaining being the tips as well as couple highlights. He’s slightly buffer than I recall him being but apart from that, he’s the same.
“Maman?” My son questions behind me.
“What are you doing here?” I whisper. “Why are you here, in Quebec?”
He passes his hand behind his neck nervously.
“Are you stalking me?” I ask frightfully, ready to grab Elliot and run.
“No! Not at all!” he reassures quickly. “I’m here as a tourist actually. You’d always told us Quebec was pretty and I guess I had to see it for myself.”
“Why are you in a grocery store then? Hotels have restaurants...” I continue, still cautious of his explanation. It’s then I realise he has a bag of chips as well as a bottle of juice in his right hand.
“Picking up food. I rented a small apartment for my stay,” he elaborates. “I’m just filling up my fridge.”
I nod, bending down to pick up the boxes I’d hit in surprise a minute ago. I flinch as he squats down close to me to help me place them back on the shelves.
“So,” he starts once everything is picked up. “How are you?” he questions, only an arm’s length away from me and my son. Our son.
“I’m okay,” I say, not revealing much more. “You?”
“Mom!” Elliot sighs, kicking his legs a bit. “Me?!” Niall turns to look at him. Recognition flashes in his eyes and he bites his lip.
“Niall this is Elliot. Elliot, Niall,” I state, presenting them with a bit of reluctance.
I nod, knowing very well that my son was practically his father’s image. “He is.”
Elliot holds his hand out for Niall to shake, just like Anne had taught him to do. Surprised, Niall shakes it.
“Hi Elliot,” the Irish boy says, baffled. And then Elliot, being the most social child possible, asks him a question.
“Why two colors tes cheveux?” he frowns, eyeing the bleached hair. Niall looks at me, not understanding.
“Your hair is perplexing,” I translate. “He’s still struggling not to mix two languages in a sentence,” I sigh.
“Pourquoi?” our son persists.
“Because I put paint in them,” Niall tells Elliot, simplifying the dye term for the two year old.
“Why not?” he counters.
I shake my head, smiling as I see Elliot’s face scrunch together in thought.
“Sé pas,” he gives up, shrugging. Niall laughs and my insides erupt into butterflies at the sound.
“Oh well...I guess I’m going to leave you two now,” Niall ends, his gaze longing on our son. I grit my teeth as he turns around and starts walking away. My hands shake.
“Maman!” Elliot calls once more, begging for my attention.
“Niall!” I yell, stopping the Irish boy. He turns around, confused.
“Would you like to join us for lunch?” I ask, playing nervously with my hands. “Elliot and I wouldn’t mind the company.”
“Only if I’m not imposing.”
“Niall I wouldn’t be inviting you if you we’re,” I reply.
“Please Niall!” Elliot begs.
“Yeah okay. I’d love to,” he breathes, my invitation clearly delighting him.
“Yippee!” Elliot cheers.
I listen to Niall and Elliot as I chop cucumbers.
“This ma chambre!” Elliot declares, proudly showing Niall his bedroom. “And this mon lit!” he trails on happily, glad to show his stuff.
“You have a very nice bedroom Elliot,” I hear Niall say.
“Aunt Anne paint it! Bleu and vert!”
I shake my head and smile to myself, placing the cucumber slices in a bowl before taking care of the mashed potatoes. Elliot had always been an overly social bundle of joy. He’s always happy to share what he knows to everyone. And I do mean everyone. I’d gotten numerous calls from Daycare telling me that he was always the first to volunteer for Show and Tell. Even when he hadn’t brought anything.
I finish up saucing the last of the chicken before dividing the food onto three different plates. Once that’s done, I set the table up, sigh and fetch the boys. I’m not even shocked by the scene before me: Niall is sat on the floor with a bunch of stuffed animals and Elliot is standing in front of him, showing the Irish boy every single object in his bedroom. As I look at the oblivious pair, my heart clenches. And suddenly, I wish I could be witnessing this scene over and over again. Watching a bond grow before my eyes.
“Time to eat,” I say finally, leaning on the doorframe.
Elliot claps and takes Niall’s hand into his.
“Come!” he chirps eagerly, leading our guest to the dining room. I’m unable to stop smiling as I see the two year old tell Niall where to sit, before asking him to help him into his own booster seat. “Merci!” he thanks him once he’s seated.
“You’re welcome,” Niall replies. “Thanks again Soph for the invitation,” he adds, looking at me.
“It’s nothing,” I say, taking a bite of the food. He shakes his head and starts eating. Elliot starts chatting excessively to our guest, so much I have to remind him to actually eat.
The phone rings as we finish up our plates.
“Can you watch him for a sec, please?” I ask Niall, motioning Elliot.
“I’ll be right back,” I say, my chair scrapping on the floor as I stand and head to the phone. “Hello?”
“Soph, I’ve uhh... I’ve got news for you,” my twin begins nervously on the other side of the line. I frown, slightly worried.
“What is it? You didn’t lose your job I hope?”
“No, no, no,” she chuckles. “But I may or may not bring a visitor tonight,” she continues. I smile, excited for her. It was about time she let herself get swept off her feet.
“Yeah but uh...You haven’t heard the best part yet.”
“I’d like to bring Louis Soph.” I stay mute at her confession. “But I’d totally understand if you don’t feel at ease with that,” she continues, noticing my silence. “I won’t bring him if he really triggers the bad stuff but we’ve decided to start fresh and I thought that inviting him for supper at ours would be a much better first date then letting him choose where he’d take me. But we can wait Soph. I don’t want to pressure you into accepting him into our home―”
“It’s okay Anne. I trust you know what you’re doing,” I reply finally. I’m letting him this chance. Because he kept my secret and helped us start our own life on a fresh page.
“I think I am. I truly think he’s done everything he could to earn a second chance.”
“Okay then. See you tonight,” I end.
“Thanks again Soph. See you tonight.”
We hang up and I head back to my seat at the table, perplexed.
“Are you okay?” the Irish boy asks, undoubtly noticing my expression.
“Louis’ in town too,” I tell him. “Anne fell upon him today.” He frowns, his mouth filled with food. He chews it down and swallows.
“Well that’s a crazy coincidence. I haven’t seen him, nor talked to him since he dropped out of the band,” he responds, speaking slowly. I recall hearing on the News how Louis’ abandonment resulted into the rest of the band’s downfall in the months that followed.
“What have all of you guys been doing since the end of One Direction?” I question, curious.
“Liam’s been DJing here and there for fun. Zayn has turned to art to help him settle his emotions. And Harry...Harry’s somewhere in Africa helping kids. He wants to do that for the rest of his life I think. He’d mentioned something about making himself pay for what he’d done to you.”
“Où Africa?” Elliot questions, inserting himself in our conversation.
“Where the lions, zebras and giraffes live,” Niall supplies.
“Like Madagascar film?” he exclaims.
“Same thing,” I nod, chuckling. “Now finish your food if you want to be as strong as a lion,” I advise. Once his plate is finally finished, with some of my help towards the end, Elliot yawns. “Time for a nap, huh buddy?” I tell him, helping him out of his seat. “Dodo time.”
“But story?” he whines, rubbing his eyes. “Niall lire histoire,” he asks, turning towards the brunette.
I shake my head, taking him to his room.
“No Niall can’t read you a story because you need to practice your French and he can’t read in French,” I tell Elliot.
“Why not?” he crosses his arms on his chest as I pull the sheets over his legs. I ponder my reply.
“Because he comes from the land of leprechauns and they can’t read French,” I say. I hear Niall’s laugh from outside Elliot’s bedroom, resulting into a small chuckle from me.
“I want leprechaun story then,” he demands.
“I’m telling it in French though, okay?” I warn. He nods, snuggling into his pillow. So that’s how I begin to invent a story about a leprechaun who’d lost his gold. He could only hope to find it if he followed instructions that were in French.
“I could help the leprechaun,” Elliot mumbles. “Je sais le Français,” he whispers, his eyelids heavy. Before I can even finish my story, he’s asleep. I sigh, looking down at his angelic face lovingly. I tuck him in and kiss his forehead, before leaving his room.
“I didn’t catch half of that story but I’m pretty sure I was in it,” Niall points out once I step out, hands in pockets whilst leaning on the wall.
“Maybe, maybe not,” I shrug, picking up the dishes on the table and placing them in the sink. Niall brings the utensils.
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” he whispers, suddenly excessively close to me. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier that I was a father?” he mumbles, our faces inches apart. “Why did you keep Elliot a secret from me for more than three years?”
“I-I-I.... I just wasn’t ready,” I stammer, moving away from him. “I felt as if it would be better for him and that it’d give him the chance to get a shot at a normal life. One without the bumps our relationship obviously has,” I explain, putting plates in the dishwasher. “And to be honest, I felt guilty,” I add. “Terribly guilty. Because it was only when I first saw Elliot that things started crashing down on me. That I started realizing how much I’d overlooked you, too focused on how Harry had changed instead of how you’d been acting from the very beginning,” I pause, shutting my eyes and exhaling shakily as memories flood me. “That was one of the worst parts of my therapy sessions Niall,” I admit, getting emotional. “When I realised that... I was a mess. The realisation stabbed me so hard that I couldn’t see a single reason for you not to reject me like I’d rejected you if I told you about our baby. So I decided to keep quiet to save myself the pain,” I end, placing the last of the utensils in the dishwasher as tears slide down my cheeks. I look at him in the yes. “I know it was selfish to keep Elliot to myself Niall―”
Niall takes me in for a hug, his arms wrapping around me.
“Shhh its fine love,” he mumbles into my ear, rubbing my back. “I’ve been selfish too. Way more than you. Can you imagine that my selfishness resulted into your kidnapping in Ireland four years ago, as well as the time stuck on our tour bus with your sister?” he begins, looking down at me with pained eyes. “How can I be angry after you for attempting to protect yourself and your baby?”
“I don’t know―”
“I can’t Soph. I just can’t,” he states, his hands cupping my face. “You kept Elliot a secret and it resulted into your happiness. And that’s all I ever wanted for you Soph.” His cerulean eyes pour into mine before he pulls away with a sigh. I follow him as he heads to the apartment’s entrance. “Your happiness has always been my priority,” he concludes, grabbing his coat.
“Wait, you’re leaving?” I enquire, looking at him incredulously. My heart drops. “Now?”
“You said lunch Soph... I’m not going to bother you for more than that,” he chuckles, placing his hand on the doorknob.
“But Elliot? He’s going to be sad to wake up and see that you’re gone without a goodbye,” I protest, shaking my head.
“Sophie I don’t want to get attached, nor do I want him to get attached to me,” he denies.
“Because if I do, I’ll want to stay. And I...” he exhales, passing his hand through his hair, “I don’t want to slowly slide into your life. I’ve done enough damage already. You’re happy without me.”
“How can you know that?” I object.
“At the grocery store. I stared at you for a good five minutes before I called your name, simply to make sure it was really you. I’ve never seen you smile so much in the span of five minutes Soph. Never,” he exhales. “But you’re left alone with me for a few minutes and you’re in tears!” he points out miserably, motioning me.
“Niall I started crying because I’m angry towards myself! Because I wish I would’ve acted differently and told you about being pregnant!” It’s my turn to pass my hand through my hair. “Do you even know how many nights I cried while cradling a crying Elliot, wishing he had his father with him? Wishing I had his father with me?” I enquire, voice breaking. “And even today...Seeing you interacting with him before lunch...” I drop my hands to my sides, “it made me wish that this wouldn’t simply be a onetime thing,” I admit.
“I know it won’t be easy. I know I’ll be doing a lot of crying. But I want you in my life Niall. I really do,” I say. There’s a pregnant pause during which all I do is look at a baffled Niall.
I can practically hear the clock ticking as well as our son’s soft snores in the room beside us.
“Don’t you want to be in my life? In Elliot’s?” I question quietly, staring at him pleadingly.
“Of course,” he reassures, taking a step towards me. His hands grab mine. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted. But I don’t...I don’t know how we’ll work this out. I don’t live here. I have family in Ireland I have to inform. Hell, I need to find a job here if I want a permanent visa. I can’t possible get a job if I’m shit in French. And I can’t simply pop into Elliot’s life and say ‘Hey, I’m your father’ either...” he enumerates.
“Niall we can do this gradually,” I say quietly. “One step at a time.”
He breathes in and out very slowly.
“Okay,” he decides. “Fine. But I need to know something first.” He bites his lip. “Are you a hundred percent certain that you want me Sophie Miller?” he enquires, his blue eyes searching mine. “Because I doubt I’ll survive getting my heart broken by you once more,” he whispers.
Three years later
My fingers are locked with Niall’s, my head leaning on his shoulder as we walk on the terrace in front of the Chateau Frontenac. I gaze at Louis, Anne and Elliot in front of us. My sister’s holding her five month pregnant belly in her arms while Louis is chasing Elliot around. The sound of their feet running on the wooden terrace as well as their laughter echoes loudly in the air.
“You won’t catch me!” Elliot giggles, running.
“You bet I will!” the older lad responds.
“No you won’t! I’m the fastest in my class!” the five-year-old replies. They run around for a while until Louis pretends he’s getting tired.
“I give up,” he fake pants, bending over. “You win Eli,” he breathes out dramatically. “You’re too fast for me,” he continues.
“Ha! I knew it! What’s my prize?” he demands giddily.
“How ‘bout ice cream?” the Doncaster boy suggests.
“No Lou, no sugar rush please. He’s going to be in bed in less than an hour,” I deny, motioning the setting sun.
“Yes ice cream! Please mommy!” he begs, turning to me. I shake my head. “Daddy?” he turns to Niall.
“I’m siding with your mother on this one,” Niall chuckles, also shaking his head.
“Mooooommmmy,” Elliot whines, pouting his lip. “Pleeeasssse.”
“Aww Soph. How can you say no to that?” Louis mocks. I look at my son and indeed find myself melting to his demand.
“Fine. But you’re the one putting him to sleep Lou,” I huff.
“Ice cream it is then!” he cheers and high fives Elliot. “But first, I need a consolation prize,” he states before walking over to Anne. I watch with a smile as he places his hand over hers on her stomach and wraps his other arm around her neck before kissing her softly.
“Eww!” Elliot protests. “Stop kissing! It’s disgusting!” he complains.
“Oh is it?” Niall asks.
Niall and I give each other a knowing look before we decide to join our own lips for a kiss. It’s short and sweet, but it makes my insides flutter.
I laugh and pull away, keeping my arms around my lover’s neck.
“We should record him. Make sure to remind him of these exact words when he’s a teenager,” Niall mumbles to me, our faces inches apart.
“We should also tell him he’s going to be an older brother in nine months,” I whisper. Niall’s eyes grow big, surprised.
“What? Are you serious?!” he exclaims, his hand reaching for my stomach. I nod. “We’re going to have another baby?!” he questions quietly, looking down at my belly.
I nod again and place my hand over his, smiling.
“I found out this morning,” I admit.
“Oh my god Sophie!” he says breathlessly before taking me into his arms. His lips meet mine once more into a loving kiss. “I don’t know how you do it love, but you make me love you more and more every day,” he exhales, his eyes pouring into mine. He kisses me again, his hand still on my stomach. “Je t’aime tellement,” he murmurs, his fingers intertwining with mine.
“You’re doing this on purpose! I’m supposed to get ice cream!” Elliot complains.
“Let’s go get your ice cream Eli,” Louis chuckles, taking his hand as well as Anne’s.
“We’re going to need a bigger flat if there’s going to be three children,” Niall remarks as we follow behind them. “I’m positive that Louis’ kid is going to be so rowdy, he’s going to need twice the space.”
“The owners of the apartment above ours are moving out,” I suggest. “I’m positive we can find something to do with that.”
“That’d be perfect.”