The boys had gone onto the stage for their interview. The audience applauded loudly and cheered, the girls squealing in delight.
The boys, being boyish, shoved each other playfully, laughing amongst themselves and waving at the crowd as they took a seat on the long sofa. It looked very snug for the five of them.
I grabbed the bowl of popcorn and lied down on the sofa, my legs hanging on the side. I chewed the popcorn loudly, enjoying the salty taste.
"So boys, how are you?"
"Fine, thanks. How are you?" Harry's deep voice asked. He ran his fingers through his long hair.
"Good, good. Your hair's very long now Harry. Don't you think it needs a bit of a trim?"
Harry grinned goofily. "I don't know. I kinda like it this way."
"The girls seem to like it too," the host nudged his head to the audience. Harry glanced at the audience, still smiling, which made the girls scream.
"And Niall. The last time you were here, you had to go for a wee. You gone for a wee yet?"
"Yep, I remembered to go to the toilet beforehand this time." He rubbed the palm of his hands on his thighs.
Liam and Louis nudged each other, chuckling. I laughed too as Niall caught them snorting, shaking his head but grinning.
"What am I missing?"
"Oh, nothing, Jonathan. Niall just took a very long time in the toilet," Louis answered.
I could see Zayn trying to control his laughter.
"Right," Jonathan replied, clearly in the dark.
Niall and I just had a quick make-out session, with minimal clothing.
"Well Louis, I heard you got your girlfriend pregnant, eh?"
The power of social media, I tsked. Nothing was private. Also, the way Jonathan brought it up was rather rude, wasn't it?
"It wasn't exactly planned but we're happy."
"Good, good." The host swiveled around in his chair and leaned back slightly, playing with his pen. Niall glanced at Lou but quickly looked away, a nervous smile on his face.
"How is she coping with all of it?" Jonathan was pestering Lou and I could tell he didn't appreciate it.
"It's not easy but we manage. I try to help out wherever I can. And she's amazing.."
The situation was getting really tense - Lou's smile didn't meet his eyes.
Luckily, Jonathan shifted his attention to the other boys.
And then my phone rang.
I sighed. I couldn't deny his calls for the tenth time, could I?
"Yeah?" I answered. I was still pissed at him.
"Hi honey," Claire's voice( my mum, well, step-mum, or adopted mum - it's complicated) greeted sweetly on the other line.
"Everything alright? We haven't heard from you in a long time since you called to tell us that you weren't coming back."
"Um...I've just been busy lately."
"He's worried about you. You know he didn't tell you all those things to protect you,right?"
I bit my lip. "Protect me from what? Sullivan? Niall told me about him. He had the decency to tell me, not like Damon." I dared. "I have sisters here. How could he not tell me that? Did he want me to just forget about them? And I have friends here. Really good friends." My mind lingered on Niall. I was pacing around the room now and sneaked a glance at Niall on the telly - he was laughing.
"Savannah misses you. She's been asking for you."
Damn it. That was a low blow.
"Tell her that I love her and that I'll be home as soon as I can."
"Okay, darling. We love you and we miss you."
"I have to go," I told her, hanging up. I didn't want to deal with that right now.
I threw my phone onto the sofa across the room and sat at the dressing table, staring at myself in the mirror. I lifted my shirt, tracing the scars. I still couldn't remember how I'd gotten them, although my journal that past-me had the details in there.
I felt the strong urge to visit Darcy and Quinn again.
I must've been thinking for a long time because the boys suddenly burst into the room, shocking me.
"Hiya," Niall kissed me on the cheek. I smiled. He wrapped his arms around my chest and rested his chin on the top of my head, looking at my reflection in the mirror. "Ready to go?"
"I was thinking of visiting Darcy and Quinn today."
I nodded and strode across the room to pick up my phone.
"Alright then. The boys are going out tonight but I'll come with you."
"You don't have to do that."
"I want to," he clarified.
And just like that, we were on our way.
Throughout the journey there (Mark, one of the boys' bodyguard had agreed to drive us there), Niall and I held hands.
"Yep." I leaned in to give him a quick kiss.
"Oi, none of that when I'm around," Mark joked.
"Close you eyes then," Niall teased as he leaned in for another, longer kiss.
That must've motivated Mark to drive faster because we were there sooner than expected.
"You don't have to wait. We'll get a taxi back," Niall told Mark, patting his shoulder before stepping out the car. "Goodnight, Mark."
We walked to the front door, his arm wrapped around my shoulders. He always made me feel safe. We did the usual, knocked and waited. My aunt opened the door, immediately pulling me in for a hug. She kissed me on my cheeks and invited us in, slipping into the kitchen to make some tea.
Niall and I played with my sisters who showed us a variety of their toys. During this time, Quinn tugged on my finger and asked me to follow her into her room so that she could show me what she'd gotten for Christmas last year (I wasn't around to celebrate it with them and this really saddened me).
"Oh wow! Is that a make-up bag? That's really cool! You've got eye shadow and lipstick and everything," I said excitedly to a beaming Quinn.
"Wanna put some on? I'll do it for you," she offered, already emptying the bag of cosmetics. It wasn't anything costly but I could tell that Quinn adored it.
"Oh, will you? That's really nice of you, Quinn. Thanks a lot."
I sat on the floor with my legs crossed, just watching my little sister sort out her stuff - organising them by colour.
"Which colour do you want?" she asked eagerly, showing me a palette of eyeshadow colours.
"Ooh, I like the purple one. What do you think?"
"I like the purple one too," she giggled.
"Will you make me look pretty like a princess, Quinn?"
"Yeah," she insisted, tilting my head up as she squinted her eyes at me, deciding where to start. She took some of the stuff on a small brush and started to paint my eyelids as I closed my eyes. "Niall got me this," she told me.
She nodded as I peeked at her. She was concentrating really hard. It was adorable.
"I really like Niall," she whispered, giggling again.
"Yeah, I really like him too."
"Did you kiss him?" she asked, whispering into my ear.
I nodded and she squealed in delight.
"Are you going to get married?"
My eyes rolled open in surprise and she poked me in the eye with her brush. I sucked in a sharp breath and blinked repeatedly, trying to suppress the temptation to rub my eyes.
Quinn's voice tinkled with laughter. "He was really sad last year when you weren't here. But he's really happy now that you're back. I think he really really likes you. He told me that he loves you."
I wrapped my arms around her hips and pulled her towards me, snuggling into the crook of her neck.
"I love him too," I admitted.
"He showed me a pretty ring and said that he wanted to give it to you because it belongs to you."
She nodded furiously.
Niall wanted to give me a ring?
"Are you going to marry him?" she asked again, batting her long eyelashes at me. "I think you'll be really pretty in a white dress. And then do you think Darcy and I could come to live with you and Niall?" She looked away shyly. "It's okay if you don't want us to."
"Oh, Quinn. I'd love it if all of us lived together." I pulled her in for a tight hug.
"Can I have a hug too?" Niall pleaded. He was leaning on the doorframe, his hands in his pockets. I stood up and tucked my hair behind my ear. Quinn ran towards him and jumped onto him, making him stumble back slightly.
"You always give great hugs." Niall set her on her feet and gave her a kiss on the top of her head. "Your aunt called for you. She's got some biscuits for you."
"Chocolate chip biscuits?"
He nodded and rubbed the top of her head as she flew down the stairs. He slowly approached me and wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me close. He placed my arms around his neck and began swaying, dancing. There wasn't any music but that didn't matter. He chuckled to himself.
"I like the purple stuff on your eyes," he teased. I suddenly felt self-conscious and tried to rub it away with the sleeve of my shirt. He reached for my arm and put it back over his shoulder. "You still look beautiful, princess."
He rested his forehead against mine, his eyes closed, still swaying. "I'm really sorry about what happened to you early today." His warm breath tickled my lips.
I pressed mine against him and he immediately kissed me back. "I told you. You don't have to apologise. I get it,Ni."
He gazed intently into my eyes, one hand behind my neck as he leaned in for another kiss, this one longer. When we pulled away, we were both breathing heavily.
"I love you so much," he murmured. I rested my cheek on his shoulder, my lips gently touching his neck. "I love you too," I replied.
He reached for something in the back pocket of his jeans and held it in a closed fist between us. I looked at him as he looked at me.
"I've been meaning to give you this."
He opened his hand to reveal a simple but beautiful ring in his palm.
"Ni," I began. I wanted to tell him that I didn't know if I was ready.
"It's a promise ring," he interrupted. "I gave it to you before the accident but I kept it while you were in the coma to keep it safe and so that I could give it back to you when you woke up. You don't have to wear it. But it belongs to you. You should have it."
I carefully picked it up, feeling its smooth surface. "Thank you."
He showed me a ring on his finger. "You gave me this." I didn't remember but I knew that he'd been wearing it ever since he'd confronted me at that gig where I didn't remember what he meant to me. "While you were gone, I was so angry at you. I thought you'd left because you didn't want to be with me. I was tempted to throw it away. I almost did. But I couldn't. This little thing," he admired, turning it around his finger with his thumb," reminded me of you. Of us. And it hurt that you weren't with me. But it also reminded me of the love that we had and how happy it made me." He looked at me, his eyes burning.
"I will always love you Jamie. Don't forget that. Whatever happens, I will ALWAYS love you."