"There's got to be more than this,right?" Jamie inquired, hopping into the passenger seat after bidding farewell to her aunt and her sisters as I waited in the car,warming up the engine.
"What do you mean?"
"There has to be more about me...in the past?"
I glanced into her eyes quickly before putting the gear into drive.
"There is. But are you sure you're ready?"
She leaned over, her seat belt preventing her from leaning any further. She wrapped her hands around mine that was on the gear stick.
"If what you and I had was important enough for my sisters to put pictures of us in their room, it must be important to you. Which means it's important for me. Please, show me more. I want to remember," she pleaded.
I nodded. "I'll take to James' flat."
"Who?" she asked, confused.
"Your best friend," I replied. "Your then best friend," I corrected.
The journey there was quick and quiet. I drove slower than usual, giving Jamie time to gather her thoughts.
Again, I escorted her to the front door, knocking on it as we waited on the doorstep for James to answer.
To our surprise, a girl with bright red hair came to answer the door, giggling about something someone in the flat had said. She was wearing a tight shirt with very short shorts. She wasn't that tall so she looked like a pixie with lively hazel eyes.
"Oh sorry," I apologised quickly. "I must've gotten the wrong address."
"Sorry," Jamie apologised with me,looking bashful.
I heard heavy footsteps from within the flat as the door swung open wider.
"Jamie?" James blurted out. He was wearing a pair of sweatpants and socks, his top half exposed.
Without waiting for a reply or sign of approval, he pulled Jamie into a hug, towering over her. This time, Jamie's arms stayed pinned at her sides, her posture rigid. There was some satisfaction for me in that.
James finally pulled away and Jamie immediately took a step back to stand next to me,closer than before,smiling nervously.
"Please,come in,"James invited, oblivious to her reaction,too overcome with joy to notice.
It felt awkward to be standing in someone else's apartment(or flat). Especially since it belonged to a guy I didn't know(or at least don't remember). Especially since he was half naked and there was a girl wearing very skimpy clothing in the same flat. I felt as if Niall and I had intruded or interrupted something.
Niall and I,I repeated in my mind. It had a nice ring to it.
"Hang on,let me put a shirt on," James told us,racing into a room with the girl following,with a bouncy gait in her walk. They returned not five minutes later,inviting us to sit on the sofa which was strewn with blankets and magazines. i tried not to think about what they were doing before we came, uninvited.
"Would you like a drink?"
"No,I'm alright, thanks,: Niall answered.
"A glass of water,please," I asked politely.
"Of course!" The half naked man who'd put on a shirt replied enthusiastically,jumping to his feet. He must have sprinted to the kitchen because a cup of water was in my hand within a minute.
"Thank you," I said gratefully as I sipped on the water. I was sitting very close to Niall,our legs thighs touching. I liked the proximity,it was very comforting and Niall was easily becoming one of my favourite people to hang out with,besides Danielle.
"Uh,this is Ally,' James introduced us to the perky red-head who grinned back at us,flashing her pearly whites. Her eyes would return to look at Niall every few minutes,remaining there for a few seconds before looking away, as if I didn't notice. Not that I was jealous. Because I wasn't. Really, I wasn't. He isn't my boyfriend so I shouldn't be jealous....right?
"Nice to meet you," I said,extending a hand to Ally who took it warmly and shook. I pulled my hand back slowly,smiling,trying not to appear rude even if I didn't really like her even though I barely knew her.
"Sorry for coming on such short notice. We just came from visiting Darcy and Quinn and Jamie wanted me to show her where she lived...before," Niall clarified.
"No,it's alright,mate," James quickly answered. "You can come here anytime," he continued, making direct eye contact with me which made me slightly uncomfortable. I cleared my throat,looking at Niall who smiled back. Instantly, I felt better but my heart seemed to skip a beat as well.
"So,which one was my room?" I wanted to get straight to the point.
Soon, I was in an unfamiliar room,alone,as I'd asked to be left alone,the door shut behind me. I studied the four walls,thinking hard,digging through my mind,trying to find anything that I could remember about this place. Enough to say, I came up blank.
I plopped down on the bed,sighing,exasperated. This was tiring.
I looked around again. The room was pretty much empty,the closet only had hangers hanging inside,nothing hanging on them. I walked over and touched them with my finger,making them clang.
I paced around the room, walking to the headboard of the bed,tracing the delicate craftsmanship with my hand.
What was it like living here? Did I like it? And why wasn't I living with my sisters? Had I been dating James before I met Niall?
I looked through the drawers,looking for any sliver of my existence. Nope,nada,nothing.
There has to be more than this,I repeated.
Determined, I searched high and low. I checked behind the headboard. I checked the walls, wondering if I'd hidden anything in there. It was an outlandish idea but I was desperate to find something,anything that told me more about my past life.
Feeling defeated, I dragged my feet towards the door,looking over my shoulder one more time to check if I'd missed anything. With a few footsteps short of the door, the floorboard beneath me creaked. I took a step back and pressed my foot on the same floorboard,noticing that one of the sides was being lifted up,albeit slightly. This time, I got down to my knees and rested my whole weight on one side of the floorboard and used my fingernails to pry the floorboard loose,setting it aside as I saw a book, lying on the floor beneath my feet. I stretched to pick it up and placed the piece of wood back,sitting cross-legged on the floor. I flipped the book open,quickly flipping through the pages.
The handwriting was irregular,sometimes neat,sometimes messy. Whoever this belonged to had written an awful lot. Every single page had something written on it. As I flipped through the book once again,front to back,something caught my eye.
I flipped through it again and realised that his name had been repeated numerous times,more than Harry or Liam or Louis or Zayn or Danielle. But another name came up.
Who the hell is Sullivan?
I wanted to read all of it but not on the floor of an unfamiliar room.
As I turned back to the front of the page, I found that the very first page had a name,signifying who this journal belonged to. How had I missed it?
"Sullivan?" I thought out loud.
That meant that either another Jamie was involved with Niall and everyone else in my life or that I was this Jamie 'Sullivan'. If it was the latter, how come no one had told me who Sullivan was? Was he my father? Then who is Smith? With my head spinning, I stood up, shutting the book. This had to read later.
I stepped out of the room. Niall was sat on the floor, his back resting against the wall.
"Have you been waiting out here?"
He stood up,brushing his trousers.
"You ready to go?" he asked, avoiding the question.
"Yep,"I replied, the book's corners digging into my back. I'd hidden it in my jumper. I'd have to transfer it to my bag later. Oddly, I didn't want anyone to see it. It felt personal. And I wanted it to be mine and only mine, for my eyes only.
"Thanks,James. We've got to go," Niall said quickly, as we walked pass James and Ally watching telly. The couple followed us to the door.
"You sure? You can stay longer if you want," James suggested,again looking at me. I pretended not to notice and looped my arm around Niall's.
This time,James noticed that as his eyes flitted away from me.
I nodded. "Thanks," I murmured.
"No worries. Come back anytime,yeah?"
I nodded,clearing my throat,more than willing to leave.
"See ya later," James bade us farewell as we made our way back to the car. "Shit! Hang on!" We walked back to the front door as James returned with a medium sized box. "This is yours. You left some things when you moved out."
You could've told me earlier, I thought.
"Thanks," I muttered, taking the box from him.
And again, we made our way to the car.Once I got into the passenger's seat, I breathed a sigh of relief.
Niall and I laughed nervously.
"Well, that wasn't awkward," I joked, Niall chuckling as he drove off.
"Are you hungry or would you like me to drop you off back at your hotel?"
I thought about it.
"Or maybe you'd like to come back to my place?" he offered softly.
I smiled,looking down into my lap. Then, I looked out of my window as we passed the same house we had passed earlier.
"Stop the car," I insisted. And he did.
I got out,and ran up the steps,grateful that I'd managed to slip the journal into my bag while Niall walked over to the driver seat after helping me to get into mine.
It was empty. It looked abandoned. I placed my hand on the door handle, deliberating whether I should go in,based on a whim,or not. When I peered inside,through the window, it was dark. Very dark. I didn't know how to explain it but somehow I knew that I knew this place. But I didn't feel very good about it.
I turned the door handle,ignoring Niall's calls behind me,telling me not to go in. Eventually, he followed me in.
I walked around the flat, uncomfortable as I breathed in the stale-smelling air. This place looked and felt horrible. I didn't like it but I felt that it was necessary.
There was a lot of rubbish strewn across the floor. Cigarette buds, squashed beer cans,food wrappers...it looked like some people actually wanted to be here.
I walked into another room,my arms clutching my chest. I approached the bed cautiously,as if something would suddenly lunge out to get me from beneath the bed. I waited till Niall was standing next to me. His arm brushed against mine,seeming to give me a new found confidence. I took a step closer, my arm outstretched. I watched the bed, staring at the mattress. I traced the bed frame, refusing to touch the four sinister-looking metal poles that were included on each corner of the bed.
An uncanny silence fell upon us and I barely touched the mattress. For some explainable reason, it terrified me. I sat on the edge,feeling the mattress with the palm of my hand. I gathered up the courage to touch one of the metal poles, my breath hitching in my throat.
"You'll stay here,right?" I asked Niall,not wanting to be left alone here.
"I'd never leave you alone."
I tried to smile but it turned out into a grimace as I slowly lied down on the mattress, facing the ceiling. I closed my eyes, focusing on my breathing as a mild headache started forming in my brain.
Suddenly, my eyes rolled open and Niall wasn't there anymore.
"Niall?" I called desperately.
I tried to get up but I realised,to my horror, that I couldn't move. I looked at my limbs and saw that each of my hands and legs were tied up with sturdy rope to each bedpost and I was spread out,unable to get up or move or free myself. My heart was beating too fast, I was breathing too hard.
I wanted to scream and I tried. But all that came out were muffled against the piece of clothing in my mouth. There was a bitter taste in my mouth. I looked around desperately for Niall.
I sighed when I saw a figure approaching,assuming it was Niall,coming to free me. Why had he tied me up like this?
That isn't Niall.
Who are you?
His mouth was turned into a wide,threatening smile.
What are you doing?
Where is Niall?
Let me go!
He was unfastening his belt, his hands running up and down my legs. I looked down.
I was naked.
I cringed,trying to wriggle out of his grasp as he touched me. He hovered on top of me,his mouth at my neck. His hand forced my head straight as he forced his lips onto mine.
I was crying now.
I could hear him as he unbuttoned the zip of his trousers, his hand touching me everywhere.
I was sobbing,desperate to escape. I turned my head, blinking through the tears. I saw Niall sitting there, watching us as if this was a show. His face was unreadable.
I was begging.
I could feel him near me,his breathing heavy and raspy. I squeezed my eyes shut as I felt him position himself.
I screamed as loud as my lungs allowed.
And suddenly, when I opened my eyes,Niall was shaking me,his face stricken with worry.
"Jamie!" he called.
I pushed him away, running past him,out the door. I ran to the car,collapsing on the pavement by the passenger door. I was shaking with fear,sobbing uncontrollably.
"Jamie," Niall repeated,softly. He tried to hold my shoulder, approaching cautiously and gently.
I shoved him away. I didn't want to be touched. I couldn't comprehend what had just happened.
"Just take me back," I demanded,not looking at Niall. I wrapped my arms around myself to control my shaking. He nodded quietly,unlocking the car. Immediately, I got in and slammed the door shut, trying to concentrate on my breathing.
It seemed like hours for Niall to drive me back. My behaviour towards him was blatantly rude but I wasn't thinking about that. I just wanted to be back.
As he pulled up, I grabbed my bag and hurried out,running back to my room,not saying another word to Niall.
I needed to be alone.