The day passed with not much entertainment, I napped on the sofa most of the time. I felt so lazy but I didn't care. Niall and Harry spent the day getting ready for our little bonfire tonight. They went backwards and forwards, still acting like little excited children. When night fell Harry came to me with a blanket and wrapped it round me.
He led me out to the back patio where they had set up a small bonfire inside a metal pan sort of thing. I didn't know what it was called but was two enthralled by the fire to notice. It was so beautiful with all it's orange flickering and twirling mixing with the yellows and reds. The logs burned brightly and Niall sat in a chair behind it toasting a marshmallow. He looked so concentrated on toasting his marshmallow his face illuminated by the flames with a orange quality.
I went to sit in the chair beside him, Harry on his other side. Harry passed me a stick and a marshmallow which I carefully put into the flames watching as the heat licked against it causing the marshmallow to grow a tough exterior. Soon it was roasted and I brought it away from the fire to cool, before eating. I looked to Niall who was already poking more marshmallows onto his stick to toast. I smiled at him and his childishness. He looked so happy with himself.
I next looked to Harry and caught his eye. He smiled at me, eating his marshmallow with an unreadable expression on his face. He then stretched out his back and got up. I frowned at him. "That's me done." I looked at him slightly weirdly, surely he wanted more than that.
However I must have been wrong as he threw his marshmallow stick into the fire and watched as the fire engulfed it. He stretched again. "I'm going to bed," he announced. Niall and I looked up at him as though thinking the same thing. He smiled at us. "I'm tired out, all this excitement is too much and I didn't get a lot of sleep last night," he told us.
Once fully stretched he waved us a goodnight and walked back into the house.
"What was all that about?" I questioned out loud.
Niall shrugged dismissively. "Maybe he wasn't hungry."
I nodded. "Maybe."
I took another marshmallow and put it into the flames. Niall did the same. "I've worked out that 30 seconds gives it a nice taste," he informed me. I smiled thinking that he must have been working that out earlier when he looked concentrated.
I started to count and once to thirty drew it out from the fire, Niall following my action. We ate our marshmallows and then decided to dispose of our sticks. After a while marshmallows got a bit samey. We sat starting at the flames. I pulled the blanket closer to my body.
"Cold?" Niall questioned. I shrugged.
"A little," I replied. He shifted closer to me.
"They say if you're closer together it's warmer. Like when penguins huddle together," he told me.
I felt myself grow hotter and blamed it on the fire, that was what was causing it. Silence fell for a while.
Niall suddenly spoke up. "Do you miss Liam?"
I stared into the flames and for a moment couldn't answer. "I don't know," I finally replied. I paused for a minute or two. "I'm trying not to think as much."
"Thinking is annoying," Niall announced. I turned to meet his eyes. I nodded in agreement.
"I'm more of an in the moment man," he added. I nodded at him, unable to break our eye connection.
We sat and stared at each other for a while. Feeling awkward I broke our gaze and looked back to the flames feeling like maybe some of the hotness was not just the flames. Maybe I was blushing... I quickly pushed that thought away. No, I told myself.
"Annie," Niall uttered gently. I nodded. He sighed and continued softly, "do you want to know why I was so angry on the beach? Why me and Liam, well... had a disagreement? What was behind that?"
I thought a minute before nodding, continuing to stare into the flames. He sighed. I looked round to encourage him on as he fixed me with an expression I could not quite read. He seemed to be hesitant as he kept looking like he was going to speak but then paused again.
"It's ok, go on," I urged him. I just wanted to hear what he would say.
He sighed. "How much has Liam told you about his past, Annie?" he asked.
I cocked my head to the side, shrugged one shoulder, "not a lot, I guess."
"So nothing to do with previous girls?" he asked. I shook my head, biting my lip. What did he mean?
He looked down at his feet. "I know he loves you, Annie, I see it in his eyes, the way he acts around you. He loves you but he's stupid." He paused a little, taking in a big breath. "I know him, Annie. I've seen it happen before. He falls hard and... when he gets someone on his mind, he can't get them out."
I felt myself shivering, whether it was from the cold or how meaningful and dark Niall's words seemed. He met my eyes. "He saw you, he fell and he shouldn't have. He knew he had to avoid it because of Harry's rules but he couldn't. I knew that he wouldn't be able to..." Niall trailed off to smile sadly. I wanted to know more, biting my lip harder, sure it will bleed soon. He looked into my eyes. "You see, the thing with Liam is, he's lonely. One time, way back, he got his heart broken by a girl. Liam's never been the same. He's... he's so desperate to be loved, feel loved by a girl because he's hurting." He paused and I felt it, inside my heart, pain. I knew what that felt like.
"He saw you, Annie and he fell. He saw a chance to be loved and he... he wanted you to love him," Niall continued. "Like I said, he's desperate to feel loved."
I looked down to my feet. I didn't know what to think or to feel, I seemed in a slight daze knowing this new information. "The problem is, Annie. I honestly feel sorry for him... but... every girl he falls for, it goes wrong Annie. Somehow it does. He has broken so many hearts because he feels bad for falling for people when he just wants love.He knows that it's... not right but he can't help himself." Niall sighed sadly. "I knew that, Annie and I didn't want him to hurt you."
He paused, looked me in the eyes. "I didn't want you to be used like that." He stopped and I saw tears. He had tears in his eyes. He looked back to the flames. I was frozen, stuck to my seat. What was I supposed to say? "When I first saw you I knew what Liam would be thinking, I knew it. I don't like it when he hurts people. I didn't want it to happen to Harry's sister, to you, because I knew that if he hurt you then Harry would hate Liam and the band would break."
I bit my lip harder and it started to hurt but I didn't care. "It's why Harry made up those rules, Annie. To protect you from him, because he knows it to. He knows what Liam does." He paused and I saw a tear fall down his face. He suddenly looked up. "The rules were for all of us, to make it fair but... I'm sorry, Annie, I fell for you to. I don't know exactly when, but I did... and it hurts because I know that it's not fair on Liam who loves you or Harry who made the rules."
I stared at him, eyes wide. The force on my lip was causing my eyes to water, as it was getting to the point of hurting a lot. He stared back, his own eyes tear filled.
"It hurt every time I saw you with Liam, it hurt so much. And that night I went to talk to him, tell him how I felt in the hope he would understand that I didn't mean to fall for you, it just happened. Then he went out, onto the beach," he gasped out. Somehow he found strength to continue. "I saw you walk out of the house, so I followed you out and I heard your conversation and it broke my heart to think he would do that. Take you away when he knew what I had said to him." He gulped, taking in air which seemed to be in short supply.
"Annie, please, can't you see he only said that because he wanted you to love him. He just wanted someone and he didn't want me to love you. He's so wound up in his heart break, so desperate to be loved and to love that..." His voice broke. He seemed unable to go on but finally managed to raise his head, look me in the eyes. "I love you, Annie. Liam only loves you in his desperation. I'm sorry."
I let go of the pressure on my lip, my whole body shaking with the weight of all of his words. Tears fell quick and fast and I couldn't stop them, I couldn't. Niall had spread light onto everything and it hurt but yet I felt like at least something of the truth had been told to me. It was probably the first bit of truth I had found in ages. But it still hurt, my heart ached and I didn't know what to do.
"I thought he loved me," I murmured my voice shaky.
Niall bit his lip, pulled his chair closer and rubbed my shoulder in comfort. "He did, he does, Annie. It's just for the wrong reasons." He paused. "He can't help it, Annie. It's not his fault... don't be angry with him."
I sat there for a minute before shaking my head. "I'm not angry, I just... I feel sorry for him..." I looked to my feet. "Niall, I know what it feels like to have your heart broken. I know what it feels like afterwards. You feel desperate to be loved again. I know what that feels like." I looked back at him again, tears thick in my eyes causing my vision to be blurry. "Don't think badly of me but... I think I was desperate to. Liam gave me an opportunity to love someone and to be loved. I took that opportunity but... but just like you said about Liam. I think I... I think I loved him in desperation..." My voice broke. "And I always knew that deep down and I was trying to stop it but I just... I couldn't."
I paused, letting tears fall. "I'm sorry, you must hate me now."
"I don't hate you, Annie," he replied. He put his arm round me, squeezed my shoulder and sighed. " I don't think I could ever hate you."
I sighed a big sigh my sobbing getting worse. Niall was trying to calm me down but it wasn't working. "I just want the pain to stop," I mumbled and Niall was saying words of comfort but I couldn't here. I look down to my feet and then back to him. He met my eyes as I whispered slowly and quietly, "I just want to die."