Now I was nearly four hours at home and just couldn't sleep.
I had walked home. Niall had suggested that he could drive me or at least could call Josh, but I needed time to think. Still I couldn't organize my thoughts. I just couldn't believe what had happened. That he had actually apologized. And... meant it like that. It just couldn't be.
Frustrated, I pressed my hands to my face and I left out a sigh. I would see Niall tomorrow – today, I corrected myself with a look at the clock – again.
Had then something changed? Or was it actually all been a dream? Zayn was already in Niall's childhood in a position to have enormous power over him, and then would that not simply change overnight, right?
I couldn't sleep anyway so I slowly got up, padded into the kitchen and took a sip of water. I had to share with someone my thoughts. Now I already felt guilty that I would tear Josh from his sleep. I typed the number in our phone and it rang twice.
"Hello?," Josh asked sleepily.
"It's me, Josh," I said.
"Hey, Selena. How was it? I've been waiting for your call," he said, suddenly wide awake. "Is everything okay?"
"I'm sorry that I wake you up. I- I don't know. It was totally... I don't know. I can't explain," I said, and was frustrated that I couldn't put a decent sentence together.
"Has he done anything to you?," he asked tersely. I could hear the fear in his voice.
"That's not it," I said and he sighed in relief. "It was... nice. Awkward. Pretty scary. Listen."
I told him everything. From the pizza to the project, to Taylor and his apology.
"He wants to try to be a better person for her and wants to start with both of us. I told him that no excuse can ever let their acts be undone and that is why he wants to show now that he can be different," I concluded.
Seconds elapsed and no one said anything.
"Josh? Are you- are you still awake?," I asked.
"Do you believe him?," he asked.
"I don't trust him and actually it's too good to be true. But... how he behaved and how he said that... I don't know what to think, Josh," I said, closing my eyes.
Images of yesterday flashed. Niall's sad, hurt look. His words. His insults that have been directed against himself. His laugh.
"Right, we cannot trust him. I... With the best sake, I can't imagine that," said Josh. "But you reacted correctly. Now we have to wait and see if today is actually changing something or if he... if- if it was all just a ploy to spread hope." I opened my eyes again.
"Try to sleep a little, I am in a few hours in front of your door," he said. I nodded.
"Okay. And I'm sorry that I haven't called you earlier," I said.
"It's okay. Sleep well, Sel."
"Ladies and gentlemen, with great pride I present to you today...," the priest began, but everyone paused as the large folding doors were thrown open.
"Stop!," a voice cried.
The entire crowd turned around and I followed their gaze towards the young man who came down to us out of breath.
"I can’t let that happen! What happened to our plan, Selena? We wanted to run away, live for us and never think of high school again! How could you do that? How could you leave me alone?," Josh said with a loud voice and a distinct pain in his eyes.
"Security!," someone said quietly from my right side.
I looked at the person. It was Niall. He wore a tailored suit and held my hand. What didn’t surprise me for some reason. I stopped looking at him and looked down at me.
I wore a floor-length white dress, high heels and a glittering, golden ring.
I looked around. Louis, Liam, Zayn and Harry were standing at Nialls side, just like ordinary best man.
I looked to my side. There were Alyson, Sophia, Perrie and Eleanor. They wore the same clothes and were perfectly lined up as bridesmaids.
Oh no, no, no.
I wanted to tell Josh that this was just a misunderstanding, but I could do nothing. I couldn't move. The Security already got to him and wrestled him down.
"Selena! How can you do this to me? What has become of you?," cried Josh.
The guests were getting restless and Niall squeezed my hand.
"It's okay, the problem is solved. You never have to deal with it again," said Niall, as Josh was worn away and the doors were closed again.
Bathed in sweat, I woke up and was breathing heavily. Just a dream. My eyes adjusted slowly to the darkness and my breathing was quiet again.
Now I wasn't able to sleep in no case.
I glanced at my alarm clock. It had already rung in a few minutes. I stood up and chuckled. Now Niall seem to pursued me even in my dreams.
I stumbled into the bathroom, took a shower and then started getting ready for school.
I hastily prepared breakfast to my siblings and ate only a small bite. Then I rushed out of the house and into Josh's car.
"Good morning," I greeted him and he just nodded.
As soon as I strapped myself, Josh went on the road towards our school. The radio was playing soft music through the car and the sky brightened slowly.
"Have you slept badly, too?," he asked me and I nodded this time. I shuddered as I thought of my dream.
"Are you also excited?," I asked, swallowing. Meanwhile, I could no longer ignore my aching belly.
"We shouldn't think about it that much," said Josh and we sighed. "Probably nothing will happen and it really was all about hope. Just another slap in the face."
Minutes later we arrived at the parking lot of the school. Already, many students flocked to the building and although it was still early they were already fighting for fun and laughed together. Neither Josh nor I were in the mood to laugh.
Silently we entered the huge building. As always a few students jostled us, but that didn’t bother us much. We stopped only briefly at Josh's Locker before we walked to mine.
Just as we turned the corner, we saw him standing at my locker.
He leaned loose on him, wearing his backpack only on one side, had a few books in his hand and ran his free hand through his hair. He wore dark jeans and the sweater, which he wore in one of my dreams. I shivered at the memory.
A few cheerleaders ran past him and giggled happily as he returned their greetings.
"Morning," I said as we arrived at my locker.
Niall turned to us and Josh positioned himself so that he could engage in the worst case.
"Good morning," greeted Niall with an uncertain smile. Then he stepped away from my locker and I quickly gave my combination in to get a few books.
"I suppose she has already told you everything, Josh," began Niall.
Josh didn't say anything.
"I- I'm sorry, man. And yeah, I know I should stop to apologize, because that doesn't work. But I'm just so fucking sorry. And I know that you can't trust me and maybe you can't properly ever again, but I will do everything possible to better myself. I know it is difficult but I have to try." Niall began to babble quickly again.
I closed my locker and turned around to the boys.
Josh had his arms crossed and looked at Niall with a disparaging glance. His eyes narrowed, which meant that he didn't believe him. Just as he had looked at me, when I tried to make up some story, in order not to admit that I had actually cut myself.
The students who walked past us, looked at us with wondering eyes.
"What teacher do you have now?," asked Niall.
"Mr. Fitz," I said, Niall nodded.
"I have Mrs. Upshaw, the rooms are close together, I can accompany you, if you want," he suggested.
"Um, okay," I said. Niall sighed with relief.
I wanted to give him a chance, even though I didn't know exactly why. I guess I just wanted this nightmare to end.
Josh ran next to Niall and insulated me from him. He was suspicious, I couldn't blame him.
We were silent as we walked to our classes. All the students were staring at us. They were whispering to each other and looked confused back and forth between us, the losers, and Niall, the hot guy.
Niall smiled all the time, greeted the people and made them recognize our "growing friendship". Josh had his jaw pressed against each other and didn't say a word, while the situation became more and more uncomfortable for me.
Niall knew almost every student, made handshakes, hug someone and smiled all the time.
"Nialler!," cried a boy from further away and Niall laughed.
The boy came closer and looked at us briefly surprised; obviously he hadn't seen us before.
"What's going on, Ash? Everything okay?," Niall asked and they made a handshake.
"Selena, Josh, this is Ashton, my cousin. Ashton meet Selena and Josh."
I smiled slightly, Josh didn't flinch.
Ashton smiled back broadly and asked "Are you also new here? I think I've never seen you before."
I shook my head and Josh said "We used to be with Niall together in elementary school. We also went together to this school. Probably you've never seen us, because we hid before Niall and his friends or they ambushed us in any corridor. He has pretty much banished us from his life."
Niall stiffened and Ashton looked at Josh for a moment perplexed.
Then he started laughing and said "You're really funny! You look totally serious and then you say something like that! Amazing!"
He patted Niall on his shoulder and said "I wish I could stay longer, but I can't be late again or Ms. Briggs might kill me. Later, lads."
"See ya," Niall said.
Ashton had just as Niall a broad smile and laughed loud. Just like Niall also Ashtons eyes flashed when he was amused about something.
Josh and I exchanged a glance and Niall sighed.
"You need nothing to say, it surprises me again and again that some people only know one side of our Gang. Even my own cousin," he said, and Josh pulled an eyebrow up.
"Absolutely," he said and we reached our classroom.
"If there is something or someone says something stupid to you tell me about it. I'll take care of it," said Niall.
"The only people you need to take care of, Horan, are your so-called friends," Josh said. Niall pulled his eyebrows together.
"I know that they can be jerks. But if you know them privately... then they are completely different. They are my best friends, not because we can fight anybody at any time, but because I can count on them," Niall defended his friends, but Josh rolled his eyes. The bell rang.
"How about if we spend lunch together?," asked Niall.
Josh asked sweetly "Wouldn't you rather use the time to chat with your fabulous friends about everything or to steal someone's lunch money?"
I pulled him lightly on his arm to me and said "See you."
Then I pulled Josh in the class and we sat down at our place in the rearmost section of the class. They all stared at us. No wonder, from here one could perfectly observe what was going on outside.
"Do you want an autograph?," Josh asked annoyed and slowly they lowered their eyes, but now began the whispering. When Liam and Harry entered the room, it was quiet again.
"Is there a problem?," Liam snapped at them as he and Harry sat down. Our classmates looked this time immediately away and the whispering went on. They threw looks at us; Liam looked confused at Harry, who just shrugged his shoulders.
When Mr. Fitz entered the classroom, he took a long time until the students finally gave rest.
"So either he is a blessed actor or he really means it. I can't tell the difference," Josh said as we had the history lessons behind us and were allowed to leave the room. "Now you know at last how I feel. Yesterday he was the whole time like this," I replied, Josh raised his eyebrows together.
"Out of the way!," said a deep, slow voice and came ominously fast approaching.
I glanced behind me and saw Harry pushing a child out of the way, which didn't react fast enough. Liam and Harry approached us with purposeful faces. Great.
When they arrived, Harry put his arm around me and said, "Well, how is that biology project of yours going?"
Disgusted by his touch, I just said "Good" and felt Josh moved closer to me.
Liam laughed and said "You're a clever girl, if you take the whole task, even the part of Nialler. We have promised not to hurt you this time, but the two weeks are faster around than you think. I can't wait."
He grinned at Josh nasty and raised twice his eyebrows. Harry laughed and sighed.
Then he took a strand of my hair between his fingers and said, "Don't think anything else on the break and especially not if Niall wants to meet you to check your work."
Now Liam squeezed between Josh and me and we stopped.
"I don't know what area of biology has been allocated to you, but I'm sure Niall can teach you a lot," he said and then came closer.
Slowly he stroked me with one hand my cheek and whispered, "It doesn't hurt as long as he doesn't want it to hurt. But he likes to take his time... I've been told."
I looked at him and he looked at me as he bit his lip. I got goose bumps and had to swallow.
Josh tore Liam apart and said "Stay away from her!"
Harry laughed again and Liam grinned broadly.
"Oh, is there already someone or what? Maybe you won't feel pain if you are already familiar to this area," he said and laughed again.
"See ya later, Slutelena" said Harry, took his arm from me and walked with Liam of.
Disgusted I shook my head and Josh sighed.
"Thanks, I think I wouldn't have endured them any longer," I said, and Josh looked at me long. Then he just hugged me and I hold him tight.
Before I was able to blink twice it was lunch time. The hours had flown by and slowly Josh and I walked to the cafeteria. The incident with Harry and Liam was pushed into the background again and also that Niall wanted to eat lunch with us, I had repressed. But as we arrived almost at the cafeteria, Niall had seen us and waved.
"How dare you!," yelled a girl behind us and bumped into me as she raced towards him.
Niall looked surprised at Alyson when she turned against him and braced her arms on her hips. Josh and I slowed our steps.
"How can you fucking dare to break up with me via message and facebook update?!" Aly's voice was shrill.
"You know perfectly well that it is no longer working out. We're not good for each other," Niall said and Alyson snorted.
"And you couldn't just talk to me?!," she asked.
"Please tell me how, if you never had time? You were out all the time, fucking God knows who!," he yelled back.
Alyson slapped him and said, "You're such a fucking asshole, Niall James Horan. We are so done!"
He tore up his eyes and said "Fuck yeah! The taste of freedom has never been sweeter."
She snorted again, turned on her heel and ran without further comment in the cafeteria, where it had become totally quiet.
"Watcha looking at?!," she yelled pissed.
Josh and I stared at Niall and he moved his jaw shortly and stretched.
Then he came up to us and asked, "So? Are we spending lunch break together or what?"
We decided to go to McDonald's and walked to the student parking lot.
"It's best if we take your car, Josh. Selena doesn't trust me enough that she would get into mine," Niall said and sighed. Josh gave me a quick glance and smiled. Then he pressed his key and the lights flickered on his car.
"I have exactly the same only in matte gray," Niall said as we walked to Josh's Range Rover.
"It's the perfect car," they both said at the same time and then looked at each other surprised. Niall laughed shortly and Josh couldn't resist a smile.
This moment made me smile and I could finally breathe in peace.