Stella sat under the tree surrounded by at least seven inches of snow. She thought she heard a car off in the distance somewhere.
"I really am delusional." she thought with an internal sigh.
She then fell asleep, maybe for forever, or maybe just for a while.
She woke up the next day surprised to be in her bed with Niall wrapped around her. She knew it was a dream and that she really was dead, but when she took a deep breath and could clearly smell his cologne she got excited.
"Niall!" she screamed then kissed him awake.
He jumped at the sound of his name but was calmed by her lips.
"I thought I was going to die out there! I fell asleep under that old tree and never expected to wake up! How did I get here?"
He looked at her with sleep still in his eyes and his hair a mess. "Too early for questions." he muttered into her neck pulling her closer to him.
"Ok, ok." she said. "But I expect answers later."
"Later." he said then fell back asleep holding her.
After a couple more hours her dad came into the room and saw Niall holding her while asleep.
"What the hell is this?!" he yelled making both Niall and Stella jump. His eyes were bloodshot. Stella knew the look all too well. He was drunk.
"Dad, I didn't think you were supposed to be home until tomorrow." Stella stuttered.
"Robert, I didn't mean to-"
"You," he said pointing at Niall, "you shut your mouth."
Niall sat straight up. "Excuse me?"
"Are you back talking me boy?"
"Saying excuse me isn't back talking, Robert." he snarled. "And you will start respecting Stella and me. Unless, you want me to go to the authorities." It was a threat. Niall was threatening him. Stella stood up out of the bed.
"How about I make you some coffee dad?"
He swung at her but Niall caught his arm. "Coffee Robert?"
Robert stalked out of the room red hot. They both knew he'd be back.
"Why is he back early? And where is my mom?" Niall immediately started to worry.
"I don't know, but we'll find her and find out."
Robert started to walk back in when Stella had her back turned. "Kiss me first." Niall said and took her in his arms and traced her lips with his. Her dad went insane. He came towards them and Niall knocked him out with one swing. "Should've taken the coffee." he said to the lifeless body on the floor.
Despite the serious moment, Stella laughed.
"What?" Niall giggled. "He should've just taken the damn coffee."
He wrapped his arm around her and they walked out of the room and went to find Melinda.
They searched high and low for her. They went to all her favorite places. After calling the police and sending out a search team, there was still no luck. When they returned home, they found Robert snoring on the floor.
"At least you didn't kill him." Stella shrugged.
"This is true." Niall found himself suddenly delirious and feeling drunk. He went and lied down on the bed and patted the other side for Stella. She hesitated looking at her sleeping dad on the floor knowing that he could wake up at any moment. Niall got up and drug him out the door, shut it, and locked it. "Is that better?"
They laid there an talked for a while. Niall started to get antsy and Stella knew why. She leaned over close to him and looked dead straight into his big blue eyes.
"You want to kiss me again, don't you?"
Niall swallowed hard. He didn't give an answer but nodded and smiled instead.
"Ha. You think you're funny. Don't you?"
"Will you just shut up?"
He took her in his arms and kissed her. It started out soft and slow, but the further he went the faster and harder it got. He slid his hand up her shirt and felt her bare back and slides gliding under his finger tips. Her skin broke out in chill bumps. He smiled against her mouth. She then pulled his shirt over his head and kneaded her hands into his muscles like she'd been wanting to do for so long. Her shirt was next. He tossed to the other side of the room.
"Niall." she muttered into his neck.
"I know. I know." he said.
They both slowed down. The only thought that went through her mind was, "This is so good but so wrong." She was in a bad controversy with herself. How far can they go? What if something ends badly? How long will he hate her if she stops it now?
They suddenly both froze. Numb with fear. Robert was awake, and he was not happy.
"Move quickly and quietly." Niall demanded tossing her a suitcase. "Pack your things."
"Where are we going?"
"I'm taking you somewhere safe."
She did as he said and packed her bags as quickly as she could. She was about to run away with him. She hasn't even known him for that long. "What if he's as crazy as my dad?" the thought terrified her. She decided to bail once they were so far away. It would be safest for her. She knew she was being selfish, but she was tired of being hurt. She would stand for it no more.
She finished packing her things and tossed out the windows like Niall instructed. She followed him out the window and across the yard to his car and they got in. As he started the engine, he dad came running outside waving a pistol at them. Niall hit the reverse and took off down the street with the crazy guy shooting at them.
"Get down!" he yelled pushing her head down and drove faster and faster. Taking turns on two wheels, driving like hell he decided they were an acceptable distance away. "Ok. You can get up now." he said lifting her back up.
She was tense under his touch. He shrugged it off and told himself that she was just scared. They drove for ten hours before stopping somewhere for the night. He had just filled up the car. Stella planned to take the keys while he was in the shower and leave. She didn't want to hurt him, but she knew she had too because as long as she was with him her dad wouldn't stop pursuing him and maybe even hurting him.
He walked straight up to the receptionist.
"Niall Horan. Room for two." he paid and got the keys.
"Room 325 Mr. Horan."
He turned and got he small bag that she was using for tonight. He knew something was up.
"She's planning something. She's not herself." he shook off the thoughts and led her to the room.
"If only he knew that I'd be hurting him in the next few hours." her heart saddened.
"Here we are." he said swiping the card and pushing the door open. He walked in and set the bags on the bed. "I'm going to go take a shower."
She nodded and he walked into the bathroom.
"Maybe less than a few hours." she thought. She waited until she heard the water start running then went through his jeans until she found what she was looking for. She took the keys and grabbed her bag. But before she could leave, she had to explain all of this so she left a note:
Thank you so much for loving me when no one else did. They say that If you love something let it go. That's what I'm asking you to do. Let me go. As long as I'm with you my dad will hunt for you. I'd never be able to forgive myself if anything ever happened to you. I don't know where I'm going yet, but I'm leaving my phone. I'm sorry that I have to cut off all our ties, but there can be no way for you to find me. I don't want to be found. I love you very much.
She took her bag and the keys and ran out of the room making sure the door shut silently. She ran though the lobby and the receptionist called after her.
Not wanting to be rude she turned around and talked with the woman.
"The man that checked you in earlier left this for you." She handed Stella a note:
I knew you were going to bail. I could see it on your face the whole drive up here. I would never let your dad hurt you or me. If you really, really love me, you'll stay. You'll forget about the threat of your father and stay. This is also buying me about five more minutes to catch up to you.
She couldn't believe it! He knew that she was going to leave and he gave her the choice.
She heard the pain in his voice. She couldn't face him. Tears starting flowing and she turned and ran towards him. He took her in his arms.
"I'm so scared." she said into his chest.
"I know you are, but I'm here, so you don't have to be." he mouthed a thank you to the receptionist and took her back towards the room. He opened the door for the second time.
"Let's try this again." he laughed. "I'm going to go take a shower and take my keys with me."
She looked at him confused.
"You didn't honestly think that I'd take a shower and give you the chance to run, did you?"
She felt so dumb. She laughed. "No, I guess not."
"Got that right." he turned to go. "Oh and we still have to finish what we started earlier." he winked.
Her face blushed red. Her whole body felt hot. She fell face first down onto the bed and ended up falling asleep in the same position.
The sun streamed in through the curtains the next morning and she woke up with Niall's arm across her back and his body right next to hers. She moved as gently as she could not wanting to wake him.
"Where are you going?" he asked suddenly awake.
"Just to take a shower. Go back to sleep." she whispered and ran her hand over his hair.
She went into the bathroom and ran hot water instead of her normal cold. She had forgotten all of her shampoos and conditioners back at the house, so she would just have to use Niall's. She spent a good two hours in the shower and bath. She was a wrinkly mess when she got out.
"I was about to send in a search party." Niall laughed.
Rolling her eyes, she went and laid next to him and as he kissed her wet head he noticed something.
"Hey, you smell like me." he teased. "You could've just said 'Niall I want to be exactly like you'." He laughed harder
"Oh shut up you." she playfully slapped his chest.
"Easy there killer." he once again put his hands up in surrender.
"I wish I could have this moment for forever." she purred.
Suddenly Stella sat straight up and turned up the volume on the TV.
"What is it?"
"It's my house. That's my house and that's my dad."
Niall turned is head and looked at the TV. "Sure is."
"The receptionist." Stella gasped.
They both got up and ran out of the room and down to the desk.
"MOM!" Niall yelled.
"I was wondering when you'd catch on." she smiled and hugged him tightly.
"You cut your hair and dyed it? Why?"
She looked over at Stella apologetically, "Robert's insane. I left him. I knew you would be smart enough to do the same."
"We've had private investigators all over the place looking for you!" Stella exclaimed.
"I know Stella. One of them actually came here looking for Melinda. My name is now Carrie. You kids better keep going. If I know Robert like I think I do then he's already halfway here."
They all three shared a worried look and Niall made the first move and drug Stella back to the room. He started throwing all of their stuff into random bags. At this point he could care less if his stuff was in his bags or if her stuff was in her bags.
"Niall. Niall. NIALL!"
"What?" he snapped.
"We can't just leave Melinda here."
"She wants to be left."
"Oh you mean like I did? Did you just let me leave?" she was pushing. Hard.
"This is different."
"How is this so different? Aren't you here protecting people you love?"
"If I told you, you wouldn't believe me." he was trying so hard.
"Try me." it was a dare and he knew it.
"Me and my mother were sent to you. She works for the CIA. They've been keeping tabs on you and you family trying to protect you. I'm not even her son. I was just sent with her. This is her job. The plan is working perfectly all the pieces are fitting into place. We're going to get your dad and you're going to be safe."
She couldn't believe her ears. "So you don't really love me? You don't really care for me? This is all just part of a job? A job!"
"Stella listen. That's how it started out. Things are different now. You used to be just an assignment, but that was before I really got to know you. I do love you Stella. I do very much."
"So are you even really in a band? Or was that all a lie too?"
"Jesus Stella! It wasn't a lie. I do love you and yes they are my real bad and we cancelled the rest of our tour for you! So that I could keep you safe!"
She didn't say anything instead she walked right out of the door and let it slam behind her.
"She'll be back." he thought to himself.
"I'm glad I learned one thing from my dad." she said and held out his wallet and car keys. "Deceptiveness."