Stella stands with her hand on the door, ready to walk in, when she hears Niall's voice on the other side.
"No bro listen. My mom brought me to this place to suffer. The girl took one look at me and literally ran down the stairs, out the door, and down the street. Does it matter if she's hot if she hates me? Alright bro, later."
Upon hearing the end of the conversation she thrusts the door open and walks in. She finds Niall, sitting on her, um their, bed shirtless. His stuff is all over the floor and she sees the slight glimmer of a diamond in his ear. She looks at the mess disgusted.
"What?" He said obviously irritated.
She decides not to say anything and gets her clothes and go to the bathroom. She turns the water on as hot as it will go. She wants to feel the pain of it, she wants to be barely able to breathe from all the fog. She just wants her life to be normal for once. She turns off the water and dries off. Going to get dressed she realized that she forgot to grab her bra and clean underwear. She walked out of the bathroom not expecting to have company in her room
"Don't tell me that's the girl that 'hates' you."
"Dude she's hot!"
Stella glanced around quickly until her eyes fell on her bra, in the hand of one of the guys.
"Looking for this sweetheart?" All the guys laughed, including Niall. She reached out to grab it with one hand holding her towel with the other. As she did, one of the guys ripped her towel off her body. She now stood in the middle of the room stark naked with seven guys laughing at her, She turned and ran back into the bathroom, slammed the door, and fell back against it.
She stayed in the bathroom until she heard all the noise and laughter die down. Then there was a soft knock at the door.
It was Niall.
"Go away." she said between sobs.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know..."
"I said go away!"
He hung her bra on the handle and walked out of the bedroom.
As she pulled the door open, she heard it swing against the door. She thought that maybe he wouldn't be as bad as she thought. Grinning, she took it and put it on, and finished getting ready for their "family" dinner tonight.
She walked downstairs and saw everyone sitting around the table waiting on her. Niall looked down ashamed with blushed cheeks. Stella sat down silently and started eating with everyone else.
"Tonight is the first night that I have to share a room with this, this... I don't even know how to describe him. I'm not going to be able to do it."
"So," Melinda started, "how was everyone's day?" There was silence all around the table. "Ok. I'll start. My dad was wonderful. I got to spend it with Robert and we went shopping, looking at houses, and have talked about some big decisions. Anyone else?"
Niall continued to stare at his plate and Stella got up and went to her room.
"Stella..." Niall started then followed her upstairs.
"How was your day Robert?" Melinda was trying her best to keep the dinner happy and cheerful.
"What were we thinking? We can't do this. I've even tried to quit yelling at her and stuff."
"When Amanda died, I took on heavy drinking, and an abusive nature. I'm so sorry Mel. I should've told you sooner."
"I'm just proud that you told me now.'
Upstairs Stella wasn't so forgiving.
"How many times do I have to say I'm sorry?"
"Maybe until you run out of breath and die."
She went to change clothes and he reached out and grabbed her t-shirt. It fell off her shoulder and he could see all of her bruises and scars.
"What's that?" he demanded.
"It's nothing." she replied shyly and pulled it back onto her arm.
"It's not nothing," he said.
"Don't worry about it!"
"Look, I live here now. Sorry about it, but you're stuck with me. So, start talking."
She glared at him but couldn't hold it long. She walked over and sat down on the bed. He followed suit and waited patiently for her to start.
"When my mom died, my dad starting drinking... and hitting me. He'd come home completely wasted and blame me for the death of my mom. Then, he'd hit me. He'd yell at me, and I'd become his little slave. I had to do everything for him. I never heard a thank you or even got a smile."
"I..." Niall started but didn't know what to say. He glanced over at her and saw tears streaming down her face. "Come here." he said wrapping her in his strong arms.
They laid there on the bed for over an hour and talked. They talked about her dad, his mom, why things were the way they were.
"You know, when I first got here I thought that this would be a living hell. Now, I've been here for only 11 hours and I'm really starting to like it." He seemed to say all the right things, but for the wrong reasons.
Stella thought that he just said this stuff to make him feel better and nodded and smiled as her reply.
"Is that all you know how to do?"
"Right now? Yes."
He laughed and they started to get ready to go to bed. The first thing Stella did was put a pillow down the middle of the bed, attempting to make her intensions clear. He nodded along but didn't seem to like the thought of it too much.
Late in the night Stella starting to toss and turn and scream.
"Hey, are you ok?" Niall asked concerned.
She sat straight up in a cold sweat. She couldn't figure out where she was or who she was with. Niall came to the conclusion that it had been a bad dream about her dad and took the dividing pillow and tossed it onto the floor. He pulled her into his chest and softly whispered phrases of love and encouragement in hope of bringing good dreams instead of bad. She murmured quietly as she drifted back to sleep and he kissed her head, not realizing at the moment what he had just done.