The sweet aroma of cupcakes wafts up from the pan, and I'm already salivating. I slather on the homemade chocolate icing I made this morning onto each little cake and clumsily pipe on "Welcome home Nialler!" In bright orange. I steal a fingerful of my icing quickly and pop my finger into my mouth, when my mum's heavy Irish accent echoes down the hall.
"Noelle hurry it up! We don't want to keep Niall waiting!" I jump up and down with happiness as I give my beautiful cupcakes one final look, then race down the hall towards the front door. Winston, our Great Dane lets out a woof and scrambles across the kitchen tiles after me. I giggle and brace the huge dog's shoulders as he slides into me.
"See ya later, Whinny!" I beam up at him as I tie up my favourite pair of Nikes. As I stand up I glance in the mirror to look at my reflection. I wanted to look presentable when I see my best mate again after so long. I wore a pair of simple white shorts and a robin's egg blue sweater along with my beloved Nikes.
I ran up the stairs two at a time and quickly brush mascara onto my eyelashes and comb my long sandy brown hair so that it hung untangled and smooth down to just above my belly button. Mum thinks I should trim up up, but I adore the way it embraces me and give me a sense of freedom. I grin at myself in the mirror and jump down the steps before racing out the door without another thought. Excitement bubbles in my stomach as a fly down the driveway and into my mother's minivan. I chatter aimlessly to my mother the whole drive. She has shining eyes and a big smile on her face as she listens to me intently.
I can barely contain my excitement. I'm bouncing around in my seat and fidgeting constantly. I must look like myself when I was just a wee little girl. Even when I was that small, Niall was in my life. We have been friends right since the get go. Our parents were like family to each other, so it was only natural that we became like brother and sister. I had no other friends besides him, and frankly I don't think I cared one bit. During schooling, I remember being so ticked off that Niall was older than me. He was only 15 months and 18 days older than me, but I found it truly unfair that he could not be in my classes and grade with me. The days were boring without him. I start to recall cool summer days playing football together. I have always been a miserable player, and Niall would tease and badger me constantly. Finally, I would get frustrated and kick at the ball as hard as I could. It would always seem to go zooming right at Niall's little blond head, making him screech and jump out of the way. I would feel so proud of my aim then!
I snap out of it.
I'm seventeen now. Niall is 18. It's been three years since I've had any contact with my best mate. That was three years too long. I couldn't wait to see his bright eyes and cheeky smile. He always knew how to make my day. His happy-go-lucky personality could cheer the most bluest person up. Thinking about him put a huge grin on my face, making Mum laugh at me.
"You must be so excited," she remarked and I squealed and nodded my head.
"Oh yes! I can hardly wait!" I shriek, clapping my hands like an excited little child. This brought a chuckle out of my mother.
We play One Direction on repeat during the whole car drive. I memorized the whole album, and whenever Niall's (few) solos came up, I raise my voice and sing them as loud as I can. Our windows are rolled down, so I stick my arm out and feel the force of the breeze push again my skin. The summer months make me so happy. "Now I'm climbing the wall! But you don't notice at all...!"
After a good hour and a half of driving from Mullingar, we arrive at the Dublin International Airport and I leap out of the car, the breeze tugging at the tips of my long wavy hair. Together, Mum and I walk- well, she walks, I dance- towards the entrance to the building. The sound of landing planes booms all around us. I can almost hear Niall's voice in my ears.
That's when I see him.