Dearest Riley

Riley Horan. Sound familiar? Probably not. According to Modest! Management (a.k.a. One Direction’s management company), Riley doesn't exist. She is Niall Horan’s sister, but she goes by her fake name: Riley Gibbons. Management has asked (more like forced, actually) Riley and her family to keep her identity a secret from everyone else. No one knows that she has a famous brother, or that her famous brother has a sister. And it seems that Niall is absolutely fine with this situation; he seems to enjoy Riley not being in his life. Depressed and quite pissed (because her life is pretty bad at the moment), Riley thinks she has no one to turn to for help. That is, until another member of One Direction strolls into her life and changes things.

And don’t worry; this isn't a typical “teen-age-ery” love story. In fact, Riley doesn’t even like Harry Styles when he enters her life. If you really want the truth, Riley thinks Harry Styles is an asshole…….

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3. The Next Step

I slam the door behind me, silently hoping it would rattle the kitchen table. How could that bastard think I would accept his money? Honestly, that asshole thinks a lot of himself. I sigh as I walk down the front steps and onto the sidewalk. Where do I go?

I ponder this for a while, finally deciding that staying at Mark’s was not the best idea. Other than Mark, I had only a few friends. There was Margaret, but she was awful bitchy the last time I saw her, so maybe I shouldn’t stay with her. I continue to drag my suitcase behind me, hearing the loud thumps on the pavement. I was just walking aimlessly at this point.

When I say I have nothing, I really do mean it. No friends, no family, not even any money of my own. It really sucks to be me.

I reach the corner and stop. I have to make up my mind on where I’m going to go. Mark and Margaret are off the list, so that just leaves my friend Emer. She’s always pleasant to me, and I really need someone that’s not a complete asshole right now. I guess I’ll just walk to Emer’s house. It was only a couple of blocks away.

I walk past the bagel shop and the small patch of woods near my house. It was only about 12:00 p.m. It was still a sunny day, but I walk a little faster when I see a couple of storm clouds far off in the distance. Emer’s house was only another block away.

HONK!

I spin around as I see a car drive by, the driver honking obnoxiously.

“Lookin’ good, sweetheart!” the driver shouts, looking me up and down.

“Go f*** yourself, asshole!” I shot back. The driver just laughed and drove off. What the hell is wrong with people?

I continue down the street, suddenly very aware of my appearance. I was wearing a worn-out T-shirt and ripped denim shorts. The shorts were very short, and I usually only wear them around the house, but I obviously left in a rush, a decision I now regret.

I finally reach Emer’s house. It was a small little house on the corner, quite modest and cozy. I had only been here once before.

I pick up my suitcase and walk the front path to the door, hesitantly stepping up the front stairs. I knock. Two seconds later, the door flies open to reveal a quite frazzled-looking Emer. She had her hair in a messy bun, and she had what seemed like chocolate splattered all over her sweater.

“Riley! What are you doing here?”

“I need a place to stay for a few nights. Can I stay here?”

Emer looks behind me, at my luggage. She takes a deep breath before she says anything else. “Sure, I guess. Come on in.”

I step into the front entranceway, dropping all of my stuff near the coat rack. “If you don’t mind me asking, what’s on your shirt?”

Emer scrunches up her eyebrows, confused for a moment. “Oh! This!” she says, pulling on her sweater. “Yeah, it’s Nutella. I was just helping Gemma bake Nutella-flavored cupcakes.”

“Gemma?”

“Yeah, she’s my roommate. You’d like her; she’s quite funny.”

I nod, walking into the living room. I sit down on the couch and pull out my phone. Although I was really pissed off at my mother, I realize I need to tell her that I found a place to stay. Worrying about me would only make matters worse. I send her a quick text.

“Emer, who’s that?” I hear someone call from the kitchen. It must be Gemma.

“Riley! She’s a friend of mine!” Emer shouts back. She turns to me, “I’ll go get her so I can introduce you both.”

Emer soon returns from the kitchen with Gemma, who must be a model. She wore a designer apron, which, unlike Emer’s sweater, did not have Nutella all over it.

“Hello!” she says, holding out her hand. I shake it, faking a smile. I am not a people person.

“Hi, I’m Riley Gibbons.” Gibbons was my fake last name. Niall’s management company gave it to me, and, unfortunately, I had to use it or else my family would have to pay the equivalent of a $50,000 fine.

“Gemma Styles.”

“That name sounds familiar. Do I know you?”

She laughs. “I’m Harry Styles’ sister.”

I must still look confused because she continues.

“You know, from One Direction?”

Shit. Shit. Shit.

“Oh, cool.”

I grimace at my stupid response. But what else was I to say?

“Yeah, matter of fact, Harry came home today. The cupcakes are for him. I’m flying back to England tomorrow morning.”

I smile and nod. Niall came back today, too. I wish the plane had crashed.

“That’s fantastic. You must be very close,” I say, suddenly interested in their relationship with each other.

“Oh, we are. He always manages to keep in touch. We video chat nearly every day.”

“That’s nice,” I mumble. Over the course of a year, Niall didn’t contact me at all. He only called my mom a handful of times.

I sigh at this new information. I thought every famous person was like that. I thought maybe Niall was just too busy to call or text, but clearly his band mate has time.

Niall definitely doesn’t want me in his life, and I just have to accept that. But this doesn’t mean I’m not pissed off at him. I still want him to fall off a bridge or get hit by a car or something. Or maybe get hit by a car and then fall off a bridge.

I’m still not decided on how Niall should suffer…

I’m interrupted from my dark thoughts when Emer starts speaking.

“Yeah, so, um… Riley needs a place to stay for the next few nights, so I told her she can stay here.”

“Well, because I’m going to England for a couple of weeks, Riley can stay in my room if she likes.” Gemma gives me a warm smile.

“Thank you. I really appreciate it.”

“You’re very welcome.”

Gemma sits down right next to me on the couch.

“So, tell me more about yourself.”

I hesitate. I had a whole fake life story already assigned to me, but it was awkward telling it to someone who has actually met my brother. Or, at least, I assume she’s met my brother.

“Um, well… I live a few blocks away, down by the wooden area. I live with my two parents and my little sister Tiana…. I’m 17 and I’m going to attend college this fall.”

“That’s cool. So you said you live near the woods… like, by Wellington Street?”

“Yeah,” I said, unsure of where Gemma was going to go with this.

“Oh, that’s a nice area. I’ve been there a couple of times before. Harry invited me over to his band mate’s house. Did you know that Niall Horan lives on Wellington?”

“No, I didn’t.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

That night, when I lay on the floor of Gemma’s room, I shed a couple of tears. It was a nightly ritual, one that I have become accustomed to. Being me is quite stressful, and, in particular, quite sad. The saddest part of being me is not that my brother cut me out of his life, but the fact that I didn’t see it coming. It wasn’t expected; in fact, we used to be so close.

I shed another tear as I think back to my childhood. Niall and I were always inseparable; we used to do everything together. I remember my first day of school. Niall, who was three years older, packed me my lunch, making sure to include a little note. It read: “If you don’t find a friend to sit with by lunch, come find me in room #234 :)”.

I still have that note. I keep it in my purse.

I roll over, wrapping the blanket around me. The thing is, I don’t know why Niall cut me out of his life. We never fought with one another, and we remained best friends until his rise to fame.

I still vividly remember the day of his X Factor audition. I was so upset that I couldn’t go with him; I had already made other plans. And then, by the time I got home, I saw Niall beaming with happiness. He was sitting on the couch, waiting for me, with a gigantic grin on his face. He jumped up and rushed to hug me, practically shouting the good news in my ear. I had told everyone in school about it. I was so proud of him.

Everything was great up until he signed a record deal with Simon Cowell. He had to sign a contract for Modest! Management. In the fine print, however, was the part that said he cannot tell anyone about me. It was never explained why he couldn’t have a sister, and I just assume Niall didn’t want me in his life. Besides, Niall never had a problem with anything in the contract. It wasn’t like he stood up for me or anything. In fact, he supported that decision. He never called me while he was on tour, or even sent a quick email. It was like he wanted to believe that I really didn’t exist, so he treated me that way.

And that is why I hate my brother. He’s an ignorant asshole that should never be forgiven for what he did to me.

After the contract was signed, my family had to move. We couldn’t risk anyone spilling the secret about me. Niall’s management company even went to the extent of fining anyone that spoke my name. I was assigned a new name, with a story about my fake family and my fake life. I was no longer Niall’s sister, but a figment of management’s imagination.

My tears had already dried up, replaced by sheer anger for everyone involved in this scheme. I was sick of constantly lying to people about my identity.

All I want to be is Riley Horan. Was that so f***ing hard?!

 

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