Little White Lies

Niall Horan is the perfect boyfriend--caring, loyal, and sweet. So why can't Emily stop thinking about his bandmate?

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1. Come with me


 

     It all started when Niall invited me to join him on tour with One Direction over the summer.

     “Come with me,” he said.

     “Excuse me?” I stared at him, my hand suspended above the bowl of cheese fries we were sharing.

     "You heard me,” Niall nodded enthusiastically. “Come with me on tour! You were just complaining about how bored you’re gonna be for the next few months—why not just join me and the lads on tour?”

     A hundred reasons popped into my head why spending the summer on a cramped tour bus with Niall and his four bandmates was a terrible idea: I didn’t fancy being stalked by screaming girls (or paparazzi, for that matter), I barely knew the other guys in the band, and last but not least, I’d only been dating Niall for three months—going from where we currently were to 24/7 on tour was kicking it into warp speed, a speed that I wasn’t sure our relationship was ready for just yet.

     "Look Niall,” I said finally. “Thanks for the invite, but I can’t just go on tour with you guys.”

     "Why not?” Niall grinned.

     "Because being a groupie, even if for a few weeks, just isn’t going to fly with my manager.” I said, crossing my fingers behind my back.

     Not true. But whatever I had to say to get out of actually telling Niall I didn’t want to spend every waking moment of my summer with him.

     "But I thought your manager loved it when you spent time with me!” Niall leaned forward eagerly. “At that after party, remember? She was so excited and telling me all about how your Twitter following has tripled since we got together.”

     I silently cursed Niall’s infallible memory. He was right. It’d been a dream come true for my manager, Donna, when we first started dating. The attention from the gossip tabloids and One Direction’s substantial fandom had turned me from vaguely-recognizable-CW-actress to a household name overnight.

     "C’mon,” Niall stuck out his lower lip and looked at me pleadingly with his baby blue eyes.

     I gnawed on my fingers (my worst habit) as I weighed my options. If I said no, Niall would call my manager, who would give her consent faster than you can say “Sold out arenas,” and then Niall would figure out I lied and didn’t really want to go on tour with him. If I said yes, I would have to go on tour with him, but then at least he wouldn’t know how much I didn’t want to go on tour with him, and my manager would be happy with me for all the voluntary added publicity.

     I took a deep breath. “Fine. Alright. I’m in.”

     "Perfect.  Just what I was hoping you'd say."  Niall beamed, leaning in and kissing me gently.

     I sighed.  When it came to Niall, I always seemed to have trouble saying no.

===

     Our paths had first crossed in February. I had just finished filming the first few episodes of the new CW show Pemberly Hall (about the trials and tribulations of wealthy students at a boarding school) when my little sister sent me an excited email: “OMG!!! 1D tweeted about your show!!!”

     The link she sent connected to a Niall Horan tweet, declaring: "Just saw the most beautiful girl in the world on @PemberlyHall ad".

     As with all One Direction tweets, it'd taken all of about 30 seconds for Niall's 140 characters to go viral.  For days, my Pemberly Hall cast mates (along with the much larger One Direction fandom) had speculated on which of the three female leads on our show Niall was referring to, with the crew even taking bets (my odds were 55:1).

     A week later, Harry Styles solved the mystery by helpfully tweeting:  "Wish @NiallHoran would stop watching @PemberlyHall.  Getting sick of him drooling over @EmilyThomas104 #unrequitedlove"

     And that was when my manager had gotten involved.

     "You have to return that One Direction tweet, Emily. Your following's already doubled in the last 24 hours."  Donna had said excitedly, shoving a printout of Google Trends for "Emily Thomas" at me.

     "But I've gotten hate mail too," I'd protested, then showed her the pages and pages of vicious tongue lashings I'd received from crazed One Direction fans, all of which were along the lines of "How dare you take my man."

     Donna had brushed the hate mail off, then spent the next two hours with my publicist composing what I should tweet in return:  "Thanks @NiallHoran, you're very kind."

     Within minutes, Niall had responded with a private message:  "In L.A. next week.  Dinner?"

     The rest, as they say, was history.

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