2 Years Later
"We'll be back in a few days alright? I'm sorry you got the flu Ems, I really wish you could come." I roll my eyes and watch as mum finishes placing the few last shirts in the suitcase. Ollie's sitting in a chair by the door, playing with a toy dad had given him a few days before. Mum knew damn well I didn't have the flu, so did dad. But as always, they played along with whatever I said. Especially on a day like this.
"Your Uncle Louis will be checking up on you." Dad says taking the suitcases off the bed, and rolling them into the hallway and out the door.
"I'm almost an adult, I can take care of myself."
Dad walks back into the room, grabbing the last bag and places a kiss on my forehead, "Almost is not enough for me, baby. You're fifteen, your Uncle Louis can at least check up on you. Especially considering you have the flu." He smiles and winks at me.
"Alright." I say succumbing easily to dad's smile.
"Okay, we'll be staying at this hotel. If you need anything you can call us." She hands me a paper with their contact information for the week, "Ollie, say good bye to your sister!"
I open my arms wide as Ollie comes running towards me, already in what feels like such a short time his hair has grown into shoulder length honey curls, and his eyes were as green as moss. "Bye Emmie."
"I love you Ollie." I say hugging his little body too me.
"Loves you too."
He lets go and runs down the stairs to the front door. Dad doesn't even bother chasing after him anymore.
"Are you sure you're going to be okay, Ems?" Dad places a hand upon my shoulder, and he looks deep into my eyes. He was worried.
"Yeah." I say trying to play it off, "If I can get rid of this bloody flu."
He smiles and it looks as if he wished it were only the flu that was plaguing me, "Alright, Ems. Call of if you need anything." He wraps me into a hug, his arms as comforting as ever.
"I love you dad, please take care."
"You too my little love." He kisses my forehead once more and heads out the door.
I watch them through my window, loading suitcases into the SUV. I sigh to myself wishing that there were someway I didn't have to know about this.
He had promised he'd come back.
But what he just did was confirm he never would.
I sit at the counter with a cuppa and look out the window. The day looked beautiful for a Sunday, peaceful and full of hope. Something catches my eye, and I recognize it immediately. I almost curse mum for leaving it within my reach. I take the flimsy piece of paper that had arrived in the mail about a month ago and give it another read.
You are cordially invited to the wedding of
Leah Marie Mcarthy & Niall Horan
Sunday August 29th, 2026
Mullingar, Republic of Ireland
I resist the urge to rip it into shreds, instead putting it back in its place, so that it may continue to torment me.
My head looks up towards the window, and I see my Uncle Louis knocking on the glass. He always chooses to do that, rather than ring the bell. I don't know what he would do if I weren't sitting at the counter.
I immediately get up and unlock the front door, letting him in. His hair had gotten a bit shaggier and hit tummy a bit pudgier. But in my eyes, that made him look even better.
"How's Auntie El?"
"Ah, pregnant as ever." He says sitting down at the counter and taking my mug. He drinks from it without making any sort of question whatsoever, another reason why I love my Uncle Lou. Even this home was an extension of his own home.
"How much longer?"
"A month! A bloody month! I don't know how your father's done it. I'm bloody scared out of my mind."
"That's normal." I say sitting next to him and placing a hand upon his shoulder.
He shakes his head and turns to look at me, "And you little lady, why aren't you at your Uncle Niall's wedding?"
"I have the flu." I mumble.
"Well why aren't you there!?"
"You really think I'm going to leave when it looks like Eleanor could pop at any second?"
"I really am sick."
"It's not the flu though." He says looking at me knowingly.
"Don't tell me mum told you too."
He shakes his head and smiles at me, "Emma, we could all tell. All except Niall that is." He rolls his eyes, "Why he's gone and done this, I can't understand. Honestly, I don't think he even knows the girl all that well."
"When did he meet her?"
"A few months ago."
"Is he happy?"
"I hope so."
"So do I." I whisper.
"Emma, at least call him. It must have broken his heart to know that you weren't going."
I almost screamed, 'And how do you think I feel!? He left me three years ago, three bloody years ago and I have to call him?!' But I didn't. I knew it wasn't fair.
I simply got off from my stool at the counter and went to my room quietly, picking up the pink phone Uncle Niall had gotten me the first time he had left. Hesitantly, I dial the number I knew by heart.
With every ring my resolve broke a little, and as it reached the fifth ring I went to hang up. Until I heard, "Hello?"
His Irish accent stronger than every, his voice still able to send chills through my body.
I try to answer, I really do.
"Princess, perhaps you don't want to talk to me, that's fine. I understand." His voice sounds tired, "But baby, I hope that one day you'll understand why I did all of this."
I continue my silence and could hear him sigh quietly.
"I love you Emma, I promise you, one day I'll make it up to you. One day I'll be back for you. But you know I'm here for you, love. I always will be."
I try to hold my tears back, and simply utter "Always?"
I could hear his smile through the phone, and perhaps his own heart splitting in two, "Always, princess. Always."
The line goes dead, my heart racing wildly. And although in an hour, he'll belong to someone else, he still made the dangerous promise that perhaps he could never keep.
Always, princess. Always.
Always, Niall. I'll keep you in my heart always.