One Year Later
Ollie has to be the most energetic baby I've ever met. He started walking a month ago, and he hasn't stopped. As I write, mum is chasing him around the house, trying to get him to finally take a nap.
"Emmie!" I turn to look at Ollie at my door, wobbling towards me, "Sisssterr." He says extending arms towards me, expecting me to pick him up once more and place him onto my lap.
"Hello Ollie," I say hugging his small body towards me. His blonde hair was slight curled like dads and stuck up in a cowlick.
Mum walks into the room and chuckles, "Why am I not surprised? You're always in here." She walks towards me and lifts Ollie of my lap and into her arms. He waves to me as she starts walking out of my room, "Oh, Ems."
"Yeah?" I put my pen down and turn to look at mum.
"Your Uncle Niall said he was stopping by later. Said for you to put something pretty on." She winks and giggles as she walks out of the room.
I sigh loudly and look towards my closet. As ridiculous as it sounded, it was very very likely that I might....I might...
Hearing dad's voice I turn to look towards the door.
"Your Uncle Niall called." He says cracking the door open a little bit.
"Yeah, yeah. I know, mum told me."
"Alright..." He says in his typical slow drawl. He comes into my room and looks at the poster I had put up, plays nervously with a scarf I had hung on the hook by the door.
"What is it dad?"
"Ems, I don't know how to say this..."
I instantly felt my stomach drop, when dad got like this it usually meant something terrible was about to happen, "Tell me what?"
"You don't....you don't...."
"I don't what, dad?"
"You don't fancy your Uncle Niall do you?"
"Why..." I feel my face grow hot and red, "Why would you ask that?"
He sits on the corner of my bed and looks up at me, his own face getting a bit pink, "Your mum has the bloody notion that you do. She um...she thinks it's adorable."
So that's what that wink was...
"Dad, I really don't want to talk about this." I say turning back and looking at closet, willing myself to disappear into a hole and never come out.
"Ems, I just...I get it." He didn't, but he didn't want me to feel bad.
"How about we just drop it, yeah?"
I knew he would for the moment, but that it would bug him forever now. "Alright, baby. I'll drop it for now. I think your...Uncle...is coming in twenty minutes." He looks around again, before finally getting up and heading out the door, "Love you."
"Love you too." I say without turning around.
I'm left with my closet and the task to choose something 'pretty' to wear. I sigh loudly and am only faced with the fact that dad now knows that I fancy Uncle Niall. Not that it matters, it's not as if they would tell him...right? I mean...it's a bloody crush, I have to get over it eventually...It's not like a have a chance with him...right?
"Emma, are you ready yet?"
I look at myself and then at the closet before sighing loudly, "No!"
Mum comes up to my door and knocks lightly before opening it, "I think I can help." She walks in and smiles at me knowingly before stepping into my closet and coming out with a simple floral print dress. "I believe your Uncle Niall loves seeing you in this dress."
I grab it out of her hands, "Like I care." I walk towards the bathroom, only to have her turn and face me with her arms crossed.
"Really, then why are you wearing it?"
"It's warm out, why not?"
She giggles, "Alright, Ems."
I step into my bathroom, quickly putting on the dress and brushing through my hair. As soon as I come out, mum's on the edge of my bed smiling to herself. Dad was probably downstair with Ollie, making him lunch.
"What did you tell dad?" I say approaching her cautiously. She blushes furiously and looks away from me.
"I simply might have said that you...could possibly fancy your Uncle Niall..."
"Why would you say that!?"
"Well, isn't it true?"
She gets up from my bed and takes a step towards me, linking my hand in hers, "Baby, it's just a crush. I think it's adorable."
I snatch my hand away from hers and shake my head, "Well, I don't think it is. I'm not a little kid anymore mum. The things I feel shouldn't be adorable or cute."
Mum looks taken aback, almost as if I had slapped her. My words had that much of an effect.
"You're right, I'm...I'm sorry Ems."
Her eyes tear up and I restrain myself from rolling my eyes. My mum was always rather overdramatic. I take step towards her, closing the gap between us with a hug.
"I forgive you for now," I mutter, "But if you ever tell dad anything like this again, I will never ever forgive you."
She smiles into my hair and nods her head.
"Emma!" We both look up having heard dad's voice in the hallway. "Baby, your Uncle Niall is here." I could hear the hesitation in his voice, I sighed loudly hoping that dad wouldn't make this weird. Uncle Niall was dad's age, it wasn't like anything was ever going to happen. I just had to deal with my feelings and eventually they'd go away.
Mum fluffs my hair and looks upon my dresser, grabbing my lip gloss and handing it to me, "You look amazing."
I grab my bag and rush out the door, race down the stairs and bump right into Uncle Niall.
His face lights up immediately, his crystal blue eyes set upon me and he chuckles as he gently pushes me back a step to look at me, "You look amazing, princess."
I can't take my eyes off of him, my pulse is racing, and oh I wish this would stop.
"She does doesn't she?" Dad says wrapping an arm around my shoulder protectively. "Where are you two going so dressed up today?"
"For me to know." Uncle Niall says with a smirk.
"I'm her father, I should at least know where you're going."
"The hell is wrong with you? You never cared before." Uncle Niall says grabbing my hand and pulling me towards the door. "We're gonna be late, I'll stop by and pick up dinner on our way back."
Dad's brow furrows, but immediately softens. "Alright, call me to let me know you're alright."
"Will do, let's go princess."
And as always, I was being dragged somewhere by Uncle Niall...
I didn't mind though.
I had a feeling we would either be going to the zoo or aquarium, already knowing his tastes. He surprise me entirely by parking in the lot of The Museum of Science and presenting me exclusive tickets to a new exhibit.
"Really?" I say looking at the tickets in wonder. It was an exhibit on the cosmos, how could he have...
"I have a few friends, the exhibit technically isn't open til next week. I think we'll be the only ones in there." He smiles widely, but there was something in his eyes. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but there was something, definetly something.
He get out of the car and open my door, extending a hand to help me out. I had never thought that Uncle Niall would surprise me like this, typically I would have to beg him to take me somewhere like this. And even then I'd have to drag him around the exhibits.
"Excited, princess?" He says opening the door the beautiful museum.
"Incredibly." I say with a smile.
We walk through the gallery, I look in wonder. I've been here so many times, but I could never get sick of it.
He leads through the long corridor until we reach a covered opening. It read 'Opening in a week'. Uncle Niall shrugged and pushed through the cloth to enter the exhibit. We were met by two museum workers who simply took Uncle Niall's tickets and welcomed us.
Uncle Niall turns to look at me, a seemingly permanant smile on his face,"Ready to have fun?"
Looking back on this day, I could easily tell you that Uncle Niall's happiness was only a mask for me. There were so many things I didn't know, so many things he didn't tell me...
I look away from the beautiful sky of stars and at my Uncle Niall. We were in a dome that projected the night sky and it was incredibly beautiful.
"I have...I have something to tell you." His voice went from playful to serious within an instant. I simply turn to look at him, hoping he couldn't see that my heart was sinking.
"Ems, my dad is really sick."
"What does he have?"
"He has cancer, Emma."
He was trying to be strong, trying not to cry. I held onto his hand, and he smiled at me. But oh, that smile broke my heart.
"I'm so sorry, Uncle Niall."
"It's not your fault baby." He hugs me to him and runs his hands through my hair. "But, what I'm about to say...I hope..."
"You hope what?" I say looking up at him.
He untangles my arms from his body and gets down on one knee to able to look into my face.
"Emma, I have to go."
I could feel the tears starting to prick my eyes, and my head spinning, "Isn't this your home?"
"Of course it is, baby. But, I have to go to Ireland. I have to take care of my dad."
I nodded, of course. He has to take care of him, that's his dad. I tried to rationalize. "For how long?"
He looks away, my heart breaks. "I'm not sure."
"You're not sure?" My voice cracks and he hugs me to him, the artificial starlight casting what looked like a halo above his head.
"I will come back Ems, I'm just not sure when."
"But...I love you." As soon as I said it I immediately regreted it. That wasn't coping with my feelings, that was evolving them into so much more when it was worthless to think anything could ever happen. Especially now.
"I love you too Emma." He says, oblivious to the type of love that I had meant. But it was a relief to think he only loved me as his princess.
"You'll come back?"
"I swear to you, I will come back."
"What if you don't?" I was shaking, tears streaming down my face. My worst possible of nightmares coming true. How could I face life without my Uncle Niall? When I count to five, he won't be there anymore. When I run away from the world, who'll pull me back?
"I'll always come back for you, princess."
"Always?" I question him, trying to look at him through my tears.
He kisses my forehead, whispering in the confines of the dome under the starry lit sky, "Always"
And just like that, as if within an instant, he was gone.
Long, long gone.