Close the Door, Throw the Key {n.h.}

“What are you trying to say?” I ask, sitting up. “Niall, I’m trying to say,” Zayn says with a sigh. “That there’s no way to know how much longer she’s going to last. One of these times, I guarantee that she’s going to need serious medical care. And hearing what you said about her father - Niall, he’s not going to be the one to take her to a hospital. And what if you’re not there either?”

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12. TWELVE.

~*Niall’s P.O.V.*~

 

 

She really does look beautiful.  And seeing her in the mirror, in my arms...  It feels so right.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  Maci, this amazing girl, showed up in front of me four days ago - and has already nearly turned my world around.

 

Maci is such a modest girl - a little insecure, if you ask me.  I blame her father.  Weak?  Who is that man to call her - of all people - weak?  He’s the man who begged her to stay.  He doesn’t have a job, relying on his eighteen-year-old daughter, can’t control his anger.  How much more pathetic can you get?

 

Nonetheless, he is her father, and - no matter how much I hate admitting it - without him I would not have this beautiful girl in my arms.  She doesn’t know that she is, though.  She always gives credit to another person when she’s complimented.  I find it incredibly attractive when a girl isn’t as into herself as much as I’m into the girl.

 

Maci is perfect.  I don’t know how else to put it.  She doesn’t even know what she’s doing to me.  Every thought that I’ve had since I met her has been about her in some way.  I’m falling for her, incredibly fast.  I can’t deny that.

 

“Alright, Love Birds!” Louis shouts, making Maci jump in my arms.  “Lets get a move on!”

 

I take her hand and lead her out of the bathroom and out of the hotel room.  We walk down the hall, out of the hotel, and pile into the van.  Maci and I are in the way back again, Zayn and Harry in the middle row, and Louis and Liam in the front.  Paul leans in the window to give Louis directions, and soon we’re driving through downtown Miami.

 

Maci leans her head on my shoulder and I wrap my arm around her.  How could anyone ever take such a wonderful girl for granted, let alone hurt her?  I lightly kiss the top of her head.  And this perfect girl?  She’s mine.

 

We pull into a lot about 15 minutes later.  There’s a building just to the right, and a big sign runs across the top, reading ‘An Afternoon With Jacobs’.  I still think it’s the most stupid name for a talk show that I’ve ever heard.  But oh well, if the lads and I have to do it, we will.

 

We climb out of the van and walk hurriedly into the building.  A stage manager meets us at the door and leads us back to a dressing room, where Lou and Caroline are already waiting to do any extra touch-ups.  Caroline inspects our outfits one last time before nodding her head in approval.  Lou brushes more powder on our faces, and then we’re good to go.

 

Surprisingly, there’s a studio audience.  None of us - including Maci, who actually lives here - have ever heard of this show, yet apparently a lot of people watch it.  They’ve saved a seat in the front row for Maci, and I kiss her cheek before letting her go sit down.  She sits between a woman that looks to be about 40, and a boy who looks about 20.  My face flushes as he starts talking to her.

 

Calm down, Nialler.  She’s with you.  I take a deep breath and have a seat in between Louis and Zayn.  I can’t help but keep my eyes on the boy and Maci.  He hasn’t stopped smiling at her since she sat down, and I can tell he’s cracking stupid jokes.  This makes me extremely angry, and I grip the arm rests tightly.  Zayn must feel this, because he leans over.

 

“She’s not flirting back, Nialler,” he says.  “Don’t just focus on the guy - look at how Maci is handling it.  She hasn’t laughed once, hasn’t even looked twice in his direction.”

 

I look back over to them and see he’s right.  Maci is keeping her head forward, watching me.  I smile at her widely, and she returns the grin.  The boy continues talking to her, but she just shrugs and keeps looking at me.

 

She really is perfect.

 

The lights in the studio dim and who I assume is the host comes on the stage and sits behind a desk on the far right of the stage.  The boy finally stops talking to Maci as both of them turn their attention to the host, so I do too.

 

“On in three,” a woman’s voice says.  “Two, one.”

 

The host puts on a winning smile and turns to the camera.  “Good afternoon everyone, my name is Bradley Jacobs.  Today on the show we have the boys of One Direction!”

 

As in virtually all of the live audience interviews, there are screams from some of the teenage girls throughout the seats.  It takes a minute, but they finally calm down and Bradley can start again.

 

“Now boys,” he starts, looking to Liam.  “How has the tour here in the States been so far?”

 

“The lads and I think it’s just wonderful,” Liam says, looking back for approval.  We all nod our heads.  “The fans here are amazing, and there’s a very welcoming crowd everywhere that we go.”

 

Bradley nods.  “How has it been being away from home?  Zayn?”

 

“I think,” Zayn says, “that being away from home has been a little tough on all of us.  But really, our friends and families are very supportive of what we do, and we go home every chance that we get.”

 

“How hard is it to maintain a relationship?  Louis?”

 

“It really isn’t that hard,” Louis says, shaking his head.  “All you have to do is trust in them, and see them as often as you can.  It can get extremely annoying at times - and I think I speak for us in relationships - when you can’t see your girlfriend.  But you’ve just got to make time in the hectic schedule that we have.”

 

Bradley nods again.  “And speaking of which,” he says as he raises his eyebrow.  “I’m sure all the ladies out there want to know - who’s taken?”

 

Oh my.  Don’t overreact, Nialler.  It’s only the first official day of Maci and I being together, and if I raise my hand, the world is going to know.  No, no - I’m not ashamed to tell everyone - in fact, I’m extremely proud to call her my girlfriend.  But if I do, think of how much hate that Maci is going to get.  The other girls get plenty of it, but they’ve built up a tolerance to it.  Maci just doesn’t seem like the emotionally secure type, and I don’t want to put her under any extra emotional stress.

 

But if I don’t...  What will that say about me?  It will definitely show that I don’t want anyone to find out, and that’s not the case.  What will Maci think if I don’t?  Will she be angry?  Relieved?  Sad?  No, I can’t risk angry or sad - that’s not going to happen.  You’re overreacting, Niall.  I hope she isn’t mad either way.

 

I raise my hand along with Liam and Louis.  I peek over at Maci to see her reaction - and she’s beaming.  Looks like I’ve made the right choice.  I turn my head and smile back at her and her face turns red as she looks down.  How adorable is she?

 

“Oh my,” Bradley said.  “I heard only two of you - Liam and Louis.  This must be recent!  What’s the story, Niall?  Who’s the lucky lady?”

 

My face turns red and I look at Maci again.  I send her a questioning look and she nods, giving me the go-ahead.  I won’t tell them about her father, just how we met.  I wouldn’t ever do that to her.

 

“It’s funny, actually,” I say as I adjust myself in my chair to face Bradley.  “We met in a bakery four days ago when I ditched the lads for a bite.”

 

“Isn’t that something!” Bradley mused.  “You’re the one who likes food, aren’t you?”

 

“I am,” I say, nodding.  “We chatted, I walked her home, then we exchanged numbers and started talking.  I actually just asked her to be my girlfriend last night.”  There are several whistles and screams from the audience, making my face turn red.

 

“That’s lovely,” Bradley says, smiling at me.  I glance over at Maci to see she’s doing the same.  “Now,” he continues.  “You say you only met her four days ago?”

 

“I think it’s safe to say that we’ve been through a lot in these past few days,” I say, keeping my eyes on Maci.  She nods with a smile and in the corner of my eye I see the lads nod as well.

 

“Now, you boys are going to be leaving Florida in about a week.  How are you planning to keep in touch?  You don’t live in the States.”

 

I look down, scratching the back of my neck.  “Uhh...  She’s actually coming on the rest of the tour with us.”  There are several more shouts and whistles, making my face turn more red.

 

Bradley laughs.  “I’m sure you had to pull a few strings for that,” he says.

 

I shrug.  “She’s an amazing girl, I don’t want to leave her.”

 

He awwwhs with the rest of the audience.  “Now you’ve got to tell us her name,” he sighs.

 

I hesitate for a bit, wondering if I should give the fans that hate on our relationships the name of the girl that I’m falling for.  I’m quiet for a minute, deciding.  You know what, who cares what they think - they don’t know Maci or her story.  They can shove it.

 

“Her name is Maci,” I beam.

 

“What a lovely name,” Bradley muses, resting his chin on his hand.  “Do you have a picture of her?”

 

“Actually...” I say, looking over to Maci, who has a grin on her face.  “She’s here with us.”

 

Bradley laughs.  “Couldn’t bear to be away from her even for an interview?”

 

“Honestly?  No,” I shrug, and the audience laughs.

 

“Mind telling us where she is?”

 

I turn my head and can’t help the smile that spreads across my face as I see that Maci is wearing the same grin.  I raise my hand to point at her, and he face goes red as the camera focuses on her.  She tries to hide her face behind her hair, and the audience lets out a long awwwh.

 

“You’re quite the beautiful young girl,” Bradley says.  “I can see why Niall fell for you.”  

 

This makes her face turn a deeper shade of red, making her look even more adorable than she already is.  I feel a little pang at his comment, but quickly shake it off, remembering that she didn’t flirt with that other boy.  She truly is an amazing girl.  

 

“She’s amazing,” I mutter, just loud enough for the small microphone attached to me to pick up.  

 

My eyes widen and I turn the same shade as Maci, but I have no hair to hide behind so I’m stuck dealing with it.  Even though most of Maci’s face is covered, I can see the giant smile that spreads across her face.

 

“Now that that’s out there,” Bradley jokes.  “It’s time for a break.  We’ll see you after the break, where the boys are answering a few more questions, followed by a small performance!”

 

The crowd erupts in applause and cheers as Bradley waves to the camera before the On Air light blips out.  He immediately relaxes, sharing a joke with Liam before he strides off of the stage.  I get out of my seat as Zayn pats me on the back, laughing.  I roll my eyes and make my way over to Maci, where she stands waiting for me.

 

I open my arms and she walks into them.  The boy that’s sitting next to her coughs loudly and shoots me a look.  I send him a glare, and pull away from Maci’s arms, pecking her lips.

 

“That wasn’t embarrassing in the slightest,” she jokes, wrapping her arms around my neck.  My arms find a place around her waist and I pull her closer.

 

“I hope you don’t mind,” I say, looking away and scratching my head.

 

She uses her finger to turn my head back to her.  “Not in the slightest,” she says, looking as beautiful as ever.

 

“Good,” I say, smiling and leaning in again.

 

Her lips feel wonderful against mine, like I was made for her and she was made for me.  We kiss for a long time, just happy in each other’s presence.  I nearly growl in frustration when the lights dim again, signaling that the show is about to start again.  She pulls away first, looking up at me with her wonderful hazel eyes.

 

“You better go,” she says as she catches her breath, her arms still wrapped around my neck.  I sigh heavily.  “It’s only for a little longer,” she jokes, removing her arms and putting her hands on my chest.  

 

She nudges me a little, and I reluctantly release her.  “I’ll take you out after this,” I say.

 

“You don’t have to,” she says.  How many times has she said that to me in these few days?  “Wherever you are is where I want to be.”

 

“I want to,” I say.  “And you get to choose where we go.”

 

Maci sticks out her lower lip.  “Don’t make me choose where you spend your money.  Especially on me.  You really don’t have to.”

 

“Niall!” I hear Louis shout from the stage.  “Get your Irish bum up here!”

 

I roll my eyes as the people in the audience who heard laugh.  I kiss Maci on her forehead and jog up to my seat, plopping down with a sigh.  Maci smiles sweetly at me and I can’t help but return it.

 

I can’t seem to get out of my head what she had said to me.  Wherever you are is where I want to be.  I feel the exact same way.  How lucky am I?  I found Maci by chance, and now - only four days later - she’s my girlfriend and coming with us on the rest of the tour.  She’s most amazing girl that I’ve ever met.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Oh boy.  The things this girl already does to me.

 

 

 

~*Maci’s P.O.V.*~ 

 

 

I think that the fact that I’m Niall’s girlfriend finally set in when he said - on television, mind you - that we’re dating.

 

I’m in a relationship.  Me - Maci Watson, the girl with no friends and an abusive father.  I have a boyfriend, and an amazing one at that.  Describe Niall in one word?  The answer is that I can’t.  There is not one simple word that captures all of him.  The good sense of humor, that amazing smile, his great looks, his tolerance for me, his kind nature, the effect he has on me.  My boyfriend is the most perfect person on the planet.

 

My boyfriend.

 

I let out a giggle and my face goes bright red.  Thankfully, the audience is laughing at a joke just made on the stage, so it sounds like I’m laughing at the boys.  I try to focus back in on the interview, but keep getting side-tracked by Niall.  He’s answering questions that I can’t hear - mostly because I’m lost in the thought of him. 

 

It’s probably incredibly creepy, but I can’t help but watch the way he holds himself.  He’s so...  Confident.  I could probably learn a few things from him.  There’s a certain way that he sits - his hands gripping the arm rests of his chair casually but firm, right leg crossed over the other, slightly slumped back in his chair.  Sometimes the corners of his mouth twitch upward for no reason, but I think it’s cute.  Wow, Maci, way to be cree-

 

My train of thought is interrupted by someone tapping my shoulder.  I turn my head to find the boy sitting next to me looking at my with a nice smile - no where near as captivating as Niall’s, though.

 

“So you’re dating Niall Horan?” he says quietly.

 

“Yes,” I say with a smile.  I turn my head back to the boys and find Niall looking at me questioningly.  I give him a cheesy smile with a thumbs up and his amazing smile returns.

 

“Wouldn’t it be hard dating someone so...  Famous?” the boy continues.  I turn my head again and the boy’s smile is gone.

 

“I wouldn’t know,” I say with a shrug.  “We haven’t been dating long, and I’ve only seen one girl fan-girl around him so far.  I’m definitely hoping that it won’t be hard on either of us.”

 

There’s a change in the boy’s expression, but I can’t catch what it is before he covers it up with a smile.  “Too bad he got to you first,” the boy said playfully.  “You seem like a great girl.  My name’s Hunter, by the way.”

 

My face turns red and I look at my shoes.  “Thanks, Hunter,” I say quietly.  “I’m glad Niall and I found each other, too.  A lot has happened, and he was there for me.”  I grimace a bit, remembering the incident with my father and Niall’s broken nose. “He makes me so happy,” I say, countering my unpleasant thoughts and putting a smile on my face.  I look back up to Niall with a prideful smile.  He’s answering a question from Bradley.

 

“Well,” Hunter says.  “If you ever need someone else there for you, shoot me a text.”  I feel him slip a piece of paper into my palm, his hand lingering for longer than necessary.  I pull away, and look at the paper, seeing a phone number scrawled across it.

 

“Thanks,” I say flatly.  “Good to know I have someone to talk to.”  I give him a tight smile, and he gives me a toothy grin.

 

Though he’s nice, Hunter is far from the type of person I would want to date.  I’m not an idiot - I know that’s what he means.  I’ve seen the movies, read the books, I know what flirting is.  And I can assure you that I’m not trying to flirt with Hunter.  Hurting Niall is not even one of the last things that I would ever want to do.

 

“Anytime,” Hunter says, settling back into his seat.

 

I look back at the stage to find Niall looking over again, but not at me.  He’s staring down Hunter.  My eyes widen and I look down at the piece of paper in my hand.

 

I manage to subtly get Niall’s attention.  He turns his harsh gaze on me I’ve made him angry.  Oh no.  I wince, the corners of my mouth tugging down.  Niall must see this because his expression softens immediately into a small smile.  I make my face go neutral and gesture to the little piece of paper.

 

The corner of Niall’s mouth twitches, his face twisting into one of subtle anger.  I wince again.  I quietly crumple the slip in my fist and brush it onto the floor, careful not to let anyone see.  Tapping it with my foot, I look down to make sure that it’s pushed far under my seat to be forgotten.

 

When I look back up, Niall has the most triumphant grin plastered to his face.  My face goes red and I give him a small smile, trying to let my hair waft over my face again.

 

“What are you smiling about, Niall?” Louis’ high voice pipes up.

 

My head - along with Niall’s - snaps to attention.  His face goes red as he tries to reply.  “I - Uh - It’s - Nothing -” he stammers as the audience laughs loudly.

 

“Alright boys,” Bradley says, still half laughing.  “We’ll come back after the break for a live performance of What Makes You Beautiful, then wish you well on the rest of your tour.  Be back for part three!” he says as the On Air light flicks off and the lights brighten again.

 

I can’t help the goofy grin that spreads across my face as Niall hops out of his chair and hurries over to me.

 

You’re falling, Maci.

 

 

 

**********************************Six Hours Later*******************************

 

 

 

 

“Niall,” I whine.  “Don’t make me decide.  You don’t have to take me anywhere, really.  We can grab something at the hotel-”

 

“Nope,” Niall interrupts.  “I’m taking you out, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Now where will it be?”

 

I sigh heavily.  “Niiaallllllll...”

 

“Maaaccciiiii...” he counters.

 

“Can’t we just grab some fast food or something?” I say quietly.

 

“Somewhere nice,” he says, reaching across the divider and taking my hand.

 

We’ve been driving around aimlessly for about twenty minutes, trying to find out where to eat.  I really don’t want him paying for me.  I feel bad that he thinks he should.  I would rather he saves his money for something more important.  I groan and rest my head against the window.

 

“Just tell me your favorite restaurant and we’ll go, Love.”  There’s a warm feeling in my chest as Niall squeezes my hand.

 

I have one restaurant in mind, but it’s somewhat expensive and I had only been there once.  Needless to say, I never really went anywhere with my father.  “Well...” I say hesitantly.

 

“Hmm?”  Niall glances over.

 

“Famous Dave’s,” I mutter quietly.  I love the food there, and the corn bread is to die for.

 

“Love,” he says with a smile.  “That is a great choice.”

 

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