Better Off Pretending
My heart beats wildly as I look up into Niall's piercing blue eyes. I try to focus on anything but the severity of this situation. He hadn't shaved today, his stubble noticeable only because of the fluorescent lighting in the tiny loo. His hair had returned to its natural brown shade, he didn't bleach it. The tile on the wall was incredibly white, they must clean it often...
"Emma." He says trying to regain my attention.
I turn to look at him, almost immediately regretting it. He looks into my eyes, almost pleading with me to close the gap between us. As if he were too scared to do it on his own.
"What do we have to talk about." I say in a shaky voice.
He smirks at me, his hands on the tile wall behind me, "Really Emma? What do we have to talk about? Perhaps the little outburst you had in my car earlier?"
"Outburst?" My anger begins to flare up once more, making me push him off of me.
"Yes, outburst." He says, never breaking eye contact, even though I had thrown him off balance.
"Just say what you were thinking, there's obviously a reason why you came here to look for me after my "little outburst"." I say making air quotes sarcastically.
He walks in the tiny confined space, pacing, thinking. "I didn't come here to do this."
"What is this!?"
"I wanted to make sure you were okay! That I hadn't fucked up again!" He says angrily, his voice rising another octave.
"No, let me finish." He says holding up a hand, "You...you've always been like a bloody daughter to me Emma. I've always thought of you that way."
"And then today, when I saw that fucking wanker inches away from your face, I lost it."
"And why would that be?" I say, obviously trying to push his buttons.
He groans loudly in frustration. "Emma! This isn't fucking right! That night....that we....I couldn't stop thinking about you! I couldn't! And I felt so terrible, like a bloody pervert!"
"Niall what isn't fucking right!? You said it yourself! It was a mistake! That we weren't going to talk about it anymore!"
"Shut up will you! I need to finish saying this!" I huff angrily, but allow him to continue. "Emma, I have been trying so fucking hard to get things back to how they used to be, because I'm scared. I'm scared that....that....I'm in love with you."
My jaw goes slack.
"Emma?"I try to compose myself as he turns to look at me.
"I...I..." I lean against the wall trying to breathe.
"But, I don't think we can do this. It isn't right."
"You don't have to do anything. Maybe you're just doing it for my benefit." I try to rationalize, because honestly, none of this was making any type of sense. "There isn't anything you have to do, really. I'll...I'll just get over it." He stays quiet, only stares at me. "Just, go on with you life, don't worry about me. I know we can't do this, and I'm sorry...." I blink back tears before I full out sob, "I'm sorry I even told you that. I really am."
"Why would you say that?" He says approaching me. "What makes you think I'll be able to get over you?"
My heart stops. "What?"
"Emma, I...I don't think I'd ever be able to get over you. You have been the person my life has revolved around for the past seventeen years. How could I possibly, ever, fucking get over you? How could I ever forget you?"
"But...you just said..."
He gets closer and closer, brushing a strand of hair from my face, "I know, but...I don't want to leave you either. I don't want to pretend like...this...whatever the fuck this is, doesn't exist."
"What exactly would this be?"
"I don't know, princess."
"Niall, this can't be anything. As much as I would want it to be, it just can't..."
"You think I don't know that? I know that, Emma." He leans against the sink, watching me.
"Niall..." I say with a sigh. "Why are you doing this? Just let me get over you, just tell me you don't love me. That you know that this is wrong, that nothing will ever come from it."
"I can't do that."
"Because it's not fucking true! Emma, what if all this time. What if...what if I haven't found anyone because...it's supposed to be you?"
"Niall..." He's gone mad, hasn't he?
"I'm serious Emma, it sounds fucking crazy, but I'm serious!"
"I think maybe we're both just confused." I mutter.
"I'm not confused, Emma!"
"Niall! You will never, ever, have a normal life with me! Do you know what will happen if this goes any further?"
"I know. But Emma, I promise–"
"Didn't you just get divorced!? How do I know you're bloody serious, if the woman you made probably one of the biggest promises to, is no longer your wife? How will I know that you're not fucking with me?"
That struck a chord. His face immediately pales, "That's not fair."
"This isn't fair, Niall. It wasn't fair that you left for eight years, it wasn't fair that you bloody married someone you barely even knew, and it wasn't fair for you to come here and tell me you love me, when you know full well there's no fucking thing you can do about it!"
"You at least deserved to know the truth!" He yells, frustrated with me.
"What the fuck am I going to do with the truth Niall!? I was better off without knowing!"
"What, do you want me to take it back, Emma?" he says steadily, as if daring me to do so.
"How about we just pretend it never happened, you're really good at doing that, aren't you?"
"Fine. Perfect, princess. Have it your fucking way." He says angrily opening the door.
I stare back at him, and he looks at me angrily, "Let's go, Emma. Harry's waiting for you."
"What? Is that why you came here?"
He looks away and rolls his eyes, "Can we just go?"
"Fine, whatever." I walk out the door, and into the now mostly empty pub.
"Scared away most of the customers, you did." Janice says with a worried look upon he face. "What happened?"
"Seems like there's no problem anymore." I grab my abandoned glass and swallow the remnants of the bitter liquor. "We worked it out."
"More like had a go at yelling it out."
"It's fine." I say grabbing my bag, knowing that Niall was waiting to take us home.
"It doesn't seem fine." Janice says steadying me, as I try to walk out the door.
"It will be soon. It's better off pretending anyway."
Janice frowns, understanding what I mean. "Emma."
"No, I'd rather pretend and be his princess than be another broken promise."
"Emma. Don't say that." She says in a whisper as we approach the car, "He's a good man, Ems."
"Ha!" I say tilting my head back, "You know why he came here?"
"To check up on you?"
"No dear Janice, on dad's orders."
"That's still checking up on you."
"Emma, I don't understand you. He told you he loved you didn't he? And you wouldn't accept it?" Damn that perceptive, Janice. "What are you waiting for Emma?"
That was a bloody good question, what was I waiting for?
"He's not going to wait forever." She says.
"Are we going home or what!?" Niall says yelling from the car.
The last thing I wanted was to get in the car with him.
"Get in the car." Janice says opening the door for me.
"Emma, don't do this now."
"Or I'll make you get in the bloody car." Niall says angrily.
"Then make me!"