Rudely awakened, the dream like state vanished, I realize that I had to keep calm. I had to keep calm.
"Where is she? And don't give me that bullshit that she's with Janice, I know she's not."
"Harry. I'm going to tell you for the last time, I do not know where your daughter is. Kindly get the fuck out of my house."
And suddenly I hear a thud. A hit against a wall that resonates throughout the entirety of the otherwise silent house.
"Fuck." I mutter, hopping out of the position I had been paralyzed in and grabbing the first article of clothing I find.
I zip up Niall's jumper and open the door to his closet.
Fuck, no...too cliche. I could already see I have made a huge mistake.
And so I find myself faced with two options.
Either I hide, I make it seem as if I am not here. And if by some miracle of God, dad walks into this room and does not open this door, and simply makes an arse out himself before leaving, then maybe...maybe I have a chance at finding a way to prove Niall's innocence. Of proving that I was never here.
But if not...if he opens this door, this thin fucking door that was the barrier between me and all hell breaking loose, if per chance he opens it and finds his daughter half naked in a man's ratty jumper...
I cannot even continue.
I can feel myself panicking and I try not to, I try so hard not to. I try to rationalize. I try to figure out what I should do. Should I hide? Should I let this continue? Should I really let dad dominate who I can and cannot see?
"Emma?" It is not the typical voice that rouses me from my heavy sleep, or asks me if I want chocolate chip pancakes. It is a voice full of anger, of pure and utter betrayal. "I know you're here."
"I fucking told you she's not here!"
And then there was silence, boots upon a wooden and creaky floor. I feel my heart racing, my stomach gnawing at itself.
"Niall?" An eerily calm voice asked.
"Do you want to explain to me..." A pause, a bloody pause pregnant with agony, "Why my daughter's dress is on the floor of your bedroom?"
"How...how do you know that's her dress?"
A slam into a wall, a fist crashing into a hard surface, "Where. Is. She."
My hand shakes as I hang on to the handle.
Option one or option two? Do I hide, do I continue hiding for the rest of my life, or do I come out and stand my ground?
Fuck it all to hell.
"I'm here." I state rather firmly, opening the door and stepping out, assessing the damage. Dad had Niall pinned to the wall. Said wall had a dent in it, dad's fist bloody was held tightly by his side.
Dad turns around at the sound of my voice, his normally jade eyes now a swampy shade of brown, "Emma?"
"You were looking for me weren't you?" I pray that my voice doesn't cross me.
He looks at me up and down, my legs bare, my hair a mess, my naked body covered by a jumper that was so clearly Niall's. My dress was in his other, bloodied hand. He throws the flimsy material down onto the floor and moves quickly to my side, "We're going home."
"You don't have a say, Emma." He grabs my wrist, dragging me to him.
But I pull myself loose and stand directly in front of him, "Yes, I do."
"Emma Grace." He warns angrily.
"No. I've had enough." I can feel my lower lip quiver, but continue, "You didn't even give me a chance to explain."
"What do you want to explain to me? That he's different? That he isn't interested only in...sex!?" Dad's face flushes at the word, his eyes widen. "Tell me how I'm supposed to take either of you seriously, how in the bloody hell I am supposed to sit back and accept that someone my age is sleeping with my daughter!? How am I supposed to accept that this man, this man that was supposed to care for you and protect you is having a casual lay with you!? Tell me Emma, how am I, as a father, supposed to accept this!?"
"It isn't only about sex!" I say, my voice raising at every syllable, "He loves me! He makes me happy! I'm not a naive and helpless child that has been lured into his bed with promises of love and happiness! He is not the type of man to use me in such a disgusting manner! We are both adults. I made the decision to sleep with him, and I am making the decision to stay with him!"
Niall leans against the wall, waiting. Waiting for something to happen, waiting to jump in and defend me. I know, I can tell by the look on his face.
But dad doesn't react. He doesn't continue. He simply looks at me and says, "Get your clothes on, we're going home." And walks out the door.
I look up at Niall, he shakes his head.
"I don't want to leave."
He sighs, "Princess, I think...I think you have to this time."
"Do you not want me here?"
He picks up my dress of the floor, placing it in my palm, "You know that's not why you have to go."
I did. But I was scared.
I had never seen dad in such a state. What...what could he possibly do?
"How bad do you think this is going to get?" I mutter, picking up my other articles of clothing.
Niall sighs, about to leave me to change, "I don't know how it could get any worse."
And it hurts, the very words cut through me as if he...he almost regretted the entire thing, "I'm sorry." I mutter.
He turns, just as he was about to step out, "For what?"
"For fucking everything up. For...for being the cause of all this."
He groans, stepping towards me and enveloping me in his warm embrace, "I told you to stop fucking saying that you're sorry."
"How could I possibly do that?"
"Ems, know that I will be here, always. That I don't regret a thing that's happened. The only thing I could possibly regret...is..."
"That this could be the end of a very special relationship between you and Harry."
"Do you think it could be?"
"I pray to God it isn't. I don't want to live with regrets, and I don't want either of you to live without each other."
"Please." I whisper into his ear as he strokes my hair, "Don't make me go."
"You're fireproof princess, you can do anything." He kisses the top of my head, letting me go and finally opening the door to exit.
"I love you."
He smiles wearily, "I love you too. Get dressed, he's waiting. And be brave."
Be brave. Be strong. Be fireproof.
How could I be all these things without falling apart?