CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
My breathing steadily slows as Niall protectively wraps an arm around my shoulders. At this point we've lost any interest in ever going back home. But we have to. There is no question about it, we have to face this.
I lean against Niall's chest, wrapping my arms tightly around his waist. He stands, slightly bending into the car, allowing me to hold him. I breathe in his familiar scent and try so hard to remain calm. But as he kisses the top of my head, I feel a sob escape my throat.
"Princess, don't cry." Niall pleads. "Everything will work out."
"How do you know that?"
"I don't." I look up at him, about to argue, when he places his index finger upon my lips "But I know that I'm not going to fucking give up already."
I breathe out nervously, removing his finger from my mouth "Niall?"
"Why were we so fucking stupid?" I wipe at my face, trying to rid it of tears.
He breathes out, "Ems, how were we going to know? You know that most of the family lives in bloody London. I didn't even know Sophia had a fucking sister."
"Yeah." I mutter, "You miss a lot when you're gone for eight years."
He unwraps me from his embrace and looks at me seriously, "We have to stick together Ems, if we're already going to start fighting with each other, then there's no use in trying to fix this."
"Niall." I say rather pathetically, "I don't want to fight. I'm just saying, we were so fucking stupid. How could we think we could away with this?" I lean against the dashboard, and immediately feel his hand upon my back once more.
"Emma, I'm telling you that it's done. There's nothing we can possibly do about it now, but face it. Alright, princess?"
"Yeah." I say sitting up.
"Now, do you think she's told Harry?"
I shake my head, "No, I don't think she has. Dad would've come after us already."
Niall's face pales at the thought, "You're right."
I sigh loudly, "I think we should get going."
He nods, "Are you alright?"
"No. But we still have a ways to go, I should calm down by then."
He kisses my cheek, closing my door and coming back around. As he sits in the driver's seat once more he leans over and takes my hand, "We will be alright."
"Don't say that."
"You don't know that we will be."
He smirks, "But I sure as hell will try to make sure we are."
Niall drives slowly, knowing that the time we had was fleeting. Things were going to change.
I was starting to truly detest the very word, whenever change was looming it always meant the worst.
"Do you want to stop for lunch?" He says as we pass through another town.
"Are we pretty close?"
He nods, "Maybe an hour away. You want to stop for something quick?"
I shake my head, having learned my lesson, "After today, I think it's best we're not seeing anywhere we typically wouldn't be seen."
"As in, we usually go to the zoo, aquarium, Nando's, etcetera. So I think it best if...maybe we're only seen at those places."
He sighs, "I guess you're right."
"And more importantly, we should make sure that we're only seen when dad knows we're together. Because if he sees me with you when I'm supposed to be with Janice then he will most certainly think that something is off."
"This is fucking ridiculous." Niall says in a harsh tone.
"Which part?" I say pointedly.
"Emma, I know that...I know that this isn't right. But is sneaking around really the only way?"
"Niall, what are you trying to say?"
"They're going to find out sooner or later!"
"Are you bloody mad!?"
"I'm fucking practical Emma! Why not just tell them!?"
"Oh, okay." I huff, and then begin in a faux Irish accent, "Harry, mate. I'm going to have a go at your daughter, she's fit as hell ain't she? Don't worry though, mate. We can still be friends! I'll make sure to take her out on the town, have a good snog, and then bring you FUCKING DINNER AFTERWARDS!"
Niall slowly starts to stop the car, stopping at the side of the road once more.
"You don't have to be such a bitch!" He replies turning to face me.
"Why don't you get it!? We don't have much choice here Emma!"
"I just..." I start pathetically, unable to continue. My voice chokes, my throat closes. I was a bloody mess.
"I know, Ems." He says reaching over and grabbing my hand. "I know it's fucking hard and it's not fucking fair okay. But we have to face it. We have to be able to face it, okay?"
"Yeah. I just...I'm not quite sure I'm ready yet." I say intertwining my fingers in his.
"Well, I don't think we have much of a fucking choice." He says with a snort.
"No, we don't."
He leans over, whispering in my ear, "I'll hold your hand the entire time if that makes you feel better."
"I think I'll take you up on that offer." I say looking down at our intertwined hands. "Oh!" I say realizing what he had said mere moments before, "Call me a bitch once more, and I swear to you I will end you."
He chuckles loudly, "That's the Emma I like to see."
"I'm bloody serious." I reply with a very serious face. He simply starts the car and starts driving once more. "I am."
"I know, princess. I know you are."
I ignore his condescending tone and instead try to relax, at least a little bit. I lean back against the seat, closing my eyes. Trying to regain some sort of calm.
"I love you, Emma."
My eyes open immediately, and I smile to myself, "I love you too, Niall."
"I'm not getting out of the bloody car."
"Emma, we agreed we had to do this."
I sit firmly in the passenger seat and shake my head, "Can't do it."
"Emma, come on now."
I sigh, knowing that I couldn't put it off any longer, "What do you think dad'll say when he sees you came home with me?"
"I don't think he's home, Ems."
I furrow my brow and look towards the gate. Dad's car was not parked in its usual spot and the lights in the house were dimmed.
"Should we go in then?"
Niall nods, honking at the gate. It opens instantaneously, allowing us inside. I hear the iron clash together, making an obnoxiously loud sound that makes me jump slightly.
As Niall parks closer to the house, I take a deep breath and try to convince myself that things will be alright.
They have to be alright.
"Ready, princess?" Niall says taking the key out of the ignition.
"As I'll ever be."