CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT
Naive, Childish, and Hopeless
I didn't plan it this way. I didn't actually go about planning for this to happen. When and I was eleven and realized that I fancied my Uncle Niall, I never ever had even pondered the thought of him loving me back. I never thought of the repercussions of loving a man sixteen years older than me, a man who is family, who is my dad's best mate. I didn't plan on this.
But I know, I know that I made the conscious decision at fifteen, at sixteen, at seventeen, fuck at nineteen to love him. I chose to love him. I chose him regardless of age or relation to my family. I chose him knowing, accepting there was not a chance of a future with him.
But there is. There is a fucking chance, and I want to take it so badly. I want to be able to say that I love him, that I am with him. I want to have a normal relationship. I want to have the things normal couples have. I want dates and dinners and spontaneous gifts. I want family dinners and fuck, I want to be domestic and be like a housewife.
Did I just say that?
The things I want are not that hard. They are inevitable in a relationship, things that people find tedious and monotonous. They are the things that happen in every relationship.
Except for mine.
The things that are supposed to happen in a normal relationship, will not happen in this one. We are not normal. We are not fucking normal. I am in a relationship with the man that helped raise me. I am in love with the man who is part of the family, a key and vital part in our loving little home.
There is indeed that naive, childish, and hopeless part of me still thinks that things could remain the same. That Niall and I could be together and everything would be rosy and beautiful and everyone would say, "Look at that, they're perfect together."
But it's fucking bullshit.
I know it. I know it is.
But you can't blame me for hoping.
"Okay, what's wrong?"
It's another hopelessly perfect sunny afternoon. Niall has decided that today, today we'd drive around. Not really with a destination in mind, just the usual drive and talk. But the talking part had been mostly one sided.
"Emma, you haven't said a word since we left the house."
"I just...don't have much to say."
"You? You don't have much to say?" he replies with a great tinge of irony in his throaty Irish accent, "That's a first."
"It's just that..."
As we hit a red light, he turns to look at me, his eyes bright and his smile wide.
"Niall....do you think...we should...maybe..."
"Princess, please, just say it."
"Tell dad about us." It escapes my mouth so quickly and so suddenly, I wasn't sure he had heard me.
But he had.
"Tell him about this?" His voice was firm and even, as if he had been awaiting this moment.
He drives, the light signaling us to go. But he doesn't say anything. He takes my words and processes them, weighing them in his mind.
"Do you want to tell him, Emma?"
"I...I don't know."
"You know....fuck." He shakes his head. "I want to say yes. I want to say "Yes, princess. Let's go tell Harry right now so we can get out of this fucking mess and stop the fucking lying once and for all. Maybe he won't hate me. I'll let him have a punch, straight in the nose if he likes. I'll let him be angry, I'll let him sulk. Then, maybe he'll forgive us, because we didn't lie to him." I want to say that Emma, but fuck I'm fucking..."
He doesn't finish. His sentence trails off and I know what he's going to say.
I'm fucking scared.
And fuck, could I blame him?
All that he came back for, his family, his friends, his mates. They were interwoven into this meticulous relationship were if one delicate string were to snap, the entirety of the web would fall. It would be destroyed. All because of me.
"We don't have to. You, you don't have to. I could tell him."
Niall scoffs, "What kind of man do you think I am? Do you really think I'm not going to face up to what I've done?"
"What you've done?" My voice sounds incredulous. It is because, of all the ways to phrase it, he had chosen the one that had made this seem like some kind of crime. Some kind of thing he had to say sorry for. The kind of thing you feel guilty about when you lie awake at four in the morning.
"Emma, don't start. You know what I meant."
Because he's right. Perhaps he doesn't mean it in the way I took it, but the way I took it was right. This is the kind of thing you feel guilty about. This is like a crime.
"Do you really want to tell him?"
"Can we wait?"
He pauses, eyes focused on the road, "The longer wait the more likely he'll find out from someone else, princess."
"Please, just maybe a few more days." I try to reason, trying to grasp at the hours I had left with him, "I just..."
Sunday...In three days? Would I be ready by then?
"I...guess...so. Wait, during family dinner?"
"Can we invite Uncle Lou?" I needed a buffer, someone that could intervene in case things got out of hand.
Niall sighs loudly, "Yeah, I guess so."
Silence, so much silence today. Not a comforting one, but one full of waiting, of anxious anticipation. There was now the hour of reckoning hanging above our heads.
"Niall?" I break the silence.
"I'm sorry." I say it a whisper, almost afraid of him hearing it.
He stops the car on the side of the road, flipping on the blinkers. He turns to look at me, grabbing my hand in his, "Don't ever tell me you're sorry. You have no reason to be. People say sorry when they're wrong."
"I'm not wrong...for this?"
"No. We're not wrong for this."
I pause, thinking that he was right. That we shouldn't be sorry. That I shouldn't be sorry. That love was uncontrollable.
"Promise me you'll never change your mind about that." I try to say in a firm voice. "Promise me you'll never be sorry, and I promise you I won't be either."
And of course, just like that, my naive, childish, and hopeless self believed him. I wanted to believe him. I needed to.
"I promise." He says with a slight smile, leaning over the dash and kissing my forehead. "Fireproof, Emma. I thought you knew the meaning." He says cheekily, turning the key in the ignition and heading back onto the road.
I had to believe that Niall was worth it. That we were worth it. That we would always be.
Or else...what would this all be for?