CHAPTER FORTY FOUR
Long after Ollie falls asleep, and the light goes off in dad's room, I sneak out in my pajamas and find myself on the edge of our driveway waiting for Niall's headlights to beckon me out onto the street for a supposedly secret rendezvous, whilst running the risk of being caught by the neighbors in my plaid shorts and thin camisole.
Why I was out here, waiting for Niall to come, and for dad to most likely find us together...again...I had no idea. Love truly makes us do foolish things I suppose.
I could have at least managed to grab a jumper though...
A bright light shining through the slits in the gate interrupts my train of thought, relieving me and filling me with butterflies all at once. I quietly open the metal gate, and sneak out onto the street. Niall's car is parked a little bit away, the headlights dimming as he sees me approaching. I open the passenger seat in one swift motion, a little too eager to see him. As soon as I sit in the leather seat, he pulls me towards him and greets me with a warm embrace, his arms wrapping around my bare shoulders, and his cologne lingering around us. I breathe it in, realizing only know how much I had missed it.
"Princess." He breathes out.
"Hi." I mutter into his neck.
"How are things?" He says pulling away and looking at me a bit nervously. Once more the pale moonlight outlines his profile, making his blue eyes shimmer.
I clear my throat, "Why did you come? You know how things are..."
"Do you not want me here?" Niall asks a bit playfully.
"You know damn well that's not what I mean." I say kissing his cheek lightly.
"Then what is it, Ems?"
I sigh, "Mum left."
"What do you mean she left?"
"She and dad had a spat."
He turns away from me, "We're just fucking everything up aren't we?"
"Yeah." I say quietly, "Yeah...we are."
A beat of silence, I could hear him thinking.
"Princess." Niall says suddenly, turning my face towards his. His voice was serious, as serious as I had ever heard it. "If you were to say...you want to run...that you want to leave...that you want to be with me...we could do it. We could leave." He pauses, lifting my hand to his lips and kissing it, "Together."
"But, if you want your family back, princess...if you want your life back, Emma...I have to—"
"Don't say it." I say cutting him off and placing my index finger upon his lips.
He smiles worriedly, slowly taking my fingers off his lips, "Emma, love. If you're ready to run, to leave this all behind I would do it. I would run with you. But princess..."
"I'm not ready yet."
"I know. I know that. You don't have to be." He comes towards me, his lips meeting the crease in between my brow, "I will wait."
"You won't leave me?"
But before he could finish, our heads snap up at the tapping sound of the glass. My stomach turns as I see dad standing at Niall's window, calmly indicating that he wanted Niall to roll the window down.
"Fancy meeting you here." Dad says sarcastically as Niall lowers the glass. His hair was a mess, tied back in one of the horrid scarves we had thought mum had thrown away.
"Likewise." Niall says sternly. I could see his fingers tapping on the steering wheel.
"I think it's about time we have a chat mate. How about you park inside?" Dad points towards the gate, furrowing his brow a bit and giving a cocky smile, "Sorry to interrupt your conversation, you don't mind if I take him for a bit do you, Ems?" His voice was morbidly calm.
I shake my head, avoiding his stare.
"Good then, meet me in the study? I'll have your spot of tea at your usual seat." And with that dad walks back to the house.
"The fuck is going on?" Niall asks turning the car on and driving slowly towards the house.
"I have a feeling we're about to find out."
Niall parks the car, sighing loudly before turning to me "If I scream, if I even make one sound that does not sound normal to you, I want you to call the police."
"I feel as if I'm about to walk onto death row."
"Dad's not going to kill you..." We both stay quiet, making me ask out loud, "Right?"
"Reassuring." He says turning the key in the ignition and adjusting his seat.
"Well, at least we have a plan."
"If I hear anything out of the ordinary I'll hop on the phone and call the police."
I could hear him gulp, "I have a feeling they won't get here in time."
"Maybe he's poisoned the tea..."
"Put something on the biscuits I always eat?"
"Maybe he'll drug you and tie you up and keep you in the basement. Torture you til you agree to move to Greenland and spend your days as an ice fisherman in the middle of nowhere."
"Do you have a basement?"
"That's the only thing that sounded off to you?"
"You're not answering my question."
"No...we don't have a basement."
He breathes out in relief, "Well, at least we can rule that out then."
We laugh at each other, helping ease the situation a bit.
"I guess the time has come." He says going to open the car door.
"Are you ready?" I ask, reaching for his hand and taking it in mine.
"For you? Always."
"I hope you're ready enough for the both of us then."
He chuckles, "Remember, if I make one sound..."
"I will dial the police."
"That's my girl."
I roll my eyes as we get out of the car and walk up to the front steps of the house.
"Here goes nothing." He says in a single breath.
Not ready, ready, it didn't matter at this point. It was happening, and there was nothing I could really do about it, except pray that everything turned out alright.
"It'll be okay." He says turning to look at me before heading up the stairs.
"It really will be."
And he goes, step by step, further and further. Until the study door creaks open and shuts. And I'm left alone, hoping that everything will turn out okay.
Not ready, but hopefully, I can learn to be.