CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
Watch It Burn
I turn to look at Niall, as I wipe down the island. He mops the kitchen floor, and in a few motions he's managed to rid it of it's reddish tinge.
Mum had gone upstairs, feigning a headache. She hadn't even bothered to see that Niall left, quite honestly she didn't care. She didn't even have the will to argue anymore.
"I don't think you should have said that..." He says placing the mop against the door of the pantry and looking at me.
"I didn't mean it." I say pathetically.
"Princess, words hurt a lot more than we think they do."
"I know but..." I sigh loudly, there was no justification for what I had said.
I look down at my jumper and sigh loudly, it was stained immensely at the bottom by the pocket. I take it off and stand in my white tank top near the sink, soaking it in water. I grab a sponge and dot with soap and begin to scrub at the stain. I start slowly, scrubbing one certain splotch. It doesn't fade, as much as I scrub it doesn't fade at all. I continue to scrub more furiously, my fingers turning red. But still, it wouldn't come out.
"Leave it alone, princess." Niall says in an exhale.
"This is my favorite jumper." I mutter.
"Ems, just leave it for now, yeah?"
I soak it with more water and soap and leave it in the sink. Niall furrow his brow, but says nothing.
"When's Harry coming home?"
I shrug, knowing it would be soon.
"Hmmm." I sit down once more at now clean island, waiting for Niall to sit across from me.
"Are you okay?"
I shake my head, "I'm not."
"Will you be?"
"I hope so." I whisper.
He grabs my hand from across the counter and smiles wearily, "It'll all turn up, princess. Just..."
He tilts his head, hearing the door opening noisily and footsteps running through the hall. He undoes his hand from mine and acts as if we had simply been having a chat.
"Emmie!" Ollie says running towards me with open arms.
I put on my best face and open my own arms to receive him, "Ollie, how has my little bugger been?" I wrap my arms around him tightly, and end up speaking into his hair.
"Hey, mate." Dad says stepping into the kitchen and patting Niall on the back.
Louis follows, smirking and shaking his head, "Heard you went on a road trip." He mutters.
"Yep." I unwrapping myself from Ollie and adjusting myself upon the stool.
"How was it, baby?" Dad comes towards me and wraps me in his warm embrace, kissing the top of my head. I sigh into his chest guiltily.
"Great, Janice got lost on the way though."
"Typical Janice." Dad replies with a wistful smile. "Where's mum?"
"Oh, she had a headache..."
He spots the empty wine bottle upon the counter and shakes his head, "Got into the wine did she? What happened this time?"
"Had a bit of a spat?"
I nod my head.
"Well, it's okay. When she wakes up you'll see she's forgotten all about it."
If only it were that easy.
Uncle Louis sits next to Niall and look directly at me, "Where'd you and Janice go?"
"How was it?"
"What did you do?"
"Drive...basically. Isn't that what a road trip consists of?"
"Where did you stay?"
"What's with the fifth fucking degree?" I retort.
Dad turns around and looks at me pointedly, "Language, Ems." He discretely points at Ollie, who's somehow already gotten into the carton of ice cream.
"Sorry" I mutter.
Uncle Louis simply smiles at me cockily, "I was just curious." He replies with a shrug.
"Dad, is mum sleeping?" Ollie says putting the carton back in the fridge.
"Don't know bud, you want to go check on her?" Ollie nods and dad heads towards the stairs, "You all haven't eaten yet have you? Shall we order take out?"
We all nod simultaneously and watch as dad disappears up the stairs with Ollie.
And we're left with a smug looking Uncle Lou. He simply shakes his head at us disapprovingly, and says, "You got caught, didn't you?"
"What...how?" I say furrowing my brow.
"You don't think I got an earful from Edie last night? You two are fucking idiots, especially this twat."
He smacks Niall in the back of the head and Niall responds sharply, "What the fuck!?"
"Are you out of your fucking mind?" Uncle Lou says in a harsh whisper, aware that dad could come down at any moment, "You're the adult Niall! How could you be so stupid!? Did you really think you weren't going to be caught?"
"Stop it." I growl, knowing too well that it was always Uncle Lou's big mouth that got us into this ridiculous messes.
He targets his eyes on me and begins, "And you, is this really the wisest choice? How could you run off and spend an entire night with him? Never mind the fact that he's practically family, you're still a baby! You're not supposed to be going anywhere with fucking boys! Much less perverted old men!"
"Would you quit it!? Do you want to get us bloody caught by dad!?" I say in a very low voice.
Niall simply stares between us.
"You're well on your way to getting yourselves caught!" He looks at Niall, "Stop acting like a fucking horny teenager and get your shit together before I personally kick your ass."
"Hey, enough! Fucking enough! We made a fucking mistake, but I already got enough from Edie, alright mate? Tone it the fuck down."
"Tone it the fuck down..." Uncle Lou mutters angrily.
"Enough, okay. We get it. We fucked up." I say, trying to reason with Uncle Lou, "But fighting with Niall every step of the way isn't going to fix anything."
"I'm not trying to fix anything." Uncle Lou says leaning back into his chair and crossing his arms, "I'm simply here along for the ride, ready to watch everything burn."
"Pessimistic asshole." I say looking directly at Uncle Lou.
He shrugs, "You've known that since you were little, love. Don't pretend you didn't."
"So after all this, all you're going to do is watch us go down?"
"Is there really anything I can do? You two are so set on each other nothing can stop you. Fuck if I can."
"Why is that the only solution?" I say incredibly frustrated, for the umpteenth time.
Niall looks at me with a weary smile, "It isn't."
"What's another then? What world would allow us to be together?"
"There is no world that would. We just have to watch the one around us burn."
I roll my eyes and smile to myself, "Good thing we're fireproof."
I hear a gagging sound and turn to look sharply at Uncle Lou, he makes a disgusted face and states, "Yep I'm done. I draw the line at that one. This is far too much for me." He gets up from his stool and instead starts opening the drawer full of take out menus to choose something before dad comes back down.
"Fireproof?" Niall says with a shining smile. That single word encapsulated what could be our very future. Forget I love you, forget forever. That word held much more than any I had heard before.