I stumbled through the door to my flat, almost falling to my face because my bags were so heavy. I had just finished my last exam, and I couldn't be more relieved. Or proud. I had just finished my first semester of college, in another country, and my grades were top notch so far. It was actually a really awesome achievement, and I couldn't be more proud of myself. The best part of it all was that I would be going back to America to see my family in a few days. I was missing them so much lately. My parents and my brothers meant the world to me, especially Briley and Connor. We were so close, and I hadn't had them pig pile on top of me in way too long. Their overprotective ways, and constant joking and teasing may drive me up a wall sometimes, but I missed it. Being away from them was hard. I had missed Thanksgiving, tons of American football games on the big screen, meeting Briley's new girlfriend with the rest of the family, and Connors 21st birthday. I also missed Edin. Her and I had grown up seeing each other almost every single day, and now we hadn't seen each other in almost four months. I loved being in Dublin, but missing the big family events sometimes made me sad. I also missed Niall. We hadn't seen each other in almost two months, and it was starting to take its toll on me, and every morning I would wake up wondering when he would make things serious between us, and when I would get to see him again. I had been on the brink of tears all day just thinking about everyone I missed. It was just one of those days when you wake up sad, exhausted, and emotionally drained. I was tired from all the studying, sad about missing my family, sad about missing Niall, and exhausted by all of that combined.
I dropped my bags off next to the door and went for the kitchen. There was no opportunity to grab some food in between my exams today, and I was starved. In the mood to cook, I opened the fridge to see what I could make. There was plenty of stuff for a salad, so I went with that. I pulled out all the ingredients from the fridge, and put them on the counter. The flat was too quiet for my liking, which sometimes made me feel uneasy. I could hear doors down the hall opening, and the elevator button dinging. I decided turned on the stereo in the kitchen and pressed play. I was greeted by the sounds of "Live While We're Young." I must have left the new album in the player. I didn't mind though, I was still a big fan, and the entire CD was great. And hearing Niall sing, whether it was on skype or on the CD, was always nice. I loved his voice, and I hoped it would cheer me up.
I started cutting up the lettuce for a start. Once I finished that I moved on to the broccoli, then the tomatoes, then the onions, and so on. I was almost done when my attention was drawn away by the opening lyrics of "Little Things." This one was definitely my favorite song of the album. I stopped cutting just to listen to it and it really hit me just how much I missed Niall. The lyrics were beautiful, and I silently applauded Ed Sheeran and Fiona Bevan in my imagination for writing it. The words reminded me of everything I was missing in him when he wasn't here, and I started to cry. Not just tear up a little bit but full on cry. I put the knives down on the counter, leaned against the island counter and just let myself cry. Deep down it felt good to cry. My entire bad day was coming out through my tears and it was almost relieving, and I just let it happen. The sounds of my crying were racking through the kitchen to Lou singing about cups of tea and sleep talking, and I thanked my lucky stars that I was alone. This would be totally embarrassing if I broke down like this at school or the cafe.
The only thing that would make me feel better would be Niall hugging me, kissing me, and holding me. But I would just have to wait. I missed him like crazy, and I finally broke. Not seeing him, my family, or my best friend finally broke me on this crappy day. I just let myself cry in the kitchen to the eloquent words of "Little Things," and I didn't even care.
--Niall's Point of View--
I was standing outside her apartment door, nervous as all hell. I had called Sarah an hour ago and asked if she knew when Raegan would be home, and she told me it would be about a half hour. So here I am, an hour later ready to surprise her. I grabbed the spare key from under the mat, and told myself that I would have to make her move it later. Under the mat is the most obvious spot there is. I unlocked the door and immediately smiled. She was listening to our album, and I could faintly hear "Little Things" coming through the kitchen, but then I heard something else. I could hear crying and the sound alone started breaking my heart, and I hoped she wasn't crying out of missing me, but deep down I knew that was why. I started walking towards the direction of the music, and I could hear Lou singing his part. I made my way to the kitchen and there she was. She was leaning against the counter facing away from me, crying. Even from behind she was beautiful. Her hair cascaded down her back, and he small frame was shaking a little bit, but she was still beautiful to me. Her crying wasn't just a few tears either, she had a paper towel in her hand and was trying to wipe away the tears but they just kept coming. It looked like she was in the middle of cooking but got interrupted.
Harry's part was finished, and I then it was me. Raegan hadn't even heard me come in, and I didn't know how to interrupt her, so I just started to sing my part, along with the CD.
"You'll never love yourself half as much as I love you. And you'll never treat yourself right darlin' but I want you to. If I let you know I'm here for you, maybe you'll love yourself, like I love you."
She whipped around the minute she heard me start singing. She covered her mouth with her hands and started crying even harder, and just watched me as I finished my part. Her whole demeanor changed though, and I knew that her tears were out of joy instead of being sad. I think she was too shocked and choked up to move, so I walked over to her and wrapped my arms around her, just holding her. I could have stayed like that forever, just holding her. She wrapped her arms around me and just leaned into my chest, her tears slowly stopping. I kissed the top of her head and we just stood in the kitchen like that for a while. After a while of just standing there I looked down at her as she looked up at me and kissed her. It one of the best kisses we've had, soft slow and sweet at first, but then it turned into something more passionate. I started kissing her neck and she moaned quietly, so I kept kissing it and she moaned a little louder, giggling in between my kisses. She wrapped her hands around my neck and I grabbed her bum and lifted her onto the counter. I returned to her lips and the kisses got deeper and more passionate. I had missed this so much, and I would jump at any opportunity to kiss her like this. She was beautifully sexy and I didn't want to take my hands off of her. To be honest, I could have dropped the hand right there, but we even hadn't talked about that doing kind of stuff yet, and I didn't want to make a move until we did.
She eventually pulled away, out of breath with lust in her eyes. She gave me a cheeky smile. "I missed you." She whispered, looking right into my eyes while running her hands through my hair.
"I missed you too." I whispered back. I kissed her again, but it was just a short and sweet one this time. "Are you ready for me to take you out?"
"Well I was in the middle of making a salad..." She turned around and looked at all the ingredients scattered around the kitchen. "But..." she turned back around facing me. "...it can wait, as long as we're getting food on this date."
"Of course we're getting food. I'm always hungry." I said with a smile. She kissed me again, smiling into the kiss.
"Well I have to put all this stuff away, and I should probably change yeah? My lazy exam clothes are not meant for a date" She looked down at her sweats then back up at me.
"Or, you could just go naked." I said, wiggling my eyebrows.
"Oh you're quite the cheeky thing aren't you?" She kissed me again. I had come to the conclusion that kissing her would never get old.
"Yep. I am. You better get used to it. Now how about this. I'll clean this healthy shit up for you..." I said pointing to all the salad ingredients, "...while you go change and do whatever girls do to get ready. Then we can get some real food."
"Sounds good to me." She kissed me again, and I lifted her off the counter and set her down. "I'll be right back. Oh and the stuff to wrap it all up with is in the drawer next to the fridge." She left the kitchen for her bedroom, and I began to clean up the kitchen. Wrapping it up my ass. I found a huge bowl, put all the vegetables in it, cut and uncut, into the bowl, and put the cover on it. Then I put the bowl in the fridge, and the cutting board and knives into the dishwasher. Perfect. Now I just had to wait for Raegan to come back out. I pulled out my phone to check my texts. One was from Liam , asking how everything went, another from Harry reminding me to "be safe", that asshole, and another one from my mum. I responded to them and just as I was sliding my phone in my pocket Raegan came back into the kitchen, looking beautiful as usual. I could just stare at her all day if I had the time. You would never know that she was crying moments ago.
"You ready love?" I asked her, grabbing her hand in mine.
"Yep. Where are we going?"
"You'll see." She rolled her eyes at me with a smile, and we headed out the door.
The taxi pulled up to the Porterhouse, and I looked over at Raegan. She had a big grin on her face.
"You're taking me to the Porterhouse?" She said as I paid the driver.
"Yep. You've been talking about wanting to try this place out for ages right?"
"Well yeah, I just didn't think you would remember that kind of stuff."
"Raegan, I can remember everything about you." She blushed. I leaned in to kiss her, when the driver cleared his throat, hinting at us to get out of his car. Raegan giggled, and I slid out of the car holding the door open for her. We walked into the restaurant and I was immediately excited, I could smell food, and the look on Raegan's face told me that she was starved too. We found a good table in the back, not wanting to be too noticeable. I was still trying to shelter her from the outside world, but deep down, I knew I couldn't protect her forever. If I was going to ask her to be my girlfriend tonight, a time would come when the fans would go crazy about us being together once they found out more about her. Most would be nice of course, but there were always the ones who would criticize, and I hated that she would be put in that situation. But it was inevitable, and I could only hope that I was worth it to her.
A waitress came over and handed us some menus. The cool thing about this place was that all the brews were originals. You wouldn't find any Guinness or Smithwick's in here. I ordered a Porthouse Red Ale and Raegan ordered a Temple Brau. The waitress went to the bar to grab our drinks while we decided what to order for food. We were both ready when she came back, we were starved so it was easy to decide.
"Are you guys ready to order?" The waitress asked. I pointed to Raegan to go first.
"Can I get fish and chips please? With the rhubarb pie for dessert?" The waitress turned to me next.
"I'll just have the same as her please. Except with extra chips please." The waitress wrote down our orders and left.
"So." Said Raegan, looking right into my eyes with her blue ones. "How long have you had this visit planned?"
"A couple weeks now. The guys and I are free until we leave for Ghana. Then we go back to rehearsals for the tour."
She smiled. "You know, I was starting to think I would never get see you."
"Is that why you were crying?" I said suddenly serious.
She gave me a sad smile. "Yeah, I missed you. A lot. Kind of pathetic I know...." She trailed off, looking down.
I placed my fingers under her chin and looked right in her eyes. "It's not pathetic. There are plenty of times in the last two months where I felt just awful about us not seeing each other. I liked you the minute I laid eyes on you, and it's hard, us having to be away from each other, and I'm sorry for that. It kills me not being able to see you, and I'm sorry I can't make you happy all the time." She smiled a little bit, but I could tell something was still bothering her. She opened her mouth like she was about to say something but then closed it a small frown. Even when she frowned she was cute. "Something's still buggin' ya. What's wrong love?"
"It's just that...." I could tell she was trying to sort out her thoughts. She was silent for a moment, still frowning. "I just....I was just wondering why you haven't asked me to be your girlfriend? You say you like me and all but you haven't asked me. And I saw that interview the day of my driving lessons, you told the lady you were going to ask, but you never did. And sometimes, with you being gone, I started to wonder if I was doing something wrong or that maybe I was imagining all this." At this point she had a soft sad expression on her face, and was looking right into my eyes, mesmerizing me for a moment.
I put both my hands on her cheeks. "Raegan, I like you. I like you a lot. I'm crazy for you. I haven't asked you because I wanted to do it in person, and I wanted to keep you out of the press as long as possible. Every reporter for the tabloids are going to ask about you as soon as I say that I'm with someone. I know you don't like all the attention on you, and you and I both know that when the fans finally know who you are, its all going to be on you. You're perfect to me. In fact you're more than perfect. I was going to ask you later tonight."
"You were?" She said.
"Yes." I leaned in and kissed her. I tried to put all my thought and feelings into the kiss, and I was grateful we were in the back of the place where no one could give us looks. I pulled apart, my hands still holding her cheeks. "Raegan McKinley Moynihan, would you do me the pleasure of being my girlfriend?" I practically whispered. Our faces were about an inch or two apart at this point, good think it's a small pub table because I would look like a fool leaning over a bigger one.
She smiled really big. "Yes. I. Will." She said, emphasizing each word. We kissed again, and it was even sweeter than the last. I swear, each kiss gets better than the last. We didn't break apart until we smelled the food coming our way. It looked good and I couldn't wait to dig in, but there was something I had to do first.
"Um babe? I don't want to be rude and text at the table on our date, but I promised I would text my mum and my pop as soon as I asked you. They like to be the first to know these things. They don't like learning new things from the telly."
She smiled at me reaching for a chip. "Of course you can." I smiled back at her, texted my parents, then shoved my phone in my pocket. "Now that I'm your girlfriend does this mean the fans are gonna know who I am? Are you going to tell them? Because I'm nervous about the attention I'll get."
I smiled at her, but my protective gears were kicking in. This was my girl, my babe, and I would do what ever it takes to make her happy.
"No, I want to wait." She looked at me with confusion. "I like you a lot. And I don't want the beginning of this relationship revolving around the paps following us around on the few chances I'll get to see you. I don't want you to have to endure all those twitter trolls who are going to come after you like they do for all our girls. They can be really mean, and I don't want you to get hurt. I want to show you off to the world, but you don't deserve the hate, I don't want to see what happened to Danielle and Eleanor happen to you yet. I don't want it to happen ever, but it will, and if we can enjoy a few months about not having to worry about that shit, then that's what I plan to do."
"So you want to keep this under wraps because.........you're being protective of me?" She bit her lip, and it made me crave her lips even more.
"I know, it's pathetic." I said looking down at my beer.
"No it's not. It's cute. And it makes me wonder how I got so lucky." She said with a smile. "And to be honest, I'm relieved. I'm not ready for that stuff yet."
"Will you tell me when you are ready? Because it's completely up to you. I'll wait as long as you want. I'll be ready when you are."
"Yes, I'll tell you when I'm ready for paparazzi to follow me around and have little girls in the internet torment me. Now kiss me." She said with a giggle. I leaned in and we kissed again. I really meant it when I said that kissing her would never get old. We broke apart laughing when both our stomachs growled really loud at the same time.
"We should probably eat this." I said with a smirk.
"I agree." She reached for some chips and I did the same.
"So, what are you going to say if they ask you about me in an interview?" She asked.
"Well, I'll say that I'm with someone, but I'd rather keep it on the down low for a while."
"Good answer. What do I say if someone asks me?"
"You can be honest. I mean, I just told my mum and dad, you'll probably want to tell your family, and Sarah and Morgan. I'm gonna tell the guys too. I'm sure they'll all respect the fact we don't want the world to know right now."
"Sounds good to me." She said. We finished our dinner pretty quickly and sooner than later we were through with dessert too. I leaned back into my chair rubbing my stomach. I was stuffed, and so was Raegan. The waitress brought over the bill and I shoved some cash in the holder.
"You ready to go love?"
"Yep, thanks for dinner by the way." She said. We stood up, and shrugged on our coats. I grabbed her hand and we left. I hailed a taxi and we climbed in. "Where are we going now?"
"To the leprechaun museum." She laughed.
"I didn't know there was such a thing."
"Me either until Paul told me about it a couple of weeks ago. He said it was really fun."
"Sounds fun to me. Especially since I have a leprechaun of my own now." She gave my hand a squeeze.
"Yeah, a sexy leprechaun." I said.
"The sexiest leprechaun I would say." She leaned over and kissed me, running her hands through my hair, which immediately made me kiss her deeper. We were full on making out by the time we got to the museum, and I secretly wished the ride was longer. We broke apart, both of us out of breath from things getting heated. She climbed out before me with a giggle, giving me a nice view of her bum. Everything about her was beautiful. Her hair, her eyes, her body, and most of all her heart, all of it was perfect to me. I handed the driver some money and caught up with her at the door, still a little speechless from before.
She giggled again. "My gosh Horan, are you going to be alright?" She said sarcastically. I stuck my tongue out at her before answering.
"Yes, I'm just blown away by the beautiful girl standing in front of me." She blushed a deep red, and I opened the door for her. We walked in and went to get tickets and I was immediately greeted by many pictures of leprechauns. They were quite humorous. We went up to the booth, and I bought the tickets. The woman in the booth then ushered us to join the group of people waiting for the guided tour.
Basically the museum was really cool. The two of us learned all about the folklore and old stories people used to tell about leprechauns. I already knew a lot of the stuff the storyteller talked about, but I knew Raegan was fascinated by it. Her eyes would get wide and she would raise her eyebrows whenever the guide would tell us something fascinating. She had told me she loved learning new things, no matter what it was about, and I could tell this was true. She was truly enjoying learning about all the folklore, and the fact that she was becoming more intelligent by the second made her even more attractive, something that I didn't think was possible. My favorite part of the museum were the rooms where all the furniture was huge, making you feel like the size of a leprechaun. I helped Raegan climb up on the huge armchair and we sat up there for a while, laughing away at the oddity. We took a few pictures together, and I set my favorite as the lock screen on my iPhone.
I helped her down, and the tour was just about over. I was starting to get nervous. After this I was planning on giving Raegan the painting I had picked out for her. I hoped she would like it well enough.
We took a look in the gift shop and I bought her a few curly-wurlys, because I knew they were her favorite.
"So where are we going now?" She asked as she starting opening one of her candies.
"Back to my hotel room if that's alright with you. I know Christmas is still a couple of weeks away, but you're going be in America, and I'm going to be in Mullingar, and I probably won't see you until after Ghana so I thought now would be the best time to give you my present."
"But Niall, I haven't gotten your present yet. I wasn't sure if we even doing presents because we weren't event dating officially until a few hours ago and I-"
I leaned in and kissed her right in the middle of the store. She didn't expect it but kissed me back. In the back of my mind I reminded myself that we needed to be more careful in public if we wanted to keep this under wraps, but I put the thought in the back of my head for the moment. I pulled away looking right in her eyes.
"Babe, don't worry about it, you don't have to get me anything." She rolled her eyes at me.
"Well of course I'm getting you something. Now come on my sexy leprechaun. I think the place is closing." She kissed my cheek and grabbed my hand, pulling us out of the gift shop. We hopped in a taxi and started heading for the hotel. Raegan leaned her head against the window, and I started rubbing circles on her hand. She looked tired, but content.
"You tired love?"
"Yeah." She said with a small smile. It was a longer drive to the hotel. She moved over from the window and leaned her head on my shoulder. Within a minute she was fast asleep. When we arrived at the hotel, I had the driver pull around to the back so no one would see us. When we pulled up, Raegan was still asleep, and I didn't want to wake her, so I decided I would carry her. She was light enough anyways. I wrapped her arms around my neck wrapped one of my arms around her waist while the other one was under her knees. She opened her eyes a bit as I wrapped her arms around my neck and looked up at me with a small sleepy smile.
"Thank you." She whispered. She closed her eyes again and laid her head back on my chest. I chuckled to myself, as I looked down at her. She was beautiful even when she was tired.
"You know," I whispered to her "you can stay with me tonight, and you can just open your present tomorrow."
"If I open my present tonight, do I still get to stay with you?" She whispered back to me as I pulled open the back door to the hotel. I had explained to the manager earlier who I was, and he gave me permission to use the back door. Fans often had their ways of figuring out where the guys and I would stay, whether we're on tour or on holiday, and I didn't want to risk them seeing Raegan and I coming through the front doors.
"You can always stay with me love. Are you going to be awake enough to open it?"
"Mhmm, I just needed a little nap. I could stay up with you all night." She looked back up at me and gave me a cheeky wink.
"And I'm the cheeky one." I said laughing. She cuddled back into my chest as the elevator doors opened up. I knew she was kidding, for the time being at least, but just the thought made my heart beat a little faster. I'm a nineteen year old guy, who is now dating an incredibly beautiful girl who I am very attracted to, so of course her words made my heart jump a bit. I can't help it.
The elevator went up pretty quickly, and Raegan grabbed my wallet out of my back pocket for me so I wouldn't have to put her down. She shoved the key into the door, turning the handle as I nudged it open with my foot. I closed the door behind me, then looked down a the beautiful girl I was holding to find her staring right at me, with a small smile on her face.
"I know I was being cheeky, but I meant what I said. Just, not yet. I'm inexperienced in that department, but I'd like to keep it that way for a while longer if you know what I mean. Until I'm ready." She had a fierce blush spreading across her cheeks, which made me all the more crazy for her. We hadn't talked much about this stuff yet, but it was important to me, and probably to her too, that we did. Especially since she would be sleeping over with me for the first time tonight. I kissed the top of her head.
"I will wait as long as you want. It might be hard for me because you're so damn sexy, but I never want you to feel like you have to."
"You mean that?"
"Yes I mean it." She smiled at my words, and I kissed the top of her head again. She was the light of my life now, and I couldn't be happier. I walked over to the couch and set her down. The room was like a mini little flat. It had a living room with a small kitchenette in the corner, an in suite bathroom, and another connecting room for the bed. It was modestly decorated, not too fancy or plush, but not too tacky either. "So, you ready for your present?" I asked her.
"Yes, even though it is totally unnecessary." She said giving me a look.
"Not according to you it's not." I told her, and a look of confusion spread across her face, her eyebrows scrunching together. It was cute as all hell. I went to the bedroom and picked the canvas off the bed. I had almost forgotten how big it was, spanning the length of my arm span. I brought it out and set it in front of her on the table. The guy at the cart had already wrapped it, so I stuck a purple bow on it just to make it look nicer. Her mouth hung open a little bit and her eyes got real big, and they kept flickering between me and the canvas. "Well? Are you going to open it?" I asked her, laughing a bit at her expression.
She look down at it and placed a finger under one of the folds in the paper. She slowly ripped through the tape and unfolded each corner gently. Finally she pulled the paper off and her mouth dropped open.
"I know it's not much, it took me forever to find a painting I thought you might like, I know you said you wanted some artwork. I hope it's--" I was interrupted by her lips landing on mine. She kissed me passionately, her hand running through my hair as she inched her way on to my lap, her legs eventually wrapping around my waist. The kiss deepened and I could feel the electricity buzzing between the two of us, like we were connected. It felt so right, and I didn't want to stop kissing her. She broke apart the kiss with a smile, her chest rising and falling as she caught her breath.
"It's beautiful. I love it. Thank you so much. It's absolutely perfect, like you." She said to me, her hands still running through my hair. We sat there in silence for a few minutes, her head resting by my shoulder, while my hands rested by her bum. She was truly remarkable, and I was crazy about her. It's weird to think that a few month ago I never would have thought that I would meet someone who would completely change me, give me a motive to do more good in the world, help others, and want to do whatever it takes to make her happy. I wouldn't have believed it. But this girl meant the world to me, and I knew I wouldn't ever be the same. I could feel her breathing slowing down, and before I knew it she starting to fall asleep. I didn't take it as an insult, she had once told me to expect it, because she often falls asleep when she's happiest and content.
"You ready for bed?" I said brushing my hands through her hair.
"Do you want some clothes to sleep in?"
"Yes please." She whispered back. I stood up with her still in my arms and carried her into the bedroom. I sat her down on the bed while I looked through my suitcase. I handed her a pair of my boxers and one of my tanks. She slid her jeans off right there and I turned around pretending to be looking for something in my suitcase. I wasn't sure if she wanted me to see her half naked or not. I gave her a few minutes, and took my clothes off while I waited for her. I usually just slept in my boxers, and when I turned back around, I couldn't help myself from chuckling. She had already fallen back asleep. She was laying on top of the duvet, her hair spread out around her like a halo. I walked over to her side of the bed, lifted her legs a little and pulled out the duvet and sheets from underneath her, then folded them back over her. Then I crawled into my side, wrapping my arms around her. She snuggled into my chest with a small sleepy smile on her face. As I lay there waiting for sleep to catch up with me, I couldn't help but ask myself how I had gotten so lucky.