Walking down the long pathway to the door leading to gate 431, the butterflies started fluttering around my stomach like crazy, just like every other time I'm about to see Niall. It was a feeling that I would never get used to, but I didn't mind. All those butterflies were just another reminder that Niall makes me happy.
I finally reached the end of the tunnel and was greeted by the usual; buzzing travelers all in a rush to get somewhere, none of them smiling or looking happy. I started following the crowd of people to go wait in line at customs. The process never really took that long, but I was eager to see Niall, and nervous that Jake could be watching me from somewhere, so I was a little impatient. Chills ran down my spine at the thought of Jake creeping on me, and not the good kind of chills either. I hated myself for the times that I let my guard down with him. It was so stupid. I never should've let him into my life.
I made it through customs just fine, and continued to make my way to the exit, grabbing my bags from the carousel on the way out. As soon as I passed through the main doors bringing me out to the foyer of the airport, I could see a blonde tuft of hair hiding behind a green snapback hat and some Ray-Bans, just standing there with his hands shoved in his pockets. I immediately starting running towards him and he opened his arms with a huge smile, waiting for my embrace. I almost yelled his name too, but then quickly thinking, I realized that I would be shouting to the world that Niall Horan was in the airport if I yelled, so I didn't. Still running, I hit him at full force wrapping my arms around his neck. He squeezed me tight and swung me around in a circle, lifting me with his toned arms.
"Raegan baby. I've missed you." He said all huskily in my ear as he swung me around, immediately making me crave him more. That husky voice always got me going. Every. Single. Time.
"I've missed you too. So much." I said back to him, burying my head in the crevice of his neck and shoulder. He held on to me for a minute kissing my neck and squeezing me tighter. I was surprised that we were even kissing in public, but I didn't complain. For once, our the PDA overload didn't bother me. I think it was just because I missed him so much that I let it slide, and so did he.
"I don't want to let go of you, but someone just pointed at us. And I'm thinking we've been recognized." He said after holding me for a few minutes. I pulled away from him, kissing his cheek, then rubbing it with my thumb to wipe away my lip gloss. He grabbed my hand and we left the airport. Niall had driven here himself from his mum's house, so he was driving the rental car instead of having a driver or taking a taxi. It was a little risky not having security with us, especially since we had been spotted, and I'm sure all his fans somehow knew he was in Dublin already, but we managed. At least the person in the airport who noticed us didn't take any pictures. He drove us back to my apartment building, and we were there in no time. Grabbing my suitcase from the back, and my hand in his, Niall led us inside to the elevator doors.
As we approached my door on the third floor, I went to unlock it, but it was already unlocked. Immediately something didn't feel right. I knew I had locked that door when we left. I was one hundred percent sure I locked that door, and I didn't doubt my memory. I turned the handle but I didn't push the door open. My instincts were screaming at me that something was wrong, but I didn't know what that was.
"What's wrong?" Niall asked, noticing my hesitation to open the door.
"It's unlocked. But I remember locking it. I know I locked it. You were with me, you saw me lock it right?"
"Yeah, you did. I remember too." Niall reached out and pushed the door open. Immediately my heart dropped, and my hand went to my mouth, covering it out of shock, since it was hanging open. Tears falling over the brims of my eyes at the sight before me.
The place was a wreck. Everything was either ripped, torn, tipped over or smashed. The whole living room looked broken. The couch was tipped over, my bookshelf was smashed and the DVDs and books were spread all over the floor. Pages were scattered and crumpled like someone had ripped them out. The mirror next to the door was on the ground, broken into a million little pieces. The TV screen was smashed in and wires were hanging off the back unplugged. All the pictures that were on the walls were now smashed on the ground. The coffee table was tipped over too, and the Christmas lights that had lined the walls were torn down, many of the teeny bulbs were broken and the tacks holding the lights up were dangerously lurking around, waiting for someone to step on them and puncture their foot. The worst part of it all, was the painting from Niall. It remained on the wall, leering at me, but someone had taken a knife and slashed a hole right across the entire image. The canvas was curling in a little bit at the edge, and it broke my heart just to see it like that, something so special and beautiful just completely destroyed so carelessly.
Just standing there next to Niall, whose mouth was also hanging open out of shock, I continued to sob, tears pouring out of my eyes uncontrollably as I just stared at my living room. Neither of us had moved an inch, and we just continued to stare at the room from the doorway.
Niall broke out of the shocked state he was in and pulled me into his, enclosing me with his arms, cradling my head with one hand and rubbing circles on my back with the thumb of the other. I continued to cry while he started soothing me, soaking his shirt in the process. He kept whispering in my ear that everything would be okay, and started singing to me.
Eventually my body stopped shaking from the stress and my tears began to fall a little slower, running down my cheeks one at a time rather than falling so fast I could fill a bucket with them.
"Babe, we need to call the guards." I nodded in agreement and he pulled out his phone with one hand and dialed the number, while his other arm kept me close to him, pulling me into his chest. His whole body was warm, and it made me feel a little safer. He spoke to the person on the phone as they explained to him what we should do, then he gave them my address and hung up.
"They're on their way love. They said we should start looking around in the other rooms and assess the damage, but not touch or move anything." He said to me, in the kindest most gentle way he could. I could feel him holding back his anger for the moment, and I knew it would surface later on, but for now he was focusing on me rather than his anger.
"I don't know if I can go any further. I'm scared of what more I'll see." I told him with tears still streaming down my face. It was the truth. At the moment I wanted to just stand here forever, and not face what the rest of my flat looked like." I don't think my feet will take me." I felt stuck there, not wanting to see what else had been ruined.
"I'll carry you." He said, staring right into my eyes. He kissed my forehead, then pulled me close to him again and kissed the top of my head. Then he scooped me up so I could wrap my legs around his torso and my arms around his neck, resting my head on his shoulder. A part of me felt silly being carried like a baby, but another part of me felt loved and safe, so I wasn't complaining.
He walked to the small powder room near the entrance first. The mirror on the wall was smashed and the towel rack was torn from the wall, but that was it. I just laid my head on his shoulder as he walked around, taking it all in without saying a word, silently crying to myself.
Next he walked back through the living room to the kitchen. All the cabinet doors were torn off the hinges, and the curtains were ripped from the rods above the windows. The table chairs were knocked over and all the pictures from the room were smashed on the ground, glass scattered everywhere amongst broke frames. The tablecloth was crumpled on the floor, and my favorite purple vase was smashed lying on the ground along with the beautiful doves that Edin had given me as a gift. Even the clock above the door was thrown down to the floor. Niall rubbed my back with his hand as he just looked around. Those doves were irreplaceable. Seeing them on the ground felt like someone had punched me in the gut.
After the kitchen we went to the second bedroom, which I made into a guest bedroom. The curtains were torn down, the closet door hung off the hinges and all the drawers on the bureau were open and pulled out. More pictures were smashed and the quilt on top the bed was ripped into pieces. The pillows had been torn apart and fluffy feathers and cotton were spread across the room like snowflakes.
After looking in the second bedroom, Niall walked down the end of the hall to where my room was. The door was closed, and for a moment, I was scared someone may still be in there. He hesitantly opened the door, peeking his head inside before stepping into the room completely. He flicked on the light and to my surprise, it looked like nothing had been touched. Everything was exactly how I left it, except for one thing. The top drawer of my bureau was open, which was very bizarre. That was the drawer where all my underwear was, and it was lying open while everything else was fine. Niall walked over to it, and I felt his whole body get stiff, anger pulsing through his veins.
"There's a note."
"What?" I didn't believe him.
"There's a note. In the drawer."
"What does it say?"
"I don't know if you want me to read this."
"Niall. What does it say?" He heaved a sigh and kissed my neck gently before reading the note aloud.
"Nice panty collection darling, I bet he likes looking at you in these. Hope you don't mind that I took a few pairs for the road."
I thought I was going to pass out, or maybe even puke. I was speechless. Just the thought of Jake walking around with some of my underwear made me light headed.
"Let's get out of here." Niall said. He walked back to the living room, still carrying me just as two police officers walked through the front door. We didn't even shut it after seeing the mess earlier. Niall set me down so I could talk to them properly, but he didn't let go of my hand. One of the officers stepped forward to shake our hands.
"Hi, I'm officer Barlow and this is my partner officer Chalkin. I'm going to start by getting some formal statements from you guys while he takes photos of the residence. Did you touch or move anything?"
"No, we walked around to look at what else has been messed with, so we can make a statement, but we didn't touch anything." I told the officer.
"Okay great, well if you would come out to the hallway with me so he can take some pictures." We followed Officer Barlow and he started asking us the basic questions. When did we get back, where were we while this happened, you know, just the usual basic information about what we saw when we got back to my flat. After getting formal statements out of the way, he started to interview Niall and I. He began by asking me who I thought would do this, and I told him everything about Jake that I could. How we met, what was between us, and what happened in the jazz club. At that part of the story, Niall had to let go of my hand and go for a walk, to help him with his anger, muttering something about calling the guys. I told Officer Brarlow about the texts and how I even changed my number but it didn't work. After I told him that, he called for the tech expert at the headquarters to come by and evaluate my phone and such. To be honest, I was really impressed at how much effort they were putting into the case, and I was grateful too.
When Niall returned from his walk, considerably calmer, Officer Barlow asked him questions too, trying to figure out what Niall's role was in the whole situation. Niall was very inquisitive as well, consistently asking questions about what we should do now, and how he could be of help keeping me safe. It was actually really adorable to see his protective instincts completely take over, and I loved him for that. I always told him he didn't have to worry about me so much, but he would just molly caudle me anyways. He even showed the officers to my room, so they could collect the note as evidence. I didn't want to be in there as they looked through my panty drawer. I had already written down for the officers which ones I thought were missing, describing them the best I could. Which was a little awkward for me, but I knew it could only help the case.
Once the tech guy came down, he took my phone and hooked it up to his laptop, downloading all the texts to an evidence file so he could help out by analyzing the source. "See, if we can decode the texts, and trace the source" he explained to me, "it could help prove that this Jake fellow is sending them, and find out how he's doing it."
"You can do that? Just by using this program?" I asked him. I was astounded at the man's abilities.
"Yep. It might take a while, these codes are very complicated just from what I can tell at the moment, but hopefully, we'll be able to break them down eventually. This is the best technology for the guards on the market. For the mean time, every time he texts you, just ignore the message, but save it, so you can come down to the department and show them to us." I nodded, showing that I understood what he was saying. "I've also been instructed to wire your home phone in case the perpetrator calls you. I'll teach you how to work the wire tap to record a conversation, just in case. I've also put an app on your phone that does a similar thing." I nodded again. He showed me how to use the wiretap and the new app to record conversations on my iPhone. I would have found all this technology way cooler if it hadn't come about in such a crappy situation.
Niall and the two officers returned from my bedroom after a few more minutes.
"Okay Raegan," said Officer Barlow, "at this point, I recommend you get a deadbolt on this door, as well as a new regular lock. Don't put a spare key out, and don't give a copy to anyone else. You're also going to have to file a claim with your insurance, so they can give you some money to replace any damaged belongings. When you make a claim, they'll want to see pictures, so come down to the station and we'll make copies of all our photos for you."
"Okay, thank you so much for helping me out and everything." I said to him. "Is there anything else I need to do?"
"I would recommend that you stop making any announcements, posts or anything like that on any social media sites, like facebook or twitter. Don't post anything about where you are or where you're going, and make sure your friends don't either. If you receive any more text messages, notify us right away. I've prepared a restraining order as well, so its now illegal for Jake to come with 100 meters of you, with the exception of a classroom if he is enrolled in the same class."
"So you are going to investigate this Jake guy?" Niall asked him.
"Absolutely, but you have to understand that its going to be hard to get him. He was able to leave very few traces of evidence in your flat here, and he's not in our system, meaning he has no criminal record as of yet. And from what I understand, his anonymous messages are going to be very difficult to trace, if we can at all. This guy is good at what he is doing unfortunately. But we will do our best, and I personally believe that he's our guy, but we will also look into other possibilities just to be safe."
"Okay, thank you again." Niall said, shaking the hands of all three officers. I did the same and thanked them as well. Officer Barlow gave us a wave and closed the front door behind him.
Niall turned to face me and pulled me into his chest again, engulfing me in the warmth of his body. I started to cry harder as I took in my surroundings through my swollen, tear ridden eyes. You always hear about things like this happening in the news and on TV and think it won't happen to you, but it does. And it sucks.
"What now?" I asked him, my voice muffled from his shirt and my crying.
"Well, we're not staying here tonight. That's for sure."
"Should we clean this all up tonight? They've got their pictures."
"No, lets just do it tomorrow. You're tired. Lets get a hotel and get some rest." He said to me, kissing the top of my head.
"Okay. Is my suitcase still in the hall? I can just take that instead of looking around here for clothes. I don't to look around here anymore tonight."
"Good idea love." He leaned in and kissed me on the lips, so gentle and sweet. "Grab the painting and we can go."
"The painting?" I asked him, wondering why in the world he would want to take that with us. It was just a painful reminder that someone had broken into my apartment and completely ruined it.
"I'm getting it fixed first thing tomorrow for you." I smiled. That painting was the most important thing in this apartment to me, besides Niall himself when he was actually here. If someone could make the canvas look like new, I would forever be grateful to them. I walked over to the wall and took it down off the hook, tucking it under my arm, trying not to damage it further. The huge slash down the middle could easily get caught on something, so I was being extra careful with it.
Niall grabbed my suitcase in one hand, and my hand in his other, leading us back outside to the car. He shoved my suitcase in the back, and put the painting in the middle seat, even buckling it in. What a goofball.
As we drove away I got a text message from the anonymous number.
See you later doll face. Tell blondie I say hello.
I awoke suddenly as a phone ringing right next to my head. I opened my eyes and looked over at the hotel room phone on the night stand. It continued to ring annoyingly so I groggily reached over to pick it up.
"Hello?" I said, my voice a little scratchy from just waking up.
"Hello Ms. Moynihan, this is your wake-up call. You have a special surprise awaiting you." With that the man hung up the phone, leaving me confused and still very sleepy. What was he talking about?
It was still dark in the room, and I was curled up in ball surrounded by the white fluffy pillows and duvet of the bed. I was in the hotel room that Niall had chosen last night. Driving around Dublin, we both picked one that we wanted to stay at. I had picked a small and not very expensive bed and breakfast, but Niall had chosen the most extravagant and expensive place he could. He said he wanted to "spoil me" while he could. We flipped a coin to decide which one we would stay at. He won of course, and we cozied up for the rest of the night watching movies in the very luxurious room that he picked out, trying to forget about the mess awaiting us at my flat.
I turned on the lamp, then rolled over to wake Niall, but to my surprise he wasn't there. His side of the bed was made all neat, and on his pillow, there was a note written in his handwriting.
Follow the roses.
I leaned over the edge of the bed to see a trail of roses leading towards the door to the living room area. I smiled to myself, the butterflies in the stomach going crazy. I wrapped myself up in the duvet to keep warm, and got out of bed. Not even caring what I looked like, I started to follow the trail of roses, picking each one up as I went. They smelled delightful, and the scent gracefully took over the air of the bedroom. I opened the door to the living room, and made my way through the living area, continuing to pick up each rose as I went. The trail of red took me around the corner into the kitchen. As I picked one of the flowers from the counter, underneath was another note and a steaming mug next to it.
Your tea awaits you. Just how you like it.
I peered into the mug, and low and behold my chai tea, with just a little milk and only one sugar, was waiting for me. I cupped my hand around the mug, dropping the duvet on the floor since I wasn't really cold anymore. The tea would keep me warm anyways. I picked up the next rose and moved on, a smile spreading across my face at the anticipation of what would be at the end of the trail.
The rose path brought me back through the kitchen and back into the living room. I continued to follow the trail as it led me to the French doors of the balcony. I opened the doors to reach the end of Niall's trail of roses.
When I swung open the doors I couldn't help but smile as I stepped out onto the balcony. The railings were decorated with white Christmas lights, beautifully displaying his entire set up. In the center of the balcony was a table illuminated by candles with two plates stacked mile high with pancakes and rashers, accompanied by some orange juice too. As I was admiring the romantic breakfast Niall had prepared, a guitar started strumming, and I looked to the corner of the balcony at the source of the sound.
Niall was sitting on a stool in just his boxers, surrounded by little candles, his guitar in his hand. He smiled at me, then started to sing.
"Dearest, oh you're the nearest to my heart. Please don't ever mmm yeah, ever say we'll part..." My eyes watered a little bit and I couldn't stop smiling. He was singing one of my favorite songs in the entire world. It was "Dearest" by Buddy Holly, a musician from the 1950s who died in a plane crash way before his time. Buddy Holly is my all time favorite musician, and I couldn't believe that Niall had looked up how to play one of his songs, just for me. He was playing it perfectly, and it sounded amazing. The sound of his voice floated through the air, making the butterflies in my stomach go crazy. He could sing anything and I would probably go crazy, but the Buddy Holly put me over the top. "....You may-ay-ay-ay-ay, be a million miles away, please believe me mmm-yeah, when you hear me say...I love you." As he continued to sing my song, he looked me right in the eyes, smiling as he formed the words.
When he finished, he set his guitar down and walked over to me where I was still stuck in place, just grinning sapilly. Without saying a word, he leaned in and kissed me, caressing my cheeks with both his hands. It was soft, gentle, and sweet. Our lips molded perfectly together, making my entire body tingle. When he pulled away, I immediately craved more, not wanting it to stop.
"Niall, that was beautiful. All of this is." I said, gesturing to his whole set-up. It was so unexpected and romantic.
"Well you're beautiful. And I love you." He said, leaning in to kiss me again.
"I love you too." I whispered. We continued our kissing for a few moments then he pulled away again.
"You hungry for an early breakfast?" He asked me.
"I'm always hungry for breakfast." I told him.
"That's my girl." He kissed me, then grabbed my hand, leading me to the table. "Aren't you going to ask why we're eating so early?" He asked me.
"Yes actually. Why are we eating breakfast so early?"
"You'll see. It's a secret." He said, chuckling to himself like a little kid. I rolled my eyes at him, not even trying to hide my smile. Only Niall would make me curious about something, just so he could giggle about knowing a secret.
Once we finished our breakfast, Niall stood up and moved his chair so it was facing the view of the city. Then he walked back over to me, picked the chair up while carrying me in it, and placed it next to his, kissing the top of my head. Then he walked over to the balcony speakers, and put on some Ricki Lee Jones. Boy oh boy, was he was good. An early homemade breakfast and some jazz music?
"What are we doing?" I asked him.
"We, are watching the sunrise while listening to some lovely jazz music." Now it made sense why we were up so early. It doesn't get any better than watching the sunrise with Niall, and I still couldn't believe he pulled this entire thing off. It was incredibly cute, and I loved him for all his efforts. He grabbed my hand and gave it a squeeze. I had never actually watched a sunrise before, and was excited to see the sky come alive. The two of us sat there in silence as the sky slowly came to light, waking the city up. It was so beautiful, the way the colors mixed in the sky, illuminating the city.
"Wow." Was all I managed to say.
"It's amazing isn't it?" Niall said. I just nodded, still in awe at how cool it was to see the city wake up to the rays of the sun...
"Do you have to go?" I whined to Niall.
"Yes, but I'll be seeing you when I come back from Africa as soon as I can. That's not too bad right?"
"I guess not. And you're doing good things. That's what matters. I'm so happy that you're going."
We were at the airport, I was seeing him off to London. We both had on our 'disguises.' Me with my hair up in a ponytail with my sunglasses on, him with a beanie covering most of his blonde hair, his sunglasses, and a little bit of stubble rather than his usual clean shaven face. Some girls get annoyed at the scruff, but I don't mind it. He looks good either way, and it wasn't very often he didn't shave.
Unfortunately, his holiday was over, and he had to get back to work. He and the rest of the band had to start getting ready for the trip to Ghana, which meant doing a lot of promoting for Red Nose Day and Comic Relief. I was so proud of him for supporting such a good cause, and I really did look forward to hearing about his trip. But all of that didn't make him leaving any easier. Just two nights together was not enough. Especially after what I came home to.
He pulled me in close, wrapping his arms around my shoulders while I wrapped mine around his ribcage. He kissed the top of my head as it was pressed to his chest. I could hear his heartbeat, its steady rhythm soothing my nerves. This has to be hard for him too. We just stood like that for a little while, savoring the moment. In his arms, I felt safe and at home, like nothing could hurt me. But once he leaves, I would be left to deal with Jake on my own again, and I was nervous, and scared too. I've continued to get annoying and creepy texts the last two days, and that was with Niall here. What's going to happen once he leaves me for another country?
Eventually, the woman on the overhead made the call to board the plane. Niall was up front so his section was to get on first. He stepped back from me and placed both his hands on my shoulders.
"We'll at least talk every night okay? Except when I'm in Africa. No service I don't think." I nodded and gave him a small smile. "But, I'll be back to see you before you know it. I don't know exactly when yet, but we'll make it work yeah?"
"Yeah." I said smiling. "We always do don't we?" He smiled and gave me a big hug, and kissed my neck discretely. We were supposed to be extra careful since it had been all over twitter when we met up two days ago, and we were extremely lucky they didn't get a picture of us. Whoever had pointed at us that day tipped off the press. The Directioners were all speculating who I could be now, and it was only a matter of time before we would be photographed.
"I love you." He whispered into my ear.
"I love you too." I whispered back to him. "Now move your bum, I don't want you to miss your flight."
I said goodbye, and he gave me a wave walking towards the line. As he was about to go through the boarding doors, he stopped and yelled something back at me.
"I forgot to tell you! There's a surprise for you at your place!" He would have continued yelling something else, but was interrupted by an employee telling him to quiet down. I giggled at the annoyed look he gave her. He waved again and was gone.
I miss him already.