I could hear footsteps around the corner. The menace was slowly walking toward my direction with each step acting like a metronome of death. The steps were slow and echoed off the concrete walls. I put my hand over my mouth so he wouldn't hear my breathing. With tears running down my face, I silently told myself that it would all be okay. Someone would be walking back to the parking garage any minute. After all, people need their cars right? I certainly did, which is how I ended up in this situation.
Above me I could concrete covered in graffiti, with vulgar words spreading out in tones of blue, green and red. Below me, the cold concrete cooled the back of my arms and legs through my clothing. My heart was pounding, so hard that I could hear it in my ears like my own personal drummer boy. A creepy dripping noise was coming from somewhere, mixing in with the sound of footsteps. My panicked brain started listing off every possession I owned and who I would want to give it to if I were able to decide post-mortem.
The footsteps were getting closer and closer, and I was terrified for my life. I had to decide what to do. Do I stay here and hope he doesn't find me laying between the front bumper of the car and the wall? Or do I jump up now and run, hoping he won't catch me? I chose to go for the second option. As they would say in psychology, I was choosing flight over fight. I shimmied my high-heel booties off as quietly as I could. The black supple leather was ordinarily my fashionable friend, but running across a parking lot they would quickly become a foe. Finally, I managed to kick them off of my feet with a clunk onto the concrete. I worried that he heard the sound echo from my location. The footsteps stopped for a second, and then they started getting quieter. I hoped that he had decided to go look somewhere else. I slid out from between the car and the wall, picked up my shoes in one hand, and ran for it. My car was on the top most level so I decided to leave it for now and just get the hell out. I sprinted towards the stairs leading to a quick exit when suddenly I heard someone running after me. I ran as fast as I could but he could run much faster. I felt him grab my wrist pulling me back to him. He placed his hand over my mouth, wrapping his arm around my neck in a chokehold. I tried to scream but I couldn't breathe. This was it. This was the end of my life. Jake was going to kill me.
"Raegan! Wake up! Open your eyes!" I felt someone shaking my shoulder. "Raegan wake up!" My eyes fluttered open at last and I looked up to see Sarah standing over me with a very pale face, her eyes wide. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw that I was coming to, and sat down next to me on the bed. "Sorry to wake you but you were thrashing around in your sleep and yelling and begging someone to let you go. I didn't know what was wrong with you, and to be honest you scared the hell out of me."
I chuckled a bit. "It’s fine. Thanks for waking me. I was having a terrible nightmare." I could feel sweat running down my forehead and my heart was beating really fast.
"Do you want to talk about it? That used to help me when I was a kid."
"It was about Jake. He followed me from the mall while I was walking to my car in the parking garage. It was really creepy. He started yelling at me and chasing me. So I hid between a car and the wall. He kept getting closer so I decided to run for it but he caught me, choked me out, and that's when I woke up."
"My god. That's awful. But you don't need to worry about him anymore. Besides, you don't even have a car. So we know that dream can't ever actually happen."
I rolled my eyes at her logic. I was still tired, but there was no way I could go back to sleep now. "What time is it?" I asked.
"Eleven bells. We've been sleeping for a while now"
"That's because we didn't get back until almost two last night." Suddenly all the memories flooded back from the previous evening, and my stomach started doing flips all over the place and I couldn't help but smile a little bit.
"Speaking of last night, you kissed Niall! Niall freaking Horan! Holy shite I just remembered!"
I started laughing. "Well done Sarah. You know his name."
"Seriously though. That's unbelievable. We went out with One Direction last night. Had a blast doing it, and you even got some tongue action with the blondie!"
"Sarah! There was no tongue action! And don't call him blondie!"
She laughed at me. "Ooooh, protective already. But Raegan, we do need to talk about this. I'm pretty sure you're meant to be soul mates, together forever," she said wiggling her eyebrows at me jokingly "Did you get his number? I don't care if he's super star, you're not shying away from this one."
I rolled my eyes at her. "Trust me Sarah, I'm already falling for him. Fast. You don't have to worry about me shying out."
"Awwwwww! You're so cute!" She pinched my cheeks and scrunched her face at me. "Now let’s go make some breakfast."
"Mmmmm, I could go for some waffles right now. Let's go" I climbed out from under the covers and threw a jumper over my head because it was a bit chilly.
We headed to the kitchen for breakfast. While Sarah racked through my assortment of teas, I put on the kettle and started looking for the waffle maker. My entire life, I had hated the waffles out of the box, and wouldn't eat a single waffle unless it was homemade. I finally found it, and set it on the counter. I grabbed all the materials to for the batter and began to whip it up. Sarah came over to help after she had decided what tea she wanted. In no time we had a perfect batter made, but according to Sarah something was missing.
"Do you have any chocolate chips for this? You can't make waffles without chocolate chips."
"Uh yes you can, people do it all the time, and I don't think I have any."
"Oh shut your gob. Everyone has chocolate chips somewhere in their kitchen." she said waving her hand at my dismissively.
"I might have some buried away somewhere. I did make brownies a couple of weeks ago for that psych club fundraiser....but I could have sworn I used them all up."
I just watched her as she began to sort through all my cupboards looking for her chocolate chips. I patiently waited and poured our teas in the meantime. Finally, ten minutes later she found half a bag of chocolate chips.
"See, I told you. I knew you had some somewhere,” she said with a smirk.
"You were right," I said, pretending to bow down to her. "Would you do me the honors of throwing them into the mix?"
"Well duh." She reach over and dumped all the chocolate into the bowl. I stirred the batter up, and I had to admit, the chocolate was the perfect touch. I poured the batter into the waffle maker, and pretty soon we had ourselves six perfect waffles. I grabbed the maple syrup placed it on the table while Sarah grabbed some plates. During breakfast we talked a lot about last nights activities.
"So" she said waving her fork around in the air as she spoke. She was always very animated when she talked to people. "You never answered my question. Did you get Mr. Horan's number?"
"No...but I gave him mine remember? I wrote it on his hand...."
"Oh that’s right. I completely forgot about that because I was so overwhelmed by the kiss!" she said sarcastically. We both started to laugh until Sarah's snorted and her tea came out her nose, which made us laugh even harder. After wiping down the table we continued our conversation.
"Do you think he'll call? Or even text me?" I asked her, suddenly serious. I really wanted him to call. I hadn't stopped thinking about him since the moment I laid eyes on him.
"I think he'll call. It might not be right away, because I'm sure he's rather busy being one of the hottest international pop stars and everything, but he'll call."
"You really think that? I mean he could get any girl on the planet..." I had never been insecure about myself, my looks, or my weight, nothing like that. I was healthy, blessed with a good metabolism that I tried not take for granted, and had grown to love my red hair, which was the only thing in my life I can remember being insecure about. It was that I suddenly felt insecure about myself, rather, I just realized the large scope of how many girls dream of being with Niall on the daily, and how many of them are probably extremely beautiful.
"Yeah that may be true…" she started, "…but by the way he was looking at you all night, I would say he only wants you." This made me smile. She had a point. He had stayed with me the whole night, and seemed interested. And that moment at the signing was pretty intense. But with boys, you never know what could happen...
--Niall's Point of View--
I rolled out of bed with a thump, hitting the ground as I had accidentally fallen out of bed. The beige carpet rubbing up against my cheeks wasn’t exactly how I wanted to start my day. I untangled myself from my covers with a pang in my knees, and got up to go get some food. I can't ever start the day without a big breakfast. I can't even go more than an hour or two without a snack or I’ll get moody, like some sort of animal. I walked into the kitchen to find the guys already awake sitting at the table with their teas chatting it up. As I strolled in they all stopped talking and looked at me with those cheeky grins again.
"Good morning Niall. We've had some breakfast made even though it's past eleven and most normal human beings wake up by now. You hungry?" said Louis sarcastically, trying to give me shit. We were always picking on each other the way best mates usually do.
"I don't know if he can eat Lou, he might still be in shock from last night," said Harry, chuckling.
"Oh shut up. I can always manage to eat," I said blushing a bit. I went over to the counter to start filling my plate.
"What's that on your hand Niall? Hmmmm?" Zayn asked. They all started chuckling again. "Looks like our little Nialler has gotten little Raegan's number..." They kept chuckling.
"What is so damned funny?" I asked them.
"The look on your face after Raegan kissed you!" Harry said with a laugh. They all burst out laughing, looking at something in Harry's hand.
"What? What do you mean?" I asked. I dropped the spatula in my hand and walked back around to the table to see what the hell they were looking at. Harry slid his phone across the table at me and I picked it up. On the screen was a photo of me from last night. It was taken right after Raegan had kissed me. My mouth was hanging open out of pure shock and my face was bright red. I had to admit, the picture was kind of funny. They were still laughing when I slid the phone back across the table at them.
"Sorry Niall, but I had to do it. I've never seen you be so shocked about a girl before. Think of it as a memento of your love." They all started laughing like little girls. I rolled my eyes and walked back over to get my food. "Speaking of which, you're going to call her right? She is way too hot for you to not call her." A pang of jealousy fluttered through me for a second at Harry's words. Just the thought of him thinking she was hot got to me. I knew he wouldn't do anything about her, but I really liked her already and I didn't need him being all over when she was around. She was beautiful after all, and I was just some blonde eejit from county Westmeath.
"Of course I'm going to call her, and she's more than just hot. She's really nice too ya know."
"Awwwwwww" they all said in unison.
"Oh shut up" I said rolling my eyes again. I did that a lot when I was around the boys. I sat down at the table with them and started eating my food. Breakfast was good, but it didn’t compare to me Ma’s. She makes the best breakfasts in all of Ireland.
"Was she a good kisser Nialler?" asked Lou. My cheeks got red.
"Yes. She was. Now leave me alone."
"Awwwwwww" they all said again. I rolled my eyes and continued eating my breakfast, and they went back to their conversations. Once I was finished I threw my plate in the sink and sat down on the couch flicking on the TV. Whoever had watched it last left in on some gossip channel. I was about to change it when I the reporter suddenly said my name.
"And speaking of blonde men, it appears that Niall Horan of One Direction has found love in the city of Dublin," the woman said. My heart jumped out of my chest. How did they know already? We hadn't seen any paps at all last night. If they had a picture of Raegan and me I would be horrified. The fans would go nuts, and everyone talking about her would scare her away for sure. This is exactly why I haven’t really dated people since we became really popular.
"That's right," said the man standing next to the lady. "Yesterday evening Niall Horan and his band mates were spotted in the pub district of Dublin with two women who appeared to be about the same age as this rowdy crew." A picture came on the screen of all of us walking through the street. Luckily you couldn't see our faces, considering the picture was taken from behind us. In fact, you could barely see us at all. I breathed a sigh of relief, Raegan's face wouldn't be plastered across TV, meaning that was one less opportunity for awkwardness between the two of us.
"Hmmmm, could those ladies be some lucky fans, or something more?" the lady reporter asked no one. I feckin’ hate gossip channels.
"I don't know Jill, but let’s hope it’s something more for Niall. We don't need another Demi situation. He deserves a good lady don't you think?" How stupid. I didn't care if I was single or not, but I guess the fans did, and despite what all the sites say, nothing ever happened between Demi and I. We were just friends. It was all media hype. All I know is that I care about Raegan, and if by some crazy chance we ended up together, I would do my best to protect her and keep her out of the spotlight for as long as she wanted. Of course I would want to show her off to the world, in fact it would be hard for me not to be able to scream to the heavens about how incredible she is, but our fans had a reputation for harassing our girlfriends and I didn't want that for her. I shut the TV off shaking my head in pity for myself. I was already thinking about her as if she was mine, but I hadn't even called her yet, and had no clue how she felt about me. I felt one of the guys sit down next to me as I just sat there with my head in my hands.
"You really like her don't you?" I looked up to find Liam looking at me with a small smile on his face. I recognized this smirk. He often has this smirk as if he knows something we don’t.
"Yeah. I really do. I know it’s crazy, since we just met. But when I first saw her, I just.....I don't know Liam.....I can't even describe it."
"I understand. That's exactly how I felt when I saw Danielle. Trust me. You're not crazy. Call her today. Take her out. She likes you. You've got nothing to worry about,” he reassured.
"How do you know?"
"I know because anyone who has eyes would have been able to see that she couldn't stop looking at you. So call her. It will be fine."
"Thanks Liam. I'll call her right now."
"Brilliant. Have fun mate."
I stood up and dashed to my hotel room. It was a mess despite having only been here for two nights. Life on the road can make you a real slob. After taking a shower I walked back into my room to get dressed. Normally I just threw on some clothes and went on with my day. But now, I was completely stumped about what to wear. If I was going to ask Raegan out on a date for tonight, I didn't want to look like a fool. I had no clue what to wear. Still holding up my towel I walked into the living room. The boys were all sitting next to each other on the couch watching Toy Story. It was a rainy day and we didn't have any interviews or promotions to do today, so we could just lay around and do whatever we wanted. Our last interview in the city would be tomorrow right before we leave. I walked over to them and stood right in front of the TV to get their attention.
"Woah Niall, please put some clothes on. We're trying to enjoy a movie here." said Louis.
"I need help."
"Well that's obvious, you're almost as naked as Harry," Zayn commented. Harry gave him a punch in the arm.
"I'm serious. I don't know what to wear."
"Why does it matter?" Louis asked, pausing the movie. They all looked up at me and Liam starting smirking at me again.
"I'm about to call Raegan to ask her out. And if she says yes I want to look good...." I mumbled.
"What was that Nialler? Did you say you're asking Raegan to go on a date with you today?" Zayn asked, make a face at me, that plonker.
"Yes..." I didn't need their teasing to mess with my head.
"What was that? Didn't catch that one," Harry added. Now I knew they were trying to get me worked up. That's what you get when you have four male bandmates.
"YES!" I yelled. "Now someone help me look decent for Christ sake!"
"Alright alright. We'll help you," Louis say, putting his hands up. They all got up and followed me to my room. Lou walked in and proceeded to dump out all my suitcases onto the floor.
"Thanks Lou, that was just what I needed. For my room to be even messier," I said to him sarcastically.
"It not my fault you're a slob," he said back. "Alright. Each of us is going to go through and pick out an outfit for our lover boy here. And then once we're all done he can pick the one he likes best." It wasn’t a bad idea. In fact they may be the smartest thing to come out of Lou’s mouth all day. I chuckled at my own insult in my head.
They all started holding different things up and sorting through the pile of clothes, throwing different items around the room, while I just stood there, still in my towel. About ten minutes later they were finally done. Each of them laid out their choices in clothing across the bed, and stood next to their outfit. I looked at Harry's first. He had picked out a white button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, and some black chinos with white supras. Pretty good so far. Next up was Zayn. He picked out a plain white tee, and some tan chinos, which wasn’t too bad either. Liam had picked out a dark blue loose fitting long sleeves shirt with regular jean, which was a bit too much blue for my tastes. Lastly, there was Lou's choice. Lou had picked out a striped t-shirt, red pants, and blue keds.
"Wait a second. Lou! These clothes aren't even mine! These are yours!" I said to him. We all started laughing and I threw his clothes at him.
"Well, it might help you out to look more like me!" he said trying not to laugh. The boys might be ridiculously dumb sometimes, but it’s all in good fun.
"Alright, well I pick Harry's. Thanks guys." Harry jumped up and gave me a high five. "Now get out of my room." They all shuffled out, Harry winking at me as he shut the door behind him. I got dressed, gelled my hair just a little bit, and brushed my teeth. Now it was time for me to actually call Raegan. I was desperately hoping that all this effort would pay off instead of it being for nothing. I started to dial her number when I heard a little giggle. For a moment I thought I had imagined it, but then I heard it again. It was coming from behind my door. I stood up off the bed and swung the door open to look down at the guys laying on top of one another with their ears pointed to the door. They all looked up at me trying to make innocent expressions.
"Are guys seriously eavesdropping on me?"
"Uh.....no?" said Harry, trying to sound innocent and failing might I add.
"Nialler we just want to know how it goes! You can't blame us,” Liam added.
"Fine. You can come in but you have to promise to be quiet and not try to embarrass me."
"We promise," they all said in unison.
"Good." I turned back around and sat down on my bed. I heard them pushing and shoving each other to get through the door. I started to dial Raegan's number from what was left of it on my hand. To be honest, I should have written it down before I showered because now I was all paranoid that some of it smudged or something. I wasnnervous as all hell as I put my phone up to my ear, feeling my hands get clammier by the second which was gross. It rang a few times and I was about to hang up when I heard her voice.