I Wish – Chapter 23

Thursday, June 14 2012
Oakland, CA

Oddly enough, the next day had been uneventful.

Avoiding Brittany hadn’t been an issue. As her album had just been released, she’d been off doing loads of press and had hardly been around. It seemed she was always on the go and hardly even had time to breathe, let alone focus on the drama that was happening.

However, avoiding Harry was quite another story. Every time Brittany was brought up in an interview, or Harry simply mentioned her Niall felt guilty. He would remember kissing her, or her showing up in his room. He’d even deleted all the text messages off his phone that were from her, just in case someone managed to get ahold of it.

Niall was well aware he was being overly paranoid, but he couldn’t help it. Harry clearly had no idea what was going on, and it made Niall feel that much more awful.

After the show that night, they were herded onto the bus to begin their journey back to LA to actually perform a show in a couple of days. Normally, they ran back to the bus, while Harry split off to travel with Brittany.

Which is exactly what happened, except that at the last second, before the bus started to move, Harry came knocking.

The four boys glanced at each other, before Liam got up and unlatched the locked door. “Hazza?” he asked quizzically. “What are you doing here?”

Harry gave them an exasperated look as sat down at the kitchen table.

Niall glanced at him. He didn’t look pleased… was it possible that Brittany had said something to him? His heart sped up a little and he felt that familiar paranoia begin to creep back into his mind.

But, as usual, it was all for nothing. Harry just sighed. “Brittany said she wanted some alone time.”

No one pressed the issue further, but it was obvious Harry was distraught about it. “Well, you can hang out with us then,” Zayn said with a grin, tapping him on the shoulder before he and Louis left to go play video games.

Harry just shrugged. “I guess,” he muttered.

Niall didn’t say anything, and pulled out his phone to distract himself. There was no way he was going to get involved in any sort of conversation with Harry about Brittany, but he also couldn’t bring himself to leave and miss hearing what he had to say.

Liam, on the other hand, just had to get involved. It was what he did, after all. They didn’t call him “Daddy Direction” for no reason. “What? Are we really that bad?” he laughed.

“No,” Harry said, rolling his eyes. “She’s just acting a bit weird. She was okay with having me over there yesterday, she was even more… enthusiastic than usual, if you know what I mean,” he grinned.

Niall remained focused on his phone and tried to act like he wasn’t paying attention. He considered texting Brittany, but thought better of it. If she needed some time to think, it probably wouldn’t work in his favour to bother her.

“But,” Harry continued, his smile quickly fading. “Today she said she wanted to be alone and that she needed some time to herself. And she really wanted me to go, she practically threw me off the bus.”

“Well, did you do something to make her mad?” Liam asked.

Harry shook his head. “No… she wasn’t even mad, really. She just seemed stressed out.”

Liam shrugged. “Well, maybe she’s just in a mood then. She probably just needs some time to herself, we’ve all been really busy, and it’s probably all still new to her.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Harry muttered, standing up from the table. “I’m going to go blow some things up with the lads,” he said, walking off towards the entertainment room.

Once Harry was gone and the door to the entertainment room was shut, Liam looked at Niall. “And how are you doing with all of this?”

“Fine,” he replied, not looking up from his twitter spree. His constant need for distraction was really working out well for his fans.

“Fine enough that you sat here listening to all that?”

Niall shrugged.

“Don’t make me force it out of you again, Nialler,” Liam said with a smirk.

“I kissed her,” Niall said bluntly, realizing that he really did need someone to talk to. Liam already knew half the story, he figured he may as well catch him up with the rest of it.

When he looked up, he half expected to see Liam gaping at him, but he didn’t. Instead, Liam just sighed. “When’d you do that?”

“A week ago,” Niall admitted. “And I know I probably shouldn’t have, and I tried to avoid her, and then she showed up in my hotel room a few nights ago…” he trailed off, avoiding eye contact with Liam. Explaining all of this out loud made him feel even worse about it.

“So what?” Liam asked, giving Niall a look. “Did you sleep with her?”

“No!” Niall said quickly. “No, I didn’t. She showed up, told me that she liked me too but that she couldn’t break up with Harry and that she needed to think about things.” He left out the part about how she’d come on to him as revenge for him kissing her, then subsequently avoiding her. Liam didn’t need to know about that.

“So that’s why she’s being moody,” Liam concluded.

“I suppose so, yeah,” Niall shrugged. “And I feel really bad about it,” he added.

“And Harry has no idea that all of this is going on, does he?”

Niall shook his head. That really was the worst part about all of this, and it was the part he often forgot. If he ended up getting what he wanted, Harry wouldn’t just be angry, he’d be hurt and betrayed. It wouldn’t just cause problems for the two of them – it would become everyone’s issue. They were all in the group together, after all.

“Are you going to tell him?” Niall asked after a moment.

“No,” Liam replied sincerely.

Niall breathed a small sigh of relief, but he quickly felt guilty all over again. “Do you think I should tell him?”

Liam took a couple seconds to think before answering. “No, I don’t,” he said finally. “I think it’s up to Brittany to tell him she’s feeling this way, and I don’t understand why she’s keeping him in the dark. It sort of feels like she’s keeping you both on the leash.”

Niall knew that couldn’t be it. Liam hadn’t been there, he didn’t know the struggle she was going through. Every time Niall looked at her, it was obvious. He didn’t think she would have it in her to pull something like that – it was clear this was hurting her just as much as it was hurting him. “I think she’s just confused, I don’t think she would do that,” he said.

Liam just nodded, but didn’t say anything.

Niall, on the other hand, continued to babble on. “I think she’s just worried about what would happen if she did break up with Harry. All the fans know about them, it was even on SugarScape yesterday, it would cause a lot of problems for her if they broke up and she started seeing me.” His heart skipped a beat when he got to the last part. Suddenly it began to sink in that it was a very real possibility he and Brittany could become and item. He tried not to let himself get overly excited about it though – there was still a lot in their way.

“Do you think she does want to be with you and the only reason she isn’t is because of all that outside stuff?”

As much as Niall wanted to, he wasn’t sure he could believe that. It seemed as though Brittany really did like Harry too. Though the media was a factor, he felt it was more about Brittany simply not knowing which one of the two boys she liked better. “I don’t know,” he said honestly.

“Well, Nialler,” Liam said as he stood up. “I’m going to go to sleep now, but just remember, if Brittany does end up picking you, you’ll have to have a long chat with Harry about it. And you’ll have to be prepared for him to not be okay with it.”

Niall nodded as he watched Liam walk away. He wasn’t wrong – to say Harry would be “not okay” was probably an understatement. They’d all worked too hard over the past two years to have a scandal like this ruin everything.

He sighed to himself. At the moment, it was all still a moot point. Brittany still didn’t know what she wanted, and Harry still had no idea what was going on. Niall knew that if he truly didn’t want there to be any drama or fallout, there was still a chance he could get out and avoid all of it.

Unfortunately for him, he didn’t want to get out.

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