I Wish – Chapter 26

Sunday, June 17 2012
Anaheim, CA

Brittany woke up before Harry did the next morning. Just has she had before falling asleep, she glanced over at him and sighed. She was still so lost as to what to do. And yet, maybe it wasn’t so much that she was lost, it was simply that she was terrified.

The fallout was going to be exponential, and she was well aware of that. She’d known that from the beginning – ever since Niall had kissed her. She had tried to stay away from him as to avoid all of this, but of course her efforts had proved to be in vain. She loved Niall and he loved her, it should have been so simple.

But of course it wasn’t. Harry had been thrown into the mix, and Brittany found herself wondering why she’d even decided to go out with him in the first place. He had charmed her, and she’d remembered thinking that there would be no harm in dating him. That the crush she’d had on Niall was just that of a teen girl idolizing a popstar. That once she got to know him, she’d find he was better off as her friend.

How wrong she’d been in that regard.

The guilt that washed over her was almost overwhelming. She’d slept next to Harry all night, but her dreams and thoughts were consumed by Niall. Every time she’d looked over in her half asleep state and saw brown hair instead of blonde, she came crashing back to reality.

Niall wasn’t the one beside her, and the only way to change that would be to tell him how she felt and then explain the situation to Harry and pray he wouldn’t be angry. That he would understand. That when fans inevitably saw her and Niall together, that they would be happy for the two of them and not hate her.

Brittany wasn’t stupid. She knew it wouldn’t be that easy, which was what kept her from running straight into Niall’s arms.

Getting out of bed, she walked over to the desk and picked up her phone. There were no new messages. She sighed, not really sure what she had been expecting. Perhaps some sort of long winded message from Niall, telling her that he needed her, loved her, that she had to choose him and that he would make all of the subsequent drama worth it.

It would have been nice to see, but Brittany knew it would have been pointless for him to send something like that. He’d been very clear the day before, it was up to her now. It was obvious that he wasn’t going to try and pursue her anymore – she had to be the one to make the decision. Things had been easy for her the last little while, she’d got to have it both ways and on the surface it seemed like no one was getting hurt.

She’d been too blind to see that the longer she’d let this go on, the more hurt everyone involved was going to be. She’d only created an issue for their future selves, and that issue got bigger and more painful with every passing day.

She shook her head, opening up twitter to try and distract herself.

@NiallOfficial: great morning in LA, off to anaheim tonight then a few days off chillin in the cali and shooting a music video!

She bit her lip and hit the reply button. As she stared at her phone, she hadn’t the faintest idea as to what she should say to him. She still didn’t even know what she was going to do yet. Her heart told her to go be with Niall, and that nothing else mattered. Her mind was telling her to just take the easy route and keep seeing Harry, that eventually, she could grow to love him the way that she loved Niall.

She put her phone away and went to take a shower, hoping the hot water would help clear her head.

***

Anaheim wasn’t far, so they were going to be travelling by bus to the venue and coming straight back to the hotel afterwards. It was only a half hour drive, so management had seen no point in having them stay on the buses overnight. Logistically, it made sense, however it also meant that Brittany would be sharing a bus with them for the day when they made the drive over to Anaheim.

Niall was waiting in the lobby along with the others. He sighed to himself, taking a sip of his iced coffee. It was hard for him to not feel apprehensive. He’d stood up against Brittany, but he’d heard nothing from her about what she was going to do yet. He reminded himself that she still had until the end of the day to come to him, that there was no use worrying about it anymore.

He looked up and saw Brittany and Harry walking towards their group, hand in hand. His stomach dropped a little, but he tried not to show it on his face. He tried to offer her a small smile as they joined them, but Brittany avoided eye contact with him.

Niall just went back to sipping on his coffee as they were herded onto to the bus. He tried not to let his imagination get the better of him, and he tried to remain strong, but inside he was screaming. All he wanted was for her to realize how ridiculous she was being. He began to wonder if she actually really did love him the way he loved her. If she even knew how unfair she was actually being to Harry and himself.

She had to know, didn’t she? He couldn’t very well ask her, not with everyone standing right there. There would be no time once they got to the venue, as they had to do a soundcheck, a meet and greet and then Brittany had to do a soundcheck, then of course it would be time for the show. That day, they were on a tighter schedule than usual.

He chewed on the straw of his drink a little as they sat down in the kitchenette. Leaning his head against the window, he looked outside at the hotel. He couldn’t wait to get to the venue, meet fans and do the show. He needed a distraction from all of this drama. It was eating at him so much that he was beginning to feel like he wasn’t himself anymore. In fact, the only thing that still felt normal about his life was performing and being a member of the group.

“Nialler?” Harry asked once the bus had begun to move.

“Huh?” Niall was pulled out of his thoughts as he looked over at Harry, and only Harry. He tried to avoid looking at the girl sitting next to him.

“What’s with the giant coffee?” he asked with a laugh. “Since when do you drink that stuff?”

“Oh,” Niall said, looking down at his drink. “Yeah, I guess I just wasn’t very hungry. I just wanted a drink and a caffeine boost,” he shrugged.

Harry looked at him oddly. “Since when are you not hungry? Did you see the buffet they had in the hotel? They had a waffle iron with five different types and everything. Brittany ate three!” he laughed.

Niall couldn’t care less how many waffles Brittany had eaten. “Just not feeling well today,” he said, leaning his head back against the window.

“Why? What’s wrong?”

Niall looked at Harry sympathetically. If only he knew what was wrong, he probably wouldn’t be so concerned with waffles either. He glanced over at Brittany, who was trying her best to not pay attention to their conversation.

For a moment he considered telling Harry everything right then and there. It would have been so simple for him to say “I’m in love with your girlfriend and waiting for her to tell me that she feels the same way so she can ditch you and be with me instead.”

But he didn’t. There was no point in opening a can of worms like that right before a show. Instead he just told Harry he was tired and that the tour was beginning to get to him.

Harry just nodded. “I hear you mate,” he replied.

Niall shook his head slightly. Harry had no idea.

***

Once they’d arrived at the venue, there had been no more time for Niall to focus on his relationship drama. They’d been hurried around to soundcheck, to a meet and greet and finally it had been time for the show. It was a good thing his stomach was in knots, because they’d barely had time to eat anything.

But once the show started, and there was a short break for Niall to collect his thoughts, it all came rushing back to him.

Brittany was there, she was watching the show from the wings. He didn’t know if she was looking at him or at Harry, and he didn’t dare glance in her direction to find out. Not that it would have mattered; under the bright lights of the stage he probably wouldn’t be able to see her anyway.

Niall licked his lips and gazed out at the crowd as the opening notes to I Want began to play.

He looked over at Harry, who was always playing up the crowd and making girls scream. Normally Niall would be doing the same, but he couldn’t take his focus away from Brittany. The fact that she was there was enough to make his heart race. She still hadn’t made her decision, and the evening was quickly drawing to a close. He found himself beginning to get panicked, and tried to channel the adrenaline into his performance.

It was difficult, since this was a song he didn’t have a solo in. So instead he danced around the stage, singing along to the chorus and looking out at the girls in the crowd. There were thousands of them, and any one of them likely would have gladly taken him, but he could only think about one.

As Brittany watched the show, her heart skipped a beat whenever Niall began to sing. One of the things she loved most about him was his voice. Normally she also loved the energy he had on stage, but tonight he was a little off. She knew why that was and cursed herself. His performance was suffering and it was all her fault.

She looked down at the ground momentarily and shuffled her feet uncomfortably. When it was just her and Niall, she could forget, she could pretend that things were different.

But looking out on the stage, seeing Harry right there made her feel all the more worse. She hated what she was doing to him, to Niall and to herself. She then mentally berated herself for being so selfish.

It certainly was the word to describe her these days. She’d only been doing things that benefited herself and hadn’t stopped once to think about the consequences. If Harry found out about her and Niall, he’d be hurt, his friendship with Niall would be damaged and the band would suffer. If this got out, the public would surely hate her. The backlash would be irreversible.

And yet, she couldn’t stop herself from looking up. She was drawn to him, and she had been before she’d even said a word to him. He was charming, he was cute, his smile was to die for.

And the way he had kissed her…

It was like nothing she had ever experienced.

She watched the boys dance around the stage as they reached the dramatic bridge of the song.

Niall stepped to the front of the stage. No truer words were ever spoken as he belted out the lyrics. He clutched his chest and fell to his knees in true boyband fashion. He didn’t care that he was overstepping Zayn’s part. He put every emotion he had into the song, everything he was feeling at the moment and had been for the past month.

All the girls in the audience went wild, while Brittany’s breath caught in her throat. What was he doing? She was certain that this wasn’t a regular part of the show. Niall didn’t even normally sing this part of the song.

Then it hit her. This was his way of telling her that he needed her, loved her, that she had to choose him and that he would make all of the subsequent drama worth it. And this, Brittany decided, was far better than any text message would be. He was doing what he always had – showing her just how much he loved her without using those words at all.

“Be loved by you… I wanna, I’ll stay true. I wonder if you knew, what you put me through. Would you want, you want, you want me to love you too…”

The crowd was still going crazy of course, and the song continued as normal as Niall stood up. He felt slightly better, even though he knew that probably wasn’t the best solution. He probably should have waited until one of his own solos to do something like that, but he’d had little control over himself. It was likely that when the concert was finished Zayn would be annoyed with him.

He wasn’t wrong.

“What was that?!” Zayn asked, catching up with Niall once the concert was over. “You completely stole the show back there!”

“Sorry mate,” Niall said, only half listening as they were rushed back to the bus. “I just got really into it.” It wasn’t exactly a lie, he just left out the cause for his sudden burst of emotion on stage.

“Right, well, next time you plan on doing that, at least let one of us know beforehand.”

Niall rolled his eyes and didn’t say anything. Zayn should have considered himself lucky that a single solo was all that had been stolen from him – he was doing far worse to other members of the group.

Not that they were aware of that or anything.

“Brittany!” Paul called out as he, the boys and the rest of the security team approached the bus. She was standing right in front of it, waiting for them. “What are you doing out here?!”

Brittany held her hand to her chest. She didn’t smile as she focused on Niall.

He watched her too, studying her expression. Her lips were turned down in a small pout. It was clear she was wrestling internally with what to do next. And were those tears that rimmed the bottoms of her eyelids?

“I was waiting for Harry,” she whispered, still looking in Niall’s direction.

Paul rolled his eyes. “Well get on the bus, we’re going back to the hotel, and we need to go. Now,” he said sternly, and the security team was quick to haul all of the young stars into to bus.

As they sat down, Brittany instinctively sat next to Harry. Her hand was lazily laced with his, but it was just a formality at this point. She looked at the ground, only half listening to the babble that was going on around her.

Niall did the opposite. He tried his best to act like everything was normal. He joked around with the others, laughing about the concert. There was no use in pining for Brittany or being depressed about the situation anymore. The ball was in her court.

If she wanted him, she was going to have to come get him.

***

“Are you sure you don’t want to shower together?” Harry looked over at Brittany suggestively once they were back in their hotel room.

She only shook her head. “No, I had a shower after my set,” she said, glancing at him for a moment. She could hardly bring herself to look at him anymore.

Harry gave her a cheeky grin and walked over to where she was sitting. “Yeah… but you’re looking a little dirty. I could help you with that…” he said, leaning over and kissing her.

Brittany lazily responded to his kiss, but quickly pulled away. “I’m not really in the mood… sorry. I’m tired.”

Harry sighed. “You’re missing out. I’m still going to shower though.”

He walked into the bathroom and Brittany flopped down on the bed, and looked over at the clock on the night table. It was 11:52, the day was almost over and she was very quickly running out of time to make up her mind.

She replayed the scene over and over again in her head. Niall had basically laid it all out on the table for her, on stage no less. It was clear he wanted her, and that he loved her. She knew that – she’d always known that. Tears stung her eyes as she thought about the argument they’d had the day before.

How could she have been so blind? She berated herself once again for causing all of this mess. She looked around the hotel room. This was the last place she wanted to be. She closed her eyes again and thought back to when Niall had kissed her, just as she had many times before.

She hated the fact that this was the room she was stuck in. It was very clearly not where she wanted, or was supposed to be. She got up quickly and grabbed her room key off the table to go where she should have gone a long time ago.

She walked down the hall before stopping in front of Niall’s room. She took a deep breath as she looked at his door. She didn’t know what she was doing. She knew she probably should have talked to Harry first… but instead all she wanted to do was to kiss him again.

Before she had a chance to second guess herself, she knocked on the door.

It took him a minute or so to answer, and when he did, Brittany felt her heart skip a beat. It was obvious he’d just gotten out of the shower, his hair was wet and his t-shirt was sticking to him unnaturally. She figured he’d probably gotten dressed in a haste.

Niall looked down at Brittany, unsure of what to think of her presence. “What – ”

He was cut off by her wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him forcefully. Niall pulled her in closer to him, continuing to plant kisses on her mouth. He breathed a small sigh of relief when she finally broke away from him. So she did actually want him. It hadn’t all been a ruse.

“I love you, Niall,” she said as she leaned her head against his chest.

“I – ” Niall was about to respond, but was, once again, cut off.

“You what?!”

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