I Wish – Chapter 29

Wednesday, June 20 2012
Los Angeles, CA / New York, NY

“Where the hell is Niall?” Liam asked irritably as he and the three other members of the group stood in his room early that afternoon. He dialled Niall’s cell phone again, and once again, it went right to voicemail. Liam sighed to himself and looked to the others. “Any ideas?”

The rest of them just shrugged and looked at each other, not really knowing what to do. They’d gone to his room to wake him up, and there was no answer. He hadn’t been on theirs or Brittany’s bus either.

They had to leave to do press in fifteen minutes, and if they didn’t find him by then, Paul was going to lose his mind. As it was, he still wasn’t aware that Niall was MIA.

Liam ran a hand through his hair. “Well, don’t all talk at once,” he said bitterly.

“I don’t see why we care where he is,” Harry muttered. His arms were folded across his chest and he was slumped down in one of the plush hotel chairs.

“Because we need to do press,” Liam said bluntly, snapping his attention away from his phone and towards Harry. “We can’t very well show up without him.”

“Sure we can,” Harry said. “Nothing’s stopping us, really. If he wants to go off when he knows there’s work to do, that’s fine. He doesn’t need to be a part of the group anymore.”

Everyone was silent as they looked at Harry in shock. Harry just shrugged, he didn’t have much else to say other than that.

“You can’t be serious about that Haz,” Louis said quietly after a couple tense moments had passed. “I know you’re angry with him, but that’s a little extreme, don’t you think?”

“No, I don’t,” Harry said bitterly. “I really don’t actually. He obviously didn’t care enough to tell me he was sleeping with my girlfriend, he just took off and didn’t tell us where he went, and honestly, there are a lot of fans who couldn’t care less if he was in the group anyway.”

“Harry!” Liam said angrily, glaring at him. “Are you mad? You want him out of the group because of this little drama over a girl?”

“Wouldn’t you want him out of the group if he had done the same thing to you?” Harry asked Liam in all seriousness. “Tell me you wouldn’t be angry with him if he took Danielle from you.”

“That’s a little bit different, Haz,” Liam said slowly. “You know it is.”

“I don’t think it is,” Harry said, not caring for Liam’s opinion at all. “He went behind my back and took my girlfriend right from under me. How long was he seeing her without me having any clue about it? Tell me Liam, because I know you know. Niall tells you everything.”

Liam sighed. “This is really a conversation you should be having with him.”

“I’m never speaking to him again, so that would be a bit difficult, wouldn’t it?”

“Oi, Harry, knock it off,” Zayn cut in with a sigh. “Did you love Brittany that much that it’s worth throwing away your friendship with Niall over? Really?”

Harry rolled his eyes. “I already told you, it’s the principle of the thing. He cares more about her than he does any of us. You know where he probably is, right?”

Liam chose to ignore Harry’s comment about who Niall cared about the most. “Yeah, Harry, that’s why we’ve been looking for him for the past hour,” he said sarcastically.

Harry shook his head. “Well, I know where he probably is. I’ll bet he’s gone with her to New York. She was leaving this morning.”

Liam, Louis and Zayn all exchanged a look. Surely that couldn’t be right – there was no way that Niall would take off to the other side of the country without telling any of them. “Maybe he just went to see her off at the airport,” Liam suggested.

Harry scoffed. “I doubt it,” he said. “Her flight left at six this morning. If he had just gone to the airport he’d be back by now. They’re probably already in New York.”

Again, the others exchanged a glance. None of them knew what to say, but it was fairly hard to believe that Niall would take off without letting anyone know where he was going. Even if he was on the outs with Harry, there was no reason for him to ditch the rest of them.

There was no time for thinking about that, however, as there was a light knocking at the door. Liam sighed and when he answered it, he was face to face with Paul. “Hey Paul,” he said awkwardly.

“Morning lads, are you ready to go do some press? The car’s waiting downstairs.”

“Uh,” Liam said, looking back at the others. “Yeah, we’ve just got a bit of a problem…” he trailed off.

“What’s that then?”

Liam gulped. “Niall’s missing.”

Paul didn’t react much in the way that Liam had anticipated he would. Instead of flipping out and demanding to know where Niall was and why he had gone missing, he just raised his eyebrow. “You mean he didn’t tell you?” Paul asked.

Liam shook his head. “No.”

Paul sighed. “He told me he was going to let you know himself. I guess he was in such a rush that he forgot. He went to New York for a couple of days, I guess he had something to take care of there.”

Liam couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Niall had gone to New York, and even more surprisingly, Paul had actually allowed him to. He glanced back at Harry, who was wearing a smug look on his face. Liam rolled his eyes, and turned back to Paul. “You actually let him go to New York when we have press to do?”

Paul shrugged. “Believe me, I fought with him on it. I’m not exactly impressed, but it sounded like he really needed to go. You’ve only got a few interviews to do over the next couple of days anyway. Nothing major. Anyway, it doesn’t matter now. The car’s waiting downstairs, let’s get going.”

“Right,” Liam said, as he and the other three boys followed Paul down to the car. He shot off a quick text message to Niall, and quickly scrolled through twitter. There wasn’t any sort of update from Niall or Brittany indicating that they were on their way to New York. In fact, neither of them had updated their twitters in a couple of days. Not since they’d gotten together.

Liam sighed and slipped his phone back into his pocket, awaiting Niall’s response.

“I told you,” Harry said, giving Liam a look. “He couldn’t care less about us.”

Liam just shook his head, but didn’t say anything to Harry in response. He knew better – he just had to wait until he could talk to Niall.

***

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the captain has turned that seatbelt sign on indicating that we’ve begun our final decent into the New York area.”

Niall sighed as he heard the flight attendant begin to speak over the sound system. He glanced over at Brittany, who was fast asleep with her head against the window. He lightly nudged her awake.

She stirred a little, but eventually opened her eyes and took her headphones off. “Yeah?”

“We’re landing,” he said, tucking his magazine back into the seat pocket in front of him.

“Already?” Brittany asked, sitting up a little and glancing out the window. Sure enough, there was New York right underneath them. “Wow, that was fast!”

Niall gave her a look. “It was five hours, you slept the whole time. Just like you always do.”

Brittany just shrugged as she continued to look out the window. “I don’t really like flying,” she admitted as the ground got increasingly closer. She reached over to hold Niall’s hand, but quickly realized what she was doing and stopped. Technically, they were out in public and the last thing they needed amidst their personal drama was the fan response.

“You’ll get used to it,” Niall said, offering her a small smile. He wanted nothing more than to kiss her, or at the very least put his arm around her, but he withheld. It would only cause more problems for them than it was worth.

Finally, the plane touched down and taxied from the runway to the airport. When Niall turned on his phone, he sighed, but wasn’t the slightest bit surprised at what he saw.

Seventeen unread text messages. Two voicemails.

“What?” Brittany asked, glancing over at him.

“Nothing,” Niall said, putting his phone away. He would deal with the guys when they were safely off the plane.

Niall had to admit it was sort of nice to be able to walk through the airport normally, without going through the VIP exit. He tried to be inconspicuous, but of course once they were in the car and on the way to the hotel he scrolled through his twitter mentions.

1DUpToTheMinute: @NiallOfficial was seen at JFK! He’s not in LA with the rest of the guys…

LouisMyLovely: @NiallOfficial what u doing in nyc?

NiallEatsYou: guys I think @NiallOfficial was with @BrittCooperMusic in new york, that’s her in the picture isn’t it?

MinionDirection: @NiallOfficial is in nyc with @BrittCooperMusic! Check the photo… that’s her! [ViewPhoto]

“They know I’m here,” Niall said, glancing over at Brittany.

Brittany just gave him a look. “Who? Your fans? Did you really expect any less?”

“They took a photo of us at the airport,” Niall said, showing her the picture on the phone. It wasn’t the greatest quality, but you could easily tell that Brittany was the girl walking beside him.

Brittany looked at it for a second, and looked up at Niall with a slightly worried expression. “Do you think they’ll figure it out?” she asked.

Niall pondered that for a moment, but quickly shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. We weren’t holding hands or anything like that. Besides, they still think you’re dating Harry… speaking of Harry, what are you going to do if they ask you about him in interviews?”

Brittany bit her lip. She hadn’t thought about that. She couldn’t very well act as though she was still dating Harry. “I don’t know… I guess I’ll just say we’re not seeing each other anymore. I’ll try to sidestep it though.”

Niall nodded, though he had knot in the pit of his stomach. If Brittany said she was no longer dating Harry and their fans all knew he was with her in New York, they would put two and two together. And even if they didn’t, rumours would begin to circulate, as they always did.

It was clear Brittany was thinking the same thing. “You shouldn’t have come here,” she muttered.

“Hey,” he said, taking her hand and kissing it lightly. “I’m here now, so there’s not much we can do about it. So let’s just try to relax and enjoy our time together, yeah?”

Brittany let out the breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding in. “Yeah, okay.” She kissed him on the cheek and tried to smile. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” he replied as the car pulled up in front of the hotel. “Now, let’s go out there and act like we’re nothing more than friends,” he said with a sigh.

Brittany nodded and followed him out of the car. She had a sinking feeling that this trip was going to lead to no good.

***

“I’d like to know why you didn’t have the decency to let us know that you were flying across the country to take a holiday with your girlfriend.” Liam’s voice was filled with annoyance.

“Sorry,” Niall said, flopping down on to the hotel bed with his cell phone still pressed against his ear. Though he’d come to New York with Brittany, they’d decided it was best that he not go with her to her interviews. It would only fuel the rumours and give him less of an alibi. “I just needed to get away from there for a little while. And it’s not really a holiday,” he added bitterly. “She’s working. She’s not even here right now.”

“You mean you wanted to get away from Haz,” Liam said, ignoring Niall’s comment about it not being a holiday.

“Well, yeah,” Niall said. He couldn’t quite argue with that. “I thought it would be best if we were away for a couple days to let him cool off.”

“Well it didn’t work,” Liam said with annoyance. He was starting to get tired of Niall not taking any of his advice and making bad decisions. “He’s more upset with you now. He thinks you care more about Brittany than you care about the band.”

“What?” Niall asked, sitting up. That got his attention. “How can he think that?”

Liam sighed. “You tell me, I’m not the one who skipped out on press to fly across the country with my brand new girlfriend. You didn’t even tell any of us you were going, you just left!”

“You would have just told me not to go,” Niall muttered, knowing he was being ridiculous. It was easy for him to ignore that all this was happening when he left the hotel without a word. Talking to Liam, on the other hand, brought him right back down to reality.

He didn’t like it.

“It wasn’t exactly the greatest idea,” Liam said.

“I know that,” Niall replied angrily. “I know, alright? But I couldn’t just let her leave, Li. We’ve only got a couple of weeks left, and I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible. And if I had stayed, what would I have done? I needed some time away from Harry too, because I can’t stand it when he looks at me like I’m the worst person he’s ever known, I can’t take it,” he said shakily, trying to hold back tears.

It was at that point when Brittany walked back into the hotel room. Niall glanced up at her, and her heart broke when she saw how sad he looked. She climbed on to the bed and enveloped him in a hug while he continued to talk on the phone.

“Can you blame him?” Liam said softly. He didn’t want to argue with Niall, but he had to get his point across somehow. “You shouldn’t have run off like that. You should have taken this time without Brittany here to have a talk with Harry and get it sorted. You can’t hide away from him forever. The longer you let it drag out, the harder it’s going to be to repair.”

“A lot of good that will do,” Niall said bitterly. “He won’t talk to me. I’ve tried.”

“You haven’t really tried,” Liam argued. “You talked to him once in the lobby, and ever since then you’ve been avoiding him. You have to actually try and have a conversation with him.”

Niall sighed. He knew that Liam was right – he hadn’t tried at all to talk to Harry. Instead he’d just sat around wishing to be forgiven. “Yeah I know. I’ll talk to him when I get back.”

“Good,” Liam said. “I hope you actually will this time,” he added.

“I will,” Niall said, swallowing slightly. Just the thought of it made him nervous. “I promise I will… I gotta go Li… I’ll talk to you later,” he said, hanging up the phone quickly as soon as Liam said goodbye. He tossed it aside and hugged Brittany tightly, nuzzling his face into her neck.

“Rough phone call?” she asked with a laugh.

“Yeah,” Niall responded seriously, not moving from his position. He breathed in deeply, trying to calm himself down.

Brittany furrowed her eyebrows. “Nialler?” she asked softly. “Are you crying?”

“No,” he lied as a couple of stray tears escaped from his eyes.

“Oh my God you are,” she soothed, holding him tighter and rubbing his back a little. “What’s wrong?”

“Oh nothing,” Niall said sarcastically. “Harry’s still angry with me, he’s even more upset that I came to New York with you. Liam’s upset too because Harry’s upset, and he doesn’t think I should have come here, and he wants me to work things out with Haz, and I want to work things out with Haz too, I just…” he shook his head slightly, finally allowing himself to cry.

“Hey,” Brittany said quietly, still holding him. “It’s gonna be fine. You’ll get back to LA, and you and Harry will talk after you guys have had some time apart and it’ll be better.”

Niall pulled away from Brittany and rubbed his red-rimmed eyes with his thumb and forefinger before looking at her. “I don’t know,” he muttered. “Liam and Harry are both mad at me for coming here. Liam said I should have stayed and tried to work things out with Haz now, instead of later. And that being here is just making it seem like I don’t care about the band.”

Brittany gave Niall a look. “Well, he’s wrong.”

Niall scoffed. “Liam’s never wrong, Brittany.”

But Brittany stood her ground. “No, he’s wrong about this. You and Harry did need time apart to cool off. It doesn’t make it seem like you don’t care about the band, you do because you knew that being there was just damaging things more. A couple of days isn’t going to matter.”

“I thought you said I shouldn’t have come here,” Niall said raising his eyebrow a little.

Brittany just rolled her eyes. He was being difficult. “Because of the fans, Niall. I really do think you needed some time away from Harry though. You’ll see, when you get back the two of you will talk and everything will be fine.” She smiled at him and leaned over to give a soft kiss on the lips. “Now,” she said quickly, taking his hand and leading him off the bed. “I’m starving and I know you probably are too, so let’s go find something to eat, okay?”

Niall grinned as he followed her out of the room. He dropped his hand from hers, but stopped to give her a quick kiss on the cheek as they walked down the hall. “You know exactly how to cheer me up,” he said with a grin.

Brittany looked up at him and shook her head. “You and food. It isn’t exactly hard.”

Niall draped his arm around her and kissed her on the forehead. He only hoped that Brittany was right about Harry forgiving him after he’d had some time to cool off. In the meantime, he intended to enjoy the rest of his time in New York with her without worrying about the drama or the fact that in less than two weeks, they would be on opposite ends of the world.

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