I Wish – Chapter 31

Friday, June 22 2012
Los Angeles, CA

NIALL HORAN AND HARRY STYLES’ POP PRINCESS

Um…what?

Wasn’t it just a week ago that we did an interview with Harry Styles about his new girlfriend, Brittany? Yeah, we thought so too! Well, check out the picture below, somehow we don’t think Harry’s going to be too happy about this!

They look pretty uh… chummy, don’t you think?

Now, we’re not ones to buy into the rumour mill (oh who are we kidding – of course we are!) but according to twitter Niall accompanied Brittany on a recent trip to New York. It was all pretty innocent – after all, Niall has family in NYC, and it makes sense he’d want to go visit them.

Then Niall decided to show up at her album signing, hug her and kiss her on the top of the head. We can’t believe it either – but scroll up! There’s photographic evidence.

Here’s the real kicker – Brittany and Harry, who are usually ADORBS on twitter, haven’t posted a word to each other in days! In fact, Niall’s and Brittany’s accounts have both been basically silent. What’s the deal, Niall? Usually you’re a tweeting machine.

Too busy playing with Harry’s cats, we reckon.

“It’s not that bad,” Niall said, putting his phone away and turning to Brittany.

She was sitting with her head in her hands, slouched over in the car seat. They were pulled up at the hotel now, where they would be getting on the buses and spending the day travelling to Dallas.

“Not that bad?” Brittany muttered, still looking down. “Did you even read the article?”

Niall shrugged, trying to keep his cool. In reality, he was ready to send a strongly worded letter to SugarScape, but of course he refrained. Even though SugarScape had basically made him out to be a girlfriend thief… they weren’t exactly wrong.

“SugarScape always does articles like that,” he said instead. “They’re always a bit snarky, they don’t mean anything by it. Don’t worry about it.”

“But why’d they have to write about us like it was some big scandal?” she asked, looking at him with a roll of her eyes. Both of them knew exactly why – because that’s exactly what it was shaping up to be.

But still, Niall tried to reassure Brittany (and himself.) “They’ll write about anything. Once my ex girlfriend called me ‘Niall fucking Horan’ on twitter and they did a bit about it. It’s nothing that wasn’t already all over twitter anyway.”

“Yeah, I know,” Brittany said, taking his hand. “I guess it’s time to get going,” she said, nodding towards the hotel.

Niall gulpled. He wasn’t looking forward to seeing the boys again. The last time he’d spoken to any of them was when he’d been texting with Harry – and of course, that hadn’t gone well at all. “Yeah, I suppose so,” he said, kissing her lightly on the cheek before they stepped out of the car.

They walked hand in hand over to the area where the buses were. With every step, Niall felt himself growing more apprehensive. What were the others going to say to him? Had they read the SugarScape article yet? He began to second guess his decision to go to New York.

He didn’t have much time to dwell on his thoughts, as Paul was waiting for them outside their buses.

“Welcome back, Niall,” he said stiffly. He didn’t look pleased.

“Er… hey Paul,” Niall replied, walking towards Brittany’s bus. He had figured he would just travel with her – then he could avoid seeing the boys altogether. At least until they got to the hotel, anyway.

“Wait,” Paul called after them, and the stopped in their tracks. “Separate buses,” he ordered.

Niall and Brittany glanced at each other, but obliged. Neither one of them were about to argue with Paul. Niall gave Brittany a quick kiss before walking off onto his own bus. “See you later, love.”

“Bye,” Brittany whispered as she walked away.

As soon as Paul and Niall stepped on to the One Direction bus, he was greeted by Leslie, who was sitting at the kitchenette looking annoyed.

“What part of ‘no scandals while we’re in the US’ don’t you understand?” she nearly shouted at him.

Niall ran a hand through his hair. Amidst all his worry over seeing the other boys, he’d completely forgotten that management would probably be unhappy with him as well. “Sorry,” he said weakly.

“I’m sure you are,” Leslie snapped at him. “I want to see you in the entertainment room. Now.”

Niall put his hands in his pockets and quickly followed behind Leslie. She ushered him into the only semi-private area on the bus that wasn’t the washroom and closed the door behind her. Niall took a deep breath, but it caught in his throat when he saw Harry sitting on the couch with his arms crossed over his chest. He didn’t look happy.

“We need to sort this out, boys,” Leslie said to the two of them. “I don’t care what personal drama you’re having, but you need to keep it out of the press. Niall,” she turned to him, “I don’t know what you were thinking showing up at Brittany’s signing, but the fans are speculating, so we have to deal with it.”

Niall just nodded glumly.

“Harry,” Leslie looked over at him. “They asked you how things were going with Brittany yesterday in an interview, and all you said was that she was in New York. That was good.”

Niall glanced up at Harry. So his threat of spilling everything to the press had been empty. Niall wasn’t sure whether he wanted to hug him or punch him. On one hand, it was obviously good he hadn’t told the whole story. On the other, that threat was the whole reason he had decided to go and make his relationship with her public.

Leslie continued. “But now they’ll be asking you more about her. You’ll have to tell them that the two of you aren’t seeing each other anymore, and that it was never really serious in the first place. The press jumped on your relationship and made it out to be more than it was, got it?”

Harry just nodded, but didn’t say a word. He looked significantly more annoyed than Niall did. It made sense – he was part of this lecturing session and he hadn’t even done anything wrong.

“Niall,” Leslie looked back at him. “If you get asked about Brittany, try to sidestep the questions as much as possible. Do not confirm you’re in a relationship with her.”

Niall sighed. He knew he probably shouldn’t argue with Leslie. It was her job to make them look good to the press, after all. But he hated lying. “I am in a relationship with her. Everyone’s going to find out eventually.”

“I don’t care. For now, don’t talk about it. Are we clear?” Leslie looked at him pointedly.

“Yes,” Niall muttered.

“Good,” Leslie said, eyeing the two of them before leaving the room. Harry got up to follow her out, but Niall stopped him, and closed the door. He knew he had to have a conversation with him – and he figured he may as well get it over with. The sooner he talked with Harry, the better. Then at least Liam would be off his back about doing so.

“Haz,” Niall said quietly. “I think we need to talk.”

Harry was obviously still not in the mood to talk. “I still don’t have anything to say to you,” he said, but his voice held less annoyance than it had the last time. And Niall noticed he didn’t try to push past him – which he took as a good sign.

“Look, I’m really sorry,” he started, eyeing Harry. “I’d really like it if we could at least talk about this. You don’t have to forgive me, but could we just talk? Please?”

Harry sighed, but walked back over to the couch and sat down. “Fine.”

Niall couldn’t help but feel a little happy about the small victory. Still, he really didn’t know how to start now that Harry was actually allowing him to explain himself. He knew that his apologies were getting him nowhere. “I’m in love with Brittany,” he started bluntly, not knowing was else to say.

Harry just scoffed. “Yeah, I know.”

“No,” Niall continued, taking a deep breath. “You don’t understand. I love her so much that sometimes it hurts. Every time I talked to her, all I could think about was how she was perfect and how all I wanted to do was kiss her. Whenever I saw you with her it broke my heart.”

Niall’s confession did little to make Harry feel better about the situation. “So you decided to just take her from me, instead of telling me how you were feeling.”

Niall sighed. “Would you have let me with her if I had told you?”

“No,” Harry said quickly.

“It doesn’t matter anyway,” Niall shook his head. “Brittany told me she had feelings for me. She came to my hotel room and told me -”

“I know,” Harry cut him off harshly. “I was there. I saw.”

“No,” Niall said, slightly annoyed with the fact that Harry wasn’t letting him talk. “Before that. Way before that. She came into my room and kissed me and told me she wanted to be with me and that she liked me even before she met any of us.”

Harry considered that for a moment. “So she was the one who started all of this?”

Niall shook his head. He couldn’t put all the blame on Brittany, even though it would probably make his life easier. It wouldn’t be fair to her, and it definitely wasn’t the truth at all. “No, she wasn’t. I reckon the reason she did that was because I kissed her first.”

Harry glared at Niall. He didn’t look impressed with that fact.

“I tried to stop it Haz,” Niall backtracked. “I loved her so much, but I tried not to let it get to me. I even talked to Liam about it -”

“Of course you did,” Harry said, rolling his eyes.

Niall ignored Harry’s interruption and kept going. “I didn’t want it to get in the way of our friendship. But when I was sitting there with her, and I looked at her, I just couldn’t stop myself. And then I tried to avoid her but she came to me and demanded to know what was going on and she kissed me, but I told her that nothing could happen until she broke up with you.”

“Which you didn’t stick by,” Harry said bitterly.

Niall shook his head and looked at the ground. “She kept going back and forth, saying she didn’t know which one of us she wanted to be with. I told her she had to make a choice… and she chose me. And that’s when you walked in. I’m sorry.”

Harry didn’t say anything for a few minutes as he absorbed what Niall was telling him. He wasn’t even sure who he should have been more angry with. Brittany for not telling him she was having doubts, or Niall for starting this whole thing in the first place. He felt stupid for not having seen it, he’d just figured that Niall and Brittany were so close because they were spending so much time together. It had never even crossed his mind that either one of them would have romantic feelings for the other.

And that, he supposed, was the worst part of it all. He’d trusted the both of them so unconditionally that he never could have guessed this would have happened.

“Haz?” Niall asked, looking at him. The silence was unbearable for him, so he started to babble on, as he tended to do when things got uncomfortable. “I wish it had never happened. I’m really, really sorry. I just want everything to go back to how it was.”

“You want everything to go back to how it was?” Harry asked in disbelief. “Do you really think that’ll happen? That I’ll ever be able to trust you again?”

“Well I hope that in time… yeah,” Niall shrugged.

Harry rolled his eyes. He didn’t think he’d ever be ready to forgive Niall, much less have the trust in him that he had before. Especially as long as he was dating Brittany. He supposed that maybe if he wasn’t anymore, then maybe he’d feel better… “If you want it to go back to the way it was, then, you know, just go back to the way it was.”

Niall looked at him oddly. “What?”

“Break up with her.” Harry knew it was a ridiculous suggestion. He knew that Niall wouldn’t actually go through with it, but he didn’t care. He wanted Niall to suffer for what he’d done, and if he couldn’t go to the press and make it so that all the fans hated him, he could at least give him some internal drama to wrestle with.

Niall rolled his eyes. “You’re mad.”

Harry shrugged. “If you want it to go back to normal, then just get rid of her. Everything was fine before she showed up, wasn’t it?”

Niall looked at Harry incredulously. Surely he couldn’t be serious. There was no way he was going to let Brittany go after everything they’d gone through. “That’s not going to help anything, Haz. It’ll just make me and Brittany miserable, and it won’t change anything that’s already happened. I’m not doing that.”

Harry shrugged and got up to leave. “You said you wanted everything to go back to how it was. There’s your option.”

And with that, he walked out of the room.

Niall leaned back on the couch and covered his head with his hands. It had gone better than he’d expected, he supposed. Still, Harry’s ultimatum was completely ridiculous and wasn’t even going to solve their problem. All that would do was cause more issues. It wouldn’t be Harry forgiving him – it would be him forgetting that this entire thing had ever happened.

Which, Niall was sure that was the entire point. Brittany was a constant reminder to Harry that he’d failed – Niall knew Harry well enough to know that was the real problem behind all of this.

Niall just hoped that soon enough Harry would come to his senses and realize that their friendship was worth more than any girlfriend. Even if he himself hadn’t quite figured that out yet.

***

The drive to Dallas was long, and Niall found himself tossing and turning in his bunk that night. He missed Brittany’s presence already, and the way her small frame fit perfectly next to him.

He sighed to himself. He really hated travelling by tour bus. It gave him little to do and he often found himself sitting around feeling apprehensive and bored. He’d played video games with the other boys and everything had seemed fine, but Niall knew better. He still felt awkward around Harry, and even though the two of them were now somewhat able to at least be in the same room together, they still didn’t speak much.

He sent Brittany a quick text.

Niall Horan: I miss you.

She messaged him back right away.

Brittany Cooper: You just miss sex 😉

Niall rolled his eyes. He didn’t only miss sex. Though… it probably would have made him feel a little better about everything that had happened that day. Or at least distracted him for a while.

Niall Horan: Not just sex. I love you and I wish I was on your bus instead.

Brittany Cooper: I love you too… try to have a good sleep though. We’ll see each other in the morning. xoxo

Niall sighed to himself. He’d decided against telling Brittany about his conversation with Harry, and when she had asked him about it, he’d only told her that he was still upset but seemed to be coming around. There was no point in telling her anything else, Niall knew it would only make her feel guilty.

Unable to fall asleep, Niall rolled over and ducked his head into the bunk underneath his. “Li,” he said quietly.

“Go to sleep, Niall,” Liam responded, turning over on to his side.

“I can’t sleep.”

“You can, just close your eyes.”

Niall didn’t take Liam’s advice. Instead he hopped out of his bunk and knelt down on the ground in front of Liam’s. “I’m really not tired.”

“You will be in the morning,” Liam said, but he still rolled over and looked at Niall. “Why can’t you sleep?”

Niall shrugged. “I don’t know. I just can’t.” He paused for a moment, looking at Liam. “Thanks for talking to Harry for me.”

Liam raised his eyebrow. “I didn’t really talk to Harry for you.”

But Niall knew better. There was no way Harry would have been that receptive to him on his own. “Well… thanks anyway for talking to him a little so that he at least listened to what I had to say.”

Liam sighed, but gave Niall a small smile. “You’re welcome. I’m glad you finally talked to him.”

“It didn’t help much,” Niall said with a sigh.

“Give it time,” Liam said seriously. “He’s coming around. Slowly, but he is. When the tour’s over and Brittany’s gone, that’ll help.”

Niall frowned at Liam’s comment. All day, he’d been trying to convince himself that Brittany’s presence had little to do with Harry’s anger. “She’s not going to be ‘gone.’”

Liam sighed. “I didn’t mean that she would be gone for you. I just meant gone and not around all the time.”

Niall just nodded, but the seed was still planted in his head. If he was coping this badly not having Brittany around for one evening, what was he going to do once the tour was over and they were on opposite sides of the world?

“It’ll be fine,” Liam continued, turning around again. “Get some sleep, Nialler.”

Niall climbed back into his own bunk and closed his eyes as Liam had told him to beforehand. Still, he felt lost. He hoped to God that everything would be solved by the time the tour was over, because if things were still a mess and Brittany wasn’t around to remind him why he’d made this sacrifice, he didn’t know what he would do with himself.

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