I Wish – Chapter 36

Wednesday, June 27 2012
Charlotte, NC

As soon as Brittany had flopped down on her hotel room bed, there was a knock at the door. She rolled over and looked at the ceiling, contemplating not answering it. Still, she grudgingly got off the bed and looked through the peephole. Even though it was her day off from press, she was hoping it was someone from management coming to tell her they’d scheduled a last minute interview.

But it wasn’t – it was Liam, and Brittany felt that was decidedly worse.

“Hi,” she said solemnly as she opened the door. What could he possibly want with her?

“Can I come in?” he asked. His tone was soft. He didn’t seem as annoyed with her as he had the last few times they’d talked. It made sense – there was nothing for him to be upset about now. Her and Niall were done and over with.

It still made her chest hurt to think about.

She nodded and Liam closed the door behind him as he walked into the room. Brittany sat cross legged on the bed and looked up at him. “Well?”

He laughed, and Brittany looked at him as though he was crazy. And when Liam saw the expression on he face, he only laughed harder.

“What?!” Brittany asked irritably. She had no idea what could have possibly been funny.

“Sorry,” Liam said, calming down a little. “It’s just that you and Niall are two of the most ridiculous people I’ve ever met.”

“Oh yeah, well I can see where that would be hilarious,” Brittany replied sarcastically, rolling her eyes a little. Wasn’t Liam supposed to be the nice one?

“Well Brittany,” he said, still sort of laughing. “He’s moping around in his room not doing a thing, playing his guitar and acting completely unlike himself. You’re…well, I don’t really know you, but you’ve been avoiding all of us since you got back, when you used to be really friendly. Either way it’s clear that the two of you are in love and that this is killing the both of you, so why not just go over to his room, kiss him and be done with it?”

Brittany sighed. Liam really didn’t understand. She envied him and his perfect relationship with Danielle. She sort of wondered why things couldn’t have been so simple for her and Niall… then she reminded herself that they very well could have been, had she not been stupid and dated Harry first.

She had always been a very impulsive person, and this tour was only serving to prove that.

“You know why,” she said, annoyance present in her voice. “Because Harry said they couldn’t be friends unless I was gone.”

“Right,” Liam said, still wearing that smile on his face like everything was just fine. “And do you really think Harry and Niall went back to being best mates?”

Brittany just shrugged.

“Do you think that Niall just came back onto our bus after you broke up, put his arm around Harry and said ‘hey man, she’s gone, so let’s have a round of call of duty!’” he asked her with a raised eyebrow.

Again, Brittany shrugged.

“No, that’s not what happened and you know it,” Liam said, sitting down beside her on the bed. “Niall was furious with Harry for giving you two that ultimatum, and now he wants nothing to do with him.”

“But at least now Harry is going to forgive him,” Brittany pointed out. “That was the problem. Niall might be mad at him now, but you and I both know that he can’t stay mad for long.”

“No, he can’t,” Liam nodded in agreement. “But you know what? Neither can Harry, and he would’ve got over it eventually.”

“I guess,” Brittany muttered.

Liam sighed. “Look, don’t take this the wrong way, but Harry will find another girl eventually. That’s just how he is. His ego was a bit hurt, but the reality is he moves on quickly. But Niall hasn’t had a girlfriend since we were on the X Factor. He doesn’t give himself away easily, but you…”

Brittany looked down at the ground. If Liam was trying to make her feel guilty, he was definitely succeeding.

“He really loves you a lot you know,” Liam said quietly.

Brittany sighed. “Why doesn’t he just come over here and tell me that himself then?”

Liam gave her a look. “Because you ended it. He might love you, but he’s not going to come round here begging for you. You said it was over and he respects that.”

“I know,” Brittany mumbled, looking down at her hands. She really did love Niall, but his passive attitude coupled with her stubbornness was definitely causing problems for them.

Liam sighed as he stood up. “Look, we’ve got to go get ready for soundcheck now. But please think about what I said, okay?”

She looked up at him and tried to smile. In reality, she was more confused now than ever. She had initially thought that the other members of the group would be glad she was gone after all the drama that had happened. Now, it didn’t quite seem that way. Perhaps they (well, Liam) were able to see past that. Maybe they were finally realizing that she and Niall made each other happy.

“Okay,” she said. “I guess I could talk to him after the show.”

“Thank you,” Liam said as he left.

***

“Nice to meet you,” Niall said as he worked his way through the long line of fans at their meet and greet that afternoon. “Thanks for coming to the show.”

He put his hands in his pockets and tried to smile as they took photos, but like the day before, his heart simply wasn’t in it. He was sure the fans caught on to his attitude, and there would probably be negative posts about it online, but he didn’t really care. This was his job after all, and not everyone went to work everyday feeling like rainbows and sunshine.

“I talked to Brittany,” Liam said to Niall once they were done with the soundcheck and sitting in the catering area.

Niall snapped his head up and glared at Liam. “What?”

“It was getting out of hand, Niall,” Liam said simply. “Come on.”

And just like that Niall’s mind was going a million miles a minute. What had Liam said to Brittany, and what was she thinking? Was she as broken up about all of this as he was? He was sure she had to be. It couldn’t have been easy on her. “Well… what did she say?” he asked finally.

“She didn’t say much,” Liam said honestly. “She just said she was going to talk to you after the show.”

Niall’s eyes widened. He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to talk to her. Not if she was just going to break his heart further by trying to explain to him why they couldn’t be together. “What’s she going to say to me?”

“I don’t know,” Liam answered. “I just told her you love her, and she loves you, and that this is all really silly.”

Niall glanced over to where the others were sitting. He’d nearly forgotten about Harry, which was funny, because he was the whole reason for all of this drama in the first place. “What about Harry?”

“He’ll get over it,” Liam said simply. “He pretty much already has, you know.”

Niall couldn’t really care less. He didn’t know what to think. He paced a little around the table where Liam was sitting. He couldn’t sit still and even though he’d spent the last few days moping about, he suddenly felt a burst of adrenaline that would surely help him through the show.

“Oh my God Liam, thank you,” he said, finally enveloping his friend in a tight hug.

Liam laughed. “You’re welcome, now please get off me so I can eat something.”

Niall jumped off him, but turned to leave the catering area.

“Where are you going?” Liam called after him. “You better eat something before we go on!”

“I will,” Niall said, before leaving. “I’m just going to get ready!”

***

The show was long. It felt longer than any they had ever done before. By the time they were on One Thing, the adrenaline that Niall had was very quickly running out. He bounced around the stage and tried to keep up his energetic persona, but by the time they reached his solo, he was out of breath and off key.

Simply put, three days of restless sleep, not eating and being generally depressed was beginning to catch up with him. He thanked God that for the last three songs he didn’t have any solos. He walked around the stage trying to catch his breath.

He looked out at the sea of people in the arena. There were so many girls out there, but he didn’t care. He only wanted one.

And presumably, she was waiting for him. He just had to make it through two more songs. Then, everything would be back to normal. As soon as he saw her, he was sure he’d feel better.

He mustered up all the energy he had as he addressed the crowd. “Charlotte!” he shouted, and the crowd responded back loudly. “Thank you all so much, really. None of this would be possible without you. You guys helped sell so many copies of this single, and you’re the reason we’re here tonight. So thank you!”

He brought the microphone down from his lips as he walked back to the other boys. The opening notes to What Makes you Beautiful began to play, and as usual, the crowd went wild.

Niall took a deep breath. After this song was over they would get changed and perform one more. Then it would all be over. He would have a minute to relax. Well, after they had to run to the tour bus.

He was beginning to feel like the show would never be over, when in reality they had only about ten minutes left.

“Nialler, you okay?” Liam looked at him with concern when they were rushed backstage to change for the encore.

Niall just nodded as he grabbed his clothes. Liam didn’t have time to question him further as they got changed. Minutes later, they were back out on stage and performing their last song of the night.

Where Niall usually used this song to rev up the crowd and over sexify himself, instead he just walked around the stage somewhat lazily, looking out at the fans with a grin. And even though he tried to hide it, it was very clear that something was wrong.

He could hardly believe the show was over when they took their final bow. As they ran backstage and continued running towards the bus, Niall fought to catch his breath.

He was dizzy, and his body felt like it weighed a million pounds as his feet hit the pavement. He blinked his eyes a few times, but it didn’t help. “Liam…” he tried to call out, but he wasn’t sure if the word ever made it out of his mouth.

The last thing he remembered was how fast the ground was coming at him.

***

“Where is he?” Brittany asked as she walked into the hospital waiting room frantically.

It was quite a scene. None of the boys had changed out of their stage clothes yet, Paul was sitting close by talking quietly on the phone and Brittany had just shown up with her damp hair piled on top of her head, wearing pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt.

“He’s in a room down the hall,” Liam explained calmly. “He hit his head pretty badly, and was out for a couple of minutes. They’re checking him to make sure there’s no damage.”

Brittany bit her lip as she sat down beside Liam. She didn’t know what to do, and she supposed there was nothing she could. She just had to wait. “So I can’t go see him?” she asked.

“Why?” Harry interjected, looking over at her. “Because you’re upset that your hotel meet-up is cancelled now?”

“Because I love him and care about him and I want to make sure he’s okay,” Brittany snapped, glaring at him. “But I’m sure you don’t know what that’s like.”

“Stop it,” Liam said, looking at the two of them. “This isn’t the place.”

Brittany sighed and crossed her arms over her chest. She slumped back into her chair and looked up at the ceiling. “Well… what happened?” she asked after a couple of minutes.

“I already told you over text,” Liam said. “We were running for the bus after the show and he passed out and hit his head on the ground. He didn’t wake up, we called 911, and here we are.”

“But he’s awake now,” Brittany said slowly, looking at Liam for confirmation.

“He woke up on the way to the hospital.”

“So he’s okay?”

“Probably yes.”

“Do you know why he passed out?”

Liam gave Brittany a look as she bombarded him with questions. “No. We don’t know. Probably because he was dehydrated and under a lot of stress.”

“I wonder why that is,” Harry muttered, glancing over at her.

“Yeah, I wonder why that is,” Brittany said, looking over at him. The two of them glared at each other for a moment, before signing and giving up. There was no use in arguing about it – what’s done was done and Liam was right. This wasn’t the time or place for their drama.

They continued to wait in silence for what seemed like hours. Brittany glanced around at the other boys. They were all on their phones, reading magazines, and generally looking as though their minds were somewhere else. It was obvious how much they all cared about Niall, and about each other.

Finally, the doctor came out and motioned for Paul talk to him. Everyone watched intently as Paul spoke in hushed tones to the doctor. Finally, he came over to deliver the news back to the group.

“We’re going back to the hotel,” he said simply, motioning for everyone to stand up.

“What?” Liam asked in disbelief. “We’re not going anywhere.”

But Paul shook his head. “You can’t see him tonight, and there’s no point in you being here. They’re running tests on him for the night and they’ve got to keep him awake in case he’s got a concussion-”

“Well if we went in there and kept him company, he’d stay awake,” Brittany reasoned, and looked over at the others for reassurance. They couldn’t quite argue with her logic.

Paul sighed. “Well I don’t disagree with you, you still can’t see him, and I don’t make the rules. You’re going back to the hotel, I’m coming back here, we can see him tomorrow.”

The group sighed, but obliged. There wasn’t much else they could do.

Liam put his arm around Brittany as they left the hospital and got ushered into a car. “Chin up, get some sleep and we’ll see him tomorrow.”

Brittany smiled at him and nodded. She didn’t know how she was going to be able to get any sleep knowing that Niall was stuck in a hospital spending the night getting tests done. She just sighed to herself as she leaned back against the leather seat and thanked God they didn’t have a show the next day.

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