1. Tuesday, September 25th

There is nothing like being woken up in the middle of the night to the buzzer of your flat going off.

Okay, it was actually only 9pm, but I was tired! We’d been busy doing loads of press and promotional work for our upcoming album and I was completely knackered. I’d fallen asleep as soon as I’d gotten back into my house after we were done for the day I’d even missed dinner! That’s how you know I was exhausted.

Either way, the buzzer woke me up. I groggily got up and walked over to the intercom, rubbing my eyes as I did so.

“Yeah?”

“It’s me.”

Damn you, Payne! I buzzed him in without another word, but I hoped he wouldn’t stay long. We had a long day of interviews the next day and I needed all the sleep I could get!

I waited by the door, not bothering to move until I heard the faint knocking.

I unlatched the lock and opened the door. As expected, Liam was standing there. But he wasn’t wearing his usual goofy grin. He almost looked as though he was about to cry.

He was also holding a small suitcase, which I thought was weird. Was he coming to tell me we were taking some kind of emergency promotional trip to America? Shit.

“Can I come in?” he asked, and his voice was all shaky and raw. What the hell was going on?

“Uh, yeah, mate. Of course,” I said, moving off to the side and allowing him to walk in past me. I still didn’t get what was going on with the suitcase. But I closed the door behind him and followed him into my living room, where he was now sitting on the couch, looking right melancholy.

I sat down next to him and eyed him. He had his hands laced in his lap and was looking at the ground. He took deep breaths and he really, really looked like he was going to cry at any moment and I still didn’t have a clue why!

“Uh, you alright buddy?” I asked cautiously, unsure of what to do or say.

He turned his head to look at me and I just shrugged my shoulders a bit as I waited for him to tell me why he’d come round my place carrying luggage and looking as though someone had killed his puppy.

As far as I knew, he didn’t have a puppy, so that couldn’t have been it.

“Danielle and I broke up,” he said simply, frowning again and looking back down at the ground.

Oh.

Wait, what?! That was the last thing I’d expected him to say. As far as I’d known, things were great with him and Danielle. I mean, I guess not perfect, but he’d never said they’d been having any sort of problems. Not that he really would have talked about any relationship problems with me anyway. He probably would have gone to Louis or Zayn for that sort of thing.

So why was he here?

“Oh,” I said awkwardly, not really sure what I was supposed to do. “Sorry to hear that.”

He shrugged a little, still looking at the ground. I glanced over at the suitcase that was sitting about a foot away from him. Now it sort of made sense.

“Did she kick you out?” I laughed a little, trying to lighten the mood. I had no idea how to act in a situation like this! I wanted to help, but I didn’t know how.

He shook his head. “No, we didn’t even fight. It just ended. It was too hard for us to go without seeing each other all the time, and it’s only going to get worse when the new album comes out and we go back on tour for a year.”

I nodded. All of the reasons he was listing off were the exact reasons I didn’t even bother with girls. I had one girl who I sort of saw when I was back home in Ireland, but that was about it. It wasn’t worth all the hassle. I’d rather sleep when I had a moment to myself.

And I could still be sleeping had Liam gone with the same philosophy!

But I really did feel bad for him. He looked like a complete mess. “Sorry,” I said again, putting my hand on his back. “That sucks.”

“Yeah,” he said sadly. “It does.”

We were quiet for a minute and my eyes darted over to his suitcase again. I had to ask him! “Uh… what’s with the suitcase?” I nodded towards it.

“Oh,” Liam said and leaned back on the sofa, rubbing his eyes a little. “Yeah, so Dani’s going to be moving out of our place this week, and I thought it would be awkward if I was there with her still…so…” he trailed off.

“You wanted to know if you could stay here?” I asked, raising my eyebrow a little.

“Well, yeah,” he said a little sheepishly.

“Yeah, it’s no problem, mate,” I said, waving it off like it was no big deal. It really wasn’t – I didn’t mind him staying with me and I had loads of space. Liam was my best friend, sure, but I didn’t really know why he wanted to stay with me of all people.

He looked at me gratefully. “Thanks, Nialler,” he said with a sigh, and it was like he knew what I was thinking. I must have had a confused look on my face. “I knew you’d be cool with it. I didn’t want to both Zayn and Perrie or Louis and El, and Harry…”

Ah, that made sense. Zayn and Louis probably would have had the better advice for him, but he didn’t want to be around the couples. And Harry… well, Harry would have probably tried to get him to take his mind of Dani by going out and picking up girls.

“Yeah, it’s cool,” I said with a yawn.

He frowned again. “Are you tired? Did I wake you up?”

Oh, that was just like Liam to be concerned about me when he was having his own problems. “Yeah, but it’s okay. If you want to talk about it -”

“No, no,” he said, shaking his head. “Go back to sleep, Nialler. You’re already doing enough.”

It was my turn to frown a little. I wanted to help him, but I didn’t know what I would say to him or what sort of advice I could give him. Plus, I really was tired. I was sort of relieved he was letting me off the hook. “Well, okay,” I said, getting up. “Make yourself at home. If you want a snack or whatever… and there’s blankets in the closet over there, yeah,” I nodded to him as I went back to my bedroom.

“Thanks,” Liam said, forcing a smile on his face. “Goodnight.”

“Night,” I mumbled, going back into my room and falling into bed. I was worried about Liam, sure, but I was also half-asleep already.

Besides, we had to be up early, so the sooner I fell asleep, the better.

~~~

There is nothing like showing up at your best friend’s place wearing a frown and holding luggage.

That right there must have scared Niall when he’d answered the door. Truthfully, I was relieved when he’d gone right back to bed because I wasn’t ready to talk about it yet. And that was a large part of the reason why I’d gone to his place instead of any of the others’.

Don’t get me wrong, Niall is my closest friend in the group, but girls and relationships aren’t exactly his strong suit. I couldn’t even tell you the last time he’d kissed a girl. He just liked to chill and have a laugh with his mates, which was exactly what I needed.

I laid down on his futon and tried to close my eyes, but it was no use. There was still too much going on inside my head for me to be able to sleep. Every time I closed my eyes I saw Dani crying, and I felt her last, warm embrace.

It was making me feel physically sick. Even though I knew this was the best decision, that didn’t make it easy.

I walked into Niall’s kitchen in search of a snack. I wasn’t particularly hungry, but perhaps making food would give me something else to focus on for a few minutes.

I looked around Niall’s kitchen. Truth be told, there wasn’t much in the way of food. He truly did live like a bachelor. There was a carton of expired milk in his fridge, a box of Oreos in his cupboard (that only had a few left in it from what I could tell) and a takeout box from Nando’s.

I thought that was a little strange, because I’d never known him to go to Nando’s and not finish his meal. But then I quickly realized he’d probably gone there and bought an extra one intending to eat it later.

I picked up it and debated heating it up and eating it, but decided against doing so. Niall was nice enough to let me stay with him for the week, I wasn’t going to impose by gobbling up his beloved Peri Peri Chicken.

I put the cardboard box back in the fridge and instead went over to the closet. I pulled out some of the blankets and laid them on the futon. I crawled underneath them and sighed. Looking at my phone, it was nearly 10:00. Just three hours ago I’d been at my house with Danielle, and everything had been fine.

Well, not completely fine. As things usually aren’t before a breakup. But I hadn’t realized it was going to come so quickly until we’d started talking, and then it had just sort of happened. Now, I was laying on Niall’s futon, hugging his old blankets to my chest trying not to cry.

I failed, and even though we had to be up dreadfully early I spent most of the night silently crying into my pillow.

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