6. Sunday, September 30th

The drive over to Liam’s place was short, but that didn’t really make it less awkward. He was fairly quiet, for obvious reasons I supposed. He just looked out the window of the car and sighed a lot. I didn’t really know what to say to help him.

I was also really hungover so that didn’t help. The quiet was fine with me, because the only reason my head wasn’t pounding was because of the Advil I’d taken as soon as I’d woken up. I still hadn’t mastered the idea of having a glass of water for every drink. Instead I had a pint of beer for every beer.

Which never was a smart idea, and I was always paying for it the next day.

Liam seemed all right though, despite the fact that he’d been drinking the night before too. I mean, he seemed sad, but he didn’t really seem overly hungover or sick. Or maybe he was, and that was the true reason for his silence and he was actually over his breakup with Danielle.

How long do things like that usually take, anyway?

Longer than I thought, apparently, because Liam’s face fell even further when we stepped inside his house.

It didn’t look the same as it had last time I was there. I suppose that made sense, given that all of Danielle’s things were gone. But I didn’t expect it to look that different, maybe just emptier. Not only did it look emptier, but it also felt emptier.

And if I was feeling like it was emptier, I couldn’t even imagine what Liam was going through.

He sighed, scratching his arm a little and looking around the living room. His couches were still there, but his big glass coffee table was gone. That was was stuck out to me the most, because I remembered being over there with the other lads, and Harry and Louis messing about had almost broken it. That was the only time I’d seen Liam get that angry, when he was giving them hell for being careless and nearly destroying his girlfriend’s things.

The walls looked empty too. Maybe Liam needed to get some movie posters or something to make them not look so white.

I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. We just stood there, looking around and it was weird. I felt so uneasy, and I didn’t know that I should have because it wasn’t even my house.

But the look on Liam’s face when I glanced over at him was the entire reason for that, I realized.

He looked at me and then darted his eyes to the ground. “This means it’s real, doesn’t it?” he whispered, almost so quiet that I couldn’t hear him.

Was it not real before? “Uh, yeah,” I said, looking down at him.

He didn’t really think my cluelessness was funny I guess, because he made a sound like some sort of dying animal and before I knew it his arms were wrapped around me.

“Oy, Liam,” I said, as he nearly knocked the wind out of me. He also often forgets how big he is. Well, compared to me, anyway. I’m short and can’t take that kind of abuse!

“Sorry,” he choked out, still holding on to me. I awkwardly patted him on the back as I hugged him. It wasn’t like we hadn’t hugged before, but it had never been in a context such as this one. He was just broken and sad and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it!

“It’s alright,” I said as I continued to hug him.

“I just can’t believe she’s really gone,” he said, calming down a little and pulling away from me. He went over to the couch and sat down on it, leaning his head back against the cushions. I sat down beside him and just listened as he continued to talk.

“I guess I just thought that maybe I would come back and she’d still be here,” he shrugged a bit, shaking his head because he must have realized how ridiculous that sounded. “You know, and that everything would magically be better, like in a film or something.”

I nodded along, but in reality I had no idea what he was talking about. If things between him and Danielle were so bad that they had to break up,

“I guess that was stupid of me,” he said, looking down at the ground.

“It’s not stupid,” I assured him. “It’s weird to be here without her here.”

Saying that was probably stupid. But Liam looked at me gratefully, because he seemed to understand what I was getting at. But it was true. I hardly knew what it was like to be friends with Liam without Danielle. In the beginning of X Factor, I suppose, but not once we got to be really close. It was like the two of them were a unit, he was always talking about her, and when we were home she was always around.

I sort of mourned their breakup too, which was silly. But I had liked her a lot. All the lads had, really. It was so strange to see Liam sitting there in his empty house without the possibility of Danielle coming into the room to join for whatever we were up to that evening.

“It is weird, isn’t it?” he sighed. “It doesn’t even feel like my house. It just feels like a house.”

I suppose that made sense. Danielle was such a big part of his life when he was at home.

“How do you do it, Nialler?” he asked me out of the blue.

Um, what?

“How do you just go back to your flat every night by yourself?” he clarified, because I probably looked at him like he was mad.

I didn’t know. I just went home every day like it was a completely normal thing to do. I didn’t miss having someone there, because I never knew what it was like to have someone there all the time. I’d gone through my teen years wishing my brother would go away and enjoying the freedom that my dad’s demanding job had given me that living alone was a blessing, not a curse.

It was sort of weird sometimes how quiet it was. And even though I could keep the place relatively clean, it was also weird to just cook for one person. So I usually just ordered food, because which helped with keeping the place clean since I only really had to throw away the takeaway boxes at the end instead of do dishes.

Also I was spoiled, and my mum did my laundry when she came over for a visit.

“Uh,” I said rather dumbly. “I don’t really know.”

I think he was expecting me to give him some kind of big revelation that would make him feel better about suddenly being on his own, but I couldn’t do that. There was nothing I could suddenly say to make it all better.

“You want to order a pizza?”

~~~

I laughed. In the midst of feeling the most sad and pathetic I had ever felt in my entire life I actually laughed. And it was because Niall felt he could solve everything by suggesting we order food. The fact that he was trying so hard to cheer me up in this obviously so foreign situation for him was exactly what I needed.

That, and the pizza he’d suggested.

“Yes,” I said, looking at him with a smile. “Absolutely.”

I wide grin spread across his face and I couldn’t tell if it was because he was delighted that we were going to get food, or because he knew that he had succeeded in cheering me up just a little bit.

“Brilliant,” he said, standing up. “I’ll order it. What kind do you want?”

“Anything is fine. You choose.”

He nodded and pulled his mobile out of his jeans, leaving the room to go order the pizza. Even though I could faintly hear him talking in the next room, I still felt terribly lonely.

I knew that was something Niall wouldn’t be able to cure, no matter what. But I was extremely grateful he’d decided to come to the house with me. I couldn’t imagine just sitting on the couch by myself, lost in my thoughts about Dani.

I hadn’t even bothered with the other rooms yet – I didn’t want to think about what the bedroom might look like. The living room was enough for now. The walls were bare without all the pictures of the two of us – they’d all been hers, and they were all gone. I wondered if he took them with her, or if she’d tossed them all.

I didn’t really want to know.

The table was also missing, and that was weird. I shook my head a little, remembering how Harry and Louis had almost broken it. I’d pictured the potential look on Danielle’s face, and that had been enough for me to completely go off on them about respecting other people’s property. I supposed they wouldn’t really have to worry about breaking that table now – it was safe and sound back wherever Danielle had gone.

Presumably back to her parent’s place, but I actually wasn’t sure. It wasn’t as though she didn’t have her own money to get her own place – but I suppose on such short notice it would be hard to find one.

I just wish she hadn’t had to leave.

I felt sick and sad and alone and lost. What was I going to do without her snuggling close to me at night, waking me up in the morning with coffee and a kiss on the forehead? I supposed it would be better when I was off on tour, but alone in the house? It would never feel complete again without her in it, I was sure of it.

For a brief moment, I considered just packing up all of my things as well and moving to an entirely new house. But I didn’t think that was going to solve any of my problems.

“Pizza will be here in about a half hour,” Niall said, coming back into the room and making me momentarily forget about my sorrows. “Round of Fifa?” he asked, putting his hands in his pockets and raising his eyebrows at me.

Yes, that sounded delightful. That was one thing I’d never done with Danielle – Fifa. That had always been mine and Niall’s thing – even though the others played it, it had always been what the two of us did together. On rare occasion that we did play with the other lads, we teamed up and won every time.

It was a great laugh, and I was thankful that Niall had suggested it. I nodded to him and we sat down in front of the TV to play until our pizza arrived.

Which it did at an extremely pivotal moment. Niall got up to answer the door without bothering to hit the pause button, which proved be be his downfall because I scored on him and won the game.

“Hey!” he exclaimed, holding the pizza box. “That was cheating.”

“You didn’t pause,” I said with a slight smirk.

“I didn’t have to! You should have known to stop playing!”

I just laughed, feeling a little better. “The clock was still running.”

He just glared at me a bit, sitting down and placing the pizza box on the floor. I sort of wanted to tell him that we could just eat in the kitchen… but I also didn’t really. Eating on the floor was fine with me – and was something I never would have been able to do with Danielle around.

Well, mostly because we wouldn’t have to because we’d still have the table in the living room, but still.

I opened the box and pulled out a slice, which made Niall look at me with delight. He was probably expecting me to tell him to go eat in the kitchen, actually. Well, I could show him that I could definitely live the bachelor life he was so accustomed to.

“Thanks for coming with me,” I said sincerely, after we ate in silence for a few minutes.

He waved it off as he bit into his second slice of pizza. “Don’t worry about it.”

“I really mean it,” I said, not meaning to get overly sappy. It was hard not to though, with all my feelings running so high. “You don’t know how much you’ve helped me over these past few days.”

He shook his head like it was no big deal, which was exactly the best thing about Niall. Not a care in the world – he just went through life doing what he did best, being happy and appreciating the little things. “I haven’t done anything,” he protested.

Which was exactly the reason he had helped so much. By not doing anything and acting like everything was normal, it helped me to see that things without Danielle could truly be normal. My life could go on without her in it, even if that didn’t seem overly possible right at the moment.

“You have,” I said seriously. “You’ve been the best friend I could have asked for.”

He blushed a little bit, probably not really knowing how to take the compliment. “Well thanks,” he finally said. “You’re not such a bad guy yourself.”

Niall made no quick moves to leave once we were done eating, which I really appreciated. Anyone else probably would have worried about overstaying their welcome, but he didn’t. Not in a bad way, but I think he realized I didn’t really want him to leave.

We ended up chilling out for the rest of the evening, just playing Fifa and watching movies. Before I knew it, Niall had drifted off to sleep on my couch.

I wasn’t in any rush to wake him up, so instead I threw a blanket over him and turned the volume down on the TV. I also wasn’t in any rush to go sleep in my own bed alone, so I stayed on the couch with Niall curled up beside me. I smiled a little, looking down at him. His mouth hung open and he really did snore softly, if such a thing was possible.

It was a little weird, but oddly comforting. Which I supposed summed up the entire week thus far.

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