Cotton Candy Kisses

Niall licked his lips nervously as he gazed up above him. He loved everything about carnivals; roller coasters, the silly games, the food.

Oh, he especially loved the food.

The one thing he didn’t like was the Ferris wheel. He wasn’t quite sure why, as he could go on rides such the drop of fear with no problem. But the Ferris wheel had always bothered him. Perhaps it was because you weren’t strapped in at all and when the seat shook, there was no guarantee it wasn’t going to go tumbling to the ground. Despite being the calmest, it always looked to him like the unsafest ride.

He rarely told anybody this. Whenever he did, it never failed that he would be laughed at. So he usually kept it to himself. After all, it wasn’t like he went to carnivals very often. It was a fairly easy fact to keep hidden about himself.

Except for when he and his bandmates were waiting in line to get on one. He glanced over at Harry and Louis, who were standing a little off on their own, talking and giggling about something or other. Niall took a deep breath. Even Harry, who was terrified of every other ride seemed to be okay with going on the Ferris wheel.

He really was going to have to man up. He shifted uncomfortably as the line moved forward and dipped his hand into his bag of cotton candy. When all else failed, at least he had his snacks to turn to.

“Nialler?” Liam’s voice pulled Niall out of his thoughts.

“Yeah?”

“Are you okay? You look a little sick.” Liam’s voice was filled with concern.

“Oh,” Niall said, glancing up at the Ferris wheel yet again. He wondered for a moment if he should tell Liam that he really didn’t want to go on it. Liam would probably understand. He wouldn’t judge him.

It was the other members of the group Niall was worried about. And since they were all standing fairly close together there would be no way for him to say anything to Liam without the rest of them hearing it. He supposed he could have just whispered it, but there really wasn’t much point. If he skipped out on the Ferris wheel, the rest of them would still make fun of him anyway.

“Yeah, I’m just feeling kind of weird,” Niall said finally. It wasn’t exactly a lie.

Liam nodded towards the bag filled with fluffy pink and blue sugar that Niall was holding. “Maybe it’s because this is your second bag of that stuff,” he laughed a little.

“Yeah, maybe,” Niall shrugged, but it didn’t stop him from shoving another handful into his mouth. He glanced over at Liam, who was once again gazing upward. Niall could tell he was fascinated by all the colours and lights. He probably would have been himself too, if he hadn’t been so terrified. Still, the look on Liam’s face made Niall feel slightly better. He could always find beauty in the little things, and it was one of the things Niall loved about him so much.

He’d never breathed a word to Liam about how he felt. He didn’t think there would be much point in it. He hadn’t even realized it himself until a few months prior. Now, whenever he looked at Liam he felt a fluttering in his heart that he’d grown somewhat accustomed to.

He wasn’t really sure how his feelings had grown from their close friendship to this love he felt, but it didn’t really matter. He didn’t think Liam had any idea about the feelings he was harbouring, and Niall felt this was probably for the best. He was certain his friend didn’t reciprocate.

There was no way he was going to ask him if he did, that was for sure. So, he continued to love him from afar, while not risking their friendship. To Niall, it simply wasn’t worth it. He would keep that secret to himself until the day he died.

When he realized he’d finished his bag of cotton candy, he threw the plastic in a nearby garbage bin and gulped.

Their group was the next one to get on the ride. He wondered if he could still get out of it. Perhaps the boys making fun of him for the rest of his life would be worth it.

“Come on Nialler,” Liam said as he slid into the metal bench. “You can sit with me.”

Niall took a deep breath and nodded, stepping onto the ride and sitting down beside Liam. There was no turning back now. At least he would get to spend his last moments sitting beside Liam, he figured. That was the very small silver lining to all of this.

He clasped his clammy hands together as the ride moved slightly, only to stop so that Louis, Harry and Zayn could get on to the next seat. Niall’s legs shook nervously as he watched this. “Is that okay?” he asked Liam, glancing over at him. “Can they have three of them on one seat? Is that safe?”

“What?” Liam asked, glancing down to where Zayn, Harry and Louis were seated underneath them. “I’m sure it’s fine, Niall.”

Niall didn’t think so, but he kept his mouth shut so that Liam wouldn’t think he was crazy. Instead, he just sat there nervously as the ride began to steadily move again, climbing further and further upwards.

It wasn’t the height Niall was afraid of, it was the seats that were directly above his head that worried him. Again, he glanced over at Liam. The older boy’s head was turned away, and he was looking down at the ground, presumably taking in the view of the park. The carnival lights shone and there were splashes of bright colour everywhere, which was a nice contrast against the dark night sky. It was all very beautiful, but in that moment Niall really couldn’t care less.

He scooted a little closer to Liam for comfort. Liam didn’t seem to take notice or mind, he just continued to look around the fair grounds.

And just as Niall was beginning to feel a little better, the ride stopped and the bench shook at the top. Though he knew he shouldn’t have, Niall found himself glancing upwards. He wasn’t sure the bolts were going to hold, and he was fairly certain they were going to plunge back down to their deaths against the hard concrete.

He squeezed his eyes shut, unable to shake those images from his mind.

“Are you seeing this Nialler?” Liam asked in awe, turning towards Niall, who still had his eyes firmly closed. “Uh… Niall?”

“Uh huh?” Niall asked shakily.

“What are you doing?” Liam asked him with a small laugh.

“Waiting for us to stop swinging,” Niall answered as though it were completely obvious.

“If you’re going to throw up, aim it away from me,” Liam said, trying to lighten the mood a little.

Niall shook his head, still not opening his eyes. “That’s not it.” He almost wished it were. Getting sick on a ride was something he could handle. He would live after that and feel better once it was over. Hanging in the sky on a large hunk of metal, however? He wasn’t so sure.

“Well, what is it then?”

The ride moved, but only ever so slightly. Right away, they were swaying in the air again. Niall found himself so terrified that he figured he may as well tell Liam the truth. At least the other boys were no longer within earshot. Besides, he could faintly hear them laughing and talking on the seat behind them. They weren’t paying any attention at all.

“I hate the Ferris wheel,” Niall admitted, opening his eyes and turning to look at Liam. He focused only on his face and not on anything else around him.

“What?” Liam looked at Niall oddly. “Why didn’t you just tell us that? We wouldn’t have made you go on it.”

“I don’t know,” Niall said as he glanced down at his feet. They were so far off the ground and he wasn’t being stably held up at all. He began to feel scared all over again. “I didn’t want them to make fun of me.”

“They wouldn’t have…” Liam began, but then rethought what he was about to say. “Well, they probably would have, but they would have gotten over it in a couple minutes once Harry said something stupid.”

“Right,” Niall replied as they began to move again. He couldn’t really care less. At that moment all he wanted to be was on the ground. And it didn’t seem like that was going to happen very quickly as the ride kept stopping and starting up again.

“We’ll be fine,” Liam said reassuringly, looking over the edge again and taking in the sight of the park. “I’ve been on Ferris wheels loads of times.”

Niall didn’t respond. He wanted to believe Liam, really, he did. But his intense fear was the only thing he was able to focus on.

He looked upwards to see that Harry, Louis and Zayn were now directly above them. Niall gulped as he heard the metal creek, and whether it was real or imagined it absolutely terrified him. He knew that these seats were only meant to hold two people and not three!

His breaths were short and shallow as he glanced over at Liam. Liam who was sitting right beside him and didn’t seem to be worried at all. Liam whose very presence usually served to calm him down. Liam who seemed to be genuinely enjoying the ride.

Liam, who he loved so undeniably much.

And suddenly, in that moment when he was so sure he was going to die, he didn’t want to take that secret with him to the grave anymore. He needed Liam to know, even if he wound up hating him. He scooted in closer to his friend, as close as he could get and looked at him.

“Li,” Niall said quickly, and Liam turned his attention back to Niall.

“Ye-”

Liam was cut off by Niall pressing his lips against his. Niall closed his eyes and breathed deeply as he finally experienced what he’d been dreaming about for so long. For a split second, he didn’t even care that they were in the worst place imaginable.

Then he pulled away slightly. Niall searched Liam’s face for something, anything that would tell him that he wasn’t crazy. Even though he was certainly acting it.

“What?” Liam asked softly, giving Niall a confused expression.

“I love you,” Niall said quickly, knowing he wouldn’t get the words out if he didn’t force them. At least he was telling Liam in a place where he couldn’t quite run away in horror. “I love you,” he repeated, feeling slightly better about saying it a second time.

Liam didn’t say anything in response for a couple of seconds, and it worried Niall. Then, Liam reached up and touched Niall’s cheek lightly, before pulling him in for another kiss. Niall closed his eyes and relaxed a little at Liam’s lips moved against his own. They were soft and sweet, and Niall felt they fit together perfectly.

He inched in closer to Liam and wrapped his arms around the older boy’s neck. In that moment he forgot that they were swinging through the air while Liam’s tongue entered his mouth. Niall sighed a little as he felt Liam’s hand rest on his thigh.

“Oi, lovebirds!” he heard Louis call from above them, completely ruining the moment. “We’re really happy for you and all, but it’s almost time to get off the ride.”

Niall and Liam broke apart and looked around, realizing that they were in fact the next ones to get off the ride. Liam gave Niall a quick kiss on the cheek, and when it was time for them to step off of the ride, they did so while holding hands tightly.

“So,” Liam said, glancing back at Niall as they waited for the others to exit the ride. “Do you feel a bit better now?”

Niall gazed up at Liam lovingly. He’d never felt so happy in his entire life. “Yeah,” he replied, squeezing Liam’s hand. “I do.”

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