Niall woke up the next morning with his body half draped overtop of Liam. His hair was a matted down mess on account of sleeping on it when it was wet, but he didn’t care. He hardly even noticed as he lazily opened his eyes.
Liam continued to sleep, making slight noises as he breathed. Niall smiled and kissed on him the cheek quickly before snuggling up closer to him.
If they never had to leave the hotel room again, he was sure he would be okay with that.
But of course, they were going to have to. It was difficult for Niall to fall asleep again as he thought about that. Eventually, whether they liked it or not, they were going to have to let the others know about their relationship. Though Niall felt content with Liam, and though he knew that was all that truly mattered, the reality of the situation was that telling everyone else wasn’t going to be easy.
He shifted a bit as he thought about it, and it was enough to rise Liam from his slumber.
Liam rubbed his eyes for a moment as he registered what was going on. He felt Niall’s weight on top of him and immediately smiled to himself. Then he quickly remembered they were on a tight schedule – as they always were.
“What time is it?” Liam asked as he opened his eyes slightly, and Niall burst out laughing.
Because of course Liam would only be concerned with the time.
“Class, Payne,” Niall laughed, sitting up. “Here I am, naked with you and all you’re concerned about is the time? Tosser.”
Liam grinned and he pulled Niall back down on top of him. He kissed the blonde softly and looked at him. “That’s not all I’m concerned with,” he assured him. “It’s just the most pressing matter at the moment.”
“Right,” Niall replied, kissing Liam twice more before continuing. “I don’t actually think it is.”
“Mmph,” Liam said when Niall’s lips were on his again. He used all the willpower he had to push Niall off of him, because they really did have to get up. “We’ve got to get going,” he said regretfully.
Niall nodded, because he was also well aware that Paul would likely be banging on the door if they weren’t in the hotel lobby at the right time. The last thing he wanted was for their relationship to be found out in such a way. “I’ve got to go back to my room and get my stuff,” he said, lacing his fingers with Liam’s.
Liam nodded and tightened his grip around Niall’s hand.
The two boys looked at each other for a moment. It was strange, neither of them wanted to leave the room because once they did they knew what they’d done would become all the more real. Yet, they were both also excited to begin this new chapter of their lives together.
“Is this actually happening?” Liam asked softly.
Niall nodded his head slowly. “I think it is.” He took a deep breath that was laced with nerves. He’d been through so much in the last year, and now he finally felt at peace and happy. He knew that the others would probably just be happy for them, but if he could just hold on to these peaceful feelings for a little longer…
He kissed Liam on the cheek and on the back of his hand before pulling away and hopping off the bed. He glanced around the room for his discarded clothes, pulling them back on as he went.
And Liam just watched him, staying completely speechless. In the best way possible, Niall was acting like everything was normal. Not as though what they’d done was an abomination, but instead was right.
“Liam,” Niall said softly before leaving the room.
He breathed a bit. “Can we maybe keep this to ourselves for a bit?” he asked, feeling slightly worried that Liam was going to take it the wrong way. “It’s not that I don’t…” he explained, trailing off so he wouldn’t have to tell Liam he loved him, because even though he’d basically said it the night before it seemed awfully soon for a confession of that magnitude. “It’s just that I want to keep it this way for a little while longer.”
Liam nodded. He knew that the others probably wouldn’t care, judging by the way Louis had reacted. But Niall’s cautiousness was understandable given he hadn’t experienced that. Along with everything else he’d gone through in the past year. “Sure,” he said.
Niall nodded gratefully and walked over to Liam. He kissed him on the lips softly before leaving the room. “Thank you.”
As soon as Liam heard the door click shut he placed his hands over his face. The events of the night before replayed in slow motion in his head. Niall hugging him at the show, Niall showing up unexpectedly at his hotel room door, Niall admitting he actually had feelings for him, Niall kissing him and pressing himself against him in the shower.
Liam groaned, but not in frustration. Just because he simply had to vocalize something, anything, about what was going through his brain. The fact that Niall had finally seemed to give in to whatever feelings he’d had, and in such a way at that.
Liam had never imagined it would go so smoothly. He supposed that it just seemed smooth in comparison – after all, there had been a lot leading up to this point. It took him a few minutes to let it all sink in.
He opened his eyes as his hands fell off his face. He glanced to his side at the rumpled sheets on the bed. Niall’s scent still lingered on them. He sighed with relief and sat up.
This truly was happening, and he couldn’t have felt better about it.
Liam rushed downstairs to the lobby only to see that the others were already standing in a circle waiting for him.
His eyes instantly darted towards Niall who looked normal as ever. His blonde hair was hidden underneath a Toronto Blue Jays snapack with just a few wisps poking out from underneath it. His eyes were covered with his black Ray Bans and his face… well, that was the best of all.
It was plastered with his signature smile.
“Morning, lads,” Liam smiled, joining their group.
“Liam!” Louis exclaimed, looking at him and cutting off whatever conversation he was having with Harry. He pointed at his wrist, which actually had no watch on it. “You’re the last one here. Did hell freeze over, did you actually sleep in?”
Liam rolled his eyes, but grinned all the same. “No, just had a bit of a slow start this morning.”
Louis raised his eyebrow but didn’t say anything more, which Liam was thankful for. He tried to catch Niall’s eyes, but it was difficult to do so through his sunglasses.
Niall didn’t miss Liam’s attempt to make eye-contact with him. He continued to laugh at the conversation he was having with Zayn as he glanced at Liam and shot him a quick grin. That was the very reason for the sunglasses – he didn’t want to make it seem like anything was off, and he knew as soon as he saw Liam he wouldn’t be able to stop from smiling.
He shoved his hands in his pockets and tried to focus on Zayn’s story about whatever antics he’d gotten into the night before. He laughed and nodded along in all the right places, but his mind was somewhere else.
Still in Liam’s hotel room from the night before, no doubt. He hadn’t felt that secure in weeks and it was slightly killing him that he couldn’t just walk over to Liam and hug him tightly.
None of the boys probably would have even found it strange if he had, of course. They had always been overly touchy-feely with one another. But Niall still felt uneasy about showing any sort of affection in front of the others – especially since he knew that Louis knew some of the history that had gone on between him and Liam.
He just wasn’t ready to explain it to everyone yet.
“Let’s get moving, lads,” Paul said, interrupting Niall’s thought process. “We’ve got a few hours drive over to Nashville, some press, a soudcheck and a show and not a moment to waste, so let’s get moving.”
The boys obliged as they followed Paul over to their tour bus, which was gassed up and ready to go from the moment the doors shut.
And of course, the moment the doors shut Niall was ushered into the Entertainment Room for a session with Jessica.
He sighed, sitting down on the couch across from her. There were so many things going through his mind and so many things that he felt he should tell her. He didn’t have the faintest idea where to start or how to vocalize them.
Luckily, she was always good at getting the conversation moving.
“It’s been a couple days since we’ve talked, hasn’t it?” she asked in the soothing voice she always had. Niall wasn’t even sure she had any other tone, because that was the same voice she had when he’d caught Harry casually chatting her up.
He just nodded, struggling to find the right words. So much had happened since his last session with her, and yet nothing really had. He’d just figured out what he’d always known. His mind had clicked on, in a way.
And he felt so much better for it.
“Why don’t you tell me about the last couple of days. You did a radio interview, how did that go?”
“Yeah,” Niall shrugged, because that was the easy part. “Good, I suppose.”
“That’s good,” she nodded. “It sounds like you’re really getting back on track.”
He bobbed his head and chewed on his thumb as he looked at her. “Yeah… I think so. I feel a lot better. I…” he trailed off, fiddling with his hands and picking at his fingernails.
She cocked her head to the side slightly as she watched him. “Niall?”
“I uh, had a talk with Liam,” he said awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck with his hand. It was strange how he felt so much more at ease bringing this up with her than his closest friends and bandmates, but he figured that was because she was so far removed from the situation and was under a legal contract to not say anything about it to anyone else.
“Oh?” she asked, her eyes opening a little wider, as though she wanted him to continue. “And how did that go?”
“Yeah,” Niall said, peering out the window as a smile crept up on his face. “It was good. We got a lot of stuff sorted out and…” he took a deep breath, looking at Jessica, unable to stop himself from grinning. “I think… I think we’re going to be together.”
Jessica smiled at him. “I’m really glad you were able to figure out what you wanted,” she said easily. “And you feel comfortable with everything?”
Niall nodded. He supposed he was still a little unsure about the things that were to come – the questions that might come from his friends at home, as well as his family. Him and Liam would have to explain things eventually to the other boys, of course.
But in the case of him and Liam and where just the two of them stood? Nothing was clearer to Niall.
“I do,” he said assuredly. “I feel like… I don’t understand why I was so confused and scared before.” He squinted his eyes and looked at her, hoping she could offer him some kind of explanation.
“Well,” she said, thinking for a moment. “A new relationship, any new relationship can be scary. Especially one with one of your closest friends, who, as you were concerned about last session is a boy. You were going through a lot before, and it’s definitely a lot of new feelings to deal with.”
Niall took a moment to absorb that. He supposed she was right – it was all very scary, especially in the throws of his depression and shock over what had happened with Alicia. It had all been too much for him to deal with in his usual way of coping with things by ignoring them.
But he vowed to no longer do that. It had nearly gotten him killed, after all, and he wasn’t eager on dying anytime soon. Not when he had so much to live for.
“Niall,” Jessica said gently, bringing him back to the conversation at hand. “I know you’re feeling better, and that’s great. But I’d still really like to keep having sessions with you. Just to make sure you continue on this path. Would that be okay?”
Niall nodded. It was more than okay – and when he hadn’t really seen the value in talking to someone about his thoughts and problems before, he certainly did now. “Yeah,” he said. “I’d like that.”
Jessica smiled at him. “Me too.”
Niall glanced out the window of the bus again as it chugged along the highway. He smiled, feeling much more hopeful about the future and the rest of the tour.