Chapter 4 – Shattered

Liam stood outside Niall’s hotel room door the next morning. For the third time, he knocked on it. He was beginning to get concerned.

Well, not beginning to. He had been concerned about him for a long time. But, in this specific instance, he was starting to wonder why his friend wasn’t answering the door.

His concern was only worsened when Niall finally did open the door. He had dark circles around his eyes, was still wearing his clothes from the night before and, quite honestly, looked awful.

“Morning,” Liam said carefully.

“Morning,” Niall muttered, rubbing his eyes. “Is it time to go already?”

Liam eyed him, wondering what kind of trouble he’d gotten into the night before. He’d known that he had gone out on his own, probably to a club, and that he’d come back quite late. But the details of what had happened while he was out were still relatively unknown to everyone.

“Yeah,” Liam said finally. “Uh,” he peeked inside the room, “there’s no one else in there with you, right?”

Niall shook his head. “No, it’s just me.”

Liam breathed an internal sigh of relief, and then mentally berated himself. It didn’t matter who Niall was sleeping with or what he was doing. That type of information shouldn’t affect him at all.

But it always did. Every time Niall talked about another one of his conquests, it hurt. And Liam tried to tell himself it was because he didn’t like the person that Niall was becoming, and because he knew he was better than just having a string of one night stands. Of course, he always found himself knowing the truth – he was jealous. Jealous of all the girls who got to be with him, and kiss him, and be naked with him…

Liam really hated it when those thoughts creeped into his mind. Mostly because he didn’t know what to do with them.

“Well, I’ll try to buy you some time,” he said with a small smile. “But the buses are leaving in five minutes, so you’d best hurry up.”

Niall nodded. “Thanks, Li.”

He shut the door and leaned against it slightly, head in his hand. He was so tired and sick feeling. It made sense – he hadn’t been able to fall asleep until nearly five in the morning. He figured that was a side effect of what he’d done.

Which was cocaine. Which terrified him so much that he shuddered.

He pushed the memories of the night before out of his mind as he gathered up his things in the room and stuffed them into his duffel bag. He glanced longingly at the bathroom on his way out. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time for a shower, and he’d just have to wait until they checked in to the next hotel.

He rushed downstairs to where the bus was waiting. After mumbling a quick greeting to Paul, he hopped onto their tour bus and headed straight for his bunk, tossing his duffel bag inside before crawling in and closing his eyes.

Liam watched as he did this, and looked at the others.

“Is he okay?” Harry asked, glancing up at Liam from where they were sitting in the kitchenette.

Liam shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“I haven’t seen him this depressed since… well, you know,” Harry said slowly, giving Liam a look.

Liam sighed. Yes, that was true. Niall had spent the past few months in a constant state of drama, but the only other time he’d truly seemed as lost as he did currently was just after he’d found out Alicia was pregnant.

“I need to talk to you,” Niall said shortly as he walked right past Liam and into the older boy’s hotel room.

“I’m busy,” Liam said irritably, glancing over at where Danielle was sitting on the bed. Feelings for Niall or not, he was still with Danielle, and he had still been planning on getting laid that night.

“Right,” Niall said, glancing over at Danielle. “Really sorry, Dani, but it’s important.”

Danielle sighed, but obliged. “I’m going to go downstairs for a coffee. I’ll be back in a bit,” she said, giving Liam a kiss on the cheek before leaving the room.

As soon as she was gone, Niall groaned and threw him self down on the bed.

“What?” Liam asked, still slightly irritated, but curious as to what was so important that Niall had to come barging into the room.

“I fucked up,” Niall said, covering his hands with his face. “I fucked up so bad.”

Liam sat down on the plush chair in the room and looked over at his best friend. “Why? What’d you do?”

Niall muttered something inaudible, and Liam furrowed his eyebrows. “What?”

“I got Alicia pregnant,” Niall said again, only slightly louder this time.

Liam gaped at him. How was that even possible? Well, he knew how it was possible, of course, but how was it possible that Niall had been so stupid as to let that happen? “Good work,” he said sarcastically.

“Ugh,” Niall groaned again, his hands still covering his face. “I’m in so much shit.”

“Are you guys sure?” Liam asked cautiously, not really knowing what to do in this situation. He was torn between feeling bad for his friend, and being angry with him for being so stupid.

“Yeah,” Niall said with a sigh, sitting up. “She’s sure. She went to the doctor and everything before she came here.”

“So what are you doing sitting here with me then?” Liam asked, pointing out the obvious. Shouldn’t Niall be spending his time with Alicia, and comforting her? As far as Liam was concerned, this was something they should have been dealing with together.

Niall shrugged. “She’s asleep in my room. We had a really long talk about it and she cried, and I cried and we both cried about it…”

Liam shrugged. “Well, I guess there’s not much you two can do about it, is there?”

“Actually…” Niall trailed off averting his gaze from Liam and staring down at the floor. “There is.”

Liam didn’t say anything, he just waited for Niall to continue. His friend looked so sad, so lost, and so broken. It was a far cry from how he usually was – so happy and carefree. It almost broke Liam’s heart – but then he remembered that Niall had completely brought this on himself.

“I think…she’s going to have an abortion…” he said quietly.

“Niall…” Liam said, looking at him carefully. He’d never expected that from him, in fact, it had been the last thing he’d thought would have come out of Niall’s mouth.

“I know,” Niall said sharply, tears evident in his eyes. “I know. But what else can we do? I can’t raise a kid, Li, I can’t. Not now.”

Liam sighed. Instead of lecturing his friend, he just sat down on the bed beside him and pulled him in for a hug. “Sorry. I’ll support you in whatever decision you two make.”

“Thank you,” Niall said, and Liam allowed him to bury his head in his neck as hot tears soaked through his shirt. “I’m so sorry…” he trailed off, apologizing to no one in particular as he cried harder.

And Liam just held him, like any good friend would.

Niall stayed in his bunk the entire bus ride to the next city. He dozed in and out of sleep, but didn’t feel very well rested. A combination of the light streaming in through the bus windows and the faint chatter of the other boys wasn’t helping. Not to mention the disgust with himself that kept creeping into his mind.

The scariest part about it was that though he knew drugging himself to forget about his problems was wrong and unhealthy, he found himself wanting to do it again. He missed the high he’d felt the night before. He felt alive again; like there wasn’t a crushing pain in his chest telling him that he’d done so much damage in the past year that he would never, ever be forgiven.

He could hear the others laughing and talking like they didn’t have a care in the world, and he envied them. They hadn’t been through what he’d been through. Their lives were perfect and easy. His was a mess. Though he tried his best to keep his spirits up and remain the same person he’d always been, with each passing day, it got harder.

He wondered if the others had noticed. He knew Liam had – Liam always noticed when something was wrong with him, no matter how miniscule. That was the great thing about their friendship. But now, Niall began to wonder if Liam (or the others) judged him and thought poorly of him.

They’d always appeared to be on his side – they sort of had to, being in the group and all. But Niall wondered how much of it was real. He closed his eyes and tried to drown out the happy sounds from his friends with the pillow, but it was no use. They had everything they needed with each other.

And he had nothing.

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