Chapter 7 – Playing in the Name of Love

Niall rested his head in his right hand as he leaned on the table.

The group of them had gone out to dinner as they didn’t have a show that night. He was feeling slightly better than he had been the night before, and was eager to be done at the restaurant so that he could go off on his own.

Danielle was sitting beside him, and her lighthearted attitude was really annoying him. Really, everything about Liam and Danielle was annoying him that day. The way they were always so cute with one another, and how they always seemed to know exactly what to do or say to make each other smile.

There was a time when he was happy for Liam. Now, he just felt jealous and heartbroken. Seeing Liam and Danielle together reminded him of what he didn’t have any longer. What he was sure he would never have again. There was no way he was going to allow himself to let his guard down and be close to someone like that, but at the same time he craved it.

It was confusing and he didn’t like it. All he knew was that he had to look away when Danielle rested her head on Liam’s shoulder, because it disgusted him.

“Niall?”

It wasn’t overly loud in the restaurant, so he couldn’t even pretend he hadn’t heard Danielle. He turned to face her. “Yeah?”

She smiled at him sympathetically. He hated that too. She was trying so hard to be nice and he wasn’t having any of it.

“Are you alright?”

It took everything he had to not roll his eyes. What a stupid question that was; of course he wasn’t alright. And yet, he wasn’t about to admit to her that he was anything less. There was no way he was going to spill all of his feelings to Danielle, not when he truly didn’t know what those feelings were himself.

“Fine,” he muttered, trying to force a smile on his face.

She gave him a look that said she didn’t quite believe him, but thankfully, she dropped it. Her attention was turned back to Liam, and she rested her head on his shoulder while he talked with the others.

Niall sipped at his drink lazily. It was hard for him to remember now, but at one point, he had been happy. He and Alicia had been in love the very same way that Liam and Danielle were. It was simple, easy and unconditional. Or so he’d thought, anyway.

Niall came running off stage and headed straight for the bus, just as they did every night. Their tour of America wasn’t an overly long one, but to him he was beginning to feel like it was an eternity. He wished Alicia could have come to join him, but there was no way her family was going to allow that. Not with all of the attention that had been on her recently.

Things hadn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the two of them. While he’d thought that everything would go back to normal eventually, things just continually got worse for the couple. The fans wouldn’t leave them alone, management had to warn interviewers to not ask any questions about the incident, and the worst of all, was that no one seemed to be supportive of their relationship anymore.

Niall had dealt with hate before, but never like this. It seemed like the support for the two of them together got smaller and smaller every day that passed. He tried to tell himself that it didn’t matter what the fans thought. That his relationship was his business and no one else’s, but of course it mattered. It especially mattered to Alicia, who was all alone back in London, on account of her friends no longer wanting to associate with her because of all the negative attention she was getting.

Niall dashed into his hotel room and laid down on his bed. He picked up his phone and sighed. Four missed calls. That wasn’t uncommon – Alicia tended to call him a lot. They rarely talked about anything fun anymore, instead he ended up just comforting her when she cried.

But she would get over it eventually. He tried to remain positive that they could move past all of this. He wasn’t about to leave her just because they were going through a rough period. Especially not when he believed that he was the one who had caused all of this to happen in the first place.

He sighed and called her back. She picked up right away.

“Hey Nialler,” she said carefully.

Niall frowned. She hardly ever used his nickname anymore, and even though it should have delighted him it just made this seem suspicious. “Hey Lish,” he said wearily. “What’s up? You called a lot, but I was on stage…”

“Yeah,” she said slowly. “I know. I was just hoping to get you as soon as you were back.”

“Okay…” he said, not really knowing what was going on. “What’s going on, then?”

He heard her take a deep breath. “I think we should break up.”

Niall felt the colour drain from his face. Break up? After everything they’d been through together? That wasn’t what he wanted at all! He wanted everything to go back to normal. “Lish-” he started, but was cut off.

“You can’t convince me otherwise, Niall,” she said firmly, like she had rehearsed this before. He rolled his eyes. He hated the fact that he’d caused so much drama for her, and that the only way to get it to stop was for her to get rid of him.

He pursed his lips together, and didn’t say anything. The line was silent for a moment before Alicia spoke again.

“Nialler?”

“What?” he snapped. “You said I couldn’t convince you otherwise, so what do you want me to say?”

“I don’t know,” she sighed sadly. “I just think it’d be better if we were apart. It’s never going to go back to the way it was. I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, me too,” he said bitterly, before hanging up and tossing his phone onto the floor.

He rolled over onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. He couldn’t decide if he should be feeling depressed, angry or relieved. Alicia breaking up with him would have little impact to what had happened in the past, but at least now she probably wouldn’t be calling him in a fit of tears anymore.

To be honest, that bothered him. He didn’t mind talking to her – he felt guilty about everything and he only wanted to help. He still loved her, and he wished he could just take her pain away.

He rolled over onto his side, sighing and little and trying to will himself to sleep.

***

The music in the club had been loud. Loud and distracting and terrible and exactly what Niall needed to forget about everything that was going on in his life.

Well, it wasn’t the only thing Niall needed to forget about what was going on. It was merely a setting. A means to an end. With everything that was going on around him, he didn’t even give it a second thought as he found himself drugged up for the fourth time.

Before he’d thought it was a bad idea. Now, he found himself feeling a lot better about his growing cocaine addiction. So much so, in fact, that he hardly needed alcohol at all anymore. And that, he rationalized, was a very good thing. Drinking just made him sick and hungover and sluggish the next day, but the after effects of cocaine?

Well, he was tired because the mess of toxins running through his system always made it hard to get to sleep, but at least he didn’t feel quite as hungover. Plus, not drinking made it so much less likely he’d end up in some kind of rehab facility.

Nevermind that cocaine was just as bad an addiction as drinking was, possibly worse. But of course, these were the things he told himself to rationalize his actions.

And bringing a random girl back to his hotel room? Well, there was obviously rationale for that too, he reminded himself as he pressed her up against the elevator walls when they were back at the hotel.

The rationale was, of course, that he hated Danielle and Liam and their perfect relationship. He didn’t need a perfect relationship, he reminded himself, as he forced his mouth over the girl’s. A perfect relationship would just cause drama in the end, making it not so perfect.

And what was a relationship good for anyway? Sex. Which was easily attainable for him without the stress of a relationship.

He could barely keep his hands off her as they made their way down the hall. He would stop and kiss her and push her against the wall, rubbing himself up against her like he was some kind of animal. Along with the obvious pick-me-up, he fucking loved the stamina that cocaine was able to give him.

As luck would have it, being that he was practically having sex with this girl in the hallway of the hotel, he was caught. And who was he caught by? The worst of the worst.

Liam.

“I wondered what all this racket was,” he said harshly, stepping out of his room and walking towards Niall.

Niall just rolled his eyes as the girl giggled slightly and started sucking on his neck. “What do you want…ah,” he moaned slightly, completely gone and not really giving a shit that Liam was standing in front of him.

“Oh you know, just going out for a little stroll in the hall,” Liam said, shaking his head and glaring at Niall. Not that Niall really noticed as he’d closed his eyes. “Might I suggest you get a room?” Liam asked irritably.

“Mmm… I have one,” Niall replied, going back to his entertainment for the evening and kissing her roughly.

“Well use it,” Liam said angrily. “Jesus, Niall, have at least an ounce of dignity.”

“Ugh,” Niall said, pulling away from the girl and shooting a glare at Liam. He really was quite a bringdown. He took the girl’s hand and the two of them walked past Liam, who had his arms crossed in annoyance over his chest.

“Bye, Daddy Direction, go ruin someone else’s fun,” Niall said, making the girl laugh again as the two of them disappeared into his room.

Niall didn’t see the frustrated and lost look on Liam’s face as the door slammed behind him. He couldn’t care less what Liam thought of him, and frankly, he was somewhat glad to have annoyed him. After all, he’d been bothered enough by him and his stupid relationship earlier in the day.

The girl forced her hand inside of Niall’s jeans and Niall groaned as she touched him. There was nothing tender or romantic about it, and he didn’t care. He told himself it didn’t matter, as she unzipped his fly and pushed his jeans and boxers down.

It didn’t matter, he reminded himself, as she pulled her underwear off and laid down on the bed.

Niall crawled on top of her, but quickly flipped the two of them over. He wasn’t about to do all of the work.

The girl smirked slightly and leaned down to kiss him again before pushing his dick inside of her.

It didn’t matter, Niall reminded himself as he felt the tip of his cock against her wet centre.

He pressed his eyes shut. He’d done this loads of times before, but now, thinking about Danielle and Liam and how Alicia was gone and how it was his fault and how much he truly hated himself, even if he didn’t want to admit it…

He harshly pushed the girl off of him, and she ended up on the floor.

“What’re you doing?” she asked angrily, composing herself and standing up.

“I can’t do it,” Niall blurted out, sitting up and putting his head in his hands. His eyes were wide and his heart was beating fast. “I can’t do it… I can’t do it…”

He was sure the girl probably looked at him like he was crazy, but he didn’t care. He heard her scoff as she pulled her underwear back on and left in a huff, slamming the door behind her.

“Fuck,” Niall muttered to himself, still breathing heavily. He swallowed a little before going to retrieve his boxers and pulling them back on.

Before he had a chance to register what had happened, there was a knock at his door. He didn’t care to answer it, thinking it was just the stupid girl, probably back to beg for another chance with him. Because that was what girls did – beg for a chance to be with him, even if just for one night.

But it wasn’t her. “Niall?” he heard Liam’s soft voice through the door. “It’s me, mate, open up.”

Niall shook his head slightly, but opened the door. The room was spinning, and his crotch was still throbbing, and Liam was standing there for some reason and when he looked at his friend he just felt like bursting into a fit of sobs.

“Are you alright?” he asked with concern. Because that was what Liam always did – check to make sure his friends were okay, even if they’d just treated him like shit moments before. “I saw your…friend leaving. And she looked quite upset.”

And just like that, Niall came apart. He didn’t bother to ask why Liam had still been standing in the hall – he didn’t care. Instead, he wrapped his arms around Liam and hugged him tightly, sobbing violently into his sweater. “I’m so fucked up, Li,” he cried. “I can’t… I’m so fucked up.”

Liam rubbed Niall’s back easily, trying to get his friend to calm down. He didn’t know really what had gone on, but that didn’t matter. He let Niall cry, and breathed a slight sigh of relief that instead of going out and getting smashed, he was at least safe in the hotel, finally allowing someone to comfort him.

And really, as Niall shook with tears, Liam tried not to think about the fact that his friend’s very obvious erection was pressed against his leg.

Because really, it didn’t matter.

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