“United Airlines Flight UA44 to London, England is preparing for pre-boarding. All passengers…”

The announcement rang over the intercom as the boys waited at their gate to fly back to England. With their American tour complete, it was time for them to go back home and start on another round of promotion for their next album.

It was an endless cycle, but they loved every minute of it.

Niall sighed, standing up from his seat and stretching out. He slung his backpack over his shoulder and turned to Jessica, who was waiting with them at their gate.

She smiled at him. “I guess you’d better get in line.”

Niall shrugged, but then he nodded. He’d never really understood the rush of getting in line to board the plane first – it wasn’t like the plane was going to take off before all the passengers in the line had boarded. If anything, he’d rather be one of the last people to be on the plane – especially if he was going to be on it for twelve hours at a time.

Still, he waited just a second longer. Instead of moving to get into the line he pulled Jessica in for a hug. She smiled and laughed a little, but quickly hugged him back.

“Thank you,” he said softly. “For everything.”

“I didn’t do anything, Niall,” she said sincerely. “I just helped you get where you needed to go. You’re the one who did all the work, not me.”

Niall shrugged again, not really believing that. Even if he was the one who had sorted all his problems out, she was the one who had listened and prodded him to move forward when he felt stagnant. He felt like a completely different person than he had the last time he was waiting at an airport gate, and that was in no small part thanks to her guidance.

Liam walked up behind Niall and slung his arm around his boyfriend’s shoulders. “Just take the compliment,” he said with a wink, looking up at Jessica. “He’ll never let it go otherwise.”

Jessica laughed again as she looked at the boys. “Alright,” she obliged, grinning at them. “Thank you, and you’re welcome, I guess,” she added cheekily.

Liam glanced back at the gate. There was still a long line-up of people waiting to get on the plane – which meant they still had a couple more minutes. “Back to Indiana, then?” Liam asked her.

She nodded. “Yeah, it’ll be good to get home. But I’ll miss seeing you guys every day, that’s for sure. These last couple of months have been an adventure.”

Niall couldn’t agree more with that. “That’s for sure.”

“This is the final call for pre-boarding for United Airlines flight UA44 to London, England. At this time we ask that all Economy class passengers start lining up on the left-hand side.”

Liam sighed, looking back at the line once again. “I guess we should get moving,” he said, watching as the rest of the group began to line up at the last second – as usual.

Jessica nodded, and the two boys leaned in to hug her one last time. “Have a safe flight home, boys,” she said as she pulled away. “And if you need anything, you know where to reach me,” she added, looking at Liam, and then down at Niall.

Niall nodded with a soft smile. “I do, thanks. You have a safe flight back as well.”

“Thanks,” she said.

Niall pulled her in for another quick hug before they quickly waved goodbye. He laced his fingers with Liam’s as they stepped into the pre-boarding line (which was very quickly being taken over by the Economy line.)

“Looking forward to getting home?” Liam asked, glancing down at his ticket and then over at Niall.

“Hmmm…” was all Niall said as they shifted their way towards the plane.

Truth be told, he didn’t care where he was going. As long as he and Liam were together.


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