Chapter 17 – The RSVP

Part III – London Calling
December 2016

LIAM PAYNE AND DANIELLE PEAZER ANNOUNCE THEIR ENGAGEMENT

Shocking, right?

I know what you’re thinking Scapers, not in the least. Or maybe you’re thinking, “At least there’s still three of them left!” (Because we know we are). But it’s true, Liam has confirmed all rumours that he’s engaged to his longtime sweetheart, Danielle.

Before you go cry into your pillow and eat a pint of ice cream, let us remind you that they’ve been together since the X Factor days, and he never really was on the market to begin with!

We are still so, so, jealous though. And here’s the real shocker – they’ve been engaged for months! They’ve only just started telling people now. The wedding is in a month – right before One Direction kicks off their club tour.

Come a long way from the arenas, huh boys?

Well it doesn’t matter, because Liam and Danielle are going to get married and we can’t wait to see pictures!

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Brittany sat at the kitchen table of Nick’s Malibu home. She scrolled through Sugarscape lazily on her iPad, smiling to herself a little.

It was a wonder that Danielle and Liam had managed to keep their engagement quiet for so long, but considering One Direction’s fame had subsided significantly, it hadn’t been that difficult. Still, Sugarscape managed to keep up with them, and Brittany had always thought that was nice.

Not that she looked at Sugarscape regularly, or anything.

She reached into her purse and pulled out the invitation to the wedding she’d just been reading about. It was in about a month, and she knew she had to make a decision on whether she was going to go or not fairly soon.

She traced her thumb carefully over the raised letters on the cardstock. She actually did have the time off, which was a wonder these days. She was always off on tour or doing something. One Direction’s fame might have subsided, but hers had only increased. As it turned out, constantly being written about during all of the drama between her breakup and speculation if she was dating Nick or not only helped to get her more recognized.

Her career had still really only taken off in the states, but she was okay with that.

“What’cha doin?” Nick asked, walking into the kitchen area and grabbing a bottle of water out of the fridge. He and Brittany had taken to just spending the few days leading up to Christmas at his house. After that first year, it had become something of a tradition for them. In the past two years, even though they hadn’t had a lot of time to see each other on account of their busy schedules, they’d only grown closer.

Strictly as friends, of course.

“Nothing,” Brittany said, still looking at the screen of her iPad.

Nick hovered over her while taking a sip of his water. He lightly touched her back and Brittany almost shivered. But she held it together.

Because she didn’t have feelings for him.

“You still haven’t sent that back?” Nick asked, nodding towards the paper wedding invitation that sat beside Brittany.

Brittany sighed, picking it up. “No, not yet. I guess I should.”

“Are you gonna go?” Nick asked.

Brittany really wasn’t sure. Despite having seen Danielle very little in the past couple of years, the two girls had managed to remain close through text messages and phone calls. Danielle had invited her to the wedding, and had even told Brittany she’d have liked to have her in the wedding party, if not for Brittany’s busy schedule.

And, obviously, the other reason.

“I don’t know,” she answered honestly. “I think it’d be weird…” she trailed off. “The only person I’d know is Dani, and she’d be busy the whole time.”

Nick raised his eyebrow. “She’s not the only person you’d know,” he said, walking away and going to sit on the couch.

Brittany sighed and followed him, holding the invitation in her hands and absentmindedly twirling it around in he fingers. “Okay, she’s the only person I’d really want to see,” she rephrased her previous statement.

Nick shrugged. “So bring someone with you. You should go be there for your friend.”

Brittany glanced up at Nick, her eyes wide. Clearly, he had given her an idea.

And Nick was quick to pick up on exactly what that idea was. “No,” he said flatly. “No fucking way.”

Brittany gave him a look of exasperation. “Please?” she stressed.

“I don’t do weddings,” he said seriously, looking at her.

“Ugh, come on, Nick!”

“No.”

“Please? For me?” she pouted a little.

Nick rolled his eyes. “And what’s in it for me?” he challenged.

Brittany thought about that for a moment. “You know, you could just go, to be nice. It’d look good. You could foster good…boyband…relations…” she shrugged, knowing he wasn’t going to buy it.

“Uh huh,” Nick said sarcastically. “I’m not even in a boyband anymore. Besides, aren’t boyband relations your area of expertise?” he laughed.

“Ugh!” Brittany exclaimed in exasperation. “Gross,” she said, wrinkling her nose as she was reminded of her past boyfriends. Who would, of course, be attending the very wedding she was trying to convince Nick to accompany her to. “Come on, Nick,” she pleaded. “I’ll be your best friend.”

“You’re already my best friend,” he pointed out.

She rolled her eyes, and walked over to him, placing her hands on his thighs. “Come on…” she begged him. “I’ll do anything you want,” she wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

Nick’s heart sped up in his chest when she leaned in close to him.

But that was just a normal guy reaction.

He didn’t have feelings for her or anything.

“Uh…” he stammered. “Fine,” he said, looking up at her, and then promptly getting off the couch. “On the condition that you never do anything like that again.”

Nick’s words stung a little, but she was able to easily brush that off on account of the fact that he had agreed to go with her. She beamed. “I wouldn’t dream of it,” she winked at him. “Thanks Nick!” she grinned, going back into the kitchen to fill out the invitation with their RSVP.

Now, she would be able to see Dani and feel less awkward about attending alone.

***

Nick crawled into bed that night with a sigh.

He really didn’t want to go to London.

He had known he’d end up going from the moment Brittany had asked him to. Because he had this stupid need to protect her and make her happy. He knew she wanted to go to the wedding, but of course she didn’t want to go alone and sit there awkwardly.

There also was the small matter that Nick was sure if Brittany went to that wedding and saw her ex-boyfriend there was a chance something might happen between the two of them.

Before, Nick had warned Brittany to get over him for fear of their relationship not allowing her to fully realize her potential.

Now, thinking about the two of them together, he almost felt jealous.

He didn’t particularly understand why he felt that way. He wasn’t in a relationship with her, and he was quite sure he never would be. He certainly never planned on acting on any of the feelings that had started to creep up whenever he was around her.

Nick wasn’t even sure when it had happened. They’d been close ever since he’d brought her on the cruise two years prior. He certainly hadn’t had any romantic feelings for her back then. But now, all this talk of the wedding and her being thrust back into her old life, if only for a weekend, worried him. The fact that he was even considering that he might have any kind of romantic affection for her was enough to scare him into telling Brittany he wasn’t going to go to the wedding.

Of course, those were the very same feelings that were forcing him into going with her in the first place.

He heard her walk through the halls and close the door to her own bedroom. Nick closed his eyes with a sigh. He wouldn’t have at all minded if she’d come into his room instead. He tried not to dwell on that, but it was no use.

He was definitely beginning to fall for her, and the sooner he admitted that to himself, the sooner he could get over it.

Because there was no way she felt the same.

***

Brittany was sure Nick didn’t feel the same.

She hated the fact that now, every time she looked at him, she fixated on something different. First, it had been his laugh, and the way it seemed to bounce off the walls every time she said something funny.

Then, it had simply just been his smile. His face lit up perfectly whenever he was happy, which was a lot of the time these days.

She hadn’t even realized she’d fallen in love with him until it was too late and there was nothing she could do about it.

Thinking about their impending trip to London made her more giddy than it should have. She was excited to see Danielle, of course, but the fact that she and Nick were going together…

It made her feel like she was sixteen years old all over again. And for that, she was somewhat ashamed.

After all, Nick was her best friend. He had been for quite some time. She didn’t want to risk losing their friendship. Especially after Nick was always so quick to point out how he didn’t want to be in another relationship with anyone ever and that he had enough female attention to last him until the end of time.

She knew it was a bad idea. Even if Nick was off doing his own solo tour thing without the rest of the Backstreet Boys, he still had a lot of fans and groupies at his disposal. Brittany was well aware of his attitude towards women, but it was hard for her to really understand that side of him when he’d never been anything but sweet to her.

She laid awake, staring at the ceiling. There was no way she was going to fall asleep anytime soon. Not with the teenaged excitement over going to London with Nick. There was also the added giddiness over getting to see Danielle again.

Still, in the back of Brittany’s mind there was a little nagging thought.

No matter how excited she was, the exact person she didn’t want to see and completely wanted to avoid would be right there, nearly front and centre, as he was most certainly going to be the best man.

That thought was enough to bring her down from cloud nine. She’d done such a good job of avoiding him in the past two years and of course now she was going to be stuck in the same room as him for an entire day.

She hadn’t a clue as to what she would say to him, but she knew she’d end up talking to him at some point. It would make things too awkward not to.

She sighed to herself, choosing to forget about that small detail for the time being. Instead she focused her energy on the fact that Nick was going to be her date for the evening.

No matter how bad it was that going to the wedding with Nick made her excited, allowing herself to think about Niall was far, far worse.

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