BACKFIRE (Chapter 19)

Chapter 19― Ballet/ first date / time to worry/

After two successful concerts in Cardiff, the lads wanted to do something special for their last concert in that city, so they were going to play a new song; therefore they rented a studio and now they were rehearsing and, of course, the girls and I were there watching them.
I had to admit it: they were rather hilarious. I had to cover my eyes every time Zayn was tryingto dance because I burst out laughing and that wasn’t nice of me. Liam defended him all the time, saying that he was training the boy. If it was like that, I didn’t want to see how he danced before.

What I did during the last couple of days was to remain in the friend zone with Niall, regardless my feelings for him. I wasn’t going to ask him what he felt about me and take the risk of losing him. Belle and Phebs looked at me reproachfully from time to time, but I ignored them because I was doing what I thought it was the best.
“Okay, lads. I think that’s enough for today,” an older man said and the boys stopped altogether with the music. “Tomorrow will meet here again for a last rehearsal before the concert. I think it’s gonna be okay. Good job, everyone!”

The boys cheered and went in different directions looking for bottles of water and towels. With the girls we clapped and smiled at them. “You did great!” Belle complimented them and all the boys smiled happily.
“Thanks!” Liam talked for everyone. “Wanna go somewhere later? We’re free now,” he suggested and we all grinned.
“Food!” Niall exclaimed and I seconded him. My belly was craving for food. “Let’s go to Nandos! Please, please, please!” he begged to Liam pulling his sleeve over and over again like a little kid.

“Sure,” Liam replied as a good parent and I just giggled. They could be so cute sometimes.
Niall started a happy dance and the rest joined him and that was the start for a moment of playing and laughing in the studio. I really liked where we were, it brought me sweet memories of a nice infancy. The polished floor, the shiny mirrors all over the place, the music room. I liked everything.

“So, in our minute of enlightenment of the day, Alex, please do tell us who is in your shirt?” Louis asked approaching to me with the microphone he was rehearsing with. He did the same every time I wore a t-shirt with a band I liked.
“Oh, today you’ll meet Within Temptation. I really like this band!” I replied running to the music room to plug in my iPod and select the album of the band. I hit play and let them listen to it as I went back to them. “So? Isn’t it incredible? I love her voice, it’s so powerful.”
All the boys –because my friends already knew the band– nodded in agreement, listening to the lyrics and the lovely voice of the singer. “It’s really good,” Zayn said looking at me.
Things still were a bit tense between us, but we were trying to go back to that point where we were before; but it was difficult when I knew his feelings. That was another reason for me not telling Niall about my feelings, because he wouldn’t treat me the same way after knowing that for me he wasn’t just a friend.

The rest of the boys agreed with Zayn and I smiled proudly. “Okay, I think we shall go. I’m starving! And I need a shower,” Liam talked for the group again.
“You go ahead. I’ll go for my iPod and I’ll catch up with you later,” I said smiling and all of them, including Belle and Phebs, nodded as they walked out of the room.

I was walking towards the music room when the song changed to Angels. I stopped immediately because every time I heard this song, I pictured a whole routine in my mind. I hadn’t danced in a long time. Well, long time compared to how much I used to dance before.
When I was seven years old, my mom signed me in in a ballet class with Phebs and Belle. I never thought I was going to like it so much, but I loved it and I was great at it. I always got solos in our presentations or the lead role. That until puberty hit me and my body wasn’t the one of a ballerina. I even could handle wearing pink, but my body decided to destroy that change.
I took off my shoes and closing my eyes I let the music guide me. My body started to move awkwardly at the beginning, my movements sharp and clumsy, but little by little I started to loosen up and soon I could dance as I saw it in my mind so many times. I moved all over the room, dancing, spinning and jumping. I felt like a feather, so graceful, so light.
When the chorus hit I jumped higher than before, landed with my left foot and spun a couple of times with my right leg up. I wanted to jump again and I did but the landing was different. The left leg was my weak one and as I hadn’t danced in so long, my muscles giving up was the consequence of that.

I hit the floor and I remained there sighing, at least until I heard someone clapping and steps approaching. I looked up at the mirror and saw Niall’s reflection and my heart stopped. “Did– did you see that?” I asked ashamed, feeling my cheeks burning. He just smiled looking at me on the mirror as well.
“Aye, I did. You’re great, Alex. Why didn’t you tell us you could dance?” he asked sitting next to me on the floor.
“Because I don’t dance,” I replied and looked at him cautiously. He rolled his eyes and I added: “Not anymore, anyway. I used to dance.”
“Why did you stop? You’re incredible. It was breath-taking seeing you before,” he asked and I looked down again.
“Puberty,” was my response. “I don’t have the body of a ballerina. Besides, do you know a ballerina who likes to eat as much as I do?” I asked him arching one eyebrow.
“Now I know one,” he replied with a smile. “Seriously, you’re incredible.” He stopped a few seconds like thinking of something whilst I frowned at him. “You should dance for us! You know, dance at the back in one of our songs!” he told me excited and I froze.
“Pardon me?” I articulated rather clumsily, if I may say so myself.
“Aye! Dance for us. That’d be amazing! I have to tell the lads and–”
“Oh no, you’re telling no one. I won’t dance for you. If you want a ballerina, you can hire a professional one. You can have Danielle! No,” I stated folding my arms and looking dead serious.
“Oh, c’mon, Alex. You’re great and you’re here with us,” he begged but I just shook my head. “Please, pretty please!” he insisted hugging me.
I shivered when I felt his arms around me and I shivered even more when my back was pressed against his chest. My heart started to beat so fast I feared I was going to have a heart attack. I couldn’t help it, I melted against him and I almost died when he pressed his mouth next to my ear and whispered: “please?” I was about to say yes but I breathed in and closed my eyes, trying to close myself to his effect as well.

“No, Niall. I won’t dance for you and your band mates. And I definitely won’t dance in front of a massive crowd. No, thank you very much,” I replied with all my conviction.
“I’ll change your mind, then,” he stated and I snorted.
“It wouldn’t be the first time you say that but do nothing about it,” I commented and right after the words left my mouth I regretted them. His arms tensed around me and I felt him gasping.
“What do you mean?” he asked softly.
“Nothing. I mean nothing. Let’s go now, the guys are waiting for us,” I reminded him and tried to stand up but he didn’t allow me to. “Niall, I need to go for my iPod.”
“No. Tell me what you meant by that,” he requested and I wanted to hit myself for being so stupid. He made me turn around so I could face him, his hands were resting on my waist, firmly.
“Nothing, Niall. I meant nothing. Now please–”
“I’m not stupid, Alex. Tell me,” I closed my eyes fighting the need of yelling at him everything that I had inside, asking him why he just lost interest in me, why he decided we could only be friends. I wanted to recriminate him that he didn’t try to change my mind about dating him.
“I gotta go,” I mumbled, my eyes still closed. I tried to get up again but he stopped me.
“Alex,” he called my name and I bit my cheeks, doing everything in my power to supress what I wanted to scream out loud.

“Fine! You wanna know? Fine!” I cried out incapable of keeping up fighting. “When you asked me out and I told you no, you said you were going to change my mind but you did nothing about it! You just behaved like a friend with no other intention. You didn’t even try!” I blurted out angrily. “Why? Uh? What made you change your mind about me?”
I was breathing heavily and wanted to punch myself for being so stupid. I had said I wasn’t going to tell him about my feelings but now I had blurted out all my frustration because he didn’t like me.
“Let me go,” I said in a little voice avoiding his eyes, so ashamed, so disappointed in myself. He stared at me surprised, his mouth slightly open whilst my heart was beating so fast like a f**king crazy horse in my chest.
“Alex,” he whispered but I stopped him.
“No, you don’t need to answer. I was being stupid and I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry,” I said looking down.
He took his right hand off of my waist and I thought he was going to let me go, but he grabbed my chin softly with his hand and made me look at him.
“I didn’t do anything ‘cos I thought you needed time. You had just broken up with your boyfriend and I didn’t want to push you,” he explained, my heart beating even faster. How was that even possible? He put our foreheads together and I could swear my heart broke a record or something. “Nothing has changed my mind.”
My heart stopped for a second whilst I breathed in and held it. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I probably hit my head when I fell when I was dancing because it couldn’t be true.
“You… you…” I mumbled like an idiot. I was getting pretty good at that.
“I still wanna go out with you, if you want to, of course,” he replied his cheeks adorably red, that sweet smile on his face.

I smiled back raising my hand to his neck and playing with his hair. “I’d love that,” I replied and his smile grew wider.
“Great!” he said biting his lower lip. “Where do you wanna go?”
“I dunno. I hardly know this place.”
“It’s gonna be a surprise, then,” he said leaning in slowly and I did the same until we heard steps approaching us.
“Why are you taking so lo– Oops! Sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude,” Harry said showing his head in the studio. Niall and I pulled back and looked at him all blushed. “We were worried that you were taking so long.”
“It’s okay. We’re going,” I replied still blushed but standing up. I helped Niall to his feet and he stood there whilst Harry looked at us with a mischievous grin.
“Okay. I’ll leave you two alone, but hurry up! We’re hungry,” he said in a tone that I knew he was going to tell the other what he saw.
We saw him leave and started to laugh. “We better go,” I added looking at him. I felt ridiculously happy and couldn’t stop smiling. I went for my iPod after he nodded and put on my combat boots again. He grabbed my hand and entwined our fingers together as we made our way to the others.
“So what were you two doing out there?” Liam asked raising his eyebrows and with an evil grin. I looked at Harry sternly and from the corner of my eye I saw a quite sad Zayn.
“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE CHEATING ON ME!! AND WITH NIALL!” Louis cried out running towards me and pulling me into a bear hug. I choked a bit. “Why? Is it because he has Irish accent?”
“Louis, you don’t want to know. Plus, HOW DARE YOU? You, who cheats on me with an official girlfriend! You unfaithful bastard!” I cried back faking being hurt.
“You know I love you,” he pouted but I just looked away.
“Our story’s over, Boo Bear. You have to accept that and let me go,” I said solemnly feeling like a damn philosopher.
“Never! I’ll get your love back!” He promised holding me by the shoulders and shaking me a bit. I exploded in a fit of laughter and soon all the boys and girls laughed along at our dramatic scene. I said it before, we should be in a soap opera.
“I caught Alex dancing, that’s what it took us so long,” Niall replied and I turned at him with my eyes wide open.

“That’s not what I saw,” Harry commented offhandedly and I wanted to punch him in the middle of the face. With a chair.
“She’s incredible! You have to see her. I tried to convince her to dance for us, but she doesn’t want to!” The blond pouted.
“Way to get her, Nialler!” Harry teased him and I saw Niall blushing.
“No, but seriously, she is incredible,” he repeated and all the boys’ eyes were on me. I groaned internally hating that much attention.
“Alex used to dance ballet,” Belle, the traitor, told the boys. “She was incredible, the best in our class, but she quitted. I didn’t know you still danced.”
“I don’t.” Niall rolled his eyes. “I was just goofing around because the song was great. Besides, I fell when I landed after a lift, so I’m not great anymore. Niall is exaggerating.”
“We have to see,” Liam stated and I groaned again. “Please, dance for us tomorrow.”
“No! I told Niall I wasn’t going to dance for anyone, so don’t insist. Now let’s go, I’m hungry!” I protested going ahead.
I wasn’t good at it anymore and besides, dancing hurt me because I used to love it so much but I couldn’t keep doing it. Now that was part of my past and I didn’t want to dig in it.
As I was walking, soon an arm slid around my waist and I could feel a warm body next to me. “I’m sorry,” he whispered and I recognised his smell and accent immediately. “I just think you’re great and you shouldn’t remain in the shadows. You have talent, Alex.”
“But I don’t have the body and I would never have. You can see it, Niall, I’m curvy, I’m not skinny and I love food, I eat like a truck driver. I can’t be a ballerina anymore, even if I want to.”

“Okay. I won’t push you on that. Let’s go to Nandos and let’s be happy!” I laughed with him and hugged him back resting my head on his shoulder. I heard a chorus of awws at our back and I blushed, but I didn’t move back, I liked where I was too much, next to Niall.
I grinned as I remembered what had happened in the studio, what he told me and how close we were. I couldn’t believe that he still liked me and that we were going on a date. I had to tell the girls! They were going to be so happy. Probably I was going to get several ‘I-told-you-so’s but I didn’t care, I was too happy.

* * *
The boys had the concert the next night, therefore that night we were all free to do whatever we wanted. For me that meant a date with Niall and I had this knot in my stomach and those annoying butterflies that seemed to never leave me.
I told the girls, of course, and they were overly excited, more excited than me, which was quite funny, if I may say so myself. Belle was trying to make me wear something different and leave my combat boots but I refused roundly. My boots were my trademark.
“Don’t you want to impress him?” she asked holding a pair of high heels.
“I want him to like me for who I’m, not for how I look,” I replied folding my arms. “I don’t need a makeover.”
“At least let us do your hair and makeup,” Phebs begged and I rolled my eyes nodding. “Yay!” She jumped up and down and I just laughed at her.
“Please, don’t make me look like a clown,” I begged as I sat down. I was wearing my miniskirt, dark tights, a black top that hugged my torso perfectly and a black short leather jacket with a grey hoodie. I loved that jacket! I wasn’t going to give up on my combat boots, they made my outfit perfect.
They made my makeup, smoky eyes, eyeliner, red lips, smooth skin; and put my hair in a tight ponytail. I looked like a badass and I liked it. Niall and I were going to a restaurant and later to the movies, they weren’t big plans, but I was so excited because it was our date, our firstdate.
“You’re gonna leave him with his mouth wide open, my friend,” Belle complimented me and I blushed a little.
“See? I told you he liked you,” Phebs added hugging me. “Have fun tonight.”
I could hear something different in her voice, a little tremble of sadness or even jealousy. I knew she wasn’t jealous because I was going on a date with Niall, but because things were working out for me whilst she remained with her heart broken. It wasn’t fair and I wished so bad she could meet a wonderful guy, a boy even better than Liam. The best for her.
“Thanks,” I said hugging her tightly. I was grateful with her not only for helping me to get ready or for her best wishes, but because she was bearing being close to Liam every day, hearing him talking about his girlfriend, being with her when she could only stare from far, dying a bit with every second.

Someone knocked at our door and Belle went running to open it to find Harry and a smiley Niall. He looked great, so handsome. Jeans, a black shirt, a blazer and black shoes. His hair was all spiky in every direction, his blue eyes fixed on me.
“Oh my, you look hot!” Harry said impressed as I grabbed my purse and walked towards them, my eyes fixed with Niall’s.
“What are you doing here, Styles?” Belle asked putting her hands on her hips.
“I was sad and bored in my room,” he started his story pouting slightly. “So I decided to go to Niall but he was getting ready and didn’t pay attention to me, so I came with him here hoping you two would open your arms and adopt me tonight.” And then, he shot his puppy eyes to my friends who giggled and opened their arms for him. I laughed as I watched the scene.
“You look incredible,” Niall mumbled when I got next to him. I blushed biting my lower lip.
“You too,” I complimented. In that moment when my friends were being all noisy at our back, I forgot about everything as I lost myself in his blue eyes. Cheesy as it sounded, it was what happened.

“Shall we go?” he asked offering me his arm. I slid mine in his smiling brightly. He heard a chorus of awws as we walked away from the room.
“Have fun, no PDA!” Harry shouted from the room. “I don’t wanna see pictures of you two snogging in the street!” I laughed at his words and Niall blushed furiously.
“So, where are you exactly taking me?” I asked when we were in the rent car. It was a lovely silver Audi A4. Yeah, I knew a bit about cars, how couldn’t I with a bother practically obsessed with them?
“I told you: it’s gonna be a surprise,” replied Niall with his sweet smile. I bit my lip as he drove us to an incredible beautiful Italian restaurant.
As we made our way in and were led to a table far away from the rest, I realised that Niall made a reservation for like a thousand people so no one would bother us. He knew I didn’t want to be captured by paparazzi nor I wanted rumours about me, neither I wanted to be surrounded by screaming fan girls. I kissed his cheek for his kind gesture.
He helped me sit down and then took his place across the table, his eyes always on me. Soon a waiter came to take our order and we both asked for spaghetti. As we waited for our food to arrive, we started to talk about nothing and everything. From how I was doing with the tour, to my family. I told him about my parents and I didn’t cry, but I got really sad and sentimental. I was in more control over my feelings that night. I also told him about my childhood with my brother and the things I used to do with the girls. We even talked about our worst and best Halloween costumes. I just told him everything he wanted to know, I opened myself to him.
Our dinner was lovely. The food was excellent but what I enjoyed the most was his company, his sweet smile, his warm eyes, his cute laughter, his sense of humour… Just him. We could talk about anything, laughing out loud or remaining silent in memory of those we lost. He told me about his life as well, how it was to live in Ireland. I asked so many questions about his city and family, about traditions and all the different things that caught my attention. He also told me about the X-Factor process, how it was when they got in third place and how it had been since then.

We spent hours in the restaurant, we tried different desserts because we couldn’t pick just one and we kept talking. There was never a dull moment with Niall.
It was late and we were supposed to go to the movie theatre, but I didn’t want to go to a place where we couldn’t talk or laugh. “We should go for a walk,” I suggested and he agreed.
We went to walk by the bay and the night was just beautiful, breath-taking. Niall put his arm around my shoulder and kept me close as we walked slowly. I rested my head on his shoulder enjoying the moment that was just perfect.
Suddenly, Niall chuckled and I looked at him worried. “Sorry, I just realised that I changed your mind without even trying. I’m amazing!” He chuckled again and I punched him softly in his stomach.
“Yeah, I noticed that before. I wonder what you could do if you actually tried,” I mused smiling.
“Probably, I would rule the world, but I’m not interested in that at the moment,” he replied and I giggled. “For now I just want one thing.”

“Hmm… And what would that be?” I asked looking up at him. Our eyes met and my heart started beating faster. Being close to him wasn’t healthy.
“You,” he replied in a whisper as a shiver went down my body.
I smiled because, again, without even trying, he got me. I cupped his face with my hand and stood on my tiptoes. I brushed my lips to his and waited for a second, tempting him. Niall pulled me closer and crushed his lips against mine, kissing me properly, just like I had wanted so bad and for so long. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him back, enjoying the taste of his lips, the warm feeling of his against mine. My heart was beating like a manic in my chest hitting my ribs furiously, but I didn’t care as I lost myself in what I could only call the most perfect kiss of my life.
Since the night when I pecked his lips I wondered how it would be to kiss him, reallykiss him. Definitely it was better than I thought, way better. Our lips moved in sync as he hugged me tight. There was nothing else in that moment, just Niall and I.
We broke the kiss naturally and I looked into his bright blue eyes. I smiled widely and so did he. There was no need for words; the moment was perfect. I rested my head on his chest letting his body warm me, and his scent embrace me. I knew that after this moment things weren’t going to be easy. After the tour! We probably weren’t going to last that long, but I couldn’t care in that moment. I still believed I wasn’t enough for him and I honestly didn’t understand why he liked me, but I was glad that he had picked me.

For now, a bitter voice at the back of my head said but I ignored it. It wasn’t the moment to be pessimistic, not when everything seemed perfect.
“Shall we go back?” he asked with our foreheads together, I was playing with his hair and looking into his beautiful eyes.
“Hmm…” I muttered. I liked where we were too much and the idea of moving didn’t appeal to me.
“We can stay in my room and watch a movie,” he suggested pecking my lips.
“That sounds better,” I agreed smiling and putting our lips together for another kiss. I just couldn’t get enough of him, the taste of his lips was addictive. “But I get to pick the movie,” I stated when we pulled back. He just smiled.
“I don’t have to worry about that. You never pick chick films.”
“Oh, just for saying that we’re gonna watch… hmmm… The Notebook! Ha! How girlish is that?” I joked and he chuckled.
“Whatever you want. I don’t think I’m actuallygonna watch the movie,” he added wiggling his eyebrows and it was my turn to chuckle. Indeed I thought we weren’t going to watch the movie.
* * *

I woke up in Niall’s arm the next morning, my head resting on his chest and our bodies covered by the duvet. I fell asleep whilst we were cuddling and kissing the night before whilst Capitan America was on the telly. I looked up at him and smiled at his sweet sleepy face. He was snoring softly and his lips were slightly part.
Our date had been so sweet and normal, yet perfect. My dates usually were going clubbing or where a band was playing. All the other lads I dated were so different from Niall, not only because they all had this tough kick-a*s look, but also because they were arseholes. They didn’t care about how I would feel, they always assumed I was as tough as them, but Niall thought of me, of my feelings and how things would affect me. He gave me time when no one else would’ve done it. He put me first and it felt so great to be really important for someone, to feel… well, loved.
It was probably weird as hell that he and I ended up together, but it felt so right that I couldn’t find a reason not to be with him. I wished I could erase all my past stories from my memory, but then I thought that being with them made me the person I was today, their cheatings, their bad attitudes made me grow stronger, made me the Alex I was and if I hadn’t been with them, probably I would’ve never met Niall. And I was damn grateful for having ran in his life.
I stroked his face as softly as possible as my smile disappeared slowly. Last night I didn’t want to think about what it meant to be with Niall and all the complications we were going to face if we wanted to be together. He was a popstar –I couldn’t forget about that– and his whole life was a public matter. There were thousand of girls dying for him, throwing themselves into his arms, girls way better than me. I was going back to Uni in autumn and he was going to carry on with his career, far away from me.

I didn’t want to think about that yet, but I knew I couldn’t ignore these problems for too long. Besides, I was sure about my side of this story only: I wanted to be with him, but maybe he saw all this as just a summer romance, a fling and nothing else. I couldn’t be sure unless I asked him.
How were we going to work out if I couldn’t be sure about his feelings? How, when I couldn’t trust myself to keep him with me?
I sighed and buried my face in his chest again, curling against his body, needing him when I started to feel so insecure and vulnerable.
I probably woke him up because he moved and soon his eyes popped open and fixed on me. A sweet smile appeared on his face as he leaned in and kissed me softly. “Morning, love,” he said, his voice husky from just waking up.
“Morning,” I replied smiling, too. He hugged me tightly for a couple of seconds.
“We have to be in the studio in a hour. I wonder why the lads haven’t just popped up in my room…” Niall mused kissing my forehead.
As if his words had summoned them, four boys and two girls crossed the door and made their way into the room like it was theirs. Harry, Louis and Liam jumped on the bed not caring if they crashed us in the way. “Up, up, up, up, up, up!” Lou sang annoyingly. “We’re gonna be late!” added the boy extending the vowel a.

“Did you use protection? Niall is too young to be father! I expect you to be responsible, Alex!” Harry stated smashing my face with his hands.
“Wef didft dof anyfing!” I tried to say but with his hands still in my face it was rather impossible.
“you people should be more careful. Behave as such!” He carried on and I just rolled my eyes.
“I thought I was going to be the father of your kids!” Louis cried out hugging the boy next to him, Liam.
“Oh, see what you did? You broke his sweet heart!” Liam reprimanded me and I just laughed. “And you call him unfaithful,” he added shaking his head.
“Get off!” Niall asked shoving the lads out of the bed so we could move again. “I just woke up and can’t deal with you right now!”
I heard my friends laughing next to Zayn. My eyes met his and even if he was smiling, I could notice that the smile didn’t reach his eyes. I had to talk to him. I didn’t want to see him sad nor wanted any awkwardness between us.
“Okay, get ready ‘cos we’re leaving in thirty,” Belle reminded us as Niall was still trying to get the boys away from us. “C’mon, leave them alone and return the key card to the cleaning lady. I still don’t know how you got it,” she mused shoving the guys out of the room with Phebs’ help. At the last minute, she turned to give me a last glimpse. “You have to tell us everything later!”
I just shook my head with a smile as I felt Niall’s arms wrapping me around the waist. “Can you be ready in twenty?” he asked kissing my cheek.
“But they said thirty,” I protested innocently.
“Aye, but I might steal you for a bit,” he replied taking my face with his left hand and making me face him. Before I could say anything, he kissed me. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him back, just enjoying the moment.
At the end I was ready in fifteen minutes and I even took a shower. And they say girls take longer to get ready, ha! Niall took twenty minutes, so I beat him and didn’t let him forget it. We all got into the van, Niall and I sat at the very back, in front of us were Liam, Phebs and Belle and in front of them, facing us, were Harry and Zayn. We were all talking to each other, really excited about the last concert in Cardiff and the new songs the boys were going to play. I was sure their fans were going to go ballistic when they heard the brand new song. I really liked it, it had a more rock-and-roll sound.
We got to the studio right in time even when Niall and I were almost ten minutes late. Our driver was great and damn fast. In the studio they were all waiting for us so the guys started their rehearsal almost immediately. We sat in a corner just watching them, laughing sometimes because they couldn’t be all business all the time –it wasn’t in their nature–, and singing along. I managed to learn almost all the lyrics of their songs in the last couple of days on tour with them.
Almost five hours later, the boys were finally free until they were needed in the arena for the sound-check. Niall approached me with his face flushed and his eyes sparkling. He was sweaty as well, but I didn’t care when he took my hands and pulled me against his body. “Dance with me?” he asked me softly in my ear.
“No way! They’ll see me and I won’t allow that to happen. Nope,” I replied trying to pull back from him.
“Oh, c’mon! I’m not asking you to do your amazing moves. Just dance with me.”
“I think you just want me to teach you some moves so you can be a ballerina, but I’m sorry to blow up your pink bubble, Niall: you can’t be a ballerina, it’s too late for you,” I stated with my best concern face putting my hand on his shoulder.
“Damn it! I wanted to wear a pink tutu!” he protested and Louis heard him so he came running towards us.
“If Niall is wearing a tutu, so am I!” he sang bouncing on his feet. “We’re gonna look great!”
I laughed at them and gave them a hug. “You’re so gay sometimes,” I mused and they just hugged me tighter.
“Come on, dance with me. You pick the song!” he offered and I just sighed.
I went with my iPod to the music room with Niall following me. I knew all the guys were looking at us, especially Louis who heard Niall asking me to dance. Of course I wasn’t going to pick a song like the one I danced the day before, on the contrary, I was going to select one more catchy and pop. After all, you could find almost everything in my iPod. From country to pop, to heavy metal. Yes, I liked variety.
I went for Rocketeer and I grabbed Niall’s hand as I dragged him to the centre of the study as the introduction in the voice of Ryan Tedder went on. I put Niall’s hand on my hips as we started to dance to the beat of the song. Moving slowly until the chorus hit and I tried to teach him some hip-hop moves. He wasn’t a fast learner.
Soon all our friends were trying to learn the moves and I got a bit carried away. I always kept Niall next to me, though, but I couldn’t help let me get lost in music. That was something about me: music always took me to another place and I loved it.
By when the song ended they were all clapping and smiling. Niall hugged me from behind and kissed my neck. “Thanks,” he said softly. “Even if you don’t want to dance for us in one of our concerts, you should keep dancing, even if it’s only for yourself, because you love it. Don’t stop just ‘cos you can’t do it on a stage anymore.”
I stood there for a few moments, thinking and internalising his words and they shook something inside of me. He was right, I shouldn’t avoid dancing just because I couldn’t do it professionally any more. If I loved it, I should keep dancing.
“You’re right. Thanks,” I said turning my head to look him in the eyes for a few seconds. I gave him a kiss and then hugged him tight, grateful for what he made me realise.
Men were running everywhere, rushing to fix a problem with the sound system. We were at the sound-check and suddenly, everything collapsed and now we couldn’t hear the boys. I could see the panic in all their faces, trying to know what was wrong with the equipment. They had a concert in three hours and unless they cancelled the show, they had to fix the problem immediately.
“Help them,” Belle murmured bumping against my shoulder softly. I sighed as I nodded.
I didn’t want to pop up my face where I wasn’t invited, after all, it wasn’t my job, but I had a pretty good idea of what the problem was. Once I helped for a small gig of Marcus’ band and they had a very similar problem that I could fix. It was weird that this happened with such sophisticated equipment, but nothing was perfect.
“Excuse me,” I said as I made my way towards the back of the stage where three men were trying to solve the problem with the electronic panels. “I think I might know what the problem is,” I added.
They all looked at me sceptically, like I was just a kid pretending to be a big man. I wanted to punch them just for those looks. Soon, I felt a presence at my back as a pair of warm arms wrapped my waist. “Do you think you can help them?” an Irish accent asked and I nodded.
“Yeah, but they don’t believe I can do it. They believe that ‘cos I’m a woman I can’t handle this. b***c, please!” I stated rolling my eyes and leaning more against Niall’s chest.
“You should give her a chance. She’s great and brilliant with all these stuff,” he suggested to the men who now were looking at me with their mouths open.
“You can try, but I hardly think you can fix it. If we couldn’t do it, why could you?” The one with black and short hair asked. The first I was going to push out of the bus, I told myself.
I rolled my eyes and snorted unattractively, at which Niall laughed and I just smiled at him, loving the way he seemed to find all my weird actions cute. I pushed the men aside and started to examine the panels filled with different buttons. Yeah, I knew this kind of technology; I could do it. I started working my magic and as I thought, the problem was the one I was expecting. They couldn’t find it because normally a fail like that didn’t break down a whole system, but there was also a little problem with the configuration of the principal software, so it made everything bigger. So I fixed first the problem with the software, changing some codes and stuff like that, then I worked on the panel itself.
It took me almost an hour to finish and I could see the men were babbling and laughing at me. Niall was still there with the other boys, giving me moral support. I was calm; I knew what I was doing.
“Boys, pick up your mics. We have a sound-check to do,” I told them smiling and I heard the men snorting at my back. I was about to behead them.
“Did you do it?” Niall asked running towards me and I just smiled.
“Let’s see,” I replied as they all ran to the stage again and I rebooted the system. In less than five minutes, the sound of I Wish could be heard all over the arena. I turned around to see the faces of the men that were laughing at me minutes before but that now looked impressed. “You were saying?” I asked with my best face of don’t-you-dare-say-something-to-me-again-b***c. They mumbled things and I just rolled my eyes. “I don’t know how you couldn’t find the fail. It was pretty obvious. If you had seen that the OS was failing because the configuration for the processor was wrong, we would’ve avoided all this. Ugh, men!” I snorted as I made my way towards my friends who were laughing.

“Good job!” Phebs complemented as we decided to enjoy the sound-check with the guys laughing and jumping. Half an hour later, five boys came running to us, smiling and talking at the same time.
“That was impressive!”
“How did you do that?”
“Can you teach me?”
“You shut them down! That’s my girl!”
“You’re way better than them!”
“Why aren’t you working for us?”
“I’m hungry!” I screamed louder than them just to shut them down. God, men that day were getting on my nerves. “I want to eat something before the show starts, so let’s go and then you can ask me whatever you want after picking a number.”
They laughed and soon Niall was hugging me. “That was impressive, Alex. You kicked their bl**dy arses!” He complimented me and gave me a sweet kiss on the cheek.
“It wasn’t that hard. They just didn’t know where to look for the failure.”
“We should talk to our manager and tell him that you’d be way better than them to be in charge of the sound system,” Liam said as we were walking towards the dressing room.
“Oh, that’s nice but I don’t have a degree yet, I’m just studying. Maybe when I finish Uni and I can’t find a job, I will call you begging for an opportunity.”
“When you finish Uni, you have to work with us!” Harry stated jumping next to us and stealing me from Niall’s arms. “Don’t be selfish, Nialler. We also want to hug the geek genius here, okay?”
I laughed at the silly boy who was sticking his tongue out at Niall. The blond pouted and I wanted to run to his arms and give him a massive hug, but Harry was still keeping me captive. Then Louis popped up next to me and wrapped his arms around me, too. “She’s my wife! Let her go, Styles!” he demanded and I laughed again.
“If you two are gonna fight over Alex, I’m afraid we’re gonna have to take her away,” Belle stated trying to set me free from the boys’ hugs. “Let her go, now! She can’t breathe!” And she wasn’t exaggerating, I was choking.
The boys let me go and I breathed deeply. “Sorry,” Louis and Harry said smiling sheepishly and I just chuckled.
Niall came back quickly to my side and glared daggers at his band mates. I knew it wasn’t serious, Harry and Louis were just messing with Niall, trying to make him jealous, they weren’t really fighting over me. I looked at Zayn, the only one who could try to ‘fight’ for me, but he was several feet ahead and wasn’t paying attention to what we were doing. Liam and Phebs were a few feet behind talking gleefully.
I didn’t like to see Zayn acting so distant, and not only with me, but with the boys. Before all this had happened, he and I were pretty close friends, but after he told me about that lie, everything changed between us. I missed my friend, the one whom I could talk about comic books, or about other geeky stuff that I showed him. I missed Zayn.
I had to talk to him. And I was going to do it, after the concert.
* * *
We were at Niall’s room after the party we all went to right after the concert, which was epic. The fans loved the new song. It had been a party at a club with all the crewmembers and a few guests. We had a few drinks, danced and laughed. We were back at the hotel by two am and I didn’t want to go to bed yet, so I went with Niall to his room were we cuddled in his bed whilst listening to music.
“Niall,” I started as I drew asymmetrical figures on his chest. “May I ask you something?”
He looked at me a bit confused, but smiled. “Sure, babe.”
“Why me?” he seemed puzzled and I sighed. “I mean, why did you pick me when you could have any girl?”
He stared into my eyes for a long time; seconds I felt lasted forever and there were only us holding each other because nothing else mattered.
“Why wouldn’t I pick you?” he asked back. “You’re funny, a bit crazy, witty, silly sometimes, loyal, fierce, strong, independent, brave, and please don’t forget about beautiful,” he replied with soft eyes whilst stroking my hair.
“But there are more beautiful, cleverer, stronger, funnier girls than me,” I insisted because I couldn’t be at ease with myself if I didn’t understand what he saw in me. The insecure part of me wasn’t going to let me sleep if I didn’t find that out.
“But they aren’t you, with your insecurities, with your smile, your eyes, with that heart of yours, with your story. You’re unique, Alex, and probably there’re better girls than you, but there’re also better lads than me. I could ask you the same thing: why did you pick me?” He inquired back and I snorted.
“Because you’re different. Because you make me feel special, unique, loved. Because you’re… because you are you,” I replied finally understanding. Or at least, that was what I thought.
“Exactly. Someone can be prettier than you, but none of them make me feel the way you do. It’s something that I can’t describe for you, Alex, but you must believe me,” he asked me entwining our fingers together.
“When I met you I never thought I could like someone like you. I saw you and the only thing I could see was that we were so different, but I was wrong. We just look different, right?” He smiled and I rested my head on his chest hearing his heartbeats. “Belle told me once that maybe you were what I needed because you were nothing like the arseholes I dated before.”
“Belle’s a wise woman,” he commented and I could feel the laughter in his voice.
“Are you conscious that this is gonna be very difficult?” I reminded him and I felt him nodding.
“I know, with my career nothing is easy anymore. Everything is so public and big,” he commented a bit down.
“I don’t want to lose my privacy and I don’t want to be famous because we’re dating,” I said looking up at him who was smiling slightly.
“I know, that’s why we’re going to keep it as a secret for as long as we can. To protect you,” he promised me kissing my forehead.
I leaned closer to him until our lips touched. It was a soft and kind kiss, but one that made all the butterflies in my stomach go wild. He parted his lips and so did I. Soon, our kiss turned heated and by when we broke the kiss, I was breathing heavily.
“We’re gonna be fine,” he stated smiling and giving me a little peck.
“What’s gonna happen when summer is over and I have to go back to Uni?” I knew I was asking all the important questions together and probably it was too much, but I had to have some things clear if I was going to be part of a relationship with a guy for whom I was falling quickly and deeply. “You will go on more tours away from London and we probably won’t see each other and you will meet loads of girls and–”
“Alex,” Niall interrupted me giving me a kiss. “We still have plenty of summer and we’ll figure out when the time comes. Don’t worry now, just enjoy what we have.”
I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. He was right. We still had time and even if my insecurities tried to make me doubt what we were starting to build with Niall, I had him to remind me to breathe and live the moment.
Maybe it was going to be just a summer romance; maybe it was going to be something more serious. Who knew? I just had to take whatever I could because I knew that even if it lasted one week or one year, it was going to be a priceless memory.
We stayed there for a bit longer until Niall started yawning. I kissed him goodbye and went to my room, but in the way I knocked at Zayn’s door. Maybe he was awake and we could finally talk.
After two minutes the door opened and a sleepy Zayn popped up his head looking at me confused.
“I thought we could talk,” I said smiling and he blinked a couple of times before letting me in.
I sat on the bed my legs crossed in a yoga position. Zayn, still a tad sleepy, sat across me with his eyes fixed on me. I smiled shyly not knowing how to start but sure that I had to say something and break the ice. He ruffled his hands through his hair a bit, messing with it and I knew he was waiting for me to speak.
“So…” I started clumsily. “I noticed you seem a bit down lately and I thought maybe you would like to talk about it, you know?” I wanted to hit myself because obviously I didn’t come to his room to say that. I sighed as he arched an eyebrow.
“I believe you know what is really happening, Alex. You don’t have to pretend,” he replied; I sighed again and looked down ashamed of my cowardice. I knew it was going to be an awkward conversation, but I couldn’t postpone it any longer.
“I know,” I accepted. “It’s just that I can’t find the words and… I don’t want to make you uncomfortable and… this is very awkward and…” I trailed off not meeting his eyes.
“I already told you I fancy you, it’s not a secret, Alex, and I know you don’t feel the same way. Now you’re with Niall,” he said in a plain tone and I looked up at him incapable of not feeling sorry for him. His situation reminded me of Phebs who also wanted to be with someone who had feelings for another person. It wasn’t fair, for any of them, and I wanted so bad for them to find the right person.
“I’m sorry, Zayn,” I whispered and he shook his head.
“Don’t be, you don’t have any reason to be sorry about. It’s not your fault, Alex. I know it’s awkward and it’s gonna be for a while–”
“But we can’t help it, right?” I finished for him and he smiled weakly. “You’re my friend and I don’t wanna lose that. That’s why I’m here, because I want you to know that I love you, like a friend, like a best friend. I’m sorry if that’s not enough, but it’s all I can offer.”
“And I’ll be fine with that, Alex. You’re my friend too and I don’t wanna lose you either.” He extended his hand and grabbed mine, with his thumb he stroked the back of my hand. “I just wanna know why. Why Niall and not me? I truly believe that we had a connection at the beginning, that we had more in common.”
And I also believed that we had more in common. We did, in fact, but this was bigger than having things in common, was something that I couldn’t explain.
“It’s different. What I feel with Niall is different, the way he makes me feel is different. I didn’t want to feel like this but I couldn’t help it. Niall has something that I can’t describe. I’d love to tell you exactly what it is, but I can’t,” I expressed with a little smile as I thought of the Irish boy.
“I understand,” he whispered in a low voice. I looked for his eyes and when our glances met I knew he was sad and that he wanted things to be different, but he accepted and respected my choice. “Tell me one last thing. Did I have a chance?”
I felt my heart aching because I wanted to say yes, I wanted to give him at least that, but I never saw Zayn with other eyes but as a friend. I shook my head slightly and he looked away for a few seconds before staring at me again. “Thanks. For being honest, I mean.” I nodded because I couldn’t talk, I had a lump in my throat.
“I can promise you something, though,” I blurted out and he looked at me raising an eyebrow in questioning. “I can promise you that there won’t do any PDA in front of you. We won’t make things more difficult than they already are.”
He smiled gratefully and so did I. I couldn’t tell him that everything was going to be the same between us, not yet at least; I couldn’t tell him that I was going to be with him either, because I wanted Niall; but I could promise him that I was going to be more considerate. It was the least I could do.
“Well, I think I gotta go. It’s really late and I should be sleeping as we’re heading to another city tomorrow.”
“Yeah, you’re right. G’night, Alex,” he said rising to his feet.
I did the same and walked to the door. “Good night, Zayn,” I smiled looking at him. He gave me a hug that lasted more than usual, but I didn’t complain nor pulled away. “See ya tomorrow.” He nodded and opened his door so I could finally leave.
I still felt like there was a tension between us but I hoped things would get better between us. I hoped we could go back to being the friends we were and put all this behind us. I didn’t want to lose a friend, even more, I didn’t want to lose Zayn.
* * *
Time flew by and we almost didn’t notice it. From city to city, from concert to concert, days passed by and we got new and good memories. We had been almost three weeks with the boys on tour and it had been an unforgettable experience for all of us. But with every day that passed, I knew that a crucial moment was coming closer.
Niall and I were so… well, happy. We went out every time we could, going to some restaurants, or just walking at night, or we just stayed at the hotel sometimes, watching a movie, cuddling, and, of course, kissing. I was still in thishoneymoon stage of our relationship, we didn’t even care about how the guys teased us every day. We kept it as private as possible, avoiding all kind of PDA not only for Zayn, but also for the tabloids. But mostly for Zayn. We even talked about that.
“You know about Zayn, right?” I asked Niall one night when we stayed in his room whilst the rest of the guys went out clubbing. He looked at me frowning a bit until he realised what I meant.
“Oh… yeah, I know. That’s why I never told him how I feel about you,” he replied kissing my forehead. “That’s why I got so jealous when you were with him, too,” he confessed and I could only smile.
“Aw, jealous Niall!” I teased him pecking his lips. “But going back to Zayn, it’s so awkward and I thought we shouldn’t make things harder for him, you know? I talked about this with him, too.”
“I understand what you mean. Aye, you’re right,” he agreed and I smiled kissing his lips one more time. “But please, don’t spend too much time with him alone,” he asked me and I looked at him confused. “I know you would never try something with him and he’s one of my best mates, but… I guess I don’t wanna take any risk regarding you.”
I stared at him still surprised processing his words, understanding what he meant and trying to put myself in his position. We had in common that we both were very insecure and insecurity led to jealousy and in order to avoid that, we had to be sincere to each other. He was doing that.
“Got it. And don’t worry,” I told him kissing his lips sweetly and he responded enthusiastically.
By now, things with Zayn didn’t seem that awkward and I could be next to him without feeling his eyes fixed on me with desire lingering in his glance. I felt him more like my friend than as a boy who fancied me. And I took that as an improvement.
The tour was going great, every time they were sold out and they always gave their best at the stage. I grew to really love their catchy and pop music to the point that I knew by heart all the lyrics of their songs. They were all very proud of me.
“Hey, love. What’re you doing?” Niall asked sitting next to me in my bunk on the bus.
I was with my macbook on my lap just tumbling and I showed him. He wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me closer, I immediately rested my head in the crook of his shoulder. “We’re almost there. Are you excited?” he asked me and I smiled.
Our next destination: Manchester. That meant seeing my brother. Of course I was excited and nervous at the same time because Ethan was meeting Niall. I never introduced a boyfriend to my brother, maybe because deep down I thought none of those boys were going to be approved by my brother, so why even bother? But Niall was different, I knew that and I was sure Ethan was going to see it as well. Or at least I hoped he would see it.
“Of course!” I replied smiling widely. “You’re all gonna love him,” I added as Niall kissed the top of my head.
“I’m sure we will. I’m a tad nervous, though,” confessed Niall and I left my macbook aside to hug him.
“Don’t worry. Ethan is a nice guy… most of the time.” I felt him tensing and I laughed. “Relax, everything’s gonna be fine. This is the first time I’m gonna introduce a boyfriend to him and I warned him to be nice.”
“Boyfriend, uh?” he mused smiling cockily.
“Yeah, I won’t introduce you as the boy I’m dating or just my friend. I don’t really care about labels, but Ethan is very protective.”
“I like how it sounds. I like saying that you’re my girlfriend.” His smile was so cute. “I wasn’t sure if I had to ask you formally or not. You’re not like other girls.”
“I know, I’m pretty unique. Sometimes I think I come from another planet,” I teased and he chuckled. “No, but I understand. Now, for your information, I have considered you ‘my boyfriend’ for a long time. Practically, since the third date.”
He smiled as he cupped my face and put our lips together for a sweet kiss that soon became more passionate. I just loved the taste of his lips, the way our mouths fit together. I loved his kisses and I could never get enough of them.
“Ew, no PDA in the bus!” We heard someone screaming and broke the kiss to see Louis covering his eyes. “I came here looking for my wife because I’m starving but I find her with her lover snogging and now I lost my appetite. Thank you very much!” He complained and I chuckled.
“Would you forgive me if I bake you carrot muffins?” I traded and he uncovered his eyes to fix them on me.
“Carrot muffin?” He asked with sparkly eyes and I nodded. “I LOVE YOU, WIFE!!” He cried out jumping on me and hugging me tightly, forgetting that Niall was there, laughing at us.
“Hey, I want food, too! I claim privileges as your boyfriend!” Niall protested trying to get Louis off me.
“If I can’t move, I can’t bake,” I told them and soon I was free with the two boys standing in front of my bed. I laughed at the fact that I could make them do almost everything if I offered the right food. “Let’s go. I’ll make something for you two.”
I made my way to the kitchen of the bus and looked for the ingredients, as the two boys were close, smiling and looking at me with puppy eyes. They only missed the tails! I laughed to myself as I finally started to cook something for them knowing that soon I was going to have other three mouths to feed as well.
I grabbed Niall’s hand trying to reassure him a bit. We were in front of my brother’s house and Niall was literally shaking. I thought it was quite adorable so I stood on my tiptoes and kissed his cheek. “Don’t worry, it’s gonna be fine!” I told him smiling but he’s still looked worried. “Oh, c’mon. I gave you the option to stay at the hotel. You wanted to come.”
“Ethan is great! You don’t have anything to worry about,” Phebs added putting her hand on his shoulder and squeezing gently.
“Stop moaning, it’s gonna be fine,” Belle said next to me and made her way to the door. We followed her, Niall never let go of my hand.
She rang the bell and seconds later the door opened and my brother popped up his head. I squeaked and ran to hug him forgetting about my friends and boyfriend there. I hadn’t seen my brother in forever, I couldn’t wait a second longer to hug him.
“Alex!” He exclaimed hugging me tight. “Oh God, how I’ve missed you!”
“I’ve missed you, too!” I replied without letting him go. Just after a few moments I stepped back and let my friends say hello to my brother. Niall was still standing a few feet away and I approached him to take his hand. “Relax, it’s just my brother. He’s twenty-five! He’s a nice bloke, you’re gonna like him,” I promised smiling to encourage him. We walked together towards my brother who was glancing at us with one eyebrow raised. “Ethan, this is my boyfriend, Niall. He’s in the band we are on tour with.” I introduced the blond Irish guy.
“Nice to meet you,” my brother said with a serious expression and I wanted to punch him because I knew what he was doing: he was trying to intimidate Niall. “I’m Ethan Porter and you must know that if you break my little sister’s heart, I’ll break every bone in you body. Got it?”
I gasped and Belle and Phebs looked impressed. We had never heard Ethan saying something so… threatening. What was wrong with him? I saw Niall’s expression and how he went pale and swallowed hard. “I would never do that,” Niall promise. “If I do, I’ll break my own bones for you,” he offered and I looked at him surprised. Now, what was he doing? What was wrong with men that day?
My brother laughed and Niall frowned not understanding what was going on. Well, join the club, Niall!
“I like this lad,” Ethan stated looking at me with a bright smile. “A little bit extreme, but I like it. Come in!”
I stood there glancing at Ethan then Niall. I would never understand men’s minds. And then they said women were complicated. I shook my head and took Niall’s hand as we made our way into Ethan’s house. It was what you would expect from a man who lived alone. Very simple, a bit messy but clean, dark, plain colours, minimalist decoration, a huge telly in the living room, tons of food, and things like that. I really liked my brother’s house.
We sat on the sofa in the living room and I knew Niall was still a bit tense, so I kissed his cheek and whispered into his ear: “Don’t worry. He already likes you and even if he didn’t, I do like you, and very much.”
He met my eyes and a smile appeared on his sweet face. “And that’s all that matters.” I nodded and followed my brother to the kitchen for refreshments.
“So, how’s everything going?” He asked me and I smiled automatically.
“Great. The lads are amazing, I love them all and being part of the tour is just indescribable. We’re having so much fun!” I responded and he smiled at me, happy for me.

“I’m glad, you really seem happy and that’s all what I care about. I hope they’re treating you right.” I nodded and his smile grew bigger. “And, tell me, how did you end up with Niall? He doesn’t seem like the kind of bloke you would date. No offence.”
“None taken. I thought the same at the beginning but he’s different, you know? He treats me right, he makes me feel special, loved,” I trailed off feeling my cheeks burning a little bit. From the corner of my eye I saw Ethan grinning.
“Then it’s fine. If you like him, he must be a good lad.”
“He is,” I told Ethan. I bit my lower lip because I knew I just sounded like a cheesy teenager with her first crush, but Niall made me feel that way, like everything was new. Kind of crazy, right? I never thought that would be possible, and I loved it.
We went back with the girls and Niall who seemed a lot more relaxed, so I assumed my words reached him and my friends must have added something. We started talking and Ethan asked a lot of things to Niall and everything was fine until they starting talking about sports. I could be a tad manly for my stuff, but sports weren’t my thing. When men talked about football or cricket, for instance, I felt so much like a girl. But I was glad in that occasion because it gave them something in common to talk about and get along.
Half an hour later, they seemed best mates as we were at the kitchen preparing lunch. And by we I meant me, Phebs and Belle were eating the ingredients.
“They seem to get along pretty well now,” Phebs commented and I nodded with a smile. “Poor Niall, he was so nervous at the beginning.”
“Yeah, because you didn’t help! Talking like my brother was the next Hulk wasn’t cool, girls!” I complained looking at them sternly and they just laughed.
Ethan was a protective brother, of course, even more since our parents’ death, but he was a nice bloke, too, fair and tolerant. He always gave people an opportunity.
I made spaghetti for lunch and we all ate together talking about different things. I had missed my brother so much and it was nice to talk to him face to face, knowing about what he was doing. As Niall and the girls offered to wash the dishes, Ethan and I got time alone and he told me about this girl he was dating. It seemed pretty serious and I was so happy for him, she sounded so lovely and I wanted to meet her. He promised to introduce us before we left the city.
The guys came back and we decided to watch a movie and that was what we did, at least until the bell rang and my brother went to see who it was. I stayed there next to Niall cuddling and breathing his scent that I liked it so much. “So, was it that terrible?” I asked him in a whisper and he shook his head. “See? I told ya! Never believe these girls!” We laughed as Phebs and Belle looked offended.
“Your brother is really nice,” he commented kissing my temple.
“I told you, and of course he’s nice. He’s my brother! We have the same DNA,” I replied cockily and he chuckled giving me another kiss. I loved those sweet kisses, too.
“Dude, I finally got it! You’re gonna love me for this,” we heard a clear American accent coming from the hall. My brother had company.
I turned around to see who the boy that had interrupted us was and my eyes found a very tall and strong built man dressed in black clothes, combat boots like mine, black and long hair, grey eyes, strong and very manly features but with a lovely smile. He, also, had dimples. I believed I wasn’t the only one staring at him, but his grey eyes were fixed on me and probably Niall noticed it because I felt him tensing next to me and that made me wake up from this weird trance I was immersed in.
“Jack, these are my sister and her friends,” Ethan introduced us. “Guys, this is my friend and co-worker, Jack.”
Jack approached us and shook our hands leaving me to the end. His glance was so intense and I felt a bit intimidated at the beginning.
“He’s American, got here very recently,” Ethan explained.
“And I wonder why I didn’t meet you before, considering you’re his sister,” he mused with this deep voice.
“I don’t live here, I live in London and we’re just passing by,” I told with a polite smile. His glance glued on me and I was starting to feel uncomfortable.
“You must know your brother didn’t mention you before! I didn’t know he had a sister,” he added looking at Ethan reproachfully shaking his head slightly. “I don’t know why he kept you in the shadows.”
“Because you came here to work, not to meet Alex. Now tell me what you did,” Ethan asked and Jack finally focused on someone else. I relaxed immediately and let go the air I was holding without even noticing. He was quite the character.
“Oh, right. Let’s go to your office,” Jack said walking away to that room my brother had as an office.
“Be right back,” Ethan said as he walked behind Jack. That man was really confident, I could immediately say.
“Wow,” Belle said and I turned back to look at her. She had her mouth slightly open. “I hadn’t seen a guy like that one in a long time.” I hummed as Phebs nodded still looking impressed. And who wouldn’t? Jack was hot, he had a powerful presence and you just couldn’t ignore he was in the room. He knew he was attractive, it was obvious, and he knew he had a pretty intense effect on women.
“He looks like that guy you love from the movie Thor, but darker,” Phebs commented offhandedly and I felt Niall tensing next to me. I looked at him and I could see he wasn’t amused, he was pretty serious and that was something so weird in him.
“You okay?” I asked him even though I could guess why he was acting like that.
“Aye, I’m fine. So, Alex… you used to date guys like him, uh?” He inquired nonchalantly avoiding my glance.
“Hmm… I guess you can say that,” I replied still trying to make eye contact. “Niall?” I called him but he was still avoiding me. Phebs and Belle noticed what was going on and the blonde girl seemed to realise that what she had said didn’t help, in fact, it had been what brought us to that point. They stood up and Phebs mouthed a sorry before going to the kitchen. “Niall,” I called him again and this time he met my eyes.
“What?” he asked like nothing was going on.
“Are you jealous?” I asked leaning into him and smiling sheepishly. He blushed furiously and avoided my glance. “You are!” I stated loudly grabbing his arm.
“No, why would I be jealous of a bloke who is just like the kind you like?”
“You are jealous!” I stated again smiling widely. I started giggling because this whole situation seemed so cute to me.
“I’m not!” he protested and I giggled more. “I’m telling you, I’m not jealous of that pompous American dude,” he said mimicking the way Jack had called Ethan. I burst out laughing and he looked at me offended.
“You’re so jealous but that’s kinda cute,” I declared biting my lower lip. “But I want you to know this: I like you, very, very much. Yeah, you’re not like the kind I used to date.” He breathed in sonorously and held my gaze; I just smiled. “You’re way better.”
He looked surprised for a few seconds before a lovely and oh-so adorable smile appeared on his face. I loved his smile, with his braces and everything, that smile that lit up his whole face and made him so… handsome.
I leaned in cupping his face as he did the same. Half way our lips met and I closed my eyes tasting and enjoying the kiss.

Phebs, Belle and I slept in my brother’s house and Niall went back to the hotel in the rental car. It was weird sleeping in a complete different place without having them in the room next door. I kinda missed them. But I wasn’t going to tell them that because it was going to blow their egos to the stratosphere. We were going to meet with them the next day though, because I was going to take my brother to the venue where they were performing that day so Ethan would meet the other boys.
I stayed up until very late, just talking to Ethan about everything and nothing. It was good to have my brother next to me again. I always missed him but I just realised how much I did when I saw him again. We fell asleep together whilst Phebs and Belle were in the guest rooms. They loved Ethan too as they knew him since they were five and he was always close to us, looking after us. He was our private bodyguard.
The next day we woke up when two loud girls came running into Ethan’s room and jumped over us. They were laughing hysterically and this brought so many memories back. All those sleepovers when we were little girls, when we bothered Ethan all the time trying to make him dance and play with us.
“Wake up! We have a tea party to attend!” Belle exclaimed very, very loudly, almost screaming into Ethan’s ear.
“NOOO!” He jumped on his bed almost throwing away the black-haired girl. “No tea parties! I thought we got over that phase!” he shouted and I burst out laughing. And so did my friends.
“Relax, it’s just breakfast. We wanted to wake you up like in the old times. That’s all,” Phebs explained still laughing.
Ethan looked at the girls with hatred in his eyes, but soon it disappeared when the word breakfast reached him, just then his face lit up. As I loved food with all my soul, so did my brother. As I said, we had the same DNA after all.
We had breakfast together and stayed in the house having a good time. We played Pictionary and, of course, I paired with my brother because I was competitive and I wanted to win. It was so funny trying to guess what the drawing was. As Ethan started to draw, I shouted all kind of things trying to guess from the very beginning. Sometimes I shouted ‘potato’ when he was trying to draw a unicorn. By the end of the game we not only won, but I also was sore from so much laughing.
After lunch we got into Ethan’s car and he drove to the venue. We didn’t have any problem to get in as we had VIP passes and we knew Paul pretty much. I even introduced him to my brother. We soon got to the dressing room where the lads were hanging out.
“Did you miss me?” I said popping up in the room. Five boys turned their heads around and smiled brightly.
“Wife!!” Louis shouted running towards me and I could see the confused look on Ethan’s face. “Yes, yes, I missed you so much!!” He added as the other boys approached hugging Belle and Phebs. When Louis finally let me go, the other boys hugged me and Niall waited until the end. He kissed my lips softly and for a few second and remained there, his arm around my waist. “Lads, this is my brother Ethan. Ethan, these are Louis, Harry, his boyfriend, Liam and Zayn.” Ethan shook their hands but he seemed so confused. The girls and I just laughed at him.
“I thought Niall was your boyfriend. Why did he call you wife?” Ethan asked pointing at Louis who was smiling proudly. I sighed.
“He fell in love with my food and since then he calls me wife. I’ve tried to make him sign the papers for the divorce, but he refuses.”
“And I will never sign! We’ll be together till death do us apart!” I rolled my eyes and my brother laughed.
“Ignore him. He acts like when I’m high, but he does that all the time. You’ll get used, though.” Ethan laughed again and so did the others.

“Oi!” Louis protested and I stuck my tongue out at him.
“Hey, did you do the sound-check yet? I want to show everything to my brother!” Niall shook his head as a response. “Then what are we waiting for? Let’s go! Ethan needs to see all this!”
We soon made our way out of the dressing room and started a tour. The lads chatted with Ethan without problem and replied to all his questions so nicely. I could see that he liked them and was having fun, laughing at all the things they told him. I was walking a few feet behind them with Niall holding my hand. I couldn’t stop smiling, I just felt so happy I couldn’t believe all this was happening.
“I like when you smile like this,” Niall said grinning and squeezing my hand gently. I looked up at him and stop for a moment just to steal a kiss from his lips.
“I really love to have my brother here. I’ve missed him so much,” I told him as we resumed our way to the rest of the group.
“I can see that. It’s obvious you mean the world to him and the other way around.” I nodded at his words. “You two are very close.”
“Yeah, since we were little it has always been like this. Of course, we fought a lot, too! But every time I ended up crying for something he did, Ethan came back with a chocolate and a flower to apologise. I hugged him and forgot everything and went playing again. Those were easier times.” I remembered smiling as images of my past flashed before my eyes. “We had an amazing childhood.”
“I’m glad you have each other.”
“I’m glad, too,” I agreed and leaned into him as he wrapped his arm around my shoulders.
We showed everything to Ethan: The stage, all the preparation behind the show, we introduced him to the whole crewmembers, he saw the sound-check and later we hung out at the dressing room. He even stayed to see the concert from backstage. He agreed that their music was very energetic and catchy and he was totally overwhelmed for the amount of screaming fans.
After the concert we decided to go to a party to celebrate and Ethan took us to the best club he knew. It was a not so popular club, very modern and with a great music selection. We all loved it. We asked for drinks and picked a table, but soon Harry took Belle’s hand and went to dance, the same did Phebs and Liam. My brother stayed with Zayn talking about comic books and I was tempted to stay with them, but Niall asked me to dance with him. Louis had asked to a random girl.
Niall led me to the dance floor, his fingers tangled with mine. The song was Bright Lightsby Tinchy Stryder and Pixie Lott and soon we were moving to the rhythm of the song. I looked into his eyes all the time, I loved that deep and bright blue that made my heart skip a bit from the very beginning. I smiled as I remember that time when we met and what I thought about him at the beginning. Everything had changed so much and it seemed surreal, I would have never expected a turn like this in my life, but I was so grateful.
I didn’t know how much we were going to last together. Probably not too much because the end of summer was getting closer and I knew that was our deadline, but I was happy and I knew that even when all this ended, I was still going to be happy because I would have the best memories. To be with Niall had been one of the best decisions I’ve made and I would never regret it.
I ruffled my hands through his hair, loving the texture and how it felt between my fingers. I stood on my tiptoes and brushed my lips against his. I loved to do that, to temp him, to force him to finish what I started. He tightened his hold on my waist and pulled me closer to his body and leaned in to fully kiss me. I cocked my head a bit as our kiss grew more passionate. I would never have enough of him, of his kisses.
We broke the kiss and I looked into his eyes again, just feeling how the butterflies in my stomach fluttered like crazy. He kissed my forehead and I closed my eyes for those seconds his lips where on my skin.
“You know that losing that eating contest was the best thing that happened to me this summer?” he commented looking into my eyes. I bit my lower lip as I stroke his face slowly.
“Same here,” I told him not caring about being cheesy. He smiled brightly, that sweet and cute smile. Who would have thought that I was going to fall for a cute and nice guy? Certainly I wouldn’t, but I did and I didn’t regret it.
I was happy and I didn’t want to think of the clock ticking, whispering that our time was running out. I didn’t want to care yet, I wanted to love and enjoy the moment.
Feeling a sudden urge, I grabbed Niall by his neck and pulled him to another kiss letting myself forget about everything and everyone except the boy next to me.
* * *
“It was really nice to meet you,” Ethan said as we were saying goodbye to the boys. I was staying with him again and the girls were doing the same.
“We had fun! We have to do something else tomorrow,” Louis yelled quite drunk. He was hanging from the window of the van and Harry had a hold on him so he wouldn’t fall.
“You can bet on that!” Ethan promised and the boy cheered clapping and laughing. He was kind of cute in that state.
“Bye, everyone! Wifeeeee! I miss you already!” Louis shouted trying to reach me. I laughed, quite tipsy myself. “Miss me, too!” he asked and I nodded. “Bye!” he shouted again and in that occasion all the other boys joined him.
Niall blew me a kiss and so did I.
We got into the house and being close to four am, we went straight to bed. I was dead on my feet but despite my state, I had this horrible dream that ruined my good mood.
“You know it’s time, Alex,” Niall said and I felt my eyes burning for those contained tears. “You knew this since the beginning.”
“I know, I know! But that doesn’t make it less hurtful!” I complained trying to reach him but he stepped back. His face was expressionless and that was what it hurt the most, that he didn’t seem to care. “Maybe we can make it work, we have to try…” I trailed off but he shook his head.
“It’s useless and you know it. I have a life where you don’t fit in it. Sorry, Alex. It was nice while it lasted, but it’s over.”
“Niall,” I whined trying to reach him one more time, my heart falling into pieces to the floor. “Please, don’t do this.”
“I have to, Alex. We can’t be together anymore. It’s over.”
“But I– I– I–” I choked, incapable of uttering the words that might stop him.
“Bye, Alex.” And he started to walk away, far, far away from me. I wanted to reach him but I just couldn’t move. Just by when I couldn’t see him anymore I let the tears stream down my face.

I woke up with a lump in my throat. The dream was still playing in my head and my heart ached because I knew it wasn’t just a dream, it was the future. I knew this from the very beginning. I knew that Niall and I didn’t have much time ahead, that our story was ephemeral, but it still hurt like hell to see it. My heart was going to be broken but not because he didn’t care for me, or because he cheated on me or because he stopped caring about me; it was going to be because we couldn’t be together anymore.
Ethan woke up, too, and he must have seen my face because he rose immediately and took my hand. “You okay?” He asked me with concern as I swallowed hard.
“Yup, just a bad dream,” I replied but my heart still ached, waiting for that moment I saw in my dream, because I knew it was inevitable.
“Whatever it was, you can talk to me, you know, right?” He said and I nodded leaning on him.
We stayed like that for a while, I tried to push aside the memory of my dream, but it was so difficult. My feelings for Niall were so strong that they startled me, and just thinking of being apart from him hurt me. I had it clear that I just knew him for a couple of weeks, but our connection was something that I had never experienced before, it was… well, it felt unique and so precious. I knew I was falling for Niall… now I knew that I already fell and those weren’t good news because it only meant it was going to hurt more at the end.
I was gloomy all morning and made my friends and Ethan feel worried, but I couldn’t help it. The dream flashed before my eyes over and over again, I couldn’t stop seeing Niall’s face when he said it was over. They tried to make me talk, but I just hugged myself torn between wanting to run to Niall’s arms or running as far away from him as I could. I wasn’t sure whether I had to cut everything between us now, or wait –and to enjoy in meantime– until the end hoping I would survive that moment.
I was probably being dramatic and I was overreacting, I would have laughed at any other person in a situation like this before, but it felt completely different when one was at this end of the situation. It was different when it was your heart the one being broken.
“Alex, you okay?” Phebs asked sitting next to me. I didn’t notice her approaching as I was sitting on the sofa hugging my legs, lost deep in my thoughts. I looked up at her and bit my cheek trying to figure out what to say. I was so used to say ‘fine, I’m perfect’ even when I felt so divided inside, but I was tired. For a moment I wanted to think of myself and what I was feeling, I wanted to let people hear me out, to give me advice. I wanted support, the same support I always refused because I cared more about not worrying them than about what I was feeling.

“I don’t think so,” I replied with a shattered voice. Phebs opened her eyes in surprise before hugging me. I buried my face in her chest and hugged her back. “I don’t wanna lose Niall,” I whispered ever so low. “I think I love him and I don’t wanna lose him.”
“What makes you think you’re gonna lose him?” asked my friend rubbing my back.
“I’m realistic, Phebs. I’ve told you this before: our lives don’t fit together. How can a relationship work between us when he’s a popstar and I’m just a girl. He has tours, I have exams. He has tons of fans, I have tons of things to study. We just can’t…” I trailed off.
“How can you be so sure about it? Alex, you are giving up without even trying your best to achieve what you want. The Alex I know never quits without a fight,” she told me cupping my cheeks so I would see her eyes. “The Alex I know wouldn’t just assume that everything was lost without fighting.”

I smiled weakly apprehending her words. She was right, it wasn’t me to be like that. My self-consciousness was making me betray myself. I had to talk to Niall at least, I had to try at least. I couldn’t just give up now, and even if it was going to finish at the end of summer, I would make it count. I was going to get the best memories and cherish them forever, because I believed that my relationship with Niall had been the best I had ever had.
“You’re right, Phebs. Thanks,” I added feeling a tad bit better. At least I had made my mind and I knew what to do next.
“Now cheer up ‘cos we’re going out. The boys called and said they’ll meet us at the bowling place,” she told me smiling and so did I.
“Bowling, yay!” I cheered clapping so Phebs would see I could obey sometimes. “There is going to be food, right?” I asked seriously and she laughed.
“Niall and you are going, so there must be food or we’ll be sorry.” We both laughed as Belle and Ethan walked into the living room and glanced at us.
“You did it! She’s laughing!” Ethan congratulated Phebs who was smiling proud of herself. “We were so worried.”
I blinked a couple of times as the sentence hit me. I didn’t want to tell them what was going on because I didn’t want them to worry, but not telling them made them worry even more. Why didn’t I see that before? Of course it was like that! When Belle or Phebs didn’t tell me what was wrong I got sick worried, why would it be different for them? I was so dumb sometimes.
“Sorry,” I mumbled really meaning it. “I didn’t mean to worry you.”
Ethan walked towards me and stole me from Phebs’ arms. “I’m your brother, silly, it’s my job to worry about you. All the time.” I heard Belle cooing at us as I hugged Ethan tightly. “Now get yourself ready. Enough of wearing my shirts. Steal your boyfriend’s clothes, not mine!” I backed up, pouting and looking at him with my puppy eyes.
“But your shirts are larger and therefore comfier!” I complained and he just sighed.
“I swear, every time I see you I need to buy a bunch of new clothes ‘cos you take everything from me. My wardrobe really fears you!” We all laughed again as I nodded enthusiastically. I couldn’t help it, I loved men’s clothes.
* * *

Before I put a foot on the bowling centre, I heard someone screaming. “WIFEEEEE!” And I immediately knew it was Louis, even before I really saw him. The brunet ran towards me and gave me a bear hug. “Oh, wife! It’s so hard not having you close! I missed you so much! No one wants to make me carrot juice in the morning, not even Liam! And he’s supposed to be nice! And Harry’s jealous ‘cos I like you better,” he explained and I just laughed.
“Oh, poor baby,” I said not even feeling a bit of pity for him. “Now let me go,” I asked but he refused to. “Lou,” I asked again. “LOUIS!” Just then he let me go but looked at me pouting. “Thanks,” I added with a smile as I patted his cheek like he was a good kid. He smiled brightly and I swear I could see his non-existing tail waving desperately, like he was a little cute puppy.
I chuckled as I resumed my walking towards the rest of the boys who had already greeted Belle, Phebs and Ethan. I hugged them and left Niall for the end so I could stay at his side. I just pecked his lips and smiled widely. “How are you, babe?” he asked kissing my temple and wrapping his arm around my waist.
“Better now,” I replied all cheesy with that silly smile pasted on my face. He smiled back, that sweet and oh-so-cute smile that I loved so much. “How was your morning?” I asked as we all sat at the table and waited for someone to take our order. The bowling had a restaurant too and I was starving.
“Boring. It’s not the same without you all,” he answered looking at the menu.
“And think what’s going to be now that Belle’s leaving,” I reminded him and he opened his eyes in surprise. He probably didn’t remember that Belle was staying with us until Dan came back. “Yeah, Dan is getting home tomorrow and Belle wants to be there to meet him.”
“Oh, it’s going to be different without her. We’re gonna miss her.” So would Phebs and I. “I can’t believe that we’ve been on tour for three weeks already.”

“Me neither. Time’s definitely flown by.”
“What are you talking about?” Louis interrupted. “Are you talking about how you’re gonna name your baby after me?” He asked hopeful and I choked.
“‘Course not,” Liam replied for us. I smiled thankfully. “They’re gonna name it after me,” added the boy with a cocky smile.
I slapped my forehead as Niall laughed at what was just a fight for after whom we were naming our non-existing baby. Sometimes I wondered how could they talk so much crap at the same time.
A waitress came, finally, to ask for our order and the boys finally shut up. The girls was pretty, blonde, slim, with big hazel eyes. She definitely looked shocked at the sight of the boys. “M-m-may I take your-your order?” she asked visually shaking. I bet she was a fan!
The lads smiled at the girl whilst Ethan just looked confused. “Thanks, love. We were dying here!” Harry replied with his flirtatious grin. I thought the girl was going to faint.
“Want a picture?” Liam offered in a sweet tone and the girl just nodded, speechless.
“I’ll take it!” Phebs offered standing up as the girl took off her phone and handed to my friend. The boys stood up too and went to hug the girl who could only smile brightly. Oh, the boys were so sweet to their fans.
Phebs snapped the picture and returned the phone to its owner after each lad gave the girl a hug. “What’s your name?” Liam asked still smiling.
“Melanie. Oh my God, I can’t believe this…” she mumbled, her cheeks burning red. “I love you all so much,” she continued.

“Thank you! And we love you,” Harry added hugging the girl again. I saw how her eyes started to become all teary. I didn’t understand that emotion. I’ve met some of my favourite artists, but I never felt like crying. Girls like Melanie actually cried when meeting the lads. It was incredible.
She took a couple of seconds to put herself together and breathed in deeply before taking off the little notepad of her pocket to take our order. Finally! I was famished. We started to ask what we wanted, but I couldn’t quite decide. I was so hungry; I wanted everything! “What are you ordering, babe?” Niall asked cooking his head and looking at me frowning at the menu.
“Everything…” I whispered and he chuckled.
“I know you can handle that, so if you really want everything…”
“Is she your girlfriend?” Melanie asked out of the blue still holding the notepad. I looked up at her surprised, she was smiling sweetly. Niall smiled too as he hugged me and nodded. “Oh, you look cute together. I didn’t know you had girlfriend.”
“It’s kinda secret,” he told her in a whisper and she giggled. “And my girlfriend here wants everything on your menu,” he added and I could hear the pride in his voice.
The girl giggled as she took note of my order in her notepad. “You two are meant to be together,” she commented with her sweet smile. I looked at Niall and the way he was staring at me made my heart race. It was so intense that I felt like the world stopped and everything around us disappeared leaving the two of us alone.
In that moment, I believed her.

Hello guyzzz…it’s such a long chapter isn’t it? Maybe you will be bored..I worked hard on it typing all day and night fingers are cursing me…??…well because I love you all that’s why I had to write right?..
So I hope you will like this chapter..
And make sure you comment..thank you so much guys for those fabulous comments and for motivating me..
Love you all and yeah one more thing the upcoming updates of this will be a more kind of heart breaking ..but I’m gonna make everything fine..and only a few chapters are left and after that I’m gonna start my next story of this one direction series.. which is of felt bad for Zayn today right? So did I. But I have someone special for him in the next story..and yeah Harry haha isn’t he such a flirt?
Well, he also gonna fall in the third story..and Louis hehe he is such a kid right?
Just a teaser for my fourth story which is of Louis= he is gonna break up with Eleanor I know they already broke up but I just used it for my story track and then he is gonna find someone else.
And Liam ah he is so sweet right? Well in his story he is gonna find someone which is totally opposite to his personality. Like the spur one.
So till the other stories wait.
Once again love you all, keep reading and commenting.
Bye ????

BACKFIRE (Chapter 19)


BACKFIRE (Chapter 19)


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