Sequel: Right Here
Status: active;;

Tomorrow

chapter eighteen;;

I scratched idly at a mosquito bite on my arm as I stumbled up the sidewalk. The sun still hadn’t fully risen, but a couple of my neighbours were already out in their front yards, preparing for the day. A child screeched from a house down the street, and I winced at how the shrill sound echoed. I barely got my key in the lock when the door flung open and I was engulfed in a tight embrace. My arms came up to wrap around my mother’s back; her long hair tickled my nose, but I didn’t move, just let her hold me securely. I caught sight of an angry, scowling Patrick over my mom’s shoulder and turned my face away. I didn’t need to deal with him right now. I had been too angry the night before to realise that my sudden departure and long absence would cause my mother to go through Hell. But oh, did I know it now.

“I’m so sorry, Mom,” I whispered, hugging her even more tightly.

“What the Hell were you thinking? Or were you even considering anyone but yourself?”

I pulled away from my mom and glared at Patrick and his stupid puce-coloured face. “Don’t you dare act like you get to treat me like I’m your daughter. You lost that right the moment you got in that fucking cab and didn’t look back.”

I turned, ran up the stairs to my bedroom. My blood was boiling in my veins; I wanted him gone. He was nothing to me ー nothing but the man who had sent everything in my life all topsy-turvy and didn’t deserve to be in my life at all. My stomach churned with my rage, and my hands itched to punch something. I flopped backward onto my bed with a heavy sigh, staring at the ceiling and imagining what it would feel like to just...hit him in his face. Just once. A knock sounded on the door, and my mother poked her head into the room.

“Mind if I come in?” Her hopeful expression gave me pause, and I couldn’t bear to disappoint her. I shrugged; she sat down beside me. “I… I get that you’re upset, and I completely understand why. I really should have told you sooner that your father and I were talking again.”

“I just don’t see why, after all that he’s done.”

She sighed and started scratching lightly at my scalp; I closed my eyes and leaned into the touch, throat tightening when I realised she hadn’t done this in a very long time. “I don’t really know, honey. He just messaged me one day to apologise, and we, we started holding an actual conversation. I didn’t tell you because you were going through enough. I didn’t want to throw all this on top of the fact that you were still dealing with Jem’s death and then the band breaking up. He wasn’t supposed to come over yesterday, not until I got the chance to talk to you.”

“How can he expect to make up for ditching out on us?”

“Oh, he knows that’s one mistake that’ll take a lot of time to make up for. All he’s asking for is the chance to start.”

I rolled over and faced away from her. I still couldn’t believe that this was happening. She sounded so sure, so confident, about Patrick’s remorse, but I had a hard time believing it. My eyes stung, and I drew in a shaky breath.

“Mom… I don’t know if I can forgive him,” I said quietly after a long pause.

“No one’s forcing your hand in this. It’s completely up to you.”

She left the room when I didn’t respond. I felt the familiar tingling under my skin that precluded anxiety and forced myself to breathe deeply, evenly. If only Niall were here with me… Speaking of, I remembered that I hadn’t spoken to him since he left the day before. I pushed myself up off my bed and grabbed my phone off the nightstand. After plugging the device in since the battery had drained to ten percent overnight, I checked the notifications: Seven missed calls, ten texts, and three voicemails. My brows furrowed when I saw that none of them were from Niall. Something didn’t feel right, but I tried convincing myself that I was being paranoid as I opened the texts first.

From: Lambchop Hey, whore. Why aren’t you picking up?
From: Lambchop Why did I just get a text from your mom saying you were missing??!?
From: Lambchop Never mind. Found you. Told your mom you were crashing here. Love you, girl.

From: Deedzy Stay away from the internet. Please.

From: Louis Could you please answer your phone??
From: Louis Erin. It’s important. Answer me.
From: Louis Erin McCarty, I swear if you don’t answer, I WILL beat you up the next time I see you!
From: Louis All right but you asked for it. But seriously. Answer.
From: Louis Just wanted to say. This was NOT your fault. I promise.
From: Louis Don’t hate him.

DeDe’s text had come in around 4:30, and Louis’s were sent shortly after hers had arrived. Disregarding Delia’s warning, I opened the Twitter app to find the masses had begun trending the hashtag of poorgirl. My confusion grew as I took in how vague the tweets were, no full explanations, just messages like That was unexpected #poorgirl or Oh no! #poorgirl I stopped scrolling when one tweet in particular caught my eye: First the death of her best friend now THIS?!!! Wtf. #poorgirl. When it became evident that I wasn’t going to get more information from the social media site, I took my search to Google. It was vain, I knew it was, to automatically assume that the tweets were about me, but I supposed it came with the territory.
I typed my name into the search bar, tapped the button, and waited. Less than a minute later, seven new articles appeared at the top of the screen, all dated for that day, and all referencing me. I opened each one in new tabs and felt my heart shatter with each line that I read.

Since the tragic death of Jeremy “Jem” Rhodes, Niall Horan of One Direction has been by former-Complete Irrationality guitarist Erin McCarty’s side nearly every second of every day, and our Eriall hearts were swooning! Until last night, that is. The boyband heartthrob was seen leaving a club with someone draped on his arm, and it wasn’t Erin!

Niall Horan Leaves Night Club with New Girl

This leaves us to question: Does Erin know Niall has found someone to replace her with?

Inside the SoCal club, the girl was putting the moves on Niall, taking advantage of his being alone, and he apparently wasn’t saying “no”!

Horan was spotted leaving a hotel room early this morning, clearly hungover and still wearing the same exact outfit he’d worn the night before. A source close to this mysterious girl has confirmed he was, indeed, leaving her room.

With the two of them having been almost completely inseparable, we’d began to think Niall and Erin were dating. Clearly, as the accompanying pictures prove, we were wrong.

Still no word has been heard from McCarty or Horan about this latest scandal.

My phone tumbled from my hands and clattered on the floor as I rushed to the bathroom. I clutched my stomach while leaning over the toilet, but there was nothing inside to come up again. I dry-heaved, unable to see through the tears that filled my eyes, breathing laboured as I choked on bile and snot. When I was able, I sat back against the wall, sobbing. Does Erin know… replace her?... The Twitter trending topic was right. How could this have happened? He wasn’t supposed to hurt me. He had promised to never hurt me, not after the last time. Someone tapped on the door and pushed it open. I looked up to see Amber standing in the doorway.

“Hey, sweetie, I figured you’d need me.”

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.


Amber’s deep, even breathing filled the air; I couldn’t blame her. It was almost two in the morning. She’d been lying with me on my bed, only leaving me alone once to pass a message on to my mom (and Patrick, since he was in the kitchen and would most likely still be in the house when Mom went to work): “No matter what, do not let Niall Horan into this house. No questions. No excuses. Erin’s request.” Hearing the words had caused my stomach to twist angrily, but I knew she was right. He couldn’t be here.

Amber hadn’t hesitated whatsoever to help me change into pyjamas, borrow a pair of sweats and tank-top, and lounge around all day while I cried off and on. She had held me when I needed it, gave me space when I lashed out, but she never left my side. She really was the most amazing girl I’d ever met. There had been numerous calls and texts which she had answered in my stead. The replies were generic ー “Erin isn’t feeling well. She’ll let you know when it’s okay to visit or talk to her again.” She hadn’t read only one text aloud to me, and I reached for my phone to read it myself now that she was asleep.

From: Niall Let me know when you want me to come back over, love. I miss you x

I scoffed quietly; the pain wasn’t nearly as evident as my anger. Missed me, did he? Surely that other girl kept him company well enough. I bit my lip and went to my contacts, let my finger hover over his name. Should I delete him? I knew Amber would immediately say duh, yes, bitch. But my heart, as torn apart as it was, told me I shouldn’t. I knew I would probably regret it, but I just… couldn’t. He’d been the one to bring me back from my bleak existence after Jem’s death. He’d been the one I’d cried to and told of my memories with Jem. He’d been my rock through everything. I couldn’t just forget how happy he had made me, no matter how horrible I felt now because of him. Instead, I cancelled the action of deleting the number and changed his name in my phone to Ignore. With that done, I locked my phone, rolled over to cuddle into Amber’s side, and fell into a restless sleep.

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.


I stared at the clock on my phone. Liam had called Amber yesterday to let us know what time they were leaving, so I knew they should have boarded their flight by now. They’d be on their way back home in less than an hour. I wasn’t sure if I was happy about that, or sad. Louis and Harry had left me a video message on Skype to let me know they’d miss me and I’d better call them; I’d saved the message to my laptop with a small smile. Liam’s text to me this morning had said nothing more than Miss you already. Feel better soon x, but I was eighty percent sure he knew, without a doubt, that I wasn’t sick. Zayn… well, all Zayn had said in the voicemail was “Chin up, girl. Message sometime, yeah?” Not one message, video chat request, or call had come from the one person I most desperately wanted to hear from. Niall.

And… the plane took off. I dropped my cell phone onto the couch beside me, trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it was over. No more Louis to lift me up and spin me around or dance like fools in the dressing rooms before shows or have late-night talks over junk food. No more Zayn to punch my sides and ask “Vas happenin’?” No more of Harry’s cheeky grins or Liam’s too-knowing eyes. No more Niall holding me close in the dark of the night or his sweet whispers or soft songs to lull me to sleep. No more waking up to his sleep-roughened voice or sleepy gaze. No more chances to finally say what I’d been fighting the urge to confess to him.

No more chances to tell him that I loved him.