Sequel: Black and White
Status: complete;;


chapter twenty-seven;;

Niall stood in the doorway, staring at me with wide eyes. Harry looked between us, grabbed the girl by the elbow, and dragged her away; I raised a hand to wiggle my fingers in my boyfriend’s direction, and that seemed to spur him into action. He rushed forward, tugged me into a tight hug. I giggled at the scratch of his stubble against my neck, wrapping my arms around him and squeezing.

“As much as I love your hugs, and babe, I really do, are we really going to stand on your doorstep like this forever?”

He slowly pulled away and laced his fingers with mine, shutting the door once my suitcase and I crossed the threshold. I let my fingers through his hair, stretching slightly to press my lips to his. He exhaled sharply through his nose; my brain fuzzed out as he kissed back, and I had a lazy, drifting thought that this was our first actual kiss ー all other times had been on the cheek or forehead. Something unfurled in my gut, and I dove headfirst into the spreading warmth. We parted after a long moment, reluctant but grinning.

“What are you doing here?” he whispered, gaze heavy and awed as his eyes trailed over my face. “I’m not complaining, but…”

“I wanted to see you, but I can go if you really want,” I teased, turning as if to leave.

His arms tightened around me, holding me in place, and I smiled up at him. “No, don’t ever go.”

My heart melted at his words; I felt my knees go a little weak, and I wanted to stand there being held by him until the end of time. We didn’t have to do anything, really, as long as I was secure in his arms. Unfortunately, loud voices nearing the entryway reminded me that he wasn’t the only one I’d come to visit, just the main one. Louis yelled excitedly, and Niall let go of me just in time as our friend swept me up and spun me around. It reminded me of just how close we’d gotten while on tour, all the memories I had with him. Harry gave me a much more simple hug, kissing my hair before pulling back. The girl who’d answered the door merely waved, but there was something about her expression that told me her calmness was a facade.

“Oh, Erin, this is my sister, Gemma,” announced Harry lazily; I could see the familial resemblance once I was no longer jealous.

“It’s so nice to meet you.”

“You, too. Oh, my god, I’m such a huge fan!”

Niall’s arm went around my shoulders, and his free hand grabbed the handle to my luggage. “C’mon, love, I’ll show you where to put your stuff. Erm, Harry and Gemma took over the guest rooms, but I could bunk with Harry if you want one to yourself.”

“Now why would I come all this way just to make you subject yourself to such torture?” I asked, cackling at the way Harry’s face twisted up in affront. “Nah, it’s fine, really. You and I can share a room.”

I followed him down the hall, passing a kitchen to the left and the living room the right. He pushed open the first door after we turned the corner, and I smiled at the sight of a somewhat messy bedroom. The eggshell-white walls were covered with photos; the hamper in the corner was about halfway full with laundry, and I smiled. At least they’re not everywhere, I thought as I continued taking in the room before me. The queen-sized bed rested in front of the window across from the door, and my body reacted with yearning at how thick and oh-so-inviting the black comforter looked. I hadn’t slept much during the flight ー I was too excited to doze off, no matter how much my eyes were burning from needing rest. The older woman who’d sat in the seat next to me had laughed at my impatience, the way I kept checking the clock every thirty minutes, how my knee had bounced the longer we were in flight.

“Let me guess: boyfriend?”

I’d nodded and explained how Liam and Zayn had set up the surprise visit, and how I hadn’t seen Niall in months except through video calls. She’d given me a bit of advice on making the time with him the best, an impish grin spreading mischievously across her face: “Get some, girl.” I’d been beyond shocked at her words; she had to have been in her early-seventies. I chuckled at the memory. Niall pressed himself against my back, and his arms looped around my waist.

“What’s so funny?”

“Oh, just thinking about the flight.”

“I am so glad you’re here,” he whispered after a moment, nuzzling his face into the soft flesh beneath my ear, and I struggled to keep my breathing steady.

“So am I.”

A knock sounded from the doorway behind us, and I tried to turn to see the newcomer but was stopped by Niall. I sighed softly, remained where I was, even as Zayn’s voice sounded.

“Am I interrupting anything?”

“Would you care if you were?” Niall grumbled.

“Well, I guess not, but I’d like to know if I can uncover my eyes, you tosser.”

I exchanged a confused glance with Niall, and we moved as one to face Zayn. I immediately burst into laughter. Sure enough, he had his hands over his face to shield himself from seeing anything explicit ー though why he would think we would do something of that calibre with the door wide open, and within five minutes of my arrival, was beyond me. I stepped out of Niall’s grasps, pulling on Zayn’s wrists, and he dropped his hands with an enormous smile. He and I had become better friends during the whole ordeal with Niall, and he’d even promised to ‘put a foot up Niall’s large, stupid arse’ if anything my boyfriend did made me cry even one tear. His threat had been made in a, I think, joking manner, but I was sure he wouldn’t hesitate to exact some sort of justice if I got hurt again.

“Vas happenin’. I just wanted to make sure you’d gotten here safely since somebody didn’t text me like she said she would, and I couldn’t exactly ask Harry in case you weren’t here yet. We all know he can’t keep a secret to save his sorry life.”

I laughed as Harry’s voice echoed down the hall; I couldn’t hear the words, but the tone was undeniably indignant. Zayn gave me a last smile and hug then walked away, shutting the door behind him.

“If you want, you can rest a bit,” Niall offered, and I let him pull me in. “I’ll make sure that lot leaves you alone.”

“Ni, if I take a nap now, I won’t sleep tonight. But… I guess I can lie down if you do.”

He sighed exaggeratedly and yelped when I shoved him backward onto the mattress. I unzipped my hoodie and let it fall to the floor beside the bed, and he scooted over so that he was closer to the wall. I slipped between the blankets, wiggling until I was curled up against him. The scent of his cologne was comforting, wrapped around me like a warm cocoon of security. Contrary to what I told Niall, I fell asleep within twenty minutes.


When I awoke, it was to an empty bed and silent room. I stared up at the ceiling, blinking slowly. I had no idea how long I had slept, but my body was telling me it wasn’t nearly enough. Scrubbing a hand over my face, I shoved the blanket back and padded across the thick carpet to the door. The house was quiet outside the room, and I shuffled down the hall toward the living room, where everyone had been when I’d arrived. I barely reached the archway to my destination when the sound of hushed voices in the kitchen stopped me dead in my tracks. I tiptoed backwards, leaned against the wall outside the kitchen, and listened.

“Are you sure?”

Yes. I saw them with my own eyes, Harry.”

“Don’t snap at me, Gem, I just wanted to make sure.”

“Well, you should believe me.”

“I do. It’s just… hard to believe, especially after everything he’d said. What were they even doing?”

“Kissing! Like, pressed up against the wall, hot and heavy, only seen in rom-coms, practically one body kind of kissing. I think his hands may have been up her shirt. They pulled away with the guiltiest look ever as soon as I walked into the room, so I couldn’t see everything very well.”

There was complete silence from the two siblings, and I leaned harder into the wall. Please tell me they’re not talking about Niall please tell me they’re not talking about Niall please… I gagged as bile crept up my throat and pushed away from the wall. Suddenly, I heard Harry speaking.

“Do you think we should tell Erin?”