Feels Like Forever


The only conversation comes from the toddlers at the table, the adults eating in silence except to mutter out a request for someone to pass food or coffee their way. Emilie stifles a smile at how utterly hungover everyone is. Even after Niall fell asleep in the early hours of the morning, she’d lain awake, staring at his sleeping face and hoping that time would stop so she could stay in that moment forever. But the seconds had ticked away, and so she had closed her eyes with the image of the love of her life imprinted in her mind.

She and Louis were the first two awake this morning, aside from the kids, and he kept Ryder and Freddie entertained while she cooked enough breakfast to feed a small army - which isn’t too far off from the amount of people sat at the table. It hadn’t taken more than twenty minutes for the others to start shuffling their way into the kitchen at the smell of bacon and coffee. Not one of them gave her more than a cursory look, Niall included, but she hadn’t minded, only stepped out of the way so they could load their plates.

Niall nudges a fork closer to her, and she shakes her head. She’d eaten while cooking, so she is content enough to just sit here. Her words coat her tongue, beg to be released, ready to unleash themselves and be heard. She bites them back. It isn’t time for that, not yet. Hopefully, it won’t take much longer.

Emilie waits until their friends are sprawled out all over the living room to catch Niall’s attention. He frowns but dutifully follows her up to the bedroom; only John lets out a half-hearted whistle as they disappear. She closes the door behind them and rolls her eyes when she sees the hopeful light in Niall’s eyes.

“Not happening, sir. But... I wanted to talk to you away from everyone else.” She sighs and sits on the edge of the mattress. “I’ve been thinking, like you asked me to do. And I think I’ve made up my mind. But Niall, I need you to be a hundred percent sure about this. About us moving in.”

“Of course I am.”

Blowing out a breath, Emilie forces herself to meet his gaze; there’s nothing in the blue to make her think he’s taking this lightly. “Ryder, he means everything to me. He is everything to me, and if it turns out that you can’t handle it - I mean, I know you know this, considering all the times he’s come first, but it’s different when it’s twenty-four-seven... I need you to promise me that you’ll tell me immediately if it turns out this isn’t something you want.

“I, I won’t be angry. Yeah, it’ll hurt like Hell, but I know that in time, I’ll accept that it was for the best. The last thing I ever want to do is force you to be with me if you’re not happy.” Emilie pauses, looks at Niall directly. His brows are drawn tightly over his eyes, but she can see the slight glimmer of something - hope? - behind the clear blue. “You deserve to be with someone you love and can have a future with, and if that ends up not being me... okay. Because you feeling like you’re stuck with me is not what I want our relationship to be. So, can you promise me that? That you’ll tell me straight-up that you’re unhappy and want out if it comes to that?”

“I swear,” he murmurs quietly, the word nearly inaudible in the silence though they’re sat not even a foot apart. Emilie reaches for his hand, linking their fingers together, and he presses a kiss to her knuckles, speaking more firmly now. “I swear on everything important in my life that I will let you know if I ever want to break up.”

“Then… yes.”


“Yes, Ryder and I will move in with you.”

“Em - are you serious? Please tell me you’re serious. I swear, if you’re fucking with me -”

“I’m serious, babe. Why would I lie about this?”

She barely gets the words out before Niall is launching himself at her, pinning her between his body and the mattress; the kiss is sloppy, disrupted by the ecstatic laughter that bubbles from them both, but Emilie buries her hands in Niall’s hair, pulls him closer, and lets herself fly with the lightness that diffuses through her entire being.


Emilie winces as Niall shouts, then he’s abruptly off the bed. She sits up and watches him bound toward the door, socked feet skidding slightly on the floor as he goes. Giggling to herself, she follows after him; she’s just reached the bottom of the stairs when he glances at her, seems to realise that he left her alone in his rush. He gives her a sheepish grin but doesn’t apologise, instead turning back to their friends.

“She finally said yes.”

“We have a new roommate?” Mully asks, and Emilie would be surprised at the excitement in his voice if she wasn’t distracted by the loud cheers that rise up.

Even Melody looks thrilled by the news, which definitely shocks Emilie - the tentative truce that they’ve maintained since Christmas hadn’t implied that the other woman would be happy about the next step in Emilie’s relationship with Niall. She doesn’t question it, though. The fact that she has finally made up her mind, stopped letting fears and doubts control her, is too good to ignore.

The cheering quiets when everyone notices Ryder and Freddie clapping and squealing along with them. Both boys have confused expressions on their faces, but they very enthusiastically celebrate the event even though they don’t understand what’s going on. Emilie shakes her head, laughing, and crosses the room to scoop Ryder up into her arms. He presses a slobbery kiss to her cheek.

“Hey, buddy, wanna live here with Ni-Ni and Mister Sean?”


“I think that’s a yes!” Louis calls out; Emilie doesn’t get a chance to respond before Niall is pulling Ryder out of Emilie’s hold, spinning the toddler in circles and making him screech. Louis nudges her when she sits beside him on the couch. “You’ve just made his entire year.”

Emilie stares at her boyfriend, the brilliant smile that splits his face as he listens to Ryder and Freddie chattering over each other, the light in his eyes that could illuminate the entire world if she could just harness it. “Yeah, I know the feeling.”