Feels Like Forever



The bedroom door creaks open, and Emilie clears her throat softly. Niall hesitates then looks away from Ryder, up at the woman who has the potential to destroy him. She beckons him closer, and Niall hates that he can’t decipher what her eyes are telling him.

Exhaling sharply, Niall sets the toddler on the floor, kisses his hair with a promise to be right back. Ryder pouts but doesn’t fuss; he just crawls across the living room to the bin of toys. So Niall steels himself against all that can go wrong and makes his way to Emilie’s side.

She waits until he’s sat on the end of the bed before drawing in a long, slow breath. Niall stares blankly at the leather-bound book that she holds out to him. Her journal. He knows it’s her journal, he’s seen it often enough over the last year. He also knows it’s the one thing she has requested he never touch, even under duress. He shifts his gaze to her face.

There is no amusement, nothing to suggest that this is a trick. Her lips quirk up at the corners, a quick twitch, as Niall reaches out for the journal slowly. Her mouth opens as if she’s going to say something, but she shakes her head without a word. Emilie leaves him then, closing the door behind her, and his fingers tremble as he strokes over the cover of the book. After a moment, he flips the journal open to the first page she has marked.

Niall leaves for some golf thing tomorrow. He always has so much fun with these things. I think he really enjoys having his own company for this. I’ll miss him obviously, but I can’t deny that I love seeing him so ecstatic. I just wish I could be as happy as he is.


It’s been three days since he called and honestly? It doesn’t feel that long. I don’t wait by the phone or even get upset any more. Is that a bad thing? That I don’t NEED to hear his voice?


Work was fucking rough today. I feel like I’m drowning. The job itself is so easy, but… I know I should be happy that Niall is home again and I get to see him, but I just - I don’t know. It just feels like everything we’ve had has disappeared. I mean, I still love him. God, do I fucking love him even though I can’t say the words. So much. But we don’t actually talk any more. It hurts so much to know it’s all become about sex, Ry, or superficial bullshit.

I want to go back to when we first started, when we would talk all day and night about everything, no matter how silly and trivial. I just want to be happy again. Why can’t I be happy? The first thing he said to me today when he got home was “Where’s Ryder?” No mention of whether or not he missed me. No hug or kiss or even so much as “hi”… It took everything I had in me to not burst into tears right then because it HURT. When did he stop caring about me???


Last night was the first night he didn’t say “I love you” before hanging up. I didn’t even notice until he sent a text an hour later saying it. I don’t know how I feel about this. I know it should hurt that he didn’t and that I didn’t even notice, but… I’m confused. I don’t like it. I just want to know what to do. Should I just break up with him and move back home with Ry? Or should I suffer through and hope it gets better? Neither of those sounds like a good option, but I’m afraid it’s all I have. Talking to him about it… I don’t think I could do that. I don’t want to risk him coming to the conclusion that he doesn’t love me any longer, that he’s only sticking around because he doesn’t want to hurt Ryder. I don’t know if I could survive knowing that.


I haven’t heard from him in almost a week. He’s been working on songs for his new album, writing constantly, and that’s fine. I’m glad. His music is important to him. But when I’m forced to go to bed alone or when I only see him for 10 minutes before bed and it’s just so he can give me a kiss and we can have sex… It’s a problem. I’ve done all that I can think of to make life easier on him. It’s worse because Mom, Mama, and Dad love the shit out of him. But this isn’t what I wanted. This isn’t what I need. I need something different. I need him to love me like he did before.


We got into a fight. Kind of. He forgot about picking Ry and me up from work, and when Josh dropped us off at home, I found out the reason he forgot was because he was too busy talking to Lewis to remember us. I took Ry out for some chicken nuggets, and when we got home, Niall was nowhere to be found. He never came home. I could feel my entire world crashing down around me because it proves what I’ve feared - he doesn’t love me like he says he does. I’m just… a safety option, I guess.


He hasn’t noticed we’re gone yet. It’s been 5 days since Ryder and I came back to Austin. Ry isn’t happy about it. He’s constantly asking about his Ni-Ni, and I just don’t know what to tell him. Thankfully, Derek and Monica know now. They’ll be able to help us. They’ll help Ryder adjust, and they’ll help me get over my broken heart.

I think Monica is upset that I never told them how I was feeling, but what was I supposed to say? “Oh, hey, I know we’re all BFFs and all and that I up and moved in with some guy 1400 miles away, but I think it was a mistake because now I’m miserable and he fell out of love with me, but hey, how are YOU?”

That’s not exactly an easy conversation. And yeah, they ARE my best friends, but I don’t want or need their judgement. I don’t want them pissed off and take it out on Niall. It isn’t their place. Besides, it isn’t his fault he no longer gives a damn about me. He made a decision based on his own feelings, and I’ll just have to accept that. To move on.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m overthinking this. I just really fucking miss Niall. I miss being in love with him. I miss being happy with him in a way I never have been before. I wonder if he misses that, too…


Niall’s chest is hollow, tight, by the time he finishes reading the entries. They date back for months. The first one was shortly after the night they talked about his difficulty adjusting to the change of having and Ryder living with him. He doesn’t know how she kept this from him for so long, though he understands why.

Blowing out a tremulous breath, he scrubs a hand over his eyes. How could he have been so blind? How could he not have noticed Emilie withdrawing from him? He sets the journal aside, wipes away the dampness on his cheeks, and stands.

It may have been his lack of attention and her lack of communication that caused this fracture, but he’ll be damned if he lets it break them completely.

Emilie is curled up on the sofa, cuddling with Ryder as he struggles to stay awake while cartoons play quietly on the television. She glances up as he nears. Her dark eyes skim over his face, brows drawing tightly together, and Niall shakes his head.

“We can talk once he’s asleep,” he whispers, and she nods, turning her attention back to the telly.

Niall sits by her feet, pulls them into her lap, and she giggles softly when his thumbs dig into the arch of her foot. He flicks at her ankle as she tries to tug away from his foot, but he’s falling headfirst into the sound of her laughter. It’s been too long. With a quiet sigh, she calms down and lets him continue.

Thankfully, Ryder gives up on fighting sleep within the half-hour; his soft snores are just barely quieter than the show. Niall gestures for Emilie to stay where she is and gingerly moves her feet off his lap. Her gaze is heavy on his face as he leans down to scoop the child into his arms, but she doesn’t say a word.

The bedroom door creaks softly as it swings open on its hinges. Ryder sleeps on, and Niall smiles down at the toddler, carries him across the room. Pressing a gentle kiss to the boy’s curls, Niall tucks him in and stays there, crouched next to the cot. His throat tightens the longer he watches Ryder sleep.

Niall is sure he can move past a failed relationship. He's certainly done it before.It would take time, definitely, and he would carry the scars with him for the rest of his life. But losing Ryder, too? That wound would never heal.

He blinks rapidly against the tears then forces himself to move, to leave the room and confront whatever is about to happen. Emilie is still lying on the couch. Her eyes are closed, but he knows she isn’t asleep. The tension in her body is evidence enough.

Slipping into the space behind her, Niall pulls her until her back is pressed to his chest. Her breath comes out shakily as he drapes his arm over her waist, and he holds her close and wonders where his words have gone.

“I’m sorry.”

“What the Hell are you sorry for?” he whispers, buries his face in her hair.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you by letting you read my journal.”

“Oh, darling, no. You didn’t hurt me. Reading how you’ve been feeling hurts, yes, but that isn’t your fault.”

“I just… Niall, our relationship revolved around sex and Ryder. You and I, we never talked. Actually talked. I kept hoping it would get better, but it never did.”

Her voice cracks, breathing grows harsh, and he realises that she’s started crying. Niall wants to say something to make it better. To take away all the pain he has caused her. But there’s nothing that can change what has been done.

Emilie sniffles and brushes a hand over her cheeks. “I tried. I did everything I could to figure out where things were going wrong and to fix them. I, I don’t know what else I could have done.”

“You couldn’t have done anything. It was- it was all me.” His arm tightens around her instinctively, and he struggles to get himself back under control. “I didn’t… I didn’t realise I was making you so miserable. I’m so, so sorry.”

“Yeah, I know you are,” she sighs, pushing out of his grasp and sitting up.

Cold washes over him now that her body is no longer against his. She scoots down to the other end of the couch, and the aching in his heart grows more painful with the distance between them. She refuses to meet his eye. Her fingers visibly shake as they rake through her hair.

“You saying you’re sorry? It’s not good enough. You can say you’re sorry until you’re fucking blue in the face, but Niall, I want to know what you’re going to do. What action are you going to take to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

“Because I won’t go through it a second time. There’s a little boy in that room that needs stability. He deserves stability for the first time in his short life. Ry deserves to be loved and never have to wonder if he’s going to be left alone. And honestly? I deserve the same thing.”

Niall swallows thickly. “I-”

She speaks over him, voice tremulous yet so firm at the same time, “I deserve to be really, truly happy and not worrying about when things are going to get so messed up again.”

The room echoes with the force of her statement, and she finally drags her gaze to his face. Niall slides his legs off the couch until his feet hit the floor, and he leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees.

Emilie is right. Of course she is. He should have done more to make sure she never felt like this. He should have paid more attention, shown her more love, made sure she knew how important she was - is - to him. Because he loves her more than he thought possible, even though he’s done a piss-poor job of showing it.

“I know. And Em, I’m so fucking sorry you’ve not had that with me. You’re right. You and Ryder… you deserve so much better than how I’ve treated you. Why didn’t you say something, though?” She twitches at his words, but he ignores it, pushes forward. “We’re supposed to be a team. You should have told me how unhappy you were.”

She sighs, bringing her knees to her chest, and stares down at the chipped polish on her toenails. “Because I thought it would change. That all I had to do was hold on for just a little bit longer, and you’d go back to being the guy I fell in love with.”

“Em, I’m not a mind-reader. I know I can get wrapped up in my own head sometimes, and I know it’s a problem. I’ve always know that.” He swallows down the surge of anger and forces himself to speak steadily, calmly, “It isn’t fair that you expected me to what, just know how you were feeling? How can we be partners in this if you don’t actually tell me anything? No, don’t, please. Let me finish. Emilie, if we’re going to work, I need you to promise me that you’ll start calling me out on it. Please.”

“I want us to work,” she whispers after nearly two minutes of complete silence; she rests her head against her knees, pins him with a watery stare.

“So do I, love, more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my entire life.”

“More than winning X-Factor?”

The joke falls flat, humourless in the face of the situation, but Niall takes it as permission. She doesn’t move as he stands and crosses to sit next to her. The tension slips from her body when he wraps an arm around her shoulders, tugging her into his side. He presses a kiss to her hair and closes his eyes against tears.

“I can’t tell you how much more. There are no words.”