Feels Like Forever


if you missed it, last week had a double-update! mostly because i couldn't make y'all wait for more (;


Emilie checks the time on her phone, biting back a groan when she sees it isn’t even six o’clock yet. Already Ryder is whispering to himself, keeping his two-year-old self entertained while the adults sleep on. There’s a heavy fear blanketing her as she lies there: Was yesterday a dream? Is she going to find that Niall never showed up on her doorstep?

She carefully rolls over and frowns when her hair twists around her face. Pushing her hair away, she smiles slightly when she sees that Niall is awake as well, sleepy and real and here. His fingers trail along the curve of her cheek, then he leans forward to brush a kiss to her forehead.



“An’ Em?”

Giggling, Emilie lifts her head to see Ryder sitting up on his cot, hair sticking up in dozens of directions as he grins. “Hey, baby. You can get out of bed.”

Ryder doesn’t hesitate. He rushes across the room and clambers up onto the bed, giggling as he shoves his way in between Emilie and Niall. Emilie meets Niall’s eye and immediately dissolves into laughter. She’s missed this - the peaceful mornings waking with each other, the interruption of a child making a place for himself, the serenity of knowing she and Ryder are loved completely. Even before the separation, she hadn’t felt this way, not for months. She pushes the thought aside, stretching to kiss Ryder’s cheek.

“An’ Em?”



“Sorry, little dude, it isn’t open for another hour.”

“Coffee, Ni-Ni?”

Niall coughs to hide his chuckles, but it’s a massive failure. “Auntie Emilie said it’s closed right now. We’ll go later, though.”

“I coffee.”

“In a bit.” Niall raises up on one elbow when Ryder opens his mouth. “We will get coffee later, I promise. For now, why don’t we take a quick nap?”

“No nap. You gone.”

Emilie’s heart shatters at the toddler’s words. She closes her eyes against the burning, but she can’t un-see the pain on Ryder’s face. Warm fingers wrap around hers, squeezing gently, and she stares at Niall. He smiles slightly, just the smallest curve to his lips, then turns his attention back to the child.

“I’m not going anywhere again, bud. I’m gonna be right here with you, okay?”

“Trust,” Ryder whispers after a long minute, the longest minute of Emilie’s life, and his lashes flutter against his cheeks as he falls asleep.

“Trust, forever and ever,” whispers Niall with a gentle kiss to the tot’s forehead.

When the trio wakes again, another two hours have passed, and true to his word, Niall is still there. He waits until Ryder has fully woken up before climbing out of bed, and he closes the bathroom door behind him. Emilie pulls Ryder closer, murmuring a quiet apology for all the hurt she’s caused him over the last week. He doesn’t seem to care for her apologies; he just pats her cheek and says “I coffee now?”

Ryder babbles about Monie, his “Unc Ick”, and coffee while Emilie changes into a pair of denim shorts and a black tank-top. Niall makes sure that the bag is stocked with a change of clothes, a stack of pull-ups, and Lionel the Lion, then he hooks the strap over his shoulder and reaches for Ryder’s hand. Emilie watches the two of them walking in front of her, unable to fight the smile. Shaking her head, she locks the door behind them and follows them to the car.

The lack of music would be disconcerting if it weren’t for the fact that Niall seems just as content without any songs to disrupt the easiness that’s settled in all around them. He keeps his hand in hers as she drives, occasionally responding to whatever Ryder is saying, though replies aren’t necessary - not with a two-year-old who is too busy talking about everything as long as it’s with his favourite people.

“What?” Emilie asks at the thoughtful expression on Niall’s face as he slows to a stop, staring up at the building, and he shakes his head. “Is something wrong?”

“No, nothing. Just thinking.”

She lets out a soft laugh, reaching over to poke his bicep over Ryder’s head. “Well, stop it. We’ve not even had coffee yet, so it’s far too early for something as annoying as thinking.”

He holds the door open to let Emilie and Ryder go in first. There are only two other customers inside, both too engrossed in their phones while they wait for their coffee to notice the newcomers. Emilie stifles a giggle when Ryder tugs on her hand, whines, and she crouches down to be on his level.

“Only to the case, okay? Anywhere else, and you go up.”

“No up. Case ‘kay.”

“Exactly. Go figure out what you want.”

She releases his hand, and he immediately surges forward, beelining for the glass-fronted counter. She sighs and stands upright, rests her head on Niall’s shoulder as they wait. He presses a kiss to her hair, and silently, they watch Ryder examine every pastry on display.

“I love you,” she whispers, her voice so soft she wonders if Niall has even heard her.

The way his fingers tighten around hers assures her that he has. It feels right, to say those words here and now. The separation has been Hell on Emilie - she has no idea if she’d have been able to handle the pain any longer - but… she doesn’t regret it. The distance seems to have opened his eyes as much as it did hers. She knows without a doubt now that he is the only one she will ever want so wholly. As much as she wishes they had just talked before it got to the point of leaving, Emilie is pretty damned sure that this is what they needed.

It’s weird to think that. To know with complete certainty that if they had never separated, they never would have lasted. Everything had been too perfect, too good, for too long. Now they are past the worst and stronger for it. It has given way to the words she’s kept hidden from him, though he is the only person they have ever been meant so honestly for.

“I love you.”

Niall huffs out a laugh next to her. “I love you, too. Gonna keep saying it?”

“Only until I’m tired of saying it.”

“Any idea when that will be?”

She meets his eyes, so blue and clear and full of their future. “Probably half past never.”

“I can live with that,” he murmurs before ducking down to kiss her.

As soon as the other customers are gone, Monica lets out a loud squeal, rounding the counter. Emilie gets very Little warning before her friend is approaching, wrapping her up in a tight hug. Monica sways wildly, her voice a nonstop stream of sound, and Emilie’s eyes burn with unshed tears. She knew that Monica has been a fan of the relationship, but even she couldn’t have expected that Monica would react like this.

“You two are okay now? Please tell me you’re okay and moving back to LA because I’ll miss you but I just want you happy oh my god Bean!”

“What has Emmett told you about sampling the products, especially in vast quantities?” Emilie laughs as she pulls back. “But yes, we’re moving back to LA.”

“Thank fuck. I love seeing your face, but I love seeing your face full of happiness through a video chat more. So what’cha getting today?”

As soon as Monica passes over the pastries they order, Niall places his hand on Emilie’s lower back, steering her toward a table. “I’ll wait for the drinks while you go relax.”

“Are you sure?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

Monica pouts when the bell jingles over the door, and Emilie turns away so her friend doesn’t see her giggling. As Niall nears the table, hands full of coffee and Ryder trailing behind him, Emilie lets out a soft sigh. The residual tension leeches from her body, the last bit of apprehension she’s felt since he showed up yesterday.

“Hey, Monica, can you turn the music up?”

Emilie frowns at Niall, but he ignores her, cocking his head as Monica takes a second from her tasks to do as asked. The familiar voice of Tracy Lawrence comes through the speakers, and Emilie snorts in amusement at the song.

But right now I’m in heaven, and I can’t help myself. My little Texas tornado, blowing me away again. I swore it wouldn’t happen again, but I looked at you and then I’m like a tumbleweed in a wild west Texas wind. You’re blowing me away again.

“Wait, what are you doing?”

Niall laughs but doesn’t respond as he pulls his phone from his pocket. Emilie watches him unlock the device then she leans over to see that he’s editing her contact information to add a tornado emoji to the “Emmie” and heart that’s already there. Rolling her eyes, she shoves the plate with the danish toward him.

“Eat, weirdo.”
♠ ♠ ♠
so as you can see - the coffeeshop exists irl