‹ Prequel: Feels Like Forever

Feels Like Forever (one-shots)

could not ask for more


Time crawls. Ryder asks when the baby is coming every day, and Emilie’s coworkers already act as if she’s helpless. It’s only been a month since she and Niall announced to their family and friends - and subsequently, the world - that a new baby was on the way. She isn’t even showing yet.

But still, Emilie can’t help staring at her belly every morning in the mirror. It’s gone slightly soft from lack of exercise - she hasn’t gone for a jog in LA like she used to in Austin - but there is hardly a noticeable change stating ‘There is a clump of cells growing into a baby in my uterus’.

She wishes for the tenth time she woke up that she’d been like her mother. This morning sickness is horrible. Wiping her lips on the back of her hand, Emilie spits into the toilet and flushes down the bile. A shadow stands in the bedroom when she rises to her feet. She stands at the sink, readying her toothbrush, and Niall moves to her side.

“Is it supposed to be that bad?” he asks quietly, running a hand over her spine.

“I don’t know. I’ve never done this before.” She sighs and stuffs her toothbrush into her mouth. “I’ll ring Danielle later.”

He stays next to her while she scrubs her teeth and washes her hands. She’s just dried the water from her skin when he pulls her into his chest. Emilie blows out a breath then tentatively inhales again. He’s changed his cologne. All because his normal one aggravated her nausea. She sniffles and presses her face against his shoulder.

“Know what I just realised?”

“What’s that, love?”

“This pregnancy is a birthday gift for the rest of your life.” She leans back to look him in the eye. “Think about it. Doctor Hamilton said I was roughly eight weeks, right? The only time you were home during those eight weeks was for your birthday. Well, and a couple weeks later, but that doesn’t add up. So...”

“Oh, my God.”

Emilie rolls her eyes as he bursts into laughter. His lips brush her forehead, and she melts back in against him. These stolen moments are too few and too far between. His music still takes him all over the world, and her responsibilities keep her here at home. Thankfully, the pregnancy hasn’t changed the dynamic between them.

He calls every night while he’s gone and holds her every night when he’s home. Ryder has acclimated well to the here-then-gone of Niall’s lifestyle; his only demand is Niall be home as a dad, not touring the world or in the studio as a musician, for all of the big things. Holidays, birthdays. He’d been heartbroken when Niall wasn’t home for his first “break-up”. Six years old, and the boy had a little girlfriend and lost her in the span of a week only ten days after his birthday.

To his credit, Niall has done his damnedest to not miss anything.

The tumblr blogger has been suspiciously silent since the Instagram post implying there was another child on the way. Emilie has enjoyed scrolling through and reading the comments left behind by her husband’s fans. Most of them have been in support. A portion of them were begging Niall to confirm “Larry” is a thing, and some were even hoping for Niall to leave his wife and kids for them. It had taken all of her willpower not to comment back with Too damn bad, he’s MINE.

Monica has no such compunction. She repeatedly puts laugh-cry emojis under every single negative comments.

“Do you want me to stay home with you?”

“Nah, it’s okay.” She steps around Niall to go to the bedroom. She has things to do today that don’t involve him upending his entire schedule. And having him miss out on his golf stuff would only end in him struggling to hide his pouts. “All I want is for you to drop Ry off at school then go have fun.”

Within the hour, the house is silent. Emilie sprawls across the couch, one hand on her belly, and switches through the channels. Nothing captures her attention, not even Judge Judy. She’s far too preoccupied with her self-doubts. Everyone says she can do this - after all, she’s raised Ryder so well - but that doesn’t change the fact being pregnant is far different than having a child who didn’t come from her body.

She ends up in a FaceTime call with Danielle an hour later. The light in her stepsister’s eyes brings a smile to Emilie’s face. Narcotics Anonymous and copious amounts of therapy has done wonders for Danielle. After her early release from jail on good behaviour, she has stuck to sobriety with endless enthusiasm. She even moved to Corpus to stay with Paige until she was back on her feet.

Pete was a surprise. They met at an indoor amusement park while he spent his scheduled weekend with his daughter Martie, and - as Danielle puts it - it was love at first sight. Emilie jokes that Danielle took one look at his ass and fell for him, but she knows it was because Pete was completely invested in his four-year-old. He’d barely even said a ‘hello’ until Martie skated too far away and slammed into the back of Danielle’s legs. It was a quick thing, their relationship, and Danielle and Pete were married before the year was up.

He has been so damn good for Danielle. He knows of her troubled past and keeps her on the straight and narrow.

If someone had asked Emilie even three years ago, she would have said Danielle would spend her time in jail, come out, and fall back into her old patterns. She would never change. Emilie would worry every day about getting a call saying Danielle was dead.

Thankfully, that isn’t the case anymore.

Everything looks right on track at the twenty-week scan. Niall refuses to leave without knowing if their child will be a boy or girl, and Emilie caves within seconds. He has been looking forward to this since they began trying to conceive. She doesn’t even mind when he rejects the suggestion of keeping it to himself.

“Do we have to do a gender reveal?” she asks in the car as he drives them toward home, and he takes his eyes off the road long enough to shoot her a flat look. “I’m just saying. Too many wildfires have started because of the damn things. Why add to the damage?”

“I was thinking cupcakes or something. Small, not on fire, and you know Ry will never turn down the chance for sweet treats.”

“Fine. You’re picking them up.”

“And your gorgeous self will rest while I do. And while Jordan and Mully decorate for the shower.”

“I don’t need one.”

“Pet, please. We’re all just trying—”

“I know,” she groans, shifting uncomfortably in the seat. “I dunno, I just... I feel like this is too much, y’know? Like, big deal, you knocked me up. I don’t think it should grant me this much attention.”

“Do you want us to stop?”

“No. Only because you all are so excited about it. I couldn’t bear to destroy your enthusiasm that way.”

“And you enjoy the foot rubs you always seem to manage to get from everyone. You’ve even gotten our son to do it.”

“Hey! He offered!”

Niall laughs, reaching for her hand, and kisses her knuckles. Emilie grins, stares out the window. As much as she doesn’t like being the centre of attention, she can’t deny the thrill she gets at seeing her husband dive headfirst into everything. Although if he keeps hiding the coffee and beef jerky, she might actually lose her mind.

Three days later finds the house filled to the brim with people: Harry, Louis, Freddie, Rose, Paige, Danielle, Pete, their two daughters, Jackson, Ryder, and the parents-to-be. Ry sits as close as possible to Emilie, despite plenty of seating around the living room. She repeatedly checks to make sure Danielle is okay with it. She may have signed over her rights, but she is technically his mother by blood. Danielle only beams back from where she sits on the floor, corralling Lori as she tries to get into the gift bags.

“Don’t get used to this,” Niall warns as he passes out the treats. “No one will eat in the living room after today, and if you try, I’ll put my foot up your arse.”

“Babe. Kids.”

Danielle laughs, shaking her head. “Oh, hush, Emmy. Every child here has heard worse.”

“Mama! It’s blue! My cupcake, it’s blue!” Ryder stares at the frosting inside of the cake then turns wide eyes on Emilie. “I’m getting a brother?”

“You were supposed to wait, baby,” she chides gently, even as the others take bites of their cupcakes to check that indeed, the frosting is blue.

Ryder leans down and presses his lips to Emilie’s belly, sniffling. “I’m gonna be the best big brother to you, bubby. I promise. Mama and Daddy are the best, but I’ll be even better.”

Emilie blames the hormones when she bursts into tears.

Months pass in a blur. Looking back, Emilie won’t remember all the nights spent awake with acid burning in her throat, a not-so-wonderful side-effect of this pregnancy. Nor will she care about how many times a day she has to waddle as fast as she can to a toilet before she pees in her leggings, the only thing that fits her comfortably anymore.

All she will focus on is this. The sound of the clock ticking away the seconds. The smell of his cologne coming from so near as he stares at the clock then to the door then back to the clock. The anticipation of the nurses coming back. The pain that isn’t nearly as sharp now she has something to look forward to.

She settles against the pillows and smiles as a knock sounds at the door. To Niall’s utter displeasure, it isn’t a scrubs-clad nurse but a troupe of family. Danielle’s left the girls at home, and Jackson scowls when he notices the sufficient lack of newborn in the room. Rose, Paige, and Maura dance around each other in their efforts to hug the new parents. Mully stays off to the side; the man probably knows he’ll get mowed over if he gets in anybody’s way of holding the baby.

The door squeaks open, and they all turn as one to greet the newcomer.

“And here we are,” Brenda singsongs as she pushes the portable cot into the room.

A teeny blue cap on a teeny head. Emilie grins while everyone coos over the baby boy. She even pretends her father isn’t crying as Niall scoops their son from the cot. Ryder sits in the armchair Niall has vacated, holding out his arms in a silent demand to hold his brother.

“Ryder Alexander, meet Ethan Alexander James. Ethan, this is your big brother, Ry.”

“I’m gonna be the best big brother ever.” Ryder frowns at the infant now in his arms then looks at Emilie. “He looks like that creature that bit Ron in Harry Potter.”

“He does not look like—“ Emilie pauses, taking a closer look of the baby’s face. “Okay, maybe he does look kinda like a Mandrake.”

Ryder grins, obviously pleased one of the adults agreed with him, and stares at Ethan. Emilie sniffs back tears at the delight on Ryder’s face. He’s waited so long for this moment. Now that moment is here, and she has never seen him so happy.

She can’t stop wondering what she was so afraid of. Niall’s love has been unwavering since the beginning, even when it didn’t feel like he still cared. Ryder asked and asked, so it wasn’t just a wish passing by. Mully and Jordan have done their best to make everyone’s lives easier despite Emilie begging them to go do what they wanted. To not spend so much time taking care of her.

The pregnancy was hard in the moment, during every bout of nausea and swollen ankles and cravings that went away a split second before she appeased them. But here, now, it all seems so far away.

Ryder passes Ethan off to the next adult—Rose beaming proudly, and Paige and Maura looking put-out that Rose was nearer. Emilie holds her arms out with a grin, and the six-year-old clambers onto the bed to snuggle into her side. She will never know he has always managed to fit so perfectly in her arms, even with how big he’s grown. He will never know how he saved her and changed her life without even trying. The first time she’d held Ry as a baby, she knew then he was special. He would be the most important thing in her life. Now he’s hers, and he has an amazing father.

Another knock, and Brenda enters again. She chirps out an ‘Excuse me’ as she wheels another cot into the room. Danielle bites back a smile. She knows. It’s only because she guessed properly, begged for Emilie to tell the truth, and Em had caved. She needed someone to tell, and why not show some trust in her stepsister after all the work she’s done to better herself?

“Excuse me,” Jackson starts, clearing his throat. “I think you might be in the wrong room.”

Brenda hums and shakes her head. “Oh, no, sir. The hospital is running a special today. Two for the price of one.”

The room goes deathly silent. Emilie ignores the way five heads swivel toward her and reaches in to pull the baby girl from her bassinet. Ryder cocks his head as he stares at the name-tag inside.

“Why does she have our last name, Mama?”

Niall leans down to kiss Ryder’s blond curls, winking at Emilie before replying, “Because, sweet boy, that’s your little sister.”

“I- I have a sister and a brother? I'm glad I’m not holding my baby, or I might drop him!” Ryder says, voice wobbling as he stares at the surprise baby. He buries his face against Emilie’s chest and squeaks through tears, “I have two babies! Thank you, Mama, thank you.”

“That was all your daddy, sweet one.”

“Emilie Taylor Horan, how the Hell did you manage to keep this a secret?” Jackson asks before he starts chuckling.

“Hey, Dani knew, too!”

Niall clears his throat, and the friendly arguments fall away. He cradles their daughter in his arms, raising her slightly so their family can see her clearly. “Everyone, this beautiful one is Naomi Alexandria Taylor.”

Emilie leans back into her pillows, arm tightening around Ryder, and watches her newborn children be passed from person to person. It’s hard to believe Niall chose her all that time ago, in a crowded coffeeshop. That he keeps choosing her every single day. That they’re the parents of three beautiful kids. That they have the rest of their lives to continue loving each other and the family they’ve created.

Everything is perfect as it is. She could not ask for more.