chapter 1; it's about us

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Sunlight filtered in through the crack in the blinds, the warm rays hitting Mona directly in her eyes and she groaned, turning over with a huff. In one way or another, she was glad for the weekend, her limbs heavy and sluggish from the build-up of exhaustion that had settled into her muscles as a result of the past few weeks of preparing for a stressful year of college. And yet, despite the fact that her body was resting, her brain was unable to shut off, the gears cranking and turning with useless information that she had no business thinking about at that time of day.

As she turned over, she noted the absence of the warm body that she had been curled around last night, her lips immediately tugging into a frown as she took in the coolness of the sheets where there had been warmth not even a few hours ago. With a sigh, she considered heaving herself out of bed, lagging around for a few moments before actually sitting up and extending her arms over her head. The stretch felt nice what with her rather sore and fatigued limbs, and she decided with a sigh that she would allow herself to relax today. The past week had taken its toll on her, and the proof of that was in the dark circles that lined the underside of her eyes as she stared into the mirror above her bathroom sink, the skin puffed up slightly from her constantly scrubbing her fingers over it. As she brushed her teeth, she thought of all the work she needed to get started on, and suddenly the idea of relaxing was slowly dissipating.

She splashed water over her face, the coolness effectively waking her from the lingering traces of sleep that clung to her body. Mona was tired, totally and completely drained, and the thought of the codes she had to create for her first assignment of the year was nagging at the back of her head. So much for relaxing.

"Morning, sleepyhead!" Harlow was perched on one of the stools beside their tiny excuse for a kitchen table, a pile of envelopes scattered across the slightly smudged glass top. Somewhere along the line, they'd decided to share a mailbox with Niall and Liam, who just so happened to live in the apartment across theirs, because they were all just struggling university students and, honestly, who could afford to keep four separate mailboxes open when they rarely ever got mail? "Slept well?" Harlow asked with a wink.

Mona rolled her eyes, shrugging before reaching for the box of Honey Bunches of Oats that was perched on the refrigerator. "I guess. Why?" Mona squinted at Harlow over her shoulder, wondering why the question was necessary because, if anything, Harlow didn't give two shits on whether or not Mona slept well.

"Well," Harlow sing-songed rather dramatically, chuckling as Mona swore under her breath at the sight of their empty fridge. She had forgotten that they hadn't bought milk, and she pouted at her bowl, which was already filled with dry cereal. "Just saw Niall sneaking in last night s'all."

When Mona glanced at Harlow again, she saw that she had been trying to look as nonchalant as possible. The only crack in the façade she was trying to pull off was that Mona knew her for years and could easily see through the way she was trying to wheedle information from her. She scoffed. "Nothing happened last night, for your kind information." She didn't know why she felt the sudden need to explain herself. After all, it was Harlow—and besides, everyone knew what type of relationship Mona and Niall shared anyway. "Niall just wanted a cuddle."

Harlow raised her brows in that patronizing way of hers, shaking her head before returning her attention to the stack of mail she was separating. "I don't understand why you're getting so defensive," she muttered, and Mona had to resist the urge to roll her eyes again. "You're basically a couple, anyway. Why don't you just make it official?"

"Oh my god," she groaned. Mona honestly had no idea what had gotten into her friends lately. Hell, even Zayn, who could honestly not give two fucks on who Mona dated, was pestering her about Niall, and she really just couldn't understand. The whole friends-with-benefits relationship had been working out for them just fine. She was happy, Niall was happy, and she couldn't absorb why everyone was hell bent on changing that. "We're not having this conversation, Harlow."

little do you know // niall horan auWhere stories live. Discover now