Chapter 22

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The blades being gone was driving Niall insane. It was late Saturday afternoon and his wrists were itching worse than he could ever remember before. It had been nearly three days since he had marred his own skin, and he wasn't sure how much longer he could take it.

"Niall, I'm back!" Liam called, walking through the door with several bags in his hands. His voice made Nialls heart flip in his chest and a small smile come to his face, despite the intense itching of his wrists. Over the past few days, he had grown to like Liam even more. He wasn't even denying it anymore, which some would say was progress, but Niall simply saw as an inevitable acceptance of his own worthlessness.

"Hello Liam. How was shopping?" Niall asked, his voice showing no signs of emotion. He had spoken like that a lot over the past few days, hiding both his crush and his sadness. Liam s response to his lack of emotion had been less than favorable. He had questioned Niall about his feelings so much that it may as well have been an interrogation, and had kept Niall close at all times. The only reason he had left Niall home alone when he went shopping was because he had been asleep, and he couldn't harm himself when he was asleep. Not to mention that Liam had locked every door in the house and Niall was left in the overly padded family room with nothing to do But lay on the couch and stare at the ceiling, which is exactly what he had been doing ever since he woke up.

"It went well." Liam replied, sounding tired as he sat on the couch. The first thing he did was lift Nialls socks to check for new cuts. Niall didn't even flinch. He hadn't cut, he hadn't done anything. He felt trapped inside his own head, and he was sure that Liam was tired of dealing with him.

"We have to go home tomorrow." Liam stated the facts, sounding oddly disappointed. Niall had figured the trip would have been a bust for Liam. Aside from the first day when Niall had opened up, He had spent the time closed off, the exact opposite of what Liam claimed to want. Why would Liam be disappointed that the trip was over?

"I know." Niall stated.

"I want to do something with you." Liam sighed, turning to look at Niall, who continued to stare at the ceiling. Niall wanted to do something with Liam too, but he was afraid that he would read too much into it And think of it as a date. He didn't trust himself not to get his hopes up and he couldn't take them crashing down again.

"Okay." He stated simply. He knew that had he denied Liam, he would have argued. And arguing would expel even more of Liam s energy that Niall already felt like he was sapping. Liam didn't deserve that. So Niall agreed calmly, staring up at the ceiling.

"I want to take you on a date."

Nialls mouth was suddenly dry. He forced himself to swallow, genuinely speechless in light of this new development. The itching in his wrists faded as he tried to process Liam s words. The possibility that Liam was kidding came to mind instantly, But Liam didn't seem like the kind of person to do that.

"You're straight." Niall stated simply, silently hoping Liam would correct him and spout some cheesy line about being in love or denying his feelings. But this was reality. Things like that didn't happen in reality.

"I know, I was just thinking the other day when you said you would never have a boyfriend that It was really sad that you thought that way. And you've gone so long long without cutting so I want to do something to reward you. I was thinking I could try it and maybe you could just pretend that I was that boy you were talking about."

It took Niall a moment to remember who Liam was talking about. Oh yeah. He had told everyone he had went on a date. He didn't want to pretend that Liam was someone else. He wanted Liam to have been serious about taking him out on a date, Not insisting that he pretend.

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