Chapter 23

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Louis smiled at Niall, looking over his outfit one last time. He was wearing a white button up shirt, paired with black dress pants, dress shoes and a suit jacket. With a smile, Louis reached over and unbuttoned the top button, leaving the shirt open to the air. Niall stared at his reflection in the mirror.

"You look good mate." Louis stated. Niall didn't say anything in return. He didn't think he looked good, he never thought he looked good. He would admit however, that he looked better than normal.

"I guess I'm ready." He said, looking himself over in the mirror as he spoke.

"One more thing actually." Louis stated. Niall turned to look at him, seeing two silver keys in his hand. His eyes widened.

"I thought Liam swallowed one of those." Niall said as Louis rolled up his sleeves and began unlocking the braces.

"He did." Louis agreed.

"How did you get it then?" He asked. Louis looked up from his task.

"You really don't want to know."

Louis undid the locks on both wrists, pulling the fabric off gently. Nialls wrists were still torn in places, scabs still clinging to his skin, but they were looking better. Louis swallowed and quickly pulled his friends sleeves down.

"Are you sure I should take them off?" He asked. He felt exposed without them.

Louis smiled slightly and nodded. "Liam wants to see you Niall, the real you. He likes you a lot."

A smile came to Nialls face. "You think so?"

Louis smiled at his friend. "I know he does. And I know you like him too."

Nialls smile didn't even falter at the fact that Louis knew his secret. He was drunk on the energy of the night and high on the anticipation. "How did you know?"

"Niall, I've known you for a very long time. I recognize the glint in your eye when I see it." Louis reminded him. Niall smiled.

"And yet you still can't see that same glint in Harry's eyes when he looks at you." He teased.

Louis shook his head. "Harry doesn't look at me like that."

Niall raised an eyebrow. "You need glasses mate. He is always looking at you like that."

As Niall finished his sentence, Harry knocked on the door. "Is Niall almost ready? Liam s all dressed up." He called through the door.

"Yeah, he'll be out in a second." Louis promised. He turned to look Niall in the eye.

"Okay Niall. Remember that tonight is about you and Liam. Don't think about anyone else. Its just You and Liam out there, okay?" He reinforced. Niall nodded and Louis smiled. "Well go on then. He's waiting."

Niall walked to the door and unlocked it, walking down the stairs slowly as not to trip. He could see Liam standing below, wearing an outfit very similar to Nialls own. There was a smile on his face, and Niall let himself forget that Liam wanted him to pretend. He let himself bask in the perfection of the moment, and he walked calmly down the stairs.

"You look handsome Niall." Liam stated when he made it to the bottom, his voice sounding sincere. The rest of the world fell away and it was just him and Liam.

"You look dashing." Niall smiled at Liam, not even making a comment against himself or disagreeing with Liam. Tonight wasn't a night to remember his problems. Tonight was a night to pretend everything was perfect.

Liam smiled and gestured to the door. "Shall we be off?"

Niall took one last look at Louis, who nodded, grinning, before nodding. "Lets go."

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