Chapter 25

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Niall only had two hours until he would have to face Liam and he was eating venison.

It wasn't a meat he had ever tried before today, but the waiter had insisted that it was the best meat to be paired with Zinfandel wine. Not that Niall would really be able to tell the difference, but he wanted to enjoy his meal to its fullest. Even criminals got one final meal before they were gone forever, and if Liam reacted too poorly, this could be the night could be the one that he would disappear. Louis had Harry now, and no one else would care if he was gone.

"I don't think you're old enough to be drinking that." An oddly familiar voices spoke, sliding into the booth across from Niall. It took him a minute to recognize Grant, the boy he had met at the park.

Niall took a long sip of the wine just to annoy him before speaking. "What are you doing here?"

Grant shrugged. "I saw you in the window and thought you looked lonely. Venison is best paired with company you know."

Niall was about to tell Grant to leave him in peace, but the waitress who had served him earlier returned to the table and took his order. A small salad and a water. It seemed that Grant was concerned about his health, and Niall almost felt bad for eating so much in front of him. But it doesn't matter how many calories are swimming around in your stomach if you're dead.

"So how have things been?" Grant asked, taking a sip from the glass of water he had been given. Niall mimicked the action with his wine, thinking about the past week. Liam had been smart enough to put the braces back on his wrists, and had barely let Niall out of his sight. His wrists itched constantly, and there was a constant buzzing n the front of his mind, full of selfloathing thoughts and the desire to cut. It wasn't so much a pressing desire as the constant sensation of not wanting to exist anymore. But today would by far be the worst day, at least until it was over with. As much as he was fearing Liam s reaction, he was almost excited to just let go and leave everyone to deal with the mess he left in his wake.

"Fine." He replied simply. Grant knew nothing of his inner turmoil, and he swallowed the lie easily.

"Is there a reason for the wine? Am I interrupting something?" Grant asked, sitting back in his seat and sipping constantly at the water.

Niall shrugged. "I'm just trying to get up my courage."

It wasn't a lie. Niall wanted to be almost drunk when he told Liam. He could blame the alcohol and Liam could blame alcohol and not himself when he was gone. He realized how stupid it was that he was putting so much stock into Liam s response, but it was stuck in his head now. No one else seemed to care about him much anymore. His parents only cared if he wasn't gay. Louis cared, but he cared for Harry more and hardly even seemed o notice Niall. He hadn't seen Greg in forever, despite living in the same house. Harry only interacted with him to remind him of their deal, a deal he had probably only made to make Nialls life hell.

Grants eyes sparkled. "You're going to tell him."

Niall didn't even ask how he could tell. He barely knew Grant, had barely intersected with him, but he already realized that Grant was incredibly perceptive. There were things he just knew.

Niall nodded, not saying anything. He wasn't enthusiastic, but Grant seemed absolutely ecstatic with the news.

"That's great Niall! I can tell he means a lot to you." There was a tiny tinge of sadness in grants voice, and Niall remembered when he had that he had started to like Niall. That was absolutely absurd to think that he could have developed feeling s after just one night, but he had only been around Liam for a couple weeks and he was about to confess his feelings.

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