Chapter 31

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It was Monday, a day Niall had began to think of as therapy day. He was already counting down the seconds He had left until his session when he woke up early that morning, and what confused him most was that he still wasn't sure if he was excited for it or dreading it.

He was sitting on his porch, staring out at the still dark sky and waiting for the time to walk to Louis' house. His mom still didn't know anything about what had been going on, and he intended to keep it that way. Not walking to Louis' house anymore would make her suspicious.

"Good morning Niall."

Niall nearly jumped out of his shoes when he heard a voice behind him. He turned to see his brother, still in pajamas, take a seat a few steps up.

"Good morning Greg." Niall greeted softly. He hadn't spoken to his brother in what felt like ages and he wasn't sure quite what to say.

"Are you doing okay?" He asked, and Niall wondered how much he knew. Maybe he knew everything that had been happening, or maybe he knew nothing, but after a moment of thought, Niall realized the answer was about the same.

"Yeah," Niall nodded, speaking slowly. "I'm doing okay."

Greg nodded, and the two sat silently in the dark for a moment. Then Greg spoke up again.

"I knew you were gay before I saw you with Liam." He admitted. Niall turned to look at his brother, who was still staring straight ahead.

"How?" He questioned. Greg shrugged slightly.

"I always figured you were. But Louis called and told me to keep an eye on you a couple weeks ago and he let it slip."

Niall searched his brothers face for any signs of disapproval, but Greg was as impossible to read as Niall strived to be.

"Are you okay with it?" He timidly asked. He knew Greg had said when Liam was there that it was fine, but that could have just been for show.

Greg met Nialls eye for the first time and shrugged. "It doesn't bother me."

Niall knew it may not count as full support, but he was relieved his brother didn't hate him. He let out a breath in a nearly silent sigh of relief, and Greg watched him the entire time.

"Mum won't be too happy." He reminded Niall, who shrugged. He knew his mum wouldn't be happy, he knew he was lying to her, and sometimes the weight of that crushed him. He hated that he was such a baby about things like that, but he couldn't control how he felt about things. He had spent most of his life trying to be a perfect child so his mom could be the perfect mom, and every time he fell short he was failing her. She didn't deserve that.

"Don't let her change you, okay? I know she's kind of scary, but...just stay yourself, okay? I let her get to me and I have never regretted anything more."

Niall frowned. "You let her get to you?"

Greg nodded. "I wanted to be an artist. I was pretty good, but mum kept saying it was a useless job and impossible for anyone to succeed at it. Maybe she was right, but I still should have tried."

Niall couldn't imagine Greg as an artist. It just didn't fit the way he saw his brother. Maybe He was the only one who had been morphed by his mother's expectations.

"You wanted to be an artist?" He asked in disbelief. Greg nodded.

"I even did street art. I'll show you sometime." Greg offered.

Niall was amazed. There were so many thing that he didn't know about his brother, and the more he thought about it, there were probably that many things that he didn't know about everyone. He just hadn't discovered them yet. And maybe that was reason enough to stay alive a little longer.

The sun was beginning to poke up over the horizon, and Niall knew that he needed to leave for Louis' house soon and That his brother no doubt needed to go get ready. He kept his gaze focused straight ahead as he spoke.

"Thanks Greg." Niall was sincere, and his words held twice as much meaning as anyone could understand.

"No problem."

Greg walked away after that, and Niall stood. He knew that Louis' house was a short walk, but he wanted to talk to the boy about a couple of things before school. He was just brushing the dirt off his pants when he heard his name for the second time that morning.

"Good morning Niall."

Niall turned to see Liam, holding a small bouquet of flowers. Just the sight brought a smile to his face.

"Good morning." He greeted in return.

Liam was now with in a few feet of him, and he momentarily set the bouquet on the ground, pulling Niall into a kiss. It was slow and gentle, and it seemed to spread warmth throughout Nialls body, beginning at his heart and warming even the stubbornly cold tips of his toes. It made Niall feel as if the world was perfect, as if nothing could go wrong. They had been going out for more than a week now, and not once had Liam kissed his casually or without passion. Every single one of Liam s kisses were special, never rushed and never preoccupied. He often would drop whatever he was doing in order to kiss Niall properly, and it was beginning to make him feel as if he truly belonged, as if he was cared for--maybe even loved.

When Liam pulled away, there was a lingering smile on his face, And he looked happy. He picked the flowers up from the ground, placing them gently in Nialls arms. "For you my sweet Prince."

Niall flushed a bit pink at the nickname, and stared down at the flowers. They were an average bouquet, store bought, and he was about to dismiss them as nothing more than a thoughtful gesture of affection when he saw the card tucked between a couple of the stems. He pulled it out, and look up at Liam, waiting for an explanation.

Liam flushed red as soon as he saw the slip of paper in Nialls hand. "You weren't supposed to see that yet."

Niall debated opening the note right there in front of Liam, Just so he could see more of the adorable blush color Liam's face. But he was still a bit stunned that Liam would ever want to date someone like him, and he wasn't going to ruin it over something as trivial as the little note. He tucked it carefully in his pocket smiling slightly at Liam, who instantly looked grateful.

"So what's the occasion?" Niall asked as they began meandering slowly in the direction of Louis' house and the school. Liam took his hand and smiled a little bit, swinging their hands between them.

"I just wanted to walk my boyfriend to school." Liam defended,"Does there always have to be an occasion?"

Niall smiled a bit and walked a bit closer to Liam. It was nice to be so close to him, so near to someone who cared.

They were about halfway to Louis' house when Liam stopped. He turned and set his hands on Nialls shoulders, looking him in the eye.

"I'm not sure that I ever told you this, but Niall, I love you." He stared straight into Nialls eyes and this time Niall could tell he spoke nothing but the truth. He knew Liam now, knew he would never lie about something like that.

"I love you too Liam."

And for the first time since everything started, Niall felt as if this happiness could last. This moment of perfection could last forever. He could live all his years in peace with Liam by his side. And sure, there would be some bumps in the road, but rather than insurmountable obstacles they would only be minor inconveniences. Niall was happy, and they was what mattered.


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