Eight.

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I wake up the next morning around ten o'clock, still groggy from jet lag and lack of sleep, but I force myself out of bed anyway. I peek outside my door and make sure the hallway is clear before crossing the hall to the bathroom so I can shower. I don't feel like running into my mom or Jessica this morning, I can live without having my day ruined so early.

It feels amazing to finally shower in privacy. In Los Angeles, the dorm buildings had community showers, and no matter the time of day there was always someone in there with you. They had shower curtains and stalls, but I'd rather not hear other people's atrocious singing and other unmentionable things they do in the shower.

In the silence of the bathroom and the noise of the water that drowns out the noises from the world on the other side of the door, I can finally hear myself think. The hot water calms me as it cascades down my body and I can finally breath. If I could, I would probably stay under the hot water for as long as I time would allow, but instead I wash my hair and my body quickly so I can leave the building as soon as possible.

I wrap a towel around myself and cross the hall to my room. I throw my hair on top of my head in a ballerina bun, not bothering to dry it. I pull out a red plaid flannel and a pair of thick leggings from my suitcase and slip my feet into moccasins.

I dig my makeup out of a box, silently wishing I had unpacked sooner.  I only brush my eyelashes with a bit of mascara. I don't really care how I look today as I'm only going out with Niall. When I start at my internship tomorrow I'll have to do myself up a lot more.

I realize that a lot more of the boxes are open than I thought. I know I didn't touch them, I haven't needed anything out of them. I decide that my mom must have opened a few to check if they were my things and that they weren't damaged from their cross-country trip.

When I pick up my phone, I have a text message from Niall.

Almost ready?

I smile as I read the text because I knew he would end up texting me first, despite the fact that I told him I would. The time on my phone reads 11:34 am so my sister and mom will have been up for a while.

Meet me in the hall in 5.

I leave my room and am glad to find the hallways empty, but an uneasy feeling sets in as I make my way to the kitchen where they are most likely sat. I take a deep breath as I walk into the room, and sure enough my mother is sat in the window seat and Jess is sat at the table typing away on her computer. I scurry into the kitchen without a word and grab a muffin off the counter.

"Where are you headed?" My mom asks, ruining my clean get away just as I'm about to leave the kitchen.

"Out with Niall for coffee, I'll be back later. Love you!" I rush out as I make my way to the door. I grab my leather jacket and leave out the door before I am questioned any further.

She treats me like I'm twelve instead of twenty. Maybe getting my own place will help her see that I can take care of myself. She should already know it since I lived across the country for three years on my own. Part of me knows she is just worried about me, but I can't help but wish she would let up. I can't deal with people controlling me, I've already dealt with enough of that.

As soon as I shut the door behind me, my eyes land on Niall who is leaning on the wall across from my door. His crisp white sweater makes his eyes stand out and his smile appear even brighter, if that's even possible.

"Hey," he smiles and pushes himself off the wall to fall in step with me as we walk toward the elevators.

I smile back and pick at my chocolate chip muffin.

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