A/N Hello. *peeks up from behind book* Enjoy this drama-filled chapter. :)

“Ni! Where are you?” I shouted into Niall’s flat.

While Izzy was at her interview, I had to pick up Niall and hang out. We were still friends, but things had been a bit tense since I met Izzy. I was excited to get closer to him again, but also nervous for Izzy. Simon was sure to love her, but I couldn't help being nervous for her. I knew how much this meant to her. 

“Give me a minute.” Niall’s voice drifted through the maze of hallways that was his flat. I exhaled lightly, leaning back against the door frame.

This busy life style would be much easier if I could actually sleep. I’m not sure why, but I haven't had a long sleep since the night with Izzy. Maybe it was just her. Without her, I couldn't sleep.

Something told me that wasn't the reason, though.

This job and the pressure was getting to me more than I wanted everyone to realize. I was supposed to be the mature, calm one.

What if the world knew of the screams I let loose when I was alone, or the raw, bloody look of my knuckles after punching the wall for hours? What would they think of me if they knew how weak I really was?

The pressure was eating me alive; slowly, but enough to make life hard. 

Izzy was my solace. She was my escape when I thought I couldn't go on anymore. I loved her, truly, and was thinking about taking it one step further. Not yet, but in the future.

Marriage was never something I considered until her. Of course, this wouldn't be for years. I wouldn't ask her until I was absolutely sure. Still, the fact that I’ve been considering it was astounding. 

Niall showed up at the door and I smiled. My smiles were getting easier around him. Of course, I knew how he felt for Izzy. That fact made our relationship uneasy, but it had been mending over these past few weeks. I could tell that he was backing down, or at least that’s what Izzy told me. I could see, though, in his eyes. He still loved her. 

“C’mon, let’s get out of here.” I said, motioning to the car. Niall nodded, somewhat awkward. He was trying, as I was, but it was hard for both of us. 

“So, you excited about the new song?” Niall asked me and I grinned ear to ear. 

Izzy immediately popped into my mind, and before I realized what I was saying and who I was saying it to, I blurted, “Yeah, I can’t wait to sing it to Izzy. I’m planning this whole outdoor picnic next saturday where I’m going to sing it to her-” I cut off, biting my tongue. Niall’s almost-smile had turned to a mask of stone. He grit his teeth and stared out the window.

We fell into a moment of silence. You could actually feel the awkward in the air, as if it was tiny particles floating around choking both of us. I focused my eyes on the road, praying for this car ride to be over soon.

“Niall-” I started, but he cut me off. 

“It doesn't matter, Liam. It’s over. She doesn’t feel the way I feel, and it’s done, so just forget about it.” His words suggested that he wanted to move on, but his voice and eyes said otherwise. 

“Yes it does matter, Ni. I don’t want this to come between our friendship.”

He laughed, but it wasn't the humorous, loving laugh that I was used to. It was cold and hard, with such little emotion that I nearly cringed. 

“Come between us? You don’t want it to come between us? I hate to break it to ya lad, but it already has.” This made me mad, for whatever reason. I understood that he loved her, but he didn't have to be an ass about it. 

“It’s not my fault we have a great relationship. I’m sorry it didn't work out for you, but you really don’t have to be so cynical while I’m trying to be nice.” Niall snapped his head over to me, a mock enthusiastic grin on his face. 

“Great relationship, you say?” He asked with great exaggeration. I nodded, sending him a weird look. What was he playing at? 

“Oh, so she tells you everything then? You two are completely honest all the time?” His voice was dripping with sarcasm, and I wanted punch him. 

“Yes. Just because we have something you’ll never have doesn't mean you should spoil it for me.” That was harsh. I regretted the words the second they came out, but nothing prepared me for what he said next. 

“Well, I have something you’ll never have. I’ve seen her naked. But you knew that, didn’t you, or did she forget to tell you that?”

I slammed the brakes down on the car, nearly sending Niall through the window. The people behind me honked and hollered, but I was in a trance. His words paralyzed me. I couldn't move. 

One look at Niall and I knew that he regretted what he just said. He snapped out of whatever cold shell he’d been in and was back to his usual self. 

“Liam? I’m so sorry- I didn't mean- oh shit- I-” I held my hand up, motioning him to be silent. Without a word, I got out of the car and started walking away with the keys still in the ignition. 

Niall hopped out of the car and ran after me, but I sent him a glare.

“Stay away from me.” I spat, walking away from him. His tearing blue eyes were the last thing I saw before I turned around. A twinge of guilt shot through my body, but I ignored it.

It was already too late. 

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