**Emma’s POV**

I watched in absolute shock as Louis left the diner. What’s wrong with him?! I look out the window next to me and see him walking down the street, fists shoved into his pockets and his head shaking aggressively. I slump back onto the cushiony booth and breathe out quickly. I put my elbows on the table and place my head in my hands.

“Emma?” I peek out from under my hair and see Niall standing in front of the booth, coffee in hand. I sit up and smile apologetically at him.

“Niall, I am so sorry about that. I don’t know what’s gotten into Louis.” I sigh again and rest a hand on my cheek. Niall looks around the diner and then bends down so we’re at eye level. He shrugs.

“It’s alright. My shift ends in ten minutes, do you want me to drive you home?” He asks, genuinely concerned about me.

For some weird reason this makes me smile, and I nod my head. “Thank you, I wouldn’t have wanted to walk by myself.” Niall grins and sets Louis’ now-cold coffee on the table in front of me. Then he says that he’ll be back soon after he clocks out. While he’s gone, I sit at the table and play with a sugar packet. My phone vibrates in my pocket, so I take it out and frown at the screen. It’s a text from Louis.

‘Emma, I’m sorry. Forgive me? x -Boo Bear’

I stare at the message for some time, but eventually I can feel someone’s presence next to me. I move my gaze and see Niall standing there with a jacket on. I shut my phone without a second thought and stand up. Niall leads the way out of the diner and to his truck in the back parking lot. He opens the passenger door for me and I smile appreciatively and get inside. He does the same and jams the key into the ignition.

“Which way?” He asks politely, looking at me. Crap. All my stuff is at Louis’: my purse, money, and the food for my mom’s party. I think for a second, then point in the direction of my house. Mom won’t mind me going out again to buy the food. Niall starts the truck and drives out of the parking lot.

After a couple minutes of listening to the radio, he clears his throat, capturing my attention. “So, does your boyfriend usually leave you stranded at city diners like that?” He asks, not in a rude way, but just thinking about the stunt Louis pulled earlier pisses me off.

I sigh and speak in a frustrated voice. “No, my best friend. Louis.” Niall nods understandingly, but I’m pretty sure I just saw him smile.

“Well, he sure acted like your boyfriend. But a best friend is good, too.”

I give him a questioning look. “And why is that?”

He chuckles and casually places one of his hands on the back of my seat. “Because now I don’t have to feel bad about flirting with you.” He flashes a huge smile and I start laughing like crazy.

“Charming.” I say between breaths, and Niall shrugs and watches the road. And with that, the subject of my best friend is out the window.

Niall asks me questions about myself and actually listens to the answers, unlike other guys I’ve talked to. He adds his input at the right times and seems truly interested in what I tell him. In return, I ask about his family and his life back in Ireland. He’s from Mullingar and says that he moved here with his mom a couple months back. He tells me hilarious stories about him and his brother, Greg, and the crazy things they used to do.

I’m laughing the entire drive home, and when we finally get to my house, I have to take deep breaths to calm myself. Niall gets out of the truck and opens my door for me. I blush slightly and step onto my damp driveway.

“Thank you, Niall. Really.” I say, touching his upper arm briefly. He grins and shrugs again.

“Of course, I wasn’t gonna let you walk alone.”

“Well, thanks again. I’ll see you later, I guess.” I turn slowly and start walking up to my front door.

Then I remember. “Hey, Niall?” I call out and he turns around, one foot in his truck already.

“Yeah?”

“How would you like to come to a party with me tonight?”

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