Chapter 37

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Chapter 37

Kora’s P.O.V.

“Hey, Ni?” I called out as I walked into our hotel suite.

He came stumbling out of the bedroom, tripping over the suitcases we had piled everywhere. He caught himself by slamming his palm on the wall then stood up straight and casually walked over to me as though nothing had happened. “Hey, love. How was the aquarium?” He kissed the top of my head after hugging me.

I chuckled. “It was a lot of fun! I wish you could have been there. Did you get the video Harry sent you?”

He nodded, exposing his braces as he grinned. “Yes and I loved it. You looked like you were having a blast.”

“I was.” I smiled back at him. “Did you get a new guitar?”

He shook his head. “I have to be honest; I didn’t skip the aquarium to go get a new guitar. Mine never went missing.”

My eyebrows furrowed, hurt welling in my chest. “Wh-what?”

He pulled out a small velvet box from his pocket and held it out to me. “Open it.”

“Niall, what does this have to do with you not going to the aquarium?”

“Just open it.”

I sighed and took the box, popping the lid. My jaw dropped as soon as the diamond on the silver band glinted in the light. Tears immediately sprang to my eyes, my hand covering my mouth. I looked up at my Irish boy. “Is this…?” I couldn’t finish the sentence.

“It’s an engagement ring, yes.”

My heart pounded in my ears. “But Niall, I’m only seventeen.”

He chuckled, taking the box out of my hand and pulling the ring out. He picked up my left hand, sliding the gorgeous ring onto my ring finger. “Before you freak out on me, just listen. Yes, this is a real engagement ring, but I’m not asking you to actually marry me. Paul and I discussed it and we figured out a way for you to stay with me and never have to go back with your parents.”

I smiled, predicting the rest of his plan. “Fake engagement?”

He nodded. “Fake engagement. They can’t take you away from your fiancé.”

I glanced down at the ring on my finger, my smirk momentarily fading. “This will work, right?”

Niall’s fingers slid under my chin and tilted my head back, forcing me to look into his crystal blue eyes that never failed to make my heart flutter. “If it doesn’t, we’ll run away. We could hide and never be found. Don’t worry, Red, either way they’ll never get you back.”

*****

I wrung my hands together then let them fall apart, then twisted my fingers together again. My teeth were dug into my lip, the pain nowhere near distracting enough to keep me from noticing the growing knot in my stomach. Niall was announcing the ‘engagement’ at the concert tonight, before they ever even begin to sing. It was ten minutes before they went on, ten minutes before the whole world would know, ten minutes before my life would change. Fans would hate me and think I must be pregnant for us to get married so young. If only they knew it was fake and only to protect me from my insane family.

The ring felt like a massive weight on my finger with a huge spotlight screaming ‘Look at me!’. All the crew had asked me about it and I had to pretend it was real and that I had already started planning the wedding. That would be the worst part; lying to everyone. I loved the ring, I really did, and I loved Niall even more for trying to help me, but the looks people were giving me made me uncomfortable and made me want to hide in a supply closet.

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