Chapter One

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  • Dedicated to Aurora

 “Breathe.” I commented for the fifth time.

Niall looked at me with his big blue eyes and smiled. That small gesture made my stomach rumble like a dozen bombs suddenly being set off into the night sky. I felt like I was about to pass out from the feelings being created, but like all the other times before that, I pushed the emotions back and only returned his smile with one of my own.

Niall and I have been best friends since we were young. We grew up a couple houses from each other and were always running around together, everywhere he went I went too, it was just a routine that we lived through every day. Eventually things changed when he auditioned for the X-Factor but I have been through all of it with him. From the first day that he decided he was going to audition to being backstage at the audition and now here, helping him through his nerves at one of his concerts.

It’s an emotional timeline that we’ve been through, but I would never want it another way. I can still recall that day when he decided he wanted to try out for the show. It was just one of those days were the clouds covered the entire sky, shielding the sun from showing and creating a gray mist, yet no rain poured on us. The weather was pretty chilly but nothing a hoodie couldn’t easily shield. We were both sitting in front of my house, our breaths hollow from running around playing soccer for an hour. We were relaxing, my head resting on the cool grass with my long brown hair sprawled around me while Niall sat with his legs crossed, some of his dyed blonde hair covered in sweat on his forehead.

“I want to try out for the X-Factor” He said calmly, his chest still heaving up and down. I always knew he had a singing voice from the times he would sneak into my room those late nights whenever I didn’t feel good or I just wanted company. He always sang to me before I fell asleep, his hands wrapped around my torso in an embrace, and I always remember how angelic his voice was to my ears, and how amazingly happy it made me feel.

That day back in Mullingar I reached over and grabbed his hand in mine. He only looked at me and grinned.

The day of the audition, I went along with him and his family. When we got there, he seemed so confident, like he was ready to take on the world. I recall holding his hand the whole drive, our minds diverted to the scenery outside the windows, yet I still felt his hand slightly shaking underneath mine. I squeezed it once or twice, trying to calm him down but he felt stiff. Once they called his name to go backstage, a mere couple feet from the stage, he was raging with excitement and determination, but I knew better. I knew that deep inside his heart was beating at a thousand miles an hour. When they called his name and told him it was his turn to go on stage, I saw his eyes open wide. He looked at his family and gave them a hug. Once he reached me, I grabbed him by the back of his neck and pulled him towards me. I hugged him for a couple seconds until I let go.

“Breathe.” I told him. His eyes slowly reached my own, a sudden emotion converting them but for once, I couldn’t decipher what it was. He let go of my hand, almost jogging up the stairs. Just as he reached the curtain, he stopped, turning his body around and turning to me. His deep blue eyes held my own for that second and for the first time, butterflies erupted in my stomach.

Little did I know that those butterflies would change my life in ways I never expected.

Now here we were. One Direction was holding their first concert from their Up All Night tour in Watford and I was currently trying to calm Niall down. His nerves had gone up from the first time he audition to complete fear now. He was sitting on one of the amplifiers, his head down low, and his hands covering them from the world. The other lads were doing something else on the green room while I tried my best to keep Niall calm and assertive. It was thirty minutes before the show and he was to the point of breaking down. After the X-Factor ended, his nerves were getting the best of him every time he performed at a new place. It didn’t help how much he feared rejection and how emotional of a person he was.

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