"Hey Niall, I've gotta come in a sec you decent?" I heard someone knocking on the door.
I opened my eyes incredibly confused that I was in a bathroom.
"Uh, yeah?" I replied.
Kaine walked through the door and grabbed her toothbrush from the side of the sink.
"What time is it?" I asked.
"About 8, wanna get off the bathroom floor and maybe sleep on some carpet a little longer?" she asked.
"That might be nice." I said still drowsy.
My head was pounding as I sat up and came face to face with the toilet again. I grabbed for a piece of toilet paper to wipe around the rim where any of last night's vomit might have been and flushed it down.
"Sorry I threw up." I said looking up at her while she brushed her teeth.
"That's why I made you sleep in here." she smiled. "Just go left out this door and in the next room on the right and just sleep on my bedroom floor so you don't wake up Harry. I'll get you both up in a few hours okay?"
"Yeah thank you for letting us crash here." I said grabbing my pillow and pile of clothes and standing.
"No problem, hope your head is alright." she said.
"It's not, it's pounding. I'm gonna be hungover until my 29th." I said with a small laugh.
"Well let's hope not. I promised my friend Char I'd go on a run with her so I'll be back as soon as possible. Just don't break anything when you wake up got it?" she asked.
"Yeah okay. I'll tell Harry the same." I said and walked around her.
I entered her room and threw my pillow down on the ground and looked around a little. Her walls were a light grey and she had a full sized bed in the center of the wall. She had a dark grey quilt on her bed and a small dresser with clothes piled up on it. She had a record player on a stand in the corner with a few vinyls laying in a basket next to it and had a lamp and nightstand next to her bed. Her closet was big though, it took up nearly an eighth of the room. It was a small simple room but it suited her. I sat laid myself out on the carpet of the floor and rested my head on the pillow.
I heard the doorknob wiggling again and she entered the room. I propped my head up on my hand to see her come in.
"I forgot to say happy birthday. And I need a pair of socks." she said.
"Thanks Kay." I said.
She walked across the room to her dresser and opened the top drawer to get socks out of it. Her ass looked incredible in the spandex shorts she had on and I couldn't help but bite my lip. I had to snap out of this.
"See you in a couple hours." she smiled and left the room.
I laid my head back down and drifted off for a couple more hours until knocking at the door woke me up.
"Hey, get up, birthday boy." Harry said pushing me with his foot.
"What time is it?" I groaned again out of habit.
"Almost 10, just get up. I'll give you the grand tour of Kaine's place." he said.
"Why did you let me drink so much last night Harry." I said sitting up and massaging my forehead.
"Because I didn't want you to be all depressed over Kira, and I haven't seen you shitfaced in a while so it was pretty funny last night." he said.
"Yeah thanks a lot." I said sarcastically.
He held out his hand to help me up and I stood up reluctantly. I could've slept another couple hours.
"How'd you get in her room?" he asked me.
"She came into the bathroom this morning and told me to come in here so I wouldn't be on the tile anymore." I shrugged.
"Well, here's her room, you know the bathroom pretty well, follow me out here." he said.
I trailed behind Harry like a lost dog. Now that I had my mind back, but a killer migraine, I was mostly thinking about Kira. She ended it like that, I don't even know why at this point. And when she said I had changed too that wasn't true, I was just the same old Niall. I didn't change, I just wanted to be selfish for once like she had been for a few months. I wanted to call her and apologize.
"Hey snap out of it. Stop thinking about Kira she doesn't deserve your thoughts." Harry said roughly.
"It's not like I'm gonna forget her immediately." I defended myself.
"Wish I could believe that. You were awfully flirty with Kaine when you were drunk." he said.
"What'd she say?" I groaned again.
I vaguely remembered giving her a forehead kiss and her undoing my shirt last night and getting a little aroused by that. I hoped to god she didn't notice.
"Just drunk you trying to put the moves on her in the bathroom. That's all." he said.
"Back to the house tour then yeah?" I changed the subject.
"Smooth transition, really Niall. Well, this is the kitchen and that's the living room. That's all she has."
"I mean she just moved here and she's 22, I wouldn't expect her to have anything bigger than this." I said taking a seat at the counter.
On cue the doorknob started jiggling again and Kaine stepped through the door.
"Shocked you guys are awake." she laughed.
"Here we are." Harry said. "Thanks for letting us crash last minute again, we really appreciate it."
"Once again no problem." she said laying her keys on the counter.
"Well we should get dressed and get going I guess." I said nudging Harry.
"Wait I was just gonna shower then wanted to see if you guys wanted to go to brunch or something. Do a little something for you today Niall you know?" she offered.
"Yeah that'd be nice wouldn't it?" Harry said shoving me a little teasing me.
"I'd like that." I nodded a little too hard. "But I'd also like to go home and get a change of clothes."
"That'd be a nice idea too." Harry agreed.
"Well I'm just gonna rinse off quick, why don't you get your stuff together and when I get out we can stop by your places?" she asked.
"We're not exactly in the same direction, I live on 11th and 42nd and Niall's up on 10th and 52nd." he explained.
"I'll just tag along with Niall I guess and then we can meet up for brunch. Norma's maybe? It's a bit pricey but it's on me." Kay offered.
"You don't have to pay, don't worry about that. But the plan works for me." I nodded.
"Alright let me shower quick then we can go." she smiled and went toward the bathroom.
I grabbed my jeans and shirt out of Kaine's room and went back out into the living space to be with Harry.
"I think I'm gonna head down now, text me when you guys are at your place I guess, and I'll leave then." Harry said doing one more button on his shirt.
"Yeah that works I think." I said while pulling on my pants.
"Alright try not to get too frisky on her at yours yeah?" Harry teased and opened her door.
"You act like I'm a hormonal 13 year old boy who didn't just get out of a four year relationship." I defended myself.
"Alright you've got me there. See you guys in like an hour." he said and left with that.
I went into her cabinet and found another bottle of aspirin and took a couple more to ease my headache. I sat down on her couch and looked through my phone until I heard the water turn off in the bathroom.
"Let me just get dressed and look a little presentable." Kaine said as she opened the door.
"Yeah yeah sounds good. H just left." I said.
I didn't want to turn around because I knew she was in her towel and I wanted to be polite but she came out into the living room anyway. She was clutching a light green towel to her chest and walked past me on the couch.
"I left my phone out here at some point, have you seen it?" she said lifting pillows off the couch next to me.
"Uh I haven't, I've only just gotten out here." I said standing up to help her look.
I pulled up the couch cushions and felt around to try and find it while taking a couple peeks at her long legs. The towel hit just at the top of her thighs and she was leaving droplets of water all along the area rug.
"Oh got it." she said grabbing it from the cushions in the chair. "Alright I'll be right out."
She walked past me again and into her room. I went into her bathroom to make sure I didn't leave anything in there.
"Hey Kaine?" I called.
"Yeah?" she shouted back.
"Got any mouthwash?" I asked.
"Yeah bottom drawer on the right." she said back.
I rolled out the drawer and grabbed the bottle taking a swig and gargling it back. I had the taste of vomit in my mouth long enough and I just couldn't take it anymore.
"Can you come help me quick?" she called again.
I spit the liquid down her sink and went into her room.
"Can you just do this button in the back? I can't get it." she said holding her hair up and out of the way.
I reached up and did the button at the back of her neck and she dropped her hair.
"I'm just gonna let it air dry, you ready?" she asked turning around and shaking out her hair.
"Yeah let's get going, wanna split a cab or take the subway?" I asked.
"Let's just take the subway, I don't need anything fancy." she said and grabbed her purse off her bed.
We walked out of her room and I grabbed my phone off the counter then opened the door up for her turning the lock on the knob behind me.
"Thank you." she smiled.
We walked and talked for a while until my phone started ringing when we reached the subway stop.
"You can take that, it's okay." she said.
"Thanks." I said and grabbed the phone out of my pocket.
I saw the name on the screen and my first instinct was to hit ignore but when I showed Kaine who it was she shrugged making me make up my mind.
"Hello?" I answered.
"Hey Niall, happy birthday." Kira said.
"Hey, uh thanks." I said a little flustered.
"I already had a gift for you and I went to drop it off at your place last night but you weren't home so I slipped it under your door." she said casually.
"Oh yeah I crashed at Kaine's last night." I told her.
"That explains it." she said with a light, forced laugh. "I'm sorry about how everything happened the other night."
"Yeah, I am too a little." I sighed.
"Well I won't keep you, happy birthday again." she said.
"Bye Kira." I said. I love you, my mind added.
I hung up the phone and put it back in my pocket as we stepped on the subway. I was expecting that to be Harry making sure the plan didn't change, definitely not her.
"She definitely still thinks you're a guy." I laughed.
"I'm telling you, it's better that way. What'd she have to say?" Kaine asked.
"Just happy birthday and that she left a gift at my house." I said. "I wasn't expecting that."
"Well it was nice of her considering how everything happened." she offered.
The door opened on the subway and we walked up the steps then the two blocks back to my place. I nodded at the doorman who raised his eyebrows at me when he saw me with Kaine. He didn't speak much but he has seen me taking Kira back here for four years now and to see a different girl he must have been confused. I shook my head slightly to give him a sign and he shrugged his shoulders in response. These are the conversations we often had, silent. Seeing as we didn't know one another's names.
"I'm on the seventh floor." I said we walked through the door so she could hit the button.
"It's a nice building." she said as the doors closed. "Are you and the doorman friends?"
"We just have seen each other everyday since I was 22 when I moved here, I'm not even quite sure of his name." I shrugged.
The doors opened and we stepped off and walked down the hall to my door, the last on the left. I unlocked my door and swung it open.
"Home sweet home." I said leaning over to pick an envelope up off the floor.
"It's nice in here Niall, really well decorated, you didn't do this yourself did you?" she asked and planted herself on the couch.
"No, my Ma did when she came over here with me when I first got my job and apartment." I said. "She's got an eye for that kind of stuff."
"It looks nice though." she said peering around the room.
"I'm gonna rinse off and change, want to text Harry tell him we're here?" I said.
"Yeah I can do that." she pulled out her phone.
"Make yourself at home." I said and walked into my room.
Written on the front of the envelope was my name in that cursive handwriting I knew all too well. Kira always took the time to make her writing look perfect and this card was no exception. I ripped open the edge and took out the card. It had an illustration of cake and ice cream on the front and on the inside it read "Today you can have an extra slice." I laughed lightly at the card and smiled, underneath the print was Kira's careful writing "Have a good day. 28 looks nice on you. - Kira." It was kind but it just didn't feel natural compared to the normal lovey-dovey cards she gave me. I reached back into the envelope and took out the papers that were inside it.
I pulled out a pair of tickets for Twenty One Pilots in Richmond in early December. There was another small piece of paper in the envelope which read "Sorry I couldn't get anything closer, hope six hours away isn't too far for you." I smiled again and left the tickets and the card on my dresser.
I got into the shower thinking about Kira and wondering if her and I would ever be able to resolve things, but it probably wasn't ever going to happen. We had grown apart, it's a good thing I found out before we had been married. I washed out the shampoo in my hair and rinsed off the rest of my body then shut the water off.
"Harry's on his way." Kaine called from the other room.
"Okay sounds good." I said grabbing a pair of underwear out of my drawer and slipping them on.
I grabbed a pair of jeans off the floor and a shirt from my closet and dressed before walking back into the bathroom to brush my teeth. I was finally able to fully get the vomit taste out of my mouth from last night and was so thankful for that. When I walked back out into the living room I saw Kaine sitting on the floor looking through the several stacks of records I had.
"You have an impeccable taste in music." she said holding up my Ma's old Carole King record. "How long have you been collecting these for you have tons!"
"A bunch belonged to my Dad or Ma and I've just been thrifting since I came here for university ten years ago and buying a bunch of news ones too." I said picking up another crate of them hiding behind the television.
My record player was really old school, it was a phonograph with the horn and everything. It came out of my Nan's old house and she never used it. So when I went back to Ireland for a month after graduation it came back to America with me and Ma and has been sitting in the same place in my same apartment since then.
"Can I?" she asked holding up an Eagles record and looking toward the player.
"Yeah go right ahead." I said sitting down on the floor next to my crate smiling because she managed to pick my favorite record out of the hundreds I had.
"I can't believe how much music you have Niall." she said as the needle moved to the record.
I leaned against the couch and rested my hands behind my head while she sat back in my big chair and listened as the Eagles filled the room. Harry came along only a few minutes later with his hair pulled away from his face and bags under his eyes.
"I'm starving can we get going." he not even halfway through the door.
"I'm with you let's go." I said and took the record off the player.
"How many times are you going to play that record before it stops working?" Harry asked recognizing the tune.
"Actually she chose the one to put on so I'd just say she has great taste." I shrugged placing the vinyl gently in the sleeve. "Let's drive?"
"Yeah I drove here, parked out front." Harry said and motioned toward the door.
I locked my door and pulled it shut behind us and we took the elevator down and piled into Harry's car. The brunch place was packed and we waited for about 15 minutes before being seated and ordered our food.
"You know Harry, I don't know if you'd be better off with Sutton or Char. I was talking to her this morning on our run and you two might click." Kaine said and sipped on her coffee.
"You're serious about setting me up?" he asked surprised.
"Yeah absolutely, I wouldn't go back on that kind of promise. Sutton is super sweet and lives kind of near Niall but she's 21 so that might be a touch young for you, but then Char is super sarcastic and doesn't really care for people and hasn't been on a date since like 2010 and she's 24. I don't know, I'll feel it out and get back to you." she said taking another sip.
"Please do, or anyone. I can't tell you the last time I went on a decent date." Harry said.
Our food shockingly came in a timely manor and we ate incredibly fast. I wanted to make the most of the rest of the day but I also wanted to go home and sleep this hangover off. I decided that I wouldn't be taking tomorrow off from work after all so I might want to feel a little less terrible.
Our bill came and Kaine tried talking me and Harry out of paying for ourselves but we refused. I didn't care if it was my birthday or not I wasn't about to let her drop nearly one hundred dollars on breakfast for the three of us.
"I really think I have to go take a nap." I said rubbing my temples again while we walked to Harry's car. "I'm gonna come into work tomorrow otherwise I'll just sulk all day."
"Some crazy birthday you're having." Harry said.
"Yeah you're such an old man you can't hold your beer like the rest of us." Kaine teased and nudged me.
"Yeah whatever you say." I said.
We dropped Kaine back at her place and got caught in a bit of traffic while we drove back up to mine.
"What'd Kira get you for your birthday?" he asked after a little silence.
"Twenty One Pilots tickets in Virginia, first week in December. Wanna come?" I said.
"That's sick. I'll have to check my work schedule, I know there's a proofreaders conference coming up at some point before the end of the year that Rhodes is making me and Nate go to but if not I am absolutely in." he said.
"Alright cool seeing as Kira won't be the one going with me." I forced a laugh.
"It's gonna take some getting used to, not being with her and all, but you'll be alright Niall." Harry assured.
"Thanks pal." I smiled.
Harry dropped me off in front of my apartment and I told him I'd see him tomorrow before I walked into the building. I nodded at the doorman and he smiled back and I took the elevator up to my place. I took off my pants after I shut the door and grabbed my laptop from the counter to bring to my bed. I threw the pants in the corner of my room and changed into a tee shirt then laid back in my bed.
I opened my computer and went to my music library and created a new playlist on Spotify. Kaine said she wanted good music, I may as well make her an old school mixtape, but I wanted to take time to make this one like I used to do for Kira a few years ago. I was scrolling through my music and picked out a few songs when my phone started ringing.
"Hello?" I said and held it between my ear and my shoulder.
"Happy birthday my sweet boy." my Ma said on the other end.
"Thank you." I smiled happy she still called me her sweet boy after all these years.
"How are you?" she asked.
"Not the best." I admitted.
"What happened?" she prodded.
"Kira kinda ended things with me on Friday." I sighed.
"Oh, Niall honey, what happened?" she said.
"We got into a fight earlier in the week I told you about and then Friday she took me out for dinner and she was acting so cold and then we went back to hers and some things happened and she told me I had changed and told me to leave and never come back." I explained.
"I'm so sorry, I'm sorry that it took so long for you two to realize how different you were becoming." she said.
"I'm just at the point in my life where I'm looking to settle down and she was my chance and now I don't know what to do. I spent four years with her I don't know how to date anyone else." I said, my voice getting heavy.
I wouldn't cry to my mother, I was a grown man, I shouldn't be crying over a girl to her. But my voice was getting scratchy and my throat was welling up and I just wanted to go home to Ma and let her stroke the back of my head like she did when I was young. I at least wanted Kira here to make me feel better but she couldn't do that for me anymore.
"I know but you're still young Niall, don't make yourself out to be such an old man. There's plenty of other people out there suited for you and looking for the same thing." she said. "Just give your heart time to repair."
"I miss you a lot." I said trying not to cry to her.
"When's the next time you'll be home?" she asked.
"I have a ticket booked for a week and a half around Christmas. There's no time sooner I can come out." I said.
"You can make it until then I know you can." she said. "Just don't jump into anything too fast now, let yourself be single for a while and enjoy that time."
"I love you so much." I said getting a little choked up.
"I love you too now sweetheart." she said.
"I'm gonna take a nap I think. I'll talk to you later in the week yeah?" I asked.
"Yes goodbye my sweet boy happy 28th." she said.
"I love you Ma, bye." I said and she hung up.
I needed to let myself just be upset for a while. I still loved Kira, and I had to let that flame fade. I added a few more songs to Kaine's playlist and shut my computer, that was enough for now. I turned on the tv and watched it until my eyelids became heavy and took my nap.
One crazy ass birthday if you ask me.