Another day, another early morning flight.
"Harry, honey, you've gotta get up!" Ma yelled across the house toward him.
"H, come on we've gotta leave in twenty minutes!" I joined in on the yelling.
"I'm coming, don't worry about me." he said walking down the hall.
"It's too bad you couldn't stay for longer." she said.
"I wish I could too, nothing I like more than being with my best mate, and Niall." H said.
"You're such a kiss arse Harry." I said groaning.
"No he is not, he is a pleasure to have any time." Ma said giving him a kiss on the cheek.
"See Niall? She likes me more than she likes you." he said eating a slice of toast.
"Go finishing packing." I dismissed him.
Harry smiled at his own jokes and walked off to Greg's room to finish loading up his clothes.
"Come here sweet boy." Ma said opening her arms up.
"I feel like I just got back I don't want to go yet." I said walking into them pulling her tight to me.
"You're so much more relaxed than when you came though, and that black eye of yours is finally gone." she said with her head against my chest.
"That's a plus in itself." I laughed lightly.
"I'm always just a phone call away." she reassured.
"I know but realistically I won't be home again until maybe Easter." I said.
"And maybe I'll try to come see you next year sometime too, make it a smaller gap between Easter and Christmas." she said.
"Aw Ma, I'd love that, I'd love for ya to meet more of my friends." I said.
"We'll figure it out, and you'll be fine when you get back. You've been refreshed." she said releasing me finally.
"All thanks to you." I smiled.
"Oh enough, now you're flattering me the way Harry does." she said.
Ma called us a cab while we gathered our things from around the place. I slipped my new shoes into the very top of the duffle so they didn't get crushed by the weight of the rest of my things. Slipped on my joggers and a sweater my Ma got me and my trainers then went back out into the living room.
"What nice bags those are, when did you get them?" Ma asked inspected both of our duffle bags.
"Kaine got 'em for us for Christmas, told us we looked like college kids still carrying around gym bags from place to place." Harry said.
"They're awfully sharp." she said.
"I'll have to tell her you like them." I said.
The cab honked the horn from outside.
"Bye Maura, thank you again for letting me stay, it's been a pleasure as always. Come visit soon." Harry said giving her a bear hug.
"Oh, Harry the pleasure is all mine. I'll see you soon doll." she said giving him a kiss on the cheek.
"See you soon then." he nodded and opened the door. "I'll meet you outside Niall."
"Goodbye Ma." I said engulfing her in a hug and kissing her cheeks.
"Bye sweet boy." she said rocking me back and forth.
"I'll miss ya too much." I said.
"I miss you everyday." she said.
"Don't get me crying now." I sniffled.
"You better get going then before we start up, yeah?" she smiled.
"You're right." I nodded pulling away.
"I love you Niall, I'll see you soon. You'll do great things until I see you again." said.
"I love ya too Ma, I'll text ya when we board and land." I smiled kissing her forehead.
I grabbed my bags off the floor and walked out to the cab. Whenever I left my Ma would stand on the stoop and wave me off until we were out of each other's sights. So when I was sat in the cab next to H we waved back at her and I felt like I was eighteen and going off to uni again. Every time she did it I felt that way, but I hoped it was a tradition we'd never lose.
It was 6 a.m. when we got to the airport and our flight took off at 8. We got through security and customs in a rather quick fashion and posted up in front of our gates with coffee in hand.
The flight back to the States took a little longer than the one over to Ireland but H and I agreed to get first class tickets again to be comfortable. I took a few sleeping pills hoping to pass out and just pass the time quicker and put my headphones on praying that the next time I woke up was in New York.
When we landed I texted Ma we made it back safe and Nate asking if he was here to get us. We went through the customs line and baggage claim then walked out of the terminal to find Nate's car.
"Over here guys." he called out his window.
"Hey Nate, Happy Christmas." Harry said tossing his things in the backseat.
"How was home?" Nate asked.
"Relaxing. I was so glad to see my Ma and brother and nephew." I nodded tossing my things back there as well then taking the front seat. "How was your Christmas?"
"It was good. Roads in Connecticut weren't too great but I made it there and back safe. The family's good, my sister is dating someone and my parents got a new cat." he said. "Not too eventful but it's always good to see them. Yours H?"
"Mom's good, my sister's good, everyone's good. It was great seeing them as always." he said simply.
"You coming to Arlo's for New Years?" I asked Nate.
"Yeah I think so, I've got nobody to bring but maybe we'll find some single broads there you know?" he said.
"Broads, are we living in the 1930s using that word?" Harry teased him.
"My dad says it all the time I just pick up on all of our family lingo when I go home. It gets stuck for months it feels like." he shrugged.
"I get a thousand times more Irish when I come back from home I understand completely." I nodded.
"Yeah, your accents get thicker just like when you're drunk. Both of you." Nate said.
"Well then expect us to be horrible to understand on New Years then." H laughed.
When I got back to my apartment I was absolutely knackered from the travel. Jetlag normally didn't catch up to me until the next day but it hit me like a ton of bricks right now. It was only the afternoon I couldn't go to sleep already. I changed into running tights with shorts over them and a long shirt to go out for a run even though I felt like I could collapse from jetlag any minute. I ran through the Upper West Side four about an hour feeling like I was a little more energized and I stopped into a small deli around the block from my apartment on the way back to pick up something to eat. I got back to my place and ate but after that immediately felt the tiredness hit me again. I let myself give in to sleep around 8 and when I woke up the next day I just tried to recover.
Thursday my body finally made it back to New York time and it was just in time for New Year's at Arlo's. I took out one of my grey suits and my old pair of loafers to wear tonight; the last thing I wanted was to wreck something good of mine. I was ironing my shirt when I heard my door open and close and peeked around the corner to see Harry there.
"Holy shit. Where'd you get that from?" I asked with my mouth hanging open.
"You like it?" he asked smoothing out his suit. "It's Gucci."
Harry's aesthetic was incredibly quirky but it always worked for him so well. It was annoying how good he could look in such long prints with his long curly hair. His suit was this brownish diamond geometric print and only he could ever wear it. He had a black button down underneath it and wore a pair of his classic boots and it was clear that he was going to be the attention of all the ladies there tonight.
"I can't believe you own it." I said.
"So you don't like it?" he asked putting his hand on his chest being fake offended.
"No you bloody idiot, I like it. I just could never wear it and I'm annoyed at how good you look in it." I said.
"What are you wearing then?" he asked walking into my bedroom.
"Just that, Arlo said it kinda turns into a college party atmosphere and I don't want to ruin anything that too nice you know?" I asked.
"No, oh no you're not wearing an old suit come on now." Harry said taking what was on my bed and hanging it back in the closet. "Wear the new one."
"I don't want anything to happen to the new one." I reasoned.
"Niall, wear the magic suit I got you." he urged.
"What about it is magical?" I asked entertaining him.
"It fits you perfectly, you look great in it, you're confident as hell in it. Make next year your best one yet by looking your best at the very start of it." he said.
"I don't want to ruin the suit." I pleaded.
"Your Ma would want you to wear the magic suit. Just do it." he said.
"Can I at least wear the shirt I'm already ironing underneath it?" I asked.
"Yes that's perfect. Just get dressed, Kaine is meeting us here so we can catch an Uber to the party let's get a move on." he said. "Oh, and where are the shoes your Ma and brother got you?"
"In the closet." I said and he stood up looking on the floor for the box.
"These are sharp as hell, they picked some good ones. You're wearing them." he said tossing them both at me.
"Jesus H, don't scuff them before I've even worn 'em." I said just barely catching both.
"Hurry up and get dressed." he said leaving the room.
I quickly put on my suit and looked at myself in the mirror. I ran some product through my hair and then tucked my pocket square in to the pocket. It felt just as good as the first time I put it on a couple weeks ago. Complete with the shoes from Ma and Greg I felt like I could take on the world, or at least Arlo's party. I was brushing my teeth in my bathroom when I heard the door open and close followed by Kaine's voice. I finished up and walked out into the living room where they were sat catching up.
"Hey." I said smiling.
"Welcome back." Kaine said standing up and hugging me tight. "I missed you, I missed you both."
"We missed ya too Kay." I said pulling back. "How was your Christmas?"
"It was good, my parents say hi and they sent back a couple things for you both." she said motioning to a couple boxes in the corner.
"They didn't have to do that." Harry said picking up the box with his name on it.
"How was Ireland then?" she asked.
"It was great, I didn't want to come back to New York quite honestly. My Ma was all I needed to reset my mind I think. And just the small town life is so much more relaxing than here, I just felt so at peace there." I said.
"Well you look so much more relaxed." she said.
"You really do Niall, I could tell when we were in Mullingar that that was where you were most comfortable and I think just having those days home you were able to bring it over here." H said.
"I think it helped that you were with me a couple days there because now I associate you with home a little." I said feeling a blush creeping up my face.
"Do you guys need a moment? Baby names perhaps?" Kaine teased.
"Shut up." we said in unison.
"Go on and open the gifts before the Uber gets here." she urged.
"Your mum did a beautiful job wrapping." I said turning over the gold and white package.
"Actually it was my dad, he has a knack for it." she said.
Harry tore off the paper and pulled off the lid of the box and pulled out this sick vintage Packers sweatshirt. It had their old logo big on the front with the team name down the sleeves.
"This is so cool." he said staring at it. "Was this his?"
"Yeah, it's just been sitting around for a while and its a bit too small for him so he thought you might want it. My brothers never wanted it, thought it was too thin because my dad wore it every day in his twenties. So it's yours." she said.
I unwrapped mine and pulled back the tissue paper on the inside. I pulled out this tweed grey suit coat with corduroy elbow patches. I smiled turning it around in my hands.
"He said it reminded him of you. He thinks your old fashioned and classic, don't ask me why. I just think he was trying to clean out his closet." she shrugged.
"It's awesome. Definitely heavy, but awesome." I said taking off my current suit coat and trying on this one.
"Oh god, you look like my father." she said.
"It looks cool Niall. I like it." H said.
"Uber's here." Kaine said grabbing her bag off the table.
I put my normal suit coat back on and went to fold up the one from Mr. Westbrook but I felt something in the pocket. I pulled out a pair of wide framed tortoise shell glasses that faded to a lighter brown color at the bottom of the frames.
"He must have totally forgot those were in the pocket." Kaine said as I put them on my face.
"They're an awfully low prescription, I can see everything just fine." I said.
"You should wear them." she blurted out. "They look good."
"Yeah?" I asked.
"Yes, wear them, it pulls it all together." Harry said. "But we've gotta go come on guys."
We arrived at the party around 9. The traffic and blocked off streets made the ride to Arlo's place a little longer but we made it nonetheless.
"Hey guys, glad you could make it." Arlo said greeting us at the door.
The house was packed and it was really very funny because we were all mostly late twenties to around forty years old. You normally saw these big house parties packed with teenagers and college kids but it made it seem even more fun with a bunch of adults.
"Kaine, I'll put your coat in the side room. Everyone from work is mostly downstairs, so just have fun. My brother's friends are down there too." he said.
Kaine took off her long jacket and revealed this black velvety mini dress that had a low back. Her short hair was curled back from her face and she wore just enough makeup to accentuate her features. The tall heels she wore brought her nearly to my eye level.
"You look incredible." Harry said looking her over.
"Thank you, I knew I'd have some stiff competition with the two of you and let me say you both look great too." she said.
We walked downstairs into the basement and grabbed beers out of the coolers and spotted Louis and Liam across the room.
"Hey guys." Kaine said giving them hugs. "Where's Nate?"
"Off trying to seduce one of those girls over there." Louis said. "Good to see you guys, missed you during our time off."
"Did ya go back to England for the break?" I asked.
"Yeah both of us did. It was good to be home." Liam said.
"That's how we felt too." Harry said.
Nate walked back over to us and shook his head at the boys.
"No luck." he shrugged.
"Yeah, no luck because that's one of my friends, she'd never go for you." Kaine said and went over to grab them.
"Why does she say that now? I'm not a bad guy." Nate said.
"Are you scoping out anyone single to kiss at midnight?" I asked.
"Yeah but it's gonna be kind of hard competing with Gucci over here." he said groaning and motioning to Harry.
"The specs look sharp Niall, didn't know you wore them." Liam said.
"I don't, Kaine's dad sent along a suit coat for me and they were inside the pocket. I'm giving them a go." I said.
"Harry, this is Charlotte. The one I've been telling you about." Kaine said coming back over to the group with a couple girls.
"Nice to meet you." one of the girls said shaking his hand.
The girl, who was apparently Charlotte was the girl that Kaine went running with as far as I knew. She had long ginger hair and long legs to match it. From what I could remember this girl hadn't dated anyone in a while but that came from a conversation months ago, who knew.
"And Nate, I reluctantly present to you Sutton. She's way out of your league." Kaine said and the other girl shook his hand.
Sutton was small, and looked young. But so was Nate, he was only 23 which I always forgot, so they could be a good match. But Sutton had a small frame and her beachy hair framed her face nicely. Kaine always said she was sweet which was definitely out of Nate's league.
Harry and Nate went off with the girls to get to know them a little better and I was left with Louis, Liam, Kaine, and Van who joined us at some point.
"How are your friends at this party?" Louis asked.
"Apparently they're friends with Arlo's younger brother Ben." she shrugged. "But it was good timing, I've spent the past three months talking those two up to those girls. It's been a long process making Nate look good."
"Do you magically have a few more girls who are looking to date us then?" Liam asked.
"I'll keep my eyes peeled for you. But I told Harry and Nate back in September that I'd set them up with someone so here's to seeing if it works." she shrugged.
"Where's your girl tonight Van?" I asked.
"She's still home on college break. Didn't want to come in sooner than she had to, who can blame her." he explained.
"I always forget you're like 15 years old." Louis teased.
"Jesus I'm 21 would you quit it? Sorry I'm still in college but managing to work at the same firm as you all." he said standing up and walking off.
"He's been grumpy for like three weeks now." Liam said.
"College kids man." I laughed.
I started to get my buzz going not long after that. Harry came around when the games of flip cup started and we had a Brits only team going against of a bunch of Arlo's friends. We were having a riot of a time playing all these games I probably hadn't done since my senior week in uni. I was smart enough now to stick strictly to beer so I wouldn't get violently ill like I used to after these big parties.
Arlo came around making sure everyone was doing alright but he was drunker than the rest of us at that point. His house was packed with people and his mind with clouded thoughts but he was still being the best host he could be. The New Years programs were on the televisions all around the house and he kept making sure the coolers were filled with beer. I thanked him each time he passed me and he smiled and nodded at me each time.
"Alright grab a partner, we're doing a tourney!" someone's voice commanded the room.
There were several large tables set up in his basement and there were people setting up red cups at each one for beer pong.
"You in Horan?" Kay asked nudging me.
"I mean, H is normally my partner but I think you'll do." I smiled.
"I'm the best goddamned beer pong partner you'll ever have." she slurred a little.
"Alright, you're gonna prove yourself then." I said.
"Those glasses, they look good on you." she drunk laughed.
"You said that earlier." I said.
"I know. But you're like my dad in them." she said.
"You said that too." I reiterated.
"It's probably for the better, so that I don't try and make moves on you." she said.
"Well then." I muttered.
"That suit, the whole look, sexy as hell." she bit her lip.
She was pretty wasted, I couldn't trust a word she was saying. And I was a little drunk, and the whole aura of the room was making things more intimate than she probably meant. It was the heat of the moment she was saying all that. But she did say I looked sexy in the suit sober once. What was I saying, it was a fluke, this was all a fluke. We were drunk, it was the heat of the moment just like the night I first walked her home. We were in close proximity, it was all just being hypersexualized in my cloudy brain.
We were put against a couple that was probably around Kaine's age in our first round. And I didn't believe it at first but she was actually very good at the game. Even drunk her aim was pretty good and I was impressed. We managed to advance through a couple rounds until we finally lost to Louis and some girl he must've roped into it.
"Fuck ya." I said to Louis before drinking the last cup he threw into.
"Ah don't be a sore loser." he said with a smile.
"No, he's right fuck you." Kaine reiterated laughing.
At some point after the game I made my way upstairs in search of a bathroom. It was just as crowded on the main floor as it was in the basement and I wondered how Arlo and his wife had all these friends. I luckily found an open bathroom and locked it behind me when I got inside. I took my much needed piss after all the beer I had and washed my hands in the sink. I looked up into the mirror and saw myself in the glasses for the first time that night. It may have been my intoxicated thoughts but I thought I looked alright in them. I fixed up my messy hair and pushed the glasses up the bridge of my nose before walking back out into the party.
It was 11:55 when I glanced at the television and knowing I was single as hell for the first time in four years, I grabbed two bottles of beer, one for now and one to kiss at midnight. I took them out of the nearest cooler and made my way through the crowd of people to a room near the front of the house and spotted an empty seat on the couch. I planted myself down on the cushion and looked around to see myself surrounded by drunk, handsy couples.
I convinced myself that the tradition of kissing someone at midnight was dumb as fuck trying to suppress the Kira shaped void I had right now. Hell, it was just a woman shaped void I had. I had a girl to kiss at midnight every year since I was fifteen. I'm sure I could find any random single girl to kiss tonight and not remember her face tomorrow morning but it wasn't feeling worth it this time.
The count down began from thirty by all the excited, happy people but I finished off the first beer instead of counting and cracked open the second by the time they hit twenty five. Five seconds later people were standing up getting in formation to kiss their other half and I just kept sipping on my beer. Another five seconds after that I found someone standing in front of me and I looked up.
"There you are." Kaine said.
"Hey." I said.
"Hey." she slurred and sat straddled my lap.
"Woah what the hell are you doing." I said throwing my hands back in a moment of clarity.
"Shut up." she said and took my beer out of my hand to put on the table next to me.
I looked at her confused and unsure of what to do while everyone around us, along with her counted backwards from ten. Everett was in the back of my brain right now and I realized knew how it felt to be in his position with his girlfriend off straddling some other guy. I was in his position not long ago. I wouldn't wish that situation upon anyone but right now with Kaine's legs on either side of my own and her face eye level with mine I was pushing Everett out of my mind. He was a problem I could worry about later.
"Three, two, one. Happy New Year!" the entire house yelled all together besides myself.
"Ka-" I began but was cut off.
Her soft lips pressed against mine and her body leaned into me. Her hands rested on the back of my neck and after the initial shock was over with I brought one of my hands to her lower back pulling her close to me and my other up to her cheek. I couldn't believe this was happening.
Kaine pulled her head back only to shift her head to the other side and kiss me again, long and hard. Eager. I met her intensity and pulled her as close to me as I could. Her dress was riding up but she couldn't care less. She opened her mouth and I gladly entered it deepening the kiss. She rolled her hips against mine and hummed against my mouth. I was already hard from when she initially straddled me but I felt myself growing as she rolled her hips again. I knew this couldn't last forever but I was just enjoying the moment while I had it. She pulled back again but not before I could suck on her lower lip. When I finally released it she got off of me and cocked her head making me follow her. I shouldn't've but I did anyway.
We got into the side room that all the coats were in but there wasn't a person around at all. She cleared half a couch and pushed me down onto it before straddling me again. Kay reconnected our lips and rolled her hips again earning a low moan from me. I suppressed it as best as I could against her mouth but it was no use. I was hard as hell and she was only making it worse. I moved my one hand down from her cheek to her left breast and gently massaged it to the rhythm our lips were moving. She wasn't wearing a bra under her dressed so I flicked my thumb over her sensitive nipple earning a moan from her. Her skirt was halfway up her ass and I pulled her body closer into me by it. I continued making out with her like I was back in college for as long as I could, while her slight movements drove me insane. Her hands were in my hair and mine were on her neck and ass and I never wanted this to end. It wasn't until someone came in to find their coat about ten minutes later that she finally pulled back.
"Fuck-k-k." she slurred looking at me.
"Hey." I said and pecked her lips one more time.
"Fuck." she reiterated and nearly jumped off my lap. "What the fuck did I just do."
"Kaine." I said reaching for her hand but she pulled it away.
"Niall, what the fuck." she said looking at me. "What did you do."
"What did I do, what did you do? Y'er the one that started this." I said standing getting defensive.
"Everett, Niall. You know him, you WERE him." she yelled.
"Kay, you were the one who advanced on me." I said looking her directly in the eyes.
"You were the one who had to look so fucking good, you fuck with my head Niall!" she yelled and started digging through the pile for her coat.
"I fuck with your head?" I nearly laughed. "Y'er the one who straddles me, who knows I like ya, and I fuck with your head. Okay."
Fuck I just confessed I had feelings for her didn't I. Maybe she was wasted enough to forget that minor detail in the morning.
"You're the one who knows I have a boyfriend and you didn't stop me, fuckin hell." she said pulling down her dress.
"What'd ya want me to do, say 'aw no Kay, I dreamt of this but nope, you've got a lad I shouldn't' is that what ya wanted?" I raised my voice.
"Fuck you Niall." she said and walked out of the room.
She left me confused, alone, and worst of all, horny as hell.