How Can You Mend A Broken Heart
He hadn’t been here before. Since the break-up, Niall had never visited the Styles. He didn’t know whether or not this was the house that Harry and Bonnie lived in when they lost the thing that was the most precious to them. It most likely was.
The sun didn’t feel pleasant at all. It was burning the back of his neck and his arms as he waited, watched the wooden door. He hadn’t touched the metal button next to the door yet. If Harry had been here, he would’ve already. He would have told Niall to hurry up.
But he was not there. Niall was all alone. Harry had a deadline, he had to go back to the studio as soon as he had told Niall that he would ask Bonnie if she wanted him to come by. Two days later, Harry had called him and said that she had given the okay.
He hadn’t said in what way she had given her permission. It could have been a grunt, a reluctant okay. It was why Niall hadn’t rung the doorbell yet. The uncertainty if he was a welcome guest.
There was only one way to find out if he actually was. Maybe he was very much a welcome guest. Maybe Bonnie was waiting for him to arrive, Maybe she was happy that she would have someone who could distract her. Her parents probably only wanted to talk about what had happened. Bonnie most likely didn’t.
That thought, the idea that Bonnie may very much want him was what made Niall walk toward the door and ring the doorbell. With a rapidly beating heart, he waited for Bonnie to open the door.
His palms started to sweat when he heard sounds coming from behind the door. And then it was opened.
Bonnie stood in the doorway with her arms crossed. Her brown hair was disheveled and her blue eyes were red-rimmed. But there was a watery smile on her lips as she looked at Niall. “You’ve come.”
She sounded like she was really glad that he’d come. Her tone of voice was one of relief. Suddenly, Niall could feel the pressure, the responsibility placed on him grow heavier. Apparently, Harry was not the only one who thought Niall could help Bonnie.
“I heard you needed my help. Of course, I’ve come,” Niall told Bonnie with lips stretched into a smile. “Are you going to let me in?”
Not that Niall would have minded spending the next hour taking in Bonnie. She was as fit as he remembered. Her brown eyes were just as warm as they had been when they had watched Niall and the boys record, the day that he had met her for the first time. Her lips were just as full and she still had that dimple on her right cheek.
But she was skinnier than he remembered and her eyes were wet with tears. Her lips were raw, cracked from all the tears she had shed. Niall wanted to take her into his arms, make all the pain go away.
“Right. Yeah,” Bonnie murmured and she took a step back so Niall could enter the house.
The hall, the whole house, felt cold as Niall followed Bonnie into her sanctuary. Not even the sunlight that illuminated the house through the big windows in the living room did anything to elevate the temperature.
“How long are you going to stay?” Bonnie asked as she gestured him to sit next to her on the couch. Niall sat down as close to her as he thought was appropriate. They’d become strangers, their friendship had watered down to almost nothing.
“As long as you need me,” Niall promised.
Niall wanted to say he’s sorry. Sorry that she had to go through such pain. That it was unfair that she had to lose something so precious. But it would upset her. It would sink her even deeper. He was here to save her from drowning, not add even more water.
“Need you for what?” Bonnie asked, looking confused. Her scrunched eyebrows and nose made her look adorable.
“Cooking for you. Going on walks. Making you laugh,” Niall offered.
Harry mustn’t have told Bonnie Niall’s purpose for being here, which Niall could understand. If Bonnie hadn’t changed since she and Niall last saw each other, Bonnie would have barred Niall from the house if she knew he was here to try to help her make peace with losing her child. Or at least, get her out of the house.
“I’m going to cook for you, yeah? I’m going to do some grocery shopping and make you a small but very delicious lunch.”
No longer living on the road, Niall had honed his skills as a cook the past year. He had always loved food, so when he finally had the time to do so, he had decided to teach himself to prepare it. If you asked Niall himself as well as his parents, he had become very skilled. If you asked his friends, not so much.
Niall took Bonnie’s hands into his. They felt fragile, like the wings of a bird. He traced their backs with his thumbs. “Is that okay with you? Do you mind if I pop out for a bit? I know I’ve just arrived.”
“It’s okay. I’m not a child. I can be on my own for an hour.” Bonnie was irritated, for which Niall couldn’t blame her. She was probably sick of her parents treating her like she’s their little girl once again.
“Of course you can. Of course,” Niall agreed quickly. “Just tell me the address and I’ll go. Can I borrow your car?”
After Bonnie had given him the address, Niall had left and returned only 45 minutes later with bags filled with groceries. He had also bought food that he was going to prepare for Bonnie the next morning.
Bonnie stayed with him as he unloaded the groceries. She leaned against the wall as he watched him put away the food that he wasn’t going to prepare for lunch.
“I didn’t know you could cook,” Bonnie admitted. She sounded curious. Hopefully, she didn't have high expectations.
“Yeah. I taught myself.” Niall turned his head to smile at her. Niall knew he wasn’t there to impress Bonnie, but he still hoped he was. It’s what she had always done to him. He had always wanted her to look at him with admiration.
“Well, I’m looking forward to finding out if you’re any good,” Bonnie told him. Way to put on pressure.
“I’m just going to make something small. Nothing extravagant but very delicious,” Niall promised Bonnie.
Bonnie watched him as he prepared lunch. He could feel her eyes on him as he peeled and cut the fruit for the fruit salad. He still remembered that her two favorite fruits were kiwi and pineapple. Luckily, they tasted good together. The other fruits that Niall put in the salad were cherries and mango.
When the salad was finished, Niall started preparing the toast. When they were ready he was going to smother them in butter and put salmon on them. His own mouth started to water at the thought.
Niall could feel the LA sun on his face as he turned around to look at Bonnie. It chased some of the coldness away. But then Niall saw Bonnie’s eyes shimmer with unshed tears and suddenly, the chill was back again.
What’s wrong, wasn’t a question that Niall could ask. What’s wrong was clear. But not what had caused her to think of what she had lost.
“Sorry,” Bonnie apologized, even though she didn’t have any reason to. She shouldn’t apologize for her grief. Bonnie took a shuddery breath and tears started to trail down her cheeks. “It’s just that I always made a fruit salad for her on Sunday. It was her favorite food.”
“Sorry, I didn’t know.” If he had, he wouldn’t have prepared it for Bonnie on his first day here.
“If I’d known…”
“It’s alright.” Bonnie smiled through her tears. It broke Niall’s heart.
He wanted to take her into his arms so badly. He wanted to hold her in his embrace and then never let her go.
Bonnie didn’t protest when Niall did just that. She let him pull her close as tears started to fall down her cheeks rapidly. Niall could feel his shirt become wet as she lay her head on his chest. She was wrapped in his arms when he closed his eyes and laid his head on hers.
“It’s okay,” he told her. His trembling hands rubbed her back as he kept repeating those words.
Niall didn’t know how long it took Bonnie to stop crying but after a while, she did. As soon as the tears stopped, she pulled back from the embrace and smiled at Niall. “Sorry.”
With gentle hands, Niall took a hold of Bonnie’s arms and looked at her with what he hoped were understanding eyes. “You don’t need to apologize. Not about your grief.”
“But you’re here as my guest,” Bonnie protested. She had a defiant look on her face as she shook her head. “You’re not here to watch me cry.”
“I’m here for you. If it means, I going to be your shoulder to cry on, that’s fine by me,” Niall assured Bonnie.
Niall had always been willing to be anything Bonnie wanted him to be. Though he loved her, he was happy to be her friend. As long as he was a part of Bonnie’s life, he was okay with whatever role he played in it. This time, it was no different.
“I don’t want you to feel like you need to hide your grief for me. I don’t want you to put up a front for me. Promise you won’t.”
“I promise,” Bonnie replied. “Now go on, finish preparing lunch. I’m okay.”
Niall gave Bonnie’s arm a reassuring squeeze before letting go of her. He returned to preparing the food as the sun reappeared from behind a cloud.
The last thing that Niall needed to prepare was the baguette. He cut up the bread into thin slices and put them in a bowl. The French cheeses and the dried sausage went on a plate.
After Niall had prepared all the toast and has put the salmon on a plate, he turned around and declared. “All done.”
Niall let out a huff of surprise when Bonnie suddenly fell into his arms. She put her arms around his waist and smiled at him. Her face was close to his. Niall could feel himself blush.
That was bad. Very bad.
Bonnie must not have noticed because she didn’t pull away. Instead, she thanked him.
“It’s alright. It’s nothing,” Niall assured her. He smiled at her with what he hoped was not a nervous smile.
“No, it’s not nothing. I’m really happy you’re here. I missed you.” Her smile faltered. “I always hated that what happened between you guys and Harry spoiled our friendship. I’ve always considered you one of my best friends.”
Guilt bubbles up inside Niall’s stomach. He had let his anger towards Harry get the best of him. He had cut every tie that connected him to his former bandmate. And Bonnie had lost a friend because of it. And apparently, that had hurt her. Niall hadn’t known. Maybe, if he had, he would have kept one tie intact.
“That’s okay. You’re here now,” Bonnie replied as she smiled at him.
Niall shook his head. “No, I should have checked on you sooner. I should have come here as soon as I found out.”
He hadn’t even called. He had feared she didn’t want him to reach out, that she would yell at him that she didn’t want his pity and would have slammed the door in his face. He had used the excuse that Bonnie had friends who could help her, be there for her in her hour of need. In reality, had let his ego once again get into the way.
Now it was Bonnie’s turn to shake her head. “I was mad at you at the time, but I’m not anymore. I know you had your reasons. Now, stop beating yourself up over it and let’s eat.”
Bonnie pulled back from the embrace and took Niall by the hand. His heart jumped inside his chest, making his breath catch. Her hand felt soft and warm inside his.
“Let me just…” Niall muttered. He grabbed the plate with toast with his other hand.
“Right. I forgot. How stupid of me,” Bonnie chuckled sheepishly and she let go of Niall’s hand. “We need both hands to carry the food.”
“It’s okay,” Niall chuckled hoarsely.
He grabbed the bowl with the fruit salad while Bonnie grabbed the other two dishes. Together, they walked to the dining room.
Like all the rooms in the house, the dining room was spacious. There was a big dinner table in the middle and a display case in one of the corners. One of the walls was made of glass, allowing the people sitting at the table to watch the rolling hills of Los Angeles.
After having put down the dishes, Bonnie and Niall sat down opposite each other.
“It all looks delicious,” Bonnie told Niall. She eyed the food with a smile on her lips. Color had seemed to have returned to her cheeks.
Maybe Harry was right. Maybe Niall could indeed help Bonnie.
“There is no way you can defeat me,” Niall declared with a grin.
“You just watch me.” Bonnie returned his grin with one of her own.
“I don’t think this is such a good idea, Bon.” Louis mischievous eyes debunk his words. He was very much looking forward to seeing Bonnie drink more than Niall. “He is Irish. His blood is made entirely of alcohol.”
Bonnie really had become one of the boys. She was no longer just Harry’s girlfriend. It’s what happens when you go on tour together and get on really well. You become friends.
“And I’m part Italian and Italians drink a lot of wine. They make the French seem like children.”
Niall was sure that that was not true but not wanting to ruin a good mood, he didn’t say anything.
Harry choose that moment to see what his girlfriend and his two bandmates were up to. For the past hour, he had been walking around, talking with the big men in the industry who had been invited to the celebration of the successful return of One Direction to the touring life.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
Bonnie turned around to look at Harry as he took her into his arms and laid his chin on her shoulder. She kissed his cheek tenderly. Niall had to look away.
It has been like this the past weeks. Whenever Harry and Bonnie kissed or showed any form of affection in front of Niall, he could not look at them. It had felt too intimate. Bonnie was no longer a stranger to him. Bonnie was his friend and seeing his friend and his bandmate kiss felt weird.
“I just challenged Niall to a drinking match,” Bonnie told her boyfriend.
Harry frowned. “Do you think that’s a good idea? You know how you get when you’re drunk.”
Bonnie narrowed her eyes at Harry. “What, Harry. Are you ashamed of me?”
“Of course not,” Harry replied. He squeezed her tighter, pulling her even closer to his body. “I just don’t think this is the place to get drunk. You can do that at the apartment.”
“I’ll go to the apartment, then. It’s not as if you need me here.” Bonnie was angry. Niall could tell by the angry set of her mouth. Niall had become well versed in Bonnie’s mannerisms.
“I’m bored anyway.”
“I’ll come home as soon as possible,” Harry promised.
“Well, if they’re going, I’m going,” Louis declared. “They need a revery anyway.”
“Okay. Let’s go then.”
Bonnie extracted herself from Harry’s embrace and he let her without any resistance. He didn’t kiss her goodbye, he just told Niall and Louis that he will speak to them soon before disappearing back into the crowd.
The apartment was not far away. Within fifteen minutes, Bonnie was opening the apartment with fumbling fingers. She was already well on her way to becoming drunk.
She switched on the lights before walking towards the kitchen. Louis and Niall entered and closed the door behind them.
“So, where’s the booze?” Louis exclaims loudly. He hurried past Niall and started opening cabinets in search for more alcohol.
“It’s over here, Louis,” Bonnie let her friend know with a grin on her face.
Louis hurried towards where she was standing in front of a wooden cabinet that had been banished to the corner of the dining slash living room.
“Niall. Do you want to do it with whiskey or beer?” Bonnie asked Niall when he had joined her and Louis at the cabinet. A row of wine and whiskey bottles had emerged for Niall to choose from after Bonnie had opened the small wooden door.
“Let’s do whiskey,” Niall replied. He had drank beer at the party, he now wanted something different.
“Whiskey it is,” Bonnie exclaimed and she grabbed one of the bottles from the cabinet’s shelve. “Louis, can you get the glasses?”
While Louis was searching the kitchen for the glasses, Bonnie was wiggling her eyebrows at Niall. “Are you ready to lose?”
“Are you?” Niall teased her. He wasn’t so sure if he was going to win. When it comes to booze, Bonnie could give him a run for his money.
She was looking at him with twinkling eyes and an eager smile on her face. And only a few inches were separating them, Niall could smell her, feel her standing in front of him. Harry was one lucky bastard.
Niall had known this, ever since he had met Bonnie for the first time. And as he got to know her better, after she had joined the band on the road, he had realized how envious he was of Harry.
He was going to miss her, now that the tour was over. He was no longer going to see her every day. He was going to have to eat his breakfast without Bonnie stealing his food from his plate – it had irritated him at first but now he had grown quite fond of their little ritual.
“I’m going to miss you,” Niall admitted. He didn’t know why he was saying this. This isn’t something you can say to the girlfriend of your mate.
“I’m going to miss you guys too,” Bonnie replied. She gave Niall a sad smile. “You guys are free to visit anytime, of course.”
“Good.” Niall smiled back at her.
“Found them,” Louis announces, startling Niall and Bonnie with his sudden appearance.
Niall took a step back. Suddenly, it felt like he and Bonnie were standing too close. He could feel a blush paint his cheeks red.
Bonnie took the glasses from Louis and poured the yellow liquid into them. With steady hands, she handed Niall one of them.
“Are you guys ready?” Louis asked. He had installed himself on the armrest of the couch next to the cabinet. His eyes were eager as he waited for Niall and Bonnie to give him the go-ahead.
It was that day and the days that followed that had made Niall realize he was in love with Bonnie. He couldn’t stop thinking about her. What she might be doing while he tried to write the songs of the next album. If she missed him just as much as he missed her. If she thought of him like he was thinking of her. He had it bad for her.
So, what do you guys think of Niall not contacting Bonnie when he found out she lost her daughter?
Let me know your thoughts, please.