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Stole My Heart- A One Direction Fanfic: CHAPTER 6
Anya shoved her gym bag into Louis' trunk. All it held was something to sleep in, something to wear the next day, and Niall's Christmas gift. Louis had convinced her to just leave her laptop at his place with the rest of her things so she wasn't tempted to work over the next few days. At the moment, he was leaning against his car chatting on the phone. His Gran had called him about 5 minutes ago to wish him a happy 20th birthday and she was still yapping away.
Anya tapped her wrist at Louis, reminding him that her flight took off in less than an hour. He motioned for her to get in the car and he climbed into the driver's seat as well.
"Okay, Gran, it was nice talking to you. Thanks again for calling... Yes, I'll see you sometime after New Year's... Alright, love you too. Bye." Louis chucked the phone to the back seat and hurriedly reversed the car. "Sorry, I'll get ya there."
"It's fine, it's fine. Now how's Gran?" Anya asked.
"I'll spare you the torture of repeating all the stories she told me about her new cat, Lucifer," he shook his head shamefully. Anya laughed.
The next 20 minutes felt as normal as ever. Anya didn't even have to focus anymore on thinking of him as the Louis that Harry reminded her of. She remembered for herself.
The car pulled into the drop-off lane and Louis shifted into park.
"Need any help with your...bag?" Louis asked sarcastically.
Anya grinned. "Nooo. But thanks for everything else."
"Anytime at all." Louis pulled Anya in for a hug.
"Happy birthday, Lou, and merry Christmas," replied Anya, still wrapped in Louis' embrace. She gave him a friendly kiss on cheek and stepped out of the car. Anya grabbed her bag from the back and tapped at the passenger window with a wave, letting him know she was good. Louis reciprocated with a wave of his first few fingers and a perfect smile before he drove off. Anya began to walk to the airport entrance holding back a smile of her own, for the pure reason that she had felt not one butterfly.
When Anya got off from the short flight, a beaming Niall was anxiously waiting to pick her up. Anya felt the usual skip of her heartbeat when she first saw that irresistible smile and the sparkle in his gorgeous blue eyes. The kiddish excitement in her gut made her pick up her pace to a half-run until she had reached his awaiting embrace. It was the biggest relief and the safest feeling to be back in his arms.
Anya soon realized she'd worried about nothing at all in spending these next few days with Niall and his family. Mrs. Horan had greeted her as if Anya were her own daughter, smoldering her in a long hug when she first entered and by telling her how "it's been so long". It was only the second time she'd met Greg, but he was so warm and inviting, he made her feel like family visiting. He graciously gave Anya his bedroom for her two night stay while he took the couch in the living room. They all spent that evening catching up around the fireplace, sipping Mrs. Horan's homemade hot spiced apple cider. It was so relaxing and comfortable that it felt more like a routine thing than a rare holiday occasion.
The next morning, Anya was waken early around 8 to the sound of loud "How are you!?"s from downstairs and younger children squealing in excitement. Niall's cousins traditionally spent their Christmas with him so Anya assumed those were the voices she heard. She quickly stumbled out of bed toward her bag on floor near Greg's closet. She peered in the full length mirror at her defined waves that had formed overnight after her shower, deciding they did her justice for today. She slipped into an appropriately short black pencil skirt and a formal gray sequin-designed top, finished with her brown pair of ankle boots. After swiping on a bit of mascara and running her fingers through her hair, Anya assessed the final product and heard a tap at the door. "It's me," Niall said, muffled by the closed door.
"Yeah, come in," Anya replied.
Niall entered in a beige jumper and brown courduroys, both of which Anya was almost positive his mum had told him to wear (maybe even picked out and bought him). His face seemed to glow when he saw Anya and strolled toward her. "Happy Christmas, beautiful."
"Merry Christmas," she answered with a small kiss. Niall kissed back deeper and Anya pulled away and giggled, shaking her head. Niall whimpered quietly.
"How about we go join everyone else?" Anya suggested.
"You owe me," Niall said slyly. Anya smiled and pushed him toward the door and followed him closely from behind to the living room.
It looked like a Christmas morning scene from a movie. Niall's two little cousins were yelping in delight at every present they were tearing apart near the tree. Greg was close by them, chatting with his uncle, watching the kids in their festivities. Niall's aunt and Nana were enjoying belgium waffles and apple cider on the couch by the little girls. Through the open archway to the kitchen, Anya could see Mrs. Horan hustling away, preparing the meal for later that day.
"I'm gunna go help your mum," Anya told Niall.
"Okay," he nodded, and made his way to sit beside his brother and uncle.
Anya entered the kitchen and heard the sound of atleast three different kitchen appliances working at something and multiple timers ringing. A half peeled potatoe pile sat on the kitchen table and Mrs. Horan was chopping away at onions, carrots, and green peppers on the countertop.
"Mrs. Horan, do you need any help? I'd be happy to give you a break," Anya asked, approaching the potato mountain.
Mrs. Horan spun around, looking too overworked for such an early hour. "Oh, sweetheart, that'd be wonderful. Could you finish peeling those potatoes? I'll get a pot of water boiling for them for when you're finished."
"Okay. Anything else?"
"Um, I don't think so, but I'll be back in a few minutes," She placed her hand on Anya's shoulder. "Thank you."
Anya grinned. "No problem."
Anya stripped every potato and placed each one in the pot of boiling water. After they'd been cooked she added some salt and parsley and started mashing them with a fork.
"So you're Mum's little kitchen elf?"
Anya stopped her mashing momentarily and turned to see Greg entering the kitchen to fill his drink. She laughed. "I guess? I like cooking, it's all good."
Greg leaned against the sink next to where Anya was working. He took a drink from his wine glass. His dark hair was spiked and styled to the right side of his head. Anya figured Niall had used his big brother as a style reference for his own hair. Both brothers had that similar young boy-ish charm to their faces, though Greg had somewhat of a beard going.
"How long has it been?" he asked.
Anya paused and stared at her potato mush and cocked her head. "Like 10 minutes? Did I over-mash them?"
Greg looked confused for a moment then immediately chuckled and shook his head. "No, not the potatoes- I meant you and Nialler."
"Oh," Anya laughed, slightly embarassed. "Almost ten months."
"Impressive. I didn't realize it's been that long. Major props for putting up with that kid for this long."
Anya just laughed, not really knowing what to respond.
"I must say, though, you're even lovelier than Niall's cracked you up to be."
"Really? Well thanks." Anya could feel herself blushing a bit.
"I always thought he had to be exaggerating. But who wouldn't when your little brother tells you he's found 'the most perfect girl on the planet'? I think my mum said he's even referred to you as his princess- almost impossible to get, but worth all the effort and more."
Anya found herself smiling like a goof at her mashed potatoes. She turned around and looked out into the living room. Niall was seated on the couch with his acoustic guitar perched on his knee, strumming and singing with his little cousins. Anya stared lovingly at the best boyfriend she could ask for, deciding she couldn't possibly question the strength of their relationship ever again.
It was long past eleven and everyone in the house had either gone home or was downstairs in their rooms, asleep. Anya was getting ready for bed in her room, putting on a t-shirt so loose that it hung off her shoulders, and a pair of black shorts. She clumped her top and skirt in a ball and tossed it on her bag. A small silver box with a red bow toppled to the floor upon impact of the dirty laundry. Anya realized she'd forgotten to give Niall his Christmas present.
Turning the doorknob as quietly as possible, Anya tiptoed to Niall's bedroom down the hall, gift in hand. The light from inside glowed under the crack of the door into the hallway. She tapped almost silently on his door with her finger. "Niall!" she whispered.
Niall opened the door with his phone in hand. All he had on were his navy Puma sweatpants sagged a little below his hips. The light of the lamp behind him caused shadows to define the contours of his fit build. "Bon, what's wrong?" he looked concerned and opened the door further, inviting her in and closed it behind her.
"Nothing, I forgot about something." Anya replied, and handed him the small box. "Happy Christmas."
Niall beamed at her and opened it. Inside was a deep red guitar pick that shimmered in the right light. On each side were the initials NJH engraved in gold cursive. He smiled from ear to ear and kissed her right cheek. "I love it! I love it so much!- Oh! Here, come here..."
Niall led her to his bedside table. Anya sat crosslegged on his bed while he rummaged through his bottom drawer and pulled out a small, flat, red felt box. "I didn't wrap it so I hope it's not too obvious what it could be, but..."
Anya popped open the box to reveal a stunning sterling silver necklace. In the middle hung Anya's birthstone, a shining opal. She gasped a little under her breath, "Niall...it's beautiful, thank you so much."
Niall smiled shyly, but obviously impressed with his choice in gift. "Here, I'll put it on..." He climbed onto his bed behind Anya and secured the necklace behind her head. Niall then softly kissed the back of her neck below the little clasp, sending shivers down Anya's spine. She felt his lips brush against her ear. "I love you," he breathed, and began to peck along her jawline.
Anya turned to face Niall and pulled his face close to hers. "I love you, too."
Niall smiled sweetly and slowly closed the gap between the both of them, kissing her lips tenderly. Anya kissed back just as passionately, running her hand through his thick blonde hair. Then Niall pulled away. He lifted his left hand from behind Anya's back and removed his silver promise ring. Niall looked Anya hard in the eyes as he took her hand from behind his head and silently removed her own ring. Nerves boiled in Anya's stomach while she kissed Niall as he placed their promise rings on the bedside table and clicked the small reading lamp off.