Niko kisses Riley on the cheek and lays next to him on the bed.
“How was the political friendship?” Niko asks breaking the silence.
“You looked like someone was stabbing you while feeding you liver,” Niko snorts, “until you too were alone,” her face darkens as she pulls the blanket up to her naked chest.
“Don’t give me that tone,” Riley frowns.
“The my-baby-is-probably-cheating-with-a-prince tone,” he snorts, “or is it the jealousy tone? Hard to tell these days.”
Niko starts laughing, “You’re the worst,” she kisses Riles gently but senses the hesitation in his kiss.
“Nothings wrong,” Riley answers a bit too quickly.
Niko thinks for a bit, taking Riley’s hand.
“Would you ever call this off?” she looks into Riley’s cloudy eyes, “cause I sure as hell wouldn’t.”
Riley sits up in the bed and lifts Niko on top of him. He’s quiet.
“We,” he hesitates and swallows, “we can’t tell the future and we can’t make promises we can’t keep.”
Niko’s tempted to ask if there’s someone else, but she closes her mouth instead.
Riley gently lays Niko down to get his clothes back on.
“I better go.”
“Not tonight?” she asks in a near-whisper.
Riley shakes his head, “Love you,” he plants a kiss on Niko’s head.
“Love you 3000,” Niko says knowing Riley hates it.
Niko waits 10 minutes before getting her clothes back on, she heads towards the kitchen and grabs vodka, macrons, and paninis. Then heads towards Noah’s room.
Noah steps out of the shower and quickly opens his bedroom door, only to see Niko stand they’re with tear streaks on her face. She quickly walks into his room past him and gulps down some…vodka? Niko sits down on the floor and puts the food closely next to her.
Not letting go of the vodka bottle.
Noah gets his pants on and scoops up Niko letting her cry in his chest.
Niko nods. Noah carefully kisses her head.
“Strawberries,” she mumbles making Noah laugh.
“You’re staying with me tonight?” Noah asks carefully as Niko fishes her glasses out of her pocket.
“If that’s fine with you,” she mumbles.
“Yeah it is,” Noah smiles, “It always will be,” he moves closer to her lips then stops.
“Noah,” Niko swallows, “can I eat first?”
Noah snorts, “Sure,” he smirks.
He silently watches Niko eat, her sandwich and macron.
“Want some?” Niko walks over to Noah tripping on a wire.
She lands on top of him, “Thought you would’ve moved that.”
“Gave me this didn’t it?” he asks, “Déjà vu?”
Niko sits up on him and feeds him a macron, “except there is food,” she kisses him, “and I kissed you first.”
Niko kisses him again and he kisses back roughly, but gently as well.
Noah feels his body spark as he lifts Niko up into the bed.
Harper Jane Elizabeth Sato knocks loudly on Riley’s door. She hasn’t seen Niko since she ventured off with Riley at the inauguration party. Plus, Noah was gloomy the entire night while she was gone. Harper hears muffles and shuffles behind Riley’s door. It finally opens.
“Morning,” Riley wipes his face with his hand, “something happened?” he mumbles.
“Have you seen Niko?” Harper jumps straight to the point, “anyone else in there with you?”
“What? No, for both of your questions,” he tightens his jaw, “ask Noah.”
And with that he closes his door. Rude, Harper thinks. She walks to Noah’s room and knocks loudly at the door. He opens the door shirtless, and face freezes.
“Have you seen Niko?” Harper asks maintaining eye-contact.
“No,” he yawns, “check the kitchen,” with that he closes his door.
She knew he lied. But why? And why did Riley seem…jealous when he said to go to Noah? Harper knew a lot of things about her knew family. But she didn’t know the secrets behind the smiles, laughs, and giggles. Those she was determined to find out about.
Even if it meant going back to the adoption center.
“Who was that?” Niko sits in the corner of the bed fiddling with the hem of Noah’s pullover.
“Harper,” Noah sighs kissing Niko’s head, “We aren’t going to pretend we did happen again? Right?”
Niko closes her mouth as soon as she opens it.
“Noah do you even know our age difference?” she stares, “you’re my mothers ex. What would my dad, Josh and mom say? I sure as hell have an idea.”
Noah sits on the edge of his bed silent. She’s right.
“We’re kids, making mistakes being in love.”
“Is it Riley or Zack that you’d chose over me?” Noah breaks his silence, “Wait no, scratch that. What are you afraid of?”
“I’m not afraid of anything.”
“Can you not be so damn bold for a second?” Noah yells. “What. Are. You. So. Afraid. Of?”
Niko looks up at Noah in the eyes, creating a distance between them. He sees tears running down her face.
“I’m afraid of love,” she whispers, “I’m afraid of waking up next to my middle-aged bodyguard each morning, dealing with the hate from the press, Zack, Riley, Harper, Josh, Mom, and Dad. I’m afraid of getting hurt over and over and over again dealing with that hate for nothing. The perfect love doesn’t exist. If love even exists at all. I’m afraid of you leaving me.”
“When did you become so self-conscious?” Noah asks in whisper.
“Since when am I the self-conscious one?” Niko snaps.
Noah creates a bigger distance between them pacing around the room.
“At least I didn’t sleep with my own damn brother,” he spits.
Noah instantly regrets using the words. He watches Niko inhale sharply as more tears stream down her cheek like a fountain of hurt.
“To answer your question Noah. We obviously never happened.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean it,” Noah whispers.
But it’s too late. She’s gone.
This was what hurt actually felt like. Not when Storm chose Josh and Tokyo. He wasn’t in love then.
Now he is. With a person, his ex’s child legally now an adult of course. But still. He messed up. He doesn’t know how to fix it.
Because he never felt it before.
Author Notes: Mon petit poi Enjoy!