Ann went in her office and looked around. It had been a whole year. It was nice to be back. She sat at her desk, turned on her computer, and looked at the schedule for today. She went down the list of photoshoots and stopped when she saw his name. Damn. She was hoping to avoid him at least a couple more days. He didn't even know she was back. This was going to be an awkward way for him to find out.
"Okay Niall, before we go to the studio, you've got an interview with a radio show and a photoshoot with Annalina Mikaelson." Jones, Nialls assistant and friend, said as they drove toward the radio studio.
Niall stiffened. "What? Annalina doesn't live here anymore. She hasn't for a year." Jones shrugged, "Well I guess she moved back? I just talked to her assistant an hour ago." Niall whipped the car around. "What are you doing?" Jones asked. "I need to see her, now."
Niall parked in front of the building and ran in. He took the elevator up to her floor of the studio. He wasn't even thinking. He didn't know what he would do when he saw her. He just had to see if she was real. He looked in her office, in every room. Then finally found her in the last one. The same place he first met her. 6 years ago. It was like deja vu. She stood there, hair pulled back, adjusting her camera on the tripod.
Then he started to notice the differences from the last time he saw her. Her hair was longer. She had new glasses. She seemed...different some how. "Annie?" he whispered without even realizing it. She visibly stiffened and looked at him. She looked mad, sad, and surprised at the same time. "What are you doing here? Your shoot isn't until later." she said a little coldly.
He was taken aback. "That's it? That's all you have to say?" He asked as he stepped closer. She looked back at her camera. Yes, she was being a little rude. But if she broke down, that whole year away would mean nothing. "What do you want me to say?" "Where the hell have you been Ann?! You disappeared for a whole year! You don't make any contact, no explanation, just..poof! You wouldn't even let Lane tell me where you were!"
"I'm not gonna talk about it Niall. I have a shoot to set up for." She started to walk away. Niall took two big steps and grabbed her arm. She whipped around and glared at him. His eyes softened and he loosened his grip. "Please Annalove. Talk to me." he pleaded, the words coming out as a whisper. "I'll see you later." Was all she said and walked away.
Even though Annie had music blaring, the photoshoot with Niall was pretty quiet. Neither of them knew what to say. Niall wanted to be mad, but he couldn't. Not with her. And it took everything Ann had not to jump into his arms and sob.
A couple hours later when they were done, Niall pulled her aside. "Ann please. Can't we at least talk? I....I missed you." She took a deep breath and nodded. "Come over to my place tonight. I'll be off by 5."
That night as Annie's, she explained the past year. "Why didn't you tell me?" Niall asked. "Because if I did, you would have tried to come out there. Niall, I needed time to...wrap my head around everything. You.....I..I didn't want to lose you. We were so close and if that stopped.....I don't know what I would do. I don't know what it's like to have someone love me that much. And I wanted to hold onto it." Niall looked at her for a moment. "Can we at least stay friends?" She didn't say anything. "Ann?" She stood up. "I don't know, Niall! Okay? I don't know what to do!"
She went out to her balcony and leaned on the railing. What should she do? She loved him with everything she had. And he felt the same. But what if that ended? What if she hurt him or he hurt her? She couldn't live with herself.
Niall came out and leaned on the railing next to her. "Don't." she huffed. "What?" "Don't say that we can just start over." "That's not what I was gonna say." She looked at him, wide-eyed. "Take your time. I'm always here for you, love. I'm sorry I ever made you think I wasn't." She just stared at him. Suddenly she felt....a little more whole. She didn't know why she needed to hear him say that, she just did.
She threw her arms around him and buried her face in his neck. "Thank you." He kissed her shoulder and held her tight. He felt so relieved. He finally had her back. The last year had been hell without her. "I love you." he whispered. She gripped onto him tighter. "I love you too."
That night, she fell asleep on his chest, just like the last time he came over. Niall turned off the tv and just watched her. He lost a whole year with her. He wouldn't lose her again. He had to prove to her that being together was worth the risk. He would never hurt her or stop loving her. And there was no doubt in his mind that she would never hurt him or stop loving him. What would it take to show her that?
She shifted in her sleep, wrapping an arm around him and smiling. Niall chuckled to himself. He ran his fingers up and down her arm and kissed her head. "Never letting go again." he whispered and fell asleep too.
***1 year later***
"I loved you first." "What?" Ann whispered. "What? Can't I tell the girl I love, that I love her?" Niall shrugged. "Niall....." He gently held her face in his hands and kissed her. "It's okay, Annalove. I understand. I'll see you tomorrow." he said quietly and left.
"Morning Ann-" She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. He held her tight, a smile spreading across his face. "Morning." Annie grinned. "That's it?" he asked with a chuckle. "Also, you're wrong." "Oh am I now?" "Yep. I loved you first." "Well we'll have to talk about that." "Oh yea? When?" "My place. Tonight." "Oh, okay. I'm pretty sure-" Niall cut her off with another kiss. He could finally kiss her and hold her and didn't have to be afraid. Her fingers tangled in his hair and his hands squeezed her waist.
"I really do love you." he said against her lips. "I love you more."