They all stared, shock projected in every inch of their faces, as Niall walked towards them.
“How the fuck did that just happen?”
It had been an average day in the park for One Direction. No, literally, they were in a park. They had been chatting casually among themselves when Harry – of course - had decided it would be fun to play Truth or Dare. (Yeah, they should have realised then that this could only end badly. Or if not badly then at the least with them in some weird-ass situation that would never happen to anyone normal. Not that they wanted to be normal, but still.) Dares and truths of the usual sort had been exchanged a plenty, when a woman - who would be deemed by most as ‘attractive’, if not ‘hot’ or ‘smokin’’ or ‘sex on legs’ or ‘fine as a 0.3mm pencil’, etc - walked past. As she walked by, swaying her hips with a certain natural ease that seems to come to girls of that sort, all five boys stopped and stared in admiration - or maybe just teenage lust. She sat down on a nearby bench and pulled out some D H Lawrence. Opening the well-worn pages upon her bookmark, she began to read. With their distraction no longer distracting, the boys went back to their game. Except Niall. Niall continued to stare with the ferocity of someone whose life depends on their inability to blink.
“Niall, are you okay?” asked Liam.
“Hello… Is there anyone in there?” Harry ventured after Niall failed to reply.
Effortlessly, without looking up from his phone, Zayn spoke. “He’s still staring after that girl.”
“Seriously? That’s bordering on stalker territory.” said Louis.
Looking up as if in memory, Harry smiled and bit down on his lower lip. “Well, I mean, she was pretty hot, scratch that, super hot.” Harry looked back over at the woman, and added “And she’s smart.”
“She’s reading. That does not mean she’s smart.” Louis countered.
“She’s reading. That means she’s smart enough for Niall.” Harry replied.
“Guys, can we focus here? Niall - daydream land.” Liam interjected, a slight panic notable in his voice.
“Oh, yeah, right… Oh my God, Niall, did you hear that Nando’s is shutting down?”
“Huh, what?” Niall said dazedly coming out of his trance.
Liam smiled, relief washing over his features, and slapped Niall on the shoulders. “Nothing, just thought we’d lost you there for a minute.”
“Yeah, I mean you were staring so hard at that girl over there…” Louis’ voice was nonchalant, but a slight smirk could be seen on his face.
“WHAT? I was not!”
Zayn spoke up after quickly pocketing his phone, surprising the others with his sudden venture into the conversation. “Niall, we had to resort to Nando’s to get through to you. Nando’s.”
“Well, maybe I was staring…”
Suddenly, an idea clicked in Harry’s head.
“Anyway, back to the game.” Harry said. “I believe it was Niall’s turn…”
“Actually, I think it was Zayn’s…” Liam attempted to interrupt, but was quickly hushed quiet by Harry speaking over him.
“As I was saying, I believe it was Niall’s turn. So Niall, truth or dare.”
“GREAT! I dare you to go over to that woman and talk to her… and try to get her number.”
So that’s how it happened. That’s how it came to be that Niall was now walking towards them, phone number in hand, after only talking with said woman for a few of minutes.
Niall smiled giddily as he sat back down and began to daydream, the others continuing to look dumbfounded. Slowly but surely, one by one, they all went back to their own pursuits of relaxation in the afternoon sun, falling into an easy silence, happy to simply be in each others company on a beautiful day.
“I’m going to call her.” Niall announces sometime later, which earns him a loud, resounding “No” from the others.
“Because it’s only been an hour since you got her number, that’s why.” Louis informs.
“But…” Niall attempts to protest, before he is interrupted, by another loud, resounding “No” once again.
Niall gives up, shutting his mouth decidedly only to form a pout. The five of them sit together in silence, each caught in their own thoughts and enjoying the Indian summer sunshine. Everything would be peaceful were it not for Niall, fidgeting and whining and just plain restless. After a few minutes, the others give in, deciding it best for their sanity to let Niall get his way.
“Alright, fine. Go call her Niall, if that’s what it’ll take to get that puppy dog expression off your face.”
Niall face alights with his signature goofy grin as he whips his phone out of his pocket, only for it to put back just as quickly.
“What is it now, Niall?” Liam asks gently.
Niall doesn’t look up from his phone, simply lets out a sullen mumble. “My phone’s dead.”
Silence fills the air again as the other members look amongst themselves, each of them knowing what’s coming next before the thought even occurs to Niall, but then it does. Slowly, Niall lifts head, and peers up at them through his pale eyelashes, a small, innocent smile playing across his lips. “Hey, can I borrow one of you guys’ phones?”
They all moan in unison and fall into a tableau of dismay. Then, Liam strains a small, polite smile in Niall’s direction and answers for them all in the kindest way possible. “I think that means no, but there is a phone box just over there, Niall.”
At this news, Niall’s face brightens instantly. He hops up and practically skips to the phone box, singing as he goes
“Gonna call my lady,
Ask her on a date.
Take her out to Nando’s,
And it will be great.”
Niall smiled to himself as the woman spoke to him through the phone. He had successfully arranged a date for the coming evening at his favourite Nando’s. Of course at that moment, Niall’s life being the crazy thing it is, he heard a loud crash above him.
“What was that?” the woman on the other end of the line asked.
“I’m not sure... Sorry, I’m gonna have to go. See you tonight, bye.” Niall answered quickly before hanging up, his thoughts elsewhere - on the noise he just heard.
He slowly opened door of the bright red telephone box, and peered his head out. He looked about sheepishly, but unable to see anything unusual. Then he heard a shriek above him, and a cry for help. He looked up to see Liam on top of the telephone box, squirming and purposefully avoiding lowering his gaze from the sky.
“Liam?” Niall ventured quizzically, his expression puzzled.
“Niall! Thank God! I’m stuck up here and I can’t get down. You have to do something.”
Niall opened his mouth to protest, unsure of quite how he could help in this situation, but Liam stopped him in his tracks “Just do something, please!”
And really, when faced with that scared little tear-soaked face and pleading voice, who could say no? Niall quickly pulled back into the phone box and picked up the receiver. He was about to dial someone, anyone, when he heard Harry’s voice.
“Never fear, Liam. The cavalry has arrived!” A swell of relief swept over Niall at the pressure to save Liam no longer just falling on his shoulders.
“Well I should hope so since you were the ones who dared me to climb on top of the phone box in the first place.” Liam said bitterly, though he couldn’t hide the sound of relief underneath it all.
“Hey, you didn’t have to…” Louis tried to argue but was cut short by a stern glare from Liam.
Niall stared out at them all through the windows of the telephone box, crowded together around it determining how to get Liam down. After a minute of whispered discussion, Louis was lifted up on Zayn’s shoulder while Harry stood back and watched. Liam grabbed out for Louis’ arms, relief lighting up his face. Everyone was smiling as Liam wrapped himself around Louis in a koala bear hug and was lowered carefully - sort of - to the ground.
“Next time, remind me not to do something stupid just because I was dared to.”
“What, and miss out on all the fun? Not to mention you clinging to me in a hug-of-death.” Louis ribbed, cheeky grin on his face. Liam could only smile at the ground, a small blush reddening his cheeks as Louis ruffled his hair and put and arm around his shoulders.
Zayn turned to Niall and asked “So, did you get your date?”, which drew Niall out of his thoughts.
“Yeah, meeting her tonight.”
Harry looked back at Niall from where he was walking in front with Louis and Liam. “Niall, I have no idea how you do it. You are one lucky guy.”
Harry turned around completely, walking backwards so as to talk to Niall and Zayn, but Niall was no longer listening. He was already daydreaming again, perfectly content with his crazy little life.