Well, here it is. The last and final chapter of umbrella boy. I know it’s been a while and I hope not a lot of you have abandoned this fix, though I know a few of you have. I don’t have a lot excuses except that I have been so busy with school that I barely have time to do the school work, let alone things to do for fun. I have more to say near the end but what I can say right now is grateful to each and everyone that has read this xx fica
When they arrived at the talent show, Nina was relieved to discover that they weren’t too late. As soon as they got out of the car, Niall and Liam were already off to join the other boys, with Niall giving Emma a quick kiss goodbye and Nina calling out “good luck!” after them. Nina and Emma made their way to the school’s hall where the dance-slash-talent show was being held. Whoever had decorated the place had outdone themselves, Nina observed. The theme was black and gold and there were rows of chairs facing the stage as well as a dance floor. Music was pumping loudly through a set of speakers and tables were set with drinks and expensive-looking finger food, reminding Nina that she was in a very high-class private school. Next to the stage was a big board with a list of those who were performing for the talent show. Nina’s heart did a tiny leap when she saw Harry’s name under One Direction and it did another unexpected leap when her eyes read Zayn Malik. She remembered what he had said while they were washing off the paintbrushes in the art room, cramped in a tiny space together in front of the sink. He wanted to give her something and told her that he would feel better if he did, “meet me after the talent show tomorrow night?” his voice echoed through her mind, “I’ll give it to you and tell you everything then”.
Nina shook her head, she would think about that later. She had come because she wanted to have fun and somehow, thinking of meeting with Zayn later made her nervous in a way that she couldn’t explain.
“Of course they’re performing last,” Nina heard Emma say as they stole a couple of unattended seats in the front row. “They usually save the best for last, I guess,” Emma shrugged.
Nina looked around. People were still taking seats but it seemed like the dance floor was clear of anyone. “I’m confused. Exactly when is this talent show going to turn into a dance?” she asked Emma, who was fidgeting a little in her seat, trying to crane her neck to catch a glimpse of backstage.
“I’m not sure,” she frowned a little, “I think there’s a break in the middle of the performances f and then after the last performances, there’ll be another break while the judges decide on the winner.”
Nina was about to reply, when she noticed the music and the hall quietening down and she looked up to the the school’s headmaster on stage. He welcomed the students and promptly warned them that it was an alcohol-free environment before introducing the first performance.
The first on stage were a couple singing Summer Nights from the musical Grease. Nina thought they weren’t too bad, except that the guy who played Danny kept forgetting his lines and the girl was so obviously frustrated at him that Emma and Nina had to hide their laughs behind their hands. The night wore on, with a few atrocious performances including a guy on a unicycle and a a beautiful performance of an Ed Sheeran song by one of the younger girls. Before Nina new it, they were already on their first break and people were either heading to the dance floor or standing around the tables for refreshments. Emma had gone off somewhere and Nina was tasting a particularly delicious strawberry cupcake when she heard a familiar and friendly voice from behind her.
“Nina, you look so lovely.”
It was Louis. He was wearing a white shirt with grey suspenders and his hair was styled in a most flattering way. He was grinning at her and she immediately grinned back.
“So do you,” she replied, laughing.
Louis gave a smug shrug, feigning nonchalance. “Well, you know…one of us boys have to be the good-looking one and sure as hell isn’t going to be any of those four.” He nodded his head towards a place across the hall and Nina turned around to see the rest of One Direction huddled in a sort-of circle, probably going over their song or something of the sort. She didn’t linger her gaze long enough to see Harry’s face or anything so she quickly turned back to Louis.
“And someone needs to be the modest, quiet one…and that sure as hell isn’t going to be you,” she replied. It was Louis’ turn to laugh and suddenly he took a hold of her arm.
“Let’s go dance. I have to tell you something,” he said, and before Nina could reply, they were swerving around groups of students and heading to the middle of the dance floor.
“What did you want to tell me?” Nina had to ask a little loudly, so she could be heard over the music.
“It’s about Harry,” Louis replied.
At once Nina stopped dancing and waited for Louis to continue. Louis’ shoulders heaved slightly, resembling a sigh but then stopped dancing too.
“He’s really sorry, you know. He didn’t mean to hurt you,” Louis said finally. Nina took her time to respond, going over the all the things she could say. But in the end she could only say, “And you’re apologising for him?”
She knew her expression was a but cold and she immediately regretted it when she saw Louis’ face.
“No,” he shook his head slowly. “No, I’m not apologising for him. He’s the one who’s apologising. Tonight. In our song.”
Nina frowned, confused. “What do you mean?”
“I mean that you should pay close attention the lyrics tonight.”
It took a moment for Nina to realise the meaning of his words, “He wrote a song for me?”
Louis gave her a long look before smiling sadly, “He’s basically pouring his heart out for you and it’s really hard for him to do that. So please give him a chance, Nina.”
Nina didn’t know how to reply, she was in shocked silence, a whirlwind of emotions. Louis smiled at her again before walking away, leaving her in the middle of the dance floor.
Zayn gripped the bathroom sink. The sound of the tap running was drowning every other sound from his ears and he looked in the mirror before splashing a bit of water over his face.
How was he going to tell them? How was he going to tell his best friends, how was he going to tell Nina?
He was moving to Bradford. He would often go there to meet his family during school breaks but this time it was for real, this time it was permanent.
He had spent his childhood in this town. He had grown up with his four best friends - no four brothers. He had met Harry when he was six, and was neighbours with Louis until he moved to a different part of town. Zayn, Liam and Niall were in the same football team for five years and counting. They ahd just formed a band, they had started their dream.
He had only just met Nina.
And now that was all going be shattered, those moments were all going to slip through his fingers and he would have to make a new life, a new Zayn.
He looked at the mirror again and saw his own expression. He looked angry and upset and maybe a little nervous. He didn’t want to start over again.
Zayn looked up. It was Liam, his arm still resting on the door of the boys’ toilets.
“We’ve got to be on stage in a moment,” Liam said, he stepped a little closer and Zayn watched him through the mirror.
“Nervous?” he asked.
“A little,” Zayn replied. And it wasn’t exactly a lie if he didn’t say what he was nervous about.
“Don’t worry, mate. It’s all about having fun,” Liam said and he gave Zayn one of those reassuring smiles that put crinkles near the corner of his eyes.
“Yeah,” Zayn took another breath. “Okay, let’s go.”
The lights were dimming. Nina took a shaky breath, clutching onto her purse.
“Now, I’m sure you kids have been waiting for this all night,” the headmaster’s voice boomed within the hall. “Ladies and gentleman, I give you One Direction!”
There was an eruption of cheers and applaud, even sounds of girls screaming the boys’ names hysterically.
The boys appeared on stage, standing in a straight line. The lights reflected off them and they looked almost like they were not real. They look perfect, Nina thought.
At once she found Harry. He was standing right in the middle of the boys and waited for the crowd noise to die down before raising the microphone to his lips.
“Thanks everyone,” he said. And nIna almost felt a shudder go through her when she heard his voice. She didn’t realise how much she missed it.
“Thanks,” he said again. “This is our first time performing as a band, so go easy on us,” he joked, smiling at the crowd. The school replied with a series of “woo ooh!” and Harry waited again. He looked around the crowd, as if searching for some one and at once, Nina’s heart skipped a beat when his green eyes found hers. They locked gazes as the crowd was still cheering and suddenly it felt like everyone but Harry and her were going in slow motion.
Harry was still looking at her with a small, sad smile and raised the microphone to his lips again.
“This is for you,” he said into the microphone so quietly that Nina wasn’t sure that anyone else even heard. He didn’t say her name, he didn’t have to. The look that he was giving her was so open and vulnerable that she thought of Louis saying “please give him a chance” and all she could think was yes, a thousand times yes and he hadn’t even started singing yet.
The music started. The boys were looking down until it was Liam’s turn to sing the first lines.
Girl I see it in your eyes you’re disappointed
‘Cause I’m the foolish one that you anointed with your heart
I tore it apart
And girl what a mess I made upon your innocence
And no woman in the world deserves this
But here I am asking you for one more chance
Emma was clapping and cheering loudly next to Nina and Nina was feeling a mixture of hope and happiness as Harry took the mic and looked her right in the eyes as he sang.
Can we fall, one more time?
Stop the tape and rewind
Oh and if you walk away I know I’ll fade
‘Cause there is nobody else
Nina could feel tears welling up in her eyes. She wasn’t sure if they were out of happiness, but all she knew is that there was no one else in the room except Harry and her and his beautiful voice. She wiped the tears away impatiently and smiled at Harry through watery eyes. He smiled back almost hopefullyand joined in with the others in the chorus.
It’s gotta be you
It’s got to be you
Now girl I hear it in your voice and how it trembles
When you speak to me I don’t resemble who I was
You’ve almost had enough
And your actions speak louder than words
And you’re about to break from all you’ve heard
But don’t be scared, I ain’t going nowhere
Nina listened to the lyrics. They were so raw, so lovely. She didn’t know what else to think as the words weaved their way in her mind and all she could really remember was the fact that she really, really missed Harry Styles. Holding him, hearing him laugh and making him smile.
I’ll be here, by your side
No more fears, no more crying
But if you walk away
I know I’ll fade
Cause there is nobody else
It was Zayn’s voice. And the sound of him waved a shock through Nina, as if bringing her back to reality. He was closing his eyes as he sang and Nina thought he looked a little sad.
When the song finished, Nina could scarcely breathe. She could see Emma smiling at her from the corner of her eye as the rest of the school applauded like a thunderstorm and the boys were walking down the steps, off the stage.
Nina turned to Emma, feeling helpless.
“Go to him,” her friend laughed and pushed Nina a little in the boys’ direction.
Nina didn’t need to be told twice. She squeezed past all their new and admiring fans and finally reached Harry. They didn’t say anything to each other, only stared at one another with a mixture of expressions Nina didn’t know how to begin to describe. But there was one word that could pin down the feeling in his eyes and the feel of heart heart, beating against her chest in a rhythmic lull. They shared a look revealing their yearn for each other and pure unconditional love.
“Let’s leave these two for a moment,” Nina heard someone say. It may have been Niall, but whoever it was, Nina was grateful to them.
Neither of them had spoken a word and to Nina yet again like everyone else was still and she was alone in the room with Harry.
“Lenina,” Harry finally said, his voice was a little breathless and Nina wasn’t sure if it was because he had just finished singing or because of the gaze they had just shared.
She only knew that she had missed the way he said her name, her real name.
“Lenina. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know how to tell you properly so I wrote it out for you in a song. I…I hope that you liked it and that you’ll forgive me.” He smiled at her nervously.
Nina didn’t know how to reply. She wanted to say a million things. Things like, “I forgive you, Harry” and “that was the most romantic and beautiful thing I heard in my life” or “I love you and I’ve missed you”.
But all she could do is stare at him for a little longer and the silence stretched. Harry’s eyes began to look uncertain and he was slowly backing away.
“I know, it’s so stupid. I shouldn’t hav-“
But Nina cut him off before he could say anything else. She kissed him and all the emotions she had felt for the past few days seeped into the kiss and although Harry was taken off guard at first, he soon wrapped his arms around her waist and held her there like he would never let her go.
The night was almost over. Harry looked down at Nina, who had her head resting on Harry’s chest as they sort of swayed and slow danced in a circle. They were completely off-beat with the fast paced song and people around them were jumping about. But all Harry could feel was the beat of his own heart and Nina breathing contentedly against him as they danced
They stayed like that for a while until Nina mumbled something against his chest and Harry laughed lightly.
“I think it’d really help if whatever you just said wasn’t muffled by my chest. Just sayin’.”
Nina looked up and smiled at him. “I said: where are the others?”
Harry shrugged, “Niall and Emma went off somewhere and Liam’s found this girl he really likes so he’s with her. God knows where Louis’ gone off to,” Harry laughed. There was a pause.
“And Zayn?” Nina asked quietly, leaning against his chest again.
“He said he wanted some fresh air,” Harry replied. It him feel sad thinking about Zayn. Zayn had pulled all the boys a side to a quiet place and told them about him moving.
“It’s not until a few months, but I’ve already got to start packing,” he had said. Harry remembered the sadness in the other’s voice and he remembered feeling angry and as if he were losing an important part of himself. Louis kept shaking his head and Liam kept saying “there’s got to be a way around this”. Niall seemed both angry and shocked about the news. As for himself, Harry didn’t know how to react. Zayn had been one of his closest friends since…well since he could remember. Zayn and he were the ones who would get into fights most often, but they would immediately make up. Zayn was one-fifth of One Direction. Zayn couldn’t leave.
“Is he smoking again?” Nina asked Harry, breaking him from his thoughts.
“He said he’s trying to quit,” Harry replied. There was a moment of silence and Harry realised that they had stopped swaying all together and were standing still in the middle of the dance floor. Nina pulled back and sighed.
“He said he wanted to tell me something, after the talent show was over,” she said this without looking at Harry in the eye.
Zayn wants to tell her goodbye, Harry realised.
“You should go see what he has to say,” Harry made himself say. Nina looked up at him.
“Are you sure?” she asked.
The truthful answer would be, no. No, I don’t want you to leave my side, I don’t want to let go of you again.
But he couldn’t say that out loud, so he just nodded. He had to trust her. He had to trust Zayn.
The breeze outside was cold but pleasant. Nina looked up, clouds were gathering and it looked as if it might rain soon. There were a few students loitering around near the front of the school when she walked out. She looked across the road at the cafe Zayn told her he would be. She wasn’t truly sure if he’d even be there in the first place, if he had given up on her or maybe forgotten about the meeting all together. But sure enough, Nina was able to spot a familiar figure leaning on one of the tables, looking up at the night sky with his hands in his pockets. The street light was shining in a way that made Zayn into a silhouette and it was a beautiful image.
Nina took a breath and headed towards the cafe purposefully. The night air was quiet and her heels were clacking against the road a little too loudly. Zayn looked away from the sky and at Nina. Nina couldn’t see his expression until she was close to him. He was wearing a black, loosened tie against a crisp, white shirt and his sleeves were rolled up, revealing his tanned forearms. She smiled at him timidly one she reached him. Zayn didn’t smile back but his expression softened when he saw her.
“Red suits you,” he finally said.
Nina looked down at the red dress that Emma had hastily bought for the occasion.
“Thanks,” she said and there was a moment’s hesitation before she continued. “What did you want to tell me?”
Zayn gave a light laugh, bit it seemed a little forced. Nina winced a little at the sound, she didn’t like hear him unhappy.
“That’s not important now,” he paused. “But I still have to give you something.”
Zayn turned to the nearest table wordlessly and picked up a small, blue box.
“It’s for you,” he said, handing her the box gently, as if it were made of glass.
Nina opened the box carefully. She stared at the butterfly necklace for a moment before taking it out and dangling it from her fingers so it hung in the air. The moonlight reflected off the silver and it glittered in her hand.
“It’s the one I looked at in the store…that day,” Nina realised, too shocked to say anything else. When Zayn didn’t reply, she looked up at him.
“Thank you, Zayn. So much,” she paused. “But why?”
Zayn finally smiled, and it was full of melancholy that it was almost heartbreaking to see.
“It’s a goodbye present,” he said. Nina frowned.
“Goodbye…? I’m not going anywhere,” she said, confusion filling her voice.
Zayn only shook his head. “It’s goodbye from me because I’m leaving. My family’s moving houses to a different city.”
The world stopped for a moment. A few hundred thoughts came to Nina, some of them like “No, you can’t leave,” and “What about you and me?”. She thought of Harry and the other boys and how much it would break them for Zayn to leave. She felt an overwhelming sense of loss all of a sudden and it was weird because he was only Zayn but he was the Zayn that she could share silences with and then talk with for hours. He was artistic and he loved music and he had a smile that could both break and mend hearts.
She wanted say these things to him but she held back. “When are you leaving?”
“It could be a few weeks or a few months. It depends on how quickly my dad’s work settles down,” Zayn answered.
Nina didn’t reply and the silence stretched on like always.
“I’ll miss you,” she finally said. Zayn seemed to struggle with what to say and his expression changed more than a few times before he sighed.
“Do me a favour?” he asked.
Nina nodded numbly.
“Wear that necklace every now and again. Just so you won’t forget me.”
Nina clutched at the necklace between her fingers, “I’ll never forget you,” she said quietly.
“You might and that’s why I want you to keep the necklace. But you, I don’t need anything to remind me of you, Nina. I think I’ll always remember you.”
He smiled at her then. And it was genuine, it was bright and full of so much truth that Nina had to look away.
“Thank you,” she said quietly, before turning around and heading back to the school hall. Back to Harry.
“Have you got your umbrella?” Nina asked Harry, eyes looking up at the clouds. She didn’t understand how quickly the weather could suddenly change from quiet breeze and gathering clouds to an almost-storm, but against all odds, it happened. The two of them were standing out in the school entrance and they were almost the last ones to leave the school dance. Nina was beginning to feel cold in her dress so Harry had placed his blazer on her earlier. She gripped the blazer closer to her shoulders so she could smell the scent of him.
“What was that, Lenina?” Harry asked loudly over the sound of rain. Nina smiled at him.
“I said, have you got your umbrella? I don’t have mine, how’re we supposed to get through this rain and into the car?”
Suddenly Harry grinned at her and it was like glimmer of sunshine between parting the clouds.
“You’re lucky I’m the Umbrella Boy,” he replied. And sure enough, he pulled out a bright yellow umbrella seemingly out of no where.
“I love you, you know that?”
She said it without thinking but once it was out there, there was no going back. Harry smiled at her again, so widely that Nina thought his dimples couldn’t get any deeper and his cheekbones any higher.
“You know what, Lenina? I love you too.”
And he pulled opened the umbrella over the both of them, took hold of her hand and led her out into the rain.
Okay, I just want to say that I love you all and that writing umbrella boy was kind of like watching my baby grow up. We’ve had quite a journey, with Zina vs Henina polls, two fan videos that I made (one for Harry, one for Zayn) and lovely artwork from my beautiful readers. I just hope that you liked reading this story as much as I liked writing it! xx fica
p.s I know I said there would be an epilogue, but I’m still not too sure about it. What do you guys think? It would be a whole 3-months-later deal and it would tie up a few loose ends :)
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