Imagine: Since you and Niall have gone public with your relationship, you’ve been known as the poster couple for the “perfect relationship.” So far there hasn’t been any bad press, believable rumors, or scandalous news stories. Fans have generally been pretty sweet to you, and those that don’t have difficulties finding any dirt to dig up on you. You had created the perfect image for yourself to the public, and you’re happy that you can be the kind of girlfriend that Niall’s proud to show off. Because of this, you work hard to keep that image pristine. One night, you’re getting ready for a red carpet event that Niall had invited you to. You’re in the bathroom putting finishing touches on your lipstick when Niall knocks politely on the door. “Babe? I hate to rush ya, but are you almost ready? We need to get there before 7.” You smile at yourself in the mirror one last time. You have to admit, you feel pretty confident in yourself tonight. Your hair looks shiny and your makeup is flawless. The dress you’d chosen for tonight was your favorite part of your look. It was short and black, making you look slim and hugging your curves perfectly. You open the bathroom door and grin at your boyfriend, waiting for a positive reaction. Niall’s eyes widen as he takes in your appearance. You giggle and turn slightly so your boyfriend can get a good look at your dress. “Do you like it?” “Of course I like it Amelie. You look…you look amazing!” You kiss Niall on the cheek before turning around to grab your red clutch. “But I think maybe you should change.” Niall says in a quiet voice. You freeze and turn around slowly, studying his face for signs that he’s just kidding. But he looks completely serious, and kind of embarrassed that he has to say it. “Whyy?” You ask cautiously. Niall looks down at his shuffling feet. “Well, I mean, that dress is great but…but don’t you think it’s kind of short?” You frown and look at yourself in the mirror. “I really like this dress.” You mumble. Niall grabs your hand and looks at you with pleading eyes. “I really like it too! Really! I just…I don’t think it’s appropriate for tonight.” “But I’ve seen lots of other girls wear dresses even shorter than this on the red carpet!” You argue. “Yes but those girls are…” Niall struggles to find the right words, and you feel the anger bubble up inside of you. “What? Skinnier? Prettier?” “No! No I wasn’t going to say-” “Then what, Niall?” You shout. “Why is it okay for other girls to wear stuff like this, but I have to consult you before I wear anything out in public?” “You don’t have to consult me Amelie I was just-” “Forget it.” You say, tossing your clutch onto the bathroom floor and pushing yourself past Niall. “Just go without me.” Niall sighs as he follows you to the bedroom. “Amelie wait.” “No it’s fine Niall.” You say as you tear off the dress and throw on some baggy sweats. “I wouldn’t want to embarrass you.” “You don’t embarrass me it’s just that-” “That what, Niall?” You shout, whirling around to face him. Niall’s face suddenly turns to one of anger. “I don’t want people to think my girlfriend’s a slut, okay?!” You freeze in stunned silence. Niall’s gaze drops to the floor as his cheeks turn red. “Wow.” You say quietly. “I didn’t know that’s what you thought of me.” “Amelie…” Niall sighs, put you’re already pushing past him again, grabbing your keys and some flip flops and heading towards the front door. “Amelie where are you going?” Niall asks, looking tired and upset. You stop in the doorway, but don’t look at your boyfriend as you mumble, “I don’t know. But I can’t stay here.” Niall doesn’t say anything at first, so you walk outside and get into your car. It’s not until you start the ignition that Niall realizes what a mistake he’s made, and he’s running out of the house. “Amelie wait!” You don’t stop, wiping the tears from your eyes as you back out of the driveway and race down the street away from Niall. Once you get to the stoplight, the tears are already flowing freely down your face, and your furiously trying to wipe them away from your cheeks. The light turns green and you start to go, when suddenly, bright lights to your right catch your attention. Your heart stops as you realize they’re coming closer, and before you have time to react, there’s a loud, terrifying sound of glass shattering and someone screaming. Pain shoots throughout your body, and you wish that the screaming would stop. You suddenly realize that the screaming is coming from your mouth. You’re the one screaming. Then, everything goes black.
When you wake up, the first things you see are a plain, white wall, and an IV hooked up to your left arm. You sit up quickly, then regret it instantly when a searing pain hits your right side. Falling back against the pillows, you squeeze your eyes shut, hoping that maybe this is all a dream, and when you open them again you’ll be back in your own bed next to Niall. However, when you open them, you’re still in the same sterile hospital room, and instead of your boyfriend, a nurse is standing next to you. “Oh, you’re awake!” She smiles at you. “How are you feeling?” “Like I’ve been hit by a truck.” You say sarcastically. The nurse chuckles as she begins to check your vitals. “Well, at least you’ve still got a sense of humor. That’s a good sign.” “How long have I been here?” You ask her. “Just overnight. You have some bruising and a broken rib on your right side, and you had to get stitches on that cut,” The nurse points to your forehead right above your right eyebrow. You reach up and touch the bandage covering the stinging cut. “But other than that, you’re pretty lucky.” “Is my boyfriend here?” “Is that the blonde boy?” You nod and the nurse smiles. “He’s in the waiting room. He has been since about an hour after you were rushed here. I don’t even think he slept.” “Can I see him?” The nurse nods. “As soon as I finish up here I’ll let him know you’re looking for him.” The nurse finishes her tests, then walks out of the room to get Niall. When she returns with him, he looks like a wreck. The nurse leaves you two alone, and Niall comes over to you and grabs your good hand. “Oh Amelie thank God you’re okay.” He whispers, kissing your hand. “Wow, Niall. You look like you’re the one who got hit by a car.” You joke halfheartedly, taking in his messy hair, rumpled clothes, and dark under eye circles. Niall shakes his head. “Don’t joke about that. Please. When I heard about the accident, I rushed here as fast as I could. I didn’t know how badly you were hurt, or even if you were still…” Niall shakes his head again, and you drop his hand to reach up and cup his cheek. “Hey,” You say softly. “Look at me. I’m okay.” “It’s my fault.” Niall mumbles. “How is this your fault?” “I shouldn’t have let you leave. Hell, I shouldn’t have said those things that made you want to leave. I should’ve just let you wear the damn dress without saying anything. It looked beautiful on you anyways.” “Then why did you want me to change?” You ask quietly, still a little teensy bit bitter about the fight. “I just…I know how the media and the reporters and the fans can be.” Niall responds. “They’re critical and harsh, and any tiny slip-up can make them go off on you.” “So?” You ask, still not understanding. Niall sighs. “When I asked you out, I knew how things would be. I knew that people would say nasty things about you, because that’s just what happens when you’re in the spotlight all the time. But I wanted to protect you from it as much as I could. I love you too much to let you get hurt.” Niall glances at the IV in your arm and winces. “But I guess I haven’t done a very good job, have I?” “Niall,” You sigh. “You can’t protect me from everything. I’m a big girl and I have to take care of myself and make my own decisions. And I’m not going to go out of my way to change who I am just so that other people will like me. And you shouldn’t try to change me either. I can handle the hate and the criticism. I can even handle this.” You gesture to yourself in the hospital bed before grabbing Niall’s hand again. “I don’t need you to keep me away from the bad things, I just need you to be there for me when I’m dealing with them, okay?” “Okay.” Niall agrees, leaning over and kissing you gently on the lips. “I’m so sorry. But I am proud to call you my girlfriend, no matter what you wear.”