Molly's feet took her to the same place in the record shop every time she came in, it wasn't that she thought there'd be anything unexpected there, it was more a compulsive act, the comfort of running her fingers through his albums, reassuring herself that he was somewhere, doing what he loved.
She gazed for a while at his newest release, she already had it at home of course, she pre-ordered anything by his band, knowing it would be a necessary purchase. The drawing on the front seemed familiar, but she couldn't place it. There was a naive yet archetypal air about it, perhaps it was something she'd seen him do in college, or just done in a similar style.
The songs seemed to be sending her a message too, but she wasn't sure what it was, maybe she'd catch him at the gig that night and ask him about it. At least it would be a topic of conversation to distract her from the gnawing ache of his presence.
"I've heard that's an OK album." His voice came from behind her. She closed her eyes for a moment before moving, overcome by the inevitable mix of emotions: shame at looking like a stalker, bursting joy at being able to talk to him.
Niall stood a little too close to her, forcing Molly to brush against him as she turned, but he didn't step away, just hovering inches away from pressing her into the racks.
"Yeah, it's not bad, handy for background music." She smiled the goofy, beautiful smile of someone talking to their teenage crush, their closest and yet most absent friend, their not quite ex, not quite fuckbuddy, not quite anything that would make sense.
He chuckled and played with her hair. She let him, accepting as always that her body was his playground. His aura was fading the shop into unreality, as if they were in a parallel universe and could happily make out without anyone around noticing.
"I wrote it for you, of course," he said in that light but serious tone that he used when he was dropping bombshells.
"Yeah? Do I get the royalties?" She was being cheeky on autopilot, but couldn't hide her confusion at his revelation.
"If you like," he said dreamily, still staring at her with massively dilated pupils. Was he on drugs? Why was he being so kind when he'd been cold and distant the last few times they'd met?
"God, Niall, what's got into you?"
He shrugged bashfully, and stroked her arm. "I dunno, just been missing you I guess..."
She shivered, still not understanding, but unable to pretend she didn't enjoy his touch. "Uh, well, shall we go for a coffee or something?"
Niall leant into her, put his mouth to her ear. "I'd rather we just went back to my hotel and fucked."
Molly snorted, but he seemed sincere enough, his cock, hard against her leg, didn't lie. "Oh, Nee, I've got to get ready for tonight and stuff..."
He frowned, "Bollocks to that, I don't care what you're wearing, and you're not bothered about what anyone else thinks." He grabbed her hand and pulled her towards the door. "Come on, quickly, that guy over there's looking like he wants to talk to me about amps or something..."
She giggled and followed him, young and carefree again, enjoying the easy banter they fell into as they walked the short distance, breezing through reception and up to his room.
He didn't leave her time to get awkward, immediately kissing her hungrily, then making her chase his lips once she needed it more than he did. She was panting and bright eyed by the time he pushed her onto the bed and put on the album they'd been discussing earlier.
Molly laughed, "Not sick of hearing the sound of your own voice yet?"
Niall flopped down next to her. "I want to watch you listen to it."
Something had shifted, now she was the one being stalked, but it was oddly safe, because it was him. They moved around until he was up against the headboard, and she was leaning back onto him. As he put his arms around her, Molly closed her eyes and drifted into the long, slow opening track.
She was pretty sure this one hinted at their first, yearning friendship as teenagers. It made her remember those significant glances through flickering firelight in the woods, across the art studio, even just as they listened to music in the bedroom without needing to talk. The blissful howl of knowing your feelings were shared, but not seeing how to move forward without breaking perfection.
Her eyes opened as she tilted her head to look up at him. They could have been back there, just before they went to different universities, that weekend that tore her apart. They'd done things before that, tentative experiments, the odd drunken fuck, but they'd agreed to spend the whole time her parents were away together, and naturally, their bodies had taken over.
Something wild had come out, something they'd both been ashamed of in the light of day, not really understanding what it meant. Afterwards, it seemed easier to hold onto the closeness without trying have a relationship based on that abyss. Unfortunately, once she knew it was possible to feel like that, nothing else had ever lived up to it.
Niall's face was a sweet mix of regret and longing. "I was such a fucking idiot."
Molly's chest was painful, but it felt good, like something that had been holding her back was breaking apart. She grinned and wriggled round to sit astride him. "I know, you always have been."
"Yeah, I should have just taken you with me in a box." He followed her jokey tone, but his eyes glinted with dark purpose.
She swallowed. Their irregular hook ups since that time had been fed by head games, they trusted each other to go to places they'd never dare with anyone else, and it was surely time to take a risk. "I wish you had, you could have kept me under your desk, fed me scraps and made me do anything you said when you let me out occasionally."
They were both getting aroused by the scenario, and with eerie timing the music became more insistent, a song that had reminded Molly of their most intense sessions, and the deep things she'd fantasised about but never done.
Niall slowly ran his hands up her thighs, "Mmm, but maybe that would have been too easy..."
Molly could feel his cock pressing into her, and was finding it difficult to follow what he was saying. "Easy?" she mumbled breathlessly.
His left hand slipped round to stroke her behind, while his right toyed with her clit. She always felt like a guitar when he played her like this. "Yeah, too obvious, much better to just trap you by being the only guy who understands you, the only one who can give you what you need..."
She whimpered a little as she felt something slide out of her grasp. Something he owned in her, that he could call to his service whenever he wanted to. His eyes were soft and caring, but his fingers manipulated her thoughts. She was utterly lost. "Niall... please..."
"Please what, Moll?"
She just gaped at him, mouth slack, unable to articulate the depths of her need.
He gave his kindly patronising look. "Please fuck you?"
She nodded desperately and he rolled her onto her side, pushed his trousers down a little, got a condom on, and slid inside her, all the while murmuring to keep her calm and responsive as if she was a nervous animal.
With her legs hooked around his, the weight of his body against her, she was captured and protected in delicious balance. The song was timed to the rhythm of his cock in her, she'd almost been able to feel it every time she'd listened, and now it was really there she had no defences left.
"You realise I'm keeping you now," he whispered into her open mind.
She nodded blurrily, no thought for the consequences, all she wanted was to do this forever.
He watched her carefully, gauging her reactions, "of course you might start to feel like you're just my little groupie slut to be used when I'm bored..."
The emotional pain made her whine and struggle, but he put his hand over her mouth, shushing her and pumping into her cunt until she stopped fighting.
"...but I'd help you get over your silly fears and insecurities..." his hand was tender now, stroking her face.
Molly could barely breathe, tears were starting to well up as she accepted his kindness, all the more potent because it was laced with cruelty.
"...remind you of what you're always known deep down..." he carried on with the soothing stream of words, "... that you're always safe with me, that we belong together..."
Her heart sang, Niall seemed to be glowing, everything was so fucking perfect she felt like she was dreaming.
"...it's always been you I write for, you're my muse, I put all of my power into these songs, and I know you belong to me more every time you listen..."
It should have been scary, weird, obsessive, but from his lips it sounded like the most romantic words anyone had ever said. She felt herself starting to build towards an orgasm and held onto him as if nothing else existed.
"...I know your patterns, how to guide you, take you where I want..." he slowed his thrusting, seeming to be waiting for something, Molly just hung there with him, not having the willpower to grind down. Soon, Niall started again, the deep fucking that would inevitably make her come, and she started to half remember something, didn't she always feel an echo of this when she got to this point in the album? Not as much of course, but... yes... there was that bit that went....
Her eyes rolled back and she came hard: the feeling she'd been desperate for since she first played the track and helplessly responded to it. The addiction he'd stoked in her, irresistible because it was real, because she really did need him.
They lay there for a while, listening to the runout groove effect that represented the end of side one if they'd been listening on record. Niall gently disentangled her and went to turn off his mp3 player. "We'll save side two for after the gig, eh?" He sat on the bed, a little shy after the rawness of what they'd just been through.
Molly slowly came back to reality, but still felt fluttery and vulnerable. "Nee... have you been sending me subliminal messages?" she asked half-seriously.
He looked a bit embarrassed, "Would you mind if I had?"
She shook her head, genuinely fine with the prospect.
He grinned like a naughty little boy. "Then, it doesn't really matter does it?"