“Mommy do I really have to go? Can’t I just stay home with you” Liam pouted as his mother straightened out the collar of his shirt and smoother his hair.

“Yes sweetie, I’ll be back before you know it to pick you up” she soothed before handing him is toy story back pack. Liam started to whine, tears brimming in his eyes. “Come on Lili don’t cry, you’re gonna make lots of new friends and have fun, I promise!”

“What if the other kids are mean” he whispered nibbling on his thumb like he always did when he was nervous or scared.

“They won’t be, they’ll be excited that they’ve got someone new to play with” his mother said as she gently took his hand and lead him through the brightly coloured door of the kindergarten classroom. Liam could hear the noise from outside; laughing, crying, screeching, bangs. He was terrified.

“You must be Liam!”

A strange woman bent down to look at him with a smile much too big for his liking. He nodded timidly, clutching tightly to his mother’s hand.

“Well we’re very happy to have you here Liam, shall we go and find something to play with?” The woman spoke again still smiling in a manner that reminded Liam of a clown- he didn’t like clowns. He quickly scanned the room, to see if there was anything like he played with at home, and spotted a woody doll over by a bookshelf.

“Can I go play with Woody?” He asked shyly “Please?”

“Of course, don’t forget to say bye bye to Mommy first” the woman nodded.

Liam looked up at his mother, eyes filling a little with tears again, before she let go of her hand and kissed him on the cheek.

“I’ll be back sooner than you think Li, I promise” she reassured again and then she was gone and Liam was left alone in this strange place that looked all a bit too big and bright than what he was used to. His thumb soon found his mouth once more.

“Are you going to go and play then?” The strange woman beamed down at him placing a ‘comforting’ hand on his shoulder. He nodded quickly and practically ran over to where he’d seen the doll. He didn’t like that woman and he didn’t like this room. He wanted to go home. But his mom was gone. He was stuck here.

Liam sat down beside the bookshelf and buried his head in the Woody doll, hugging him close to his chest, and watched the rest of the children who seemed completely at home here.

He saw a boy with dark hair running away shrieking and running away from the water tray where a boy with a stripy jumper was splashing him. Another boy with curly hair was stood close by laughing at the boy in the stripy jumper as he clung a bear close to him. He spotted a girl with big hair dancing around the room, laughing gleefully with a tiara perched on her head and a girl with long brown hair chasing behind her.

He cocked his head with interest when he saw a blonde boy running round the room. He was laughing to himself and had paint all down his t-shirt. He seemed to like playing with everyone- even the girls- which was surprising to Liam.

The blonde boy stopped when he saw Liam looking at him before prancing over to where he was sat. He stopped right in front of Liam.

“Hi!” He said brightly “I’m Niall.”

“Liam”

“I’ve never seen you before.”

“I’ve never been here before” Liam clarified for him.

“Oh” Niall said “do you want to be friends?”

Liam eyed him warily before deciding that he didn’t look mean, if anything he was a bit on the small side so probably wouldn’t hit him or steal his toys. “Okay.”

“Great” he grinned settling himself down beside him “do you like Toy Story?” he asked pointing to the doll that Liam was still cradling.

“Yeah, it’s my favourite” Liam answered with a small smile, finding he quite liked this Niall.

“Buzz is cool- I like his wings” the blonde boy added thoughtfully.

“I like Woody best, my mommy calls me that sometimes when I’ve been playing it all day.” At the thought of his mother he buried his head back into the doll.

“Are you okay?” Niall asked sounding worried, noticing his new friend’s actions.

“I don’t think I like it here, I like it when I’m at home- this is all different” he shared, bottom lip trembling a little.

“I like it here” Niall said “it’s fun and I can play with my friends. At home I have to play on my own and that’s no fun.”

“I suppose” Liam mumbled.

“Maybe if we play a game you would like it here because sitting by yourself is a bit boring”

“Can I bring woody?” he asked hopefully.

“Sure! We have all the other ones in the toy box so he probably wants to get back to Jessie and Buzz and everyone, we could go play with them?”

Liam nodded enthusiastically and jumped up from where he was sat. Niall led him across the room and Liam asked him about all the children he’d been looking at before.

“That’s Zayn; he doesn’t like his hair getting wet so Louis likes to tease him about it and splash him on purpose.”

“That’s mean”

“Not really it’s only a joke, I like Louis he’s funny. He’s best friends with Harry; he’s really quiet and only talks to Louis.” As Niall said that he saw the Harry kid whispering something to Louis as they sat with some other boys playing with trucks. “The girl with the big hair” the blonde boy continued, illustrating the word ‘big’ by stretching his arms up and out “is Danielle, she likes to dance everywhere because her mom sends her to ballet.” He stuck out his tongue as if the thought disgusted him- Liam giggled. “She’s friends with Eleanor who’s nice but gets into trouble a lot.”

“Why does she get into trouble?” Liam asked eyeing the seemingly innocent little girl.

“She likes to play with Louis but not with Harry and Harry doesn’t like it when Louis leaves him out. Eleanor and Harry don’t like each other at all so they fight a lot.” Niall explained.

“I don’t think I like Eleanor very much either” Liam said deciding he much preferred the sound of the quiet boy Harry than her.

“No I don’t like her; she steals my cookies at lunch when my mom packs them specially” Niall frowned.

“Really?” Liam started panic slightly.

“Yeah, but don’t worry she’s not mean to everyone just me and Harry really.”

“That’s not fair”

Niall simply shrugged. “I wouldn’t want to be friends with her anyway, shall we play?”

*~*~*

Liam didn’t even notice when his mother came back for him that afternoon. He was too busy playing with his new friends. Niall had stuck by his side all day and even introduced him to the other boys he’d been talking about earlier. They were all nice- even Louis who could be a bit moody at times.

When he eventually did spot her he came hurtling across the classroom towards her at full speed, Niall following behind as he’d been doing all day.

“Have fun Lili?” She laughed as her son began hugging her knees.

“Yeah!” He beamed up at her “I made loads of new friends, it was so much fun! Can we come back tomorrow? Can we? This is Niall, he’s really nice. A girl stole his cookie but I got it back for him. I drew you a picture. Did you know that they have all the toys from Toy Story?! We only have Woody and Buzz!”

“Woah woah slow down!” His mother laughed “Say bye to your friend we have to go but yes we are coming back tomorrow.”

Liam grinned up at her before rushing over to Niall who was stood away from them. “See you tomorrow?” he asked, suddenly a little shy.

“Definitely” Niall grinned and nodded wildly.

Liam hugged him quickly before skipping out of the classroom, eager to come back the next day.