Status: active;;

Right Now

Yes, I'm Gonna Take My Time

The cacophony of bird calls drags me reluctantly to consciousness, and I sigh in frustration, burying my face into the sleep-warm pillow beneath my head. Shifting to get back to comfortable, I instantly freeze as a low, almost inaudible moan sounds from behind me. The noise cuts off a second later, and I get no warning before Liam is peeling his body away from mine. It’s cold now, without him against my back, and I raise my head to watch him rush from the tent; his cheeks are flushed a brilliant red. His footsteps sound so loud in the stillness of the morning, even the birds falling silent momentarily. I push myself to sit upright and shiver in the cool morning air.

Clutching the blanket around my shoulders, I push the flap aside and step out into the clearing. The sky is cloudless, pinks and oranges swirling along the horizon as the navy recedes. The molten golden-bronze of the sun peeks through the trees, and I smile into the gorgeous sunrise. Crisp air tickles my throat when I breathe in deeply. I make my way to the log I sat on last night, stare at the circle of burnt-out ashes. Sunlight reflects off the empty whisky bottle, causing the last mouthful of liquor to gleam a honey-brown. I nudge the bottle with my toe and wince when it clinks against a rock.

Liam joins me a few minutes later; the tips of his ears are red, though I’m not sure if it’s from the cold or the embarrassment. The way he avoids eye contact with me makes me thinks it’s more the latter than anything. Then again, I’m doing the same thing. I listen as he stirs up the ashes; he finally sits after putting a log on, and the small flames crackle in their endeavour to devour the freshly-lain log, to grow and eat away and purely exist. Wings flutter above our heads; I jerk my head up as a bird leaves one perch for another. Once it’s silent again, I clear my throat as quietly as I can.

“I’m... sorry. About last night.”

Liam’s dark eyes meet mine for the first time since we woke up, and it takes all of my willpower to drag my gaze away from his steady stare. “Nothing to be sorry for, Koty, I already told you.”

“But-”

“Look, you don’t have to apologise. Really, you don’t. I understand. But if you really feel you have to, then let’s just wait until we get back to civilisation so we can talk in private.” His smile radiates comfort, warmth, even as his cheeks redden. “Okay?”

I nod without speaking, and his hand hovers in the air for a moment before it lands on my shoulder, gentle and undemanding and so strong. Unthinkingly, I lean into the contact, and he huffs out a laugh, tugs at the edge of the blanket, and we stand so he can wrap it around the both of us. It is so much warmer now; I shiver for a completely different reason - no longer chilled from the morning, but the fire that’s blooming to life in the fire pit is nothing in comparison to the heat that stakes out a homestead in my belly. I let my head drop onto his shoulder, and his arm comes up to wrap around my back.

How long we sit there, unspeaking, enjoying each other’s company, I can’t say. I roll my eyes at the sound of a camera shutter, turning my head to look at Bri in the doorway of her tent. She grins back unabashedly then steps out to join us. Somehow, she’s perfectly okay wearing sweats and a long-sleeve shirt; I can barely look at her without feeling sympathy chills. Brianna sets out to get breakfast started. The smell of bacon and eggs cooking over the fire seems to be the wake-up call everyone has been waiting for - Zayn stumbles from his tent first, followed by Harry, then Niall and Olly. Louis is the last one to clamber through the flap of the tent. He sits on a stump across the fire from Liam and me, and his lips twist up into a mischievous smirk. He waggles his brows.

“And how’d you lot sleep?”

“That’s inappropriate,” responds Liam lightly, and I can almost see his eye-roll in my mind.

The morning is spent with breakfast, snacks, singing, and silence. It’s peaceful, relaxing. For once, I don’t feel like the quiet stretches are awkward and desperate to be filled. I’m able to sit back, enjoy the time without worrying about conversation. I know it’s only a matter of time, though, that someone is going to get bored. I’m proven right by the way Louis gases around, his knee bouncing, before a wide smile splits his face. The rest of us go along willingly enough as he orders us to change clothes. Brianna follows me into the tent I shared with Liam, and I’ve just pulled my T-shirt off when her hand darts out. I yelp at the stinging against my rib cage.

“You flicked me!”

“Yep.”

“You flicked me! Why’d you flick me?”

“It sounded like fun.” She catches the wadded-up sock I throw at her face. “Hey. No throwing things, bitch.”

“Then don’t freaking flick me!”

My best friend steps closer, her voice quieting as she asks if anything happened last night. I bite my lip and shake my head; I know I can trust her, but there’s nothing really to tell. Nothing happened. Sure, Liam and I kissed, and then I freaked out, but no. Nothing happened. Her eye narrow, and she stares at me. I pretend not to notice as I yank my leggings on before slipping my arms into the sleeves of my hoodie. Brianna finishes dressing quickly, flicks the end of my nose, and rushes out of the tent. The clearing echoes with the laughter as she trips over the edge of the zip-track. I manage to stifle my giggles long enough to make sure she’s okay.

Olly and Bri lead the group, and I slowly fall further behind. With the way Harry, Niall, and Louis are running around like manic chickens - swerving in and out of the trees along the trail, running back and forth between the front of our cluster to the back - I don’t trust that they won’t hurt themselves, or me if I get too close. Thankfully, they eventually take their energy with them and forge ahead. My breath catches in my throat when a hand brushes softly against mine; I keep my gaze ahead, though, even as I let Liam lace our fingers together anyway. A pleasant buzzing burns hotly in my chest at the contact. I raise my free hand to push a lock of hair out of my face, subtly shift closer. Brianna glances back at the remainder of our group; I see when she notices, the stretch of her lips as she grins widely, but she doesn’t say anything about it. Instead, she turns to face the front. A loud creaking noise carries on the gentle breeze, and I look around for the source. Somehow, I’m not surprised to see Niall and Harry halfway up a tree while Louis tries to find a foothold on the trunk of a nearby tree. Bri comes to a stop, plants her fists on her hips.

“If you two idiots fall and break your necks, guess who’s gonna be blamed! Not me, I’ll tell you that right now. So get down and act like mature adults.”

“Hey, Bri?” I call out, and she twists to look at me. “Go climb the fucking trees.”

Her face scrunches up, but then she sticks her tongue out at me. I press my face against Liam’s arm and laugh as she takes off toward the guys doing their best impressions of Tarzan. I absolutely lose it when Bri’s voice cracks as she tries to do the cry from George of the Jungle, and she flips me off before trying again.

Tonight goes much the same as last: We pass a bottle of alcohol around, sing whenever the mood strikes us even if someone is talking already, shove at each other whenever a snarky comment is made. I fall backwards off the log when Louis’s impersonation of Brianna dancing makes me giggle particularly hard. Liam is nice enough to hide his humour enough to help me back up, and I’m struck with the sudden urge to kiss him senseless, right here, right now. I blame it on the liquor and quell the desire - not really a good time. I do, however, squeeze his hand before releasing it; the last thing I want to deal with at the moment is the questions that I know everyone will have if they see us holding hands.

Liam lets go of the zipper once the flap is closed, sealed against the outdoors, and he’s barely turned toward me before my arms are snaking around his neck. His breath comes out in a soft oomph, but he kisses me back with just as much fervour. I notice, somewhere in the back of my mind, that his hands stay firmly in place on my ribcage. I pull away when my lungs start burning from lack of sufficient air, rubbing the tip of my nose against his, and kiss away the lazy, dopey smile he’s giving me. I almost worry that this, whatever it is, is fuelled only by being drunk, but something reminds me that I’ve found Liam attractive since the beginning, the only thing the whisky has done is helped me let go of the inhibitions that were holding me back. I shrug it off and lose myself in the taste of liquor, the silken slide of his tongue against mine, the heat that grows between us.

“Oh, what the fuck,” I growl with a vicious backwards yank of my head. “Are they kidding me right now?”

Liam laughs softly, his breath hot and wet against my throat, and I shiver at the light press of lips to the skin. “I don’t think they are, love.”

I pull away from Liam, flop down onto the blankets with a quiet groan. Liam’s brows furrow, but he doesn’t say anything; he crawls toward me, his body coming to cover mine, and my head tilts back as he peppers my jawline and neck. Slowly, my attention drifts from the noises coming from Bri and Louis’s tent and back to the way my body is reacting to the soft caresses and tender kisses. I arch into his touch, my hands cupping his face and bringing his mouth to mine, and his moan is so quiet that I almost don’t hear it. It isn’t long before I forget about the fact we stopped at all - or why - and my skin feels tight, hot, but in the best of ways. My stomach swoops, jerks, and my hands find their way to spread across Liam’s broad shoulders, pull him even closer.

I’m abruptly pulled out of the floating sensation, the unadulterated weightlessness that I’ve been enjoying, when his fingers slip into the waistband of my sleep-pants. I don’t want to stop kissing him - god, it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced - but I do anyway, grabbing his wrist; he drops his forehead to mine and sighs when I pull his hand away. Something in my chest tightens painfully, and I fear the worst. But then his mouth curves into a sheepish smile, and he kisses the end of my nose.

“Sorry, sorry. I, uh... my mind stopped working for a moment. It won’t happen again, I promise.”

I bite my lip, deliberate, but then I slowly nod. He ducks his head to capture my lips with his, and I force away the thoughts that want to intrude, focus on the way the kiss has everything in me all topsy-turvy and overwhelmed in such pleasant ways. He doesn’t break the kiss even as he shifts until he’s on his side. And thankfully, he stays true to his word; his lips taste and feel like heaven, but the way his hand doesn’t leave my side makes it all that much better. It makes it easier to ignore the hard press against my hip. My head spins wildly with the need to breathe, but I can’t find it in me to care.

Unfortunately, Liam does. He pulls away slowly, coming back for a few more quick kisses; I giggle after the third one. He grabs the blanket while I pull our pillows closer together. He waits until I’m comfortable to spread out the comforter then lies down next to me, holds his arms out. I cuddle into his side and rest my head on his chest. His heartbeat is a steady rhythm beneath my ear, and I find myself quickly falling into a doze. My last coherent thought that I’ll remember having is Maybe more won’t be so bad...
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title credit maybe it's a good thing kt tunstall