Status: complete;;

Right Now

How I'm Wishing That You Were Here

Unfortunately, to my utter disgust, the time comes to pack up and go back home. I’ve never been one for sleeping on the ground or the whole “roughing it” thing - I prefer civilised living - but this past weekend has been fantastic. Laughing until I cried, drinking, spending hours kissing Liam... it was all mind-blowing and amazing and not something I want to put an end to. I help shove the blankets and pillows into the back of the SUVs while the others take down the tents. Once everything is stowed away and the clearing is cleaned up, we all clamber into the vehicles; I immediately crawl over the second row to curl up into a seat in the back, and Liam joins me within seconds. My best friend and her boyfriend take the second row. I buckle up and shift in the seat to get comfortable. Liam takes pity on me, stretching his arm out across the headrest, and I lean into his side, yawning widely. It’s not even two in the afternoon, but I’m exhausted. So I close my eyes and doze lightly as Paul puts the car in drive, heads toward town.

The car comes to a stop outside of the house, and Brianna and Louis clamber out of the car. She gives me an inquisitive look when I don’t move; I force a smile and tell her I’m going to go to Liam’s house for a bit. It isn’t too out of the ordinary - since the night he brought tea to me after Dorothy’s death, we’ve gotten closer, hung out whenever we had the time. Most of the time, it was when he’d planned on coming to the house anyway, but a few times, I’d gone to his. But I know going with him is the only way we’ll have the privacy this conversation requires. She shrugs, makes me promise to text her if I’m not coming home, then grabs the bags from the back. Liam waits until they’ve disappeared into the house and Paul’s pulled away to duck down and kiss me. I smile against his lips, thankful for the tinted windows - and Paul’s discretion.

I roll my eyes when Liam tosses his bag through the doorway to his room; it lands with a solid thump somewhere in the dark. He smiles in response before heading into the kitchen. I perch on the edge of the couch, gaze around the room. A light clinking noise comes from the other room, and I turn to see Liam walking back into the living room with two uncapped bottles of beer. He hands me one, and I thank him quietly, take a sip. He sits at the other end of the sofa. My fingers pick idly at the label as the silence drags on.

“I really am sorry. I know you said it’s fine, but... I feel like I lead you on. That wasn’t my intention. I just, I really wanted to kiss you. I have for a while. Then, well...”

“Then you realised you weren’t ready for more.” He sets his bottle on the table and turns to face me. “Love, I get that. Okay? I understand completely. And I meant it when I said that it was okay, that I was all right with stopping. There’s literally nothing about it that you should feel sorry about. Can I be honest about something?” he adds after a pause, almost like a hesitant afterthought.

“Yeah, absolutely.”

“Having you say no isn’t what bothers me. Hell, it isn’t even a bother, really, more of a worry about how you reacted the way you did.”

I swallow thickly, my stomach twisting and turning around itself; I finally manage to whisper, “I-I really can’t talk about that. Please don’t make me.”

“Why - why the Hell would I ever try to force you to talk about something you’re not comfortable with?”

I peek at him from the corner of my eye. He looks almost wounded at the suggestion that I think so little of him. I shrug awkwardly, nervously, and peel back more of the label. He waits patiently for an answer as I ball up the sticky paper and place it on the table. Eventually, it becomes apparent that I need to respond. He may be amazing right now, but everyone’s patience has limits - I don’t want to reach the end of his.

“I dunno. Most guys would demand an answer after a girl gets them all hot and bothered then suddenly slams the brakes.”

“No. Any respectable lad would not. They would accept the no. They would respect your boundaries, and they certainly wouldn’t push.” His hand wraps around mine, our fingers lacing together, and I smile slightly at the warmth that spreads through my body from the contact. “If you want to tell me, then it’ll be your choice. It won’t be because I pressured you.”

After a long moment during which I stare at our clasped hands, I drag in a shaky breath, admit, “I... had a very, uh, unpleasant experience with a guy when sex was involved. Or so he thought. But it kinda made it to where I haven’t really had a reason to pursue, y’know, having sex... for, um, for the first time.”

When he doesn’t speak immediately, I glance up at him through my lashes; he’s staring at me, dark eyes narrowed slightly. He bites absentmindedly at his lower lip, and my fingers itch to press out the frown line between his furrowed brows. The heaviness of his gaze gets to me. I squirm uncomfortably and try to think of something to break up the silence that hangs in the air, damning in its existence. Finally, he blows out a heavy breath and nods, releasing my hand and opening his arms to me. I hesitate but scoot closer, curl against his chest. His hand comes up to stroke over my hair once my head is tucked under his chin, and I listen to his rhythmic heartbeat and steady breathing.

“You deserve better than what that jerk did, you really do.”

I close my eyes against the tears that his soft words draw from me. We lie together like this, unspeaking and comfortable, before my stomach growls. His laughter is pleasant in my ears, and I smile and pull away. We come to the decision to order takeaway and spend the rest of the evening watching mindless television. The next few hours are almost as amazing as the ones spent while camping. I stay cuddled into his side even while eating my fourth slice of pizza, not caring about his opinion of how much I’m eating. Liam doesn’t seem to mind, though, just presses his lips to my cheeks, chuckling when I scrunch up my face at the grease left behind.

“Do you, er, wanna stay?” questions Liam when the clock reads after nine.

It doesn’t take long at all for me to make up my mind. I lean up to kiss him gently and murmur a yes against his lips. While he uses the bathroom, I send a quick text to Brianna letting her know of the plans; her response comes as I’m brushing my teeth by Liam’s side. Don’t do what I wouldn’t do. Of course, Liam sees the message and takes my phone away. I watch as he types for a moment, and I’m almost afraid to see what he’s sent by the time he passes it back.

To: Briannnaaaa Then I can do basically anything short of robbing a bank?

From: Briannnaaaa Excuse you! I have morals! And my standards for a good life are much higher than “don’t rob a bank”. Bitch.
From: Briannnaaaa Love you! See you tomorrow after work?

To: Briannnaaaa Maybe call the right person a bitch and then you will.

I groan in delight when I lie down on the bed. The mattress is the perfect mix of firm and soft; it somehow supports while also allowing me to sink into it, and I feel like I’m in heaven - this is probably better than coffee. No, actually, it is better than coffee, especially after sleeping in a cold tent for two days. I burrow into the blankets, sighing blissfully when the tension melts from my body even more. Liam huffs out a laugh and flips the light switch, dousing the room in darkness, and I wait until he’s settled in bed before I push closer to him. He curls his arm around me, and it doesn’t take long before the warmth and the comforting hold and the familiar scent of Liam lulls me into sleep.

I sip at my coffee and push aside the corner of the curtain. The fans still haven’t moved from in front of the building; I only have a little under an hour to get home, change, and head to work, and the fact that the group is right outside the door is making my task increasingly more impossible. Swallowing the last mouthful of my drink, I carry my cup into the kitchen, rinse it out in the sink. The shower stops in the bathroom, and I glance over my shoulder when the door opens. My mouth instantly goes dry at the sight of Liam’s broad back, dotted with droplets of water, disappearing into the towel wrapped around his waist. I look away when he turns around to shut his bedroom door, but I have a feeling he’s seen me checking him out.

Liam emerges from his room fully dressed, and I mentally pout at the lack of view but the smile on his face is a fantastic alternative. He hands me my oversized hoodie, kissing the tip of my nose once I’ve got it on. My fingers rest against the sharp line of his jaw as I lean up to press my lips to his. It’s a gentle thing, really, but it sends my head spinning anyway. When he pulls away, he gives me a gentle smile, opens his mouth as if to say something. A knock on the door interrupts him, though, and his brows draw together. I poke lightly at the frown on his lips; the giggle tears from me without my permission, and I yank my hand back before he can actually nip at my fingertip. He ducks down to kiss me once more then turns to answer the door.

“Mornin’. Are you ready, Koty?”

I shrug, grab my phone from the kitchen counter where it’s been charging all night. “I mean, I guess.”

Paul laughs quietly and averts his gaze while Liam steps closer to me. He tugs a beanie over my hair, and this time, the kiss we share isn’t nearly as soft as the other - I can barely breathe by the time we part, and I’m overcome by the urge to dive right back in and never surface from the waves of want. But I know I have no other choice, so I make my way to the door and slip my shoes onto my feet. The screams from outside grow louder, able to be heard clearly even from three floors up. I turn to see Liam standing at the door to the balcony with the curtains wide open; he gives me a wide smile over his shoulder, and all I can do is wonder when he took his shirt off. Paul taps my shoulder, handing me a pair of comically large sunglasses, and I shove them onto my face and follow him into the hallway. No one bothers looking in my direction as I’m lead to the SUV halfway down the block.

A large paper bag sits in the backseat, and I frown, scooting it over so I can slide in. When Paul does nothing but start up the car, I examine the bag further and see my name written on the outside. I peel back the tape, look inside, and something in my chest burns warm. I check my phone and groan. I have less than thirty minutes to get to work; I make sure that Paul’s eyes are firmly on the road.

“No peeking, mister.”

“No worries, you’re not my type.”

“I’d be offended, but you’re not my type, either.”

“Let me guess - your type is a particular member of a popular boyband whose flat you just spent the night in.”

“You... might be right. Shut up.”

I’m still giggling softly as I trade my leggings for the lilac pants, and it takes some manoeuvring, but I manage to slide down into the footwell to pull my sweater and tank-top off and replace them with the scrub top that Paul brought me. Once done, I get back onto the seat and buckle up again. Paul passes my badge back to me, and I hook it onto my shirt as he comes to a stop outside of James’s house. I lean over the back of his seat, kiss his cheek, and immediately slip out of the car as he protests. I can see his smile even while he pulls away, waving cheerily at me. My grin fades when I turn back to the house in front of me.

The day passes slowly; it’s rough, still, but it doesn’t hurt as much to have to remind James that Dorothy is gone. The question doesn’t come nearly as often, which makes things slightly easier on me. I do my best to not let my mind wander as I cook and clean and keep James from spending the entire day in front of the television. I’ve just finished washing the dinner dishes up when Caleb comes in. I say a quick goodnight to James who ignores me as he normally does, and passing over the daily log, I step out onto the porch and call for a taxi. There’s a text from Liam waiting to be read, but I decide to put it off until I get home.

Thankfully, it doesn’t take long for a cab to arrive, and while there’s some normal traffic, I finally step out onto the sidewalk in front of the house I live in with Brianna and Louis. Light shines through the gauzy curtains of the office, and a shadow passes in front of the window. I smile to myself before setting off for the front door. JD’s voice is the first thing I hear when I step inside, and I toe off my shoes and put them on the shoe-rack. Louis doesn’t notice as I pass the door to the office, too engrossed with whatever he’s reading on the papers in his hands, and I make my way down the hall to the living room. Bri glances away from the television when I round the corner.

“Hey, bitch, and I’m saying bitch because you let Liam text me.”

“I had no control over that, thank you very much.” I grab a handful of popcorn from the bowl in her lap, stuffing it in my mouth. “How’s your day been?”

She shrugs and gestures vaguely at where Cox is going on a rant to Elliot. “This.”

“Ah. Lovely day. Okay, well, I’m gonna go shower. I feel gross.”

“Can’t believe you went to work after not showering since Thursday night.”

“Well, I would’ve showered Friday morning, but someone decided we had to be out of the house by, like, seven.”

“Go shower, stinky.”

I flip her off but head toward the stairs anyway. Me cleaning up has nothing to do with her and everything to do with the fact that I feel gross. It was easy to ignore while wrapped up in Liam’s arms, while he was kissing me breathless, while working, but now that I’m home, it’s not something I can keep my mind off of. Hurriedly grabbing a change of clothes, I step into the bathroom and turn the water on. I would love to take my time, but exhaustion is rapidly setting in and I’m honestly not sure how much longer I’ll have the energy to do a damn thing.

From: Liam It’s cold without your cuddles

The attachment is a snapshot of him stretched out on his couch, the image from his chest down. I grin widely, saving the photo to my phone, and send back a picture of my empty bed with the caption of I seem to be having the same problem. :(
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title credit without you avicii