Status: active;;

Right Now

And We’ll Run to a Brand New Sun

I shiver in the cool air as I pad down the hall to the bathroom; my footsteps seem much louder than they actually are in the silence of the house. No one else is awake, which isn’t surprising considering it’s nearly four in the morning and we all went to bed only a few hours ago. I use the bathroom, wash my hands, then stare at my reflection in the mirror. There’s a light in my eyes that I haven’t seen before, and even when I’m not smiling, a grin hides just below the surface. I roll my eyes at myself, flipping off the light as I leave the bathroom. My heart starts racing the further I get down the hall, and an undercurrent of nervousness - and fear - buzzes along under my skin. I slip into the bedroom and ease the door shut behind me, tiptoe across the room to the bed. Liam stirs as I slide between the sheets. His hand reaches out for me, and I melt into the touch.

“You okay?” he murmurs sleepily.

“Yeah, I’m okay. Go back to sleep, sweets.”

“Mmm. Only if you do.”

“Workin’ on it.” I lean forward, press a kiss to the corner of his mouth. “Sweet dreams.”

He lets out a noncommittal noise and drapes his arm over my waist. With a slow exhale, I force myself to relax even while worrying about what would happen if Bri or Louis found us in bed together - it isn’t like either of them would be overly upset, I don’t think, but this thing between Liam and me is new, tentative, and - most unfortunately - undefined. I can’t put a name to it yet, so the idea of fielding questions about it is daunting at best. I turn my head to stare at Liam through the dim light coming through the window from the street lamps. He’s already asleep again. I lift a hand to brush his hair from his forehead, smile at how peaceful he appears in his rest. Eventually, I wiggle a little closer to him and close my eyes.

Thankfully, I make it back to my own bedroom before my alarm goes off at seven-thirty. The fact that I wake up early every morning to shower and get dressed for work means nobody bothers to question why I’m out of bed and ready before they even stumble out of their rooms. Cup of coffee in hand, I stand in the doorway of the guest room and watch Liam sleep on. He’d made a snuffling sound when I’d gotten out of bed, but he hadn’t woken up, so I’m counting it as a win. I jump slightly when a loud, annoying screech sounds from where our friends sleep; shit, I think before hurrying down the stairs. I forgot that Bri took an opening shift today. I rush to rinse out my mug and shove my feet into my shoes. I’m out the door before Brianna even reaches the stairs.

My phone rings, and I stop halfway up the walk to Bea’s front door. I see her through the living room window, knitting and mouthing along to whatever song she’s listening to. I’m twenty minutes early, so I figure it’s a good time to answer the call. That choice is confirmed as a good one when I see it’s the agency. My boss’s voice is sympathetic from the start, and it immediately sends off warning bells in my mind. It was expected, really, but it still hurts to hear that James is being placed in an assisted care facility, where medically-trained staff can attend to his needs while also being able to work with his dementia. I thank Thomas quietly and hang up, sending a text to the group chat telling the guys and Bri to have good days or I’d beat them up next time I see them, then I type out another message.

To: Liam Today already sucks. I wanna be back there with you.

I don’t get a response, but I didn’t really expect one, not this early in the morning. I lock my phone and continue up the walk, knocking lightly on the front door. Bea’s face lights up when I walk in, and I let out a quiet laugh and sit in the rocking chair to her left, picking up the scarf I’m attempting to knit. We work in silence for a long while, the quiet punctuated by growls of frustration when I drop a stitch or have too much fluctuation in the tension. Eventually, her hand comes to rest against my arm.

“Is everything all right, love?”

I sigh, setting the scarf down. “Yeah, things are okay. Just got some disappointing news this morning, but c’est la vie, right?”

“Hmm. Well, I hope you aren’t about to take that upset out on that poor yarn. It’s done nothing to deserve the punishment.”

She’s grinning, though, her dark eyes twinkling; I draw in a deep breath and let go of the negative emotions, forcing them to fade away to the background. After twenty more minutes, I put the knitting away and stand, stretch out my back. Bea lets me help her to her feet, and we head to the kitchen for our morning tea and treats. It isn’t until I have a mouthful of cookie that she sets her teacup in its saucer and pins me with a mischievous look.

“Now, tell me about this boy of yours.”

<ooxoo>


I rewatch the video for the third time, laughing again at Liam’s unimpressed look when the camera is shoved in his face. Over the last couple of days, the guys have taken to sending me short video clips of each other in the studio; Bri told me it was their way of competing - “Who can send the funniest shit to Brianna and Koty? Let’s find out!” She’s long since gotten accustomed to them and has learned to somehow convey no emotion whatsoever in her texts back, even when she’s laughing her ass off. It’s only made the competition even worse. I can only wonder how they have yet to figure out she’s messing with them.

I won’t admit it to anyone, even under duress, but the ones I watch more times than I can count are the ones that have Liam in them. It feels awkward to make that confession to myself, let alone anyone else; I know he probably wouldn’t mind if he found out, but it is still a secret I’m going to keep locked away. I pull up the message thread with him, typing out a text then deleting it before I can send it. I think of what I want to say, groaning when I can’t come up with a way of saying I miss the Hell out of you without coming across as clingy.

“What’s going on with you two?”

I shriek, tossing my phone into the air; I hadn’t expected to hear Brianna’s voice, especially not right to my ear. “What the Hell, woman!”

“Sorry, thought you heard me come in. But seriously. What’s going on?”

“I...” I realise I can’t lie to her, so I shrug and avoid eye contact. “I have no idea. We haven’t talked about it.”

“Even though you two have slept together - no, not like that, don’t give me that look - for the past week?”

“You know about that?”

“Yeah, figured it out when I went to your room the other night to see if you wanted to watch tv because I couldn’t sleep, and you weren’t there. Didn’t take a rocket scientist to realise where you were. It was inevitable, I guess.”

“Inevitable?”

She rolls her eyes at me, but her hand is gentle as it brushes over my hair. “When we went camping, you two were pretty inseparable. And you held his hand. For you, that’s like declaring your intent to wed.”

“I don’t think that’s accurate,” I mutter, scowling, and she laughs softly.

“You should talk to him, babe. Don’t end up like Louis and I were for so long.”

“I’ll talk to him soon, I promise.”

“Good.” With a sigh, she shoves herself to her feet and stares down at me. “I gotta get to work. You gonna be okay?”

“Yeah, sure. I’ll just be here, trying to figure out what to do.”

“You could talk to your boyfriend!” she calls over her shoulder as she makes her way to the front door.

“Not my boyfriend,” I mumble as I hear the key scraping in the lock, and why does that thought fill me with disappointment?

To: Liam Got time? I think we need to talk.

From: Liam I have a few minutes. Need me to ring?

To: Liam Nah. I think text is fine.
To: Liam So what exactly are we?

From: Liam What do you mean?

To: Liam Are we dating? Friends who like making out and sharing a bed?

Five, ten, then fifteen minutes go by without a response. I know he’s read the message - he has Read Receipts turned on. My heart plummets through the floor, and anger explodes like a firework inside of me as I realise I’ve just messed everything up. I’m not even mad at him; I’m so unbelievably irate at myself for asking it instead of being happy with what we have. Oh, Hell, this is exactly like Lou and Bri... I sigh, flopping sideways to lie on the couch, and stare blankly at the television.

The incessant noise sounds again, and I groan but open my eyes. Blinking to clear the sleep from my eyes, I push myself to sit up and stare at my phone as it finishes ringing. I scrub a hand over my face. My nap hadn’t been as restful as I would have hoped, and I still feel just as mixed-up and angry as I did before I fell asleep. I know I can’t put off checking my notifications- Bri has relaxed a bit when it comes to me responding to her texts, but she still worries if I don’t answer within a few hours.

From: Briannnaaaa Hope your convo with Lima goes well. Work suckssssss so I need details please???????????

I smile, send back We shall see. I slept instead of talking to him. Oops!, and open my call log. I have six missed calls from him. I bite my lip and press on his name. He answers on the second ring.

“Hey, love. I’m so sorry, had to go in the booth to fix up some vocals.”

“No worries.” My heart lodges itself in my throat, and I have to cough quietly a couple of times before I can speak again. “So...”

His sigh crackles down the line; I close my eyes against the noise, trepidation climbing the longer he doesn’t speak. Finally, he does. “It... It’s up to you, really. I mean, personally, I’m leaning more towards wanting a relationship with you, but ultimately, it’s your choice, Koty.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Really. And before you start wondering, I’m still a hundred percent willing to go as fast or slow as you need.”

“Well, I don’t exactly do what I’ve done, no matter how little, with just any random guy,” I say awkwardly, and he laughs softly.

“Well, I’m happy to hear that. So... I think this calls for you and me, the Friday night after we come home, dinner?”

“Sounds like a great plan.”

“Good.” Someone speaks in the background, and Liam’s voice grows faint as he replies. “Okay. I really don’t want to do this, but I have to go. I’ll call you later, all right?”

“Okay, have fun!”

His laughter is the last thing I hear before we hang up, and I smile to myself as I stare at my phone. Just seeing his name sends something fluttering in my chest, and I really, really like it.

To: Briannnaaaa Yeah, we’re not you and Lou d:

From: Briannnaaaa You can’t hear it but I’m totally screaming for you. Mostly because it’s internal. Because I’d lose my job if I actually suddenly started screaming in the store. Calibrate tonight??
From: Briannnaaaa Fucking phone. Celibate
From: Briannnaaaa FUCK
From: Briannnaaaa C E L E B R A T E

To: Briannnaaaa Sounds like you’ve got sex on the brain so idk if celebrating with you is a good idea

From: Briannnaaaa Fuck you too
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title credit brand new sun jason lytle