Status: active;;

Right Now

In the Mood for a Dance

I toe off my shoes by the door, shoving them in the general direction of the shoe-rack, and make my way down the hall to the living room. Bri isn’t home yet, and I’m glad for that. It’s been a very long, tiring day. Though I had a free morning, I’d barely managed to eat a quick lunch before having to rush off to take Alice to her dialysis appointment, all because I lost track of time. The appointment itself had been much the same as the last seven I’ve gone to with her: tedious and full of sympathy as she handled the muscle cramps and dizziness like a champ. We talked through the whole process, and I found myself wishing I’d met her when she was younger. But now that she’s back at home with her night-time caretaker, and I’m sprawled on the sofa, all I want right now is some food, a drink, and sleep - not particularly in that specific order.

Eventually, I push myself to my feet and wander into the kitchen. There are some leftovers from the last few nights when none of us wanted to cook and decided to order enough takeaway for entire armies. I reheat some orange chicken and eat it standing at the counter since Brianna’s not here to yell at me for not sitting like a normal person. The house is too quiet without anyone else around, so I head upstairs to my room, plug my phone into the charger, and cross the room to the dresser to get a change of clothes. I pull my hair back into a messy bun and stretch out on my bed. There’s a new text waiting by the time I pick up my phone from the nightstand.

From: Liam So close to the end of this tour. Excited to be home and see you again.

To: Liam I can’t wait to see you, too. My bed is super lonely without you.

From: Liam You home now?

I hurriedly slip under my blankets, tugging them up to my chin, and take a quick picture of my face half-obscured by the comforter, my eyes closed and lips stretched in an enormous, pleased grin. I attach the photo to a message, sending it off, and sit back up. Liam’s face appears on the screen, and I bite my lip, my grin fighting to break free anyway, as I answer the call.

“Hey, there.”

“Hi.”

The warmth in his voice causes something in me to ache with longing; I can hear the smile on his face even through the line, and I settle more comfortably against my pillows. He tells me about the tour, and I react at the appropriate times, laughing especially hard at the mental image of a soda-drenched Harry as Liam talks about the prank Louis pulled. I almost feel bad for finding so much amusement out of poor Haz trying to open a drink only for it to spray up in his face because our friend decided to shake the bottle while Harry’s back was turned, but that twinge of guilt is washed away rather quickly. I’m yawning by the time Liam asks me about my days.

“It’s okay. I, uh, I have four new clients now, so I’m getting roughly forty hours a week, which is nice. Mostly, I go from home to work then back home. I went out with Bri the other night for some dinner, since neither of us felt like cooking and nothing in the house sounded appealing. That was a shit-show.”

“Oh, no. What happened?”

I sigh and pick at a piece of lint on my sleep-pants. “What always happens? Someone recognised her and tweeted about it. Next thing we knew, we had people asking to take pictures with us and demanding to know where you all were or telling her to tell you guys how much they love you. One even said she wanted to have your babies. She was, like, almost fifty, I think. I dunno. I’m just glad that the kid who tweeted actually felt bad about it, y’know? She came up to us as we were getting up to leave, said she was sorry and she didn’t mean to cause a problem.”

“That sounds awful,” he murmurs; I press the phone closer to my ear, closing my eyes and imagining he’s here with me. “I’m sorry your night got ruined.”

“It’s okay. ‘M used to it by now. Anyway. My days are pretty boring. Certainly no antics like you deal with.”

He laughs at that. I grin, victorious, and wish I could hear that sound in person. There isn’t much to talk about now - we’ve already updated each other on current events in our life - but I don’t want to hang up, no matter how exhausted and close to dozing off I am. I lie back down and roll onto my side, shift to get comfortable. The silence between us is awkward yet still comfortable. After a long moment, Liam speaks again, this time about a memory from his childhood. My lips curve upwards as I listen.

“Love?”

“Mm?” His quiet chuckle fills my ear, and I peel my eyes open. “Ah, crap. Sorry, I’m…”

“You’re tired, it’s late, it’s okay.”

“’S’not that late,” I protest.

“It’s, what, almost one in the morning there?”

I check the time on my phone and grimace when I see he’s right. “Yeah, I guess.”

“Go to sleep, then. We’ll talk tomorrow, I promise.”

“But I wanna talk right now.”

“No, you want me to talk while you fall asleep.”

“Okay,” I sigh, screwing up my face, “maybe that’s accurate. But I don’t wanna have to hang up.”

“I know. Goodnight, Koty.”

“Fine. Be mean. Goodnight, Liam,” I whisper with a soft smile.

I vaguely register the extra vehicle in the drive as I make my way up the front walk, but it doesn’t actually hit me until I walk into the house and am bombarded by a wall of noise that the guys have come home from their tour. I hang my purse and keys up on the hook, place my shoes on the rack (something Brianna has been yelling at me for not doing), and amble down the hall. Rounding the corner, I see everyone gathered in the kitchen and grin tiredly; it isn’t even seven o’clock in the evening yet, but I’m drained. I plop down in a kitchen chair and rest my head on the nearest person.

“Oi, do I look like a pillow?” Zayn asks, and I nod against his shoulder.

“A very comfy pillow, now shhh. I’m sleeping.”

A warm hand wraps around my upper arm, and I let myself be tugged to the opposite side. I let out a happy sigh when the scent of Liam fills my nose as I snuggle closer. His lips press against my hair. The voices around us drop off momentarily, which isn’t surprising - cuddling with each other is about as physical as we’ve ever been in front of the others; I’m honestly more shocked at the fact that no one says anything about it, that they all go back to talking to each other about various other things almost immediately. There’s a small scraping sound, and I crack an eye open to see that someone’s put a bowl of soup on the table in front of me. I blow out a breath and wonder if I can get by with not eating. Moving away from where I’m leaning against Liam is probably the worst idea I’ve ever heard. Unfortunately, he nudges me until I sit up. I cross my eyes at him but acquiesce to the silent demand to eat my dinner.

I close my bedroom door and turn to face Liam. Someone in the hall lets out a catcall, but I ignore it in favour of wrapping my arms around Liam’s neck and stretching up to kiss him. His fingers press tightly into my lower back as he pulls me closer. I press another gentle kiss to his lips then pull back a bit.

“I gotta get changed. Scrubs aren’t exactly the best-looking things I’ve ever worn.”

“I think you look amazing,” he whispers before his mouth covers mine.

I let myself get distracted by the taste of him, the solid span of his body pressed against mine, the way we move as one toward the bed. He doesn’t waste time slipping a hand beneath my top, fingers dragging lightly across my skin, and I shiver at the goosebumps that race along my body. I can’t breathe properly as sensations well up inside of me. Nerves grip me tightly, don’t let go, even as my hand slides over his chest, down his side, curving around his hipbone, along his abdomen; his muscles ripple under my touch, and I swallow down the soft moan he lets out. Small trembles rack my body as his hands come to rest on my ass, pulling me even closer. I gasp into the kiss, and he takes the chance to shift, his mouth brushing feather-soft against my jaw, my throat. The heat in my belly grows, explodes with an unfamiliarity that startles me - frightens me.

“W-wait,” I croak, and instantly, Liam stills, his hands pulling away from my body. “Sorry, sorry, just…”

“It’s okay.”

My heart aches fiercely at how understanding, how sweet he is, and tears sting in the corners of my eyes. I roll off of him, curl up against him; he wraps an arm around me and pulls me into his side. I can’t comprehend why he’s even with me, and the longer I’m in his arms, the more confused I get. I drag in a shaky breath but push away the thoughts. I don’t want to make things even more awkward. So I drape an arm over his waist and close my eyes. Maybe sleeping will make things easier to figure out.

Liam kisses my forehead and slips from the room. I smile, burying my face in my pillow. The sky outside is lead, dark grey clouds weighing down on the city. I pad to the window and stare down at the street below. As if he feels my gaze on him, he turns at the end of the sidewalk, waves up at me with a smile, and I wiggle my fingers back, blow him a kiss. He climbs into the waiting cab, and I watch as it rounds the corner and disappears from view. I grab my phone off the nightstand and head toward the bathroom. I have a four-hour shift today, so getting ready for it now is the smart idea. My shower doesn’t take as long as I would have hoped, but I can’t stretch it out - there’s only so much a person can do without it ending up being a waste of water. Since Bea’s the only client I’ll be seeing today, I decide to attach my Eeyore pin to the collar of my lilac scrubs. She gave it to me a few weeks ago, saying she’d seen it in the market and immediately thought of me. I still don’t know whether it’s a compliment that she’s compared me to a morose cartoon donkey or if she implied that I need to work on my social skills.

“Oh, morning, Haz.”

Harry glances up from his phone, lips quirking upwards. “Hey. How are you?”

“Can we, uh, can we talk for a second?”

He pats the couch next to him; I double-check that we’re alone before taking a seat. My legs curl up underneath me, and I lean against the back of the sofa. He sets his phone aside, turns to face me. His green eyes narrow slightly as the seconds tick by without me speaking. Finally, I sigh and shove a hand through my damp hair.

“Okay, you know how Liam and I have been together for a few months now? Like, since about a month before you guys came off tour?”

“I didn’t know it was that long, but yeah, I know you’re dating. Why?”

“Well… ugh. Promise not to tell anyone about this? I mean, it’s embarrassing enough, and I know I could probably talk to Bri about it, but, I dunno. It just feels awkward to have this conversation with her. I mean, I love her to pieces, but yeah, it’s uncomfortable, but I really need to talk to someone, and I figured you’re the one I’m closest to besides her, so -”

“Koty,” he says, and I meet his eye for the first time since I sat down. “You’re rambling.”

I give him an awkward smile, breathing in slowly. “Okay. Well, Liam and I have been together for months, and… we haven’t had sex yet.” I grimace, wait, but he doesn’t speak. Emboldened though still nervous, I continue, “I mean, I want to - or at least, I’m pretty sure I do - but every time I try, I chicken out. And I don’t know why. And the fact that he’s so understanding about it every time I stop things from going further makes it even harder on me to make sense of why I can’t just, just do it.”

“Wow. Er, okay. Well, I can’t really do anything about your… discomfort regarding sex, but maybe Liam can? I mean, he’s the one you’re dating, the one you want to do it with, so honestly? He’s pretty much the only one who can help you through whatever fears you have.”

“I had a feeling you were going to say that,” I sigh, dropping my head back, and he chuckles, pats my knee gently.

“Maybe you should tell him about that night when you were eleven. And… what happened the night you called Bri.”

“How do you know what happened?”

Harry’s hands raise instantly, the international symbol for surrender, and he rushes to assure me, “We don’t. Only she knows. I promise. But we all know it was big, since she took off like that without hesitation. The fact that she went immediately to your side even after the fight… Whatever happened couldn’t have been a small thing.”

“Oh. Okay. Well, thanks. For, uh, talking this out with me. And for not telling anyone?”

“My lips are sealed.”

“Thanks. Ah, shit, I gotta go. Work. Woo. I’ll be back around one-thirty or so.”

Bea, thankfully, doesn’t comment on the fact that I’m so clearly caught up in my own thoughts; she only pats my hand gently and makes idle chitchat as I pick up around the house and get her tea ready. The hours somehow manage to slip by, and before I know it, she’s hugging me tightly at the door. My throat tightens, and I wrap my arms around her, force the tears back. I know my smile is wobbly when we part, but she doesn’t say anything about it. The cabbie glances back at me in the rear-view mirror as he slows to a stop at a red light.

“Y’all right, love?”

“Hmm?” I turn my gaze away from the scenery passing by, nod quickly once his question registers. “Still alive.”

He doesn’t speak again until the cab has come to a stop outside the house. A low whistle escapes him when he sees where I live, and I smile awkwardly before sliding out of the backseat. A bird chirps overhead and takes flight from its roost in the tree overhanging the sidewalk; the cab still hasn’t pulled away by the time I unlock the front door and step inside. Locking the door behind me, I peek through the window and breathe out in relief when the car finally takes off. Brianna stands on the bottom stair, brow raised in question, when I turn around. I wave off her curiosity, kick off my tennis shoes, and pass her by as I go upstairs. She follows me.

“What’cha doing?”

“Getting out of these damn scrubs, why?”

“We need a D-and-B date night again. We haven’t had one in a while.”

“We just had one not too long ago. Oh, wait, that one got ruined. Uh, sure, but how drunk are you planning on getting?”

She snorts and flops down on my bed, watching as I strip down to my bra and underwear. “I figured have a few drinks at the club I told you about, dance for a few hours, then call Louis to come pick us up. Then we’ll drop you off at your boo’s, and he and I will come back here and do what we do best.”

“I… really did not need to hear that,” I protest laughingly. “But yeah, I’m in.”

“Cool. Cool, cool, cool. Okay, so wear something sexy, because we need to look damn good and make our guys regret staying home.”

“You’re fucking weird, go away.”

But as I rifle through the clothes in my closet, I find myself getting more and more excited about our newfound plans for the night. When nothing stands out as appropriate clubbing attire, I let out a sigh and decide to worry about it after my shower. I take the time to actually use the sugar scrub that Brianna bought me instead of just saving it for a special occasion; honestly, though - if going out, looking good, and getting drunk with your best friend isn’t a special occasion after both of you working thirty-five-hour weeks, what is? The water is starting to go cold by the time I step out, and I wrap a towel around my body and another one around my hair. Goosebumps race up my flesh when I step out of the hot, humid bathroom into the hall. Mariana’s Trench blares from Brianna’s bedroom, and I roll my eyes in as loving a manner as I possibly can before going to my room.

With my freshly-shaved legs smooth with lotion, I grab a pair of panties from the dresser drawer and slide them on, managing to get my bra hooked on the first try. I’ve just opened my closet door when Brianna bursts into my bedroom. I ignore her, push a hanger to the side so I can examine the next dress. She clears her throat obnoxiously, and I sigh but turn. In her hands is a garment bag, and she’s grinning widely.

“Okay, so. I maybe got a bit excited when I went shopping for a new outfit - you know I stress-shop, don’t judge me. But I saw this and, like, instantly thought of you. And before you automatically say no because of what it looks like, please try it on first. Okay?”

As much as I want to tell her no, I can’t form the word, not with how excited she looks. So I merely exhale as evenly as I can and hold out a hand for the bag. It’s heavier than I expect it to be, and I hang it from the top of my closet door. Brianna squeaks as I unzip the bag to reveal a black spaghetti-strapped dress; I slide my fingers lightly along the lace overlay, smiling despite the length of the dress - or lack thereof. Sighing, I take the dress off the hanger with ginger movements. Surprise flickers in me once the dress settles, and I don’t even mind how short it is. I bite my lip and turn to my best friend. She darts forward to hug me then runs out of my bedroom.

I look in the bag again and huff out a laugh when I see she’s even bought me a pair of ankle shoes to go with the dress. Hooking my fingers in the crook of the heels, I carry them with me to the bathroom so I can do my hair. I braid it loosely then twist the plait around itself until it forms a bun; I pin it in place and examine it closely. It looks fine enough, so I get started on my makeup. I finish with a swipe of a deep plum-red lipstick and turn off the bathroom light, head down the stairs. Brianna waits by the front door, and I sit on the bottom step to put my shoes on. When I stand again, she gives me a scrutinising once-over, and I do the same for her.

The vivid red of her dress brings out the rosiness of her cheeks, her hazel eyes even more striking than usual surrounded by thick, dark lashes, and her strappy heels give her an extra four inches in height. She hasn’t done much with her hair besides curling it, but it works for her - the gentle spirals rest gently against her shoulders and contrast wonderfully against the vixen-esque look of her outfit and makeup. Her lips have been painted a red so dark, I almost wonder if it’s blood. She smiles at me, waves me over.

“Lou! C’mere!”

“What?” he calls back from the living room, and the distraction in his voice is beyond evident.

She sighs, eyes rolling. “We’re heading out.”

“Okay.”

“Can you come say goodbye, please?”

“Fine.” He rounds the corner and stumbles to a stop, and his eyes widen as he gapes at us. “Fuck, you two look amazing.”

Brianna preens under the compliment. “Thanks, babe. Can you take a picture of us?”

He snaps a quick photo on his phone, then repeats the process with Bri’s then mine. I nearly protest when Brianna tweets the photo but then I realise I don’t care. At all. Even when she tags my Twitter name in it. Brianna turns away to call for a cab, and I slide my phone into my clutch and turn to Louis.

“You’re still okay with picking us up, right?”

“Yeah. Just give me a ring, and I’ll be on my way.”

“Okay. Well, there’s a bag just inside my bedroom door, can you bring it with you when you come get us?”

“You should probably put it in the car now if you don’t want him to forget it,” Bri suggests helpfully, and I stifle a giggle at the betrayed expression on Louis’s face.

Thankfully, I don’t have to try to walk up the stairs in my heels; Louis does it for me, coming back a moment later with the bag in hand. I look away as they share a rather explicit kiss. Her lipstick is still flawless when they part, and I’m somewhat jealous of it. A horn honks outside. Louis follows us through the door, puts the bag in the backseat of his car, and disappears back inside as I slide into the cab behind Brianna. The driver turns to look at us, her lips quirking upwards.

“Girls’ night out, I see.”

“Yep. D-and-B date night is officially started!”

“Where to?”

Bri gives the name of the club, and I sit back to enjoy the ride. There isn’t any place to pull in out front, so Brianna and I hurry to exit the cab when it comes to a stop in the middle of the street. The cabbie waves as she pulls away. Bri leads me toward the line already forming outside of the building, and I shiver as a breeze kicks up, pressing close to Brianna even though she’s trembling just as much as I am. Conversations mingle with the thumping of the bass to whichever song is playing inside. I glance up at the sky when I hear the rolling of thunder. Fantastic.
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title credit dancing queen abba