Pairing: Calum x Reader
Word Count: 3,072
Warnings: Angst, Fluff, Language
A/N: Holy shit, this song gets me. Based off Linger by The Cranberries. I got a little carried away. Hope you guys like it.
From the moment your best friend, basically brother, Ashton introduced you to Calum, you knew you were in for it. You, Ashton, and Calum were close soon after that, the three of you were inseparable. When you saw Calum with his first girlfriend, you realized that he didn’t feel the same for you, you cried yourself to sleep. Ashton of course knew, how could he not? The number of girls he started dating only grew from there, even worse when the band got picked up. They were touring almost all year and you could only sit there and read about Calum’s new girlfriend, to which you could only scoff at, because, your Calum, he’s the biggest playboy you know. He won’t settle down, not even for that beautiful girl in the picture and especially not for someone like you. He’s out there enjoying life, holding hands with model after model, it’s all over the magazines. You’re never the center of his attention and you suppose that’s what hurts the most, that you came on tour to visit for your birthday, upon his and Ashton’s request, and here you are, night of your birthday, at dinner with the boys, Ashton, Luke, Michael, Calum…and Calum’s date. You watched from across the table as he smiled at something she had said. Your heart continuing to break and fall. You scoffed at the sight, knowing that could never be you. You got me wrapped around your goddamn finger, you thought, eyes widening as you realized you said that out loud.
“What are you on about?” Calum laughs finally, finally, looking away from his date. You couldn’t control the hurt that spread across your face. He was still smiling, his date smirked, the boys sat wide-eyed as they watched you. And you? You were done.
“N-nothing, Cal. I um…I actually don’t feel well. I-I think I’ll just head back to the room.” You manage to say, standing up.
“You can’t leave, it’s your birthday. You’re the guest of honor.” Michael laughs, trying to lighten the mood.
“Sorry, guys, I just don’t feel good. You all stay, have fun. Thanks for the dinner, I was having a really good time” You lie. Luke and Michael give you doubtful looks, which you respond with a pleading one, your eyes gesturing toward Calum and his date. The boys expressions soften and you knew they were pitying you, normally you wouldn’t want that, but at this point you just don’t care. You push your chair in and grab your purse. Ashton standing abruptly ignoring the curious looks from everyone.
“I’ll come with you.” He offers and you were about to object when Calum scoffs.
“What? Are you two a thing now? Shagging behind our backs? That wasn’t very smooth, Ash, you should wait at least five minutes after she leaves before faking your sickness too.” Calum fires, his tone is one you know all too well. Jealousy. You almost stop in your tracks to question him, but you notice his date holding him closer. You internally scoff. Jealousy, you think again. He has no right to feel that way, or no reason to anyway. So you just mutter out a goodnight and walk out. You and Ashton walk back to the hotel in silence, which is broken when you get to your room.
“You ready to shag, Y/n.” Ashton tries to joke.
“I’m leaving.” You reply, your voice wavering.
Ashton stays quiet and you look up at him. His eyebrows are furrowed and his expression mirrors yours, hurt. “Leaving the tour?”
“No…well, yes, technically. I mean…” You pause, letting out a frustrated groan, “Yes, I’m leaving the tour, leaving this fucking city, leaving this country, leaving Calum.”
“But you love him.” He states.
“Yeah, well love is all rainbows and butterflies, except when the other person doesn’t feel the same. I can’t take it anymore, Ash, I can’t. It hurts too much.” You cry. “I need to go. I need time.”
Ashton nods, if it’s anything he doesn’t want, it’s for you to be unhappy. He sighs and grabs your suitcase from the floor before mumbling, “I’ll help you pack.”
You offer him a small smile as he starts neatly packing your t-shirts, but it quickly falls into the same frown as you realize what’s probably going through his head. “Ash, I’m not leaving you, you know that right?”
“I ‘dunno, Y/n. I do almost everything with Cal, I just thought—”
“Ashton, I was your best mate long before he ever came along.” You reassure him, wapping your arms tightly around him. “I would never stop talking to you, Ash.”
Ashton’s mood brightens noticeably and the two of you continue packing. You’re almost finished packing when there’s a sudden knock on the door. Ashton moves to answer it and you continue what you’re doing.
“Mate…” Ashton trails off. You look towards the door and Ashton has the door cracked only a little, hiding you from whoever was there. Your breath hitches when you hear Calum’s voice.
“How could you do this, Ash? You’re my best mate, you know how I feel—”
“First of all,” Ashton starts as he cuts him off, “Nothing like that is happening. Second, you brought a date to Y/n’s birthday dinner. I don’t know about you, but if I felt the way you did, I sure wouldn’t bring someone else to Y/n’s birthday dinner.”
“Just let me talk to her.” Calum tries, but Ashton only pulls the door tighter against his body.
“Look, mate, I really don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s best for the both of you if—”
Apparently, Calum caught Ashton off guard and pushed the door open. His eyebrows furrow as he looks back and forth between you and your suitcase. “What’s going on?”
You look at Ashton for help. He sighs and walks to stand between you and Calum. “She’s going home, Cal.”
“But you just got here.” Calum says. You look at Ashton and nod your head towards the door.
He nods before muttering something about calling you an Uber.
“I thought you wanted to spend your birthday in New York City?” He questions.
“No, Calum.” You sigh, “I wanted to spend my birthday with you.”
“I know, that’s why you came all the way here, that’s why we took you to dinner.” He says, as confused as ever.
“You don’t get it,” You laugh dryly. “I wanted to spend my birthday with you, I didn’t want to spend it with you and your date.”
“She has a name.” He defends.
“I don’t care about her name, or the girl you were with before her. I’ve stopped remembering their names years ago.” You reply bitterly.
“I still don’t understand why you’re leaving!” He responds, getting back on topic.
You groan at him, “God, Calum! You can be so stupid sometimes, do you know what it feels like to fly all the way over here to the US to see you, to be with you, and then have you treat me like I’m here all the time. Like me being here isn’t a big deal. It fucking hurts, that I can be visiting you for my birthday and you’re still off with another girl. If there’s one thing fame hasn’t changed, it’s that part of you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” He asks, offended.
You shake your head at him. “It means that you have always had a different girl on your arm every fucking day. You remember when you asked me to be your date to Mali’s wedding?”
“Of course I do.” He whispers.
“Do you remember during the reception? I asked you to dance with me and for some reason you said no. I wasn’t sad, or hurt, or angry, how could I be? You asked me to be your date, something I thought would never in a million years happen. The world could’ve ended right then and I’d have been happy, because I was with you.”
“No, I’m not done. Do you remember after you a while of us just sitting there watching everyone else dance, when you asked me to get us some drinks? Of course I said yes, I’d have done just about anything you asked me to. But when I came back, you weren’t there, at first my naive mind thought you were in the bathroom or with a family member, but no, soon enough I saw you. Do you know what I’m talking about now?” You ask.
Calum shakes his head no.
“Do you want to guess?”
Calum shakes his head again.
“You were on the dance floor, with El Bradley.” You say. Realization spreads across Calum’s face.
“Y/n, it wasn’t like that.” Calum tries.
“Of course it was, it always is!” You yell, throwing your hands up. “I thought the world of you, Calum! I thought of all people, you would never hurt me! I was so happy that night, but when I saw you dancing with her, I knew I would never stand a chance. You broke my heart! I heard you and Luke talking that night too, saying you needed to make her jealous. You asked me to be your date to make her jealous. You used me.”
“No, you’ve got it wrong, Y/n. Please, just listen—”
But you continue, as if he hadn’t said anything. “I’ve stood by you, Calum, even after that, because I kept holding onto the hope that one day you would want me the way I want you. Do you know how many nights I spent crying over you? I have been in love with you forever and…holy shit…I-I think— I think you know, but you keep stringing me along. You get with these girls, making it so abundantly clear that we will never happen and still just break my heart everyday. You know I’m such a fool for you.”
You don’t know what kind of reaction you’re expecting, but the look of utter confusion is not it. HIs breathing is labored as he tries to get a word in, but you won’t let him, not now. He has had so many chances to explain himself before.
“I am too in love with you that the jealousy I used to have, doesn’t even get to me anymore, but for some reason you disregard my feelings, you make the pain I get when I see you with someone else just…linger. And what’s even worse is I just sit here and I take it.”
Calum looks broken, lost, “Y/n—”
“Not anymore,” You cut him off again, packing the last of your things and zipping the suitcase, “I don’t want to hurt anymore, Calum.”
Calum’s face pales as he realizes this is actually happening, his voice cracks as he whispers, “Don’t leave. Don’t go.”
“How can you ask that of me? After all you’ve put me through.” You ask, rhetorically. You heave the suitcase off the bed and pull the handle up.
He stands there, his mouth opening and closing, like a fish. You try wiping away the tears that haven’t stopped sliding down your cheeks and shake your head, pushing past him. You pause as your open the door.
You barely look over your shoulder and swallow the giant lump in your throat, “Goodbye, Calum.”
You should have felt better, like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders, but you don’t. You felt like you just left your whole heart in that hotel room. Ashton, of course, is waiting for you by the elevators. Hugging you tightly as you cry into his chest.
The flight home was long, you slept through most of it. When you get home, you celebrate your birthday with your family, pretending your whole world isn’t crashing down on you. It’s dark outside when you manage to slip out of the house, the way you used to when Ashton would convince you to sneak out. Climbing down from your window on the second floor is much harder without Ashton there. Using your flashlight, you make your way through the dark to the ‘secret spot’ you and Ashton used to go to when you were about eight and his parents were fighting and he needed a friend. There’s a small opening between the dunes, a palm tree randomly in the middle of the sand where you sat and leaned your back against the trunk. You bring your knees up to your chest as the tears start forming again. You turn your flashlight off and sit there listening to the waves crash against the shore. How could you let yourself fall so deep? You jump when you feel your phone buzzing, you look down at the screen seeing Ashton’s face.
“Hey, Ash.” You answer.
“Hey, you.” He responds softly. “You at our spot?”
“Yeah, why?” You ask, confused.
“Your parents noticed you weren’t home and were worried, so they called and asked if I knew where you would be.” He explains.
“Oh.” You say, closing your eyes and letting your head fall back against the tree.
“I’ll call them back and tell them you’re okay…or alive anyway.” He says.
“Will you call me after? I really need you.” You ask, letting more tears fall.
“Of course I will.” He replies before saying a quick ‘bye’ and hanging up to call your parents. He doesn’t, call back though, it’s been half an hour. Maybe something else came up with the band. You sigh as you stare out into the darkness. You don’t know how long you were sitting there before you heard the crunch of footsteps. Figuring Ashton told your parents were and they were coming to get you.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you. I just wanted to be alone for a bit.” You say, not looking away from the water. Your voice was hoarse from the crying.
They didn’t answer, instead placing a what looked to be a card on your shoulder. You managed to give a small smile as you gingerly take the card, turning your flashlight back on and opening the card. Your smile fades as you recognize the messy handwriting, and the date. You quickly turn and point the flashlight at the culprit.
“Calum? What the fuck are you doing here? You have concerts and interviews!” You begin, forgetting that you were angry with him.
“Y/n, read the card.” He mutters.
Your back straightens and you try to hand the card back to him as you remember why you’re here in the first place. “No.”
“Please read it, Y/n, or I’ll just read it to you.” He warns. You sigh, knowing it will be read either way. You breath heavily out your nose and open the card again.
“2012, (Your birthdate.)”
You pause as you look back up at him. “You do realize this is year 2017, right?”
Calum rolls his eyes, “Just read the damn card, Y/n, please.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have rewrote this, just trying to find the right words. This has to be the seventh card. Anyway, I just wanted to wish you a very happy birthday. I hope today is the best day ever, because that’s the way it feels for me everyday. Everyday, I see you, or think of you, it just makes me smile because you are the best. You make me feel like no one ever has before. I love you, Y/n. I love you way more than a friend and certainly not in the way that Ashton loves you. Since the day Ash introduced us, I knew you were the one. I didn’t even try to fight it. There’s no denying that. I can’t and don’t want to remember what my life was like before I met you, because honestly, I don’t want to think of a life without you there. I may sound overdramatic, but I’m not me without you. I wanted you to know the way I feel and hopefully, if Ashton is telling the truth, you feel the same.
Anyways, the happiest of birthdays to you, Y/n, and many more to come.
“Calum—” You whisper.
“No, it’s my turn to talk. I wrote that five years ago, Y/n, but I never gave it to you, because I was just…too scared. I didn’t want to lose you if you didn’t feel the same. Y/n I swear the last thing I want in this world is for you to be hurt and, God, it nearly tore me apart, knowing I was the one hurting you. At Mali’s wedding, Luke was questioning me dancing with El since he knew I was head over heals for you and I guess that’s when you heard I was trying to make her jealous, but the her I was talking about was you. I didn’t know how else to get you to be mine. I was young, and scared, and stupid.” He rants.
“That doesn’t explain why you still go out with different women all the time.” You counter.
“Because, I’m trying to distract myself! If I had told you and you didn’t feel the same it’d be awkward and weird between us and I’d have to move on, so I saved myself the trouble. I’m so, so sorry that I’ve hurt you, Y/n. If you hate me now I understand, but you had to know, I do want you the way you want me, this whole time.” He says, before whispering. “I love you, Y/n.”
You don’t know what to say, so you stand and look at him for a quick second before jumping towards him and wrapping your arms around him. His arms hold you tightly against his body.
“I’m sorry I’m such an idiot.’ He mumbles.
“You’ve always been an idiot.” You laugh as you pull away slightly, looking all over his face, your eyes landing on his lips. You lean in and he meets you halfway, soon, your lips are moving together so perfectly, so magically. Everything felt like it was meant to be, the sparks flying, butterflies fluttering like crazy in your stomach. You break the kiss when your lungs burn, needing oxygen. Your both panting as you rest your forehead against his. You and Calum finally together. Finally happy.