I love and respect One Direction. The fish bowl, the intensity and the emotions are all so intertwined. The band was a blessing and a curse. Thinking about how it’s impacted each guy is so overwhelming after seeing and hearing them on their own for the past couple of years.
Liam: I lost my head for a bit. You only want me for one thing, but that’s not me. 1D will never die, so stop worrying, and let us live.
Zayn: This is a mind fuck. Anxiety stems from a lack of control. You don’t know me. Mind of mine.
Niall: I will share on my terms. I will work on my time table. I will put out what meets my standards. Ask me about my fucking music.
Harry: This is my job, and I love my job. I will let you project anything you want onto me, but my real life is mine and completely separate, and I won’t apologize for it.
Louis: I’m a real fucking person. You know I need you, and I am thanking you for changing my life, but get a fucking grip, show me some respect and practice some humanity.
It’s almost slightly alarming how quiet it is. He wasn’t always the loudest person in the room, but if it fell this silent it usually meant he was either asleep, eating or upset and too tired to hide it completely. He wasn’t in the lounge of the holiday place you were staying in, but as you rounded the corner you found him on the decking that jutted out directly over the sea. You paused in the door way watching him, laying on his tummy and propped up on his elbows.
He was tanned from being out in the sun for the past few days and it always brought his freckles out even more. You loved it; watching more and more pop up, the longer you were on holiday. It had become somewhat of a private preoccupation of yours when on holiday to look at them as he lay naked in bed- first thing in the morning and last thing at night. No amount of time would have given you the ability to count them all, as he always pointed out to you when he realised what you were doing. “That doesn’t stop people from looking at the stars though, does it?” You would always tell him.
He’d caught the sun across his shoulders a little, the skin rosying up where he’d burnt slightly. He never bothered reapplying sun lotion after getting out of the water and it was a miracle he didn’t permanently look like a tomato. His torso looked so long, stretched out and lounging across the wood at the end of the deck. He’d changed so much from the teenager he used to be; much broader now, with defined arms and shoulders. But in this moment of watching him you couldn’t help but think how child-like he looked. Like a kid just lying around on holiday, entranced by the water.
It wasn’t the childish side of him that other people saw- the loud, cocky, show off that fed off everyone’s attention, constantly cracking jokes. Some times, but not often, you got to see the true child-like side to him that was introspective and quiet. Thoughtful. He hated showing his vulnerability to people, which easily led to him playing it off with a cocky and sometimes brash exterior. You’d become adept at interpreting his moods by now and appreciated how lucky you were to get to see this side of him. Away from everyone else. Away from everything they thought he was. Now he was just yours. Your boy.
You walk over to him, smiling as you realise if your roles were reversed he’d probably run up behind you and pretend like he was about to throw you in. You lay down next to him on your back, appreciating the warmth that the sun-soaked wood immediately radiated across your skin and into your muscles. You squinted up at him, smiling and he adjusted his position so his shadow fell across your face and he was sheltering you from the glare of the sun.
His hair was slightly curling and roughly textured from the salty sea water he’d been swimming in earlier. You desperately wanted to run your fingers through it, breaking up the slightly crisp texture of it and returning it to it’s usual softness, but you resisted. His blue eyes occasionally caught the light being bounced off the water in front of him, making the fine gold flecks that decorated them stand out more. His nose had caught the sun too, seemingly developing more freckles by the minute. You watched for a while as his eyes darted back and forth as he threw pieces of bread out, a smile constantly flitting across his mouth.
“Feeding fish?” You ask, smiling up at him. He nods, smirking, before glancing down at you. He carries on, tearing small pieces off a bread roll. You recognised it as being the same as bread rolls you’d been eating at breakfast that morning. He must have saved some back specifically for this purpose. You smiled to yourself at the thought, briefly wondering if you were intruding on a private moment.
“Want some?” He asks, holding half of what he had left out towards you. You shake your head. “You do it.” You smile.
As he returns his gaze and attention back to the water, you relax further against the warm wood, stretching out your legs and feeling like a cat that had found a patch of sunlight. The warmth was making you sleepy. You lift the hand nearest him up to his side, lightly stroking the backs of your fingers along the skin there, appreciating its softness.
“What are you thinking about?”
You can read from his facial expression that he’s fighting off the urge to respond with a dumb joke to play it off, but he thinks better of it, clearing his throat before answering.
“Just thinkin’ ‘bout the trip, bein’ here an’ relaxin’. Breakfast was good,” he pauses as he flinches, salt water being splashed onto his face as well as your shoulders by a thrashing fish, “Thinkin’ ‘bout where we can visit t’morrow.”
He carries on looking straight out ahead, like there was something he wanted to add but changed his mind. You stayed quiet, studying his face. His eyebrows didn’t look quite as relaxed as before and his mouth was being pulled into the funny, taut expression he made when he was concentrating hard on something.
“What are you actually thinking about?” You ask more quietly than you’d intended.
He looks down at you, briefly, as if needing to check your face for reassurance before opening up. He looks back up across the body of water in front of him again.
You desperately wanted to ask “were you?”, “really?”. But you didn’t want him to think that you’d doubt him for even a second. There were very few times and with even fewer people that he would truly be candid and lay everything bare. You didn’t want to knock his confidence, so you carried on rubbing circles lovingly into the skin on his side, deciding to just stay quiet and let him say whatever he felt able to.
“Just about t’ future, I guess. I dunno, like, makin’ you a priority,” he leans down to press a kiss to the hairline on your forehead, “makin’ us my priority.”
You look back up at him, smiling from your cheeks up to your eyes. The kind of all-encompassing smile that only sincere happiness can produce. He had you, and you had him, and together that was everything and enough.
“I don’t…” he pauses, sighing and frowning, trying to straighten his sentence out in his head, “don’t want this to sound bad…”
You turn your head to look more directly at him as he throws out the last piece of bread. “It won’t.” “No, it will. I dunno how t’…” He trails off, scrunching his mouth up and chewing his lip. You reach across to run a hand up the hot skin of his back and tell him reassuringly that whatever he says, you won’t take it that way. He sighs some more before laying himself on his side, completely flat on the deck, giving his sore elbows a break. He tucks one arm for his head to rest on, the other he reaches out to lay at the bottom of your stomach, fighting the urge to fiddle with the straps of your bikini to distract from the tension.
“I just kinda… I think it’s only recently that I’ve properly realised what I’ve got. How much you mean an’ just… y’know.”
You look up at him, studying the strange mix of honesty and discomfort at being so vulnerable on his face.
“Oh you got something good did you?” You ask smiling, trying to ease the worried look on his face. He gusts out a relieved breath in response. “Yeah,” he smiles as he looks at you fondly, “Yer not offended I said it’s been recent?” He asks hurriedly, needing a direct answer.
“Listen,” you look across and meet his eyes directly, “I never went into this wanting you to fall in love with me overnight. Instantly, quickly, haphazardly. I can’t trust that. If you can fall in love that easily, you can fall out of it just as quick. You’re the first person I’ve been with where I never question if you just tell me what I want to hear.”
“Really?” He asks, smiling like it’s the first piece of good news he’s heard in too long. “Really.” You confirm as he lays his head closer to you, nose nuzzling your shoulder. “Even if it took forever to get anywhere, at least I’ll always know what we have is genuine. I never want you to feel pressured, this isn’t about that.”
You both fall quiet as he digests what you’d said, lightly brushing his nose up and down the skin of your shoulder. Occasionally his top lip drags on your skin and he can taste the beads of salt water that had dried there in the heat of the sun. You look across to him, noticing the last remains of powdery sea salt that had dried on the ends of his long eyelashes, only serving to make them look longer and his eyes even prettier.
“How did we get here? How did we manage to turn into this?” “It’s your fault, you asked me out.” You tease him, before planting a kiss on his forehead. “I mean… I really liked yer, wanted to be around yer a lot, but I didn’t think you’d be as perfect as y’are. Didn’t even know what t’ hell I was lookin’ for…” He sounds as if he’s talking to himself as you smile, listening in.
“But you never thought it would be this?” “Nah. Never thought I’d get like this, I wouldn’t even have thought about it because it would of freaked me out. I’d have thought I’d be so scared.” He presses another kiss to the skin of your arm, before leaving his mouth lingering there.