9. Things you said when I was crying.
Liam heard something shatter from the kitchen and Louis’s unmistakeable cursing soon after. He came around the entryway and caught the end of whatever Louis was muttering to himself, leaning over the sink.
“Can’t fucking keep anything together…”
Louis looked over and saw Liam standing there looking slightly timid and intimidated and scared and worried and loving - all the things bundled up that Liam just is. It reminded Louis of his mother when he would have a stupid fit as a teenager and the last thing Louis wanted right now was to get fucking mommed.
“Go away, Liam.”
“Louis, I don’t -”
Louis had started picking up pieces from the sink, what looked like a shattered mug, and then dropped them.
“Fuck, Liam! What don’t you understand? Go. Away.”
He was facing Liam and looked angry at him, as if his anger could be directed and focused like a javelin. Liam walked in undaunted.
“It’s just a mug…”
Liam shrugged and his features softened, threatening to crack a smile.
Louis faltered and something escaped past the anger.
“It’s not just a fucking mug!”
Louis closed his eyes and sighed angrily, knowing he had misspoken: of course it’s just a mug. That’s not what this is about. How could Liam be so dense not to get it? What is he doing if Liam thinks he just dropped some mug and that was it?
Liam was standing in front of him and put his hands on Louis’s shoulders, but he jerked out of them.
“Louis, listen. I mean, we…” Liam was talking slowly but disjointedly, like he was trying to get out whatever thought he had quickly but couldn’t quite put it together right. “We all…miss him. You know? You - you don’t have to be…alone. Okay?”
Louis shook his head. This fucking donut, he thought. He couldn’t act angry anymore.
“Liam. Stop. Talking.”
He was shaking his head and held his eyes closed, letting his hair fall out of place. Suddenly, Louis was enveloped in Liam’s arms, pulled into a strong hug. He didn’t have it in him anymore to fight back. Liam didn’t say a word and just held him.
Louis felt tears push past his eyelids, but he didn’t make a single sound. He would still win this one.
14. Things you said after you kissed me.
Niall was practically tearing out his nail bed with how nervous he was.
“Mate, you’ll be fine. Stop worrying.” Louis batted Niall’s hand out of his mouth.
Niall sighed acquiescently, but then started drumming his fingers on the seat. He and Louis shared a taxi downtown - Louis to fuck off and do whatever at whatever bar and Niall to go on his date.
He was going on a blind date, which he never did. Much less set up by someone else. But Louis talked him into it, some diatribe he went on about being adventurous or new experiences - which sounded like the same thing to Niall - and eventually he agreed just to get Louis to shut up.
But now he was sitting in a taxi fidgeting over some boy he hadn’t ever met. Great.
They met at a pub; somewhere casual where Niall could get a pint, at least (he was dreading this guy being boring - maybe that’s what he was most nervous about: he didn’t have a problem carrying a conversation, but it gets tiring sometimes).
Here ! Niall texted him when the taxi stopped.
hey red sweater with eyes all over it ha
Whatever that means, Niall thought. He walked in and glanced around the pub, easily spotting someone in a red sweater. And there were eyes all over it.
He turned around looking slightly surprised, like he was zoned out sitting at the bar. He had bleach blond hair - kind of like Niall’s - dark stubble, and small gold hoops in his ears, three of them in total, and a stud in his nose. Niall blushed a little with how immediately attracted to him he was.
“Hey,” Zayn smiled warmly, “noticeable sweater, right?” He laughed and gestured at the pattern.
“Had no idea what that text meant, but yeah,” Niall grinned back, “I spotted you right away.”
“You want to get a table?”
The date went easily. Zayn was comfortable to talk to: attentive and active, both listening and engaging Niall equally. They quickly fell into a relaxed conversation, jumping around topics from how they met their mutual friend to beer to Top 40 - Niall hadn’t even noticed the time until he stood up to use the bathroom and swayed a bit. He tried breathing in some deep breaths to beat back his buzz and decided to focus on water when he got back to the table.
Zayn was siging a receipt when Niall slipped back into the booth. He looked around for his, but couldn’t find it.
Zayn smiled at him, pushing the receipt aside.
“You didn’t have to do that…”
“You can get the next one.”
Zayn smiled down at the table a little sheepishly and Niall thought, Definitely.
“Uhm…I live, like, a block away? Do you…want to walk me?” Zayn asked.
“Yeah, sure.” Niall stood up from the booth, “It’s dangerous out there, anyway.”
Zayn snorted out a laugh. “Yeah…” He bumped Niall’s shoulder and they left.
“This is me.”
They were stopped in front of an apartment building. Zayn wasn’t moving toward the door, but wasn’t looking at Niall either; looking anywhere but Niall, actually. He must have been nervous.
“Hey,” Niall took a step closer to him, “Thanks? For tonight. I mean, I had a really good time.”
Zayn looked up. “Yeah. Same.” He smiled and it sent a second wave of warmth down Niall’s body, chasing his buzz; a different kind of buzz, really.
“I, uh…I have to…”
Niall was at a loss for words, but he was trying to get across he had to meet Louis even though that wasn’t their plan. It could be, though, who knows? Louis might still be out. Niall was grasping for something to say, anything - he wasn’t usually at a loss for words, but he couldn’t really pick them out right now. There were too many.
While Niall was trying to gesture behind him, Zayn took another step in and they were standing face to face. He moved in slowly to kiss Niall, who was waiting a little shocked. Zayn stopped and leaned back to look at Niall.
“Can I..?” He asked quietly.
Niall barely nodded. Zayn kissed him lightly at first, pressing gently onto his lips. They kissed again and then once more before kissing more fully, tongue and teeth and small laughs while they tried to figure out how they wanted to kiss and what they liked. After a moment they pulled their mouths apart and stood together intimately, breathing and smiling faintly.
“Legend…” NIall whispered.
Zayn smiled wide.