Pairings: Zayn/Liam, Harry/Louis, hints of Perrie/Leigh-Anne, past Zayn/Justin
Summary: A confused high school AU where Zayn is the unknown guy who draws in the hallways, Liam tries to act like a normal teenager, Perrie might have some anger management issues, Justin Bieber is a douche, Niall has a broken leg, Cher tries not to care, Harry dislikes pickles and Louis thinks nobody notices.
Word count: 10 438
AN: So this is a thing… It was first inspired by this post and also a bit by this and just slightly this. For the JB part, blame Shanice, she made me have him there. Also I don’t hate him so don’t get me wrong.
And: I think I’m hilarious so excuse me since I’m really not.
Feedback would be really great even though I have nothing to defend this with. I’ve never been more confused than while writing this, I think. So my apologies.
The high-pitched noise of the whistle cut through the air.
”Okay! Good job lads! Hit the showers!” Coach Atkin shouted from the sidelines.
“Come on now”, Louis grabbed Liam’s hand and hiked him up from the grass where he’d landed after going for a one last goal.
His teammates high fived him and gave him a few pats on the back and Liam couldn’t help but to beam.
“Hold on there sunshine, the cheerleaders might pass out”, Louis elbowed him in the ribs as they walked towards the locker rooms.
“Ha ha, very funny Lou”, Liam rolled his eyes but glanced at the group of girls standing near the bleachers. Multiple ponytails flipped after realizing they got caught staring and giggles escorted the boys inside.
“Told you”, Louis sat on the bench in front of his locker and grinned. “The one with curly hair was totally checking you out!”
“Shut up”, Liam chucked the shirt he’d just taken off at him.
Louis let out a squeal and flailed his arms to get the sweaty red pile away from him. “Keep your filthy clothing to yourself! Where are your manners, Liam?”
He pretended not to hear the shorter boy and entered the showers.
“How dare you ignore me, Payne! You will pay for this!” were the last words he heard before the rush of water cut everything else out.
Liam looked up at the sound of his name. The first thing that came at him was a pair of crutches followed by a boy with dirty blonde hair and a huge cast on his left leg. A tray filled with food was set in front of Niall whose smile just widened.
“Thank you, Cherbear!”
“Whatever”, the petite brunette snorted before sitting on the other side of the table.
“That was some goal you made out there, mate! They’re going to make you captain next year! I can feel it!” Niall squeezed Liam’s shoulder.
“Thanks”, Liam forced himself not to blush. He hated compliments! He never knew how to take them and he didn’t like the attention on himself. “How’s the leg?”
“Still broken I’m afraid!” Niall shrugged lightly. “So no football for me.”
“Except for FIFA!” Louis cheered as he sat next to Cher.
Liam just smiled while the two of them fist bumped. The trio started a conversation about the big party Cher was planning to have sometime soon but Liam was listening just with the other ear. He didn’t really enjoy being drunk and honestly going to bed before eleven was a normal night for him. Getting up early in the morning was something he preferred over having a hangover throughout the weekend.
“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!”
The low voice shook him out of his thoughts and he looked up to see Louis’ whole figure being covered by a lanky body and a mop of brown curls.
“Hello Harold”, Louis pinched his stomach to make him lean forward and give him room to breathe.
The others greeted the boy as well before continuing with their talk.
While Louis and Niall were both in the footie team with Liam and Cher was just popular, Harry was one of those other kids. He was on the music class and on year two (like Liam, though being in the football team kind of faded the line) while the others were a year older, but he and Louis had been best friends for years so he’d ended up in their group as well. The friendship between the two had clearly turned into something more in the last year but all of them played along with their little picture where no one noticed. But in the end you should’ve been blind to not notice the way Louis left his arms around Harry when he let him sit in his lap and how Harry laughed at absolutely everything even remotely funny Louis did or said. Still no one mentioned it or the fact that they started snogging every time they got some alcohol in their systems.
Liam was jealous of them. They didn’t think, they just were. So you fell in love with your best friend? No biggie! So you’re breaking the social norms of the school? No worries, everyone still loves you! It was so easy for them. They didn’t have so many expectations on them!
Not that Liam was in love with any of his friends… or anyone else for that matter. But that didn’t mean he didn’t want to be. But he was a teenager after all! There were hormones and thoughts and weird feelings… so he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted.
“Earth to Liam!” Niall was waving a hand in front of his face.
“The first bell just rang. Let’s go!”
Liam gathered all the trash on Niall’s tray onto his before getting up, earning a grateful smile from Cher before she was dragged into a hug by the blonde.
“Cher darling, care to escort me to my next class?”
“No”, the girl tried to wriggle her way out from his grip but before she got away he planted a kiss on her cheek.
“Please?” Niall pouted.
“I hate you”, Cher huffed but grabbed Niall’s backpack from the ground before following him out of the cafeteria.
“Liam, I’ll see you in chemistry!” Louis called out from under Harry’s arm that was leading him away as well.
“Sure”, Liam nodded. He went to throw away the trash and then made his way through the mass of people to find his next class.
Liam’s last class was chemistry with Louis. Not that the shorter boy wasn’t fun to be around but Louis was always whispering a story of something he and Harry had done or scribbling little stick figures on the corners of Liam’s notes. Saying no to Louis wasn’t too easy anyway but Liam didn’t really care about chemistry so he thought it was okay.
After an hour and an army of stick figures with skateboards Liam was free. Louis still had one lesson so they said their goodbyes and left to different directions. Liam had almost reached the front door when he remembered that he’d left his trig book in his locker. With a sigh he turned on his heels and almost ran into a girl with platinum blonde hair.
“Jesus! Watch it!” the girl snapped and rushed away before Liam got a word out.
“Sorry”, he muttered even though the girl had already gone.
He walked through the empty halls to his locker that just perfectly seemed to be on the other side of the school. When he turned the last corner, grumbling quietly to himself, he came to a halt.
There was a boy on the ground, leaning on his locker while scribbling something to a big notebook. He had messy dark hair and tattoos covering most of his right arm, and his lean body was clad in a plain white t-shirt and black jeans.
Liam had no idea who he was or what he was doing there. He didn’t like the situation; he needed the book because he’d have a pop quiz tomorrow but he didn’t want to ask the stranger to move.
He just stood there for a few minutes, trying to gather some courage to speak up. The tattooed boy still hadn’t noticed him, as his hand never stopped moving the pen across the paper.
Finally Liam took a step forward and cleared his throat awkwardly. “Excuse me.”
The boy showed no sign of hearing him.
“Excuse me! I need to get to my locker.”
Liam let out the breath he’d been holding and took another two steps closer. There was no way the boy could miss him now.
“Hey, do you mind moving a bit. You’re leaning on my locker.”
For a minute the only sound in the corridor was the scratch of the boy’s pen on the paper. Liam let his gaze drop on the page.
The boy was drawing a comic it seemed. Just a black and white sketch but it looked pretty good to him. Without a second thought he leaned on the locker next to him and slid down to sit with the boy.
Not once did the boy turn away from his drawing and likewise Liam’s eyes never left the boy. He was truly so incredibly focused on his work that an elephant could’ve ran past him and he wouldn’t even blink.
The bell ringing snapped him out of the trance and he jumped up. The boy finally looked up with wide eyes that only briefly paused at him before standing up and leaving just like that.
Liam opened his locker with shaky hands and rushed out of the school as soon as he could. His mind was buzzing during the whole drive home and he almost drove past his own house. When he finally got to his room he collapsed on his bed, letting his muscles relax.
He was a little freaked out to say the least. He’d sat with a complete stranger for a whole hour, just watching him draw. And the boy hadn’t said a word. And Liam had no idea who he was. Or why he was there. Or what was his drawing about. Maybe the boy had wanted him to leave. But he’d just sat there. And the boy had only given him a look before leaving.
Liam groaned in frustration. He’d have to find the boy again and apologize to him for being intrusive and a little more than creepy. That was the only way to get his mind off of it.
Fortunately the next morning he didn’t have football practice; he couldn’t focus on a single thing. Minutes ticked on more slowly than ever before it was time for lunch hour.
Niall and Harry were already there when he entered the cafeteria.
“Have you guys seen Cher?” was the first thing he said after sitting down.
“Well hello to you too”, Niall snorted. “She’s not here yet as you can see.”
“But she’s coming, right?”
“Of course… But why?”
“I just need to talk to her. That’s all”, Liam shrugged.
Niall looked suspicious but then Louis’ arrival stole his attention.
Finally Liam spotted Cher in the line and soon enough she placed her tray on the spot opposite him.
“Cher! I need to ask you something!” Liam whispered to the girl as soon as the others had greeted her.
“Shoot”, Cher leaned closer to him.
“I need to you to find someone for me. I mean not like that. I mean I met this person yesterday but I don’t know who he is. So I’d like to, um, know his name”, Liam stammered.
“Okay”, Cher raised a brow. “How can I find him then?”
“Err… well he was sitting in the corridor yesterday during last period. And he was drawing something. And he has like a sleeve of tattoos on his right forearm.”
“Hmm… doesn’t instantly ring a bell”, Cher frowned. “If he was drawing and wasn’t in class during last period, he might be on the art side. I don’t really know them…”
“Who’s on the art side? What are you whispering about?” Louis, this time on a chair of his own, interrupted her.
“Harry could help”, Cher mouthed to Liam who bit his lip before nodding. “Harry, sweetie, do you know if there’s a new tattooed drawer in arts?”
Harry pondered for a while before opening his mouth. “Um… well in music there’s this girl called, um, Perrie and she’s really nice and talented and –“
“Get to the point, Harold”, Louis snapped and Liam was silently grateful. Harry could drone on right beside the point forever, though that probably wasn’t Louis’ reasoning.
“Right”, Harry cleared his throat and gave Louis an innocent smile. “So Perrie is sometimes with this dark-haired kid who has a lot of tattoos. And um, I think he’s in arts.”
“So does he have a name?” Cher asked.
“Never heard. Sorry”, Harry shook his head.
“It’s okay”, Liam smiled. “I guess I can just ask this Perrie.”
“And what’s a better place to do that than my party tomorrow!” Cher grinned. “Perrie’s coming. Her I actually know. She’s cool.”
“I could always ask her –“ Harry offered but Louis slapped a hand on his mouth.
“Now, now Harry. Let Liam live a little”, he gave the taller boy a pointed look.
“Whatever”, Harry shrugged.
“Party… right”, Liam grimaced.
“You’re not getting out of this Liam. It’ll be the best party in the history of parties!” Cher flicked him on the nose.
“Fine”, he sighed and Cher just flashed a smile at his pained look.
So that’s how Liam found himself from Cher’s huge house filled with drunken people and booming music. He was trying to find Cher or Harry without getting trampled or a drink all over him.
He ended up finding Harry first from the coat closet (Niall told him to look there) but his mouth was occupied by a Louis. Liam didn’t want to traumatize himself so he closed the door and went to look for Cher.
After over 15 minutes of circling he finally caught Cher in the kitchen.
“Cher! Please give me a hand!” he pleaded.
“Sorry! I’ve been busy with hosting and all that!” Cher patted his cheek before turning to the girls she’d been talking to. “Jesy, the drinks are over there. Help yourselves!”
The girls disappeared around the corner and Cher turned her attention back to him. “Okay now. Who are we looking for again?”
“Perrie”, Liam said.
“Right! Okay! Follow me, darling”, Cher grabbed his hand and dragged him towards the stairs.
It was a lot darker upstairs and Liam almost fell over a couple of times when people appeared from the shadows. Suddenly Cher stopped and tugged him closer.
“Okay. Do you see the girl over there? The one with really bright hair?”
Liam nodded slowly, only seeing a light spot in at the end of the hall.
“That’s your girl. Now go. I need to go back to my guests”, Cher pushed him towards the person she’d pointed out before taking off.
Liam walked forward slowly, trying to get used to the darkness. Was it really that hard to turn on the bloody lights?
“Perrie?” he called, not wanting to get close enough to see which member of the footie or basketball team she was pinning against the wall.
“Yes?” the blonde turned to look at him.
A light was turned on in the staircase, letting a little ray of light reach them and now Liam could finally see her better. He froze as recognition flashed in her eyes as well.
“Oh, you’re the guy who almost ran over me at school”, she said dryly.
“Yeah, sorry about that by the way”, Liam rubbed his neck, his cheeks burning red.
“It’s okay. Sorry I snapped at you. Bad day and all that”, Perrie waved her hand dismissively. “So what do you need from me?”
“Actually I kind of don’t need anything from you… directly”, Liam stammered and Perrie raised a brow. “Right, so I’m trying to find out the name of this boy and I heard he’s sometimes with you. I think he’s in arts and he draws really well. He has a lot of tattoos –“
“What do you want with Zayn?” she frowned. “Has he talked to you?”
“Well not really. I just saw –“
“What do you want from him then?”
“Nothing! I just want to tell him something”, Liam said.
Perrie stared at him for a while before sighing. “Whatever. He’s usually out in the halls during his art classes. But if you’re going to ask him out, you might not want to bother. I’ve warned you –”
“What? No!” Liam’s eyes widened. “I’m not gay!”
“Right… you’re a jock”, Perrie nodded while eyeing him up and down. “Anything else?”
“No, that’s all but wait! No! Actually”, Liam seemed to have lost control over his mouth, “how do you know him? I mean you’re in music but also really popular and um…” He trailed off after noticing the amused look on Perrie’s face.
Perrie bit her lip to keep from laughing. “He’s my stepbrother.”
“Okay. Cool. I’ll just go now and leave you to your”, Liam glanced at the person next to the blonde – okay definitely not from his team, “err to your date.”
Perrie just flashed him a smile before receding back to the shadows with a chuckle.
Liam stumbled back downstairs, walked straight to the coat closet, knocked on the door before cracking it open a bit and shouting in that he was leaving and shutting it again. Then he let out a nervous giggle and exited the house.
The cool night air cleared his mind a bit. Unfortunately this time it wasn’t a good thing. His head was instantly filled with questions and shame of his own awkwardness. But there was also Zayn. Perrie’s stepbrother Zayn who was in arts. Perrie’s stepbrother Zayn who was in arts and had a lot of tattoos. Zayn, the boy he’d stared at for an hour in the probably weirdest way possible.
He took a mental note to find out the fastest way to ship himself to Siberia.
When Monday finally came Liam wasn’t really thinking anymore. His head was just filled with confused goo that wouldn’t budge no matter how much he tried to put things into perspective.
Football practice was a nice distraction. He ran instead of thinking and kept his focus on the ball. He took part in the conversation at lunch (mostly to keep Cher’s questioning at bay) and fled the cafeteria as soon as the bell rang. In chemistry Louis was keeping him busy and they played at least 13 rounds of hangman on the side of his notes before their teacher caught them after Louis yelled “that’s not a real word, you wanker” a little louder than he was supposed to.
When the lesson was over it was time for Liam’s moment of truth… part one at least. He waited until the halls had cleared out before making his way to his locker. He paused to take a deep breath before turning the last corner.
Relief washed over him as he saw the familiar figure on the floor. He honestly didn’t know what he would’ve done if Zayn hadn’t been there again. But now that he was, Liam had to actually do something.
He approached the dark-haired boy who was drawing in the same notebook as last time, still oblivious to the world while he worked. Liam took a deep breath before sitting next to him again.
Minutes passed and Zayn just kept drawing. Liam noticed he’d colored the earlier sketches and now was outlining everything with a black marker. His eyes moved up from the comic to Zayn’s face and back down to the world he was creating. After a while he just couldn’t take it anymore and he found himself tapping on his shoulder lightly.
Zayn sucked in a startled breath like he’d just resurfaced after diving too deep. His eyes snapped to Liam’s hand, which he quickly moved back. Liam bit his lip as Zayn took him in and finally met his eyes.
“Who are you?”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. I’m Liam”, he waved lamely.
There was a moment of silence before Liam realized Zayn was expecting him to talk.
“Right, so um, this is really weird but I was here last week as well and you were drawing but you didn’t notice me so I just kind of sat here next to you while you did that and then I felt really awkward about it because we didn’t talk and I just”, he sighed, “I just wanted to apologize for being weird and probably rude.”
Zayn’s face turned from a look of confusion to amused (Liam could see the resemblance between the half-siblings now) as he went on.
“It’s okay, mate. I don’t really pay attention to anything else while I draw”, Zayn said.
“I noticed”, Liam chuckled nervously. “So you don’t think I’m a total freak now? I mean you were leaning on my locker so, you know, that’s why I was there.”
“Liam, it’s okay!” Zayn reassured.
“Okay, okay good”, Liam smiled shyly. “I’ll just go now then…”
He got up from the floor and started walking away when Zayn called after him.
“I don’t mind it though…”
Liam turned back to look at the boy. “What?”
“If someone’s watching”, Zayn stated before turning back to his notebook.
Liam stayed still for a moment before returning back to his spot next to him. Zayn just glanced at him quickly and continued drawing.
“You’re really talented”, Liam complimented after a few minutes of silence. He regretted opening his mouth the second a look of terror flashed on Zayn’s face as his hand jolted, adding an extra black line on his drawing.
“I’m so sorry! I’m distracting you! I’m honestly going now! I won’t bother you anymore! Sorry!”
Zayn blinked a few times before bursting into laughter. Liam’s dumbfounded face made Zayn laugh even harder and clutch his stomach.
“Sorry! You just looked so terrified”, Zayn tried to catch his breath. “Calm down it’s just a line”, he added after seeing him pout. “It’s not ruined or anything.”
Liam sat back down and leaned closer to examine the flaw. “Are you sure –“
“Okay”, Liam sighed. Zayn was still grinning at him so he crossed his arms after pretending to zip his lips.
The other boy just raised a brow and opened his marker again. They sat in silence for the rest of the hour. When the bell rang Zayn just gave him a small smile before walking away. Liam watched him go and disappear behind the corner.
He felt slightly lightheaded as he a little later made his way home. And even if he wasn’t able to recognize all the thoughts bouncing inside his skull, he was fine with it for now.
It became a habit for him. In the circle that was football, classes, homework and quality time with the crazy people he called his friends, there was now a new slot for the last hours of school days when he sat next to Zayn on the floor in front of his locker and watched him draw in silence.
“Liam! Are you even awake anymore these days?” Louis ruffled his hair, knocking him out of his thoughts.
“Sorry, I was just thinking about something”, he smiled apologetically.
“Or someone?” Niall wriggled his eyebrows.
Liam chose to ignore him, though he felt a blush burn his cheeks.
“I knew it!” Niall clapped his hands. “I told you! Liam’s in love.”
“Who is she?”
“It’s no one! I don’t have a crush”, Liam crossed his arms.
“Then what is it?” Louis asked with his eyes narrowed.
“Nothing! I just have this new friend –“
He was cut off by a collective gasp from everyone around him.
“A new friend?”
“What are we then?”
“A new friend?”
“How dare you! After everything we’ve been through –“
“Guys! Calm down!” Liam let out a nervous chuckle. “It’s not a big –“
“Oh don’t you dare say it’s not a big deal!”
“Who is he? She?”
“Why haven’t you introduced us?”
Liam hid his face in his hands. “Would you please shut up so I can explain?”
When he looked up, he was met with four frowns and pouts. “He’s just a –“
“Oh it’s a he now!”
“Do you think he’s prettier than me?”
“Oh man, there are pickles in my sandwich.”
Everyone turned to look at Harry who smiled sheepishly before shoving the said food at Niall.
“The reason”, Liam raised his voice so that the others wouldn’t start yelling again, “the reason I haven’t introduced you is that I only see him after school almost every day. He draws in the hallways during his last class and he doesn’t really talk that much.”
He glanced at Cher whose mouth was hanging open. She looked like she was about to say something so Liam gave her a pleading look. Fortunately she nodded and snapped her mouth shut.
“That’s weird”, Louis stated while cutting his sandwich in half.
“How can we not know him?” Niall frowned.
“How don’t I know him?” Harry said and took the half Louis was offering him.
“It’s… complicated”, Liam shrugged. “But I promise I won’t keep it a secret anymore, okay?”
“Fine”, Louis and Niall said in unison while Cher just stared at him and Harry had lost all interest in the matter.
“Remember! No secrets!” Louis called after him when they went their separate ways after chemistry.
Liam just waved without looking back.
On that particular day something had changed; Zayn had a different notebook with him.
“Did you already finish the other one?” Liam asked him as he settled on the floor.
“Yup, all done”, he nodded.
“What are you going to do now then?”
“You’ll see”, he flashed Liam a smile before taking out a pencil.
Liam watched quietly as it hovered over the paper. But then it was lowered and put back to its case.
He looked up to see Zayn staring blankly at the page and biting his lip.
“There’s a reason, you know, to why that happened then”, he said suddenly.
“What happened?” Liam frowned. “When?”
“The first time. When we talked. And you scared the living shit out of yourself”, Zayn explained, smiling only a little at the memory, still not looking at Liam.
“I never talk about this really. But I thought you might as well know… since we’re friends or something”, he mumbled.
“Of course we’re friends”, Liam huffed. “What else would we be?”
Zayn smiled again at his words before going back to staring blankly at the row of lockers opposite them. “So I thought I could tell you so that you don’t think I’m even weirder than I really am –“
“I don’t think you’re weird!”
“Can I finish a thought?”
“Oh right, sorry”, Liam grimaced.
“Okay so”, Zayn took a deep breath, “I’m suffering from a really slight case of autism. I mean I’m not really suffering since it doesn’t really affect me but… It was worse when I was a kid. I would shut down for really long periods of time and not talk or react to anything. When I got a little older it got milder and I don’t really notice it anymore. And I also have a really good concentration and it really shows when I draw. So it’s kind of that I still shut down while I do that. Like I don’t notice anyone or anything around me because I’m focusing so hard. And that’s why I come here to draw and not stay in class. It really freaks people out sometimes.
So that’s why. That’s why I didn’t answer you the first time you talked to me. And why I startled when you talked to me all the sudden the first time I noticed you. And I didn’t tell you because I was a little embarrassed.”
Liam knew he was gaping but his brain was working on overflow while he was trying to connect the bloody dots. “Okay.”
“Okay? That’s all?”
“I mean… okay”, Liam said. “It’s okay. I get it – at least all of it that’s possible to understand. And I’m glad you told me. It was me who I thought was being a weirdo anyway, not you. It’s fine. No need to be ashamed. I promise. I’m happy you talked to me.”
And then Zayn went back to drawing a whole new comic and Liam watched.
From that day forward Zayn would always wait for him to arrive and they talked a little before he started sketching again. And sometimes when Liam got into his car afterwards, he couldn’t stop smiling for the whole way back.
"Liam. Liam! Wait!"
Liam turned around on his heels and almost ran into a girl with purple hair. Or maybe the girl ran into him.
"Jesus! That’s not a good habit, mate", the girl pushed her fringe off of her eyes.
"Perrie! I didn’t recognize you with the… The hair you know", Liam shuffled awkwardly on his feet. He’d just gotten out of chemistry and was on his way to meet Zayn.
"Yeah, yeah", Perrie dismissed his half-greeting. "I was wondering if I could talk to you for a minute?"
"Um I guess?"
Without another word Perrie grabbed a hold of his sleeve and dragged him into an empty classroom. She closed the door swiftly before turning to look at him with her hands on her hips.
"I don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish with all of this you’re doing, but I hope for your own safety that you’ve thought this trough."
"Because he’s not a toy. He’s not something for you to figure yourself out with, or something you can just throw away when you’re done."
"I’m not –“
"And you better keep everything he tells you to yourself. I don’t know how you even managed to get him to talk to you in the first place but it’s not something to take for granted."
"I won’t –“
"AND you better know I will hunt you down if you do anything to hurt him."
"I just sat with him!" Liam yelped.
Perrie stared at him like he’d lost his mind. “What?”
"I just sit next to him while he draws", Liam spluttered. "I thought he wouldn’t want me there especially after I accidentally scared him and made him mess up his drawing –“
"You made him what?" Perrie hissed.
"I didn’t know about his err…” Liam cleared his throat, “condition then so I talked to him while he was drawing and it caught him off guard. But then he just laughed it off and said he doesn’t mind if I’m there."
Perrie looked lost for a moment before her features softened. “He talks about you a lot… It’s odd. He never gets attached to people anymore.”
"He does?" Liam pushed the hopeful tone he hadn’t asked for, away from his voice.
"Yeah, he does", she sighed. "I just hope he doesn’t get too attached. He tends to open up too much when he finds someone he likes."
"What do you mean?"
"It’s not really for me to say", Perrie smiled sadly. "Just… Just don’t bite more that you can chew, okay?"
"Okay", Liam nodded though he wasn’t sure at all of what she was saying.
"And I’m sorry for yelling at you… Again", Perrie grimaced.
"I’ll let you go now. Just remember what I said, yeah?"
"I will", Liam promised.
And then he was alone in the empty room fairly even more confused than ever. The girl’s words and everything from the last few weeks were buzzing inside his head.
It took a while before he snapped out of it and remember he was supposed to be somewhere.
"Where’s the fire?" Zayn chuckled when Liam came to a halt, panting after his sprint.
"I’m sorry I’m late."
"We’re not on a schedule", Zayn patted the spot next to him on the floor.
"We kind of are though", Liam collapsed against the lockers and slid down.
"Hmm I think you’re right. Maybe we should meet some other time as well", Zayn said, not looking at him.
"Maybe", Liam nodded. "I need to tell you something."
"I talked to your sister…"
"Oh no", Zayn buried his face into his hands. "What did she do?"
"She’s a little scary sometimes…"
"Oh no", Zayn groaned into his palms. "What did she say?"
"She didn’t seem too keen on me hanging out with you", Liam shrugged.
"Did she yell?"
"A little", Liam chuckled, "I sad she’s a little scary."
"I’m so embarrassed", Zayn whined, still hiding behind his hands.
"Don’t be. She’s just worried about you."
He finally met his eyes. “I always tell her not to be.”
"She cares about you. It’s not a bad thing", Liam noted.
"I know", Zayn smiled and let his eyes fall back to the floor again. "We have different mothers but hers was never actually with our dad more than one night. My parents got together soon after that and a year later they were married and that’s when Perrie’s mom dropped her off. Of course they kept her as her mom disappeared. Perrie was less than six months then. And a year later I was born. So we’ve always been together."
"But she’s 18 right? So are you..?"
"I’m 16", Zayn said. "Perrie was born at the end of summer and my birthday is in January. So we’re about 1,5 years apart. I’ll turn 17 in the beginning of next year and Perrie will turn 19 in August next year. Get it?"
Zayn laughed. “I’m in year one and Perrie in year three.”
"Okay. That I can handle", Liam rubbed the back of his neck. “I thought we were the same age though.”
“Does it bother you?” Zayn asked lightly but his hands were fisted tightly.
“No! It’s not a big deal! I’m usually younger than my friends anyway”, Liam took Zayn’s hands between his. He wasn’t really thinking but that seemed to be how he worked around the dark-haired boy. Carefully he unfolded each of the digits until they rested, now relaxed, in his hands.
“Okay”, Zayn breathed, his eyes locked on their hands.
“Do you want to get out of here?” Liam asked suddenly.
“Let’s go somewhere else. We’ve been sitting in these halls for weeks and weeks on end. Let’s go outside”, Liam squeezed his hand.
Zayn looked him in the eyes, glanced down at their still intertwined hands and back at him again before smiling. “Let’s go.”
Liam pulled him up and they started walking. If Zayn noticed or minded that they were still holding hands, he didn’t mention it.
They didn’t go far, just strolled around the school grounds with Zayn sometimes glancing at their hands and Liam doing most of the talking. He babbled about football and his sisters being in college and his friends who he hated and loved more than anything. And when the hour was coming to an end, he walked Zayn to the art corridor.
They stood there staring at their shoes for a few minutes, hands now separate, before looking up at the same time and smiling through their blushes.
"I’ll see you later, yeah?" Liam asked, eyes caught somewhere between Zayn’s nose and left ear.
"Yeah", Zayn nodded, intently staring at Liam’s jaw.
"Good", Liam met his eyes briefly and left with the odd fluttering in his chest.
It was almost Christmas holiday. Days seemed to be getting shorter and darker by the minute and last exams were almost over.
"Zayn, would you like to come see my game tomorrow?" Liam blurted out. They’d been sitting in their usual spot in the corridor for about 20 minutes in silence.
"My game. Tomorrow."
"Please! No one ever comes!" Liam whined.
"Your friends always come", Zayn noted.
"You’re my friend too", Liam pouted.
Zayn gave him a short look before sighing. “Fine.”
Liam cheered and patted his head. “I know you wanted to!”
"You so do."
"Do you want to meet my friends?"
Zayn froze for a moment. “Your friends?”
Liam nodded with a bright smile on his face.
“Don’t give me that look! You know I can’t say no to that!”
Liam just smiled even more widely.
“Fine!” Zayn huffed. “Now put away the puppy-eyes so I don’t have to hurt you.”
“You wouldn’t”, Liam poked his side.
“Don’t test me”, Zayn grabbed his finger to pull it away from his ribs and didn’t let go.
“Rude”, Liam flicked his nose with his other hand.
They tussled for a bit before settling back, Zayn trying to put his hair back to order and Liam rubbing his thigh where Zayn had pinched him before he went for the hair, making the younger boy call for truce.
“So tomorrow at lunch?”
“Where are you usually at lunch anyway?”
“Away. I don’t like the cafeteria”, Zayn shrugged.
Liam frowned. “Oh.”
“But, now I have someone to sit with so it’s fine.”
“Promise?” he raised a brow.
“I promise, Li”, Zayn said, wriggling his eyebrow and earning a laugh from Liam.
“Good. I was almost about to make you do a pinky swear.”
“I don’t know why I even like you.”
“Me neither”, Liam smiled and Zayn smiled back.
The noise in the cafeteria seemed even louder than usually when Liam was chewing his lower lip and wondering how to say what he wanted to say.
Everyone startled when he banged his fist on the table. “Guys! I need to tell you something.”
“Okay”, Cher said slowly, putting down her phone, which she’d tried to use as a tool to hit Niall after he’d stolen her dessert. “Shoot.”
“Remember when I told about the new friend? Okay now don’t –“ Liam raised his voice as the others seemed to start shouting again, ”don’t yell! He’s coming here now. So you’ll meet him. But please, please, be cool.”
“We’re always cool!” Louis snorted.
Liam pursed his lips. “You have a pickle slice in your hair…”
“Harold, I swear to god –“
“Please!” Liam cut him off and turned to the others. “Be nice to him, okay?”
“Of course we’ll be nice”, Cher patted his hand. “Now where’s the little thing?”
Liam’s head snapped to the side at the sound of Zayn’s voice.
“Zayn! Hi! Come sit!”
The boy sat down on the empty seat next to him, his eyes casted down.
“This is Cher, Niall, Harry and Louis”, Liam pointed them all out.
“Hi”, Zayn smiled a little at them.
Everyone was quiet for approximately two seconds before the regular chatter starter again, though now it all was aimed at the stranger.
“So Zayn, you’re Perrie’s brother right?”
“Zayn! I’m in arts too!”
“Do I still have pickle on me?”
“I love your tattoos!”
Liam groaned and pressed his forehead to the cool surface of the table. He heard Zayn chuckle next to him and a warm hand grazed his thigh.
He kept his head down for a few more minutes while Zayn tried to answer all the questions that were thrown at him.
“Guys! Give him a break, would you?” he said after getting back up.
Louis glared at him quickly before turning to Harry and starting an argument with him about his eating habits.
“They’re nice”, Zayn murmured to him.
“They’re crazy”, Liam chuckled. He saw Cher give them a look but he chose to ignore it.
Zayn nudged his knee with his own. “So about the game –“
“You’re coming to the game?” Louis bounced back around.
“Do you have like super-hearing?”
Louis gave him a pointed look but didn’t answer. “Are you?”
“I guess so”, Zayn said. “I already promised.”
“Great! I’ll finally have someone else to talk to!” Cher clapped. “Harry’s always only focused on Angry Birds or Louis’ a – err, Louis’ amazing tactics. And Niall only complains about the game since he’s not playing himself.”
Zayn laughed while Niall, Harry and Louis threw napkins at the girl.
“And there’s a party after it!” Cher grinned after blocking the attack.
“Not again”, Liam groaned.
Liam turned to look at Zayn. “You want to go?”
“I haven’t been to a party since forever. I think it’d be fun”, Zayn shrugged.
“See Liam? That’s the right attitude!” Cher pointed frantically at Zayn. “I think we’ll have to keep him.”
Everyone else agreed as Zayn beamed and Liam poked out his tongue.
“I guess I can –“
“So it’s settled! Great!” Cher grabbed her stuff. “I got to run but I’ll see you at the game. Bye Zayn! I already love you!”
And with that she was off.
“So a party then”, Zayn smiled slyly at Liam.
Liam poked him in the ribs, ignored the look Louis gave him and collected all his trash on his tray. “I know. I know. Let’s go now.”
Zayn got up as well. “Bye Louis and Harry!”
“Farewell Zayn! I shall see you when I win the football game tonight!” Louis waved.
“Don’t you mean we?”
“Of course sweetie. Bye now”, Louis blew a kiss at Liam before turning back to Harry.
“Are they together?” Zayn asked quietly.
“What on earth are you talking about? Go on now, children”, Louis yelped.
“He hears everything!” Liam shook his head and Zayn laughed.
When they were outside the cafeteria Zayn leaned closer to him and whispered: “Are they really?”
Liam’s breath hitched a little but he manages to whisper back. “Without a doubt.”
“There’s one thing we need to do before I can go”, Zayn said as he threw his bag on the backseat of Liam’s car.
“And what would that be?” Liam asked.
“I kind of need to ask permission… from Perrie”, Zayn admitted, staring intently at the road ahead of them.
“That’s fine. Is she home now?”
“Let’s go then”, Liam smiled and patted his hand encouragingly.
Zayn gripped at his fingers briefly but didn’t look at him.
Soon enough they reached Zayn’s house and got out of the car.
“My parents are not in town at the moment so that’s why Perrie’s in charge”, Zayn explained as they walked to the front door. With a deep breath he opened the door.
“Zayn! Finally you’re here! I needed to ask your opinion on –“ the purple-haired girl stopped in her tracks. “Liam.”
“Hello Perrie”, Liam waved.
“I need to ask something”, Zayn said.
“What is it?” Perrie tilted her head. “Is something wrong?”
“No. I just… There’s this party where I’d like to go tonight. After the game, you know. It’s at um –“ Zayn turned to him for aid.
“It’s at Nick’s house”, Liam chipped in. “And I won’t drink so I’ll get him home safe.”
“I guess I should say neither will you Zayn, but I do remember myself two years ago”, Perrie sighed. “You’ll keep him in order then?”
“I promise”, Liam nodded.
“I just don’t know. I mean I don’t know you…”
“You saw me at Cher’s party, right? I was sober then! Do you remember? Maybe you should ask your friend if you don’t.”
“My friend?” Perrie arched a brow.
“Curly hair, belly button ring –“
“You’re with Leigh again?” Zayn cut him off. “Ha! I always knew you’d get back together!”
“Okay. Okay!” Perrie raised her hands in defense. “You can go as long as we stop talking about this right now.”
“Thank you, Pez!” Zayn leaped forward to kiss her cheek. “I’ll just go grab my stuff from my room and we’ll go!”
As he ran up the stairs, Perrie slapped a hand over her eyes. “Nice move, Payne.”
“Thank you”, Liam smiled. It might have not been intentional but it got the job done, didn’t it!
Soon Zayn was running back down with a different bag with him.
“I’ll be watching you”, Perrie muttered to Liam before he was able to hear.
“Bye Perrie”, Zayn grabbed Liam’s hand and tugged him out of the house after giving the girl a quick hug.
“I’ve greatly underestimated you, mister Payne”, Zayn chuckled when they got in the car.
Liam just playfully winked at him and drove off the driveway.
They ended up winning the football game. Liam was glad Louis didn’t mention it when he practically flew out of the locker rooms after it. He just wanted to know if Zayn was alive after all that time alone with Cher, Harry and Niall.
“Hey! Great game!” Zayn was already waiting for him at the bottom of the bleachers.
“You’re alive!” Liam greeted back.
“Do you really think we’re that bad?” Cher stepped down from the stand behind Zayn and crossed her arms.
“We’re really not!” Niall added.
“Did Louis come out yet?”
“You wish”, Niall muttered and Cher almost choked on a giggle.
“Nothing, Harry”, Liam said calmly. “I’m sure he’ll come soon.”
“He might need some help with that though”, Niall grinned while Cher couldn’t hold it in anymore.
“You’re all idiots”, Liam turned to Zayn who was quietly laughing into his hand. “I think we should go now.”
“Okay”, Zayn coughed.
They made their way through the field and all the way to Liam’s car.
“You’re really good at football”, Zayn said absentmindedly when they were driving through the dark city.
“I don’t know. I’m alright”, Liam shrugged.
“Liam! We’ve talked about this”, Zayn narrowed his eyes. “Just take it.”
Liam let out a breath and chuckled. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome”, Zayn smiled approvingly.
The party was somehow already on full blast when they arrived.
“Liam! Good that you made it!” Nick stumbled to him right after they got through the front door. “The bar’s over there.”
“Thanks mate but I’m not drinking tonight”, Liam said.
Nick waddled away, grumbling something that sounded awfully lot like “party pooper”.
“Will you come find the bar with me? I don’t want to lose you”, Zayn was trying to see over the masses of people and didn’t notice how Liam missed a beat at his words.
“Of course. Follow me”, Liam nodded shakily as Zayn grabbed his wrist.
A few hours later Zayn was buzzing comfortably and they’d settled on a couch in the living room.
“Then Cher told him to fuck off and Niall almost choked on his chips”, Zayn finished the story he’d slowly been telling.
“I’m glad you had fun. I was worried you’d get bored there. I didn’t know if you like football”, Liam smiled.
“No, no, no. You’re a really good player. I liked watching you”, Zayn leaned closer to stroke his hair.
Liam shook his head lightly though still smiling at the drunken boy’s antics.
“What’s up!” a loud voice called from the hall.
Liam could literally see Zayn stiffen. “What’s wrong?”
Zayn didn’t answer but instead he squealed and dove sideways on the couch, trying to hide his head behind Liam’s back. Liam looked up to see a boy with brown hair in a quiff and sunglasses on. He was being obnoxiously loud as he walked through the house like he owned it.
Finally he disappeared around the corner and Zayn got up.
“We need to hide!” he whispered loudly.
“Just… just come”, Zayn grabbed his hand and pulled him outside from the backdoor.
They found a swing from the back of the yard and stopped there.
“Would you like to explain what’s going on?” Liam panted after the run through the field of grass.
“That was”, Zayn seemed to be doing just as well, “Justin, my kind of ex.”
Liam’s mouth fell open. “Your ex?”
“Kind of”, Zayn glanced behind them to make sure they hadn’t been followed.
“How can he be kind of your ex?”
“Because we kind of dated before.”
“Huh”, Liam frowned. “I didn’t know you’re into boys.”
“Oh right”, Zayn sat him down on the swing. “Liam, I’m gay.”
“Yeah Zayn, I got that.”
“Good!” Zayn grinned.
There was a moment of silence when Zayn just stared at his hands with a small smile on his lips and Liam was going through an inner monologue.
“So how did you kind of date before?”
Zayn bit his lip. “It’s embarrassing.”
“I won’t laugh. I promise”, Liam said. He probably should have felt bad for prying information from the intoxicated boy but at that moment he didn’t care.
“We used to go to the same school. And I had a crush on him. So then we dated… or at least I thought we did.”
“What do you mean?”
“He never said we were together. I just thought so. So when we did stuff together I thought that we’re a couple now. But we weren’t. And then I saw him with someone else. But he told me that we weren’t really together”, Zayn slurred. “How much did I drink?”
“Not too much”, Liam caught him when he all the sudden started leaning forward, almost falling off the swing. “Okay maybe a little much.”
“I really liked him, you know. He was really nice and pretty. And he sings really well. But he didn’t really like me, you know. Perrie said he used me or something”, Zayn leaned on him heavily.
“He doesn’t deserve you”, Liam muttered.
“I really like you too. Like, we’re really different but we’re really not. It’s kind of nice, right?” Zayn petted his thigh.
“I like you too, Zayn”, Liam sighed. Then all the sudden Perrie’s earlier words knocked right back into his head.
“I just hope he doesn’t get too attached. He tends to open up too much when he finds someone he likes.”
“I think I should get you home”, Liam swallowed uneasily and wrapped an arm around his waist.
“Mhm”, was Zayn’s answer against his shoulder. “I’m glad you’re my friend, Liam.”
“I’m happy too”, he sighed.
Fortunately Zayn was able to walk back inside where Liam left him to wait in the hall and went to tell Niall they were heading off. When he returned to Zayn he was nowhere to be found. Finally Liam located him from under the coffee table where he’d apparently ducked after hearing Justin again.
The car ride back to Zayn’s was quiet. The younger boy was staring the passing houses drowsily and Liam tried to not want to stop the car and do… something.
It was probably for the best that Perrie wasn’t home when he walked Zayn up the stairs to his room. The boy was giggling and poking his face, not caring if his feet missed a step or two, almost sending them stumbling down the whole flight.
“Zayn, which one is your room?” Liam’s eyes moved through the row of identical doors.
“Guess”, Zayn sniggered.
“It’s this one”, Zayn pointed at the one closest to them.
Liam opened it to see a room way too clean to belong to a teenager. “So you have a double bed. That’s nice. Now where’s your real room?”
“Whoops”, Zayn grinned at his toes. “It’s the last one down the hall.”
“There we go”, Liam sighed in relief when he opened the last door and Zayn scrambled in.
Zayn started immediately taking off his clothes though Liam only noticed it when a shirt landed on his face.
“Err Zayn”, Liam glanced at him carefully to avoid seeing too much. “Will you be okay now?”
The boy froze in the middle of the room with just his boxers on and turned to stare at Liam, his brown eyes wide. “Why are you leaving?”
“Well you’re home and safe now and –“
All the sudden Zayn’s arms were around him. “Don’t leave yet. I don’t want to be alone.”
Liam hugged the boy back for moment while his mind was getting out of control. So that’s what he blamed later for saying okay.
He tugged Zayn under the covers and sat on the edge of the bed.
“Could you sing to me?” Zayn asked.
“No, Zayn, you’re drunk not sick.”
“Zayn, I’m really tired. I need to get home before I fall asleep while driving”, Liam pleaded.
“Too late, it’s too late. You just have to stay here. Get in”, Zayn threw the covers off of him and rolled towards the edge to create room behind him.
“I really should –“
“No. Get in.”
Still to be blamed on his messed up and tired head, Liam shook off his pants and shirt and crawled over Zayn. “This is not a good idea –“
“Shut up and start sleeping”, Zayn grabbed his arm and pulled it around him.
“You’re a needy drunk, you know that?” Liam huffed but didn’t struggle and pulled him against his chest.
“You’re really confusing, Zayn”, Liam mumbled to his hair.
“Didn’t you say you’re tired?”
Liam didn’t answer but when Zayn’s hand reached for his, he took it.
Zayn was asleep in no time but Liam was lying awake.
He was confused to say the least and Zayn’s warm skin under his fingers wasn’t helping. So… was this a platonic cuddle between friends?
Zayn liked boys. Liam wasn’t sure what he liked. Zayn liked boys, but Liam was just a boy. And he didn’t like boys. Or maybe he did. Or maybe he liked both. Or maybe just Zayn.
Zayn was nice and funny and he had pretty eyes and cool tattoos and he drew comics and his body was lean and a little bony but he had smooth skin and nice lips, which also many girls have. So if he sort of might have liked Zayn that still didn’t tell if he liked boys.
With those kinds of thoughts swirling in his head, he finally fell asleep with his arm around Zayn’s waist and their fingers entwined.
“Zayn! I made breakfast! Are you still hung over?”
The clear voice shook Liam awake. He stopped breathing for a moment when he tried to remember where he was. Then he saw Zayn who was still asleep on his chest and everything came flooding back.
A knock on the door made his blood freeze in his veins when he realized their slightly compromising position. He’d just gotten out of bed when Perrie barged into the room.
“Oh sorry, you’re awake. I should’ve knocked but I wasn’t sure if you’re home”, the girl trailed off as she noticed that it wasn’t her brother standing in front of her. “What the fuck are you doing?”
“I said keep him safe and take him home! Not come home with him! Oh my god”, she yelled.
“I didn’t –“
“And in our house? Oh dear god I don’t think I can even look at you anymore”, Perrie covered her eyes.
“Shut up, Perrie. You’ve had a “friend” over more than I can count”, Zayn’s voice was groggy with sleep and his eyes still closed.
“But you’re 16!”
“We didn’t have sex, Perrie!” Zayn snapped. “I asked him to stay and sleep here because you weren’t home yet.”
“Thank goodness”, the girl pressed a hand to her chest and breathed deeply. “I thought I’d have to hurt the dog-looking one.”
“Hey!” Liam frowned.
“It’s a compliment. You look like a puppy. I’m sure people have said that before”, Perrie clarified. “Okay sorry, heart attack over. Get dressed kiddos.”
And with that she was gone.
Liam had to sit down on the bed. He wasn’t sure if he was still breathing.
“Does she like get off from yelling at you”, Zayn chuckled as he sat up on the bed.
“I think I died just there for a minute”, Liam said.
Zayn shuffled closer and put his hand on Liam’s chest, over his heart. “Seems to be beating just fine at least now.”
Liam let out a strangled noise. “Right.”
“Come on. Let’s go eat breakfast”, Zayn stumbled out of bed and pulled on a pair of sweats. “Clothes on now!”
“Okay! I’m coming!” Liam wriggled into his jeans and followed him downstairs, wondering how he was moving so fast despite his hangover.
“So… a little birdie told me that Liam didn’t go home on Friday night”, Louis spun his phone in his hands and grinned at him.
It was Monday and lunchtime and Liam wasn’t in his best moods.
“He left with Zayn though”, Niall said absentmindedly but by the end of his sentence everyone’s eyes snapped to Liam.
“Oh my god!”
“What?” Liam met their eyes daringly. “I stayed at Zayn’s. So what?”
“Our little Liam”, Louis held a hand to his heart, “already grown up.”
“We didn’t hook up.”
“What do you mean why? We’re not together or anything. I’m not… I mean I’m not…”
And then they all looked like they knew what he was talking about. Cher might have actually understood, Louis looked conflicted, Harry was empathic and Niall wouldn’t probably look too deeply into it.
“Where is Zayn now anyway?” Cher asked probably to change the subject.
“He doesn’t really like the cafeteria. But I can ask him today if he wants to come sit with us tomorrow”, Liam shrugged.
“Do that. I can’t afford losing him as a friend at your football games”, Cher smirked.
“You act like I’m not even here!” Niall whined.
“Maybe I wish you weren’t.”
“Ouch, Cher. That felt right in the heart”, Niall pouted.
“Shut up”, Cher hooked her arm around his neck and ruffled his hair. “You know I love you.”
“No, I really don’t”, Niall sniffled.
“I need a break”, Liam muttered mostly to himself.
Zayn was waiting for him at their usual spot. He didn’t say a word until Liam had sat beside him.
“Hi”, he smiled.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, not really. You didn’t get in trouble after Friday, right?”
“Oh, no! It was fine. Perrie’s just a little… protective, you know. She doesn’t have anything against you really”, Zayn chuckled.
“Good. I just wanted to make sure I’m still welcome to your house”, Liam smiled and Zayn smiled back.
“Of course you are.”
And if after that he put his hand on top of Zayn’s, neither of them mentioned it.
The holidays came with snow and sleeping in, and went with fireworks and a small party with just the six of them. Liam thought never wanted it to end as he watched Zayn run in their yard after Harry with snow in his hair and his smile brighter than ever. And even though only Harry pushed Louis into the closest pile of snow and pretended not to snog the light out of him at midnight, he didn’t mind at all.
But then it was time to return to school again and Zayn’s birthday was getting closer by the day. Liam wanted to get him something but he couldn’t figure out what.
Cher ended up saving him with her plan of a bigger gift that they would purchase together. Zayn also told him not to worry about it as long as they’d have a party for him.
Zayn’s party wasn’t really a party as Zayn had caught a cold and they just stayed in his house and watched movies through the night. And even though Zayn fell asleep before the Titanic sank, Liam just tugged the covers around him tighter and squeezed his hand that was in his own.
A few weeks after Zayn’s birthday the two of them were sitting in front of Liam’s locker again. It was just a normal day but for some reason Zayn was fidgety and his eyes barely stayed in the same spot for longer than two seconds.
“Are you okay?” Liam placed a hand over his darker one that was picking at a loose string on his jeans.
“Yeah, I just… Um, there’s something I want to show you. Kind of like a gift. But I don’t know if I should give it to you now.”
“Whatever you want”, Liam said despite the curiosity that was now poking the insides of his skull.
“Okay”, Zayn took a deep breath. “But just… don’t laugh, okay?”
“Of course I won’t laugh, Zayn”, Liam said honestly.
Zayn nodded and turned to his bag that was on the floor on his left. Liam watched him pull out something that looked like a magazine.
“This is the one I started after meeting you”, Zayn handed it to him.
Liam’s mouth fell open as he looked at the real-looking comic book in his hands.
“I had some help though. Ed – this guy from music, who’s pretty good with the computers as well – helped me scan it and print it and put it together and all that”, Zayn blabbered nervously.
Liam leafed quickly through it and the vibrant colors and amazing details were making his head spin. “Is it… about me?”
Zayn blushed deeply and turned his hands in his lap. “Maybe.”
“It’s amazing! Thank you so much!”
When Zayn finally looked up, Liam smiled even wider, making Zayn return the gesture. And Liam didn’t know if he’d ever felt happier in his life.
He put down the comic book and turned back to Zayn who was now smiling shyly at him. Then he leaned closer to him and pressed his lips to Zayn’s.
It was a brief kiss without fireworks exploding behind their eyelids or music starting to play in the background. It was just Liam and Zayn in the furthest corridor of their school where they’d met months ago. Zayn and Liam with their lips moving softly together until they were smiling too widely to keep going.
“I think I love you”, Liam said.
Zayn intertwined their fingers and blushed. “I think I love you too.”
And it turned out; in that moment it was as simple as that.
“Only three days before summer!” Niall hollered again and in response everyone threw the closest object at him.
“I just want to sleep forever”, Liam pushed his textbooks away from him.
They all still had one more exam before the holiday would start so they were all huddled under an old tree in the park nearby, pretending to study.
“No! Summer is when you stay up all night!” Zayn nudged him with his head. He was leaning on him with his back against Liam’s chest.
“I agree!” Cher chipped in. “I’m counting on you to ruin him, Zayn.”
“I’m trying my best”, Zayn saluted her.
Liam just smiled at him and pressed a quick kiss to his temple.
He still didn’t know what to do sometimes or how you fall in love, but from what he’d gathered it wasn’t such a bad thing. They were learning together now, without pressure. They kissed messily, touched shyly and laughed way too loudly when they weren’t supposed to, both inexperienced but even more ready to figure it out. And maybe that’s why it worked so well.
“Guys!” Louis had sat up from where he’d been lying on the grass. “There’s something I really need to tell you.”
They all turned to look at the blue-eyed boy who cleared his throat with a dead serious look on his face. He glanced at the younger boy sitting next to him with a bright smile on his face, before saying:
“Harry and I are together.”