The Cookie Girl. (edited version)

(A One Direction Fanfic) From the author of Cats, Kisses, And Wagon Wheels, here's Liam's story--The Cookie Girl!!! Esmée Minton knows a lot of things. Liam Payne isn't sure he knows anything anymore. When the two of them meet; it’s the worst possible situation and they are the worst people to meet. Or are they? ...

Actual real-life reviews I do not kid you:
"I am so captivated by this story! It's beautifully and amazingly written!" - "[Esmée] is my girl crush and she doesn't even exist!" - "This has to be the most adorable perfect thing I've ever read." - "I'm more invested in thsi story than in my own life. I love this; don't talk to me." - "I'm addicted to cocoa now."

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8. Pre-Date Jitters.

Pre-Date Jitters

 

Esmée

 

“Are you excited for your date with Lili, though?”

Niall’s spending way too much time in my kitchen for my comfort. But he’s nice and he eats all the stuff I bake (keeping me from eating it instead) so it’s not like I mind terribly. I’d just maybe, sort of, like to have some part of my life that isn’t ruled by a member of One Direction; and keeping myself from thinking about Liam 24/7 is hard enough as it is.

I shake my head, laughing. “Does he know you call him that?”

“Maybe?” He drawls the word out.

“So he does but he told you not to?”

Niall sighs, patting my shoulder with one hand and grabbing a biscuit from the couch table with the other. “He needs to stop acting like my dad; he’s only like a month older than me,” he complains and stuffs the biscuit into his mouth. “Oh, these are nice. What are they?” He grabs another one immediately and I swat his hand away good-naturedly. (Not that it does any good; he doesn’t understand the concept of table manners as far as my baking is concerned and I don’t know if that makes me special or just really unimportant.)

“Ginger and Lemon. Thanks.”

“No, really. Have you ever thought of being a professional?”

I almost laugh out loud at his choice of words, but I mask it with really big eyes and pretend to be shocked. “Niall, I am not going to become a prostitute, thanks very much.”

He has the decency to blush. “Not like that, of course. Ugh. Uhm, I mean, you know, baking.”

I bite my lip, grinning. “I knew that.”

He pouts at me when he realizes I did that on purpose. “Yeah, sure you did.”

“Anyway. Any clues as to where Liam’s taking me on Friday? Because, you know, that’s sort of tomorrow.”

He grins. “Nervous?”

“Piss off.”

He gives me a look. “Very nervous then?”

I sigh. “Terrified’s more like it.”

“Would it help you if I told you, hypothetically I mean, that Liam’s been pacing and trying to decide between four different plaid shirts that look exactly the same to me and that he’s been switching between calling the place you’re going and his Mum for dating tips?”

“Hypothetically?”

“Yes, because of course Liam would never get so riled up over a girl, as we all know. Especially not you, what are you thinking?”

“Sarcasm doesn’t suit you,” I say.

He shrugs. “What I’m saying is, Liam’s being fucking pathetic.”

I hit his shoulder, but that actually did help me. A bit. “At least tell me what sort of ‘place’ it is so I can wear something appropriate.”

“Sworn to secrecy. He’s my mate, Esmée, sorry.”

I stare at him. “This is me begging here.”

“I get that, but Liam’s like my brother.”

“And what about me? What if I’m totally overdressed? Actually that’s not gonna happen; what if, even worse, I’m totally underdressed? What if he takes me to a fancy restaurant? I don’t own any fancy restaurant-appropriate clothes.”

He grins. “You think he’s taking you to a fancy restaurant?”

I squint at him. “So he’s not?”

“Didn’t say that,” he back-pedals.

I sigh. “I don’t think he’s the type for that, to be honest. I’d be so scared as well; I hate fancy places and fancy people and all that. But you guys are like millionaires after all, right? Like, you’re actually fancy people.”

“We spent the night of our first BRITs at McDonalds,” Niall says.

I nod, grinning. “But you could at least tell me what colour he likes best? Like, for me to wear?”

“No.”

“But Niall!”

“No,” he says again. He sounds a bit angry. “No. I don’t do ‘what dress should I wear?’ I do food.”

I sigh. “Okay. You know him better than I do, so at least tell me if I should wear my hair up or down?”

Niall stares at me for a second while I lift my hair up in a massively badly-done bun and let it fall down again. He shakes his head.

“I’ve known him for almost three years and no, I don’t think I do.”

 “Up. Or Down.”

“Oh, touchy.”

I scowl.

He motions for me to do it again. I sigh and gather my hair in one hand, lifting it up. He squints at me.

“You need glasses for that?” I say sarcastically and he shushes me.

“Uhm, very classy.  British Airways Stewardess on a transatlantic flight. A lot of Champagne.”

I raise my eyebrows at his description and let my hair fall over my shoulders again.

“Preppy Head Girl who’ll go to Cambridge and model for Jack Wills while studying.”

“Oh,” I say. “Thanks.”

There is a pause while he tries to beat my highscore at Woody’s Wild Ride (which I’m still awful at, but it seems like he’s even worse) and I look back and forth between three different outfits.

I decide to risk it. “Should I wear something cute or something hot?”

He sighs. “Go naked.”

I slap him across the back of his head. “This is why you’re single.”

“What? Liam wouldn’t mind at all.”

“You’re not being helpful,” I complain.

“That was helpful!”

“It was not!”

He huffs and gets up. “That’s it. I’m done. I’m fucking done with this. You might as well wash my balls down the drain. I don’t fucking do these pre-date conversations. Can’t you just get together already and not care and just shag a lot like Zayn and Perrie? I don’t have to tell her what to wear!”

“You’re mean,” I say, but I sort of understand him.

He looks at me pointedly. “Goodbye.”

He ruins his dramatic exit a bit when he comes back to take some biscuits with him for the way.

Great.

Now I have to ask Clary.

 

 

 

 

Liam

 

“Do you think I should take her to a fancy restaurant after all?” I ask as soon as Niall enters the room.

He groans and turns around again, making to leave. “If I have to do that shit conversation again, I’m leaving.”

I’m starting to panic. “Why? Did you talk to Esmée? Did she say she wants me to take her to a fancy restaurant?”

“Fuck you, both of you,” he mumbles.

I grab his shoulders and turn him around. “Tell me, Niall, because I swear I’m going mad right now!”

He lets out a small ‘ow’ and I loosen my grip immediately. I might be overreacting just a bit. And panicking. A tiny bit.

“Would’ve never noticed,” he mocks drily. “No, she’s only almost in tears because apparently she can’t decide on anything to wear and then there is the incredibly important question of the hairdo.” Sarcasm doesn’t really suit Niall, but he tries sometimes. “I don’t get that, all that stressing. Told her she could go naked for all I care and that nobody, you in the least, would even mind, and then she took away the biscuits.” He grunts unhappily.

I let him go and sit down on my bed, burying my head in my hands to hide my unwanted grin. “In case you were wondering why you don’t have a girlfriend, Niall, that’s it.”

He drops on the bed next to me, lying down on his back and staring at the ceiling. “Funny, that’s also what she said.”

“Well, she’s right.”

“That is because she’s almighty and sooo nice and funny and have you seen her hair? It’s really soft and she smells nice and she’s so beautiful and nothing could ever compare to her.”

“I don’t sound like that.” I don’t even try to argue that I don’t say things like that because I’m pretty sure I have.

He shrugs. “I’m not that much of an actor.”

“Clearly,” I say drily. “Niall, I really need your help.”

He sighs. “Okay. Whatever. Let’s go through the plan again.”

 

 

 

 

Esmée

 

“Fuck, shit, I want to die.”

To say that this is brutal would be putting it nicely. I want to commit murder and/or suicide in at least twenty ways. I’m really unsure about what to wear; and I’m not usually a what-do-I-wear kind of girl, which only makes it worse because I’m not used to situations like this at all, so I’m completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices I actually have to make.

Zayn called me semi-secretly to tell me it’s casual and that was the final straw for me. (It was nice of him, though, to call me, I mean. He said he was pretty sure I was already freaking out and that Liam was a wreck and had no idea how hard it must be and that as the one with a very clothing-specific girlfriend he thought I deserved a clue.) It’s just… I mean, it’s already hard enough for blokes to decide whether to wear a shirt or just a long-sleeve and if it’s dress shoes or sneakers and if a blazer is too much because it might be casual but it is still a date. For us girls, it’s even harder. Does casual mean jeans and a tee? Does casual mean a cute dress? Does it mean make-up and a nice hairdo? I mean, what the hell is casual supposed to mean? Liam being a popstar, it might very well be a KCA-worthy outfit. I am so done with this.

My door is slammed open against the wall and Clary peeks in. “Do you need any help?”

I squint at her. “You were waiting outside my door, weren’t you?”

She blushes, but shakes her head. “Don’t be ridiculous; I was hoovering and you sounded like you might need help, so I thought I’d check.”

“Clary?”

“Yeah?”

“Have you ever hoovered anything?”

She huffs. “Well, of course. Just now.”

“A hoover makes noise.”

“Oh.”

“And you don’t hoover a metal staircase.”

“Well, whatever. But you do need help, right?”

I sigh. “I do. I’m desperate.”

She smiles and drags me to the door. “You go shower and I’ll pick something out for you. Didn’t you have some choices yesterday when blondie came over?”

I nod. “One is sorted out. The others are on my chair.”

“Good. Now clean.” She literally shoves me out of my room.

“Don’t make me look like a slut!” I call over my shoulder when I’m going down the stairs.

I only hear manic laughter.

Liam’s going to pick me up in three hours to take me to that interview of his, for promo reasons. I’ll just be sitting backstage with the boys’ stylist Lou and her baby and listen to them and after that we’re apparently going out.

The hot water calms my nerves a bit, but as soon as I step out of the shower, they’re back again. I make a bit of a show out of blow-drying my hair and take longer than I should. I don’t put any make-up on yet because I want to see what Cary’s done to my wardrobe first, so I walk up to my room only in my fluffy bathrobe and take my make-up kit with me.

She looks proud, like a mother looking at her firstborn, and that’s the first thing I notice. The second thing is that she’s managed to combine two outfits so that now, it’s warm and really pretty slash cute. She can do things like that because she’s a genius.

“You’re fab,” I murmur as I look at the outfit on my bed, still stunned.

She shrugs it off. “Oh, I know,” she says nonchalantly, but I can see she’s really happy about the compliment. “Now I’m gonna disappear until you need me for your beautiful face.” She uses a weird, non-describable accent for the last two words.

“Okay?”

“Do you know what you want to do with your hair?”

That problem again. “I haven’t the slightest.”

She just grins. “Okay. I’ll be back.”

I take another look at the navy skirt with an army-green and pastel orange flowerprint and the beige sweater with the turquoise and orange yarn knitted in and shake my head. I would have never gotten the idea to wear those two things together, but it looked great. And I definitely wouldn’t have worn an orange long-sleeved top—probably courtesy of Clary because I don’t wear orange—underneath, but it brought a connection. And let’s just not talk about the shoes. No normal person would have ever thought about combining these things.

Clary has a talent like that. She just knows what to combine when normal people would never even look at the two things together. She’s got an eye for fashion.

(I don’t.)

She’s also laid out some really sexy underwear I didn’t even know I owned, but I put it on because I think that I need every inch of self-confidence I can get tonight. Putting on tights proves to be an impossible task because I fall over at least twenty times and rip three pairs before I manage to get them on, but at least I have no chance to mess up my make-up because Clary must’ve been waiting in front of my door again judging by how fast she managed to rush in after I called her.

She makes my make-up really nice; a natural brown eyeshadow with a line in a darker brown to make my eyes pop a bit and a faint hint of dark brown eyeliner. She has this wondrous mascara that makes my lashes look absolutely stunning and puts light beige eyeshadow under my eyebrows and in the corner of my eyes (poking me in the eye with the glittery stuff a bit too much for my liking, but who am I to complain) that actually makes me look good. She’s pro-lipstick, but I put my foot down and get the lovely okay for just lip tint. I’m not allowed to look into the mirror while she does my hair, but she goes for some sort of braided updo that makes the outfit look way less everyday casual all of a sudden, and more date casual. Because Clary’s also a genius at braiding other people’s hair. Not her own, but that might be because there is no way you could ever tame that hair enough to be able to even divide it into strands so you’d be able to braid it.

Then, after enveloping me in a mist of hairspray and perfume, she finally tells me she’s finished and I bolt out of my room.

I spend the next twenty minutes being a nervous wreck and screaming at people on Jeremy Kyle and I have a feeling that when Liam’s finally at the door, Clary is rather happy to get rid of me. (Her literally shoving me into his arms might be a clue.)

He looks great, but he seems to take my initial silence the wrong way and goes on to explain how he’s going to change for the interview, and again after that. I don’t think he gets the fact that I’m just staring because I can’t wrap my head around how any person can be this attractive, but of course I can’t tell him that, so I stay silent and just grab my coat and my bad and leave with him, waving goodbye at Clary.

 

 

 

 

 

Liam

She looks great. Amazing. Beautiful. Stunning.

None of these words really seems to fit.

I’ve never seen her wear make-up other than a bit of mascara, so this is definitely a change. I can’t really decide which I like better—the make-up does accentuate her beauty even more—but I’m leaning towards her without make-up, because that seems to make her more her. You know, I’m all about little flaws and that.

She’s gotten shy again all of a sudden, but I can’t really blame her because I’m nervous as hell. This isn’t even a good date, to be honest. Taking a girl to an interview of yours is not a good date.

She hasn’t looked at me—properly looked me in the eye—yet and while that makes me more nervous and it makes me wonder a bit if she really does want to go out, it also gives me plenty of opportunity to look at her (more like stare) without getting too suspicious. She’s wearing this cute woollen sweater with a preppy skirt and looks positively adorable. Also, her heels make her a perfect size for me to kiss her because I won’t have to lean down too much. (And this is where I need to stop that thought before this gets out if hand. Yes. It’s that bad.) Her hair is loosely braided and pinned up in a way that makes her look like a girl from some Jane Austen-based movie—not that I’ve ever watched movies about Jane Austen books, of course—and a really hot stewardess at the same time. A few loose strands are still framing her face and one keeps falling into her face and she would brush it away or blow at it only to have it fall right back into place again. It makes me smile even though I try to hide it.

“You don’t have to take me, you know.” Her voice is softer than usual.

“I wanted to,” I say, shocked that she would even dare to think otherwise.

There is a short pause until I break it.

“You don’t have to come, you know,” I say, copying her unintentionally. “I mean, if you don’t want to.”

“Oh, I want to.”

We both stop and turn to look at each other.

“Then why are we acting this strange?” I ask, not really expecting an answer. My smile has found its way back.

She’s smiling as well, and believe me when I tell you that this sheepish half-smile of hers could melt a glacier. “I don’t know,” she says.

“Then we should stop it.”

“We should.”

We’re staring at each other now.

“Are you going to give me a proper greeting then or what?” she asks, almost whispering.

I kiss her as an answer and all of a sudden, the moment our lips meet, my nervousness melts away. And why should I even be nervous, I think. This is the perfect girl, and if she doesn’t like the way it is with how my life’s been and how it all works then maybe she’s not as perfect as I thought she was. Only, of course, she is. She’s even more perfect. Is there a comparative for perfect?

What I mean is, there is of course a reason to be nervous, in a way, but she makes it go away because she’s herself and I’m myself and being ourselves is all we need, sort of.

When we break away, she’s beaming at me.

“See, that was better,” she almost whispers.

I grin at her and we start walking again, using the back door to get to the black Range Rover. May stops me just before we get in and stands on her tiptoes, smudging away what is probably some of her lipstick still around my mouth.

“We wouldn’t want people to talk, now would we?”

I shake my head seriously, trying to hide my grin. “Of course not. They might draw incorrect conclusions.”

“Yes, that would be horrible.” She’s smiling now.

“They might even think we’re on a date or something,” I say and my grin fades away. Because that’s when it hits me that she actually doesn’t want people to think that.

I turn away, trying to hide it, and open the car door for her. She looks like she’s about to say something else, but then she just gets into the car, chirping a hello at the other lads. I sigh and sit down next to her.

She looks over at me, looking a bit guilty.

“Just give me some time to get used to how amazing you are, okay?” she says. “After I’ve progressed it, I’ll be happy to shout it from the bloody rooftops.”

I haven’t actually seen it that way at all—and I don’t find me too amazing—but it makes sense, you know, for her mind. And it’s okay if she wants to wait a bit. If this goes the way I want it to, we’ll have a very long time.

I take her hand and smile at her. “I’m glad you’re here.”

She gives my hand a gentle squeeze and smiles back. “I’m glad I’m here, too.”

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