Neither of us even acknowledged each other when we got home. That was our thing. We fight, we ignore each other, nothing happens, we ignore each other, we get on good terms for a short time, we ignore each other, we go on a fake date, we ignore each other. Not that I complained but it was just frustrating. It was like no matter what we did, what step we took, we always ended up in the same place and as much as I have been trying to refuse it, the truth was that I didn’t want to be in that place any more. I wanted to take a step further or just end things for good. But it wasn’t like I had a say in the matter. Liam hated me and I knew things wouldn’t ever work out between us and the freaking contract didn’t let me just end things. So here I was, dangling in the air, hoping for a change to come and boy did it come the next week!
During the week after that night, we were all over the internet. The pictures of our kiss in the car made me embarrassed. What would my mom think? With my dad in coma, and she all alone having to handle my little brother, she must think I have completely abandoned them when the truth was I was only trying to help the family but I couldn’t let anyone know. Apparently she had decided to let me by myself as long as she knew that my boyfriend was eager to pay for dad’s treatment. If only she knew!
The hate didn’t stop, in fact some people hated me even more now but that didn’t mean “Lilex” hadn’t found its fans among some other. That evening Liam had a live interview on the radio. Since I was bored and tired of reading I decided to listen to that one, knowing that I would be mentioned too. It was one of those long ones. At first they asked some questions about their new album and how he had his part in writing the lyrics. Then they talked a bit about how he liked working with Ed Sheeran and what he thought of him. Then the personal questions began.
“How do you describe your relationship?”
“It’s quite…” He paused and tried to think of something proper as an answer. “different.”
“Different, how?” He pushed him harder for a more precise answer.
“Well, you know, she’s different from any other girl I’ve ever seen. She doesn’t care about make up or fancy clothes, I don’t think she even likes them. So that makes our relationship more exciting and adventurous.”
Liam’s answer brought heat to my cheeks. He was a good liar, I had to give him that. I remember hearing this somewhere that the best lies are close to the truth. He decided to stick to the truth as much as possible, giving little real details that would convince anyone but the whole thing was a big, fat, lie.
They talked a little more about that and then the interviewer asked what he shouldn’t have.
“What about Danielle? How do you feel about her? Are you guys still friends?” I closed my eyes knowing this would take Liam off guard. I just prayed he wouldn’t snap at that moment and ruin everything.
There was a dead silence for a fairly long time, or at least that’s what it seemed to me, but then he finally found the right words. “I’ve been so busy lately and I haven’t seen her but we’re still in touch and she’s a good friend.”
That was another lie. All Liam had done was ignoring anything about Danielle as much as possible and no one had the nerve to ask him much about her. It was always either Twitter or his bandmates that had helped him not answer any questions directly, but this time he was all alone was forced to answer. The interview was done after a few more questions.
I shivered at the thought of Liam coming back at any moment, knowing that he was in no good mood to deal with. At first I decided to just get my things, leave the living room and lock myself in my room as I always did when I didn’t want to encounter him but then I thought of something.
Until when was he going to ignore every question about Danielle? To pretend like the break up hadn’t affected him in any way? To let himself believe that he didn’t have any feeling for her and that he was over her? Someone had to bring him out of that phase. I bet no one dared to. His friends didn’t want to lose him as a friend, Paul knew he wouldn’t listen to him and for him as long as Liam did his job well was enough. His mom didn’t really see him that frequently. No one wanted to get on Liam’s bad side but I already was, so why not give it a try?
So even though I felt something invisible pulling me to my room, I stayed on the couch determinedly and waited for him to arrive. I had to wait a good 3 hours but he finally did show up. My heart skipped a beat at the sight of him. He burst into the house completely off balance. I’d had to deal with different types of Liam before but I had never seen him drunk. I gulped and tried to show no fear in my face.
“How was the interview?” I asked in what was meant to be a casual voice but I wasn’t exactly sure how successful my attempt was.
“Like you didn’t hear the whole thing.” He scoffed at me.
I went to him and tried to help him to the couch but he just pushed me away from him, not hard enough to make me fall but hard enough to know that Liam was an angry drunk. Considering the fact that he was usually angry with me even in the best situations I knew I would be asking for trouble if I wanted to push things. But as I was a stubborn idiot I did what I knew would cost me a lot.
“How about we talk about it?” I decided to at least take a conservative approach.
“How about we don’t?” He snarled at me and tried to push me again as I was blocking his way but I didn’t let him this time. I stood firmly in front of him and crossed my arms.
“You have to talk about it with someone, Liam.”
“I’m not in the mood for your fucking games, Alex!” He raised his voice.
I just decided to ignore his tone and volume, another stupid move on my side. “How long are you gonna deny it, Liam?”
“Deny what?” He almost whispered as he bent his head to mine. I could smell the alcohol. Another sign that I should just give up and let it go. But the tone in his voce challenged me. It was as if he was daring me to say her name and never one to back down from a dare, I went on with my plan.
“Danielle.” As soon as the words left my mouth, he slapped me. He slapped me so hard I had to struggle to keep my balance and not fall on the ground. I fought the urge to put my hand on my cheek as I didn’t want to acknowledge the pain he had inflicted on me and looked at him straight in the eyes.
“Why is it so hard to talk about her?”
That earned me another slap. He tried to get past me but I grabbed his hand and prevented me from doing so.
“Don’t be such a coward.” He grabbed me by my shoulders and slammed me to the wall so hard it knocked the air out of my chest.
“Shut up Alex, shut the fuck up!” He said through gritted teeth.
“You still love her, don’t you?” I said with a shaky voice, still a bit out of breath.
“I don’t have to fucking answer you!” He yelled at me, his eyes red from anger and alcohol. He was drunk, but not so drunk to forget this conversation tomorrow. Now that I had started this I had to finish it no matter what it cost me.
“But you want to. You want to talk about it but you just don’t admit it.”
He punched me and I doubled over from the pain. I was lucky I had a lot of training and did my sit ups everyday or else I would have cried out in pain but it still hurt like a bitch and made breathing harder.
“Leave me alone or I swear to God, you’ll regret it!” He threatened me as he straightened me again.
“Was it really that unexpected, when she broke up with you?” I continued as if nothing had happened.
As soon as I finished my sentence he kneed me in the stomach making me bend on my knees.
“You still want her back, don’t you? You’re still hoping she would change her mind.” It was surprising to me that the more he hit me the more determined I became to make him talk.
The last sentence sent him off the edge. He lost the little control he had left. He kicked me and I fell on the ground face first, tasting blood in my mouth. Before I had time to react and defend myself he kicked me in the ribs. I tried to get up a few times but each time he kicked and threw me back on the floor. I thought I’d become numb after a few kicks and punches just like it happened in karate. But I was wrong. Maybe the difference was in the karate match I could hit back and the opponent’s blows made me angry and that anger made me feel stronger. But I wasn’t angry now. I had brought this on myself so how could I be angry?
The only thing I could do was tucking my head in my arms, protecting it from his blows and not make a sound to save the little dignity that was left for me. I wasn’t sure if I could breathe or not. Everything was so hazy. I was waiting for him to get tired and he finally did, after the last kicks to my stomach and my ribs which I guessed were the most damaged part of my body he sat on the ground, right next to me.
Now without all the punching and kicking I could tell that breathing was definitely an issue. I couldn’t move an inch. I just stayed there lying on the ground and looked at him. He rested his head on his knees and his hands went to his short hair. His knuckles were red from punching me. He sat there without changing his posture. At that moment I knew even though I couldn’t get Liam to talk, at least I made him think. I made him confront his issue. Maybe he wasn’t ready to solve it yet, but he no longer was trying to ignore it. Well, that was a step!
I felt my eyes closing. I wasn’t sure if I was falling asleep or blacking out but I welcomed it. It took the pain away, no matter how temporary it was.
When I opened my eyes, Liam was still in that position. I tried to see if I can get up but a sharp pain in my chest stopped me and made me gasp. That got Liam’s attention. He looked at me, not angry anymore. No the anger was gone and something else had replaced it, something along the line of terror. Did I look that bad? My irregular and shallow breathing confirmed that. I was aching for a deep breath but it hurt. I felt Liam’s fingers, softly grazing my cheek and wiping the blood of my lips. Then he picked me up bridal style, making me draw in a sharp breath from pain which didn’t go unnoticed by Liam and carried me to the Bathroom and place me in the empty bathtub.