This.

Just before the start of the Take Me Home Tour, Liam spends some time at home with his family. When Valentine's Day comes around, it's the start of something beautiful. This is the start of something new. ((Credits for everyone who saw the Ed Sheeran lyrics! :) I wrote this for a friend of mine when Liam and Danielle had broken up and we all just think it's perfect for this competition, so I don't mean to insult anyone by any means, leave me alooooone!)) ... by the author of Cats, Kisses And Wagon Wheels.

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1. This.

 

This.

 

Liam’s PoV

I was visiting home one last time before our 2013 tour. And other than for the first tour, this time I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. What with Danielle and me breaking up and all the promo-stress for Take Me Home, all I really wanted was to lie down in my old bed in my old kid’s room and do nothing. It wasn’t like I was completely heartbroken—to be honest, we’d had it coming for a while—but on days like this one, I longed to have someone to talk to about all of this; it was just too much. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the fans. I loved what I did more than anything, this was incredible. But sometimes I really wished I could be just Liam for one day and go out without having anyone notice me. Especially today. Valentine’s isn’t exactly the day for single people.

Because she always knew what I needed to do, my sister Ruth and just handed me our dog Brit’s leash and all but pushed me out the door to take a walk in the forest with the Labrador to calm down.

And she was right—it was helping. I had already walked uphill for a long time and finally reached the little wall from where I could get the incredible view of fog steaming up over the green of the valley, framed by the bare branches of the winter-ly trees and held in pastel colours, as if it was too cold for nature to show its actual colours, as if it had fallen asleep in its heavy blanket of snow that was so unusual for an English winter. I sighed and let Brit off the leash to go and explore for a bit while I would lean onto the low wall and watch nature awaken. It was quiet and it seemed like everything was made out of glass because of the rime that had settled on everything. Only few birds were singing. I sighed deeply.

“And I throw it all away,

“Watched you fall into my arms again

And I throw it all away…

Watched you fall now, ooh…”

The lyrics to Ed Sheeran’s This sounded through the trees, faintly at first and then louder and the person singing came closer to where I was standing.

Great. So much for quiet.

Now I spotted the girl who was singing as well; she was slowly coming closer, more dancing than walking through the snow, her dark blonde hair bouncing in big, voluminous waves. I could see the hem of a dotted skirt under her dark navy coat, showing off her tight-clad legs that ended in half-boots with thick woollen socks peaking out. Her white hat was fluffy and contrasted with her red cheeks. I waited, not saying anything, for her to notice me, not wanting to disturb her. She looked so much like a fairy, like she was out of this world.

“This is the start of something beauti—whoa!”

And it was over.

“Sorry,” I smiled sheepishly.

“No, it's fine,” she said, taking one earpiece out. She smiled a big, toothy grin and held out her glove-clad hand. The glove had an intricate crochet pattern on the back of her hand and spelled out “Lily” at the top. Her eyes were a smoky grey with specks of turquoise in it.

“Hi, I’m Lily,” she said.

I took her hand and smiled. “Liam.” She actually didn’t know who I was. There was a gorgeous girl here with me, alone in the most beautiful forest, and she didn’t see me as Liam Payne but just as a normal lad who was having a walk. I liked those odds.

“It's nice to meet you, Liam. Oh, you’re here with your dog as well?” She gestured to the leash in my hand and it was only now that I noticed that she had one as well.

“Yeah,” I said, feeling dumb.

She laughed. “And where is your dog?”

I laughed and pointed out Brit who was only a few yards away but wasn’t very easy to spot in the snow. “Where’s yours?”

She shrugged. “Oh, she’s off somewhere digging up imaginary monsters. She always comes right back, she’s too scared of losing me.”

“Uhm…” I tried to say because that was exactly when a chocolate brown bolt shot around the corner of the path and rammed me out of the way to crash into Lily. She squeaked and caressed her dog’s ears as the brown Labrador sat down in front of her obediently without her even asking.

“Well, hi there, pretty lady,” Lily cooed, her voice soft as if she was talking to a little child. Now that was why people said if someone was good with a dog, they’d be a good parent.

Lily turned to me and smiled warmly. “Liam, this is Cookie. Cookie, say hello to Liam.”

Cookie did a small wave with one of her paws and I felt like a real moron because Brit wasn’t really as well-trained at all.

“What breed is she?” I asked as I noticed lighter spots in Cookie’s fur.

“She is a Labrador, but she ran into an electric fence when she was a pup,” Lily explained. “The fur grew back lighter where she was hurt, but the breeders didn’t want her anymore.”

I frowned. “Did she get her name because of that?”

“Yeah,” Lily smiled. “Go on,” she told her dog and Cookie ran straight to Brit.

“Wow,” Lily said. “Is that Brit?”

“Yes, it is.”

She laughed. “No way! Her and Cookie are like besties for life! So you have to be the famous Liam, Ruth told me stuff about you. Sorry for not noticing, is that really bad now?” She bit her lip in an utterly adorable way that made me want to kiss her and pull her lip out from her teeth with mine.

I shook my head. “It was a nice change.”

She perked up instantly. “Okay! Well then, Liam, fancy a cuppa?”

I lifted an eyebrow. “Now?”

“Sure!” She took a large thermos flask and a blanket out of her bag, as well as two mugs. “I always have my tea here on this bench, and I always bring a spare. You know, in case I meet the love of my life while walking my annoying dog.”

It dawned to me that Ruth had wanted me to meet Lily, to have tea with her and to have this girl lighten up my day, and that should probably have been why I’d say no politely and walk away, but for some reason I didn’t. I think it was those grey eyes.

We sat down on the bench next to the wall, overlooking the valley, and cuddled up in Lily’s plaid blanket. The hot, sweet tea warmed me up inside, but I had a feeling it wasn’t only that. It was this girl, this fairylike girl. Lily smiled at me over the edge of her mug and gestured to my right.

“Look at them,” she said, but I couldn’t, I had to stare at her. She had a smile that seemed like it could light up all of Britain for one day.

“Go on,” she laughed, blushing. “Look.” She took my head in her hands and turned it towards the dogs.

Cookie and Brit were playing in the snow like little puppies. Which they almost still were. I could remember the day we had gotten Brit, who was named after me getting a Brit award with One Direction. Things had been so different.

“Cookie?” Lily tore me out of my thoughts, holding up a chocolate-chip-cookie. “It's homemade.”

I shook my head in astonishment, but took the cookie and she got another one out of a box in her bag.

“What else do you have in there? Is it like a Mary Poppins thing?” Her bag was tiny, so tiny I hadn’t even noticed it at first. It was a light blue, almost white, with embroidery in white, grey and navy, and it was so tiny I wouldn’t even have thought the thermos flask could fit into it, much lesser a blanket and a box with cookies in it.

She smiled. “Won’t tell.”

She had a spot of chocolate just over her upper lip.

“What?” she asked.

I didn’t answer; I just gave in to what I had wanted to do all along: I kissed her. Her lips were as soft as I’d imagined them to be and tasted like honey and chocolate. She responded to my kiss immediately, etching her arms around my neck so we could get better access. My tongue swept across her bottom lip in a begging for entrance which she granted. The kiss became hungrier at once, our teeth clashing together and our tongues battling for dominance; a fight we both knew I would win, but she fought anyways just for the game. She sighed into my mouth and melted against me, her fingers ghosting over my jawline. I dug my hands into her soft locks and pulled her even closer to me, always closer and closer because it could never be close enough.

She stared at me as we came up for air.

One of the dogs yawned.

“You had chocolate on your lip,” I murmured.

She laughed. “You could have just told me.”

“I could.”

She shook her head, smiling that brilliant smile.

And then she kissed me again.

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